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Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2170

Senator GIETZELT —On 9 October I was asked by Senator Jones a question regarding the importation of railway equipment from South Africa. On 10 October I responded on behalf of the Minister for Transport, the Hon. Peter Morris, whom I represent in this place, that the Australian National, which is the only rail system for which the Federal Government has responsibility, had imported no such equipment since the Government announced its new policy on commercial dealings with South Africa on 19 August. I also said that I would seek from the Minister for Foreign Affairs any additional information he may care to provide on this matter.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has now supplied me with the following additional information: Until 19 August 1985 the only restrictions on the importation of goods from South Africa applied to arms. Any prior importation of railway equipment from South Africa was not in violation of government policy or any international bans. From that date Australian Government agencies are prohibited from purchasing goods from South African sources and the Australian National Railways Commission is included in that prohibition. While the activities of State rail authorities are a matter for State governments, the Prime Minister has written to the Premiers and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory seeking their co-operation with the Australian Government's policy in relation to South Africa.