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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2432


Mr MILTON(10.35) —It is important for all Australians to remember that once again we are nearing the anniversary of that fateful day for Australian democracy when a legitimately elected government was dismissed by the Queen's representative, the then Governor-General Sir John Kerr.


Mr Robert Brown —Shame!


Mr MILTON —As the honourable member says, it was a shameful day. For the privileged and the wealthy the two great crimes of the Whitlam Labor Government were, firstly, its social reform measures, which were bringing a redistribution of the wealth of Australia; and secondly, the determination of the Australian Labor Party Government that Australia would have an independent voice in foreign affairs. The destabilisation of the Whitlam Government, which was fuelled by a hostile media campaign, reached a crescendo of hatred when Rex Connor proclaimed that the Government would set about buying back the farm. With foreign investors controlling the major heights of our economy at present, Australians can look back with nostalgia on a man who, with foresight and courage, battled against the baying jackals who represented capitalistic interest both inside and outside this House and who caused his early death from a terrible weariness of the fight .

However, I want to look beyond our boundaries to the far distant countries of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Grenada. In Nicaragua the Sandinista Government is fighting against the heavily armed contrainsurgents whose weaponry is supplied, unashamedly, by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government. For the United States of America the efforts of the Nicaraguan Government in bringing literacy to a previous illiterate population, in providing land to the landless peasants and in providing medical facilities where none previously existed represent an immediate threat to the neighbouring military dictatorships of El Salvador and Honduras. If the impoverished and discontented peoples of those two countries seize power in the mould of the Sandinistas, what will happen to the land-owning, wealthy, military class who are such strong allies of the United States? In consequence, the United States supplies millions of dollars worth of military armaments to the governments of El Salvador and Honduras, thus ensuring that the strong rebel movement in El Salvador is kept at bay by the hated armed forces of the military government.

However, it is Grenada which is at present in the newspaper headlines. With warships patrolling the coasts of Central American countries it did not take the USA long to take advantage of the political crisis in Grenada, occasioned by the murder of the Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Condemned by virtually every European country, the United Kingdom and Australia, invading USA marines seized control of the tiny country. Ignoring the fact that the majority of members of Maurice Bishop's Cabinet were available to form a new government, the USA turned to the Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon, to support the invasion. Support the invasion he did despite the admonishment of the Queen, the head of the Commonwealth, of which Grenada is a member. The pretext of the USA for invading the island was a statement by President Reagan that the USA had to protect American citizens who were temporarily in Grenada. That kind of statement was precisely the kind of excuse used by the German dictator Adolf Hitler when he invaded Austria and Czechoslovakia prior to the 1939-45 war.

It is interesting to note that the Times newspaper in Washington has reported that two years ago American forces had practised landing on an island in the Caribbean which had many physical similarities to Grenada. It is an even more interesting and disturbing fact that President Reagan is now using tough words against Cuba and Guyana. Guyana is a country on the South American mainland which the Americans claim is becoming too friendly with Cuba and the Soviet Union. Guyana is led by President Linden Forbes Burnham and is closely aligned with Cuba.

I come back to Grenada. Newspaper reports indicate that Sir Paul Scoon is expected to head a provisional government until elections can be held. It is not surprising that in such circumstances a former Attorney-General of Grenada has suggested that elections should not be held for at least two years and that the Americans should build a military base on the island. In the case of Australia it was not necessary for Sir John Kerr to head a provisional government because the destabilisation of the Whitlam Government had taken place in the 18 months preceeding his take-over. The Australian people have been fed disinformation about the so-called incompetency of the ALP Government and Malcolm Fraser and the forces of conservatism were in the wings to take over. Sir Paul Scoon needs at least two years to enable the conservative forces to gain a stranglehold on the social and political structure of the country. At the end of that time elections can be held and a military-type led party can win government with all the economic support of the USA Government behind it. There we have a different kind of coup but a coup nonetheless led by another Governor-General in another part of the world leading to the kind of model democracy found in El Salvador and Honduras and so strongly supported by President Reagan.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.