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Resignation of Foreign Minister sought



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STATEMENT BY SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

' THE HON, M, j, R, MACKELLAR, M.P.

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RESIGNATION OF FOREIGN MINISTER SOUGHT 5.. ' ;·.

The Foreign Minister, Mr, Hayden, has shown lie cannot handle the

responsibilities of his position. He should offer his resignation.

By his remarks, reported today, he has built a public linkage

between Mr. Ryan's resignation as head of ASIS and the allegations

made against Mr, Ryan by Senator Primmer.

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F-or a number of years Senator Primmer has been making unsubstantiated

allegations against senior officers of the Department of Foreign

Affairs. These allegations have been totally discredited by

police investigation, Mr: Hayden-himself said of Senator Primmer's

previous allegations - "The situo.tion has arisen where we are

witnessing, effectively, trial by Hansard, conviction by

innuendo, and I believe an inexcusable smudging of the character

of the people to whom I have referred".

To link enquiries into Senator Primmer1s personal attacks against

Mr. Ryan with Hr. Ryan's resignation is an inexcusable step, 8y so

doing Mr. Hayden creates the impression of a man playing along

with the totally irresponsible actions of the Premier of Victoria.

Mr. Cain refused to accept that major national Interests are

involved in the decision of the High Court to protect the names

of ASIS agents. He continues to prefer to treat the case as a

police case. It is clear that the High Court has felt by its

consideration to support the view that national interests of high

order are at stake.

Hr. Cain himself should have second thoughts and behave with

greater respect for the national interests. It is the duty of

Mr. Hawke and Mr. Hayden to lead him to that viewpoint.

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According to press reports Mr. Hayclen sought to provide the nsur.es

of the officers to State authorities. His latest actions to involve

Mr, Ry a n ' s resignation with Senator P r i m m e r 's unsubstantiated

personal attacks under parliamentary privilege seriously reflects

upon Mr. Hayden's capacity to discharge his high office with

prudence and judgement. The m or e so as under advice he had rejected

Senator P r i m e r as a credible source of allegation against the

Department of Foreign Affairs.

In the circumstances where there is potential public damage to

matters of high national interest as well as to the reputation of

an officer of long and distinguished standing in the diplomatic

service, Mr. Hayden should now offer his resignation. He has

clearly demonstrated he is not capable of handling the matter with

the impartiality and mature judgement that the situation requires,

If he does not choose to do so now he will be doubly exposed

when the enquiries into Senator Primmer's allegations are

completed. These enquiries should be made expeditiously and a

public statement by the Government should be made as early

as practicable.

SYDNEY 21 December 1983

ENQUIRIES: DAVID GUMMING - 02 239-3167