Senator Ross Lightfoot - Liberal Senator for Western Australia
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Please be assured that Senator Lightfoot is doing all he can in support of the people in Zimbabwe.

Media Releases :
11 April 2000
18 April 2000

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Senator Ross Lightfoot
Liberal Senator for Western Australia
Media Release


The escalation of unprovoked acts of violence against white farmers in Zimbabwe, has prompted Senator for Western Australia, Ross Lightfoot to canvas the possibility of the Federal Government providing a safe haven for those affected by President Robert Mugabe's corrupt racist policies.

Many family farms, now being run by second and third generations of the original white settlers, have been invaded by supposed veterans from the "liberation" war of the 1970's from which Mugabe rose to power in 1980.

Senator Lightfoot has written to the Prime Minister, The Hon John Howard, pointing out the perilous situation currently facing many white farmers, the result of Mugabe's promise of free farmlands to black Zimbabweans in the lead up to Zimbabwe's May elections.

"The current political situation is endangering the existence of around 70,000 people: Britain has established a contingency plan to accept 20,000 settlers if the need arises and I have put forward the need for our government to consider what level of assistance could be offered to others in need” Ross Lightfoot said.

Nearly 25% of the 4,000 white owned farms are now occupied by squatters and many families have left or signed over their properties, fearing further acts violence which have already resulted in the deaths of two farmers.

"It is probable that Australia could offer a safe haven to some of these people as they are forced from their farms and into exile.

"They already have the skills and experience that would be invaluable to regional Australia; in particular, their knowledge and experience of irrigation farming methods. They are well educated, english speaking and have a fine reputation for assimilation into Australian society," Senator Lightfoot said.

Despite Zimbabwe's High Court ruling that forced occupation of farms was unlawful, last week, Parliament granted Mr Mugabe the power to forcibly take land without provision for compensation.

“Mr Mugabe is proving to be one of the worst of Africa’s tyrants, after initially offering so much promise.”

Since coming to power in 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar has fallen from 50 cents to the British pound to 1.5 cents; inflation is 70%; unemployment is 50% and the country is technically insolvent.

Many of these so-called “veterans” are far too young to have taken part in the 1970s war. They are merely thugs and opportunists encouraged by Mugabe and his corrupt government," Senator Lightfoot said.

"The British Government, the European Union and the government of the United States of America have all made representations of behalf of the white settlers," Senator Lightfoot said, "although the United Nations has remained disturbingly silent".


11th April 2000
Further information: Senator Ross Lightfoot (02) 6277 3496 0417 929 089

Senator Ross Lightfoot
Liberal Senator for Western Australia
Media Release


Zimbabwe's wave of violence against white settlers following the failed promise of land reform for black veterans was entirely predictable, according to Senator for Western Australia, Ross Lightfoot.

Despite whites controlling only one third of productive land in the country, Zimbabwe's 4,000 white farmers have become the exclusive targets for violent abuse, beatings, abductions and murder, by blacks attempting to usurp farmers and their families from their properties.

"There is no interest on the part of these bandits, in farmland that was acquired corruptively by wealthy government officials - including ministers," the Senator said.

"The abduction and brutal execution of white farmer, David Stevens is a clear indication of Mr Mugabe's slide into anarchy and black tribalism," Senator Lightfoot said.

Zimbabwe's High Court has ruled that the occupation of white owned farms by some veterans of the liberation war of the 1970's and others, is illegal and ordered the police to remove the squatters. However the police claim that they lack the resources to deal with the armed invaders.

"Four neighbours who went to Mr Stevens' aid and were abducted, have been rescued although they also became victims of this new wave of savagery through the beatings they received," Senator Lightfoot said.

"President Mugabe's decision to deliberately flout his High Court and his refusal to use his influence to end the occupations are further examples of his desperate efforts to attract the votes of these lawless squatters in a lead up to the elections.

"Mugabe has claimed that the actions of these wretched squatters is a justified protest against the ownership of productive land by white settlers. In fact, it is racism against the white Zimbabweans and apartheid in reverse, and regardless of what occurred in the past, two wrongs will not make it right," the Senator said.

"History has shown us that anarchists and despots, even black ones and even in Africa, do not survive - either politically or literally," concluded the Senator.

18th April 2000
Further information: Senator Ross Lightfoot (08) 9325 8449 or 0417 929 089

3rd Floor, The Durack Centre, 263 Adelaide Terrace, Perth 6001

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