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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 809


Senator COONEY(5.15) —I wish to make some remarks apropos of what Senator Harradine has said. I will not be long because I know that honourable senators want to talk about the Sharpeville incident. Senator Harradine has said that he does not agree with certain aspects of life in China. I certainly agree with what he says. I add that I disagree with the large scale executions of criminals, which I find abhorrent given my views on capital punishment. But it would not be a positive act for people to look simply at those aspects of China with which we do not agree. The thing to do especially in the field of foreign policy, particularly with China, is to look at the positive aspects we can use to engender understanding of a nation with which we once experience hostility. Fortunately that hostility has faded away; it has now disappeared. As my colleague Senator Cook said, a lot of that is due to the efforts of Mr Whitlam.

In foreign policy we should never proceed on the basis of hate; we should certainly proceed on the basis of caution and on the basis of aspiring towards an understanding so that we appear to the people with whom we have relationships as reasonable people and they appear to us as reasonable people. That is one of the objectives that the Australia-China Council has and is one of its objectives that has been successful. It is to be noted and commended that the relationship between Australia and China has improved. Hopefully, it will improve to the extent of our relationships with countries such as Italy-with which we fought in the last war-Japan and West Germany. Even taking into account what Senator Harradine has said, it nevertheless remains that this is a most worthy organisation and ought to be commended.

Question resolved in the affirmative.