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Wednesday, 20 February 1980
Page: 164

Mr BRYANT (Wills) - I wish to speak about another matter, but I support what my colleague the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) has just said. The general impression abroad is that the Australian Broadcasting Commission has become so bland that it is almost out of sight on issues and that a good deal of the life has gone out of it. I hope it will overcome that.

I want to express my dismay at the events which are occurring in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. I want to place on record that what appears to be happening is the result of a serious misunderstanding of the whole situation in that country by the people involved at Lancaster House and the people involved in the Lusaka agreement. I am one who has no great faith in institutions, who has no faith whatsoever in constitutions and who does not put much faith in the protestations of political parties. The facts are that in April last year an election was conducted in that country which put into office a majority-supported African Government to administer a country that is very efficiently administered, with a fair hope that it would develop into a really democratic society. A very efficient and enormous operation was mounted by that community to protect everybody during the voting, but as a result of the deliberations at Lusaka and at Lancaster House there has been injected into ZimbabweRhodesia an element of force and violence which makes it impossible to conduct the current election freely and fairly. I believe that the people responsible for that arrangement will have blood on their hands as a result.

I have some respect for the people in Bishop Muzorewa 's party whom I have met and for the

Bishop himself, but I do not think I would vote for his party. However, a properly elected government was produced and an alternative solution to bringing back the Patriotic Front people fully armed- as has happened- should have been found. As I said earlier, I have no faith at all in constitutions, and sections of the constitutions which were under criticism at the time were not greatly different from- in fact they were just about identical with- some of the sections in our Australian Security Intelligence Organisation legislation and in some other legislation in this place. The requirement that an African should be at the head of the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Police Force, for instance, did not seem to appeal to our Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) when he was appointing somebody to be head of the Australian Police Force. He got somebody from Britain. The same applies to Aborigines in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. The person who was appointed as head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs- this is no reflection on him- in fact superseded the senior Aboriginal person in the Australian Public Service, Mr Charles Perkins.

So under consideration in ZimbabweRhodesia were principles and policies that we were not prepared to implement here. What I am concerned and dismayed about is that it looks as though a country which was on its way to becoming peaceful and free has now been placed in a position which it will be very fortunate to get out of without great bloodshed. I am quite sure that the people indulging in the deliberations did not really understand what the situation was.

Before I resume my seat I want to say that I support absolutely the remarks of those honourable members who tonight raised the question of our rather ungracious attitude to former members. I have raised this matter previously. I have written to Mr Speaker about it and I have made speeches about it. I think that 'ungracious' is the most temperate word I can use. I think that totally insensitive' are the words we ought to apply. I hope that you, Mr Deputy Speaker, will take the matter up and ensure that people who serve this Parliament for a long period or a short period have our view of them properly recorded in this Parliament and that we carry out the procedures that prevailed in this Parliament for three-quarters of a century.

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