Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of news conference, Media centre, South Pacific Forum, Tarama, Kiribati



Download PDFDownload PDF

//s

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

P R IM E M IN IS T E R

TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS CONFERENCE, MEDIA CENTRE, SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM, TARAWA, KIRIBATI, 10 JULY 1989 .

E & Ο E - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister what do you hope will be the effect of the $6.25 million initiative to study the Greenhouse effect -PM: Well, a basic service that we want to provide is the

assurance to the countries in the region that we are not just looking at this from a point of view of large countries like Australia and Europe and North America, but that we have a very real understanding that for some of them this is

literally a matter of life and death and that what we are going to do is to provide a capacity for measurements in the region, we'll provide monitoring stations, we'll train their own people to service these monitoring stations and that will be intrinsically useful for the global measurement of

the Greenhouse effect but it also I hope will be reassuring to the countries of this region - countries particularly like Kiribati. You only have to be here to see that you don't need much of a rise in the ocean level and you're talking about goodbye Kiribati. So they have - we're not

yet on to this item in detail in the meeting. I'll be coming to talk to them in more detail about that later in the meeting, but certainly last year they were very responsive to the concept. We're now, since that meeting we've had the

committee of experts look at this and I'll be able to give them the details of what we intend to do.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, have you been able to get agreement on a proposal for regional approach to driftnet fishing ....

PM: Yes, we're on to that item now .... and as far as I can

see there is a very positive response to the proposed declaration that I'm suggesting. I've made the point in introducing the item that it seems to me that what we're dealing with here is of such fundamental importance that it warrants more than merely a mention in our overall communique. We believe there should be a declaration coming out of this meeting which is aimed at developing a regime

for the management of albaeore tuna with a view to achieving a ban on driftnetting and through that purpose to have a

2.

(PM cont): meeting of experts to prepare the outline of the convention which would achieve that objective, expressing our hope for that action here leading to a more comprehensive ban around the world. In the meantime while

that convention, or the preparation of that convention is taking shape, the resolution that I propose would commit us individually, as members of the Forum and collectively, to take whatever action against the driftnetters was possible, whether by banning them in national waters or denying them

access, doing whatever we could to make it difficult for them to profit from their activities. Also the declaration proposes that we should, as we work towards the establishment of such a convention, do whatever we could in other international forums to try and bring an end to this

practice because, as I've said before, what you're talking about here is not just something incidental as I said in introducing the resolution in a diversified economy like Australia, if one particular sector of our economy is

adversely affected by some international development or other occurrence, we have the opportunity of turning to other sectors of the economy, adding to activity in other areas, but for some of these economies here in the Pacific

if they lose their fishing resource they've virtually lost everything.

j o u r n a l i s t : Would the convention be a regional convention

PM: You'd be moving to a much wider, more wide convention than that because it's no good, in other words, just trying to do something here and shifting the driftnetters to the Indian Ocean, for instance. I mean they have been wiping

out the source of our blue fin tuna for instance.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, do you think Taiwan and Japan will respond to the views of the region or do you think it will take concerted pressure on those countries to stop them from

PM: Well, I think you've got to say it requires pressure because just very recently there was a meeting at the officials level of the Forum Fisheries Agency and the driftnetting nations and Korea, to it's great credit, has responded positively and is withdrawing its vessels, but Japan and Taiwan have to this point refused. So, as I

said, it's gone beyond the level of officials. I .think there's an obligation upon the political leaderships here now to take action. I would think that opinion is capable of being mobilised on this issue. I say that for two reasons, one, I think the potential cost of the continuation

of this activity is so obvious and secondly, I based it upon the fact that in my recent visit to France, the United Kingdom, United States and West Germany. I raised this issue and I got positive responses to it in the sense they

3

»

(PM cont): recognise that this was a practice which was both environmentally and economically not acceptable.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, is there a danger that Japan would use it's economic muscle to undermine this initiative?

PM: Well, let me put it this way, to this point the Japanese have been unresponsive as compared with Korea but I think it's one of those issues where you have to keep, not just keep, but increase pressure upon them. It seems to me obviously unacceptable that you can have a practice which

is not just operating to provide some need for the countries which are doing the fishing, but which if continued will wipe out the resource. I mean, the catches are now, it's suggested, at something like twice the sustainable yield.

Now that, getting rid of the economist jargon, if you say, that they are taking out twice the sustainable yield, what that simply means is that they are going to wipe out the resource. And that seems to me something that international pressure should be capable of developing

into a position where the countries which are practising this driftnet fishing will come to understand that it is not acceptable. .

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke your talks with Mr Lange this morning, are you now confident of or do you feel he will buy more Australian Naval frigates in the near future? .

PM: I wouldn't put it that way but let me say that I think its reasonable to put it that I have the impression that a positive view on New Zealand's participation is fairly

JOURNALIST: What?

PM: Well I could just have had a microphone there so you could have listened in to all the conversation I don't think that would be fair to either David or myself.

JOURNALIST: Have you put pressure on Mr Lange?

PM: Look I'm a soft, reasonable, easy-going sort of bloke I have never been known to put pressure on anyone in my life. Were my lips moving then?

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke how much pressure are you prepared to put on Japan and Korea? How far would you go to get the fishing stopped?

PM: Well it’s not a question of how far I'm prepared to go. I hope that the Forum countries will agree to the concept of a Declaration. I am simply saying that my assessment from discussions I have had very recently with

significant countries is that there will be a positive response to any such initiative by the Forum now as a result of the suggestion that I have made for a declaration coming^ ^ out ofithe^Ftirum and I think we ought to use all~diplomatic-^,

presBureseposeible upon Japan and Taiwan to-act"sensibly "'ϋΡ in this matter. ; . '

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

PM: I think we will resolve the issue today, I think so.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible) — -— ~

PM: Well look I think the easiest thing to do is if I read you the actual terms of the proposal so there can't be any doubt about it. We say that we resolve to seek the establishment of a regime for the management of alba

core tuna in the South Pacific that would ban driftnet fishing from the region as a first step towards a more comprehensive ban and then go on to say - determines to this end to convene an urgent meeting of regional diplomatic legal and fisheries experts to prepare the outline of the convention designed to give affect to its common resolve

to create a zone free of driftnet fishing and to ensure such proper management, and calls on the international community to support and co-operate in the urgent establishment of the zone and the drawing up of the

convention. Now to say we would see that as a step towards, while in the first place, directed towards the region would as the earlier language of the declaration suggests lead to a more comprehensive ban.