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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1493

The PRESIDENT - Senator Byrnehas asked for leave to amend order of the day No. 21. Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator BYRNE -On behalf of Senator Kane I move:

In paragraph (2), leave out all words after 'Security Council', insert 'to enforce the United Nations ceasefire proposal which is based on direct negotiations for a Middle East settlement between the Arab governments and Israel. The Senate further calls on the Australian Government to use its influence to ensure that those negotiations are based on Israel's right to existence within secure and defensible borders'.

I ask leave to make a short statement to indicate the purpose of this amendment.

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator BYRNE - 1 am appreciative of the action of the Senate in granting leave, firstly, for me to move the amendment and, secondly, for me to make a short statement. I have moved the amendment on behalf of Senator Kane who will be in Canberra in a short while and who possibly will address himself to the amendment when he participates in the debate. Therefore I do not want to speak on this matter at any length or anticipate what Senator Kane would say and, as a result, trespass on the indulgence that the Senate has given to me to make this statement. It has been necessary to move the amendment because of the current developments in the Middle East situation which have resulted in a ceasefire which has not been totally observed but which still operates at the instance of the United Nations. Because of the considerations which may arise from that, it would possibly be untimely and perhaps not altogether relevant to persist at this stage with the existing paragraph (2) of the motion as originally proposed. The original paragraph states:

(2)   That the Senate condemns these attacks as endangering world peace; and, accordingly, the Senate calls on the Australian Government to use its influence in the Security Council to bring world pressure to bear on Egypt and Syria to withdraw their forces behind the 1967 cease fire lines and agree to realistic negotiations for a Middle East settlement based on Israel 's right to existence within secure and defensive borders.

The substantial elimination in the alternative proposal is a reference to retirement behind the 1967 ceasefire lines. I think we are all conscious of the fact that Senator Kane propounded the motion acting on the advice which apparently was current then and held in the United Nations that there had been actual aggression. It was a stern proposal. But in view of the sensitive negotiations which are pending and which we all hope and trust will culminate in the successful conclusion of the war and which will proceed to a settlement on just terms and on political lines, we think that it would be unwise to persist with this insistence according to paragraph (2) of the motion.

We are conscious of the fact that a political settlement must entail the recognition of the rights of both sides- not merely the rights of Israel, but also the rights of the Arab nations which are involved in the war. Any political negotiations, any attempt at settlement, will have to consider the rights and entitlements of all the nations in the area affected so that a just and lasting settlement can be achieved. We still persist in the proposition that Israel shall be recognised as a viable State, with viable and defensible boundaries within the African continent and in the area in which it is situated. We insist on that, and I think that possibly finds universal recognition now. I think that it would be accepted possibly by most people in the Arab world. It .would be accepted as a proposition by all nations over the face of the earth. Therefore, that is implicit still as expressed in our motion.

But we do not go to the point how of insisting on retirement behind the 1967 ceasefire lines following the Six-day War, because insistence on that at this stage could only perhaps render more difficult a settlement which would be just and equitable to both sides and which would be so widely welcomed by the whole world. It is in those circumstances that I have moved the amendment on behalf of Senator Kane. I sought leave of the Senate, which was kindly granted, to present this motion on which debate may now proceed.

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Willesee and I take this opportunity of welcoming him back.

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