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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 197


Mr O'KEEFE (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Is the Minister for Trade and Resources aware of reports that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is considering calling for a ban on exports of wool to the Soviet Union?

Would such a ban be effective in making clear to the Russians Australia's concern over their invasion of Afghanistan?


Mr ANTHONY - I am aware that the Australian Council of Trade Unions has been discussing the matter. In fact, somebody from the radio program AM rang me this morning to get my comments on it. What I said was that to impose any ban on the export of wool would be useless because the Soviet Union is highly selfreliant on its own production of wool and we supply about 40 per cent of its imports, or only about 10 per cent of its needs. Irrespective of how recalcitrant and bloody-minded the ACTU can be, I would have thought that it would have wanted a bit of logic behind what it was doing. Indeed, I would have hoped that it would also have got some lead from the Australian Labor Party. We have heard the Leader of the Opposition say that it would be silly to impose bans on the export of goods unless such bans were effective and unless such action was in concert with that of other countries. That being the case, I would have thought that Mr Hawke might have got on the phone to Mr Hayden to find out just exactly what the ALP position was. If he had done so, he would have found out that the Australian Labor Party is against any bans, according to the Leader of the Opposition. Had they spoken, Mr Hayden would have said: 'Well, if we were in government of course we would not want any bans and if you imposed bans we would be against them'.

I think it is very important for the Australian nation to understand clearly where the ALP stands on this issue and to cut through a lot of the hyprocrisy and humbug we hear from the Opposition about wanting to impose embargoes and accusing us and trying to embarrass us while, if it were in government, it would not impose such embargoes itself.







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