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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 330

Mr WHITLAM - I ask the Minister for Immigration a question. My question arises from the decision to refuse to renew the passport which on advice from Canberra in 1967 had been issued to Mr O'Donnell, who is the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs in Southern Rhodesia. I ask him why the opportunity was not taken to recall the still current passports later issued to Lieutenant-Colonel Knox and Air Vice Marshal Hawkins, who represent the Smith regime in Portugal and South Africa, as the passport was withdrawn from Mr Rover, a former Yugoslav, as he was passing through Canada 3 months ago. Was it not thought appropriate to withdraw their passports on the same ground as the Minister gave in the House for withdrawing Mr Rover's passport - that it was not in Australia's international interests to have his travel facilitated by the Australian Government?

Dr FORBES (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The decision not to renew Mr 0'Donnell's passport was, as I announced at the time, based on the fact that be is an official of a regime not recognised by the Australian Government. In this respect Australia acted in accordance with the terms of the United Nations resolution on this matter. I point out that the passports of the other 2 officials of the regime were issued prior to the United Nations resolution. Australian passports normally have a currency of 3 years and the Government believes that it would be unreasonable-

Mr Whitlam - But they were given 5 years.

Dr FORBES - I am sorry; Australian passports have a currency of 5 years and are issued in the normal expectation that they will continue for the currency of the term laid down. As these passports were issued prior to the United Nations resolution on this matter, it seemed reasonable to the Government to permit them to run the full course, which was the expectation when they were first issued to the people in question. However, we made it clear when I made an announcement about the Government's decision on Mr O'Donnell's passport that if these people were still officials of the Rhodesian Government at the time their passports expired they would not be renewed.

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