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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Page: 6228


Senator FAULKNER (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) (3:03 PM) —I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard further information in relation to the supplementary question I was asked yesterday by Senator Fielding in relation to the issue of further processes undertaken in the case of Britt Lapthorne.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

Will the Federal Government mount an inquiry into the processes undertaken in the case of Britt Lapthorne with a view to how they can be improved in the future, and will the government table the report of its inquiry in the parliament?

As is the case with any major consular case overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will review how the Lapthorne case was handled. This is done in the normal course of events.

The Government is satisfied that from the time consular officers were advised Ms Lapthorne was missing, they did everything they possibly could to assist the Croatian authorities to locate her.

The Australian Government does not have extra-territorial power or authority to conduct independent investigations in foreign countries. We must rely on the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies to carry out appropriate investigations.

The Government made extensive representations to the Croatian Government on the importance we placed in the Croatian police pursuing a comprehensive and effective investigation.