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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 626

Mr LAMB (LA TROBE, VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is he aware that as late as 12 August this year there was available, among other travel brochures at the Trans-Australia Airlines booking office at the Alice Springs terminal, a South African Airways travel brochure offering tours of South Africa and Rhodesia? As tourism is a form of trade, can he inform the House whether this display contravenes the sanctions of the United Nations Security Council agreed to by Australia? If so, what measures will be taken to ensure that such literature is not available in future?

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I have been appalled to learn that as recently as last week the TransAustralia Airlines office in Alice Springs still had some brochures available which included an advertisement for travel to Rhodesia in contravention of Australia's international obligations. Contrary to previously issued instructions to all TAA offices these brochures had inadvertently been overlooked in the Alice Springs office. The office has now received renewed instructions to destroy all remaining copies of the brochure in its possession. The Gorton Government, the McMahon Government and the Whitlam Government have all made clear that Australia does not approve of the sale or advertising of travel to Rhodesia. As far back as October 1970 my predecessor but one as Foreign Minister, the right honourable member for Lowe, assured me that the sale of tickets to Rhodesia by South African Airlines had been discontinued and Qantas, which had been placing advertisements in Rhodesian newspapers and in Australia, was discontinuing those advertisements. After assuming office and having been informed that the sale of tickets to Rhodesia by some airlines, for instance South African Airlines, in Australia was still taking place, my Government last April instructed airlines in Australia not to issue tickets for travel to, from or via Rhodesia. In response to this instruction the airlines advised the Department of Civil Aviation that they would comply with the Government's wishes. Furthermore, the Government has sought the co-operation of newspapers in Australia in not accepting for publication advertisements promoting travel or migration to Rhodesia.

Mr Turner - A point of order, Mr Speaker. In response to a question from the Prime Minister's side of the House he is making a ministerial statement on the Australian Government's attitude to travel to Rhodesia. I submit that this is not a proper matter for question time at all and should be the subject of a statement. Sir, I say that it is your duty as the custodian of the rights of all members of this House to see that all members have a fair opportunity to ask questions. If we are to have the House used as it is being used now and as it was used yesterday, when we had a second reading speech from the Treasurer, then I say that the duty of looking to the rights of all members of this House is being neglected.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! No point of order is involved. The honourable member for Bradfield should have taken this up during the last Parliament.

Mr WHITLAM - If I may conclude the first answer I have been asked to give for over a week, the Government has not only asked the newspapers, but also pointed out to travel organisations that the sale of travel to Rhodesia could be held to 'be a breach of the United Nations sanctions against Rhodesia. I regret that Trans- Australia Airlines continued to defy the instructions of the Gorton, McMahon and Whitlam Governments in this regard and let the country down for so long.

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