Senator Robert HILL — That is the basis of it, otherwise the Minister might as well not be going down this path, the path that he seems now willing to abandon. What step does the Minister intend to take then? The legitimacy of the Khmer Rouge is enhanced by the process; there is no doubt about that. Once they get a position on the SNC, they get national legitimacy as a result.
During the year - this is the year of the Minister’s program - their military activity has increased. Most experts seem to accept that their influence in the countryside has extended. They are now exerting influence over a much greater proportion of the country as a whole, having moved away from just the mountainous and border areas. The strategy is the encirclement of Phnom Penh with guerillas fanning out from Kompong Thom in the north, to Kampot in the south and Kompong Chhnang in the north-west of Phnom Penh - a process of expanding influence. I mention the practice now of attacking trains, with three trains having been attacked in the past year and ever extending signs of influence - still principally a terrorist exercise, not seeking to take and hold large tracts of land.
We have been disturbed by the allegations that they have now been provided with tanks by China. I see that the Minister in his statement today refutes the fact, indicating that Australian intelligence sources now doubt whether tanks have been supplied. That is interesting - it is the first I have heard of it - because it was reported not in any rag but in Jane’s Defence Weekly—
Senator Gareth EVANS — For fuck’s sake.
Senator HILL — For what?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Terry AULICH) - Minister!
Senator HILL — For what?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT — Order! I ask the Minister to withdraw that.
Senator EVANS — For goodness sake.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT — I ask the Minister to withdraw that comment.
Senator EVANS — It is not on the record.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT — I am afraid it is, and I ask the Minister to withdraw it. The speaker responded, it was most disorderly, and I ask you to withdraw any intemperate statement.
Senator EVANS — Of course I withdraw it.
Senator HILL — I think it is probably unprecedented in the history of this place.
Senator EVANS — Well, what a monstrous piece of nonsense—
The first recorded use of the word ‘fuck’ in the Australian Senate, December 6th, 1990. Liberal Senator Robert Hill was responding to Foreign Minister Gareth Evans’ statement on the prospects of a peace settlement in Cambodia, which was reached the following year under Evans’ stewardship.