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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 2373

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) I direct a question to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to the complaint by the North Vietnamese Communist Charge d'Affaires in Canberra that the Government's authority is charging North Vietnam excessive rental for its embassy and that it has applied to the authority for a reduction? Does this mean that the Whitlam Government's honeymoon with North Vietnam is now over? Will the Government inform the North Vietnamese that they are more than lucky to be here at all and, taking a leaf from the New Zealand Labor Government's book, inform them that they will have to depart unless they cease their current aggression in South Vietnam

Senator MURPHY I do not know the circumstances of the affair. Assuming that what the honourable senator says is right, surely it is virtually a domestic matter as between governments. If such a question arises, it has to be sorted out. This kind of thing may occur anywhere in the world. I do not think, if there is some difference of opinion as to what is the appropriate rental, that that should be raised in the context of foreign affairs. Rather it ought to be left where it is to be sorted out between the officials concerned.

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