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Wednesday, 13 October 1971
Page: 2239


Mr GARRICK - I ask the Prime Minister: What action does the Government anticipate taking in response to hundreds of letters received by honourable members, including one I have received from a child which asks me to tell the Government that some people in Australia are starving themselves because the Government is not sending enough money to the refugees in Pakistan? Does the right honourable gentleman agree that the rapidly growing political maturity being shown by Australian students calls for an early reduction in the voting age?


Mr MCMAHON - On the first point raised by the honourable gentleman, it should be known that we in Australia are extremely generous donors to official aid programmes and to aid programmes for the assistance of people in trouble in other parts of the world. Consequently, we decided some time ago that we would make a very substantial grant in order to assist the East Pakistani refugees. Similarly, too, as my colleague the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs announced yesterday, in accordance with conditions which he mentioned at the time, we have agreed to an increased appropriation of $1,500,000. Now, in anyone's language this can be regarded as fairly generous appropriation of Commonwealth funds for this purpose. Naturally enough, I appreciate what has been said about the views of the young people of this country, but the views of all Australian people have been taken into consideration and we have done what we regard as appropriate under the circumstances.







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