Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 25 February 1992



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 25 February 1992

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 25 February 1992 Mr PERRON: A sleazebag. It Is all fair game. In Australia, we throw mud at each other and that is okay. Other countries have different histories. They do not have 15 million people spread over an area as big as Europe. They see things very differently. They may have religious and racial tensions that we do not understand and perhaps a history of the violent seizure of power by political parties. Those histories must be borne in mind when we ask why they do not tolerate dissent from the government in the same way as we do or why they do not adopt our standards. We believe these people are somehow less human than us or less holy than us because they do not have that kind of tolerance. Indonesia is not alone in this. Detention without trial occurs in Singapore. It has occurred for years. A political prisoner in Singapore has been in prison for 25 years without trial. He was the leader of the opposition. Let's be fair. If we adopt the principle that we will judge them by our standards or our conventions - I got into trouble for using the term 'our standards' - why don't we sever our relationships with these other countries? Members interjecting. Mr PERRON: We are not talking about countries that have accidentally or purposely shot people. However, if detention without trial is so obnoxious to us in Australia, we ought to apply pressure to these countries and say we will not sell them our beef or wool or wheat until they change their rules because, being civilised, we know how to run their countries better than they do. That is the attitude that members opposite are purveying about Indonesia in so many respects ... Mr Bailey: No, we are not. We are saying that you should not go over there and crawl to them. Mr PERRON: In fact, in many countries, anti-government demonstrations are regarded in the same light as treason and carry the death penalty. In Indonesia, they carry the death penalty. Thus, we can also attack Indonesia for having the death penalty. We are supposedly too civilised and sophisticated to have the death penalty in this country. It is interesting to consider the following hypothetical situation. If the Indonesian government decided that a military officer was guilty of ordering the killings in East Timor and sentenced him to death, we would all have to man the barricades, say that the death penalty is barbaric and the officer could not be killed. To some degree, we have to keep out of other people's way. If we were to sever relationships with foreign countries until they behaved in the same way as we do, we would find ourselves very isolated. The member for Nhulunbuy ought to listen to this very carefully because, quite clearly, he has not given a shadow's thought to his comments that we should not deal with these people until they get their act together. I wonder where Australia would be if we had adopted that attitude to countries with whom we have done business over the years. Take the USSR for example. Now that people power has come into play, the USSR has broken up. Peace is breaking out all over the world - at least temporarily. We have had considerable dealings with the USSR over the years. Under the direct policies of the supremos of the USSR's regimes, and not only the military, I wonder how many people were detained without trial, how many people disappeared and how many distant ethnic groups were massacred for giving them a hard time. For years, we could not even find out about nuclear accidents and some of the awful events in those countries are only now being revealed. However, we were happy to do business with them. 3631

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