When the Argentinian dictators decided to invade the Falklands in 1982, an Australian constitutional lawyer, Dr Paul Gerber, questioned the British title to the islands on ABC television. David Flint, ACM's National Convenor since 1998, challenged that view. The ABC then arranged a televised debate between the two.
David Flint argued that the British occupation from 1833 was fully in accordance with international law. He maintained this argument in a debate with a Latin American historian from the University of New South Wales, Dr Miguel Bretos. Accordingly, the people of the Falkland Islands were entitled to remain under the Crown if this was there wish.
The original recording above was on tape and has since deteriorated. There is a loss of sound towards the end of the ABC debate, and at the beginning of the second debate on Channel 9, but the sound soon returns.
In the meantime, the Argentinian President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, used the 30th anniversary of her country’s invasion of the Falkland Islands – the subject of a rare condemnation by the UN Security Council – to rubbish Britain’s claims to the South Atlantic territory.
The President declared : “It is absurd to pretend dominion more than 14,000km across the sea.'
” It is an injustice in the 21st century that there are still colonial enclaves,” Ms Fernández said in a speech in Ushuaia, the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego to which Argentina says the islands it calls the Malvinas rightfully belong. But on reviewing the 1982 debates, Professor Flint indicates that he is of exactly the same view which is that Great Britain has a good title under international law to the Falkland Islands, and one superior to any Argentinean claim.
The Argentinian government has ramped up a campaign against Britain by asking other South American governments to act against Britain and the Falkland Islands authorities. Some have taken sanctions, such as refusing access to their ports.