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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 3044

Mr McLeay asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   What funds have been made available, since 2 December 1972, to religious or other agencies, such as the United Nations, for the specific purpose of combatting racial discrimination in foreign countries.

(2)   In respect of which countries will these funds be spent.

(3)   Are these the only countries in the region where racial discrimination occurs; if not, which other countries in the region practise racial discrimination, and does the Government intend making funds available for use in these countries.

(4)   Which countries in the region do not practise racial discrimination.

(5)   How and to whom is this expenditure accountable.

(6)   What control does the Government have over the choice of projects.

(7)   Is it possible for the funds to be used for other purposes, such as revolution, wars of national liberation, terrorism or guerilla activities in other countries.

Mr Whitlam - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2), (5) and (6) The Government, since 2 December 1972, has not made available any funds to religious or other agencies, such as the United Nations, for the specific purpose of combatting racial discriminition in foreign countries.

In accordance with my announcement on 13 December 1972, the Australian Government has contributed to the following United Nations voluntary funds:


(a)   United Nations Education and Training Program for Southern Africa . . 10,000

(b)   United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa . . 5,000

(c)   United Nations Fund for Namibia . . 5,000

The first fund provides, and also co-ordinates the provision of, scholarships for students from Namibia, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and African territories administered by Portugal for secondary and tertiary education in Africa and overseas. It is supervised by a Committee of Trustees appointed by the United Nations General Assembly and administered by a Director appointed by the General Assembly, who is assisted by the United Nations Office of Technical Co-operation, the United Nations Development Program and the Economic Commission for Europe.

The second fund assists voluntary organisations engaged in providing relief, educational assistance and legal aid to victims of repressive and discriminatory legislation in Namibia, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. The fund also assists countries which accept refugees from these areas. It is supervised by a committee of trustees appointed by the United Nations General Assembly. The third fund assists victims of persecution in Namibia and financies an educational and training program designed to prepare Namibians for independence. It is controlled by the United Nations Secretary-General in co-operation with the Specialised Agencies. Australia's contributions have been paid to the United Nations for the credit of the funds. The moneys may be spent only in accordance with the provisions for the management of each fund. Expenditure is accountable to the United Nations General Assembly, and audited records of expenditure of the funds are submitted annually. Australia is free to express its views on the programs financed by the funds and to recommend suitable projects.

(3)   and (4) Few countries are totally free of racial discrimination. In Namibia, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, however, racial discrimination is actually imposed by law.

As at 5 January 1973, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination had been ratified by 19 countries and signed by 6 countries in the African region. Seventeen African countries have neither signed nor ratified the Convention. The United Nations has not established funds for the use specifically of victims of racial discrimination in other countries.

(7)   No. See answers above.

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