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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2623


Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is the Government concerned at reports of the continual build up of North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam and the flagrant violation of the ceasefire agreement by North Vietnamese forces? Is the Government aware that an estimated 600 heavy tanks, 600 pieces of artillery and tens of thousands of troops have infiltrated into South Vietnam since the ceasefire agreement? Will the Government instruct the Minister for Overseas Trade Dr Cairns, to protest to North Vietnam over these violations during his present visit to that country? What action is the Government taking to ensure that Australian aid to North Vietnam is not being used to support the North Vietnamese war machine? Finally, if the Government has not yet taken action, will the Minister assure the Senate that the Government will take urgent action to ensure that Australian aid will not assist North Vietnam to continue its offensive against South Vietnam and to continue murdering the people of South Vietnam?


Senator WILLESEE - In dealing with the question of aid, as honourable senators know- I have said it many times- the Government's policy is to contribute to the post-war reconstruction of all countries in Indo China. The aid that has gone to North Vietnam so far has consisted of wool and roofing iron. I do not think that those commodities would be used in any way for the killing of opposition soldiers. We are disturbed about the whole question in Vietnam. There have been accusations by both sides of violation of the agreement -


Senator Webster - They are fighting only in South Vietnam, are they not?


Senator WILLESEE - We are not in a position to say which side has initiated these breaches.


Senator Hannan -How silly can you get?


Senator Webster - How communist can you get?


Senator Young - South Vietnam is being invaded.


Senator WILLESEE - Mr President,I think that I have answered the question. Honourable senators opposite seem to be doing pretty well themselves.







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