Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 30 September 1993
Page: 1524


Senator HARRADINE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has the government's attention been drawn to the fact that the most recent figures from the PRC show that in that country the sex ratio of children at birth is 118 boys to 100 girls? Would the government agree that this is largely brought about because of the target driven one child per family policy in China together with a predilection for a male offspring and the use of modern techniques for sex selection and abortion? Will the government give an absolute guarantee to the parliament that none of the ultrasound machines used in this process are those which Australia sent to China through the DIFF program?


Senator COOK —I am aware of reports that the sex ratio at birth in China is 118 boys to 100 girls. The obvious implication is that baby girls in some areas of China are still subject to being disposed of at birth.


Senator Kemp —Do you mean killed?


Senator COOK —Yes.


Senator Kemp —Why don't you say it?


Senator COOK —I thank Senator Kemp very much for his insistence on plain language. This is a serious issue; I did not want to divert into normal parliamentary byplay. However, to stick to the subject, I understand that the foreign minister has taken up this issue with the Chinese foreign minister recently. As to the commitment on DIFF funded ultrasound machines, I will have to check to see whether such a guarantee can be given. If I may, I will take that and the other elements of the honourable senator's question on notice.


Senator Robert Ray —Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.