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Thursday, 15 March 1973
Page: 606

Mr COHEN (ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to a disturbing program on 'This Day Tonight' last night in which residents of the Northern Territory expressed attitudes that I think this Parliament would regard as racist and undesirable? Will consideration be given by the Government to implementing or setting up a national committee to combat racism and racial discriminanon which would include groups from all sections of the community so that as well as educating our black population we can start to educate our white population as to the reasons for the plight of underprivileged groups of people, not only Aborigines but other sections of the community such as national groups and ethnic groups?

Mr WHITLAM - I did not see the Australian Broadcasting Commission telecast last night to which the honourable gentleman referred. I would not like it to be thought from anything I say that I object to the ABC allowing the expression of racist views, because it is an unfortunate fact in Australia that there are persons who hold and express such views. They should be exposed to the public in those media. This is one way for the majority of Australians to quell and to reject such views. All I think I can say about the general matter which the honourable gentleman raised - I would like to praise him for his attitude throughout his life in this Parliament as well as outside for his many activities in this field - is that the Australian Government is resolved to press ahead by every constitutional method available to it - in particular since the 1967 referendum and under the external affairs power - to see that any traces of racism in Australia's legislation or administration are expunged. Our attitude in the United Nations in the first 2 weeks of our government - the last 2 weeks of the General Assembly - have made that attitude, we can be thankful, obvious to the whole world. There will be no shillyshallying by the present Australian Government in using any opportunities available to it under the Australian Constitution and carrying out any obligations under international conventions.

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