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Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2195

Senator TOWNLEY(9.27) —I wish to add to the statements that have been made by Senator Jessop in speaking to the Appropriation Bills. I think that this Government is in a very poor position to talk about what is happening in South Africa. It has had a very poor record on sporting contacts with oppressive regimes in the world. I will show that the Government, as in so many other areas of its policy, is confused, inconsistent and clearly out of touch with the way most of the people in this country feel.

The comments of the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, have lost proportion lately. In following up his protests against the oppression of individual liberties in South Africa he has threatened, first of all, Orwellian tax probes into cricketers' incomes. I asked a question about that a few weeks ago. Secondly, he has threatened to block the issuing of passports. I cannot remember that ever happening before. I remember his stopping people from coming into this country. They were not terrorists, but elected members of another government who were stopped from coming into this country. Now he has gone further than that. He is threatening to block the issue of passports to professional cricketers and to members of the Australian rugby union team.

Senator Sibraa —Who said that? That is a nonsense.

Senator TOWNLEY —He was reported as saying that. If Senator Sibraa does not read the papers I am not going to lecture him in the way some of his friends try to lecture me in this place. I have said before that not many of the people who sit on the right hand side of the President would ever be capable of being called professor. I certainly do not intend to be lectured by them. They do not know what they are talking about. It is time that some of them did some reading, if they can, and read what some of the intelligent members of the Press around this country have to say. Mr Hawke is now threatening to stop the television coverage of the South African cricket tour. The Australian Financial Review of today so clearly described the Prime Minister's actions. It stated:

. . . Mr Hawke is now so righteously considering extending into the area of domestic freedom . . . in a manner suspiciously akin to the regime he is seeking to punish . . . by threats of censorship . . . he blurs the distinction between this country's established . . . tradition of freedom and the South African tradition of officially sanctioned terrorism and oppression.

That quote came from today's Australian Financial Review. I feel that the whole editorial is worth incorporating and I seek leave to have it incorporated.

Senator Grimes —No; you'll have to read it.

Leave not granted.

Senator TOWNLEY —I will not bother to read it now. I have other things to say. I will make sure that sufficient time is made available to me, by one way or another, to do so in the next day or two.

Senator Grimes —I raise a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. I seek your ruling on how relevant Senator Townley's present attack on the Prime Minister and others is to the Appropriation Bills. I know we are talking about the earnings of cricketers in South Africa of some $200,000 each but that item does not appear in the Appropriation Bills and I do not see how it is associated with the legislation.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Elstob) —I uphold the point of order.

Senator Townley —Mr Acting Deputy President, I wish to speak to the point of order. I referred to the issue of passports and surely as a monetary figure is involved in that it comes within the appropriations. If you go down the track that I think is being suggested by the Minister you will be in real trouble and I will have to take action to stop you.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! I uphold the point of order raised by Senator Grimes. Senator Townley, you have not addressed your remarks to the Appropriation Bills up to this point and I ask that in future you do so.

Senator TOWNLEY —One may ask what are this Government's credentials for taking this particular attitude to sport. I am sure everybody knows that I take a great deal of interest in sport-more than many other people in this place. In opposition the Australian Labor Party said that it would end all business contact with South Africa when elected. Now in government it appears that its so-called principles are cast aside because it is unable to make the political sacrifices involved in such a decision. Instead it is just attempting to force our unfortunate athletes to make individual sacrifices. So where does that leave us in regard to the ALP? Mr Hawke says that business with South Africa is not banned because other countries would simply replace Australia's trade if we withdrew. I believe that clearly Mr Hawke is attempting to mislead the people of Australia.

Senator Crichton-Browne —What about his media ban?

Senator TOWNLEY —I have mentioned the media ban already and I will come back to it in a moment. The Adelaide Advertiser of 14 May 1985 said:

. . . against the cynical backdrop of all the double standards operating in trade, and against such developments as the selling to South Africa last year of the ABC live television coverage of the Wallabies-All Blacks rugby Tests in Australia . . .

I am not sure of the situation in regard to Brisbane Airport but I believe that a contract has been let to a South African company. Mr Hawke and his Government made no attempt to back up our sportsmen by stopping that Australian Broadcasting Corporation sale to South Africa. It cannot say that other countries would have supplied South Africa with that specific item if the ABC had not. So Mr Hawke's words are clearly not backed up by his actions.

Not only is this Government's attitude to South Africa inconsistent but also its policies concerning oppressive regimes on the whole are inconsistent. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayden, has said that the cricketers go to South Africa 'with blood on their hands'. Yet, as John Stone pointed out in the Sydney Morning Herald of 1 May 1985, Mr Hayden, when he was Leader of the Opposition, called Mr Fraser a bully for using no more than persuasion to try to stop athletes competing in the Moscow Olympics. Does Mr Hayden hold black African civil liberties in higher regard than those of the dead in Afghanistan or of people in other areas now under the control of Soviet imperialism?

How do we explain the ALP's different approaches other than by saying that we have inconsistency followed by inconsistency followed by inconsistency? Mr Hayden says that our athletes will have bloodied hands if they go to South Africa but only recently Mr Hawke embraced the Chinese Communist Party's No. 2, Mr Hu Yaobang. I suggest it is likely that this man has blood on his hands in a quantity far in excess of that which many of us would understand. If the ALP Government is to ban all contact with South Africa, why does it not try to stop Mr Hawke having contact with the Chinese oppressors? Will he stop having contact with these people? Our politicians are not expected to take action that is consistent with their policies, but we are asking our sportsmen to act in accord with those policies.

To add to the total absurdity of the South African situation we need only to look to the countries that exhort us to condemn South Africa. For example, the Nigerian Minister for Foreign Affairs was reported in the Canberra Times on 1 May this year as supporting any sports boycott of New Zealand. He said:

We don't understand how a group in any country can . . . without being cognisant of the fact that they are going to play in a country whose system represents a denial of the exercise of personal freedom of any kind.

That Minister made his statement at the same time as Nigeria was reported as killing a hundred members of a banned Islamic sect. Almost every black nation in South Africa tells the West to stop contacts with South Africa, but most of them are oppressive totalitarian regimes and many deal with South Africa. I think at least 11 of them fly their airlines into Johannesburg.

Senator Jessop —They get $4 billion dollars worth of foreign aid from South Africa too.

Senator TOWNLEY —I know that a lot of aid is given to certain countries in the area. I wonder where this leaves us. I believe that sport and politics should be connected only where they are inseparable. The evidence is conclusive that sport in South Africa is now fully integrated. Bishop Tutu said on American television on 8 December 1984:

We have got a very good example of pressure succeeding. It happened with the sports boycott, where apartheid has been stood on its head.

He realises the pressure that has been applied has had an effect.

Senator Sibraa —Until the final whistle goes and then you have to catch a different bus home.

Senator TOWNLEY —Has the honourable senator been there?

Senator Sibraa —Yes; have you?

Senator TOWNLEY —Yes, I have been there twice. I can show the Senate my American Express receipts.

Senator Sibraa —The people I met have been arrested and charged with treason.

Senator TOWNLEY —They may be the kind of people you deal with; the ones I have dealt with have not been of that kind. Furthermore, the International Cricket Conference, the British Sports Council, a French parliamentary group and the International Tennis Federation have all sent delegations to South Africa and have concluded that apartheid in sport has been eliminated. If sport in South Africa is free of apartheid I believe it is free of international politics and should not be cut off from competition. Indeed, those of us who have travelled there know that interaction with foreign people brings understanding in a much faster way than does isolation. No member of the Australian Labor Party would suggest that we cut off the arms talks-

Senator Jessop —Of the terrorists.

Senator TOWNLEY —No, the arms reduction talks between the United States of America and Russia. Does Senator Sibraa suggest that we abandon those talks? Yet he suggests that we stop interaction with South Africa. Why on earth should that happen?

Senator Aulich —I have never heard a more obtuse argument.

Senator TOWNLEY —That is not obtuse at all. I am just saying that if we cut off our contact with Russia we are more likely to make the arms situation worse. If we cut off our contact with South Africa we are more likely to worsen the situation. Finally, I believe that the inconsistencies of this Government have been displayed by the overwhelming public support shown for the cricketers who want to go to South Africa. The Sun-Herald reported that a poll of over 15,000 people, a very large poll-the number polled in Western Australia was even higher-showed that 79 per cent of the people were in favour of sporting contact with South Africa. It was even more in Western Australia. This Government is so far out of kilter-I suppose that is the right word-with what the people of this country really want, it believes that the few sports-

Senator Aulich —Tell us about Malcolm Fraser.

Senator TOWNLEY —Just wait a minute. Do not worry about Malcolm Fraser. I was against his interfering in sports. That does not apply only to him.

Senator Crichton-Browne —Look what happened to him.

Senator TOWNLEY —That is true. Look what happened to Malcolm Fraser. He tried to cause trouble between a lot of sports people. Now we see Mr Hawke, with all his taxation problems-and that matter is in the Bill-trying to divert people away from the problems that his Government faces. First, the Prime Minister says that he will stop people going to South Africa. He says we might hit them with special tax investigations and we will stop the television broadcasts-when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has sold a contract to the South African people. What consistency do we have in this matter from this Government?

Senator Jessop —None.

Senator TOWNLEY —That just about covers the matter. There has been absolutely no consistency whatsoever. I intend to contact the sportsmen concerned in the next few days to give them any assistance that I can-

Senator Crichton-Browne —And coaching?

Senator TOWNLEY —No, I am not good at cricket, but I am good at other sports. Cricket was one of those at which I was not as good as I would like to be. However, I certainly will encourage these cricketers. It is time that some other people in this country encouraged individuals who, for their own good in the future-

Senator Aulich —Greed.

Senator TOWNLEY —Let us talk about greed. I thought that honourable senators opposite might bring up that matter. I remember reading that someone said: 'If I had the superannuation of a politician and all the perks that a politician has when he retires, and the income he has while in office, perhaps it would not be needed'. Perhaps people in glass houses should not throw stones about the people going there, because politicians-

Senator Sibraa —This does not sound like what Mr Macphee said the other day.

Senator TOWNLEY —What Mr Macphee says is his business; what I say is mine.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Elstob) —Order! Please address your remarks to the Bills, Senator Townley.

Senator TOWNLEY —I will leave the matter there. The Labor Party is entirely on the wrong track in attempting to persecute those who go to South Africa. We have had pressure applied to individuals that should never have been applied by a Prime Minister. It does not do him one bit of good in the public's eye, and the public obviously recognise that these individuals have every right to do what they want. Any government which attempts to stop them will do so at its peril.

I would like to talk about something that does not relate to sporting matters but was mentioned here today. It relates, I suppose, to those Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or-

Senator Aulich —Or the Army or the Air Force? We are trying to help you. You are not doing too well so far.

Senator TOWNLEY —I will ignore the interjection. Senator Mason talked today about uranium hexafluoride leaking at Lucas Heights. He gave the impression, by way of his question, that the material that leaked was dangerous from a nuclear point of view. Anybody who has done a little chemistry would recognise that any fluoride is a dangerous material.

Senator Grimes —It makes your hair fall out.

Senator TOWNLEY —It may have been that. When I was younger I used to take iodide tablets for my thyroid. I did not get a thyroid problem but iodide is related to fluoride. The point is that about a year ago at Lucas Heights there was a leak of uranium hexafluoride. That is the same material that was dropped off a ship in the English Channel in containers. The anti-uranium people there took very strong action within the Press saying that the material was very dangerous. It is dangerous, but not from a nuclear or radio-active point of view. Any fluoride is a dangerous material.

Senator Jessop —It is a chemical.

Senator TOWNLEY —Yes, and the fluoride part of it is very active. Anyone in a room where fluoride was spilt-I am sure that Senator Grimes, if he were here, would agree with me-should avoid it at all costs, whether it is uranium hexafluoride or some kind of fluoride. The amount leaked at Lucas Heights was about 2 kilograms, and the danger there was purely from the fluoride. Fluorides are chosen for the uranium enrichment process because fluorine is a very pure isotope-free chemical. When associated with uranium, it is so much easier to separate uranium 235, which is what one is trying to obtain, in enriched form, from the uranium 238. The danger at Lucas Heights was chemical, not nuclear. The people who live in the area have no need to worry about the nuclear problem. Certainly, the amount of fluoride that could leak in any accident there will not adversely affect anyone living in that vicinity.