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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2422

(Question No. 1160)


Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs , upon notice, on 3 October 1984:

(1) What is the quantity of petroleum products currently exported to South Africa by Australia.

(2) Is there a ban on sales of petroleum products to South Africa by all OPEC and almost all other oil producing states; if so, will the Minister for Foreign Affairs recommend that the Australian Government take a similar position.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The latest information from Government trade statistics on exports of petroleum products shows that in the period from July 1983 to June 1984, 35,918 litres of industrial fuel and marine diesel fuel, valued at $12,574, were exported from Australia to South Africa.

(2) The OPEC secretariat has advised that there is no written agreement banning oil sales to South Africa. According to the OPEC secretariat, all members observe the UN General Assembly resolution calling for an embargo on economic activities with South Africa and specifically on oil supplies.

Of the policies pursued by the other non-OPEC oil exporters the following information has been obtained:

It is British policy to sell state-controlled oil only to countries which are members of the OECD, EEC, or IEA (International Energy Agency). Britain does not , however, attempt to prevent private oil companies which operate in Britain from selling oil to South Africa if they are able to do so.

The Soviet Union has advised that it unequivocally supports the UN embargo on economic ties with South Africa.

The Norwegian Government has requested producing companies to refrain from selling oil to South Africa and all have apparently agreed to this request.

The Australian Government would support comprehensive economic sanctions against South Africa, endorsed by the UN Security Council and applied by South Africa's major trading partners. In the absence of such sanctions the Government permits normal commercial relations with South Africa but without avoidable official assistance. In accordance with that policy the Government does not restrict the sale of petroleum products to South Africa.