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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2172

Mr WHITLAM - Yes. The right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon) said that during question time I had speculated as to what would have happened if a Minister of the People's Republic of China had sought to visit Australia while he was the Prime Minister. That is not the position which I put at all. It was not the position which was put by either of the questioners on this matter. The Government in Taipei did not ask that one of its Ministers visit Australia. It knew quite well, of course, that if it made such a request the request would have been rejected.

What did happen was that a Minister in that Government did seek or receive an invitation to visit the Pacific Basin Economic Council meeting in Sydney this week. He did not do so as a Minister. He did so under the guise of being a director of some company. As a result of a question by the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party it became public knowledge that, in fact, he was a Minister in the Government at Taipei. Accordingly, when his request for a visa was received it was refused. The honourable gentleman went further - it did not seem to relate to his personal explanation - and said that if one of his Ministers had received an invitation from the Government of the People's Republic of China it would have been considered. The honourable member should remember that one of his Ministers, the then Minister for External Territories, did receive such an invitation and he was not allowed to accept it.

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