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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2585

Mr FISHER —I refer the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism to his Press release last month announcing tougher policies on sporting contacts with South Africa. Does the Minister believe this hardening of policy will lead to the loss of international endorsement for Australian tournaments or the restriction of competition by Australian teams in third countries? Is the Minister concerned that by continually raising the stakes the Government will breed cynicism rather than encourage a healthy attitude to change?

Mr JOHN BROWN —This Government adopts the view which has been adopted on a bi- partisan basis in Australia for the last 10 years at least with regard to apartheid. We view apartheid with a considerable amount of opprobrium.

Mr Peacock —But you apply your policy with a double standard.

Mr JOHN BROWN —We apply our policy very fairly. The policy which has been formulated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and me now calls upon individual South African sportsmen or sportswomen who want to come to Australia to prove that they are not de facto representatives of South Africa. Amateur sportsmen will have great difficulty in proving that, for obvious reasons. Professional sportsmen will obviously be able to come here to compete in world class events without too much difficulty as long as they are not recognised as outspoken supporters of the apartheid system. There will be no lessening of Australia's ability to stage world class events such as grand prix tennis tournaments in those circumstances.

As far as third country contacts are concerned, the previous Government insisted that Australian teams wishing to compete in competitions in third countries had to make their abhorrence of the South African presence well known when the South African teams arrived and, if possible, in every case withdraw. There were several instances of Australian teams, whose members had in fact paid their own fares to world class events, withdrawing. For instance, the Australian gliding team in Colorado was the only team from a Western nation to withdraw when South Africa arrived. It was greatly to its credit that it did. The Australian golf team in Switzerland was the only Western team that withdrew from the Eisenhower Cup when the South Africans, as is always the case, arrived on the last day.

Our only fear is that people will say in these cases: If all other Western countries are competing and if all other signatories to the Gleneagles Agreement are competing, why should not Australian teams compete? We still ask them, as a matter of principle and as a matter of support for the Australian population's well-known abhorrence of apartheid, to withdraw under those circumstances if at all possible.

So the policy that we formulated in no way weakens the resolve we have as a sporting nation to see that the people of South Africa who are not of white colour-the blacks and the coloureds-are given an equal opportunity in sport in that country.