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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4015..


MR BERRY (continuing):

taken to the airport, given $50 and put on an aeroplane to Australia, a place that he had not heard much about. He came here. Of course, he landed in Australia with no English, with $50 in his pocket and not knowing a thing about the country. Imagine the stress that that would have created.

The gathering yesterday was, in many ways, a gathering of some sadness, because these people have not been able to get closure on the horrendous events that occurred and justice has not prevailed in relation to Augusto Pinochet. His death has allowed him to escape justice—assisted along the way by some who ought not have assisted him. I refer in particular to the British government's freeing of him after he had been taken into detention in England. He was allowed to escape because he was too unwell to face trial.

The horrendous regime which he led tortured and murdered many Chileans. Thousands upon thousands of Chileans are now left without closure, because the justice systems in various countries have not been able to catch this scoundrel—as has been the case with many others. That is why I think it is extremely important to note that we must at all times defend human rights and ensure that our justice systems are up to the job. (Time expired.)

Augusto Pinochet

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.15): I would like to follow on from Mr Berry because I also want to speak about the death and the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. I think it is quite a sad thing when one cannot stand up after someone's death and say something good about them. That is, I believe, what we try to do; we are brought up not to speak evil of the dead. And yet, in the case of this man, I almost wish that I believed in the Old Testament concepts of hell, punishment and just deserts.

Augusto Pinochet is a person who should have had those just deserts during his life. He lived a long life, and one can only hope that in the last decades of it he may have experienced some regret. He could have had some very bad dreams; I do not believe that you can thoroughly suppress those kinds of guilt. But, if he did not experience regret, he could have experienced at least some fear that he would be caught and tried as he should have been.

I searched the internet, as one does at these times. I was unfortunately unable to go to yesterday's event in Civic. Interestingly enough, I was at a much more life-affirming event, the launch of the Chorus of Women CD. People might know of A Chorus of Women. It is a group of women who got together in the first days of the Australian government's commitment to join Bush's troops in Iraq. Under Judith Clingan, they produced a beautiful piece called The Lament. I guess that really says it all.

We can lament the people who suffered under Pinochet. I have a number of friends who are in Australia because they knew that their lives probably would not have been long if they had stayed in Chile. I can imagine how they feel today. It is interesting that Baroness Thatcher said that she was "greatly saddened"by the death of her old ally; she always maintained that Pinochet had offered the British invaluable help during the Falklands conflict of 1982. Therein might lie part of the problem.


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