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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 466


Mr PEACOCK —I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he can confirm that his Government has persisted in pushing for Soviet involvement in the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council, against the known wishes of our allies, and will the Minister confirm that, as a result of his Government's intervention on behalf of the Soviet Union, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Kapitsa passed on through our Ambassador in Moscow his `profound gratitude' for Australia's support, and stated that such support `will not be forgotten'?


Mr HAYDEN —An accolade like that is damaging enough, and to really cap it all I need is the honourable member for Kooyong to extend approbation to me. I am most grateful to the honourable member for this question, though. I am always grateful to the honourable member for a question at Question Time. Mind you, I do not have many opportunities to experience this sense of gratefulness. Last year he asked me three questions in the course of the full 12 months.


Mr Carlton —We are sick of the Minister's clowning around. Get on with it.


Mr HAYDEN —Rigor Mortis can move. I am extremely grateful to the honourable member for Kooyong; I am also grateful because he is one half of that celebrated duumvirate, the other half of which is the Premier of Queensland. The Premier of Queensland also has an interest--


Mr Carlton —You are the Foreign Minister, not the court jester.


Mr HAYDEN —It is a matter of timing. I want to bring it to a sharp peak.


Mr Young —What if we sent Joh to the General Assembly? That would straighten them out.


Mr HAYDEN —If the Premier of Queensland went to the General Assembly of the United Nations, he would be the first English speaker for whom they would put on a translator. It sounds like I suddenly have the approval of the Liberal Party front benchers. I was saying that the Premier of Queensland also has an interest in foreign policy matters because last week when I was lazing on the beach at Heron Island listening to the radio I heard the Premier of Queensland being asked questions--


Mr Reith —On a point of order, Madam Speaker: This may be great entertainment, but if the Minister for Foreign Affairs wishes to entertain us I suggest he book a committee room and send out invitations. In the meantime, I suggest, Madam Speaker, that the Standing Orders be enforced and that he be asked to be relevant.


Madam SPEAKER —Order! Would the Minister for Foreign Affairs please be relevant to the question asked by the honourable member for Kooyong.


Mr HAYDEN —It is highly relevant, and it is encouraging that the Leader of the Opposition is at least proposing an extension of time for me. I heard the Premier of the State of Queensland being asked questions at a Press conference, and a pressman said to him: `What about foreign policy, Mr Premier?'. The Premier replied: `Don't you worry about that; you are not going to catch me with any of those trick questions'. So it is a great duumvirate. The Premier of Queensland does not want to answer questions on foreign policy and the Opposition's spokesman, the honourable member for Kooyong, does not want to ask them.


Madam SPEAKER —Does the Foreign Minister want to answer them?


Mr HAYDEN —If I may come to the question, I say simply this: It was not a matter of proposing that the Soviets participate in the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council conference in Vancouver a few months ago against the wishes of our allies. The decision for the Soviet Union to participate was taken with consensual support. Soviet representatives were there as observers; their presence was welcomed by the delegates. I think it desirable to draw the Soviet Union out into productive relationships with the rest of the world rather than shun it, isolate it and have it react in a paranoiac fashion.