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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 233


Mr O'KEEFE (Paterson) -Australia is a free nation. We have a freedom that has been hard won and that each and everyone of us would not give up without a fight. We have been at war on several occasions to maintain this freedom not only for ourselves but also for other free nations of the world. We are not isolated in our freedom. We are not too far away from those forces which are acting to destroy freedom not to be affected by those very same forces. We have been counted in the past in all attempts to preserve freedom and we will be counted again whenever and wherever freedom is threatened. Australia is far from being alone in all attempts to preserve freedom. It is far from being alone in the world cry against communist aggression and against military murder. We are not a voice crying in the wilderness, as some of the squeaks from the Opposition would have us believe. The Western world is united in a wholehearted condemnation of the actions of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Afghanistan. What will it take to have members of the Opposition join in this condemnation of naked aggression?

The great majority of the Australian people has indicated support for the Australian Government's attitude and for the steps proposed- a clear demonstration of the revulsion of Australians generally to the actions of the USSR in Afghanistan. A clear indication must be given that there can be no 'next on the list' for Russian aggression. There is not a member on this side of the House who can give an assurance that the list ends with Afghanistan. Perhaps the Opposition could provide this assurance. Can the Opposition provide the assurance that Russia will pull out of Afghanistan, that Russia will not be aggressive in the area of Iran, that Russia will not be aggressive in Pakistan or that the expansion of Russian communism into areas over which it has trod roughshod in the past has finished for all time?

The expansion of Russian communism with resultant loss of life, the creation of massive numbers of refugees and the devastation of cultures and unique ways of life are the perils we as a nation must face in the future if there is any acceptance in any way, shape or form of Russian aggression in Afghanistan. The Labor Party has been very vocal in the past in condemning actions of other nations and in condoning various types of bans on the handling and the shipping of Australian produce and manufactures to such areas. This time around there has been a remarkable silence not only from the Labor Party but also from the powerful trade unions who in the main are communist controlled and who together can manage to organise so-called national strikes at a moment's notice.

The Government has responded in a very positive way to the action of Russia in Afghanistan as a demonstration of this nation 's concern at the threat that has once again raised its ugly head. This response, this reaction by the Government to an act of naked aggression and occupation, has undoubtedly received the wholehearted support of the great majority of Australians. It is a responsible and supportive response containing that same revulsion to the action of the USSR as was expressed by no fewer than 104 nations at the United Nations, included among whom were many nations which are normally sypathetic to the actions and ideologies of the USSR.

Is it too much to expect the Opposition to be honest and to reflect the majority view of the Australian people, because that view has already been reflected in a quick and positive way by the Government? The Opposition may not regard Australia as an important country in the world today, but it is. This Government certainly does and it will continue to ensure that Australia's voice is heard and that, wherever necessary, that voice will be supported by responsible action. Australia has played and will continue to play an important role in world affairs. Australia will not shirk its responsibilities to its own citizens in the maintenance of freedom. Neither will Australia stand aside and remain silent when the citizens of the free world are threatened by an aggressor which murders and destroys prior to subjugation.

In denouncing the Russian action in Afghanistan we must look closely at the effect that our words and actions have on Russia and indeed on the Russian people, the Russian citizens. From past events, from experiences of Western travellers through Russia and from personal experiences of individual emigrants and refugees from Russian-controlled states and territories, we know the extent of subjugation, of hardship and of the complete lack of any personal and human freedoms. More particularly, we know from the same sources of the extent to which information is withheld from the Soviet citizen. One of our tasks then is to ensure that any protest we make, any revulsion we feel and any action we take are noticed by the ordinary citizens of the Soviet Union.

Some of our actions and similar actions by other nations in the Western world have been criticised by the Opposition and by the dogooders as lacking in substance, as having no effect and as being synonomous to saying: Naughty boy, go home now and do not do it again'. That attitude is to be expected and can bear mention only in the context of members of the Opposition assuring us that the feelings of outrage and disgust being expressed by the Western world are freely made known to the Soviet citizens and are not supressed, as we know they are. Where are the articles in Pravda and Tass and where is the evidence of the voice of Radio Moscow acknowledging that the free Press of the world, that the citizens of all the countries of the world, that all governments outside the Soviet bloc, are calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Afghanistan? Would Australia's notorious communists or a delegation from those critical of Australia's action to date dare journey to Russia and convey to the Soviet citizens the representative view of the Australian citizens on the Russian presence in Afghanistan? No way, because they have had it too good here in Australia. They would fear too much for their own skin and bones. Immediately on their arrival they would be exiled to some remote labour camp and advised that they have as much right as the ordinary Soviet citizen, and that amounts to none.

Non-participation in the Olympic Games is one very direct way of getting the message across to the Russians. Contrast that with the cutting off of some or all of our exports to Russia. In that case the message would not reach the Russian people. They would not be told that Australia had cut off exports of wheat or the reason. They would be required to go on silently suffering and the cause would be disguised by the inefficiencies of the Soviet economy and by government propaganda.

To participate in the Moscow summer games would be directly to recognise and to give credence to naked aggression, an expansionist military policy and subjugation of small, independent and non-aligned underdeveloped countries. To attend the Moscow games would be tantamount to approval of the aggression in Afghanistan and extension of that aggression to other areas. To attend would be to give tacit approval to further aggression in strategically important areas, such as Iran and Pakistan. To attend would be to recognise the USSR's desires on warm water ports. To attend would be to say that we in Australia do not care what actions Russia perpetrates on other nations. To attend would be to play into Russia's hands and to allow it to take, military, the attitude: 'Look, we can do what we like and have that act accepted by the rest of the world '. Australia will not be a sheep in the international arena, as acceptance of the Labor Party's policy would promote. This Government believes firmly that Australians desire to the utmost that their voice be heard and that this voice be supported by actions that are clearly designed to demonstrate our complete and utter revulsion at the act of naked aggression by Russia in Afghanistan.

Australia is involved in a strong supportive role to that of the United States. Australia has demonstrated that support in the form of refusing to fill any shortfall on previously proposed shipments of grain to the USSR by the United States. Australia has demonstrated an additional demonstration of Australia's revulsion of Russia's action in Afghanistan by the termination of the involvement in scientific and cultural exchanges; the termination of negotiations as to fishing projects and the request that resulted in the cancellation of a large trade exhibition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and the cancellation of a tour by a Russian basketball team. The Labor Party would have none of this. The Labor Party would say to all Australians, including those of more recent date who fled what was once called their home because of this same aggressive presence of the USSR, that the USSR would not worry us, that it is a good mate and that we, the free people of the world, have nothing to fear. What utter rubbish! The Labor Party would have Australia and Australians demonstrate nothing. The Australian Government, on behalf of the Australian people, has full cognizance of the Olympic movement. It has a full understanding of the Olympic ideal. Australia has participated in the games of the modern olympiad over the years according to the movement and according to the highest Olympic ideals. Australia believes in the upholding of these ideals, a belief that is manifestly not shared by Russia. The absence from Moscow of athletes from most, if not all, of the important countries of the world could not easily be explained away by the Russian war machine to the citizens of Russia.

It was pleasing to hear this morning in the national news that Kenya, which has magnificent athletes who no doubt would be able to gather a number of gold medals at the Olympic Games, has also joined the Western world in refusing to allow those magnificent athletes to go to the Olympic Games. It has done so as a matter of principle. A tremendous amount of money and effort has been invested by the Russian Government in the proposed Moscow Olympics.

The Soviet Games site construction costs are estimated at $A400m. This is less than half the amount incurred by the Munich and Montreal Olympic committees. The cost will be covered by world television rights- that is, if the Games go on. Soviet Army conscripts who are paid $A20 a month and young communist league volunteers have performed much of the construction work. This investment has been designed not only for the visiting participating nations but also for the Soviet and Soviet bloc citizens. What better demonstration of revulsion can there be than when a host who is giving a party designed to impress has no guests of honour turn up? The Russian propaganda machine would certainly find it difficult then to keep from its citizens the facts of its naked aggression against a country such as Afghanistan and whoever might be next in its scheme of things to come.

Australia's athletes have done well and, at times, not so well in the competitive nature of the Olympic Games over the years. They have performed not only as individuals but also as members of the Australian team and thus as representatives of all Australians. Members of the team represent those athletes who have been unsuccessful in gaining a place in the team. They represent those other Australians who have for years been supporters of the athletes, helping them to reach a pinnacle of performance to gain such representative status. They represent all Australians- those voluntary workers, those sponsors of events, those individual donors of equipment and funds, and particularly those people who provide all athletes with that one undeniable ingredient, moral support. These people- those same people that the selected athletes represent- have, in the majority, expressed a desire to let the world know that Australia does not agree to this recognition of a country that invades a neighbour, that murders its men, women and children and that, in every likelihood, intends to continue on its march of naked aggression. Australia cannot condone such actions. The Labor Party, in all honesty, cannot condone such actions. The Government of Australia will not condone such actions and will take those steps necessary to demonstrate this to the Russians.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has decided that, if there is an enforced boycott of the Olympic Games, it would support a total national boycott of Soviet trade and communication for the period of the Olympic Games. It would be particularly concerned to ban the sale of wool because, it says, it is the one commodity in which Australia is uniquely positioned to convey some significant impact to the Russians. It would review continuation of the ban after the Games in the light of circumstances. What rubbish! It is nonsense to suggest the imposition of a wool ban for perhaps only two weeks. It would make no impact at all on the Russians. We supply only 10 per cent of Russia's total wool requirements and only about one per cent of its total fibre requirements and we do so in a year, not in a fortnight. It would have no effect at all. What stupid action on behalf of the ACTU!







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