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Thursday, 29 October 1970


Mr Cohen asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

Will the Government -

(a)   Formally proclaim 1971 to be the International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and observe it as such.

(b)   Issue, during the Year, special messages affirming this country's faith in the dignity and worth of the human person and its dedication to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

(c)   Take steps to arrange a special meeting of the Parliament on 21st March 1971, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

(d)   Sign and ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial discrimination.

(e)   Give moral and material assistance to peoples struggling against alt forms of racial discrimination.

(f)   Promote the widest and most intensive possible dissemination of United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on the elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

(g)   Ratify or accede to, if it has not yet done so, other conventions having a bearing upon the elimination of racial discrimination, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Slavery Convention of 1956 on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the ILO Convention of 1958 concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(h)   Ensure that the curricula of schools under its control and of other educational institutions include teaching of the scientific facts about race, that invidious distinctions about peoples are not made in textbooks and in classrooms, that all material susceptible of leading to racial discrimination and prejudice is eliminated from textbooks and that instructors are taught the value of principles of equality and dignity of all men.

(i)   Promote publication of books, pamphlets, reports and other publications, both learned and popular, assist in the organisation of radio and television broadcasts on subjects connected with the Year and in the distribution of films and the utilisation of other appropriate information media and arrange for the holding of competitions if that is considered expedient.

(j)   Encourage cultural exchanges between countries of different races, hospitality programmes, opening of homes to students and visitors of different races.

(k)   Encourage sports, athletic and other similar organisations to contribute to the establishment of harmonious relations among the peoples of different races.

(l)   Issue postage stamps and first-day covers on 21st March 1971, and arrange for special cancellations during 1971.

(m)   Inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the programmes and activities undertaken during the Year.'


Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I wish to assure the honourable member that careful consideration is being given to a suitable programme to observe the year 1971 in Australia as International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. Australia shares the concern of the United Nations at manifestations of racial discrimination and intolerance and has frequently made this clear. It is this concern which led us in the United Nations General Assembly to vote in support of the resolution designating 1971 as International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination.

I note that the programme referred to by the honourable member in his question is based on ideas which the United Nations' Secretary-General has suggested that Governments be invited to consider. Due account is being taken of these suggestions although it would not be practicable to adopt each and every one of them. In some cases, Australia has already takenthe action suggested. For example, Australia is a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Convention of 1956 on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery and the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education. Australia has signed the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the question of its ratification is under consideration.

The Programme for observance of the Year is being considered also in conjunction with plans for its celebration at the non-Governmental level. In this regard the honourable member may be interested to know that the United Nations Association of Australia, along with other interested non-governmental associations has set up a National Committee to plan the effective observance of the year, named the Australian Committee to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. While its programme is not yet finalised, I understand that it will include the dissemination of information about the relevant United Nations documents dealing with racial discrimination.

Paris Peace Talks (Question No. 1977)


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for

External Affairs, upon notice:

Where, when and in what form was an announcement made of the (a) appointment and (b) withdrawal of the Australian observer at the Paris peace talks.


Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Embassy in Paris has been given the task of keeping in touch with the American delegation and other negotiators at the Paris meetings on Vietnam. From May 1968 until August 1970 these duties were undertaken by Mr H. D. Anderson.

As Mr Anderson was not posted as Ambassador to France, the routine public announcement that is made about the movements of heads of our diplomatic missions was not made, either when he went there or when he returned.

Information about Mr Anderson's movements was, however, given to the Parliament in answer to questions. I refer the honourable member to the answers to questions asked by Senator Ormonde on 28th May 1968 (page 1146 of the Senate Hansard, Volume 37) and by the honourable member himself in this House on 17th September 1970 (Hansard, pages 1265-6).







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