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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 73

Question No. 21

Mr Rocher asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 3 May 1983:

Will Australia's representatives at the United Nations be instructed to put down a motion calling for recognition of the colonial status of the Ukraine within the Soviet Russian empire.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

As I am sure honourable members will be aware, the Ukraine was a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, established by treaty in December 1922 and confirmed in the 1924 Constitution. Australia has not contested the legality of this arrangement. In the light of this, the Government does not consider it appropriate more than sixty years later to attempt to ascribe colonial status to the Ukraine.

This does not mean, of course, that the Australian Government condones the repressive actions of the Soviet authorities towards assertions of nationalist identity in the Soviet Union. The Government will continue to condemn violations of human rights, from which Ukrainian dissidents have suffered particularly severely. We will thus continue to urge the Soviet Union, both in the United Nations and elsewhere, to observe the internationally recognised standards relating to human rights and cultural freedom.