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Defence co-operation with Vietnam unwise - Ruddock



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Philip Ruddock MP

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Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Electorate Parliament House

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

DEFENCE CO-OPERATION WITH VIETNAM UNWISE - RUDDOCK

As a former Minister for Immigration, Senator Ray should have known better.

Australians of Vietnamese origin who fled their homes and experienced first hand the brutal oppression and victimisation of the Vietnamese communist regime, will properly be aghast at the proposition that Australia enter into a defence relationship with Vietnam.

Even now the fundamental freedoms which we know and enjoy here in Australia are being systematically denied to the Vietnamese.

Arbitrary detentions and widespread torture and mistreatment of detainees continues, as does severe restrictions on freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, association and movement, worker rights and the right of citizens to change their government. These are fundamental rights which we here in

Australia have come to take for granted.

In what way would Australia benefit from a defence arrangement with a regime whose human rights record is so abysmal.

Legal recognition and trade are one thing, but defence co-operation is of an entirely different character.

The Australian-Vietnamese community will be rightly indignant. Their anger will also be greater than that displayed when this Government resumed direct aid programs without regard to Vietnam's human rights record.

There can be no possible benefit to Australia from this arrangement and the Government should re-consider its action.

23 November 1992

Contact Philip Ruddock on pager number (02) 925 3911 #25589

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