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Thursday, 8 September 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Is the break-up of the British Commonwealth of Nations threatened unless South Africa abandons its policy of racial segregation and discrimination or resigns or is expelled from membership?

2.   Does the present South African policy constitute a great danger to world peace and security?

3.   Is Australia's own reputation as a nation likely to suffer by continued association with the South African Government?

4.   Is incalculable harm being done by the creation of racial hatred based on a colour prejudice?

5.   Beyond expressing regret at happenings in South Africa, what effort has the Government made to secure a change in the policy of the South African Government?

Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Commonwealth is an association which has passed through many severe trials. I do not share the opinion that it may break up in the near future.

2.   No.

3.   Australia has long been associated with South Africa as a member of the Commonwealth, each under varying governments. I do not believe that this association has in any way damaged Australia's reputation, or that its continuance will do so.

4.   Racial hatred and prejudice are always to be deplored. Their effect is always incalculable.

5.   I have repeatedly expressed the view that it is undesirable for governments, which are members of the Commonwealth, to issue public judgment on each other's domestic policies.

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