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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 249


Mr ELLICOTT (Wentworth) (Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for the Capital Territory) - It is remarkable how events in a seemingly small country can suddenly transform the world scene- sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. It has happened again in Afghanistan, but this time for ill. The world is now in serious tension. The family of man is more deeply at odds with itself and the precipice of nuclear war is visibly nearer to us all. Arnold Toynbee said that history is constantly throwing up challenges to which we respond. A fresh challenge now confronts us. The Afghanistan incident is different from most others. It has made us contemplate man's destruction. One hundred and four nations of the world have condemned the Soviet action.

The response must not be to take up arms to destroy another nation, for therein lies man's destruction. The response must be to search again for the path to peace, for only success in this search will save the world. Searching for peace is a challenge in itself. It involves not only the difficult task of assessing what our opponent is doing but also self-analysis to identify where we may have erred in what we have or have not done. One thing is clear in the hard world of international relations- the search for peace is not advanced by weakness or by appeasement and rarely by failure to arm for possible conflict. Protest, the building of defences, the drawing of lines and other actions- non-violent in themselves- have unfortunately perhaps become part of the armoury of peace. Yet that is the reality we face. Nevertheless, they are far less daunting than the prospect of violence itself. The imminent and terrible danger of the present situation is that if the Soviets and the rest of the world are forced to arms, then for the first time since World War II humanity will be standing on the edge of existence facing a nuclear war.

PresidentCarter in his State of the Union message has drawn the line in the Persian Gulf. Similar lines have been drawn for over 30 years in Europe. The United States and we ourselves have announced an intention to improve our defences. We must hope and pray that they will remain only part of the arsenal of peace. In the present world situation these activities are in a sense negative but necessary responses in the search for peace. In determining what positive responses we might take we would be foolish not to bear in mind the whole thrust behind Soviet foreign policy. Kissinger in his recent book described it in this way:

To the industrial democracies peace appears as a naturally attainable condition: It is the composition of differences, the absence of struggle. To the Soviet leaders, by contrast, struggle is ended not by compromise but by the victory of one side. Permanent peace, according to Communist theory, can be achieved only by abolishing the class struggle and the class struggle can be ended only by a Communist victory. Hence, any Soviet move, no matter how belligerent, advances the cause of peace, while any capitalist policy, no matter how conciliatory, serves the ends of war.

The real lesson to learn from this is that we must, by positive action, help to ensure that the forces and the conditions which can be the seedbed for Soviet communism do not exist in other countries, whether we do it by aid, by trade, by better communication or by more friendly diplomatic relations with them. There is no doubt that if the circumstances exist in a country for Soviet communism to spread, the Soviets will spread it.

I mentioned earlier the use of protest and I would like to apply it to the present crisis. In this debate two things are agreed. They are- and I am using the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden)-that the Russian occupation of Afghanistan is outrageous and that an effective boycott of the Moscow Olympics would be a major psychological weapon against the Soviet Union. Yet the debate, instead of proceeding in a rational way, has been used by the Labor Party for political purposes. As I have already said, it is attempting what I believe to be an impossible task, that is, to divide our athletes from the rest of the community. While saying that there should be no trade boycott, honourable members opposite condemn the Government for not invoking one. Through the Australian Council of Trade Unions, as is clear from Question Time this morning, they have been attempting to get a ban placed on the export of Australian wool, notwithstanding that they say that there should be no boycott. For what purpose? There is an ulterior motive, as is apparent from what has been said by Mr Hawke. It is for the purposes of embarrassing the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). The motives of the Labor Party and of those who support it are well and truly in doubt in this debate. Their motives are basely political. Their motives are not Australian in the true sense. Their motives are not there to get to the reasons that lie behind this problem that is facing our country and the need for an effective boycott, as I will show, of the Olympic Games.

The Government has expressed the view that it is not in Australia's national interest for Australians to participate in Games held in Moscow if the Russians do not get out of Afghanistan. It has asked the Australian Olympic Federation that, in those circumstances, no Australian team should be sent to Moscow. I have made the point before and I repeat that it really is a matter for the Government to decide such an issue. Foreign policy is a matter for the Government. The relationship between a particular action overseas and our national interest has to be determined by the relevant authority. In this country it is the Federal Government. I have no doubt that the athletes and the sporting organisations of Australia will bear that in mind well and truly.

At the same time the Government is very sympathetic to our athletes and realises the sacrifices that they would be making if they did not go to the Olympic Games in Moscow. But we are asking them to do this as an act of protest about Soviet action which all the world- including the Opposition, strangely enough, from listening to this debate- regards as horrendous. Peaceful protest can be a very effective weapon. It has been used many times in democratic countries, including, as we might recall, Australia during the Vietnam crisis. An empty seat is a well known form of protest. It is non-violent and absence can speak louder than words. There are some who assert that politics and sport should not be mixed. This would be very good if it were possible, but apparently it is not. It certainly was not when the Soviets, for political reasons, refused to play Chile in Chile in an elimination match for the European Cup; nor was it when the Soviets recently refused to participate in the world shooting championships in South Korea.

The absence of nations from the Moscow Olympics is not a new thought in this place. It is contemplated in the report on human rights in the Soviet Union. No doubt it explains, as I understand it, the attitude of the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). The honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), who is the shadow minister for sport, supports an effective boycott- at least he did recently when he returned from his visit to the United States. As I said, the Government is very sympathetic to our athletes. In order to minimise the sacrifice they are being asked to make on behalf of the whole Australian community, including the Labor Party, other international sporting competitions are being organised. These competitions would not be held at the same time as that proposed for the 1980 Olympics so as not to compete with the Olympic movement. The Government fully supports the Olympic ideal but I ask all our athletes to realise that the Olympic charter is currently under grave threat. I refer to the Olympic charter. I have here the edition of 1978. Rule 3 states:

The Olympic Games take place every four years. They unite Olympic competitors of all nations in fair and equal competition.

The International Olympic Committee shall secure the widest possible audience for these Games.

No discrimination in them is allowed against any country or person on grounds of race, religion or politics.

Everybody who has read the report on human rights in the Soviet Union knows that the Soviet team to attend the Olympic Games will be determined with discrimination on the grounds of religion and politics. Certain athletes in the USSR will not be able to get into that team because of religion and politics. I ask those honourable members opposite who have decent, good minds to contemplate that possibility. I wonder how Mr Sakharov is getting on in Gorky. I wonder whether he will be allowed to go to the Olympic Games. Every honourable member opposite knows that he will not be allowed. They know why he is in Gorky. They also know why a lot of other dissidents will be sent to other places like Gorky and that there will be no possibility for some people in the USSR to attend the Olympic Games. Those honourable members opposite who were party to this report on human rights in the Soviet Union ought to stand up now and support it instead of giving the sort of support that they are giving to their leader. I refer also to page 78 of the Olympic charter because it has a very good lesson for us to learn. It is the part that deals with the conditions laid down for candidate cities. I ask honourable members to listen to this carefully. It states:

The candidate city shall officially confirm that it is not its intention to use the Games for any purpose other than the interest of the Olympic movement.

It has to give an undertaking to the International Olympic Committee that it will not use the Games for those purposes. I want to refer honourable members to what the Prime Minister said this morning when he incorporated in Hansard a document that has been given to communist party officials in the USSR in relation to the Olympic Games. I have time to quote only a little of it. It states:

More than ever before in its 80-year history, the Olympic Games have turned into an event of great social and political significance and actively exert an influence on all aspects of the life of society. It is clear that international relations, the disposition of political and class forces in the world arena, and the presence in the world of two opposing systemscapitalism, which has outlived its day and socialism, which is growing and becoming stronger with each day- leave their imprint on the Olympic Games, as a large-scale social phenomenon.

The most critical ideological structure between the two opposing social systems has an effect in the most direct manner on the choice of cities for the Olympics . . .

I invite honourable members to obtain that document and read it and to set aside the article I have just read about the undertakings that have to be given by candidate cities. If it is not clear that the USSR is using the Games for purposes other than the Olympic movement, I would eat my hat if I wore one. Quite clearly, it would be looking in the face of truth to suggest anything else. It is clear that Moscow is in breach of the undertaking it had to give in order to become the host city for the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee, if it were doing its job, would, on this ground alone, take the Games away from Moscow.

If the Australian Olympic Federation and its constituent bodies are concerned about the Olympic ideal- from talking to them, I am quite satisfied that they certainly are- they, too, should be concerned about it. This is a blatant breach of the charter and they need to give it the most anxious and urgent thought. Those who are concerned to preserve the Olympic ideal would regard it as enough in itself to refuse to go to the Olympic Games held in Moscow. This is reason enough to an athlete.

It is also vital that we in Australia bring home to the Soviet Government and impress upon the Russian people our revulsion and outrage- the words of the Leader of the Opposition- at the occupation of Afghanistan. We all agree- both sides of this House agree- that a most effective way of doing this is by refusing to go to Moscow. We should all work together towards that common objective. Yet, as honourable members know, the Labor Party is trying to deter our athletic organisations and our athletes from that purpose. The Government, on the information it has, believes that an effective Olympic boycott can and will come about. Over 30 nations support it. I believe that in due course the United States Olympic Committee will fall in behind its Government and that other national committees will follow. I am confident that our own Olympic Federation will give very serious thought to the request we have made to it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond)Order!The Minister's time has expired.







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