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Tuesday, 17 October 1972
Page: 1558

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - In this question which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs I refer again to the recent declaration of martial law in the Philippines and in particular to the detention of prominent journalists and politicians, including Senator Benigno Aquino, a leading candidate for the presidency. Does the Minister have information as to the manner in which these prominent people are being treated during their detention? Further, have any charges relating to criminal activities been laid against these detainees or is their detention simply designed to remove them indefinitely from the arena of active politics?

Senator WRIGHT - A question which ends in the way in which Senator Willesee ends his question ought to be ignored by me but out of respect for the chamber, as the honourable senator touches on a matter of vital interest to the chamber, I simply say, as I said last week, that the events in the Philippines are being followed very closely by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs. The circumstances of internment are being advised to Australia but, to my knowledge, there is no information about any individual. If any information about an individual is required prudence suggests that an inquiry before question time would be the most useful way of eliciting information. There would be no political purpose on the part of the Government in not adding to the answer which I have given.

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