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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1315

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) -by leave-I will not waste the time of the House by thanking all of the people associated with the InterParliamentary Union Conference. As far as I am concerned the positive aspects can be taken as read. I rise to dissociate myself from one aspect of the recommendations of the report and to incorporate a table in Hansard. The section from which I wish to dissociate myself concerns recommendation No. 1, which, in part, states that the Parliament and the Government should give close attention to the resolutions of the InterParliamentary Union conferences. The recommendation goes on to say that the Government should respond. As the honourable member for Newcastle pointed out, only a small proportion of countries attending IPU conferences have anything approaching a parliament as we understand it. I ask leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard a table which outlines political rights in the member countries.

There are 76 member countries. A figure '1' labels a country as having the highest level of political rights and the figure '7' for all practical purposes, labels countries as having no political rights. The table has been prepared by an organisation called Freedom House. The table shows that the organisation is even handed and condemns countries allegedly from both sides of politics. I ask leave to incorporate that table in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The table read as follows-

Albania 7, Algeria 6, Australia 1, Austria 1, Belgium 1, Brazil 4, Bulgaria 7, Canada 1, Costa Rica 1, Cuba 7, Cyprus 4, Czechoslovakia 7, Democratic People's Republic of Korea 7, Denmark 1, Egypt S, Finland 2, France 1, Gabon 6, German Democratic Republic 7, Germany (Federal Republic of) I, Greece 2, Haiti 7, Hungary 6, Iceland 1, India 2, Indonesia S, Iran 6 (at the time), Ireland 1, Israel 2, Italy 2, Ivory Coast 6, Japan 2, Jordan 6, Kenya 5, Lebanon 4, Liberia 6, Luxembourg 1, Madagascar 5, Malawi 7, Malaysia 3, Mexico 4, Monaco, Mongolia 7, Morocco 4, Nepal 6, Netherlands 1, New Zealand 1, Nicaragua 5, Norway 1, Panama S, Paraguay 3, Poland 6, Portugal 2, Republic of Korea S, Romania 7, Senegal S, Sierra Leone 3, Singapore 3, Spain 2, Sri Lanka 2, Sudan 6, Sweden 1, Switzerland 1, Syrian Arab Republic 3, Thailand 6, Tunisia 6, Turkey 2, United Arab Emirates 3, United Kingdom 1, United Republic of Cameroon 6, United States of America 1, USSR 7, Venezuela 1, Yugoslavia 6, Zaire 7, Zambia 3.

Dr KLUGMAN -The table shows the points that are given for political rights in the member countries. Albania is given seven points, Algeria six, Bulgaria seven, Cuba seven, Czechoslovakia seven, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea seven, Egypt five, Gabon six, the Democratic Republic of Germany seven, Haiti seven and so on. It is hardly the sort of organisation which presents worthwhile recommendations to this Parliament. I think that it would be ridiculous for this Government to go to the trouble and to the embarrassment of responding to those propositions.

In a sense I must apologise to the House for not spending much of my time, even though I was a delegate, at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in Bonn. I attended at the beginning and at the end. In between I took the opportunity of a train ride- I emphasise 'train ride'- to Berlin. Some may say that that trip confirmed my prejudices more than anything I would have seen at the conference where all people pretend to be democratic. We know very well that the delegations from the vast majority of the countries always vote unitedly because they have only a government point of view to put which is reactionary in the real sense.

I took a train trip to Berlin. It is important that I emphasise that I travelled by train. One does not see much by flying to East Berlin. I think that one of the basic rights that human beings ought to have is the right to leave their own country. The train to West Berlin travels through East Germany, the so-called German Democratic Republic. The train has sealed windows and doors. At the final stop before West Berlin the Volpo or Volkspolizei come alongside the train with Alsatian dogs. The dogs muzzles and leads are removed. The dogs are placed underneath the rear of the train and they proceed to the engine, with the guards walking alongside, to make sure that nobody is hanging on underneath to get out of the Democratic Republic. It is easier to search underneath a bus. A mirror is pushed underneath the buses to make sure that nobody leaves the German Democratic Republic. I suggest that some of our parliamentarians ought to do what I did instead of flying around and being entertained and impressed by official statements.

I re-emphasise that I dissociate myself from the proposition that we ought to respond formally to these recommendations. At the most, on any one issue we were always fighting a defensive battle. Some propositions which were put up could be reduced slightly in impact. Chile, South Africa and Israel are not the only undemocratic countries. There are plenty of other undemocratic countries. I am not suggesting that some of the countries referred to are not undemocratic. The countries that I have referred to are not the only ones that are not undemocratic. Let us look at the proposed venue of the future meetings as outlined in the report. The 1979 meeting is to be held in Prague, the 1980 meeting in Berlin in the German Democratic Republic and the 1981 meeting in Havana, Cuba. I suggest that it is completely inappropriate for an organisation called the Inter Parliamentary Union to hold its meetings in those places.

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