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Australia's relations with the third world



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26 March 1980

AUSTRALIA'S RELATIONS WITH THE THIRD WORLD

The following is the text of the statement to Parliament today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, on Australia's relations with the Third World:

STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF.REPRESENTATIVES

BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AUSTRALIA'S RELATIONS WITH THE THIRD WORLD

. M r Sp e a k e r , I seek lea ve to make a s t a te m e n t on Au s t r a l i a ' s

Re l a t i o n s w it h the Th i r d Wo r l d . .

On 18 September las t y e a r , I t a b l e d i n the Pa r l ia m e n t

the Report of the Co m m itte e on Au s t r a l i a ' s r e l a t i o n s w it h

the Th i r d Wo r l d . I commended i t to the a t t e n t i o n of a l l

Honourable Members and the Au s t r a l i a n p u b l i c . I s t r essed

t h at i t warranted t h e i r s e r io u s c o n s i d e r a t i o n and d i s c u s s i o n .

I n the s i x months s i n c e the Report was t a b l e d .

Honourable members have e m p h a s is e d to me i t s c o n t in u e d relevance -

They have c o n fir m e d my v ie w t h a t i n t e r e s t i n i t should not be

ALLOWED TO WANE - THAT THE ISSUES IT RAISES ARE IMPORTANT

ENOUGH TO BE SUBJECT TO CONTINUED DISCUSSION. THERE HAVE ALSO

BEEN A NUMBER OF ENQUIRIES ABOUT IMPLEMENTATION BY THE

Government of th e recommendatio ns o f the Re p o r t . I ts valu e

HAS BEEN WIDELY RECOGNISED.

- 2 -

T h e G o v e r n m e n t e s t a b l i s h e d t h e C o m m i t t e e on

A u s t r a l i a ' s r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e T h i r d W o r l d b e c a u s e i t

R E C O G N I S E D T H A T T H E R I S E OF T H E T H I R D WORL D C O N S T I T U T E D

A CHANGE I N T H E I N T E R N A T I O N A L E N V I R O N M E N T WH I C H HAD MANY

I M P L I C A T I O N S OF C R I T I C A L S I G N I F I C A N C E FOR A U S T R A L I A . T H E

S U B S E Q U E N T A P P E A R A N C E OF T H E B R A N D T C O M M I S S I O N ' S RE P OR T

T E S T I F I E S T O T H E P R E S C I E N C E OF T H I S S T E P .

T h e t h o r o u g h n e s s a n d q u a l i t y o f t h e T h i r d W o r l d R e p o r t

I T S E L F , A N D T H E KEEN I N T E R E S T I T HA S G E N E R A T E D I N T H E M E D I A

A ND I N I N F O R M E D C I R C L E S G E N E R A L L Y I N A U S T R A L I A HAS B E E N

E S P E C I A L L Y G R A T I F Y I N G . T H E R E P OR T HA S S T I M U L A T E D D I S C U S S I O N

OF I S S U E S T H A T A R E OF G R E A T C O N C E R N , A ND I T HAS C R E A T E D

A C L I M A T E I N W H I C H T H A T D I S C U S S I O N W I L L P R OC E E D I N C L E A R E R

A N D B E T T E R I N F O R M E D F O C U S . T H E R E P O R T HAS A L R E A D Y BECOME A

B A S I C T E X T FOR US E I N T H E U N I V E R S I T I E S . ·

T h e R e p o r t h a s . a l s o c r e a t e d c o n s i d e r a b l e i n t e r e s t a n d

R E C E I V E D F A V O U R A B L E N O T I C E A B R OA D - FROM OT H E R GOVERNMENT S

A ND I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G E N C I E S , I N D E E D W l L L I B R A N D T HAS S P E C I F I C A L L Y

A D V I S E D US T H A T T H E S T U D Y WAS OF P A R T I C U L A R B E N E F I T T O H I S

C o m m i s s i o n . T h i s o v e r s e a s i n t e r e s t i s i n i t s e l f t o b e w e l c o m e d

AS A D E S I R A B L E S T I M U L U S TO D I S C U S S I O N OF A U S T R A L I A A N D OUR R E G I O N ,

B u t i t i s a l s o t o b e w e l c o m e d b e c a u s e , a n d I a m s u r e a l l

H o n o u r a b l e M e m b e r s w i l l a g r e e , i t i s t o A u s t r a l i a ' s c r e d i t t h a t a

DOCUMENT OF T H I S Q U A L I T Y , ON M A T T E R S OF H I G H N A T I O N A L I M P O R T A N C E ,

S H OU L D A T T R A C T S E R I O U S AND S Y M P A T H E T I C A T T E N T I O N I N I M P O R T A N T

C E N T R E S O V E R S E A S ,

, . . / 3

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T h e r e f o r e , I b e l i e v e t h e R e p o r t h a s a l r e a d y a c h i e v e d

AN I M P O R T A N T R E S U L T I N P R O M P T I N G C O N S I D E R A T I O N AND D I S C U S S I O N

A B OU T A RANGE OF I S S U E S OF G R E A T I M P O R T A N C E TO T H I S C OU NT RY

WH I C H A RE D I R E C T L Y R E L E V A N T T O OUR F U T U R E ,

B u t e q u a l l y i m p o r t a n t , M r S p e a k e r , t h e R e p o r t w a s

I N T E N D E D AS A R E V I E W OF I S S U E S A N D P O L I C I E S TO B E T A K E N I N T O

A CCOUNT I N T HE F O R M U L A T I O N OF T H E G O V E R N M E N T ' S OWN R E S P ON S E S

T O T HE P ROB L E MS A ND O P P O R T U N I T I E S P R E S E N T E D B Y T H E EME RGE NCE

o f t h e T h i r d W o r l d ,

A c c o r d i n g l y , t h e G o v e r n m e n t h a s h a d t h e R e p o r t u n d e r

C L OS E S T UDY A ND A L R E A D Y I T HAS B E E N I N F L U E N T I A L I N R E L A T I O N

TO T H E P O S I T I O N WE H A V E T A K E N ON A NUMBER OF I S S U E S UNDER

I N T E R N A T I O N A L D I S C U S S I O N , FOR E X A M P L E A T T H E COMMONWEAL TH

' ■ H e a d s o f G o v e r n m e n t M e e t i n g i n L u s a k a l a s t y e a r a s w e l l a s

V. I N OT HER C O N T E X T S , Ϊ Η Ε T H OR OU GH N E S S OF T H E P. EPORT A N D T H E

V E R Y WI D E RANGE OF I S S U E S C OV E R E D B Y I T R E Q U I R E D T H A T I T B E

P U T TO C A R E F U L S T U D Y B Y A C O M M I T T E E OF P E R MA N E N T HE A DS OF

R E L E V A N T GOV E RNME NT D E P A R T M E N T S , Ϊ Η Ε GOV E RNME NT HAS NOW

C O N S I D E R E D T H E A D V I C E OF T H E C O M M I T T E E OF P E R MA N E N T H E A D S

AND I W I S H TO I N F O R M T H E HOUSE I N B R OA D T ERMS OF T H E R E S U L T ,

. T h e T h i r d W o r l d R e p o r t l i s t s a t o t a l o f t h i r t e e n

G E N E R A L C O N C L U S I O N S A B O U T THE T H I R D WORL D A N D A D V A N C E S

N I N E T Y - T W O R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S , T H E S E R E C O MME N D A T I O N S H A V E B E E N

C O N S I D E R E D I N T ERMS OF T H R E E B R O A D C A T E G O R I E S :

, , , / / ]

- n -

F i r s t , those key recommendations which propose a

BROAD POLICY FRAMEWORK■FOR AUSTRALIA TO ADOPT

IN APPROACHING THE THIRD WORLD, T he GOVERNMENT

ACCEPTS THAT THOSE GENERAL PRECEPTS WHICH RECOMMEND

THE BROAD APPROACH AUSTRALIA SHOULD ADOPT ON THIRD

World is s u e s , should g u id e and inform the conduct

OF OUR REGIONAL RELATIONS; OUR ACTIVITIES IN THE

Un it e d Na t io n s and other forums of m u l t il a t e r a l

DIPLOMACY; OUR STANCE ON THE NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE

AND QUESTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM;

AND OUR AID POLICY, I n DOING SO, IT SHOULD ALSO

PROVIDE A SINGLE LENS THROUGH WHICH TO FOCUS OUR

VIEW ON A MULTIPLICITY OF ISSUES AFFECTING THE

Th ir d World that should be seen as interconnected and

NOT AS SEPARATE OR DISCRETE. I n THIS WAY WE MAY .

EXPECT TO HAVE A CONSISTENT BASIS FOR APPROACHING

PROBLEMS OF THE THIRD WORLD AND TO COORDINATE MORE

EFFECTIVELY OUR EFFORTS IN DEALING WITH THEM,

Second , other key recommendations on i n d i v i d u a l

ISSUES; AND . · '

Th i r d , other s p e c i f i c re c o m m e n d a tio n s ,

The latter two c a te g o r ie s n a tu r a lly further s u b d iv id e

INTO THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH ARE BROADLY CONSISTENT WITH

Government p o l ic y and those w hich require further c o n s id e r a t io n ,

, , , / 5

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The Go v e r n m e n t has no d i f f i c u l t y i n e n d o r s i n g a

NUMBER OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE THIRD WORLD REPORT

CONCERNING DEFENCE, OUR REGIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, VOTING RIGHTS

IN INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS,

IMMIGRATION ISSUES AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND PROTECTION

POLICY WHICH ARE BROADLY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT POLICY.

The Go ve r n m en t c o n s i d e r s t h a t two key r e c o m m e n d a t io n s

i n th e Th i r d Wo r l d Re p o r t, t ho se c o n c e r n i n g t a r i f f r e d u c t i o n s

AND STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT, AND THE SETTING OF A TARGET DATE

FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF 0,7% OF GNP IN O F F IC IA L DEVELOPMENT

ASSISTANCE, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS

HAVE FAR REACHING .IMPLICATIONS AND REQUIRE CONSIDERATION

IN THE FUTURE FORMULATION OF P O LIC IE S.

The Go v e r n m e n t has d e c i d e d To a d o p t two m e a s u r e s i n

ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE_ ISSUES RAISED AND RECOMMENDATIONS

made i n t h e Th i r d Wo r l d Report are not l o s t s i g h t of i n t h e ·

FORMULATION OF GOVERNMENT POL IC IE S: ·

Fi r s t, Mi n i s t e r s and t h e i r De p a r t m e n t s w i l l g i v e

CONSIDERATION TO THOSE ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

· WHICH FALL WITHIN THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND TAKE

FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS AS APPROPRIATE.

Sec o n d, I w i l l report p e r i o d i c a l l y to the Ca b i n e t

ON DEVELOPMENTS IN AUSTRALIA'S RELATIONS WITH THE

: Th i r d World and on the im p l e m e n t a t io n of the .

Government ' s response to the Th i r d World Re p o r t ,

I WILL MAKE MY FIRST SUCH REPORT WITHIN THREE

MONTHS,

I HAVE ALSO INSTRUCTED MY DEPARTMENT TO CONVENE AN INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE, COMPRISING SENIOR OFFICIALS

of the Departments represented i n the Fo r eig n Af f a i r s and

Defence Co m m it t e e , and other Departments as r e q u ir e d , in

ORDER TO ASSIST IN THE PREPARATION OF SUCH REPORTS,

A S WILL HAVE EMERGED FROM WHAT I HAVE SAID, THE

Th i r d World Report i s a document w h i c h ' w i l l p r o v id e a

* —

< FRAMEWORK AND FOUNDATI ON FOR FUTURE ASSESSMENTS OF P O L I C Y

t o w a r d s T h i r d W o r l d i s s u e s - on e c o n o m i c , p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l

AND S T R A T E G I C Q U E S T I O N S . I WOULD GO FURTHER AND SAY T HAT THE

WI SDOM OF THE R E P O R T ' S COMMENTS HAVE AL READY BEEN BORNE OUT

BY E V E NT S . -

F o r e x a m p l e w h e n I t a b l e d the Th i r d World Repo r t , I

MADE' TWO GENERAL OBSERVATIONS WHICH I SHOULD LIKE TO RECALL

NOW, ■

.' - 6 -

. I OBSERVED T HEN " T H E T H I R D WORLD I S AN O B J E C T OF

S T R A T E G I C A T T E N T I O N AND C O M P E T I T I O N ON T HE . P A R T OF T HE ‘

s u p e r p o w e r s " . The Report i t s e l f s p e l l s t h i s out a t some

I 1 t

n

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L E N G T H , I W I L L QUOT E ONE P A R A G R A P H - W R I T T E N , I T S H OU L D B E

R E ME MB E R E D , I N T H E E A R L Y P A R T OF 1 9 7 9 :

" R e c e n t e v e n t s i n A f g h a n i s t a n , S o u t h Y e m e n a n d

E t h i o p i a h a v e e x t e n d e d S o v i e t i n f l u e n c e i n t h e

M i d d l e E a s t - W e s t A s i a a r e a s i g n i f i c a n t l y , w h i l e

D E V E L O P M E N T S I N I RAN ( A N D , T O A L E S S E R E X T E N T ,

T u r k e y ) h a v e c r e a t e d c o n s i d e r a b l e u n c e r t a i n t y a b o u t

T H E S T A B I L I T Y OF T H E WHOL E R E G I O N , G l V E N T H E

G E O P O L I T I C A L S E N S I T I V I T Y OF T H E R E G I O N , T H E S O V I E T

U n i o n c a n b e e x p e c t e d t o p r o c e e d w i t h g r e a t c a u t i o n .

B u t , b y t h e s a m e t o k e n , t h e m a g n i t u d e o f t h e

P O T E N T I A L G A I N S TO BE MADE T H E R E , I F C O M B I N E D W I T H

T H E E X I S T E N C E OF I N C R E A S I N G L Y E X P L O I T A B L E

O P P O R T U N I T I E S , MA K E I T U N L I K E L Y T H A T I T W I L L E QU A T E

C A U T I O N W I T H I N A C T I O N . T H I S , T A K E N T O G E T H E R W I T H

t h e W e s t ' s u l t i m a t e s t a k e i n t h e r e g i o n , m a k e s t h e

M i d d l e E a s t t h e m o s t l i k e l y a r e a i n w h i c h

M I S C A L C U L A T I O N S ON E I T H E R S I D E C OU L D L E A D T O A

MA J OR S UP E RP OWE R C R I S I S , " -

S u c h a m i s c a l c u l a t i o n , i n t h e f o r m o f t h e n a k e d

a s s e r t i o n o f S o v i e t p o w e r a g a i n s t A f g h a n i s t a n , h a s i n f a c t

BROUGHT. A B O U T SUCH A C R I S I S , I n VIEW OF SOME OF THE REACTIONS

TO THAT CRISIS I WOULD PARTICULARLY DRAW ATTENTION TO THE

POINT.MADE IN THAT PARAGRAPH THAT CAUTION SHOULD NOT BE EQUATED

, , , / S

- 8 -

W I T H I N A C T I O N , To BE RATIONALLY CAUTIOUS, IN THE SENSE OF

WEIGHING RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES CAREFULLY, IS AS COMPATIBLE

WITH AN EXPANIONIST POLICY AS IT IS WITH A DEFENSIVE POLICY:

IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW THE BALANCE OF RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES

COMES OUT,

I n THE PRESENT SITUATION THE COUNTRIES OF THE THIRD

World have demonstrated by t h e i r o p p o s it io n to and d e n u n c ia t io n

of the So v i e t i n v a s i o n , as a t the I s l a m i c Co n fe r e n c e , for

EXAMPLE, THAT CAPACITY TO UNITE IN THE PURSUIT OF A COMMON

CAUSE WHICH BY JOINT ACTION HAS ENABLED THEM IN THE PAST, AS

I OBSERVED IN SEPTEMBER LAST, TO "CAUSE COUNTRIES INDIVIDUALLY

MORE POWERFUL AND WEALTHY THAN THEM TO ALTER THEIR STANCE ON

CENTRAL ISSUES",

Un f o r t u n a t e l y the u n e q u iv o c a l " e x p r e s s io n of r e v u l s io n

BY THE VAST MAJORITY OF COUNTRIES OF THE THIRD WORLD, AS

EXPRESSED IN PARTICULAR IN THEIR MASSIVE VOTE IN THE UNITED

Na t io n s Ge n e r a l Assembly in condemnation of the So v i e t Un i o n ,

HAS NOT YET LED THAT SUPERPOWER TO REMOVE ITS INVADING FORCES

from Af g h a n i s t a n , But no- one can doubt t h a t the p o i n t has

BEEN REGISTERED IN MOSCOW, THAT IT HAS INCREASED THE POLITICAL

COST OF THE INVASION GREATLY-, AND THAT IF THE COUNTRIES OF THE

Th i r d World m a i n t a i n t h e i r demand for an in d e p e n d e n t and

NON-ALIGNED AFGHANI STAN, EVEN THE SOVIET UNION MAY AT LEAST

ULTIMATELY RUE THE DAMAGE TO ITS REPUTATION AND STANDING IN

the Th i r d Wo r l d , - ' *■

, . , / 9

- 9 -

T h e s e c o n d g e n e r a l p o i n t I m a d e s i x m o n t h s a g o i n

T A B L I N G T H E R E P OR T WAS T H A T " O U R S T R A T E G I C E N V I R O N M E N T I S A

T h i r d W o r l d E n v i r o n m e n t " , i n t i m a t i n g t h a t e v e n t s i n T h i r d

W o r l d c o u n t r i e s m i g h t e x e r c i s e a p r o f o u n d i n f l u e n c e o n t h e

E N V I O R N M E N T I N WH I C H WE L I V E . A G A I N , WHAT HAS H A P P E N E D I N

A f g h a n i s t a n h a s u n d e r s c o r e d t h e p o i n t . .

A f g h a n i s t a n w a s a m e m b e r o f t h e N o n - A l i g n e d m o v e m e n t .

W h a t e v e r t h e d e g r e e o f i n f l u e n c e t h e S o v i e t U n i o n h a d o v e r

I T S A F F A I R S , T H A T M E M B E R S H I P S I G N I F I E D I T S A S P I R A T I O N T O B E

I N D E P E N D E N T . I t HAS NOW B E E N E F F E C T I V E L Y T A K E N OVER B Y

F ORCE B Y A S U P E R - P O WE R I N C I R C U M S T A N C E S WHERE T H E OT H E R

S U P E R - P O WE R C OU L D N OT T A K E B L O C K I N G A C T I O N . O f COURSE THE

PRIMARY STRATEGIC RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE RESPONSE MUST LIE

^ WITH THE OTHER SUPER-POWER - THE UNITED STATES AND ITS

k ASSOCIATES INCLUDING AUSTRALIA. ΪΗΑΤ IS THE BASIC STRATEGIC

REQUIREMENT. ·

But i n the long run a c r i t i c a l p o l i t i c a l factor is

LIKELY TO BE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE THIRD WORLD, WlLL THE THIRD

World m a i n t a i n i t s stand a g a i n s t So v i e t e x p a n s i o n i s t p o l i c i e s as

EVINCED IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY VOTE ON AFGHANISTAN? WlLL

Th i r d World c o u n t r ie s see t h a t th e danger is not j u s t to

SPECIFIC, ISOLATED COUNTRY, SUBVERTED AND THEN INVADED BY A

MASSIVE AND PREDATORY NEIGHBOUR? WlLL THEY SEE CLEARLY THAT,

• , ' ·'. ■ . i ‘

1 . - . . . 7 1 0

FAR FROM CONFLICTING WITH THEIR NON-ALIGNMENT, OPPOSITION TO

So v i e t e x p a n s i o n i s m i s a necessary c o n d i t i o n for i t s

PRESERVATION? I t WAS PARTLY BECAUSE OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS

THAT AFTER THE SOVIET INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN THE GOVERNMENT

FELT I T ESSENTIAL THAT AUSTRALIA CONSULT IN OUR REGION WITH

A NUMBER OF NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES.

Mr Sp e a k e r, i n c o n c l u d i n g I h a v e r e f e r r e d i n p a r t i c u l a r

TO STRATEGIC QUESTIONS, THESE ARE AFTER ALL TOPICAL ISSUES,

However, i t i s i m p e r a t i v e t h a t t h e i m p o r t a n c e of a l l t he

OTHER AREAS COVERED IN THE REPORT SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED,

The document a f t e r a l l em br ac ed many t h e m e s a n d many i s s u e s ,

I ndee d i t s c o m p r e h e n s i v e n e s s a n d b a l a n c e ar e among i t s

OUTSTANDING FEATURES, I t IS NOT A DOCUMENT WHICH HAVING BEEN

READ WILL BE SHELVED,. I t WILL BE KEPT" UNDER CONTINUING REVIEW,

I n t h i s CONTEXT I BELIEVE i t both proper and u s e f u l t h a t the

Report should be f u r t h e r .d i s c u s s e d in t h i s Ho u s e ,