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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 2230


Mr CAMPBELL(7.30) —I commend the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck). He said a lot of what I wanted to say in condemning terrorism in Sri Lanka. We hear a lot today about privatisation. It seems to be the vogue throughout the world. I would like the opportunity to give a commercial tonight. In Brisbane, Baba's curry place is the place to go at 187 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. It has great curries and the proprietor Baba Sourjah is a very interesting and affable fellow. Mr Sourjah is interesting for one other reason. He is a Malay whose family has lived for four generations in Sri Lanka. The Malays in Sri Lanka constitute about 0.01 per cent of the population. There are about 30,000 of them there. They were taken there originally by the British to suppress the Sri Lankans-they were soldiers-and they have remained there.

Mr Sourjah is a member of the Queensland Sri Lankan unity group. He is not Sinhalese, as I have said. He totally refutes any suggestion-particularly suggestions by the honourable member for Throsby (Mr Hollis)-that Sri Lankan unity groups in any way are a product of the Sri Lankan Government. He has been quite critical of the Government on many occasions and says that he will continue to be. He makes the point that he knows about minorities because clearly he is part of one. He also says that during the 1940s the Malays in Sri Lanka constituted over 50 per cent of the fire brigade and over 40 per cent of the police force. Quite clearly, there was discrimination in their favour. He says that that has stopped now. Of the nine members of his family, all bar one have married people of ethnic origins other than Malay. Many have married Sinhalese and some have married Tamils. So it is a very integrated family. He is adamant that there is no connection between his group and the Sri Lankan Government.

Mr Sourjah points out that in the Sri Lankan Parliament speeches can be made in any language. On stamps the three languages, English, Sinhalese and Tamil, occur and the different languages appear on the currency. Tamil is accepted as a national language. He believes that there is no real basis for the outrages committed by Tamil terrorists. I believe that we should call them terrorists for this is what they are. It grieves me when I hear people talking about militants because these people are thugs. There is no excuse or rational explanation for what they do. It has also been asserted by the honourable member for Throsby that the bomb that was let off at the bus depot may have been placed by the Sri Lankan Government. This, indeed, is a metaphorical burning of the Reichstag. I recollect that the honourable member for Throsby also said when a plane was blown up at the Colombo airport that this was done by the Government. This is arrant nonsense. It is the work of bloody-minded terrorists who have no compassion and no sense at all of decency or honour. They should be condemned by all civilised people. If these people are allowed to triumph and go unchecked they will threaten the very fabric of society and civilisation as we know it. I also believe that any ethnic group that comes to Australia should leave behind its feuds and the bloody battles of its past. These people should come here determined to be Australians.


Mr Duncan —Including the Israelis.


Mr CAMPBELL —Yes, including the Israelis. I am a great supporter of the Palestinians. I have told Palestinian friends of mine that if they come to Australia I want to hear nothing of their battles of the past. Any Tamil in this country who sends money back to Sri Lanka for terrorist activities in that country should be deported for, in truth, Tamils in this country are not refugees except perhaps in the economic sense. Most of them have done very well out of this country and it irks me beyond belief that many of them are taking advantage of our hospitality.


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