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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1384


Mr COHEN (Robertson) - I want to raise a matter this evening which I had been prepared to let lie after some of the heat generated in recent months concerning the South African sporting tours had died down. However, we were granted the rare privilege of listening to the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) last night in an exercise in ratbaggery such as I had not heard for a long time. I hope I never hear it again in this House. He accused the people who opposed the tour of all of the worst sort of excesses. Apparently there was an incident in which a prominent South African was rung up and there was a threat to pack rape his daughter and do all sorts of vile things. The honourable member for Deakin lumped this in with members of the Australian Labor Party and those people who opposed the tour. He had the audacity also to quote the gallup poll figures which had shown a continual drift against the tour. I grant that the majority of Australians are still in favour of the tour, but when one recognises that only a short 6 months ago 85 per cent of Australians supported the tour and now it is down to 63 per cent, at this rate it will not be long before the figures reach the 50-50 level, as occurred in the United Kingdom. The honourable member prefers to place his own interpretation on this position, but he is not qualified to do this. I do not know why it is that people are changing their opinion about the tour. I could say that it is because quite clearly they understand the implications of racism that are involved in this matter and now they are prepared to take a stand. He made his own interpretation and said it was because they were fearful of demonstrations.

Let us get to the matter on which I am really rising this evening and that is the headlines that appeared in the Melbourne Herald' today and in a number of other newspapers which read: 'Riff -raff halted tour - Vorster'. The article that followed stated:

The South African Prime Minister, Mr John Vorster, tonight accused the Australian Cricket Board of Control of suffering from a new disease - demonstrates - in cancelling the South African tour. ... 'If Sir Donald Bradman says to me it is my fault and my Government's, I say to him as a good cricketer, "Sir Donald, you are talking through your hat and you know it".'

Further on it states:

Mr Vorsterclaimed that 'all decent Australians,' whether they agreed with the South African Government or not, wanted the tour to take place. Only the 'riff-raff' did not want the Springboks to visit Australia. 'They threatened violence and committed violence. The riff-raff won. That is the long and the short of it. If a minority can get away with it, the conducting of national and international affairs will become impossible.'

Listen to this classic. This is unbelievable:

Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, what now applies to cricket and rugby will apply to other spheres. It is time that democracies take note that minorities are trying to force their will on majorities.

It is almost laughable. Here we have a man who leads li million people and rules 19 million people and talks about the rights of minorities. Let us hear who are some of the so-called riff-raff who are opposed to the tour. Let us start with this article in the Melbourne 'Sun-Pictorial' under the heading 'Liberals back Prime Minister's criticism':

About a dozen Liberal Party members had supported criticism of the Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, over the Springbok cricket tour, Mr C. H. Francis, Q.C., said last night. Mr Francis, 47, a Melbourne barrister, is president of the Party's Stonnington branch. This is the biggest Liberal Party branch in the State.

Riff-raff. Mr Mackerras, a former member of the State executive, resigned from the Liberal Party. Riff-raff. Thirty-one people signed a letter to the Prime Minister, 1 understand, asking for the tour's cancellation. Listen to some of the riff-raff: Robin Boyd, architect - a real radical, rabble rouser, a dreadful fellow; Max Charlesworth, reader in philosophy, University of Melbourne; Dr H. N. Sanger, Chairman, Council Liberal Jewish Rabbis, senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Israel - dreadful fellow, real riff-raff; David Scott - this should interest the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) - director. Brotherhood of St Laurence; Sir Eric Scott, president, Pharmaceutical Service Guild, of Australia; Douglas Wilkie, journalist; and the Most Reverend Frank Woods, Primate of Australia. Listen to this radical - this revolutionary: Mr Kenneth Myer, company director. Riff-raff. We could mention also the World Council of Churches, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Labor Party. I suppose some people would call us riff-raff, but I think that in the general trend of things we have a fair amount of respectability. I have not thrown a bomb for at least a week. Let us quote some of the things that were said in South African newspapers. This was written by Mr Stanley Hurst from Johannesburg under the headline 'Cricketers bitter at tour cancellation':

South Africans and their cricketers and officials have reacted bitterly to the cancellation of the Australian tour. None of the reaction, however, was against Australia - it was almost entirely levelled at the South African Government's apartheid policy, which created the predicament.

The fiercest critic has been Neil Adcock, the Springbok fast bowler of a decade ago who was to have been tour manager. He pointed out that in recent months the Government had changed its policy towards most sports to allow for international, inter-racial competition in certain circumstances, but this had not been done for cricket.

He said: 'One has now to consider the fact of whether we are ever going to play international cricket inside or outside this country. I cannot see it taking place in the next 10 or 20 years. The policy of our Government has been so rigid, especially towards cricket, that one cannot feel they will change.'

The article goes on:

The skipper of a leading Indian club, AbduBhamjee, urged that a start should be made with non-racial cricket at club level and forgettin petty apartheid'.

He said:

In all the years when our non-white players like Basil d'Oliveira were being ostracised and having their ability stifled, our white players and administrators did nothing.

They were all white Jack.

Only when isolation began to threaten their interests did they begin to stand up and speak out for multi-racial sport It was too little and too late.

Another heading from The Sun Pictorial' reads:

Now chaps, you know what it's like to be excluded on grounds other than your ability', the Springbok cricketers were told yesterday.

This is not a local radical, revolutionary university rag but the Rand 'Daily Mail'. The article continued:

But we take leave to remind our cricketers of one thing- what they are experiencing now is no more than the sting of ostracism which nonwhite sportsmen in this country had known for generations.

Now chaps, you know what it's like to be excluded on grounds other than your ability.

True, our cricketers and cricket administrators have spoken out against racialism recently.

But only recently . . . Only when the threat of isolation began to threaten their interests did they stand up and begin to speak out for multi-racial sport.

The East London newspaper 'Daily Despatch' commented yesterday that the chief person to blame was the South African Prime Minister, Mr Vorster.

Yes, it was our Prime Minister who doomed Springbok Test cricket by keeping Basil d'OIiveira from touring here," it said.

That was the beginning of the end - not only for Springbok cricket but for apartheid itself.

It is a sad day when we see garbage like Vorster being able to call decent Australians riff-raff. This is the man who was interned during the war for his Nazi sympathies. That should concern the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman). What a hide this man has to talk about the people I have mentioned as riff-raff. I wonder how many of our friends on the other side will go home and tell their RSL branches how sympathetic they are to a man like Mr Vorster. I have never been as disgusted as I was the other night by the speech of the honourable member for Deakin.







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