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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1546

Senator GEORGES (Queensland) - In speaking on the adjournment debate tonight, Senator Mulvihill referred to a letter which he has passed to me and which I have read. One paragraph in that letter attracts my attention and I wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) to it. In this letter reference is made, as Senator Mulvihill said, to people who were considered to have dual nationality, in particular Greeks. It is the latter part of the paragraph that I will read which disturbs me. The letter states:

When such persons are in the country of second nationality, (including a country which permits holders of Australian passports to enter without visas) their Australian citizenship may not exempt them from obligations such as military service in that country.

The next sentence in this paragraph is the part of the letter that I question. J should mention that the letter is signed by the Honourable A. J. Forbes, Minister for Immigration. The relevant paragraph continues:

They may be claimed as nationals of that country in which case Her Majesty's representatives abroad are unable to intercede on their behalf with the authorities of that country. f question that part of the letter.

I instance the case of an Australian citizen who by some chance enters a country which considers that he is one of its nationals and who is in some way restricted in his movements in that country. Am I to understand from this letter that in such a case our authorities in that country are unable to intercede on behalf of that Australian citizen? If that is the case, what is Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs dein* to alter the situation? Surely, even though a case of dual nationality may be involved, our authorities have the right to intercede. I ask the Minister to consider this question and to verify that our authorities do have the right to intercede on behalf of Australian citizens in spite of the fact that those citizens may be claimed as nationals by another country.

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