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Thursday, 25 March 1982
Page: 1396

Mr SHACK —Is the Prime Minister aware that South African Airways operates regular flights to 28 countries in Africa, Europe, North and South America and, of course, Australia? Is the Prime Minister also aware that 22 international airlines, from African, European and American countries, fly to South Africa? Against this background, why does the Federal Government continue to refuse to allow Qantas to fly between Australia and South Africa? Finally, is the Prime Minister aware that this Indian Ocean route is extremely busy, with high passenger loadings and that, in effect, the Government's refusal to allow Qantas to share in this profitable trade is achieving nothing more than to benefit the very government and system that we are supposed to oppose? Or, to put it in another way, have we not cut off our Qantas nose to spite our own face?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER —Qantas is operating to Mauritius and it is hoped that it will extend such operation to routes in southern Africa and further on. I know that Qantas has been examining the matter. The Government was concerned that Qantas should not re-establish its direct link with South Africa. I think the reasons for that are well known. We do not wish to, and do not, encourage trade with South Africa. Although there is no prohibition of it, there is no active promotion of trade with South Africa. We believe that maximum pressure should be exerted against South Africa, to seek to break down the system of apartheid. I think we all know that there is a degree of racial intolerance amongst all countries, but most countries around the world, by law, practice or custom, seek to diminish and eradicate racial intolerance. That is certainly the approach of the States and the Commonwealth of Australia. It is certainly the approach of the overwhelming majority of Australian citizens of all political complexions. The difference in South Africa is simply that racial intolerance, bigotry and discrimination are enshrined in the law in a multitude of ways. People cannot move without a police pass. People of the wrong colour cannot live in certain areas. People of the wrong colour might be allowed to get a job in an area, but their wives and families have to stay 300 miles behind, in the hills. The honourable gentleman may know people who work in South Africa. An engineer, the son of some people with whom I am on friendly terms, does in fact work in South Africa, and the letters that are sent back describe, whether it be on the playing field or whatever, kinds of discrimination which Australians would certainly find abhorrent.

Sir Robert Menzies indicated in earlier discussions, going back I suppose 20 or 30 years, that he believed that the whole system of apartheid was abhorrent and doomed to the most ghastly failure because, in all its simplicity, the South Africans were saying that they would give black Africans educational and economic equality but never, of course, political equality. Therein is the certainty that apartheid must one day fail, because the more people have educational or economic equality, the less will they be prepared to accept or tolerate political inequality. Whatever view one might have of the immorality of apartheid, logically, and on a straight analysis of what apartheid is about, it is doomed to failure. Therefore, successive Australian governments over time have sought, with many other nations, to exert pressure in relation to South Africa so that there may be a modification and change of policy; so that something that is abhorrent to the very nature of people and of human relationships can be modified and changed by evolution rather than by much rougher and more difficult means if there should be no change on the part of the South African Government. It is based on our attitude to the South African regime, to its nature, to the fact that apartheid and discrimination are enshrined in law, that we take certain actions that we otherwise would not. As I have said on a number of occasions, it is not South Africa that is a bulwark against communism in Southern Africa. Rather, it presents an invitation to communism because the nature of the system that it has established invites communism to overthrow something that is repugnant to the whole human race.