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Wednesday, 16 March 1977


Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) - It is my pleasure this evening to support the statement of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock). At the outset let me say that unfortunately the history of civilisation has proved that peace is not achieved merely by wishing for it.


Mr Martyr - Or by shouting about it either.


Mr LUCOCK - As my friend the honourable member for Swan said, not even by shouting for it. Peace is achieved when a nation is strong and in many instances when it can speak from a position of strength with the support of arms and allies. That is what my colleagues in the Government are saying on this occasion and what they have said on every other occasion. The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) said that one of my colleagues here would support the establishment of the naval base at Cockburn Sound because he was a warmonger. That remark shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation. We support the establishment of the Cockburn Sound base because it is urgently needed for the defence of this country in the present circumstances.

From listening to the words of the Foreign Minister when he was presenting his statement to the House we gained an appreciation of the complex problems that face not only this country but also other countries. That is illustrated by the tragic situation in Northern Ireland at present. I think the events in that country make people realise how tragic history can be. The situation in Northern Ireland has been going on for a long time. The problems should have been eradicated and forgotten generations ago. That situation, which does not benefit the people of that tragic country or the world, was created by bitterness, in some cases by arrogance and intolerance. We should remember that the people in Northern Ireland are fighting against people of the same blood. Not only are the prayers of the people of the world and the efforts of the people of that country needed but the efforts of all people are needed to overcome that situation. This should be remembered when we look at the problems and complexities of the world situation.

A great deal has been said about President Carter's statement concerning the demilitarisation of the Indian Ocean. Not one member on this side of the House would be opposed to the idea of the Indian Ocean being an area of peace, a peace zone or a demilitarised zone, whatever term one may like to use. What this Government has put forward is that a zone of peace will not be created by one nation but by the co-operation of many nations and particularly of two of the major nations- the United States of America and the Soviet Union. If one studies President Carter's statement I think one will find that that is just what he said. To that degree there is no contradiction in what was said by the President and this Government's policy. What we have said is that if there is no indication of the Soviet Union accepting its responsibilities, the only answer to that is that the United States and other nations must take precautionary measures to see that there is no advantage to the Soviet Union in this area. Whether this will eventuate will be seen in the months that lie ahead, in the response from the Soviet Union to the initiatives taken by the President of the United States. I do not think that there is any contradiction either in the attitude of the members of the Government parties at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference held last year.

I turn now to the situation in Africa and in Asia. What is the answer to the problems facing Rhodesia and South Africa? I must confess that I do not have an answer. In recent months a number of people have said that the people of Rhodesia should be given their independence, that they should be given their freedom and that they should be allowed to rule and control the country themselves.


Mr Scholes - But which people?


Mr LUCOCK - Perhaps the major question that could be asked in regard to that is: Which group is to be given the independence? At the moment there are 5 different groups. If control is given to one then the other four would immediately work against that group. This fact is appreciated by Prime Minister Smith. We have to accept that there are extremists in his Cabinet and within his Party. What I think we have to do is to give the moderate element all the support they need to work out a solution that will be to the advantage of all people. In instances where it has appeared that one group is getting greater control there has always been a revolt or a resistance by the other groups, with chaos and confusion in the area. I have said on many occasions in this House in regard to South Africa that the problem is not one of black versus white. The problem is the Bantu against the Zulu. It is black against black; it is black against white; it is black against coloured; it is coloured against white. There is no simple solution to these problems. I remember on one occasion I had an interview with Prime Minister Vorster. He said: 'I wish the people who talk about this apartheid problem would come over and have a look at it. I know the Bantu. I used to swim with them in a creek when I was a kid'.

This is the position in South Africa. One very highly educated native said to me: 'We go overseas, we go around the world. We are accepted and received by people in every country but when we come back to South Africa we are second-class citizens'. I admit that that is one of greatest problems, but it will not be solved by handing over authority to some people in that country who have no sense of responsibility themselves and who have only a desire to have the power and authority themselves. There is a double standard in some African states. Let us have a look at the position in Uganda and think of Idi Amin. These sorts of people take the power and authority and that is all they are interested in. As I have said, there are these elements in South Africa and in Rhodesia. The problems will not be solved merely by turning around and saying 'That is your independence, you control everything', and walk away and leave them. One man said to me once: 'Yes, but they want their independence'. I said: 'Have a look at Nigeria.' It was set up as an example. What happened in Nigeria? There was a bloodbath. What happened in the Belgian Congo? There was a bloodbath. There was not much value in independence for the thousands of people who had been massacred in both those countries. The position is exactly the same in these African states. I wonder how the relatives of the people whom Idi Amin has massacred feel about the independence that was given to them.

In the time left to me in this debate I want to say something about the situation in Asia. We in Australia need to realise and appreciate our responsibilities and opportunities in this area. Not the least of our responsibilities is the economic responsibility that we have. When we look at the economic situation in Australia we want to remember some of the things that have been said by some of the leaders in Asia, including Lee Kuan Yew and many others. They have said that it is Australia's responsibility to assist Asian countries. I fully appreciate the need for economic stability in Australia so that our industries are given opportunities, but we must also look ahead and realise that we have to accept responsibility to ensure hat there is economic stability in Asian countries as well.

I wish to make one brief comment about the United Nations. The Minister has mentioned it in his statement I shall have something further to say on it at a later stage. I believe that we need to think very seriously about the United Nations and our membership of that organisation. I support the Minister's statement and congratulate him on his presentation.







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