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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3413


Mr MORRISON —by leave-The honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) seems to have some difficulty in comprehending the nature of the coalition in Kampuchea. It is composed of three parts. In fact, it is locked in- I can only stress this again-to the Pol Pot component of the coalition. There is the Son Sann part of the coalition, the Pol Pot part and that part that has loyalties to former President Sihanouk. I think there was an attempt deliberately to mislead the House about the nature of the coalition that was formed which is supported by China and the countries of the Association and South East Asian Nations, some to a greater degree than others.


Mr MacKellar —Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. The honourable member has suggested that I sought deliberately to mislead the House. I take exception to that. That privilege is taken up by the Government side of the House.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond) —This is not the time for a personal explanation . I do not see any substance in the point of order. If the honourable member wishes he may make a personal explanation at the proper time.


Mr MORRISON —Certainly the honourable member has confused the House in the presentation he has just made. I make it clear for the House that the coalition is formed of three parts and that the Pol Pot section of the coalition is an integral section. It is absurd to talk about a non-communist coalition when it is very much bound up with the Pol Pot regime.

As the current Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, I welcome the response of the Government, belated though it is. In fact, the report was tabled on 10 June 1981. The honourable member for Warringah made the comment that the report did not substantiate the observations that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) made. I point out that one of the main recommendations of the report that the Committee tabled in June 1981 was that Australia should discourage diplomatic support for the Democratic Kampuchean Regime. That is spelt out in very simple terms. I went through the speech I made when that report was tabled. I found a curious echo of what is happening today. In my speech, which is recorded on page 3426 of Hansard of 10 June 1981 I said:

I noticed in the newspaper today a report of a threat by the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs which is directly relevant to the matters discussed in the report of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. It was reported that if Australia did not vote in favour of the Pol Pot regime that would be a black mark, to use Mr Rajaratnam's phrase, against Australia.

Things have not changed. That statement was made when the honourable member for Warringah was associated with the Fraser Government. Another recommendation of the Committee has been dealt with with assiduity by the present Government. I will read the recommendation. It states:

The Government should utilise its relationship with ASEAN to encourage all forms of dialogue between ASEAN countries and Indo China which may help decrease tension in the region, and promote a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Kampuchea. Australia should also continue to lend its support to international efforts aimed at decreasing regional tension.

That recommendation by the Joint Parliamentary Committee was agreed to by all members of the Committee, including the then Government members and the now Government members. That is precisely what the Australian Government of today, under the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden), has implemented. The Government, has, in fact, carefully implemented the major recommendations of the report. Reference was made to the dissenting report. That dissent was not along party lines. I observe to the House that one of the members of the then Government, Senator Sim, associated himself with the dissenting report which dealt only with the question of the resumption of aid to Vietnam. To indicate how Australia might contribute to the resolution of the Kampuchean question I will quote from the dissenting report. It stated:

We should not delude ourselves that Vietnam is likely to withdraw its forces from Kampuchea until it is assured that a government friendly to its interest's is firmly established in Kampuchea. The prospects for a resolution of the Indo Chinese problem in the short term are not bright. However, in the longer term an accommodation is possible and we should direct our efforts to this eventuality. In the nature of the process there will of necessity be compromises in the positions taken by all interested parties. A more flexible Australian position will assist in this process.

I compliment the Australian Government, particularly the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in adopting that policy and in adopting a more flexible Australian position in the process. Furthermore, I compliment the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the very sound and sensible statement that he has made today on a subject which we all recognise is enormously complex.