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Wednesday, 18 September 1985
Page: 691

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(3.22) —I am grateful that the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Gareth Evans, has made his usual graceless contribution to the debate because it again exposes the pathetic approach being adopted by the Government. We have here an issue on which there is unanimity in this Parliament, a unanimity recently expressed by the Opposition in a statement made on 19 August, in which we said:

The Coalition's condemnation of apartheid in South Africa is unequivocal and long-standing.

That is a matter on which there could be wholesome unanimity in this place. Instead, however, we have this sleazy motion which attempts to suggest that opposition to apartheid involves total support for all of the measures adopted by this Government. I find that an utterly offensive way of going about this matter, and a government which manages to display such enormous virtue by cutting off our Trade Commissioner whilst allowing companies to have access to export grants shows the subtlety of judgment which even this Government chooses to enter into. On the one hand it adopts this high moral tone by withdrawing a public servant and on the other it goes on subsidising exports to South Africa.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I suggest that the honourable senator is getting away from the motion before the Chair, which is for the suspension of Standing Orders. I suggest that he is getting down to debating the gravamen of the issue.

Senator CHANEY —All I wish to say is that it has been made very clear by Senator Evans on behalf of the Government that it is trying, under the guise of a common opposition to apartheid, to obtain the imprimatur of this Senate to every action taken by the Government, when in fact many members of the Government benches think that the Government's actions are totally inadequate and would themselves have considerable doubts about what has been done. This has been shown to be rather a sham, and that is a tragic thing for this Parliament and this country.

Question resolved in the affirmative.