Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2343 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
around our region similar stories. We have the repression and suffering of Indonesian and East Timorese, and the genocide of the Cambodians under Pol Pot. Australia has been a refuge to many an exile and those seeking a new life, and our responsibility in this Assembly is twofold.
We must show our support to local residents by condemning the Pinochet regime and supporting, through the Federal Government, his trial for genocide, and we must be diligent in future assessment of and protest against human rights abuses across the world. I understand that the Australian, Latin American and Spanish communities have banded together in Canberra in solidarity to bring Pinochet to justice. I also understand that they are meeting on Friday, 6 November at the Spanish Club at 7.00 pm. I urge members and the community to support the local Chilean community and give them, and many other Canberrans who have come from similar repressive regimes, hope that we are behind them.
MR RUGENDYKE (12.22): I also rise to support this very important motion. It is important to speak out against the dreadful atrocities of all dictatorships, and in this case particularly those of the Pinochet regime. I offer my condolences to the Chilean community, many of whom have very vivid family experiences of atrocities inflicted upon the Chilean people. It is important, Mr Speaker, that General Augusto Pinochet is brought to justice to take responsibility for the treatment dealt out by his regime.
My own contact with the Chilean community is very brief. It has been through families such as the Amstein family, following the serious assault on their son, Eddie, and through the tragic passing of Gonzalo Jofre at the age of 16 through cancer. It is important that we support this motion and let the Chilean community know that Australians, particularly we in Canberra, support them and send out the strongest message possible that atrocities dealt out by regimes such as the Pinochet regime are totally unacceptable.
MR BERRY (12.24), in reply: I rise briefly to close the debate. The first thing I should mention, Mr Speaker, is that tomorrow, at 12.30, there will be a deputation to the Chilean Embassy by the community in the ACT to draw their attention to the feelings of the ACT community. That delegation will then go to the Spanish Embassy to draw their attention to the matter as well. There has already been a delegation to the British High Commission, which I attended. I think it is of significance that the community here is prepared to press on with their demands in relation to the Pinochet regime.
I think it has been said, and I am probably repeating it, that we take human and political rights for granted in this country, Mr Speaker, but let us not forget that the diminution of human and political rights in other countries, if allowed to continue without protest, one day will impact on us. While we have many human and political rights, it is important that we exercise them in a way that will help other people on this planet. We are all troubled, I am sure, by the horrifying news we receive - again, this has been mentioned in the Assembly - about events in other places where despots, as they have been described, are at work against the interests of democracy. This present case is an example which has been brought to our attention because of General Augusto Pinochet's arrogance and his trip to the UK, and the moves by Spanish people in defence of their nationals who were killed in the course of the Pinochet regime.