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Tuesday, 20 May 1980
Page: 2888


Mr KEVIN CAIRNS (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) -I direct to the Minister for Defence a question concerning the Moscow Olympic Games. Is he aware that in 1936 the French Cabinet, under Leon Blum, allocated one million French francs to go to the Berlin Olympic Games and 600,000 French francs to go to the Russian backed Barcelona Games? Does the Minister consider that this ability to look both ways at once helped the French national security and defence effort? If so, how? Does he consider that Australia's defence and national security effort should receive similar leadership in 1980 to that proposed by France for itself in 1936 and 1980?


Mr KILLEN (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Defence) - The House and the country are, or should be, indebted to the honourable member for Lilley for drawing on history in this very sad and solemn business. History can be a good tutor, provided people will take notice of it. The fact is, as the honourable gentleman has stated, that Hitler used the Olympic Games for his own evil ends. Today, with the ugly apparatus of aggression by the Soviets in Afghanistan the world is being persuaded that there is something thoroughly respectable about the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union today, in the conduct of international affairs, is desperately seeking respectability. As the Prime Minister and my colleague the Minister for Home Affairs have said, there is slowly coming into existence a more emancipated view of what the Soviet Union is about.

I am wondering whether it would be an intolerable imposition upon the House if I were to read just one short paragraph from a recent debate in the House of Lords. The paragraph reads:

I do not know whether other noble Lords saw as I did ... a letter in The Times a week or so ago from a Jewish German lady who was treated extremely harshly in one of Hitler's prisons in 1936. She recorded very graphically and movingly in a few lines the impact made on her and those with her when they were told that the Olympics were being held in Berlin and that all of the Western countries were going there.

The paragraph goes on to state that to take part in the Games: would be to take part in an obscene farce.

The speaker was a former British Labour Foreign Secretary, Lord George-Brown.







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