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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 787

Senator SHEIL —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware that Australian organisations, including the Australian Council of Churches and the Australian Teachers Federation, have collectively donated $15,000 to assist the overthrow of democracy in New Caledonia by the Libyan supported Marxist FLNKS Party? What is the Minister's comment on Australian organisations which finance such terrorism?

Senator BUTTON —I am not aware of any official reports to that effect. I have seen television programs-I think, emanating from Queensland-in which it was suggested that some money had been made available by the organisations in question to the FLNKS Party. I think it would be wrong to judge the Kanak movement in New Caledonia, as Senator Sheil does, as a Libyan supported Marxist organisation. It may be Libyan supported; it may be supported also by a wide range of other people who would not fall into the same pejorative category of Libyan supported Marxists to which Senator Sheil refers. I think that is a very simple description of a very complex issue, and I do not think it is helpful in the public discussion to go down that track. I would have thought it inadvisable for any organisations in Australia to be devoting energies to collecting moneys for arms for support of insurgent groups of the Right or the Left, wherever they may be. I commend that view to Senator Sheil and some of his colleagues in the National Party in Queensland.