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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2101


Senator Georges asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Is Australia being represented at the South Pacific Conference currently being held at Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, by Mr J. H. A. Hoyle, Assistant Secretary, Pacific Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr M. R. Casson, Australian Consul at Noumea, New Caledonia, Miss M. McPherson, Head of the South Pacific Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Mr R. J. Tyson, Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand, all of whom are officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

(2)   Do any of those officials speak any indigenous languages of the region; if so, which languages are spoken and by whom.

(3)   Do any of the officials referred to in (1 ) hold academic qualifications having a specific focus on the Pacific Islands; if so, whom, and what are their specific qualifications.

(4)   How many years' experience has each of the officials referred to in ( 1 ) had in the handling of Pacific Islands affairs.

(5)   What is the policy framework within which Australia will work at the South Pacific Conference.


Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   The Australian Delegation to the South Pacific Conference at Rarotonga is led by the Honourable W. L. Morrison, Minister for Science, and comprises Mr J. H. A. Hoyle, Assistant Secretary, Pacific Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs; Mr M. R. Casson, Australian Consul, Noumea; Miss

M.   McPherson, Head, South Pacific Section, Department of Foreign Affairs; Mr C. Woodland, Senior Projects Officer, Office of the Australian Development Assistance Agency; Mr R. J. Tyson, Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, Wellington. There are two Australian Parliamentary Observers at the Conference, Senators C. G. Primmer and N. T. Bonner.

(2)   None of the officials speaks any of the indigenous languages of the Islands. The languages of the Commission, however, are both English and French. Mr Casson is fluent in French. Mr Hoyle and Miss McPherson have a working knowledge of it and the other members of the delegation understand it.

(3)   Mr Hoyleand Miss McPherson studied Pacific Affairs for two years at the Canberra University College during their training as diplomatic cadets during the late 1940s. This course covered, inter alia, the Pacific Islands and PNG. Additionally, Mr Hoyle during his third year at the University of Sydney wrote a thesis on the history of race relations in Hawaii.

(4)   Mr Hoylewas Second Secretary in Wellington from 1956 to 1959 during which time he made an official tour of Fiji, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands. In 1972/73 Mr Hoyle was Head of the South Pacific Section. Since 1 May 1973, he has been Assistant Secretary in charge of the Pacific Branch which covers both Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. In January 1972 he became Australian Commissioner and in December 1973 Senior Australian Commissioner on the South Pacific Commission. In March 1974 he led the Australian Delegation at the Review Meeting on the South Pacific Commission held in Wellington from 5-8 March 1974.

Mr Cassonworked in the Americas and South Pacific Sections from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 he accompanied a Parliamentary Mission to Fiji, Tonga, Western Samoa, American Samoa, the New Hebrides and New Caledonia. Mr Casson has, since October 1972, been Australian Consul, Noumea, and Alternate Australian Commissioner on the South Pacific Commission.

Miss McPherson has been Head of the South Pacific Section since May this year. She is attending the Rarotonga meeting to familiarise herself with the region.

Mr Woodlandhas been engaged in aid work for the last six years and has been responsible for the South Pacific Aid Program since 1972. In May 1973 he participated in an aid mission to the New Hebrides and Fiji. In May 1974 he attended the Planning Committee of the South Pacific Commission and subsequently was a member of aid mission teams to Fiji, Tonga, Western Samoa and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

Mr Tysonhas been Second Secretary in Wellington since March 1972. He attended the South Pacific Forum held at Rarotonga in March 1974 and accompanied the Australian High Commissioner, Dame Annabelle Rankin, to the same place in July 1974.

(5)   Australian policy towards the South Pacific Conference was expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in a statement tabled in the Senate on 26 September 1973, reporting on the 1 3th South Pacific Conference at Guam.

International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (Question No. 261)


Senator Greenwood asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(   I ) Did Australia vote in favour, vote against or abstain on the passing by the General Assembly of the United

Nations on 30 November 1973 of Resolution 3068 (XXVIII) adopting and opening for signature and ratification the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

(2   ) What was the reason for the vote cast by Australia.

(3   ) Is it proposed that Australia adopt and ratify the Convention; if so, why; if not, why not.


Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   Australia abstained on Resolution 3068 (XXVIII) which was passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 30 November 1973 and which adopted and opened for signature and ratification the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

(2)   Australia abstained because, notwithstanding its abhorrence of apartheid, which it has demonstrated by word and deed on numerous occasions, it had difficulties with the machinery provisions of the Convention, namely that States Parties to the Convention would have to create national criminal jurisdiction to try persons charged extraterritorially with crimes under a broad definition of apartheid. Twenty-five other countries abstained, and four opposed the Resolution, for similar reasons.

(3)   The Australian Government will continue to be guided by the considerations mentioned in 2 above.







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