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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 849


Senator TOWNLEY(10.53) —I take time tonight to bring to the notice of the Senate a news bulletin that was brought to my notice earlier today about the setting up in this country of an office of the South West African People's Organisation, which occurred today. I will read some of the Australian Associated Press bulletin. It states:

Two senior SWAPO officials arrived today to set-up office in Australia, seeking finance and the Hawke Government's condemnation of the South African regime.

Their arrival follows the decision last October to allow the South West African People's Organisation to have information offices in the country, a decision they say acknowledges that Namibia (South West Africa) is unjustly occupied by South African forces.

Hadino Hishongwa, 41, will be SWAPO's chief representative for Australia and the Pacific. He has represented South West Africa since 1969 in Zambia, Senegal, Sweden and Angola. With him is Peter Mueshihange, SWAPO's foreign affairs secretary. Mr Mueshihange will not be staying in Australia.

They said monetary aid collected in Australia would be used to feed, clothe and educate Namibians in their homeland and refugees in neighbouring countries and would not be used to arm SWAPO fighters.

Arms used by their forces were paid for by the Liberation Committee of the Organisation for African Unity, they said.

They wanted Australian businessmen to sever links with South Africa and the Government to condemn the apartheid regime.

Although the United Nations and many individual nations had often voiced their disapproval, Mr Mueshihange said he felt Australia's voice would make a difference.

I think the pressure is almost breaking through. The white people in South Africa are getting tired.

I take those words to be the words of Hadino Hishongwa, although they are not enclosed in inverted commas. The bulletin continues:

'I think the parents are fed-up. They don't see why their sons should be recruited and sent to the battlefields-they don't come back, they are dying out there. I think they will put pressure on their own Government'.

However both men said a major blood-bath was probable and pointed to the recent killings on the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre.

'The blood-bath is going on now but the thing about it is it is one-sided, it is the black people's blood,' Mr Mueshihange said.

'I don't know how you react to a regime like that (apartheid). Peace doesn't work. If you are oppressed you have to resist.

'Once you have been bitten you have to reply in any way you can. It says in the Bible if you are bitten on the cheek, you turn the other side. I don't think this is right. Your body is supposed to be your temple and should be respected by other human beings,' he said.

'Perhaps now it will spill the other way,' Mr Mueshihange said.

The bulletin goes on for a little longer but it does not need to be quoted because it does not have any relationship to what is said. I think it is disgraceful and a sad day for Australia when a situation such as this arises in this country. I want to know who is to be asked for money. Is the Hawke Government going to give money voluntarily to this self-professed terrorist organisation which is collecting finance in this country? To me it seems quite remarkable this situation has been allowed to occur. I was very much against SWAPO being allowed to enter Australia. Now it is coming in, not to give information but to collect money, which it says-can one trust a terrorist-it is not going to use for arms. On whose say-so? I for one do not believe it. This Government should immediately say that any money collected by that group will not be allowed out of Australia. Too much Australian money goes overseas for one purpose or another. When it goes overseas to finance terrorist organisations, I think we are becoming embroiled in a situation every right-thinking Australian should be downright ashamed of.

It is quite obvious that this Government is becoming more extreme than that of Mr Whitlam. I would not be surprised if, one way or another, this Government got finance to this group so it could send it over to Africa for whatever use it decided. I believe that if it collects any money we will, in one way or another, be helping to finance the arming of this group. I repeat: We should never have allowed this self-professed terrorist organisation into this country. It is quite ridiculous not to let in a supporting team but to let in terrorists. I cannot see any justification whatsoever for the action this Government is taking