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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2473


Senator BUTTON —Earlier in Question Time today Senator Jessop asked me a long question about the hijack of an Egyptian aircraft and the incident which took place at Valetta Airport in Malta following that hijack. As I recall it, in the course of his question Senator Jessop alleged that the relatives of the late Miss Elizabeth Fisher had been informed this morning that she had been executed, the implication being by the hijackers, and that her parents had been so informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

I am advised that the Maltese authorities have informed the Government officially that Miss Fisher was one of the 59 victims killed during the hijack at Malta and the incident which followed it. Her body was identified by an official Maltese pathologist. The pathologist has not yet reported on the cause of her death. Miss Fisher's family has been informed of this information by officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs. I repeat that current advice is that the cause of death has not yet been received from the pathologist. I might add that one thing is beyond dispute and that seems to be that Miss Fisher met her death in the course of a violent incident at the Valetta Airport. Whether she met her death as a result of shooting by one side or another in a shoot-out or by asphyxiation from smoke grenades I suppose will be determined in due course. In the overall context of this most unfortunate incident, it does not seem to be particularly material at this time.