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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1848


Mr COBB(11.21) —We are debating the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1986-87, the Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1986-87, the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 1986-87 and the amendment in regard to the first Bill. Those Bills, as one flips through their pages, deal with extracting many millions of dollars from the taxpayers, all of which will add to our increasing debt. Our overseas debt now is in excess of $100,000m. The Government insists on doing very little about this, but borrows more and sets record levels of debt, which will only force up interest rates and force up taxes, because more money will have to be collected eventually. This will force business profits down and it will put more employees out of work. It will cripple even more the farmers right across Australia, particularly the wheat farmers in the electorate of Parkes. Overall, it will provide less incentive for people, both in the Parkes electorate and right across Australia, to get out there and have a go, invest capital, take a risk and work outside the hours of 9 to 5. It is very lamentable when the Government's policies have that effect.

On flicking through these Appropriation Bills today, I can open them at nearly every page and see enormous examples of waste; money spent on dubious projects. In many cases there is even blatant funding of philosophical left wing groups, even in the most unexpected areas. My eye was caught by one grant of several thousand dollars to be spent on the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination. In 1985-86 a few thousand dollars was spent on that, and that amount has been more than doubled this year. Anybody who looked at that would think that it was for a very fine ideal, and I am sure that in many ways it is. There is probably no finer ideal than to promote harmony among people, races and different groups around the world.

However, it seems to me that the Government is becoming obsessed with concentrating on what is going on in South Africa, as if that were the only country in the world which commits sins. I am the first to admit that the system of apart- heid is absolutely indefensible. There are many wrongs in South Africa and the white Government could be doing much more in that area. However, it is not the only country in the world which makes mistakes. In fact, I believe other countries are far worse. We have only to look at some of the countries in northern Africa, such as Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Government of Ethiopia has killed hundreds of thousands of people by trying to implement its Marxist policies; forcing people off the land--


Mr Peter Fisher —Starving them to death.


Mr COBB —Starving them, as the honourable member for Mallee said. When I was in South Africa in January and February this year, along with one member of the Australian Labor Party, I happened to call in at one of the refugee camps at Phalaborwa in the north-east of South Africa. I had heard that there was a refugee camp there, so I asked whether I could go in. I happened to be in the town looking at a phosphate mine and it was arranged for me to go in. There were 2,000 refugees from Mozambique in the camp. About 30,000 refugees have come in in recent times.

Only a few short years ago, Mozambique, while it could not be described as a rich country, was a country which was doing very well. It is a very beautiful country, with enormous natural resources. Many people from around the world used to take their holidays in the capital of Maputo. Since the Portuguese have pulled out of Maputo one cannot even buy a carrot. The streets are deserted. People are dying of starvation. The Frelimo Government-if one can call it that-that has taken over is shooting people, raping women, burning crops. The country is absolutely destroyed. Mozambicans are fleeing. And which country are they going to?


Dr Watson —To South Africa.


Mr COBB —Yes, as the honourable member for Forde correctly says, South Africa. The pitiful specimens that I interviewed there through an interpreter told some horrific stories of the hardships they had suffered. Little children had their mother and father dead, perhaps had left a brother behind and their sister had been raped and shot. From person after person that I interviewed I got the same story. To come out of Mozambique into South Africa involves something like a five to eight day trip, according to where one starts from. The people have to travel up to 100 kilometres through Kruger National Park. Regrettably, as they go through the lions pick up a few on the way. One woman told the story that she had had a baby on the way. She was in a group and had to keep moving so she had to leave the baby behind. We can only guess what happened to that.

Yet the South Africans, for all their faults, are looking after these people, getting no credit for it on the international stage and being made the pariahs of the world, particularly by this Government. The South African Government was feeding these people. Admittedly, the meals were not all that flash. The food was only mealie, a sort of maize mixture that is boiled up. The South Africans were feeding and looking after the people who had came in.

People in Australia seem to think that the racial discrimination in South Africa is purely between white and black. The picture is painted that the blacks in South Africa are one homogenous group like Aborigines in Australia. The situation is much more complex than that. In fact, there are not even two or three groups of blacks in South Africa as there are in many of the states to the north which have been given their independence. In those countries there has been one man one vote and then one tribe rules the other and chaos reigns. In South Africa the situation is much more complex. It is almost unique in the world. There are nine or 10 different main black groups such as the Zulus, the Xhosas, the Sothas, the Tswanas, the Swazis, the Ndebeles, the Vendas and others. Even the Zulus are not a homogenous group; they are divided into 200-odd different tribes. In some cases the tribes are divided into different clans. In the last couple of days we have read in the newspapers of one Zulu tribe fighting another tribe. Tragically, 19 people were killed.

So there are problems in South Africa. I repeat: I am not saying that the White South African Government is perfect, far from it; it has lots of faults. But it also has lots of problems and the problems in South Africa are far greater than anywhere else. There are language problems. There are four main groups of black languages, 23 sub-groups of language and numerous dialects.

What has Australia contributed to the situation? Bishop Tutu was invited to Australia recently and now we have had this fellow Tambo coming out. I do not think by any stretch of the imagination he is representative of black people's thinking in South Africa. Such people have no mandate to speak for more than a small percentage of the black people in South Africa. That is the story I got not only from the whites, as one would expect, but also from the coloured people, the Indian people, and particularly the black people in South Africa. Where are the people such as Chief Buthelezi? Where are the people such as I had lunch with? I sat down with the Mayor of Soweto, Nelson Botile, a man elected by the black people. One would not find anyone more anti-government, anti-apartheid than him but he rejects entirely the credo that fellows such as Tambo are advocating, namely violence. One could not get anyone more anti-apartheid than Mr P. S. Ndlova, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Workers Union of South Africa. He also rejects Tambo completely.

It is interesting to look at this fellow who has been invited here by the Australian Government. He has been President of the African National Congress for 20 years. Out of the 30 members on the executive of the ANC at least 23 are members of or affiliated in some way with the South African Communist Party. Joe Slovo, the Chairman of the South African Communist Party, is on the ANC executive and he has been backwards and forwards to Moscow like a yo-yo. He even had a big hand in writing its freedom charter. The present Australian Government has set up what has been called a slush fund of $674,000 under the special visits program within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Tambo has been invited out as a guest of Bill Hayden and the Australian Government as part of that program to bring opponents of apartheid to Australia.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Blanchard) —Order! Will the honourable member please refer to members by their constituency or their title.


Mr COBB —Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank you for your guidance in this area. I would have no objection to the visits if there were some balance but where are the opponents to communism, for example? Surely everybody here would admit that communism is causing oppression in many countries around the world. Why pick out fellows who are anti-apartheid to bring here?


Mr Langmore —What about Bishop Tutu?


Mr COBB —Bishop Tutu certainly does not speak for the black people. Every black person I spoke to in South Africa said: `Tutu does not speak for us. He has never come to us for a mandate as Chief Buthelezi has'.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will address the Chair.


Mr COBB —The only audience Bishop Tutu gets in South Africa is at a funeral. His audience these days is on the international stage.


Mr Peter Fisher —He has more acceptance from some whites than he has from the black people.


Mr COBB —He has. Sadly, the right of freedom of expression is rapidly disappearing in Australia today. We have a fellow such as Tambo coming into Australia as a guest of the Government and yet we have Rotarians, for goodness sake, being excluded. I refer to golfers. If one is a white person with a golf club one cannot come in; if one is a black person with a rifle one can.


Mr Peter Fisher —Exchange students.


Mr COBB —The honourable member for Mallee reminds me about exchange students. We have had Rotary exchange students coming to Australia to see how we conduct ourselves in Australia so that they can go back to South Africa and use Australia as a role model for their country. But oh no, now they are not allowed in. Someone such as Tambo is but school-children are not, and that includes Rotary black school-children. Such children have been here in the past. I think this Government has a sickening perversion of priorities in this area.

An honourable member who spoke previously said that the Australia Council gave $5,000 to set up a Palestine Liberation Organisation office in Melbourne, for heaven's sake. The PLO is another terrorist group. But as I just said, Rotarians cannot even come to Australia. The African National Congress, with the blessing of this Government, in 1984, set up an office in Sydney in New South Wales. Its address is Trades Hall, Goulburn Street, Sydney. The New South Wales and South Australian branches of the Australian Labor Party have made donations to this group and to the South West African People's Organisation. Honourable members opposite are on a committee raising money for such organisations. Taxpayers' money has also been spent to bring two ANC members to work with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to train in film production techniques. One wonders what they will film when they go back-necklacing no doubt.

Tambo is here advocating a policy of violence. We all know about necklacing. A tyre is shoved around one's neck and around one's ankles. The tyre is doused in petrol. It is set alight and it burns away. Once a tyre is set alight there is no way one can put it out. If one is a strong person one's hands are cut off with a machete so one cannot remove the tyre or they are tied behind one's back with barbed wire. We have videos of this which honourable members can be shown. They show people holding up ANC banners and then putting tyres on people. When I was at Pietersburg in South Africa I spoke to a doctor who had done post mortems on 34 victims of necklacing in one outbreak last year. He told me one story that particularly stuck in my mind. An 86-year-old woman who was frail and who was blind was led by the hand by indoctrinated young children and told that she was going to a party. She was laughing as she went. They got her to the place and put the tyre over her. They did not have to tie her hands because she was so frail. The tyre kept slipping down; so they got a piece of thick wire-I suppose it would have been about No. 6 gauge-and shoved it straight through her abdomen, tied it around the tyre to hold it up on her and set her alight. This is the sort of thing they are doing. It is what Tambo is giving his blessing to. He has departed very much from what the ANC was years ago when even Buthelezi was a member. It has departed from the ways of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. It has departed from what Buthelezi these days is advocating.

Tambo lives a life of relative wealth. He has good premises in London. The ANC gets $80m a year from Moscow. He has set up camps in various places. The cadres are trained in places like Libya, with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and in Moscow. I remind honourable members that this advocacy of violence will do no good. Any group in the world which has come to power by terror has never been able to continue once winning government without continuing that terror. We only have to consider examples like Cambodia, Vietnam, Angola, Nicaragua, et cetera.

The ANC has no support to speak of amongst the black people. It has to enforce the power it has by terrorising them, burning down their houses, necklacing which I have mentioned, burning schools and stores and doing other incredible things to try to get the support of black people because they have no popular support.


Mr Peter Fisher —Have you got that letter?


Mr COBB —The honourable member refers to a letter concerning the UDF-the United Democratic Front-the political arm of the ANC, which has been rechristened by some as `Uniroyal, Dunlop and Firestone' because of its methods. A letter was sent out by the UDF, which I should have here to table. It describes how its members go around each house and, unless one contributes 50 rand, which is about $40, and 10 rand per child per month, they threaten to burn the house down. That is the sort of tactics they use.

The ANC has one of the most oppressive regimes on earth as its role model, namely, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Its racist policies have no credibility at all. One has only to consider what the USSR is doing with the Moslems, the Jews and in Afghanistan. Tambo has said:

The revolution in Afghanistan has been saved with the support of the Soviet Union.

In 1985 at the ANC conference in Zambia he praised the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But he acts very differently when he is out here. He speaks very moderately. In the very short time I have left I will tell honourable members what Mr Tambo says when he is overseas. Writing in the World Marxist Review he stated that the ANC's plan calls for `the seizure of power in South Africa . . . through the terrible but cleansing fire of revolutionary war'. A report in the New York Times quotes Mr Tambo as saying:

When Blacks learn that a White has died . . . that kind of thing comes like a drop of rain after a long drought.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Mr Tambo as saying:

The killing of White civilians would have the beneficial effect of getting White people used to bleeding.

In an interview with Newsweek on 9 September 1986 Tambo apparently remarked:

The ANC will no longer try to prevent death or injury to White civilians in South Africa and expect a bloodbath there . . . from now on, whether civilians are likely to die will not be a consideration.

Jesse Helms, writing in the Washington Post, said:

There is about Oliver Tambo the stench of burned flesh . . .

The New York City Tribune stated:

His aim is to get Americans to accept and even help the Soviet-backed attempt to violently overthrow the government of South Africa.

We could substitute the word `Australians' for `Americans'. The same thing would apply.

I am disgusted that the Australian Labor Party has seen fit to bring Tambo out here at taxpayers' expense. On a bipartisan note, I am also disgusted that Malcolm Fraser is putting him up at Nareen. Those actions are a betrayal of the moderate black people in South Africa and around the world. They are also a betrayal of the goal of peace and a step towards terrorism. Malcolm Fraser lost his trousers in Memphis because of his actions there. I think he has lost his brain in Australia in offering to put up this thug. I condemn him and the ALP for what they are doing.