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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1057

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) - I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Are not the courts of this nation the safeguards of any person in this country whose individual liberty is threatened or denied? Ought not the question of whether a person is being held against his will be able to be determined by the courts and not by a government committed to a servile relationship with a communist dictatorship? Why did the Government ignore the fact that the Supreme Court of Western Australia was considering the question on the evidence placed before it on affidavit as to whether this man Ermolenko was being held under duress by the Russians and that the court was expecting Ermolenko to appear before it today? How does the Government justify that Australia's relations with Russia should involve not only a denial of individual liberty but a contempt of the courts?

Senator WILLESEE - Firstly Mr Ermolenko never sought the protection of the court. Here we get the central theme: The only body which has been following the issue and worrying about Ermolenko has been the Australian Government. This type of question shows where Senator Greenwood's mind is. He was not concerned about the matter at all. He says that we want to continue a servile relationship with a communist country. We are carrying on the same relationship with the same communist country as his Party did when it was in government. His Party broke off diplomatic relations with the country over the Petrov affair. It was his Party which reinstated diplomatic relations. We are doing exactly the same as that. A writ of habeas corpus was taken out against the Commonwealth Police. The court heard it, threw it out and ordered costs against the plaintiffs.

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