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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1256


Mr JARMAN (Deakin) - At a time of economic strain this Government has not hesitated to take effective measures to correct the inflationary trends which had become apparent in the economy. We have been presented with a responsible budget by a responsible Government. The approach of the Government to the affairs of this nation stands in marked contrast, I would submit, to the actions of the Labor Party and its friends and allies of the trade union movement, whose irresponsible and divisive actions have become increasingly apparent since Mr Hawke became President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. They reached a climax with the cancellation last week of the South African cricket tour.

Before the South African rugby tour in July, a Gallup poll showed that 85 per cent of Australians felt the rugby tour should proceed and only 9 per cent that it should not. Because of the threat of violent demonstrations a similar Gallup poll showed that now 23 per cent of people questioned felt the cricket tour should be cancelled, but 63 per cent - or 2 out of 3 Australians - despite the threats of violence, still wanted the cricket tour to continue. Had the tour gone on it is obvious that the demonstrators were prepared to use violent means to prevent it. Many, including police and innocent spectators, may have been injured or even killed. All things considered, the cricket Board of Control undoubtedly made the only decision open to it but the Australian people have been held to ransom. It has been a sad day for democracy and a notable victory for the organisers of confrontation, and this unfortunately will prove to be only a prelude. It is only the end of the beginning of confrontation politics in this country.

During July, while Labor members, together with unionists and left wing students, were protesting about the internal affairs of South Africa - the vast majority of them never having seen the situation there - T spent 3 weeks moving freely throughout that country. 1 would like to make it plain that I do not agree with the policy of apartheid as practised by the South African Government, particularly that section which is commonly known in that country as petty apartheid, nor would the policy of separate development be my answer to the problems facing the various races of South Africa. But unlike the Opposition I would not presume after only a 3-week visit to tell the South Africans how they should run their country.

Problems are always created when differing races are thrown together by circumstances and the problem is not unique to South Africa. We are all aware of the position in Britain and America and this is the reason that previous Australian governments, including Labor governments, have maintained a restricted immigration policy. Of course, the present Hawke-Whitlam axis has changed Labor's policy in this regard and Australians may well have similar problems if a Labor government with an open door immigration policy ever comes to power. I must say in all fairness that I did not see one black or coloured South African who was underfed or who did not receive the best of medical treatment. They have their own universities and educational facilities and a massive rehousing scheme is in progress.

Whilst in Cape Town I watched an intricate heart operation on a 35-year-old coloured South African and saw the treatment which black South African heart patients receive. It was equal to any that a white man would receive in Australia. Noone could ever accuse South Africans of being guilty of the crimes against humanity of which the Russians or the Communist Chinese have been guilty. Yet those who protest so strongly against anti-Communist South Africa were strangely silent when the Moscow Circus and the Russian Ballet visited this country early this year. One must have a short memory if one forgets what the Russians did in Hungary or Czechoslovakia, or the present persecution of the Jewish people, the Baptists and other minorities in the Soviet Union. One must have a short memory indeed if one forgets what Communist China did in Tibet or the suffering that Chinese weapons and supplies have caused the people of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

It is here that we see clearly illustrated the double standards practiced by the Labor Party. Whilst I was in South Africa the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), together with other Labor and union leaders, were in Communist China talking to Chou En-lai. I do not criticise them for this. As Churchill once said, it is 'better to jaw jaw than war war', and if we can talk to Communist China and Communist Russia in the hope that we can influence them to change their aggressive policies then so much the better. But at least the Labor Party could be consistent. At the same time as it advocates increasing dialogue and trade with Communist China, the Labor Party has called for a complete boycott of all trade, diplomatic, sporting and cultural relations with anti-Communist South Africa and Rhodesia.

Surely if it is right to talk to Communist Russia and Communist China to change their policies - and I believe that it is - then surely it is right to talk to antiCommunist South Africa if we think it should change its views on apartheid. The Labor Party cannot have it both ways. Surely if it is right to play ping-pong against Communist China in the hope that the contact will make for better relations, then surely it is right to play rugby or cricket against antiCommunist South Africa in the hope that the contact will also make for better relations. But one gets used to these inconsistencies from the Labor Party. I suppose it cannot be avoided in a party which must put forward one policy for the electors and at the same time put forward a policy to satisfy its extreme left-wing supporters.

But what 1 am most concerned with is the increasing threat to the civil liberties of the average Australian posed by the activities of the demonstrators and the unions. During the period I was in South Africa I received no mail from my family because the Australian Postal Workers Union refused to handle mail to South Africa. The 12 letters my wife wrote were delivered to my home after my return to Australia. Throughout the time I was away I had no idea of how my wife was coping with our young family. I resent very strongly the action of the Postal Union in using this sort of tactic and I wish to register my protest in this democratically elected Parliament. 1 believe that if the Australian public want to watch a football match or a cricket match they should be free to do so without threats of interruption or violence.

The Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) has stated that the cost of police protection in Canberra for the 3-day Springbok Rugby Union tour was $43,700. One can but guess at the total cost to the Australian taxpayer of maintaining law and order against the demonstrators. But the cost to the taxpayer does not stop at just ensuring that Australian sports lovers can watch a football match if they so please. Just recently the taxpayers were up for repainting the walls of the South African Embassy for the second time since the police guard was withdrawn last month. I have been told that guarding the South African Embassy has been costing the Australian taxpayers $1,736 a week. How much the pensioners would like the money spent on controlling demonstrators to be applied to social services. Recently John Sorell wrote an article in the Melbourne Herald' which was headed: The shiver of fear hits embassy staff'. I shall read the first few paragraphs of this article which state:

South African Embassy families are living in terror in Canberra.

They are being harassed, abused and threatened by anti-apartheid student groups.

It's been a month's long nightmare,' the embassy's information officer, Mr John Lotter told me. 'My wife, Betsie, has been nearly driven out of her mind.'

They even rang up my 14-year-old daughter and told her she would be pack-raped', he said.

Embassy officials have been followed, their car tyres let down, their house walls daubed with paint, their gardens uprooted.

Truckloads of gravel and sand, wreaths, cement mixers. TV sets and filthy letters have been delivered to embassy, staff homes.

Carloads of students drive past at night yelling abuse.

These then axe the tactics of our so-called idealistic demonstrators. No wonder they are despised by the vast majority of Australians. It is only natural that if the average Australian wants to watch a football match and finds protestors physically trying to prevent him from doing so, violence may break out. I know that the Labor Party has made cooing noises dissociating itself from violence at demonstrations.


Mr Cohen - 1 rise on a point of order. Is it right for the honourable member for Deakin to make reflections on all of those who opposed the tour and to insinuate that they were involved in the sort of incidents which he has just been describing?







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