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Australia Day 1992 Message Australia: Know your Asia

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' T im Fischer mr Federal Member for Farrer

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources




In an Australia Day Message, Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer MP, has called for more in-depth study by Australians of Asia, including its culture and customs and economic structures.

"Australia will enhance its own nationhood and economic well-being if it develops a more mature and better informed attitude in relation to Asia," Mr Fischer said when speaking at Albury.

"Sadly, there is enormous ignorance about most Asian countries in Australia. Whilst many Australians may have passed through Singapore and Bangkok, few in business or politics have made the effort to gain a first hand understanding of other nations

in Asia either by studies in Australia or by visiting with work programmes.

"Increasing community knowledge and understanding of Asia will remove the ignorance factor and fear of Asia held by many, particularly fear of the Asian economic tigers with their huge economic growth rates of between 5% and 10%.

"Whilst the current world recession has held down economic growth a little in Asia, most Asian countries still have a positive growth rate. Both Japan and South Korea have full employment.

Mr Fischer said that action speaks louder than words and he had always tried to set an example by ensuring that, to the extent he could travel overseas, such travel focussed on Asia, and since 1985 he has made working visits to each of the following: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

A specific example of an interesting Asian country with major importance for Australia is the Republic of Korea (see over).

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600. Telephone (06) 277 4058. Facsimile (06) 277 2052




Republic of Korea

To assist the process of learning on this particular occasion I would like to draw a parallel with the Republic of the Korea or South Korea, which in a sense was founded on 15 August 1948. In forty-four years its economy has grown and

currently has an economic growth rate of 8-9% with unemployment around 2.4%.

The area of South Korea is 98,000 sq kms, about half the size of Victoria and almost exactly the size of my own electorate of Farrer, running as it does from near Mt Kosciusko, through Albury to just near Broken Hill.

It has a population of 42 million people and just 22% of its country is arable. Significantly, Australia exports more to Korea than Korea exports to Australia and even more Australian beef is destined for Korea. In 1991 Australian exports to Korea totalled $3,255.9 million while imports from Korea were only $1,254.7 million.

Mr Fischer said that it was food for thought that a country the size of just one Federal electorate in Australia, or half the size of Victoria, could generate more exports by value than the whole of Australia.

Overall, in 1990, Korean exports to the world were US$65 billion compared with Australia's exports of around US$40 billion.


26 January 1992