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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 672

Senator GAIR (Queensland) (Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party) - The Senate members pf the Democratic Labor Party join with the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) in supporting the motion in ' connection with the atrocities perpetrated by a number of irresponsible, callous, murderous individuals at the Olympic Games. .Their act is to be deplored by every justice minded person. It shows how careful we in this country have to be, particularly those who are engaged in formenting bitterness against those to whom they are opposed. It shows how wrong it is to introduce politics and national issues into the domain of sport. It is not so very long ago that in Australia there were demonstrations against a visiting sporting team.

Senator Little - They were violent demonstrations.

Senator GAIR - They were bitter and violent demonstrations which could have led to a similar occurrence in Australian cities. In Brisbane, where the Springboks played, the temper and bitterness of the people demonstrating against the visiting team were seen in a demonstration outside the Tower Mill Motel where the demonstrators chanted, screamed and yelled bitterness. They sat on the streets. They even included allegedly responsible members of Parliament. On one occasion during the visit of that football team a knife was taken from the person of one of the demonstrators. This indicates very clearly that he was there to do damage and to destroy or injure some individual.

Senator Georges - That is a misinterpretation of what occurred.

Senator GAIR - It is a true report of what occurred. Then there was the protest by some members of the public, and some members of the Press too, against the action taken by the police to protect people and property, and to give the sick people in the Holy Spirit Hospital what they were entitled to - rest and quite - during their period of illness. The demonstrators had been appealed to many times to give consideration to the sick but the appeal fell on deaf ears. I mention this to show that at that time we were fortunate not to have suffered in Australia an incident similar to that which happened in Munich. The responsibility is not entirely with those young people who are engaged to carry out this irresponsible work. The responsibility for all this lies at the feet of those who organise the young people and who urge them into this irresponsible, murderous conduct.

Of course everybody in the world is staggered and shocked by what has happened at. Munich. I share the view expressed by Senator Murphy that to respond to this kind of action by murdering other people is not the solution. At least in this country let some commonsense prevail. Let us have a cessation or a suspension, anyway, of all this pressure of building up the temper of young people and urging them into conflict with the law and with individual members in our community. This is a timely warning for people in this country that they should take stock of the position. I repeat very determinedly that what happened in Munich could have happened in Brisbane where the Springboks were playing football. It needed only some fanatic - and there were plenty of them about - urged to do his worst, to prevent the Springboks from playing. It needed only someone with a rifle to gain admission to the sports ground who would have been able to pick off every member of the Springboks team as it ran on to the field. That is not beyond the imagination and, feasibly, that could have happened. We can see from the interjections of Opposition senators just who are behind the formation of these disturbances and protests. These persons are urging young people to do these things. Young people of 17, 18 and 19 years of age are being influenced and told what to do. They are told to make as much disturbance as they can and to destroy as much property as they can. We find this situation even in the field of trade unionism today. Anyone who does not agree with the left wing members of trade unions is assaulted and knocked about. The building workers destroy property during a period of strike. Where is this young country going? Are we going to follow the performances of people in other countries? Please God that sanity will reign here in this democracy and there will be enough people in this country to suppress this element which is trying to gain control of Australia. Let us all band together, particularly those who claim to be responsible citizens of this country, so that there will be no recurrence of what took place here during the visit by the Springboks and so that we will never have a recurrence of the atrocities perpetrated at Munich during the Olympic Games.

Senator Georges - Mr President-

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Georges, will you resume your seat for a moment, please. Matters which are the subject of such a motion as has been moved by the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) are generally left in the hands of the leaders of the parties and do not become the subject of general debate. Without depriving honourable senators of the opportunity to speak to the motion moved by the Acting Leader of the Government, which is based on a sense of compassion, unless I am forced to do otherwise I propose to put the question that the Senate agree with the motion.

Senator Georges - I seek leave to make a statement. Mr President, answering your plea, might I say that if such action were to be taken it should have been taken at the time when the scope of the debate was extended by Senator Gair. Since the debate has now been extended 1 do not see how, Mr President, leave can possibly be refused to anyone who wishes to participate in the debate.

The PRESIDENT -I cannot prevent the Senate from granting leave. I am merely putting for the consideration of all honourable senators that this motion should not be the subject of a party political debate.

Senator Georges - I now seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

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