Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 June 1994
Page: 1714

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (3.28 p.m.) —Not only was Senator Kemp's contribution utterly irrelevant to the matter at issue in question time, but he was, as usual, talking absolutely through his hat on this particular subject for two reasons. In the first place, there is a huge difference between a court making an appellate decision binding every court in Australia, which was of course the case with the Privy Council appeals, and a body making a purely advisory or declaratory decision which does not amount to anything of binding force on anybody in this country. It is not a matter of the committee in question ruling over anybody in the sense of applying a rule to which others are subject. That difference needs to be stated every time Senator Kemp goes down this particular track.

  The second point to make is that the individuals who are appointed to these various advisory or declaratory bodies are elected as individuals, not as representatives of their countries. They are elected on the basis of their skills and their qualifications.

Senator Kemp —Oh, they are elected, are they?

Senator GARETH EVANS —They are not elected by their own governments and they are not nominated by governments in the sense that there is some particular quota for the nominee, whomever it is, of a particular country; they have to run in a competitive race against nominees from every country of the 180-odd members of the United Nations.

  The people who are elected to these committees are overwhelmingly people of distinction and capacity who are perfectly capable of making their own individual judgments, whatever might be the faults of their own governments. As I have said on innumerable occasions, if we took the position that someone was tarred individually by the quality of his or her own government, that would force us into the impossible position of—for example, during the apartheid period in South Africa—resisting absolutely the election of someone like Nelson Mandela.

Senator Kemp —Carlos Hevia is no Nelson Mandela.

Senator GARETH EVANS —And Senator Kemp is no statesman. I cannot even say he is an Alexander Downer, because he is so far behind the eight ball. Nelson Mandela would not, on Senator Kemp's principle—except that in those days he probably would have regarded South Africa as an appropriate regime—

Senator Kemp —Mr Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. I pointed out to Senator Evans before that Carlos Hevia is no Nelson Mandela.

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Colston)—And that is no point of order.

Senator GARETH EVANS —This has nothing to do with anything that was said in question time, Mr Acting Deputy President, and you should sit us all down on the grounds of irrelevance. I have made the points I wanted to make. This nauseously repetitious performance from Senator Kemp on these occasions is getting tiresome. In the event that there is a single person who might conceivably read this Hansard or be listening to this broadcast and who is persuaded by the non sequitur idiocies of Senator Kemp in this matter, I hope that at least I have corrected the record.