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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 261

Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - The Australian Democratic Labor Party also supports these Bills. I think we all agree that with so many new countries if I may use that term, coming into the diplomatic field, it was eminently desirable that action should be taken to place clear!} in perspective this question of consular and diplomatic privileges and immunities. It could be said of most older countries that they did observe certain customs and diplomatic etiquette. It is not sufficient in the new kind of world in which we live, when new countries are entering the diplomatic field, however, that privileges, immunities and so on be based upon custom or a general willingness to observe them. Therefore it is all to the good that the convention which was agreed to in Vienna should be adopted by the various countries of the world and it will also be to our good. There have been one or two disquieting cases concerning certain consular representatives coming into Australia. Without stressing the point, I say that some concern has been expressed at the contents of luggage which some of thse people have been bringing into this country. Fortunately, the diplomats who have come here have in almost every case been men of very high quality; there has been nothing to fear from them. However, there have been one or two disquieting cases of bringing into Australia what I might term contraband. Therefore it is all the more desirable that the question of what may be brought into this country and what may not should be set out very clearly and definitely for the benefit of persons having diplomatic relations with this country.

I appreciate the final point made by Senator Wheeldon that it is undesirable that attacks be made upon diplomatic buildings. All of us, I think, would deplore any form of violence against diplomats who represent other countries in Australia. 1 would point out, however, that the number of attacks upon embassies in Australia have been equal to if not exceeded by attacks on Australian embassies in certain other countries. It has not been a one way traffic and we are not entitled to suggest that Australians are more at fault than certain other people. It is to be deplored that there should be at any time attacks upon the buildings of diplomatic personnel and I am glad that Australia has stated in its adherence to the convention that it intends to rely upon the highest standards in those matters. The Democratic Labor Party fully supports the Bills.

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