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Tuesday, 29 April 1980
Page: 1883

Senator TEAGUE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to Senator Scott, as Minister for Special Trade Representations and Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is is true that the Australian Government has made clear to the representatives of the Australian wool industry that it would be inappropriate for Mr David Asimus to visit Moscow next month, whether as Chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation or as Chairman of the International Wool Secretariat? Is it true that the two Australians, Mr Asimus and Dr Booth, will not now be going to the Soviet Union? Will the Government follow up this matter by reviewing the guidelines which apply to exchanges between Australia and the Soviet Union so as to ensure that there is an effective boycott on all such visits until the Soviet troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan?

Senator SCOTT - I am aware that in the Press this morning there appeared a statement indicating that Mr Asimus has seen fit not to undertake the visit he intended to make to the Soviet Union with Dr Booth. I am not aware of any instructions or urging that may have been put to Mr Asimus. I assume that he made his decision, along with the body he represents, having taken notice of the attitudes of the Australian community and the Australian Government.

Senator Wriedt - No one is suggesting that he has been pressured.

Senator SCOTT - Senator Wriedtsays that no one suggests that he has been pressured. That is exactly what I am saying now. I am suggesting that Mr Asimus took his decision of his own free will, of his own accord, because it seemed to be a sensible attitude to take to the impending visit. Effective boycotts on trade or anything else are constantly in the view of the Government and constantly of concern not only to the Government but also to the whole Australian community. Anything that could be seen to be in reality an effective boycott would be a responsible protest against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

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