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Friday, 18 September 1987
Page: 347


Mr COBB —Is the Prime Minister aware of a statement made yesterday by a South African Congress of Trade Union head, Aaron Pemba, who is attending an Australian Council of Trade Unions conference in Brisbane in which he issued a blunt death threat to Australian sports people who venture into South Africa? Is the Prime Minister aware that, regarding Australian sports people, Mr Pemba said, `If they want to go and play sport there, some of them may not come back' and, `They will be targets of the black people' and, `Anything can happen'? In the light of these threats to the lives of Australian sports men and women, will the Prime Minister take this matter up with the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs to have Mr Pemba's visa withdrawn and for him to be expelled from the country?


Mr HAWKE —In answer to the first part of the question, no, I was not aware of the statements. Secondly, let me say I express regret at those statements. In regard to the latter part of the question, no, I will not ask the Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs to take such steps. Madam Speaker, if you will excuse me I would like to take the opportunity to make a couple of comments on the implications of the question. I deplore the concept of violence, whether it is by white or black, and therefore any suggestion of violence and threats of death, whether made by a representative of black Africa here or practitioners of violence by white Africans, I deplore. The resolution of the tragedy of South Africa will not be advanced by that sort of talk or those sorts of threats.

I hope that the good sense of Australian sports men and women will lead them to the conclusion that it would be entirely improper for them to go to South Africa. I hope that they will not make their decision in terms of some assessment about threat to their life and limb but rather on the moral ground that it would be improper to be giving sustenance and support to a regime which is increasingly around the world attracting condemnation. That condemnation is being reflected not merely in the passing of resolutions but, significantly, by increasing withdrawal of capital by multinational enterprises which have hitherto operated in South Africa but which recognise the increasing lack of viability into the future of continuing in that country. I hope that Australian sports men and women will not go against the increasing tide of world opinion and I hope their decisions will be made on those moral grounds and not on the grounds of an assessment of a threat to life and limb. I repeat, as I began my answer, that I repudiate and find repugnant the concept of violence and terrorism whether it be practised by white or black.