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Wednesday, 18 September 1974
Page: 1191

Senator DEVITT -You will not frighten him into resigning.

Senator WITHERS -I know that he will not resign.

Senator Wheeldon - That is the first correct thing that you have said all afternoon. He will not resign.

Senator WITHERS -That is right, because he has no sense of shame. That is why he will not resign. A man who could conduct that affair in the way it was conducted that week has no shame. I believe that he has no sensitivity for human rights.

Senator Devitt - I do not think you have him worried.

Senator WITHERS -We will not worry Senator Willesee because he is not a man who is sufficiently sensitive on these matters to take note.

Senator Devitt - You are being terribly unkind, and it is a poor form of debate.

Senator WITHERS -Oh, no. He has earned those words because of the way he has conducted himself in this chamber. Let us look at the Baltic states affair. Senator Murphy said that some time between 1966 and 1970 3 names were left off a list of treaties. He implied- leaving the inference to us- that at some time in that period the Australian Government recognised de jure the incorporation of the 3 Baltic states in the Soviet Union. If that is the best he can do he ought to give up.

This Government did something that it was not quite game to make public. How did that recognition come out? It oozed out- just as the Budget did- over two or three weeks. It oozed out- leak, leak, leak. That is what happened as regards the recognition of the Baltic states. The Government has said that we must face reality. I do not think that that argument is sufficient to convince anybody. My colleague, Senator Sim, said: 'What about the realities of Taiwan?' Everybody admits the reality of Taiwan. I think that even honourable senators opposite admit that the Government in effective control is the Government which claims to be the Government of Taiwan.

Senator Wheeldon - Are you suggesting that we recognise Taiwan and not Communist China?

Senator WITHERS - I am not saying that.

Senator Wheeldon - It must be one or the other because both claim to be the sovereign government for the whole of China. That is the choice which you have to make.

Senator WITHERS -No, that is the choice you were given.

Senator Wheeldon - It is the choice that everybody has to make. The Government of Taiwan also claims to be the Government of the whole of China.

Senator WITHERS -There you go again. Just because this Government was cowardly enough to pick up the choice and do as China or Russia advised -

Senator Wheeldon - The Russians are not the Chinese. Make up your mind. Are we pro- Chinese or pro-Russian? We cannot be both at the same time.

Senator WITHERS -Can you not? This Government can because I thought that it had 2 foreign policies- and it certainly had 2 economic policies on the night when the mini-Budget was presented about a month ago. Does Senator Wheeldon mean to tell me that this Government cannot be 2 things at once? That is the whole trouble with it; it does not know which side it is on at the present time. We do not know whose foreign policy is running this country, whether it is Senator Willesee 's foreign policy or Dr Cairns ' foreign policy. The Government can be 2 things at once. There are 2 parts of a party trying to be one thing or the other, and this is the Government's whole problem. Anyhow, when Senator Wheeldon rises to speak he will no doubt inform us as to the whole reason why this action over the Baltic states was taken. He will no doubt inform us that he was a party to the discussion and that he was consulted both as a Minister and a member of the Government and as a member of Caucus regarding the whole reason why this action over the Baltic states took place. We have not been able to obtain that information from Senator Willesee and we have not been able to obtain it from Senator Murphy. Perhaps it will be 3 times lucky. Being the third Minister to speak this afternoon, we wait with bated breath for Senator Wheeldon to give us chapter and verse as to the total reasons why this decision was taken. As we are so anxious to discover those reasons and as we more or less have an assurance from Senator Wheeldon that he will give them, I now invite him to stand and give them so that for the first time the Senate may obtain some information as to this whole shabby, sorry, affair.

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