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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2653

Mr SPEAKER -Order! In speaking to the adjournment motion, the honourable member will be completely out of order in referring to a debate which has taken place during the session.

Mr McLEAY - Well, I will not refer to that debate. There is another matter which I wish to mention. I remind you, Mr Speaker, and the House that today is United Nations Day. I make the point that certainly in my view, and I think in the view of many people in this community, the United Nations is failing miserably in its job of maintaining world peace. Without seeking to kick any can, as no doubt we will be accused of doing, I make the point that the United Nations General Assembly at any rate appears to be promoting international communism in most of its debates and certainly in the debates on the specific committee about which I wish to talk tonight, which is known as the Committee of Twenty-Four. A great many members will agree that the United Nations General Assembly is currently used to disseminate propaganda that supports the communist ideology. We find nations with a communist totalitarian form of government ganging up on other nations which do not have communist forms of government. It is in this context that I wish to bring to your notice, Mr Speaker, to the notice of this House and to the notice of the people of Australia, the way in which I think the General Assembly is being used to the detriment of Australia. In this context, I refer to the Committee of Twenty-Four.

Let me explain what that means. The Committee of Twenty-Four is the short title for a committee of the United Nations - I again ask honourable members to bear in mind that today is United Nations day - which is the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of a Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. That is the long title of this Committee, commonly known as the Committee of Twenty-Four. In 1960 this Committee was sponsored in the United Nations General Assembly by Soviet Russia. The Australian Government joined this Committee, no doubt, because it felt at the time that the Committee would perform some useful work. During the time of the former Liberal-Country Party Government - I think it was in 1963 - Australia withdrew from the Committee because the Committee used the United Nations to attack Australia.

It accused us of racial prejudice in respect of Papua New Guinea. At the same time Britain and the United States of America withdrew from the Committee. I think it is fair to say that most democratic countries withdrew.

My purpose in drawing this matter to the attention of the House tonight is to deplore the decision of the Whitlam Labor Government for Australia to rejoin this Committee of Twenty-four, simply because the Committee of Twenty-four includes representatives of 17 totalitarian governments. That is being generous. Of the 24 members, 17 have strictly totalitarian and largely communist governments. Australia is now the twenty-fourth member. Until a couple of months ago there were 23 members. I would like to give some examples of the ineffectiveness of this Committee, which was set up to deal with the new independence of former colonial countries and which is supposed to deplore any form of discrimination. Without spending too much time on the ineffectual futility of this Committee, let me mention quickly a couple of examples of selective sanctions and resolutions prepared by it. You will remember, Mr Speaker, that 3 or 4 years ago there was the trouble in Nigeria. I think that somewhere between 1,000,000 and 1,500,00 Ibo people were murdered by Nigerian troops. There was not a word from the Committee of TwentyFour which is supposed to be dealing with colonial matters and the independence of newly emerging nations. I guess that was because it was a case of black people against black people.

In Burundi at the moment a civil war is taking place in which there have been nearly 250,000 casualties. There has not been a word from the United Nations or this Committee of Twenty-Four, of which Australia is now a member. I would like to go through some other examples of Australian and United Nations non-concern about discrimination. If I had the time to do so, honourable members would find that the Committee is always concerned with white nations allegedly discriminating against black people. For that reason I would like to put on the record the names of the nations which comprise he Committee of Twenty-Four. Australia is the twenty-fourth member. Listen to the company we now keep in the United Nations and bear in mind that this Committee was established in 1960 by Soviet Russia. The members are Afghanistan; Bulgaria - both those countries are military dictatorships; Chile; Czechoslovakia, which is a satellite of the Soviet Union; Congo Brazzaville; Communist China - I do not suppose that Communist China could ever claim to be anything but a country that discriminates against Tibetans; Ethiopia-

Mr Armitage - The People's Republic of China.

Mr McLEAY - That is the same thing. I take the point.

Mr Armitage - That name went out a long while ago. Even your own leaders have dropped it.

Mr McLEAY - I say what I think. I do not follow the Party line like you poor ALP hacks. Another member of the Committee is Fiji, which was given independence by the British Government. Britain gave control to the Fijians who form a minority government, but because they are not white that is all right. Other members are Indonesia, which is a military dictatorship; India, in which there is discrimination everywhere because of the cast system and which should never criticise any other country for racial discrimination; and Iraq, where there is public hanging of Jews.

Mr Whan - This is a good friendly speech you are making tonight.

Mr McLEAY - I appreciate the interjection, but I am trying to draw the attention of the House to the deplorable decision of this Government to join with a group of at least 17 totalitarian dictatorships, mostly communist countries, where there is no freedom of speech and no civil liberties whatever. There have been plenty of resolutions attacking countries where there is freedom of speech, although perhaps there is discrimination. I am saying that these people who allege discrimination should go to the countries where they allege discrimination takes place.

Mr Armitage - Go back to South Africa.

Mr McLEAY - Mali, is another member of this Committee of Twenty-Four. I think that the honourable member who just interjected said: 'Go back to South Africa'. I would like to see the honourable gentleman with the big mouth go to South Africa himself and have a look at its problems.

Mr Armitage - Well, you go to China and have a look at them, too.

Mr McLEAY - I do not think China has any problems because there is no democracy whatever in China. The Union of Soviet. Socialist Republics is another member of this illustrious Committee.

Mr Armitage - Do you reckon that-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Chifley should cease interjecting.

Mr McLEAY - I do not mind him, Mr Speaker. He has a big mouth and he continually falls in it. I do not think one could say that there is very much freedom of speech or many civil liberties in the USSR. There is discrimination there against the Ukranians, the Czechoslovakians and people from the Baltic states. There is discrimination against Jews. There is discrimination against anyone who is prepared to dissent from the Government's policy. There is also discrimination against-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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