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Wednesday, 30 October 1974
Page: 2118

Senator EVERETT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I preface it by referring the Minister to the statement he made during the sitting of Estimates Committee B on aid to African liberation movements. On that occasion he outlined possible uses of this aid and said that he had not yet decided on its distribution. Is the Minister yet in a position to inform the Senate of the proposed allocation of the sum of$ 150,000?

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) - This matter was raised at the Estimates Committee meeting. I said then that $ 1 50,000- not $ 1 50m, the figure I have seen some of the critics of the scheme using- will be used for non-military, humanitarian purposes. I repeated to the Committee what I said at the United Nations General Assembly last year. While we sympathise with the aims of the National Liberation Movement in southern Africa we ourselves stop short of endorsing the use of force to obtain its and indeed any other objectives. As to the allocation of funds, we still have not decided definitively, but we have firmed up our position quite a lot since I spoke to the Estimates Committee. The first thing is that we will allocate our aid through multi-lateral channels to projects that are jointly administered by United Nations agencies, liberation movements and host governments and which are sponsored by the Organisation for African Unity. These projects are designed to meet fundamental problems of re-settlement of refugees including malnutrition, lack of housing, and training- possibly to be provided in Australia. Examples of such possible projects are support for health clinics in southern Tanzania and in Zambia, assistance to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees -

Senator Sir Magnus Cormack - What independent movements are in Tanzania?

Senator WILLESEE -I will repeat what I have said because I think that the honourable senator is a little off the beam. Examples of such possible projects are support for health clinics in southern Tanzania and in Zambia, assistance to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Council of Namibia for subsistence crop farming near Lusaka to accommodate refugees, assistance to United Nations agencies in the training of boys in agricultural and technical skills, and relief to refugees from southern Africa living in temporary settlements in Zambia.

Senator Baume - Are you reading the reply?

Senator WILLESEE - Of course I am reading the reply. Is there anything in the Standing Orders to stop me? Because of the very deliberate misrepresentation on this subject I have obtained written information. We will consult of course other countries such as West Germany, the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand, which are also giving aid to African liberation movements. When we receive the report from our Foreign Affairs man who is to visit Zambia to investigate the needs of refugees I will be able to inform the Senate of the precise allocation of this aid. I would like to take the opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms those people who have so stridently misrepresented the purposes of this assistance. There have been all sorts of lurid suggestions as to the types of non-humanitarian or indeed anti-humanitarian uses that this money might be put to. These suggestions testify to the powers of imagination and dishonesty of those who make them. Let me repeat that this aid is for humanitarian purposes and for no others, and indeed the Cabinet decision limits the purpose to just that.

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