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Tuesday, 24 March 1987
Page: 1436


Mr HOLLIS(10.26) —It is my wish this evening to address the subject of the Australian Government's support for active economic sanctions against South Africa. I am prompted to do so because I am convinced that our Government's position is most important in hastening the end of the evil crime of apartheid. Indeed, I consider it most important that our Government, in union with other governments, apply increasingly tougher economic sanctions against South Africa until such time as the obdurate minority regime is compelled to dismantle the entire structure of apartheid and, together with the black majority, introduces the democratic process in that country.

We recently heard in this House the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Cobb) make the extraordinary statement that while in South Africa he `did not meet one white, one black, one coloured person or one Indian who was in favour of Australia's policy on trade sanctions and disinvestment'. Obviously the honourable member did not meet any of the 33 Catholic bishops in Southern Africa. He may be interested to learn, therefore, that in May of last year the entire Catholic hierarchy of Southern Africa, after three days of careful deliberation, came to what they described in their own words as a `decision of conscience' and proclaimed themselves to be in favour of international economic sanctions against South Africa. That decision was released in the form of a solemn pastoral letter to be read from the pulpit of each and every Catholic church in South Africa. Similar calls have, of course, been made by church leaders of other denominations. Furthermore, in this same pastoral letter the Catholic bishops called on the South African Government to release all imprisoned black political leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, and to lift bans on black organisations such as the African National Congress, of which Mandela is the leader.

On the question of black support for economic sanctions, I would simply refer the honourable member for Parkes to the results of a thoroughgoing survey conducted last September by Market and Opinion Research International and the South African company, Markinor. This survey was commissioned by the British newspaper, the Sunday Times. The results were published in its issue of Sunday, 3 August 1986. The survey indicated that in urban areas of South Africa, where it would seem the honourable member for Parkes spent considerable time, 47 per cent of blacks favoured sanctions and only 29 per cent were opposed. In the more conservative and less well-informed rural areas the picture is somewhat different. Twenty-two per cent of blacks favoured sanctions and 34 per cent were opposed to them. Of all blacks polled, 36 per cent had never had the opportunity to hear of economic sanctions. Overall, of those who were familiar with what economic sanctions involved, 46 per cent favoured sanctions and 51 per cent were opposed. There is every indication that within another year or so, unless there is some dramatic end to the whole system of apartheid, the majority of blacks will favour sanctions, and just possibly another poll today would find that this had already happened.

Another compelling fact to emerge from the survey is that Nelson Mandela, the jailed leader of the ANC, is most clearly the person most favoured by blacks to become the President of South Africa. When asked who would make the best President of South Africa, 44 per cent of blacks favoured Nelson Mandela, 16 per cent favoured Buthelezi and 13 per cent favoured Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Just as significantly, black support for Neslon Mandela in urban areas had in the previous 12 months increased from 49 per cent to 64 per cent-a 30 per cent increase.

A survey conducted among white South Africans at the same time revealed another significant fact: More than 50 per cent of the white population of South Africa-in fact, some 56 per cent-favours the release from gaol of Nelson Mandela. Beyond all shadow of doubt there is a change coming in South Africa; just as certainly the winds of change will see the African National Congress, with Nelson Mandela at its head, playing a decisive role in the formulation of South Africa's first democratic government. To believe otherwise is to live in a fantasy world of make believe.

The African National Congress has, for the past 28 years, called on the international community to impose economic sanctions against South Africa. Had we and the rest of the world heeded its call at an earlier date, there would have been no Sharpevilles, no Sowetos and no Crossroads. The longer we delay heeding that call today, the more certain we can be that there will be more bloodshed in South Africa. The surest way to minimise and, hopefully, eliminate that bloodshed is to impose even tougher sanctions. I for one do not want it to rest on my head that, by my inaction and ignorance, by my deafness and blindness, I did nothing to avert the bloodshed. I ask all honourable members to consider this most carefully.


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