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Tuesday, 13 August 1974
Page: 779

Senator MARRIOTT (TASMANIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it a fact that carpet layers were sent to the Australian Embassy in Peking because, for security reasons, local tradesmen could not be employed to lay carpets in the Australian Embassy and staff apartments? How many Chinese nationals are employed in the Australian Embassy in Peking and how many are employed by Australian staff in their apartments? Has the Minister any knowledge of any other of our embassies where local tradesmen, for security reasons, would not be employed to lay carpets? What countries which have embassies in Canberra import their tradesment to lay carpets in their Canberra offices and residences?

Senator WILLESEE -Two carpet layers were sent from Australia to lay carpets in 15 apartments made available by the Chinese authorities for accommodation of the Australian staff of the Embassy. However, this was not for security reasons but because the Chinese authorities would not make the services of local tradesmen available, nor would they allow entry of tradesmen from Hong Kong to carry out this work. At present 12 Chinese nationals are employed in the Australian Embassy in Peking. Approval has been obtained to employ another two, and the Embassy is at present seeking to fill these positions. Thirteen Chinese nationals are employed by the Australian staff in their apartments m Peking, including five employed at the official residence. There are a considerable number of Australian embassies and other missions overseas where, when certain work is undertaken, local tradesmen are not employed for security reasons. However, such work does not include carpet laying. As far as I am aware, we have received no formal request to facilitate the entry of tradesmen to Australia for this purpose.

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