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Thursday, 20 March 1980
Page: 875

Senator PRIMMER (Victoria) -by leave-In a newspaper article, I think in the Sydney SunHerald, on 16 March the following news item appeared under the heading ' Senators ' service ':

An aircraft carrying three Australian senators was stopped by engine trouble from leaving Manila at 1.15 one recent morning. The senators telephoned the Australian Embassy and demanded an escort back to their hotel, where they were safely tucked in bed. An Aussie female psychiatric patient, on the other hand, had to find her own way back into the city.

The facts are that there were two and not three Australian senators on that aircraft. The engine broke down at 10.15 p.m., not 1.15 a.m. At about 1.15 a.m. Australian Embassy staff were contacted by telephone and requested- not demanded- to come and give some assistance. The staff, immediately on arrival at the Manila airport, made it their first item of business to check on the whereabouts of the psychiatric patient. They did not leave the airport until such time as they were assured that she had been cared for by the staff of the airline concerned.

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