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Australian Foreign Policy in chaos: parliamentary debate essential next week.



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

IAN MACPHEE FEDERAL M EMBER FOR GOLDSTEIN S H A D O W MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SUITE 2 3 MALE STREET BRIGHTON, VIC. 3186 TEL. (03) 592 9777

Australian Foreign Policy in Chaos:

Parliamentary Debate Essential Next Week. 12 March 1985

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ian Macphee, made the following comments in Melbourne today:

"The debacle of the Foreign Minister1s visit to South-East Asia "^compounds Australia's reputation for unreliability resulting from the MX Missile backdown and the Government's inability to keep ANZUS operative.

It is tragic that, when Australia is to be a member of the Security Council of the United Nations, its foreign policy is utterly unpredictable.

The Government's grand-standing on the question of Vietnamese aggression against Cambodia has worsened an already grave situation. Mr. Hayden was completely duped by the Vietnamese and has undermined good relations with China and the ASEAN countries. He has also dashed

the hopes of the Cambodians and the peace initiative which Prince Sihanouk has been constructing carefully with neighbouring countries and the various Cambodian factions.

In Hanoi the Vietnamese convinced Mr. Hayden that what they proposed represented 'the most important development to take place in the Kampuchean border situation to this point'.

, But both Mr. Dhanabalam, Singapore's Foreign Minister, and Air Chief -^Marshall Sithi, the Thai Foreign Minister, coldly judged that there was nothing new in the proposals from a Kampuchean settlement which Mr. Hayden brought back from Vietnam. Imagine their dismay as Mr. Hayden

gave them this empty news while Vietnamese forces were attacking on Thai territory.

How could Mr. Hayden ignore Vietnam's vicious armed incursions within and beyond Kampuchean borders, their appalling violations of Human Rights and their aggressive imperialistic colonisation program?

How could Mr. Hayden not see that Hanoi was not interested in any political situation acceptable to the international community?

The Australian initiative is in tatters. The prospect of a peaceful solution has been severely impaired, and the suffering of innocent Kampucheans has been tragically aggravated.

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As the Prime Minister is credited by the Foreign Minister with having conceived the Vietnamese adventure, he must share the responsĀ­ ibility for its failure.

From the MX dispute onwards, the Government has lurched from one foreign policy crisis to another. Our allies around the globe will be bracing themselves for our next display of international grandstanding.

The Prime Minister must explain to Parliament next week why he conceived this initiative and what his, international objectives were.

The Foreign Minister must tell the House and our allies in the region what steps he proposes to take to repair the damage done by him this week."