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Tuesday, 5 November 1985
Page: 1516

Senator MAGUIRE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation. Will the Minister advise, in the context of the recent decisions of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Nassau, the latest round of police repression and the new wave of Press censorship in South Africa, whether the Australian Government is further considering changes to air links with South Africa?

Senator GIETZELT —Senator Maguire, I am sure, expresses the sentiments of most members of the national Parliament in respect of the distasteful policy of apartheid which operates in South Africa. I refer him to the decision made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that is designed to give the South African Government six months to make some progress towards dismantling the very restrictive policies of apartheid as they apply to the overwhelming majority of people who reside in South Africa.

The Government, of course, prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, took some steps to express its views on this matter. It has also implemented a policy of reducing the number of flights to South Africa to one a week. However, having regard to the unanimous decision taken in respect of the Commonwealth attitude, the Government is prepared to examine further its obligations and has set up an inquiry into what further steps it can take in respect of passenger services by South African Airways to that country. As part of that process the Government has required Qantas Airways Ltd to make a submission, commenting upon further courses of action that can be taken to expedite the desires of the Australian Government as well as the desires of the Commonwealth, as expressed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to move towards applying what pressures we can so that the whole policy of apartheid is completely dismantled and the principle of equal treatment for every citizen in South Africa is effected.