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Thursday, 10 March 1977

Mr HODGMAN - I thank the House for its indulgence. The next matter I desire to raise is in regard to Uganda. Earlier today we had unanimously passed by this House a resolution to recognise throughout the world Commonwealth Day. In fact, it will be recognised in all Commonwealth countries next Monday. Quite frankly, I do not believe that at the present moment Uganda is worthy to be a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, nor should its demented leader, President Idi Amin, be permitted to attend the conference of the heads of government of the British Commonwealth of Nations due to be held in London later this year. I feel that there is a very strong case for Uganda to be suspended from the British Commonwealth of Nations because I find it impossible to reconcile in my mind that we, in passing the motion we did earlier, intended to convey to the world that Uganda had the same common heritage that we have, that it represents an institution through which the Commonwealth is a unique forum of discussion and exchange of ideas. I do not believe that any Australian could approve of this man Amin, a mass murderer, the butcher of Uganda, a pathological killer of Eichmann proportions, who has inflicted upon the people of Uganda a reign of terror, murder, kidnapping, thuggery and religious persecution unprecedented in the world since World War II.

Uganda is a country in which more than one third of the population are Christians who have just seen their Archbishop slaughtered. Now the troops of Amin are going around the country and persecuting and wiping out Christians. I believe there is a dreadful stench over Uganda today. There will be a dreadful stench over the British Commonwealth if this madman, this maniac, is permitted to attend the conference in London. I appreciate that the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) cannot at the moment indicate publicly what are the views of this Government. He will convey them in the appropriate manner to the Envoy of the British Prime Minister. But I as a member of this House want to say that I hope that the Government will make it quite clear that it cannot and will not tolerate the presence of Amin or the representation of Uganda at that conference.

The third matter I wish to raise relates to the Palestine Liberation Organisation. I must say that as an Australian I find it a matter of profound regret that representatives of that organisation- international terrorists, kidnappers, thugs and gangsters- are coming to Canberra in April of this year as duly accredited representatives of the International Parliamentary Union- at a time when the International Parliamentary Union refuses to permit Amnesty International even to have observer status. I do not believe that the PLO should be permitted to come here. If its representatives do come, then for heaven 's sake confine them to Canberra.

In relation to the economy, I adopt completely the brilliant speech of the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Groom) in moving the Address-in-Reply. He summed up everything that I wanted to say with respect to unemployment and inflation. But I do want to draw attention to the fact that as of May this year, by virtue of our Government's policy of full indexation ofensions, the standard rate of pension will rise to 47.10 and the married rate of pension will rise to $78.50. Again with the approval of the honourable member for Corio, I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table indicating what the Government has done by means of its policy of full indexation of pensions for the betterment of the people of Australia.

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