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Wednesday, 18 September 1985
Page: 707


Senator JONES(5.06) —I would like first of all to mention the motion moved by Senator Giles and the attempt by Senator Durack to put to a vote the splitting of that motion. The motion states:

The need for all Party leaders and other parliamentarians in the Australian Parliament to condemn apartheid, and to endorse and support the action taken by the Australian Government against the oppressive South African regime.

It appears to me that Senator Durack is very aware of the fact that he needs to split the motion because a number of people on his side might not be too happy to support either section of it. Unless he splits the motion in two he might have some trouble getting some members of the National Party to vote with the Opposition in relation even to the first part of it.

We waited for some time for a statement from the President of South Africa, Mr Botha-the international community certainly waited on that statement-but when it came down it appeared not to contain any changes or any attempts at resolution of the problems in South Africa. The long awaited, much vaunted and internationally touted statement of reform from an alleged liberalised South African President, Mr Botha, was nothing more nor less than a shameless sham. Apartheid will continue unabated. More and more black South Africans will be murdered by a government not too ashamed to use bullets and tear gas against blacks and coloureds. As more and more church leaders, both black and white, politicians, libertarians and civil rights persons of all hues rise to condemn the evil that is apartheid, South Africa lunges towards the hell of an inevitable civil war. Unless South Africa acts to change what is happening I believe that that will be the end result of the current non-action by the President of South Africa.

The Australian Federal Government in Canberra is prepared to stand up and be counted in the face of this affront to humanity. In Bob Hawke we have leadership that will not allow President Botha and his team to say: `No equal elections, no easing of restrictions and savagery towards blacks-in short, no end to apartheid'. The ultimate result of such a policy would be that the funeral pyres and degradations now occuring in South Africa would continue. For many years there have been calls for economic sanctions against South Africa's rotten, decaying racial villainy-for equally as long as the Australian Labor Party has advocated a total rejection of all sporting contracts between our country and theirs.

Successive governments in Australia, of both political colours, have been outspoken against South Africa. I welcome the Cabinet's decision to close the Australian trade mission in Johannesburg and to prohibit all exports, such as petrol and computer hardware, that could lead to whites wiping out blacks. I welcome the pressure that has been placed upon our financial institutions to stop lending money to those who form the South African Government and the so-called brotherhood that pulls the strings behind it. No doubt even tougher action will be taken if there is no improvement in South Africa. This could involve a stop to all commercial, diplomatic and political links and a complete ban on all sporting and artistic contacts until free democratic elections are held in South Africa, until the black majority has a complete say in its destiny.

I am pleased that Australia's efforts, limited though they might be at this stage, have received such a warm welcome in black South Africa. It is proof that world opinion, manifested by the Australian effort, is giving comfort to the oppressed and cold comfort to the oppressors. In Australia we need at this time a bipartisan approach, although after hearing Senator Chipp I believe it should be a tripartisan approach. That approach should be taken not only by the Australian Government in power at the moment but also by the Opposition, which should support action against the apartheid policy in South Africa, and support should also be given by the Australian Democrats. I think that that support will be given in view of the statement made today by the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Chipp.

Let me say something about some of the criticism of Malcolm Fraser and his stance against apartheid. The telex I have reads:

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was exhibiting pious posturing and double standards over sporting ties with South Africa.

Of course one does not have to guess who said that. It was the Queensland Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The telex goes on but it is not my intention to read further from it or to criticise the Premier of Queensland. I think it is worth while saying at this stage that the Premier of Queensland, who is one of the strongest men in the National Party and in the Queensland Government, certainly has some say over the endorsement of National Party candidates for places in the Senate. I do not think I need even name the honourable senator but it is quite obvious that the National Party re-endorsed a former senator whose views on apartheid are very well known to most honourable senators.


Senator Walsh —Who is that?


Senator JONES —I was not going to name him but it is Senator Sheil. I would like to say something further about Mr Fraser's statements over a period and his attack on the apartheid system in South Africa. In a transcript of an interview conducted on 16 September-admittedly, he was talking about the cricket tour that was to take place by the rebel Australian cricket team-he was asked by Andrew Olle what impressed him the most when he visited South Africa. Andrew Olle asked:

Mr Fraser have you come away from South Africa with any one single image which sums up why the tour shouldn't go ahead, do you think?

Malcolm Fraser replied:

Well the greatest impression on me was the total brutality and cruelty with which the police and the military administer the rules of apartheid. I saw young girls, fourteen or fifteen, slightly built, who'd been taken away from their homes, taken down to the police station for twenty four hours, who'd been sjambokked and from the direction of the cuts in their backs they would have had to have been held down by one or more police men while somebody else weighed into them with the whip.

That was the point that was put forward by Malcolm Fraser in that interview. If we continue looking at some of the newspaper headlines we see one headline which states `Curbs must have more teeth, Fraser warns'. That article states:

The former Prime Minister, Mr Fraser yesterday rejected President Reagan's limited sanctions against South Africa as too weak, and called for an international ban on all bank loans to South Africa.

. . . .

At the same time, the new Opposition Leader, Mr Howard--

these points were raised by Senator Durack but he did not continue with the statements that were being made-

and his foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Peacock, reaffirmed the Opposition's policy of rejecting sanctions--

I emphasise the words `rejecting sanctions'-

but said President Reagan's announcement would force the Opposition to review its policy.

As yet we have not heard when the Liberal-National Party will take some action on reviewing its policy on sanctions against South Africa. In other words, the Opposition is neglecting to take heed of what its former Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party said. The Opposition has changed its leadership and it has changed its direction. If Senator Giles's motion is carried we will see whether Opposition members will support the Government's proposed sanctions against South Africa or whether they will sit back and hide behind the Liberal Party's change of policy in relation to sanctions brought down by their new Leader, Mr Howard. A further newspaper headline states: `Fraser attacks ``Nazi'' South Africa'. If one looks at what is happening in South Africa one can only come to the same conclusion.

Let me touch further on what Mr Howard has said in relation to sanctions which I think clearly points out the opposition of the Liberal-National Party to sanctions. At this stage the Opposition has not called for a review of its policies. It has certainly changed its mind in relation to the proposition put forward by Malcolm Fraser. It has changed its attitude since Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party in the other place. A report of the Canberra Times which is headed `Sanctions stand reaffirmed' states:

The new `shadow cabinet' reaffirmed the Opposition's anti-sanction policy on South Africa yesterday.

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Howard, said later that the position was not about to be changed but the issue would be `kept under review in the normal course of events'.

With the South African police closing schools, bashing children and firing bullets and teargas, surely now is the time for some review by the Liberal-National Party. Some members of the Opposition are hiding behind the coat tails of the Leader of the Opposition, and accepting his view and his policy. They are going back on what they said under Mr Fraser. This is a complete turnaround. I only hope that, when the motion is put to a vote in the Senate, we will see those members of the Opposition who support it and those members who do not. I move:

That the question be now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Durack's amendment) be left out.