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Australia's future foreign relations: Ruddock



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Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Dundas Electorate

Shadow Minister for Immigration Tel: (02) 858 1011

and Ethnic Affairs Fax: (02) 804 6739

30 August 1991

REF:

AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE FOREIGN RELATIONS: RUDDOCK

"Australia and the World" was the theme for the fourth Australia 2000 meeting hosted by Federal Member for Dundas, Philip Ruddock. This meeting was held on Monday evening, 26th August, at the Carlingford Bowling Club.

Guest speakers at this Public meeting included Senator Robert Hill, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, who spoke briefly on the areas which should be explored when considering Australia's future view on Foreign Relations, and giving specific examples of different countries. The second speaker was Ian Curtis, Executive Associate, Government and International Relations, World Vision of Australia, who spoke on Australia's foreign aid expenditure and how

this relates to other expenditure, the role of World Vision in reaching people in the developing world, and some ways in which World Vision works.

Some of the main points raised at the meeting were:

* "As Australians we are fortunate in that we have an abundance of resources, especially human resources, and yet we do not use them to their maximum potential"

* "We need to look more closely and take action on the outcomes of the World Summit for Children - providing for children minimum standards of living for our children"

* "Many problems in the developing world can be fixed easily - like the provision of cheap "micronutrients" for the prevention of such diseases as night blindness and consequent blindness"

* "Our foreign aid must be well directed and utilised - and we need to begin at home by addressing the problems associated with the Aboriginals. More than money is often needed to solve local and international problems. Attitudinal changes are an example of other changes which need to be made"

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

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* "We must not neglect, even in times of recession our international

responsibilities to those less fortunate than ourselves, but we should be sensible" Senator Hill suggested that we should aim to encompass both our moral obligations and how we can bring economic benefit to Australia.

* "Australians should be more "hard nosed" about their foreign aid contributions due to our current economic problems. Senator Hill suggested that we can still provide foreign aid and get a return on the aid provided in one way or another"

* "Economic relations with the countries closest to us should be stronger"

* Indonesia: seen by some as our biggest threat in terms of regional conflict, however, in reality are not a threat at all. There has been interesting progress in Indonesia in recent years: a move towards democratisation, higher economic activity, and a more liberal economy. We should foster stronger ties with Indonesia.

* The GST and Tax Reform: Logical but must be sold intelligently to the community at large. (More information to follow)

* We should follow the example set by Japan - a bigger market and a better work ethic.

It was a very interesting and stimulating discussion, raising some points vital for Australia's future. Comments made at the meeting will be incorporated into the Australia 2000 report currently being compiled for use in policy development and future directions.

"I have welcomed the opportunity to consult the people of the Dundas electorate on a range of issues of concern to us as a nation in this Australia 2000 program", Philip Ruddock said.

Due to the success of these meetings, which have been held at different venues across the electorate, Philip Ruddock is planning to host another meeting which will give all local Dundas residents the opportunity to view their concerns about the recession, the current crippling unemployment levels as well as an overview of the results of the Australia 2000 program to this point. This meeting will be a good opportunity for people to air their views and concerns, and to look constructively at the future of Australia. More details will be given when arrangements have been finalised.

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