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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2613


Mr McLEAY (Boothby) - In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs I remind the Committee that today is United Nations Day and I should like to say a few well chosen words about the United Nations.


Mr Staley - Hopefully well chosen.


Mr McLEAY - As the honourable member indicates, hopefully well chosen. However, before so doing I should like to place on record that on one issue at least I find myself in complete agreement with the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). I do not expect that this will ever happen again. I agree with what he said about Australia's attitude to the Arab-Israeli conflict, namely, that Australia should maintain a position of total non-alignment. I am sure that most honourable members have friends - I have, at any rate - who are Jews and friends who are Arabs, Lebanese and Egyptians. I hope that this conflict will end soon, once and for all, because it does not do anyone in Australia any good, quite apart from the trauma it creates in the Middle East.

The matters that concern me about the United Nations start with this particular conflict. The ineffectiveness of the United Nations is exemplified by the way it has not been able to deal with the Arab-Israel conflict. It has shown its futility on almost every issue that has come before it for discussion. In my view the General Assembly is nothing more nor less than a forum in which nations can gang up in groups against other nations. It is a place where blocs collect - usually communist or Afro-Asian blocs - to gang up and pass powerful resolutions against individual nations. This I deplore. I am of the view that the General Assembly of the United Nations is largely communist controlled and that it is not working in the best interests of international peace. At it such nations as, I am afraid, Australia at the moment follow blindly the fellow travelling attitude of communist philosophy and socialism to such an extent as to allow the United Nations to define our foreign policy. This I regret very much. It makes selective pronouncements about such countries as South Africa and Rhodesia on the basis of their domestic policies. I have yet to hear a pronouncement from the United Nations about discrimination by, say, black countries. Take the example of Nigeria. We all remember the terrible conflict there a few years ago, when more than one million Ibos were killed. There was not a sound out of the United Nations General Assembly. In 'Burundi at this moment-


Mr Morrison - That was when your Party was in government.


Mr McLEAY - I am talking about the United Nations. In Burundi at this moment - at a time when the Australian Labor Party is in government in Australia - there is a civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi which has resulted in more than 200,000 casualties. Presumably because black people are fighting black people, there has been no sound from the United Nations or from the Australian Government, which follows the United Nations in its policies. There has been no complaint about Africanisation policies in Africa, presumably because that is black discrimination against white. I do not remember any complaint from the United Nations about what happened in Uganda when General Amin discriminated against the Asians there. In that instance it was a case of black people against Asian people. There were no complaints from the United Nations. When Zambian troops shot 2 Canadians on the Rhodesian side of the border there was no complaint. To my knowledge, not even the Canadian Government lodged any formal complaint There was certainly no word from the United Nations. There was no word from the United Nations when the members of the Opposition parties in Zambia were put into gaol. They are still there. When I asked the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) a question on this matter just a few weeks ago he took the opportunity to attack South Africa and its apartheid policies.

The nub of it all is that the United Nations is being used in every possible way to attack countries such as South Africa. I think that the resolutions are far too selective. There must be 2 sides to the coin in respect to what is happening all over Africa and not just in South Africa. One does not have to be a racialist, a facist or whatever else honourable members opposite like to call some of us who want to try to understand the problems of Africa to know that they are very real problems. We should be glad that we do not have anywhere near the problems of any one of those countries. We should realise that in fact they are defending their countries from the aggression of guerrillas who are financed by and trained in Soviet Russia and Communist China. They also are under attack continually from the United Nations blocs I have mentioned - the communist and Afro-Asian blocs.

I believe that it is to the continuing shame of the Whitlam Government that Australia has been allowed to rejoin what is known as the Committee of Twenty-Four, which is really what I am anxious to talk about today. It is a committee of the United Nations General Assembly whose functions are not, I believe, generally understood in this country. It is called the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. It is a collection of the representatives of 24 nations - Australia is the twenty-fourth - who assemble to discuss these matters but who in fact largely churn out pronouncements attacking the governments of southern Africa. I believe that those governments are attacked not because they happen to be white supremist governments, as has been stated, but on the ground of discrimination in the cause of promoting international communism. If we have a look at the Committee of Twenty-Four we will find that 17 of the countries that are members of it - that is a generous assessment - have single party totalitarian governments. Australia has joined this select group of people who make pronouncements about the domestic affairs of other countries. Let us have a look at some of the countries which comprise the Committee.

Firstly, there is Afghanistan, which is a military dictatorship. It had a coup d'etat earlier this year and another attempted one later this year. Bulgaria, which is a hard line communist country, is a member. Another member is Chile, which was previously a totalitarian communist country and which is now, I take it, a totalitarian non-communist country. Czechoslovakia is a member, as is Congo Brazzaville. There have been 2 coup d'etats in Congo Brazzaville - one in 1963 and another in 1968. It is a single party state. Communist China, which is a single party state, is also a member. How can anyone from Communist China support resolutions attacking any nation on the ground of discrimination, when one remembers what she did to the Tibetans? Another member is Ethiopia, which is really a totalitarian state. It is a single party monarchy. It never has any elections. There is a civil war in Eritrea. Has anyone ever heard about that from the United Nations? Discrimination occurs on an ethnic basis there between the Hamitics and the Moslems. The Moslems are negroes. It is a case of Arab against negro. We do not hear anything about that from the United Nations and we do not hear anything about that from our Government.

Next on the list is Fiji. Fiji is in an interesting situation. It is not unlike Australia in that it was once a British colony. Fiji has a minority government whose members happen to be Fijians. Its Constitution is drawn up in such a way that there always has to be a Fijian government. So, if we talk about minority rule in South Africa, Rhodesia or anywhere else, we should also talk about minority rule in Fiji. But I suggest that we should not. I suggest that it is none of our business. Let us remember that there are 2 sides to every coin. There are more Indians than Fijians in Fiji. That brings me to India. Who in the world is being discriminated against more than the untouchables? There is always conflict in India between the Hindus and the Moslems. There is agitation for separate State governments in India. So India really should not take part in any of the resolutions attacking other countries. The next country on the list is Iraq. Iraq is a (fine democratic place! Iraq hangs Jews in public. Who can possibly give credence to any resolutions promoted by Iraq on discrimination? What country could discriminate against its Jewish minority more than Iraq? Another member is the Ivory Coast, which is a single party state. Mali, which is also a member, is a military dictatorship. At the moment a civil war is in progress in Mali. Its representatives still go to the United Nations, but the United Nations does nothing and says nothing about the civil war in Mali. The next country on the list is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is a fine champion-

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Duthie) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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