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Thursday, 10 March 1977
Page: 113


Mr HODGMAN (Denison) -Having last night dealt with the petty and vindictive pan.tomine of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) earlier this week in snubbing Sir John Kerr at Fairbairn Airport in front of Her Majesty the Queen, the ludicrous and offensive remarks of Mr Donald Home in describing Her Majesty as a symbol of division in Australia, and what I have described as the rise of 2 bob republicanism as opposed to calm and rational debate, in the remaining moments available to me I wish now to mention 4 matters, all of which concern me considerably. Three of them are related to international matters and one is related to the domestic policies of the Government.

I believe that each and every Australian who has applied his mind to recent publicity of allegations of atrocities having occurred in East Timor must support the call for a full and impartial international inquiry into those allegations of atrocities, whether allegedly committed by Indonesian forces with or without the approval of the Indonesian Government or whether committed by any other group in East Timor. In particular I raise again, as I have done on a previous occasion, the unresolved situation with respect to the deaths of 5 Australian nationals, the 5 journalists, who I have no doubt in my mind were in fact murdered in Dili in circumstances which must and should be fully investigated. I have set out my views in some detail in an article which the Australian newspaper invited me to write and which was published recently. I have the consent of the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Innes) for this document to be incorporated in Hansard. I now seek leave to have the document so incorporated.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The document read as follows-

TIMOR APPEASEMENT MUST END

The belief that security can be obtained by throwing a small State to the wolves is a fatal delusion.' . . . Winston Churchill (2 1.9.38).

Any thinking Australian must be concerned about and distressed by, recent allegations of atrocities having been committed in East Timor. Many were gravely concerned by the act of annexation of East Timor by Indonesia, following the Portuguese withdrawal. I must confess that for some time I have been deeply troubled about what happened in East Timor and Australia 's reaction to it.

My personal anxiety has been heightened by a massive campaign to brand any person concerned about East Timor as ' pro-Fretilin ' and therefore, ' pro-communist. '

This is not so. Even my most bitter political opponents would concede that I am staunchly anti-communist and I have, on one occasion, been described as 'the worst Redbaiter' in the House of Representatives.

One could hardly call the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, headed by Bishop Mulkearns, of Ballarat, a 'leftist 'organisation.

Last December, the commission publicly expressed its dismay over East Timor, asserting that the situation (of up to SOO 000 East Timorese) had become 'critical' for food, clothing and medical supplies.

The commission eloquently pressed for international humanitarian aid to be allowed into East Timor. The commission's anxiety has no doubt been increased by the persistent recent reports of alleged atrocities.

These reports cannot forever be swept under the carpet, and our penchant for non-involvement should not extend to abstaining from probing for the truth behind the allegations of massacres, and the sul) unresolved mystery of the deaths of five Australian journalists in 1 97S.

In conscience, I can no longer countenance that we, as a nation, should recline in supine acquiescence. As a nation, we do not emerge with any pride or credibility in the eyes of the free world and those who expouse the cause of freedom.

Inspiration

I take considerable inspiration from the immortal speech of Winston Churchill in the House of Commons, 5 October 1 938 when, following the Munich debacle, he said: ... the terrible words have, for the time being, been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting ' '. '

Churchill went on to say, ' . . . and do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us, year by year, unless by a supreme recovery of moral health ... we rise again and take our stand for freedom as in olden times. '

The Munich experience must surely have shattered, for all dme, the false logic of equating appeasement with peace.

The recent allegations by Senator Kilgariff, and the former Australian Consul in Dili ( Mr Dunn) cry out for prompt and painstaking investigation, either by a United Nations mission (as Mr Gordon Bryant, MHR, has suggested) or by a visit to East Timor by an Australian parliamentary delegation, as I have advocated.

The eyes of the free world are on Australia, and many nations will base their attitude on the stand we take.

We are passing through 'an awful milstone in our history' (Churchill) and as Alexander Solzhenitsyn has said: '(our) obligation to those still alive out weighs (our) obligation to the dead.'

I commit myself to the course of action of seeking, and revealing, the truth concerning East Timor.

For us, as Australians, to bury our heads in the sand and turn our backs on what is alleged to have occurred would be a gross act of national moral cowardice. We would be degrading Australia, and future generations would have to bear the same shame and disgrace which fell upon those citizens of nazi Germany who turned a blind eye to Auschwitz by the simple process of saying to themselves: 'It does not exist- it has not occurred. '

The dilemma of East Timor will not go away- it will not conveniently disappear. The ghosts of the dead will haunt each and every one of us who seeks solace in silent acquiescence.

I cannot put out of my mind the knowledge of the thousands of Timorese who laid down their lives in World War II in the cause of freedom- many of them dying alongside Australian service men.

Diggers

Go into any RSL club and talk to the diggers, and they will tell you of their shame that we, as a nation have today turned our backs on our former friends and allies in Timor.

Is our national conscience so dead that we can ignore the cri de coeur for a full inquiry. Surely the Indonesian Government would welcome the opportunity to publicly clear its country's name.

I commend our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Andrew Peacock, for asserting so firmly that our Government 'has not recognised Indonesia's incorporation of East Timor'(Hansard, 30 October 1976, page 2016) and I and, I believe, all Australians now anxiously await his response to the recent revelations and the call for a full international commission of inquiry. (Michael Hodgman is Liberal MHR for Denison, Tasmania.)


Mr HODGMAN - I also take this opportunity to congratulate the parliamentary group of Amnesty International, and the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) in particular who is chairman of that group, on the preparation of a petition which was circulated to a number of members of this Parliament and which in fact was signed by more than 95 members of the Parliament. It is a petition to the President of the United States of America which refers, inter alia, to his recent statement with respect to his defence of prisoners of conscience in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, his comments in relation to the recent tragic events in Uganda, and in particular his remarks with respect to the situation in East Timor, which is our nearest neighbour. As I said on a previous occasion- I repeat it nowthey are matters which are of sufficient importance in my opinion that the national conscience of Australia is at stake if we do not act properly and responsibly. The eyes of the world are indeed upon us and are looking for a lead from us. Having again obtained the consent of the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard the terms of the petition prepared by the parliamentary group of Amnesty International and signed by members of all major parties of both Houses. I am informed that the petition was presented at 3 p.m. today by the honourable member for Parramatta, accompanied by Senator Coleman and Senator Missen, to Mr LeRoy F. Percival, Charge d 'Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America here in Canberra. I seek leave to have that petition incorporated in Hansard.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The document read as follows-

Parliament of Australia

House of Representatives

PARLIAMENTARY GROUP-AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

We the undersigned, being members of the Parliament of Australia concerned with basic human rights, applaud the actions taken by you in relation to your defence of prisoners of conscience in the U.S.S.R. and the advocates of freedom of expression, as well as your comments on the recent tragic events in Uganda.

We draw attention to the mounting and disturbing evidence that innocent civilians in Timor have been detained without due process and killed as a result of the activities of Indonesia.

Being particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Australians and the well being of the people involved in our region; and noting the resolutions of the United Nations and having observed reports that this situation has not changed; urge you to again use your good offices as a matter of urgency to seek assurances from the government of Indonesia:

(i)   that it shall comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and

(ii)   allow the International Red Cross to resume humanitarian activities in East Timor.


Mr HODGMAN - I thank the House for its indulgence. The next matter I desire to raise is in regard to Uganda. Earlier today we had unanimously passed by this House a resolution to recognise throughout the world Commonwealth Day. In fact, it will be recognised in all Commonwealth countries next Monday. Quite frankly, I do not believe that at the present moment Uganda is worthy to be a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, nor should its demented leader, President Idi Amin, be permitted to attend the conference of the heads of government of the British Commonwealth of Nations due to be held in London later this year. I feel that there is a very strong case for Uganda to be suspended from the British Commonwealth of Nations because I find it impossible to reconcile in my mind that we, in passing the motion we did earlier, intended to convey to the world that Uganda had the same common heritage that we have, that it represents an institution through which the Commonwealth is a unique forum of discussion and exchange of ideas. I do not believe that any Australian could approve of this man Amin, a mass murderer, the butcher of Uganda, a pathological killer of Eichmann proportions, who has inflicted upon the people of Uganda a reign of terror, murder, kidnapping, thuggery and religious persecution unprecedented in the world since World War II.

Uganda is a country in which more than one third of the population are Christians who have just seen their Archbishop slaughtered. Now the troops of Amin are going around the country and persecuting and wiping out Christians. I believe there is a dreadful stench over Uganda today. There will be a dreadful stench over the British Commonwealth if this madman, this maniac, is permitted to attend the conference in London. I appreciate that the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) cannot at the moment indicate publicly what are the views of this Government. He will convey them in the appropriate manner to the Envoy of the British Prime Minister. But I as a member of this House want to say that I hope that the Government will make it quite clear that it cannot and will not tolerate the presence of Amin or the representation of Uganda at that conference.

The third matter I wish to raise relates to the Palestine Liberation Organisation. I must say that as an Australian I find it a matter of profound regret that representatives of that organisation- international terrorists, kidnappers, thugs and gangsters- are coming to Canberra in April of this year as duly accredited representatives of the International Parliamentary Union- at a time when the International Parliamentary Union refuses to permit Amnesty International even to have observer status. I do not believe that the PLO should be permitted to come here. If its representatives do come, then for heaven 's sake confine them to Canberra.

In relation to the economy, I adopt completely the brilliant speech of the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Groom) in moving the Address-in-Reply. He summed up everything that I wanted to say with respect to unemployment and inflation. But I do want to draw attention to the fact that as of May this year, by virtue of our Government's policy of full indexation ofensions, the standard rate of pension will rise to 47.10 and the married rate of pension will rise to $78.50. Again with the approval of the honourable member for Corio, I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table indicating what the Government has done by means of its policy of full indexation of pensions for the betterment of the people of Australia.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The table read as follows-

 

25.3 per cent of AWE.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.







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