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Friday, 30 October 1964

Senator McKENNA (Tasmania) (Leader of the Opposition) . - by leave - On behalf of the Opposition, I deplore the provocative action of Indonesia in relation to yesterday's incident. The activity, of course, is small in scope but nevertheless very irritating in effect, and it could have results of far reaching importance on the whole question of peace in the South-East Asian area. Therefore, it must be looked at as a matter of great importance. The situation that the Minister has explained is not calculated to improve relations between Indonesia and Australia, and that is unfortunate because we wish to preserve the friendliest relations with the Indonesians, in bringing about whose independence we played a major part.

The incidents narrated by the Minister make even more acute the need for adequate defences in Australia and, I would say, sharpen the need for the Government to put before the Parliament its proposals in that regard. I hope that before the Parliament rises some time next month we shall have a full statement by the Government on our defence situation. The news that has been announced by the Minister today will, of course, have relevance to that position. The Opposition warmly supports the idea that, with the engagement of Australian troops, the Government should report the position and the reasons for our involvement in Malaysia to the United Nations.

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