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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2341 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

means to live in such a regime and what things that we take for granted simply are not there. The rights that we take for granted to express our views, to participate in public demonstrations, or even to hold a particular belief privately, are rights which people, I understand, in Chile did not have accorded to them.

Mr Speaker, the atrocities committed against the Chilean people by the Pinochet regime are ones that we should never forget because of the strong links between our two societies. It is important that we recognise that there are many in Canberra who have suffered under the Pinochet regime. As representatives of the Canberra community we should take every step to ensure that we recognise that suffering that continues, and the enormous dislocation that occurred, and call on our Federal Government to express in the strongest possible terms that the actions of the Pinochet regime must not go unrecognised and must be brought to justice. Every legal opportunity must be taken to bring vicious dictators like General Augusto Pinochet to justice.

MR OSBORNE (12.12): I cannot imagine being forced out of my country, Mr Speaker. I cannot imagine having members of my family taken, not seeing them again, not knowing what happened to them - husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends. I agree with Mr Corbell that we are truly a very lucky country. I cannot for the life of me imagine what it must have been like to have lived in a country run by a ruthless dictator such as General Pinochet.

I, too, have had experiences with the South American community, Mr Speaker. For seven years in the middle 1980s I had a girlfriend who was South American. She was not from Chile but from Ecuador, a very close neighbour. Her father was a great friend of mine. He was a radio broadcaster on a Spanish radio station in Sydney. During the years that I was involved with this family I went to many gatherings and many parties put on by the South American community. I became friends with many people from Chile. I heard lots of stories about what it was like over there and I, too, saw the sadness in many eyes.

Mr Speaker, I will be supporting this motion. Pinochet has gone from that country but the many guilty parties have not been brought to justice. I encourage all countries to bring these people to justice to ease the pain of the many people who suffered under this terrible regime.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (12.14): I wish to join the debate briefly simply to reinforce those members of the Assembly who have expressed support for this motion. My colleagues, Mr Berry and Mr Corbell, have outlined the situation very well in relation to the importance of motions such as this for members of this community from Chile, those who have personal knowledge and bear grief in their hearts. They bear the continuing sadness of the loss that they have suffered, and I acknowledge that. I acknowledge the speech of my colleague Mr Berry. He put that so well.

I agree with Mr Osborne that it is a fact of Australian life that we do not have the capacity to truly understand the extent of the terror, the extent of the pain and the extent of the dispossession of people who have lived in a nation ruled by a brutal and murderous regime. It is an experience which we in this country have avoided.

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