Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Hawke should take Keating advice on foreign policy: Hill



Download PDFDownload PDF

MEDIA RELEASE..... SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

3

HAWKE SHOULD TAKE KEATING ADVICE ON FOREIGN POLICY? HILL

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, should take Mr Keating's advice and remedy the Government's foreign policy deficiencies, such deficiencies having first been identified by the Federal Opposition.

Senator Hill said the Opposition believed Australia needed to pay more attention to our region, a view Mr Keating obviously holds.

"Mr Keating directly criticised the Hawke Government's skewed priorities in foreign policy when he said Australia had to have a better understanding of the region in which we lived, " Senator Hill said.

"Mr Keating quite rightly identified Japan and Indonesia as countries to which the Government does not pay enough attention.

"The Opposition has for some time called for a major reassessment of Australia's foreign policy and a change of direction.

"It is time the Government gave greater priority to relations with our regional partners instead of concentrating on high- profile global initiatives.

"We must rebuild sound bilateral relations with countries in the region, and repair the damage caused by the Government's lack of interest.

"Mr Hawke and the Foreign Minister, Senator Evans, should make a genuine effort to improve Australia's strained relations with Malaysia.

"Mr Hawke was scheduled to have talks with Malaysian leader Dr Mahathir in London this month, but his European trip has been cancelled as a result of the leadership clash.

"The Government also has much work to do on Fiji, after managing to get off-side with both major political groupings through ham- fisted diplomacy.

"Relations with India - soured by Australia's sale of Mirage jets to Pakistan - have worsened following Senator Evans's recent gratuitous and ill-timed attack on the BJP party.

. . . / 2

I c o m m o h w e a l t ; \

I P A R L I A M E N T A R Y ' L IB R A R Y I BRCA'A I

Monday, June Canberra 47/91

"On Indonesia, the Government must do more to encourage trade with the country following the McKinsey Report's finding of serious neglect of Indonesia and South-East Asia generally.

"The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum - a body initiated by the Hawke Government - will be dismissed as a talk- shop if it does not start to achieve concrete results.

"Australia has a duty to play a key role in making it more active and relevant.

"Australia must also seek a more consistent policy on relations with China and end the highs and lows in its approach.

"While retaining Australia's one-China policy, the Hawke Government should not be afraid to establish greater economic links with Taiwan.

"It is time foreign policy was used to further Australia's national interests rather than being used as an ego-boosting exercise.

"The place to start this is the Asia-Pacific region."

(ends)