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Rainbow Warrior . . Page.. 795 ..

Mrs Carnell tries to paint this issue as a move by members in this Assembly against individuals in France. That is absolutely outrageous. She also tries to paint it as a move by individuals in this Assembly against individuals in Australia who might have business interests with the French. This is about providing leadership to the people of the Australian Capital Territory on an issue of world importance. It is about demonstrating to the ACT community and to the rest of Australia, as the Lord Mayor of Brisbane did, that we are prepared to get up and do something, and not merely scold.

What we have seen from the Liberals is a gutless response to an issue of such magnitude that it enrages all the people who live in this region. But the Liberals are not enraged. They have entirely misread the community response. If any of them had taken the trouble to turn up to a very hastily organised rally at the French Embassy last Sunday, they may have got a measure of the heat in the community feeling about this issue. I think they have misread it. What it all boils down to is that Mrs Carnell has locked herself in. With the most appalling timing, Mrs Carnell announced that the Versailles twinning arrangement would be re-endorsed by the Liberals. It does not surprise anybody to see this sort of attitude coming from the Liberal Party, but what does surprise me is the appalling timing. Did Mrs Carnell not even think to ask, “Are there any events which might embarrass us if we go down this path”? It appears not. But, if she had asked that question and if the debate on the nuclear testing arrangements which occurred in the recent French election had been reported to her, would she have prevented this Versailles agreement from going ahead? I think not; because this is about the enduring corporate memory of the Liberals - this commitment to an agreement which was more important than the murder of a photographer on board the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand when the French invaded that country.

Mr Humphries: That was 10 years ago, Wayne.

MR BERRY: Mr Humphries bleats, “That was 10 years ago”. It was an issue that raised anger in the community when Labor argued about it 10 years ago, and the fact that it was 10 years ago does not make it right, Mr Humphries. You sound like the former leader of the Liberals, when he was questioned in the Federal house recently, saying that something that he had done 10 years ago was now all right. But, of course, Mr Humphries thinks that you can make a wrong right with the passage of time. This is a wrong that has been brought on by the leader of the Liberals. Fancy going down the path of telling the French people that this is okay, when the rest of the world is angry about the situation.

Mrs Carnell argues that it will not appear in the media in France if we tear up this agreement. I can tell you, Mrs Carnell, that it will appear if you endorse it - or if you appear to endorse it, because if you do not support this motion you will give the appearance of endorsing what the French are doing, and their propagandists will be quick to pick up that issue. So, let us stop kidding ourselves. We have here the opportunity to demonstrate to the people of the ACT that this is a people's chamber, a chamber that recognises its responsibilities as part of the world community even though it is a territorial government. It is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate to the people of Versailles that other small communities in the world are prepared to stand up on this issue and urge the people of Versailles and of other parts of France to reflect on what has occurred in relation to the performance of their Government.

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