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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2643


Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - by leave - Upon taking office in December the Australian Government began a complete reassessment of Australia's foreign policy. On 5 December, the day I was sworn in as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, I stated:

The change of Government provides a new opportunity for us to reassess the whole range of Australian foreign policies and attitudes. I shall be reassessing these policies with the general intention of developing more constructive, flexible and progressive approaches to a number of issues. Our thinking is towards a more independent Australian stance in international affairs and towards an Australia which will be less militarily oriented and not open to suggestions of racism; an Australia which will enjoy a growing standing as a distinctive, tolerant, cooperative and well regarded nation not only in the Asian and Pacific region but in the world at large.

These are the very broad considerations which have guided our reassessment and which have inspired the specific policy decisions and actions already taken. In making the reassessment I have been vastly aided by the work of my Department. The advice available to me is the same which was available to the previous Government. The continuity of that advice provides a valuable element in the continuity of Australia's foreign policy.

Our work in the last 5 months has lain not in forcing new directions upon Australia's foreign policy but in making new definitions of the role of foreign policy. Australia's international relations, like those of any other country, must always be directed to maintaining the nation's security and integrity. An approach to foreign policy, however, which is solely an extension of defence policy, a foreign policy aimed only at securing the defence perimeters wherever they are set or however defined, will, in the long run, distort both foreign and defence policies.

We accept, for instance, the assessment of our predecessors that there is no foreseeable international conflict of major proportions directly involving Australia. Our predecessors made this 'assessment in terms of the next 10 years. We may rest on such assumptions but not relax upon them. The positive constructive role of foreign policy - and equally of defence policy - is to strive to ensure that the assumption proves correct. We are not just passively to assume that there will be no conflict; it is our positive task to see that there is not, by helping it remove the causes of tension and conflict. The Government's foreign policy rests upon the belief that Australia, given her resources, her geographical position, her historical and cultural background and the character and aspirations of her people, is well placed to make a serious contribution to the preservation of peace and the promotion of the welfare of our neighbours, while at the same time and by the same path, promoting her own interests and security.

The change in the Australian Government came at a time of very great changes in international relations, particularly affecting our region. When in Opposition the Australian Labor Party worked for those changes insofar as it was in our slight power to do so. There was one man whose position gave him unique power to achieve these changes and I here gratefully acknowledge the pivotal role played by President Nixon in ushering in a new and saner phase in our relations with China; in clearing the way for more intensive commercial, scientific, technical and cultural exchanges between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and thereby achieving a successful first round of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and ending foreign intervention in Vietnam. These were great achievements. None of these great objectives - sensible relations with China, the limitation of nuclear weapons and the end of foreign intervention in Indo-China - have yet been brought to ultimate fruition. The major decisions my Government has taken in foreign policy have all been directed towards their achievement.

This is the context in which some of our most notable decisions should be seen. Our immediate efforts to secure normal relations with China were part of an international endeavour. Our ending of the last vestiges of Australia's military commitment in Vietnam and Cambodia signalled our determination to do all in our power to end foreign intervention in Indo-China.

Decisions like these naturally have attracted the most attention. It should not be overlocked, however, that equally important parts of our foreign policy have required not specific actions but continuing activity directed towards strengthening relations with Japan, India and the Association of South East Asian Nations, with the United States and Canada, with Britain, and the other members of the European Economic Community.

The centra] aim of my Government's foreign policy will be to do all we can as a medium-sized power to help all nations including the great powers and not least our great ally, to make the most of the new opportunities now presenting themselves. We are determined that nothing Australia does by action or inaction will contribute in 1973 to a further loss of opportunity for settlement and sanity, in the way that great opportunities were lost in 1954.

The day is long since past when government actions with implications for our overseas relations could be taken independently of the objectives we have been pursuing at the essentially political or diplomatic level. We must now view the conduct of external relations as a task which involves a total evaluation of our interests abroad and at home. The effective management of these various elements in our overseas relation will require a major effort of co-ordination at many levels within the Australian Government. Foreign policy must now be fully integrated with domestic policy. The two are inseparable.

Despite the relaxation of tension which I have mentioned, suspicion and conflict of interests between the nuclear weapons states persist. So does the existence of inequality, injustice and underdevelopment in many parts of the globe. Through the United Nations and other international machinery we have the opportunity to press for the removal of barriers and constraints against a less hostile and more fruitful development of relations between the major nuclear states. At the same time we should not spare our efforts to assist the developing countries of the world achieve material and spiritual progress in keeping with the legitimate aspirations and dignity of mankind. We believe that in the Third World change is not only inevitable but desirable, and that no peoples can fulfil their ultimate destiny if they are not allowed to arrive at genuinely national solutions to their own internal problems. By this we mean that the movements towards political, economic and social betterment in these countries should proceed along their own course with as little outside interference or intervention as possible and in a climate of security.

In order to help prevent existing differences in political, ideological and social systems from disrupting peace and progress in the area of Asia and the Pacific, we have begun to deal with all the countries which satisfy the criteria of statehood. In this we have broken with the policies of our predecessors. The most glaring distortion in our pattern of overseas representation was China, which ignorance, prejudice and Cold War hostility had excluded for a generation from her rightful place as a member of the international community of nations. As soon as we took office, we initiated the process towards recognising the People's Republic of China - in essence, towards removing our China Embassy from Taipei to Peking, the capital of China of which Taiwan is a province. On 22

December 1972 I was able to announce that the negotiations had been successfully concluded, that Australia had recognised the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and that diplomatic relations would be established at an early date. By this Act we came to terms with one of the central and inescapable facts of the region and redressed a serious imbalance and distortion in Australia's foreign policy. Australia's Ambassador has already arrived in Peking to assume charge of our mission and on the 17th of this month China's Ambassador to Australia, Mr Wang Kuo Ch'uan, presented his credentials to the Governor-General.

We plan to develop a substantial relationship with China based on friendship, cooperation and mutual trust, comparable with that which we have, or seek, with other major powers. To this end, we have already begun actively to explore the practical means of giving substance to this recently established relationship. We aim at developing policies which will promote understanding, mutual benefit and a growing degree of co-operation between Australia and China. Personal visits, expansion of trade and scientific, technical and cultural exchanges will help put our relationship on a solid footing. China's policies, particularly in areas of direct interest for Australia, will be of great importance to us. But China will by no means be the central preoccupation of our foreign policy. Our relationship with China will not develop at the expense of our relations with other countries. Honourable members will be pleased to know from the Press reports this morning that we have now concluded a most satisfactory deal in sugar sales to China. I am expecting at any moment to receive a cable of congratulations from the Premier of Queensland.

In the same spirit, the Government has decided to establish diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the German Democratic Republic, Cyprus, Poland and the Vatican and to make informal contacts with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Similarly, we have decided that on commercial trade with the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, North Korea, North Vietnam and China, Australia will no longer maintain restraints different from those applied to any other country. These changes in our policy in no way affect the restrictions placed by Australia on the export of arms, warlike stores and atomic energy materials. The foundations have already been laid for an expansion of our commercial relations. In March this year we welcomed to Australia the Minister for Foreign Trade of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mr Patolichev, and a high-level Australian trade delegation led by the Minister for Overseas Trade (Dr J. F. Cairns) has just completed a successful visit to China. We expect a North Korean trade delegation to visit Australia in the middle of this year.

It is self-evident that the extension of Australia's diplomatic representation overseas, the opening up of new trade opportunities and the development of our international relations on a more global and general basis are the very reverse of isolationist or inward-looking policies. They commit Australia more than ever before to playing a significant and enlightened role in world affairs. Isolationism is not an option for Australia. It should also be clear from our actions that we have not forsaken established relationships in our efforts to break down old ideological barriers against understanding and co-operation. We shall, for example, be giving even more economic aid to South Vietnam in the coming year than the previous Government did in the last. In pursuit of our even-handed policy towards all the states of the region we invited the Foreign Minister of South Korea, Mr Yong Shik Kim, to visit Australia for discussions on political and commercial matters. We shall maintain this policy in our future dealings with all countries, irrespective of their political or ideological systems, and will not be deterred or diverted from this course by unthinking accusations that we are favouring one nation or group of nations over another. We are not moving into anybody's orbit.

By the same token we do not seek membership of the non-aligned movement. There has been some misunderstanding on this point. We would be prepared to accept observer status at the next non-aligned meeting in Algiers if Australia were invited. There is nothing incompatible between our policy of alignment and our attendance in an observer capacity at a non-aligned meeting. No one has suggested that Australia was seeking to become a Latin American country because it welcomed the opportunity to attend the last meeting of the Organisation of American States in Washington as an observer.

It was therefore only logical that we should from an early stage have examined the possibilities of bringing into existence the kind of regional community which, as I said in my speech to the Summer School of the Australian Institute of Political Science on Australia Day, would be 'an organisation genuinely representative of the region, without ideological overtones, conceived as an initiative to help free the region of Great Power rivalries that have bedevilled its progress for decades and designed to insulate the region against ideological interference from the Great powers'. The only purely regional political organisation of which we are currently a member, the Asian and Pacific Council, quite obviously fails to meet our requirements, since its membership is both limited and selective and includes an entity which we and some other members no longer recognise.

Australia does not belong to the Association of South East Asian Nations, which brings together Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, nor do we seek membership of it. ASEAN has demonstrated its strength and viability as a subregional grouping and it is not in our interests nor is it our intention willingly or unwittingly to disturb the unity, progress and harmony of that association.

It is clear that the new regional arrangements we have in mind will be a slow and delicate growth. We are content at present to let the concept take seed in the thinking of our neighbours in the belief that our approach holds the best long-term promise for bringing about a greater and more lasting measure of regional co-operation and understanding. We remain completely flexible on the timing, structure and membership of any future arrangements. Meanwhile, we shall devote our efforts towards strengthening bilateral relations and continuing careful discussion of future regional co-operation until such time as the countries of the area are ready to participate in a wider regional grouping. One way in which we shall seek to develop these bilateral relations is through our association and consultation with our regional fellow members of the Security Council, notably, India and Indonesia.

An important element of our co-operation with our neighbours is defence co-operation. The form that it takes, however, is vital for the furtherance of our purposes, if it is not to serve contrary ends by aggravating the very tendencies and developments which it is designed to head off. Australia believes that the tactics of containment, forward defence and ideological confrontation are not only no longer relevant but are counter-productive.

Australia is involved in regional defence arrangements, some of long standing, whose continued functioning and value were accepted without question by previous governments. We have not assumed and endorsed these commitments uncritically but are submitting them all to close scrutiny to determine their usefulness and appropriateness in an age which bears witness to growing ideological co-existence and strategic interdependence between the great and small powers alike.

We believe for instance that the South East Asia Treaty Organisation - conceived as an instrument for the containment of China in the cold war era - must be modified if it is not to become completely moribund. We believe that our pledge to uphold the FivePower Arrangements does not require the stationing of forces abroad on permanent garrison duty for its redemption. We believe that there should be full co-operation between Australia and the other participants in the Five-Power Arrangements and that one way in which this co-operation can be effective is through the holding of joint military exercises. We propose initially to have these held on a bilateral basis before investigating the possibility of carrying them out multilaterally. We shall also continue to make facilities available for training personnel in Australia.

Our program of defence co-operation with Indonesia is very much in accord with the Australian Labor Government's philosophy and will serve as a model for future arrangements of this kind. Its guiding aim is to promote self-reliance and the capability to resist external threats. It does not favour the permanent stationing of Australian .military forces abroad, but looks to the development of relations in the defence field through cooperation in such areas as technical aid, training assistance, joint exercises and continuing consultation. The Government will seek cooperation of this kind with our regional neighbours on an informal basis without the need for fixed and formal military pacts. It is on this basis that Australia and Indonesia have together worked out a program of defence co-operation which will continue to be further developed.

Our civil aid however - 2i times the value of our defence aid - is an even more important element in our relations with Indonesia. Our policy on civil aid to Indonesia should serve as an indicator of the approach we shall increasingly adopt in future to Australian activity of this kind overseas. The economic problems faced by Indonesia are common to most of the developing countries in the region. Their efforts are principally directed towards generating more rapid economic growth, creating wider employment activities, maintaining and accelerating expansion of the agricultural sector, achieving more balanced regional development and greater diversification of the economic structure, and providing improved social welfare. These are important goals for all our neighbours. Australia will seek an expanding role in helping our neighbours reach those goals.

Our civil aid and defence policies will have a particular bearing on Australia's future relationship with Papua New Guinea, whose independence will be achieved, I confidently expect, in the closest consultation with the Government and House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea by 1975. Though the constitutional link has not yet been severed, we shall increasingly consider our policies towards Papua New Guinea not in any nostalgic colonial sense, but as though we were already dealing with a fully independent state.

In the period before independence the Government will do everything possible to meet Australia's obligations under the Trusteeship Agreement and to ensure the smooth and amicable transfer of power to the government of a United Papua New Guinea. We very well know how important this period is for the foundation of Australia's future relationship with the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. I look forward to this relationship developing fraternally and on a broad front that goes well beyond normal diplomatic ties. Papua New Guinea will occupy a special position on Australia's network of relationships, but we do not seek an exclusive relationship with Papua New Guinea which will want to find her own place in the international community. As Papua New Guinea's foreign service develops and as her range of international interests grow, we shall be ready to help where we can and as we are asked.

Papua New Guinea will have the first call on our foreign aid program and we shall work closely with the central government of Papua New Guinea through a specific and guaranteed economic program. We shall, however, place no inhibitions whatsoever on the Government of Papua New Guinea >n seeking aid or investment from any country she may choose to invite to take part in her development.

We are also anxious that outstanding questions relating to Papua New Guinea's borders should be settled at an early date so that, when independence is attained, Papua New Guinea's relations with her near neighbours will not be plagued by the kind of territorial disputes which in other parts of the world have done so much to hinder the development of fruitful and mutually beneficial relations between close neighbours. We welcome the successful delineation of the Papua New Guinea - Indonesia border. We attach considerable importance to the early negotiation of administrative arrangements between Australia - Papua New Guinea on one hand and Indonesia on the other to avoid potential sources of friction on the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border. I regret that despite my Government's best endeavours early progress towards agreement on the border between Australia and Papua New Guinea seems unlikely and final agreement may have to await Papua New Guinea's independence.

As well as the close personal, official and political links that have grown between Australia and Papua New Guinea, there are several strong common interests which we share. Perhaps the most important of these is our shared interest in further consolidating our friendly ties with our closest neighbour, Indonesia. Not only must our 3 countries cooperate in the interests of our own peoples and of the region in which we are situated, but we must in our mutual relations seek to set an example of harmonious regional cooperation. Similarly, in the other area of close interest to both of us, the South Pacific, we should, in the future, seek with Papua New Guinea and our other friends in the Pacific to build on progress so far achieved in developing regional co-operation, friendship and partnership. The recent meeting of the Pacific Forum attended by both Papua New Guinea and Australia was a useful step in this direction.

One of the forms which the quest for longer-term security measures has taken is in proposals relating to zones of peace and neutrality in South-East Asia and the Indian Ocean. We consider that these proposals have essentially the same objectives as our conception of a new regional community, namely, to allow peaceful development and the adjustment of relations among the countries to our west and north, free, so far as is possible, from outside interference. On this understanding we have pledged our support for the ASEAN Declaration on South East Asia as a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality, and we shall work towards its eventual implementation; and, in a spirit of co-operation with other countries in the area, we have agreed to serve on a United Nations committee to examine the implications of a Sri Lankan proposal to have the Indian Ocean declared a zone of peace.

The maintenance of our alliance with the United States under ANZUS remains most important for our security, since by its very nature it has created and guarantees in the Pacific a zone of peace in which the peoples of the region have for the last 20 years been free to pursue their political, economic and social goals without fear of hostile intervention or attack. The ANZUS Treaty reflects a natural relationship between these countries of the Pacific. Its continuation is not questioned by any of its partners.

The most disturbing matter presently troubling the South Pacific is the continuation of French nuclear testing. This is the more distressing as in all other respects we have the friendliest and most honourable associations with France. Australia is party to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the NonProliferation Treaty and the Sea Bed Arms Control Treaty, and supports the conclusion of an effective and comprehensive nuclear weapons test ban treaty. We are opposed to all forms of nuclear weapons testing by whatever nation and our objective is the suspension of all such testing. There should be no doubts or misunderstandings about the strength of our resolve on this issue. We have registered with the Chinese Government Australia's opposition to its nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere and are pursuing with the utmost vigour an international legal and political campaign to induce France to abandon her testing program in the Pacific.

The World Health Assembly in Geneva has just adopted by a vote of 87-4 with 10 abstentions, a resolution deploring all nuclear test ing which results in an increase in the level of ionising radiation in the atmosphere and urging its immediate cessation.

Given the feelings of public outrage throughout the Pacific region and bipartisan parliamentary condemnation in Australia of French plans to proceed with her nuclear weapons tests, the Government has acted dispassionately and with considerable restraint, because of the great value it attaches to its wider relations with France, by exploring all possible avenues in seeking a solution to this disagreement. We have used the normal diplomatic channels as well as ministerial meetings and technical exchanges to find a way out of this major problem, but so far without success.

It is in the context of our attitudes to nuclear testing that the presence of two of the United States installations in Australia should be seen. The United States Air Force detachment at Amberley and the Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station at Alice Springs collectively possess technical facilities to monitor the testing of nuclear devices in the atmosphere, on the surface and underground. The Australian Government has access not only to the products of these 2 installations but also to the other wider assessments to which they contribute. It is therefore a positive asset to have established in Australia the means of contributing towards the achievement and monitoring of disarmament.

Prompt, reliable and comprehensive information is vital to the maintenance of global peace and security. We have previously informed the public that the Joint Defence Space Research Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and the Joint Defence Space Communications station at Nurrungar are related to satellites and that they analyse and test data. We. have also stated that neither installation is part of a weapons system and neither can be used to attack any country, and we have been convinced that they contribute specifically to the improvement and development of Australia's defence system.

The Government still has certain reservations about the United States Naval Communication Station at North West Cape and it is our intention to seek a renegotiation of the original terms of the agreement establishing this station in Australia.

I want to emphasise, however, that in our relations with the United States as with all other nations we should not allow any single aspect of our relations to dominate our whole approach. The importance of ANZUS has tended to overshadow the variety and strength of our relations in other fields, such as trade, finance, investment, technology, aviation and culture, which, no less than our defence links, have brought us substantial rewards and benefits. Similarly, under previous governments, Australia has been remiss in devoting her principal efforts and attention to fostering commercial and economic collaboration with Japan without at the same time adequately exploring and exploiting the social and cultural resources which each has to offer the other. We shall seek to remedy these shortcomings. We intend to base our relations with Japan on our desire for wholehearted co-operation in promoting the common interests of our 2 countries and of the region in which we are two of the wealthiest powers.

Just as we plan to address ourselves in future to all the various possibilities of our relationships with other countries, so shall we take increasing account of the global extent of our interests. It is only natural that we should have concentrated our initial efforts on establishing the bases for understanding and co-operation in our own geographical region, but it has no way been our wish or intention to underestimate or neglect the importance of our ties with the rest of the world.

One of the crucial ways in which we must improve our global reputation is to apply our aspirations for equality at home to our relations with the peoples of the world as a whole. Just as we have embarked on a determined campaign to restore the Australian Aborigines to their rightful place in Australian society, so we have an obligation to remove methodically from Australia's laws and practices all racially discriminatory provisions and from international activities any hint or suggestion that we favour policies, decrees or resolutions that seek to differentiate between peoples on the basis of the colour of their skin. As an island nation of predominantly European inhabitants situated on the edge of Asia, we cannot afford the stigma of racialism.

Since taking office, the Government has set about systematically fulfilling this policy goal. On 20 March, on the occasion of the inter- national day for the elimination of racial discrimination, I reaffirmed our intention to ratify the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as soon as the necessary legislative and other measures could be completed. Our decision to deny racially selected sports teams the right to visit or transit Australia should also be seen in this light. We have demonstrated our active concern for the rights of peoples oppressed in Rhodesia and South Africa by voting in favour of the last 2 United Nations General Assembly resolutions on Rhodesia, which we had not previously supported, terminating all trade to and from Rhodesia, and by seeking the closure of the Rhodesia Information Centre in Sydney.

Australia has also contributed for the first time to the United Nations funds established to assist the educational development and other aspirations of the people of southern Africa. We were represented at an international conference of experts for the support of victims of colonialism and apartheid in southern Africa held in Oslo last month. The purpose of this conference was to formulate a constructive program of peaceful action to facilitate and hasten the process of decolonisation and the elimination of apartheid.

Further, we have signed, as a first step towards ratification, the 1966 International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights. The Government has ratified 2 International Labor Organisation Conventions dealing with freedom of association - drawn up in 194S - and protection of the right to organise and with the right to organise and bargain collectively - drawn up in 1949. As the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) stated in the House on Tuesday, we are ratifying a number of other International Labour Organisation conventions as soon as possible, in particular those dealing with equal remuneration - drawn up in 1951 - and with discrimination in the fields of employment and occupation - drawn up in 1958. The Government has made financial contributions to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

In formulating our foreign policies we are particularly conscious of the needs of the developing countries. Since 1945 Australia has spent more than SA1.8 billion on official economic aid. The Government intends not only to expand present programs in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, but will be working towards an official aid target of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product by the end of the decade. Furthermore the Government has already taken steps to liberalise commercial access by developing countries to the Australian market through additional concessions under Australia's preference scheme for developing countries. Consideration is also being given to further changes in Australia's preferential trade with these countries.

Finally there is one area of importance, if not vital domestic concern, which has profound implications for our foreign policy in the future, 'lt is an area in which each step we take within Australia will have repercussions overseas and in which demands overseas will affect each and every one of us in Australia. It is the area of natural resources. Under the policy of benign neglect tolerated by our predecessors, Australia's national resources, their exploration, exploitation, processing and export fell increasingly into the hands of foreign concerns. This was an intolerable situation in itself. But it has a more significant international dimension. Australia possesses a wide range of mineral resources. We rank among the world's 5 main producers of bauxite, iron ore, tin, nickel, silver, lead, zinc, manganese and uranium. In many cases, our importance in the world as a producer is increasing.

At the same time, the western industrialised world is becoming steadily less self-sufficient in mineral and energy resources. This is particularly true of the United States, which has in the space of 20 years become dependent on foreign sources for more than 20 important industrial minerals in which it was previously self-sufficient. Mineral and energy imports currently cost the United States some $US10 billion a year, and the trend towards growing dependence on imported supplies of oil was one of the key aspects of President Nixon's recent statement on United States energy policies. Similar trends are evident in Western Europe, while Japan has long been a heavy importer as she lacks natural resources of her own.

In response to these trends, and as they become increasingly preoccupied with ensuring access to continuing supplies of the fuel and mineral resources on which their economies depend, these countries may be expected to evolve comprehensive resource policies like those already adopted by Japan. Because of our political and economic strength and stability, we are likely to become a significant element in the resource strategies of the importing countries. This will have a substantial effect on our bilateral and even multilateral relations, as we build up a mutually beneficial system of economic interdependence. In short, we are moving into a situation where our commercial and strategic importance to the Western world is giving us a growing political voice.

Now that the procurement of resources is becoming a vital national interest for industrialised countries increasingly short of mineral resources, any domestic resource legislation we make is bound to affect our relations with these countries. It is becoming apparent that we can no longer regard resources legislation in purely domestic terms, but that implications for our foreign relations need increasingly to be taken into account in the planning of government action. We consider that the stage has now been reached where Australia needs to develop policies of her own that take account of the fact that we are becoming the object of others' resource strategies. We must develop policies to ensure our continued access to those resources in which we are not self-sufficient, especially fuel. We have taken numerous steps with a view to securing greater Australian and government control and supervision of the use of our natural resources. Australia has asserted her sovereign rights to explore and exploit the natural resources of its continental shelf out to the outer shelf of the continental margin. At negotiations preceding the next Law of the Sea Conference, Australia has advocated the exclusive jurisdiction of a coastal state over a broad resources zone extending well beyond the territorial sea. I am proud to acknowledge the role that my colleague the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) has played in introducing a Bill which merges the Bill introduced by my predecessor as Prime Minister when he was Foreign Minister in respect of the territorial sea and the Bill that his predecessor promised in respect of the mineral resources on the seabed and under it. But there are wider issues involved than the reassertion of our sovereignty over the territory of Australia.

Current resource trends, and our importance as a producer, will oblige us to define our attitudes on a range of new developments of considerable importance in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. I am thinking of such matters as resource conferences, the question of resource producer and consumer cooperative cartels, regulations for the distribution of resource data acquired by satellite and technological collaboration. All this will require a considerably greater degree of foreign policy expertise than we have at present, and it is with this in mind that the Government has decided to appoint a scientific adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Our possession of a wide range and extensive reserves of resources at a time of unprecedented global resource consumption introduces an element of new complexity into our foreign relations. It alters our strategic thinking, colours our bilateral relations, and presents us with a range of important policy options. I consider resource question will become a very important aspect of our foreign policy, and to that end this Government aims to work towards a comprehensive, integrated resource policy which takes our foreign as well as domestic interests into account.

In developing and implementing our international policies, visits abroad by Ministers and visits to Australia by representatives of foreign governments play a most important and constructive part. The visits I have made and planned for this year and later are primarily as Prime Minister of Australia. When he is overseas, the Prime Minister is necessarily Foreign Minister, whether he holds the portfolio or not. This year's overseas missions - to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the South Pacific Forum, Britain, the Vatican, Mauritius, India, Mexico, North America, Japan and China - are part of my responsibilities as Prime Minister, even more than as Foreign Minister. Parallel to my own visits, are those of the Deputy Prime Minister to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and those to be undertaken by the Special Minister of State to African nations in June. Our own increased activity abroad is matched by an increasing number of visitors to Australia - from every continent - I have already mentioned some of them. We have had a most valuable visit by the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr Ismail, and I am delighted to announce tonight that invitations to visit later this year have been accepted by the Foreign Minister of Singapore Mr Rajaratnam, and of the Philippines, General

Carlos Romulo. There has been no time in our history when Australia has attracted so much interest abroad and, I emphasise, such friendly interest in all quarters. We are glad to welcome the Danish Foreign Minister, Mr Andersen, who is at present visiting Australia.


Mr McMahon - Are you going to Washington?


Mr WHITLAM - Of course. As our nation, our region and world civilisation moves into a more complex, more challenging yet, I profoundly believe, more hopeful era our Government is determined to equip Australia with policies and attitudes to cope with that complexity, to rise to those challenges and to fulfil those hopes.

Our task in recent months has been largely one of clearing away the deadwood of the past. This was necessary to permit us to deal in a constructive, contemporary way with the new realities. In most cases we have made no radical departure but rather have ratified these realities. We now stand ready to develop and carry though, in co-operation with our neighbours, policies and programs which will take Australia forward, as I told the people of Australia on 13 November 1972, to her rightful, proud, secure and independent place in the future of our region and the world.

I present the following paper:

International Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 24 May 1973

Motion (by Mr Enderby) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.







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