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Thursday, 8 June 1989
Page: 3616


Senator MACKLIN(10.30) —I had not intended entering this debate. On behalf of my Party I express our wholehearted support for the motion moved by Senator Robert Ray for Senator Gareth Evans. I was moved to enter the debate by some of the remarks of Senator Harradine which I find quite extraordinary. The suggestion is wrong that he is the only one who has in fact raised human rights issues. I can see in the chamber, for example, Senator Puplick who I know on many occasions has raised these issues personally and has worked tirelessly in this matter. I know also of people on the Government benches who have done likewise. In fact, four weeks ago I was in China and on behalf of Amnesty International I raised issues about people who are imprisoned in China. Members of all political parties of every delegation that I have been with to China have raised those issues each time. I find it a most distressing thing that in a debate recognising the slaughter that is taking place we should have descended to a petty political exercise amongst ourselves in this place.

I would have hoped that we could have joined together unanimously in a formal motion expressing-all members when they are in China and when they are speaking with the representatives of that country in Australia time and time again have expressed this view-our concern for human rights.

There is no other group of people from whatever party with whom I would prefer to be on this particular issue. I have seen no divisions whatsoever at any time in the strong support shown by everybody in every political party in this nation for human rights and at outrage at the violations that have occurred in China to date. These matters have been raised with the hosts on every occasion that I have been there. I hope that we will have unanimous support for this motion to express our concern, our profound distaste for and our condemnation of what has been the most extraordinarily massive and indiscriminate slaughter of those people fighting for one thing only and that is the right to have their country run by their own people.