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Monday, 16 June 2003
Page: 16554

Mr Rudd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 4 February 2003:

(1) What is the Government's assessment of the impact on Australia's relations of the Prime Minister's comments in support of pre-emptive strikes against the sovereign territories of other nations in the region.

(2) Has his attention been drawn to comments from the Malaysian Foreign Minister on 7 December 2002 concerning the announcement of the new Howard doctrine.

(3) What is the Government doing to mend relations with our ASEAN neighbours.

(4) What is the Government doing to ensure that at the next ASEAN-ARF meeting, ASEAN countries do not need to address the issue of Australia's threatening posture toward the region.

Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows :

(1) Australia continues to have substantial and cooperative relations with countries in the region.

(2) Relevant statements made by my counterparts are brought to my attention as a matter of course.

(3) See the response to Question 1 above.

(4) Australia does not have a threatening posture toward the region.