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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1211


Senator BOLKUS —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the announcement by the New Zealand Rugby Union that it would send the All Blacks team to tour South Africa and to the associated reports that Australian cricketers would also be participating in matches in South Africa. Is the Minister in a position to indicate whether the Australian Government has a response to these two reported actions?


Senator GARETH EVANS —The Prime Minister has already indicated in general terms Australia's reaction. But I am able to give the following information on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Australian Government fully supports the view of the New Zealand Government, as expressed by Prime Minister Lange, that it is to the New Zealand Rugby Union's eternal shame that it has decided to go to South Africa. The Australian Government is especially conscious of the recent outrageous violence against black protesters and funeral marchers in South Africa at Uitenhage and elsewhere. We take the view that the tour can only give comfort to supporters of apartheid, that it will exacerbate racial tensions in South Africa and result in further violent protest.

The Australian rugby team's tour of New Zealand, which is planned for later this year, does become an issue now as a result of this decision by the New Zealand Rugby Union. I note on behalf of the Foreign Minister the comments that were made this morning by the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, Mr John Brown, that the Australian Rugby Union has always acted responsibly-and he commended it for this-in adhering to the sporting contacts policies of this and preceding Australian governments. We are confident-certainly hopeful-that the Australian Rugby Union will continue to respond in this way.

A further consequence arises about the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. The consequences of the All Blacks decision in that sphere are too far off in the future to speculate about at this stage, but obviously a profound issue of concern arises in relation to that.

As far as the apparently proposed cricket tour is concerned, the Prime Minister has already made clear in Parliament the Government's total opposition to this tour by a number of individual Australian cricketers. We certainly welcome the very firm stand that has been taken by the Australian Cricket Board in that respect.