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Chinese wheat sale and the ALP

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·*· \ J X \ J U V U V i £ i J u r ^ n i . U

F ebruary 8, 1973.

P r e s s r e le a s e issu ed by th e Hon, M alcolm F r a s e r , Μ. P . , L ib eral P a rty spokesm an on prim ary industry.

Today’s new spaper rep orts indicate that th e C hinese P r e m ie r , M r. Chou E n -la i, w as prepared to m ake A u stra lia 's wheat industry a pawn in in te r ­ national p o litic s. ;

A ccording to the rep o rts, M r. Chou offered to ca n cel a $60 m illio n wheat sa le if it would help the Labor P arty gain pow er.

Such an offer show s com p letely unwarranted intrusion into A u stra lia ’s d om estic a ffa ir s. It indicates that if the C hinese could se e p o litic a l advantage for th e m se lv e s, they would break th e ir norm al c o m m ercia l rule of buying in th e cheapest m arket .

I have no doubt that if the Labor P a rty had thought such an act could a s s is t them" th ey would have accepted the offer. But they would have known th e A u stralian public would be rep elled by such a deal.

H ow ever, the new s rep orts indicate the extent to which th e C hinese P r e m ie r w ill go to ach ieve and m aintain a Governm ent in pow er in Canberra that is sym pathetic - and m ore than sym pathetic - to his o b jectiv es.

T here can be no secu rity for A u stra lia 's prim ary industry trade based on such a relation sh ip .

Mr. Whitlam has m oved A u stralia m uch c lo s e r to the T hird World and to China. He cla im s to m aintain friendship with the United States and the United Kingdom - m ajor frien d s and princip al m a rk ets. While v oicin g words of friend ship with them , every fo reig n p olicy action Mr. W hitlam has taken

has antagonised trad ition al friend ship s and m oved A u stralia further away from relation sh ip s with the U. S. and the U. K.

Mr. Whitlam rem ained silen t while left-w in g com m unist -dom inated unions put A u str a lia 's $1,000 m illion m eat trad e at r isk . A ll th is appears to be part of a gen eral p o licy to m ove A u stralia away from frien d sh ip s which had m aintained A u stralian secu rity over a long period. P art of that secu rity

was a secu rity for significant export m arkets - in the United States, m eat and sugar e sp e c ia lly . /

T h ere is not the slig h te st doubt that so m e part of the m arket a c c e s s .

w e have to the United States has been due to the warmth and friend ship of the g en eral relation sh ip which the previous G overnm ent had m aintained with the United States. T h is has been prejudiced by Mr. W hitlam '.s a ctio n s, and the se c u r ity of export m arkets for prim ary products is now l e s s .

If the rep orts are a ccu rate, they show quite c le a r ly that M r. Chou would be prepared to trad e with A u stralia in a m anner which advances M r. W hitlam 's p o litica l fortu n es. Or would it be m ore appropriate to sa y . to keep M r. Whitlam in a p o s il^ n where he can be influenced by the an ti-

A m erican, pro-H anoi D r. C airn s, Mr. U ren, Mr. C am eron, Mr. C arm ichael and Mr. Halfpenny - a ll extrem e le ft-w in g e rs or com m u n ists.

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If people re g a rd th is as far-fetch ed perhaps they should again ask M r. Whitlam what w ere the p ro m ises M r. Chou re fe rre d to when he said to M r, Whitlam in Peking in 1971 : "We look forw ard to when you can take office and put into effect your p ro m ise s."

Even though he was challenged in P arliam ent to explain th o se w ords, M r. Whitlam has rem ained com pletely silent about them . A u stralia’s p rim a ry in d u stries should now ask them selves whether they a r e going to be m ade a pawn in an international power play moving A u stralia away from trad itio n al relationships with B ritain and the United States and clo se to the non-aligned T hird World o r to the com m unist w orld.

While diplom atic recognition of China was inevitable, and under appropriate te rm s n ec essary , M r, Whitlam is on shakey ground if he believes friendship with China is a substitute fo r the substantial friendship between A ustralia, B ritain and the United States. Such a change of

em phasis would prejudice both our p rim ary industry exports and the national in te re s t.

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JM F /P S /5