Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Conference on PNG & Australia: PNG perspectives



Download PDFDownload PDF

O F F I C I A L OPENING SPEECH BY

THE HON GORDON SCHOLES, MP,

MIN IS TE R FOR DEFENCE

AND ACTING MIN IST ER FOR FOREIGN AF FAIRS

Confere nce on PNG & Au s t r a l i a : PNG Pe r s p e c t i v e s

Un i v e r s i t y Ho u s e,

Au s t r a l i a n Na t i o n a l Un i v e r s i t y

13 Se p t e m b e r, 1984

Mr Ch a i r m a n, Mi n i s t e r , Vi c e- Ch a n c e l l o r , La d i e s and Ge n t l e m e n ,

The t i e s between Papua New Gu i n e a and Au s t r a l i a make up one

of Au s t r a l i a ' s most i m p o r t a n t f o r e i g n r e l a t i o n s h i p s . But

THERE IS SOMETHING MORE IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN

Au s t r a l i a and Papua New Gu i n e a - g e n u i n e f r i e n d s h i p . Over a

CENTURY OF CONTACTS HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A CLOSE AND ENDURING

FRIENDSHIP NOT ONLY AT THE OFFICIAL LEVEL BUT BETWEEN

Au s t r a l i a n s and Papua New Gu i n e a n s . The a t t e n d a n c e and

RANGE OF REPRESENTATION AT THIS CONFERENCE T E S T I F IE S TO

THESE FACTS.

I AM ESPECIALLY PLEASED BY THE PAPUA NEW GUINEAN ATTENDANCE.

I EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO Mr RABBIE NAMALIU (PRON. ΝΑΜ-

A R - L E E - 0 0) , P N G 's Fo r e i g n Mi n i s t e r and Mr Tony Ba i s ( Pr o n.

B Y - A S S ) , the Ju s t i c e Mi n i s t e r of PNG, and to t h e i r

COLLEAGUES AND FELLOW COUNTRYMEN. WHILE FEW OF THEM WOULD

BE STRANGERS TO AUSTRALIA, I HOPE THEY FIND THIS CONFERENCE

TO BE A REWARDING AND WORTHWHILE EXCHANGE OF VIEWS.

I NOTE THAT THE TITLE OF THE CONFERENCE I S : "PAPUA NEW

Gu i n e a and Au s t r a l i a : PNG Pe r s p e c i t v e s " . I e m p h a s i s e the

LATTER PHRASE.

. . . / A l tho ug h i t

- 2 -

Although i t takes place i n Au s t r a l i a t h i s Conference g i v e s

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PAPUA NEW GUINEANS TO TELL AUSTRALIANS

HOW THEY SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. I

THOUGHT I MIGHT THEREFORE TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SET OUT

for you the Au s t r a l i a n Go v e r n m e n t ' s e v a l u a t i o n of these

t i e s .

PNG i s , of c o u r s e , Au s t r a l i a ' s c lo s e s t n e i g h b o u r . Wh i l e

PROXIMITY BY NO MEANS GUARANTEES GOOD RELATIONS, IN THIS

PARTICULAR CASE THE RELATIONSHIP CAN BEST BE DESCRIBED BY

Pr im e Mi n i s t e r Ha w ke' s own d e s c r i p t i o n , "e x c e p t i o n a l " . I t

i s not w it h o u t s i g n i f i c a n c e that the Pr im e Mi n i s t e r ' s f i r s t

OVERSEAS V I S I T AFTER TAKING OFFICE WAS TO PNG (INDEED, HE

RECENTLY RETURNED FROM ANOTHER V I S I T TO PORT MORESBY). I n

MY OWN CASE, PNG WAS THE FIRST COUNTRY I VISITED AS MINISTER

for De f e n c e . Mr Hayden also v i s i t e d PNG on h i s f i r s t

OVERSEAS TOUR AS MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

These are on- g o in g h i g h l e v e l exc hanges but there are

SUBSTANTIAL CONTACTS BETWEEN OUR TWO PEOPLES. MANY OF THE

PNG PARTICIPANTS AT THIS CONFERENCE RECEIVED PART OF THEIR

EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA. SOME OF THEIR CHILDREN ARE HERE FOR

THE SAME REASON.

. . . / There are

- 3 -

There are l i n k s between s e r v i c e c l u b s , youth o r g a n i s a t i o n s ,

CHURCHES AND THE LIKE AND THERE IS ALSO A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER

of Au s t r a l i a n s who have l i v e d i n PNG for v a r y in g p e r i o d s of

t i m e . The resu lt i s that many of the Papua New Gu i n e a n

PARTICIPANTS HERE HAVE VERY EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF AUSTRALIA

AND STRONG VIEWS OF OUR ROLE IN RELATION TO PNG. THAT IS

what t h i s Conference i s all a b o u t .

Mr Chairma n

I n Au s t r a l i a ' s f o r e i g n p o l i c y o u t l o o k , PNG i s a country of

PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE. THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR THIS:

POLITICAL, STRATEGIC, ECONOMIC TO MENTION BUT A FEW. IN SUM

THE VARIETY OF INTERESTS WE SHARE IS VERY WIDE. I WOULD .

LIKE HOWEVER TO FOCUS ON THREE PARTICULAR ASPECTS.

One MANIFESTATION OF OUR SPECIAL INTEREST IN PNG IS OUR AID

RELATIONSHIP. ASSISTANCE TO PNG FORMS THE LARGEST SINGLE

COMPONENT OF AUSTRALIA'S AID PROGRAM; AND NEARLY ALL OF IT

IS DELIVERED IN THE FORM OF UNTIED CASH GRANTS FOR BUDGETARY

s u p p o r t . Th i s form of Au s t r a l i a n a i d i s u n i q u e to PNG. The

Jackson Co m m it t e e v i s i t e d PNG and looked at the a i d program

IN SOME DETAIL.

. . . / Helen Hughes will

k

Helen Hughes w i l l no doubt t e l l you more c o n cern in g the

Co m m i t t e e ' s v i e w p o i n t and I would s i m p l y note at t h i s stage

that the Report i s s t i l l a d i s c u s s i o n d o c u m e n t . The

Government has yet to formulate i t s v ie w s on the

RECOMMENDATIONS IT CONTAINS.

The v ie w s e x p r e s s e d at t h i s Co n f e r e n c e , e s p e c i a l l y i n the

SECOND SESSION TOMORROW, WILL ALSO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN

DETERMINING THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF AID POLICY TOWARDS PNG.

A SECOND ASPECT OF CLOSE INTEREST IS THE ECONOMIC

RELATIONSHIP. FOR AUSTRALIA, PNG REMAINS AN IMPORTANT

TRADING PARTNER AND A MAJOR RECIPIENT OF OUR OVERSEAS

INVESTMENT. THE TRADE BALANCE IS VERY MUCH IN AUSTRALIA'S

FAVOUR, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE PAPUA NEW

Gu i n e a / A u s t r a l i a Trade and Co m m erc ia l Re l a t i o n s Agreement of

1977 PROVIDING FOR DUTY FREE AND CONCESSIONAL ACCESS TO THE

Au s t r a l i a n market for the vast m a j o r i t y of PNG p r o d u c t s . N o

DOUBT TOMORROW'S SESSION WILL PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY TO

DISCUSS THIS AREA IN GREATER DETAIL.

The d efen c e r e l a t i o n s between Au s t r a l i a and PNG are

EXTENSIVE AND INVOLVE CONSTANT CONSULTATIONS. THEY

CONSTITUTE A THIRD KEY ELEMENT IN THE BILATERAL

RELATIONSHIP.

. . . / They are

They are c h a r a c t e r i s e d by regular excha ng es at Mi n i s t e r i a l

AND SENIOR OFFICIAL LEVEL; CLOSE, ALMOST DAY TO DAY,

CONSULTATION AT THE WORKING LEVEL; COMBINED EXERCIES AND

SERVICE EXCHANGES AND A DEFENCE COOPERATION PROGRAM. THIS

INVOLVES SPECIALIST MANPOWER ASSISTANCE TO THE PAPUA NEW

Gu i n e a De f e n c e Fo r c e, the t r a i n i n g of p e r s o n n e l from the

Fo r c e, c o o p e r a t i v e p r o j e c t s and the p r o v i s i o n of e q u i p m e n t .

The Program i s a very s u b s t a n t i a l complement to the PNG

De f e n c e budget and PNG i s the l a r g e s t r e c i p i e n t under the

OVERALL PROGRAM, REFLECTING THE IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO THE

DEVELOPMENT OF PNG'S SECURITY CAPA BI LIT IE S.

Mi g h t I add to t h i s tha t I have been p l e a s e d t h i s week to

WELCOME MY PNG COUNTERPART, Mr BOYAMO S A L I, TO CANBERRA,

TOGETHER WITH SENIOR OFFICERS FROM HIS DEPARTMENT AND THE

PNG De fe n ce Fo r c e. I note that the Con f e r e n c e program

INCLUDES AN ITEM ON DEFENCE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING

THE RESULTS OF THAT DISCUSSION.

I HAVE TOUCHED UPON THREE PARTICULAR AREAS OF COMMON

INTEREST BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES: AID, ECONOMIC RELATIONS

AND DEFENCE. THEY ARE PERHAPS THE MORE CRUCIAL ELEMENTS

IN THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP.

- 5 -

. . . / Many participants

Many p a r t i c i p a n t s at t h i s Conf er e nc e w i l l know tha t the

Sena te St a n d i n g Co m m i t t e e on Fo r e i g n Af f a i r s and De fe n ce has

JUST BEGUN AN INQUIRY ON AUSTRALIAN/PNG RELATIONS WITH

PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THOSE AREAS.

Th i s Co n f e r e n c e , h o w e v e r, has a more w i d e- r a n g i n g b r i e f and

THAT IS TO LOOK INTO OTHER IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THE

RELATIONSHIP AS WELL. THE SCOPE OF THE CONFERENCE IS A

TANGIBLE INDICATION OF THE BREADTH AND DEPTH OF THE

RELATIONSHIP AND TO THE CONTINUING IMPACT OF THE TWO

COUNTRIES UPON EACH OTHER.

There i s d e v e l o p i n g i n PNG a more robust v i e w of i t s own

NATIONAL IDENTITY AND ROLE IN THE REGION. THIS IS A NATURAL

DEVELOPMENT AND ONE AUSTRALIA RECOGNISES. I T IS A MARK OF

THE MATURE AND CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP WE ENJOY THAT

OCCASIONAL DIFFERENCES OF PERSPECTIVE ARE ABLE TO BE

DISCUSSED CANDIDLY AND DO NOT DETRACT FROM THE WIDER

INTERDEPENDENCE OF OUR TWO COUNTRIES.

I BELIEVE THAT THIS CONFERENCE CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT PART IN

CONSOLIDATING THIS RELATIONSHIP AND I CONGRATULATE THE ANU' S

Cent re for Co n t i n u i n g Ed u c a t i o n for c o n v e n i n g i t .

- 6 -

. . . / I t i s a

- 7 -

I t i s a worthw hile i n i t i a t i v e and one w h ic h the Go v e r n m e n t ,

THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE BUREAU, HAS

BEEN PLEASED TO SUPPORT. I KNOW ALSO THAT AMONG THE

AUDIENCE THERE IS REPRESENTATION FROM DEPARTMENTS WITH A

SPECIAL INTEREST IN PNG AND THAT THEY WILL BE FOLLOWING

DISCUSSION VERY CLOSELY OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS.

Mr Ch a ir m a n

I n s e t t i n g the scene for the Co n f e r e n c e , I wanted s i m p l y to

TOUCH ON THE AUSTRALIAN OFFICIAL VIEW OF THE RELATIONSHIP.

Mr Na m a l i u WILL NOW LOOK - IN GREATER DETAIL - AT THE VIEW

FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TORRES STRAIT. BEFORE HE DOES

SO, HOWEVER, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE ON THE PRIME

Mi n i s t e r ' s b e h a l f , to declare open t h i s Co n f e r e n c e . I hope

THAT ALL OF YOU FIND IT TO BE FRUITFUL AND REWARDING AND

THAT THE EXCHANGES OF VIEWPOINTS WHICH TAKE PLACE TODAY AND

TOMORROW WILL CONTRIBUTE TO DEEPENING THE RELATIONS BETWEEN

OUR TWO COUNTRIES.