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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2247

Senator BAUME (New South Wales) - I rise to speak briefly to this pan of the debate to follow up some of the things to which Senator Greenwood adverted. He raised some very important matters. One that concerns me is Australia's decision to support the right of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to speak at the

United Nations. This seems to be one of the most shocking decisions which any Australian Government could have made over a large number of years. We have a situation where a loose organisation, a confederation of a number of terrorist groups which is not representative of the community it seeks to represent and which has exerted all its power through terror, seeks to sit down at the bargaining table and to address the United Nations to try to have a voice in what should be a responsible institution.

I think it reflects, as Senator Greenwood said, the double standard which has crept into the conduct of our foreign affairs. It reflects this double standard when we are willing to accept under any circumstances the Palestine Liberation Organisation with all that it stands for in terms of terrorism, torture and murder and its avowed aims which are the destruction of the State of Israel and the genocide of the people. It reflects this double standard when we are willing to accept that organisation but at the same time to mouth piously about other nations when they do not match some moral standard with which we claim to be associated. I would remind the Committee that Palestine, as nearly as we can remember it, was the mandated territory created after 1918. After the Balfour Declaration there was a state of Palestine. That state today is represented by the states of Jordan and Israel. Most of the refugees who come under the banner of the PLO live in Jordan. In fact, most of the refugees- the largest precentage of them- are still in Palestine in the sense that Palestine existed following 1918.

The refugee problem is a very complex one, it is almost insoluble, but it will not be helped by the recognition of the PLO or by allowing the PLO to have a voice in the United Nations or in any other international body. In fact, we are looking at one step towards the destruction of Israel. If the Australian Government wants to support recognition of the PLO, it should be clear that this is what it is doing- it is going one step along the way to destroying Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organisation says that it will talk to anyone provided he accepts as a basic tenet that Israel must give in and give way. I remind the Committee that in 1948 it was a Labor government, and particularly it was Dr Evatt, who played a very major role in the creation of the state of Israel. It was the initiative taken by Australians in the United Nations in a hostile world that helped to get through the United Nations the votes to form the state of Israel. Up to this year Australia was highly regarded by many Jewish people around the world in recognition of what it had done. Yet today we see a situation where the Government is reversing its policies.

One could ask: Why reverse the policies? Is it that we have seen a new morality? Of course it is not. The fact is that Australia is seeking to protect its oil interests. The so-called even-handed policy is not even-handed; it is lopsided. It is an antiIsraeli policy, and this Government has demonstrated, not once but a number of times, that in its dealings in the Middle East, it is moving further and further from Israel and further and further towards the Arab nations.

Senator Missen - It looks after only one side.

Senator BAUME - It looks after only one side. I would not be surprised if soon we saw more trade deals completed between Australia and Arab nations. Apart from trade deals, there may be political prices to pay as well, and those prices will all be at the cost of the state of Israel. If we had an even-handed policy I suppose we could accept it. But this decision to support any recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation is a disgrace. It is something of which Australia as a nation should be ashamed, which the Australian Government should see as a cynical move designed to protect short term interests and which the Australian Government must recognise is one step along the road to destroying Israel. We were midwives at the birth of the state of Israel. It looks as if we will be among the executioners along the way to the destruction of that state. I think Australia owes it to the Israeli people and the Israeli Government at least to give them the proverbial Australian fair go. They are not getting that at the present time. If Australia follows this kind of a policy we may one day walk alongside the PLO as pall bearers after the total destruction of the state of Israel. I condemn this action by the Australian Government and this continued imbalance in its foreign policy initiatives.

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