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The fisheries deal: a green light to the Soviet Union



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MEDIA RELEASE JOHN SPENDER QC MP PHONE 062 727061 / 02 9292969

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

C. L S . ______________

THE FISHERIES DEAL: A GREEN LIGHT TO THE SOVIET UNION

IF THE AUSTRALIAN-SOVIET FISHERIES DEAL GOES AHEAD THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WILL BE GIVING THE GREEN LIGHT TO SOVIET ENTRY INTO THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC.

IN THE PAST THE GOVERNMENT HAS RIGHTLY BEEN CONCERNED AT THE POSSIBLE SPREAD OF SOVIET INFLUENCE AMONG THE SMALL ISLAND STATES OF THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC. SOVIET ACCESS TO AUSTRALIAN PORTS WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT TO ARGUE WITH FORCE AND CREDIBILITY THAT FUTURE

SOVIET OVERTURES TO THE ISLAND STATES SHOULD BE REJECTED.

RECENT EVENTS HAVE SHOWN HOW UNSTABLE MUCH OF THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC IS. YET THE GOVERNMENT NOW CONTEMPLATES HANDING TO THE SOVIETS THE KEY - THROUGH A MAJOR AUSTRALIAN-SOVIET FISHERIES AGREEMENT - TO ACCESS TO THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC.

THE REALITY IS THAT THE ISLAND STATES WILL TAKE A SOVIET-AUSTRALIAN FISHING DEAL AS A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT DEALS WITH THE SOVIETS SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME AS DEALS WITH ANY OTHER COUNTRY.

OUR SECURITY INTEREST TO EXCLUDE THE SPREAD OF SOVIET INFLUENCE IN THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC IS APPARENTLY.THOUGHT BY THE GOVERNMENT TO BE WORTH RISKING FOR WHATEVER MONEY WE CAN GET THROUGH A FISHERIES DEAL.

17 JUNE 1988 CANBERRA

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: (02) 9292969 (w) (02) 3261747 (h)