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Thursday, 17 April 1980
Page: 1550

Senator WRIEDT - My question which is directed to the Minister for National Development and Energy flows from the answer he gave to Senator Chipp in which he referred to the perilous state of affairs in the world and the Government's view that the position is perilous as a result of actions taken by the Soviet Government. In view of that statement and in view of this Government's continued pressuring of Australian athletes to boycott the Olympic Games, I ask the Minister whether he will ask the Prime Minister, and any of his ministerial colleagues who are wool producers, to similarly boycott the sale to the Soviet Union of wool which is produced on their properties; that is, make it a condition of sale to any agent that the wool is not to be exported to the Soviet Union.

Senator CARRICK -I said that the Government's view that the world is in a perilous state is shared by an overwhelming number of members of the United Nations.

Senator McLaren - Answer the question.

Senator CARRICK - That is the answer to the first part of Senator Wriedt 's question. The Government has made it clear that it has responded to the terms of the trade agreement of the Co-ordinating Committee on Exports of Technology to Communist Countries, which is universally accepted as the code of boycotts in terms of defence and defensive measures in the world. It has abided by that agreement and, in terms of ordinary produce, that has been so. There has been a significant belief by a cross section of all communities that one should not proceed with a boycott where two things happen: Where one could be physically hurting people by denying, substantially, food and food products -

Senator Wriedt - Like the Red Army in Afghanistan.

Senator CARRICK - I am bound to say that the Labor Party objected when we cut off such supplies to the Vietnamese Army for its use. It is important that we should not have double standards. When our argument was given for acting in that way towards Vietnam, the Labor Party said that we were wrong. It cannot have double standards. The reason for the Government's boycott has been made perfectly clear. I will pass on the question to the Prime Minister as it is for him to decide whether he will answer.

Senator WRIEDT -Mr President,I have a supplementary question. Are we to assume, from the answer given by Senator Carrick, that it is justified to expect other people to impose a boycott, in whatever area, but it is not justified where the Prime Minister and possibly colleagues of his receive moneys from sales of their products to the Soviet Union? If that is not a double standard, what is?

Senator Grimes - Blood money.

The PRESIDENT - Order! For the third time, Senator Grimes, I note the innuendoes in respect of money when the Minister is replying to a question. Now I am warning you. Do not persist with innuendoes which are not conducive in this place to a reasonable atmosphere of co-operation and ability to make this place work. 1 am warning you.

Senator Grimes-With respect, Mr President, you have warned me and named me and said that I was interjecting and making innuendoes. The question Senator Wriedt asked was about the receipt of moneys by wool producers who may be in the Government. My interjection was that this is blood money. There was no implication that Senator Carrick, who we know is not a wool producer, was accepting blood money. Surely we are permitted to ask in this place where the Prime Minister and others get their money from and whether they get it from Russia or other communist sources. I will persist in asking those questions. I am not defying your ruling,

Mr President,but by the same token as a senator in this place I will not be silenced.

The PRESIDENT -The honourable senator can do so, as long as he makes no personal imputations.

Senator CARRICK -Senator Wriedt asked whether double standards were involved in asking athletes not to go to Moscow and in not imposing a total trade boycott on Russia. If we ban wool we should, of course, move into every form of trade. There is no argument on wool.

Senator Wriedt - Why shouldn't you?

Senator CARRICK -I take it that the interjection by Senator Wriedt means that the Labor Party is advocating a total trade boycott of the Soviet Union. If that is not the case, why is the interjection made? Let me reveal that double standards are not involved. The great aim of at least 50 nations is to try to get a message to the Russian people as distinct from a message to the Kremlin. The nations believe that the Kremlin itself will deny passing messages on to the people of Russia if only trade is involved. The best way that we can get a message across is for the Russian people who have believed that the Olympic Games are being held in Russia because of Russia 's ideological views -

Senator Keeffe - I raise a point of order. Mr President, you have continually ruled in the past- I suppose we have continually objected to the practice- on the Minister's taking the opportunity at Question Time to make very lengthy speeches in reply to questions.

Senator McLaren - It has nothing to do with the question.

Senator Keeffe - No, it has not. The regular Thursday morning aberrations of the Minister are getting terrible to bear. I suggest that you, Mr President, again remind him of your previous rulings in relation to the shortening of answers.

The PRESIDENT - The Minister may answer in his own way but there shall be no debate in the answer.

Senator Carrick -If I may speak to the point of order -

The PRESIDENT - I have ruled on the point of order.

Senator Carrick - I say simply that if honourable senators were to peruse questions and answers given to the Senate in recent days they would find that the answers have been very short indeed.

Senator Cavanagh - I raise a point of order. What right has the Leader of the Government in the Senate to canvass your ruling, Mr President? You have ruled on the point of order. It appears that we are to have a debate to rehash whether your ruling was right or wrong. We have finished with the matter; let us get on with the business.

The PRESIDENT - My rulings may never be canvassed. I did not detect that the ruling was being canvassed.

Senator CARRICK - I was not canvassing your ruling, Mr President. I was asked whether there were double standards. I said no. At least 50 nations believe that an effective Olympic boycott would get the message through to the people of Russia. They do not believe that a trade boycott would do so because the Kremlin would get its supplies from other countries. That answer is quite clear, quite pertinent and short.

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