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Petulant Evans puts ego ahead of Australian Interests



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4.1 . AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION rN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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Tuesday, January 5 02/93

PE EVAN PUT EGO AHEAD OF AUSTRALIAN INTERESTS: HILL

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Evans, had put his ego ahead of vital Australian foreign policy interests by snubbing this month's inauguration of, United States President-elect Bill Clinton.

"Senator Evans has snubbed the US and the incoMing . Clinton Administration," Senator Mill said.

"In a typical display of petulance, Senator Evans has decided that unless he can have front-row status at the inauguration ceremonies. Ffe.won't visit Washington at all.

"Instead, he will this month visit Europe.

"The Minister has put his own ego ahead of the pursuit of vital Australian foreign policy interests.

"There are a number of issues Senator Evans should be discussing with senior Democrats in Washington.

"These include regional security, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum and the reduction of trade barriers, and the need for a satisfactory outcome to the Uruguay Round of GATT talks.

"The unwillingness of US officials to talk to Senator Evans and the Minister's failure secure meetings are symptomatic of the lower priority given by the Keating Government to Australia-US relations.

"If Senator Evans had been doing'his job properly, meetings with key Democrats and officials in Washington would have been almost automatic.

"Senator Evans has failed to make sufficient direct and personal contact with these people both before and after November's US Presidential election.

"This failure is reflected in the fact that Bill Clinton has made no mention of Australia when talking about trade and foreign policy issues.

"The importance of diplomatic ceremonial occasions such as the Presidential inauguration should not be underestimated.

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"As Senator Evans well know, such occasions often provide scope for important bilateral contacts which advance Australia's interests.

"A Ministerial visit to Washington would have advanced Australia's interests by enhancing bilateral relations with the US and by providing a forum in which to discuss immediate trade and foreign policy issues of mutual concern.

"If Senator Evans is not prepared to do his job properly, then perhaps the Prime Minister should send someone to Washington to do it for him."

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Enquiries: Mark Batistich on (08) 237 7920 or after hours on (08) 224 0167

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