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Tuesday, 29 April 1980
Page: 1883

Senator WRIEDT -I remind the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs of an answer he gave yesterday in the Senate to

Senator Evansconcerning the granting of political asylum to an East German dancer. In that answer, it is said: . . the grounds on which Miss Giersch has based her application are amongst the strongest of any recent application for asylum.

Were those grounds referring to the personal danger that Miss Giersch may be subjected to, or claims she may be subjected to, should she be returned to East Germany? In an answer given yesterday concerning the case of Mr Aziz, who was also seeking refugee status in Australia, it was stated that Mr Aziz claims that he also will be at great personal risk if he is forced to return to Iraq. Yet he still has to go on arguing his case for refugee status to be granted to remain in Australia. What is it about Mr Aziz's application that is preventing the Government from treating him in exactly the same way as it has treated Miss Giersch?

Senator CARRICK -In both cases the answers that I gave were provided by the Department and the Minister for Foreign Affairs upon reference by me. I think that the reference to 'strongest grounds'- I am seeking to find the answers in Hansard to satisfy my recollectionwere the words used by the Department in its recommendation to the Foreign Minister and were not the Minister's own words. I do not know the nature of those strong grounds. I will ask the Minister to study that aspect and to reply. I think the answer stated that the Minister was not aware of an application for asylum by Mr Aziz. I understand that if he were to approach the Minister his situation would be considered. If there is particular information that should be known about Mr Aziz which is not available at this moment and which Senator Wriedt will let me have I will bring it to the attention of the responsible Minister.

Senator WRIEDT - I wish to ask a supplementary question. Is it not a fact that Mr Aziz has been trying for months to remain in Australia because he fears for his life if he is deported to Iraq? That is well known and established public knowledge. Is it not also true that Miss Giersch was granted political asylum within a matter of hours of applying for it on the grounds of the risk to her personal safety if she were returned to East Germany? Why is the Government acting in one manner in the case of the girl from East Germany and obviously and plainly differently in the case of Mr Aziz?

Senator CARRICK - The answer I gave yesterday, which came from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, indicated that whereas Miss Giersch applied for and was given political asylum, the Foreign Minister was not aware of any such application by Mr Aziz. That is the answer to that question. Indeed, if it is true that Mr Aziz has been seeking residence in Australia, no doubt his application will have been made through the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. I will direct that aspect of the question to the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and seek his response.

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