Proud record

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 September, 1995, 12:00am

I REFER to the letter from 'Name and Address Supplied' headlined, 'Australia being hypocritcal' (South China Morning Post, September 20).

When France was threatened and invaded during World War II, Australia and New Zealand sent thousands of troops to the European and North African theatres to help France regain what it had lost. There were more ANZAC troops sent to Europe than Frenchmen fighting for the French Resistance.

During the Great War, several thousand soldiers, from the 'other side of the planet', paid the ultimate price and died in Flanders fighting for France and its allies.

Though it is true that the first Australian settlers exterminated the Tasmanian Aborigines through 'organised hunts', by far the greatest proportion of deaths of the indigenous peoples of Australasia were caused by their sudden exposure to European diseases such as influenza and measles. They lacked natural immunity. Around 80 per cent of the pre-European population succumbed to these epidemics.

Neither Australia nor New Zealand have on their consciences a history of brutal repression of the indigenous people of Algeria or Vietnam, nor do they adhere to an outdated policy of colonisation.

PAUL BEST North Point