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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 517

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does not the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs think that the attitude of the Greek Government to the military service obligations in that country of Greek born Australian citizens visiting their homeland, coupled with the hard line attitude of the Greek monetary commission in relation to the right of Greek residents in Australia to share in legacies emanating from Greece, justifies an early confrontation between the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Greek counterpart, particularly as Australia has been very liberal as regards remittances from Australia to Greece?

Senator WRIGHT - Before referring to the particular trend of the honourable senator's question I think I should say that this morning I was provided with a note as to the obligations of Greek nationals for military service insofar as those obligations apply to people of dual nationality. Greek dual nationals born in Australia or dual nationals born in Greece who departed for Australia before they were 11 years of age may enter Greece and stay for a period of one year less one day without incurring military obligation. Other Greek dual nationals born in Greece may stay for only 3 months less one day without incurring military obligation. Both categories may redeem this military service by payment to the Greek Government of an amount to be determined, provided that they exercise this right before the date on which the first group of conscripts is called up after the date of their arrival in Greece. Other countries which require military service by Australian citizens who hold dual nationality include France and Italy. I thought that I should give the Senate that general note, which was provided in the ordinary course of departmental routine, because of the current news about one person being detained in Greece yesterday. Senator Mulvihill suggested that the Australian Government should concern itself in what he referred to as a confrontation but what J, with my characteristic diplomacy, would prefer to call a consultation with the Greek Government. I shall refer that suggestion to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for his personal decision.

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