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Wednesday, 9 November 1983
Page: 2485


Mr PEACOCK —My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade. I refer again to the parlous state of relations between Australia and the Association of South East Asian Nations, which is unprecedented in Australia's history. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that no danger occurs to Australia's trade relations because of the parlous state that has been created by the inept handling of the portfolio by the Minister for Foreign Affairs?


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —There is no parlous state either in trade or in foreign affairs. The only parlous state exists for the Opposition with its Leader. That is the problem.


Mr Peacock —No dialogue?


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —The Leader of the Opposition does not give me a chance to answer the question. The point is that our trade is improving, as I told him a few weeks ago. It is at record levels and will continue to improve. We have very good relations with ASEAN. We are sponsoring trade exhibitions in countries belonging to ASEAN and they have been invited here to do likewise. I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition is so sensitive about this issue. There is nothing wrong with our relations with ASEAN.