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Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2138

Senator TEAGUE(3.48) —I concur with the views expressed by Senator Sibraa, the authoritative Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. I am sure that Senator Sibraa speaks for both sides of the chamber in commending this program. In the way in which it looks forward to the middle and long term by such provisions, it is an excellent scheme. In particular, I welcome the inclusion of the People's Republic of China in the exchange program. I look to that continuing to be a flourishing part of the program. It is an appropriate additional way-along with so many bridges between our two countries-of reinforcing the closer economic, community and trade relations symbolised by the recent visit to Australia of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Mr Hu Yaobang. He was welcomed by both sides of this chamber and by the public generally.

I urge that Indonesia be amongst the countries given priority as additions to the scheme. I believe that you, Mr Acting Deputy President, have on several occasions drawn attention to the need for Australia to more clearly understand Indonesia and for Indonesia to more clearly understand Australia. We should see progress in this field. When I speak of Indonesia, I do not speak only of the relationship between the Indonesian Government and the Australian Government, or indeed, between IPO, the ASEAN Interparliamentary Organisation, and this Parliament, but essentially I speak of the relationship between the Indonesian people and the Australian people. There are too few bridges of understanding and communication between us as neighbouring countries. This scheme may yet provide another bridge that will lead to a growing number of important links.

In Melbourne this morning at the first Convention of the Indonesian Cultural and Educational Institute I was able to give a paper in the presence of the Indonesian Ambassador and the leaders of Indonesia-Australia relations in terms of public service, trade and, especially, academia. I am sure that that Convention, representative of all parts of Australia, would concur in the view that I express here in the Senate. I take this opportunity to consolidate the very welcome words spoken by Senator Sibraa in relation to this paper and in congratulating the participants in the Committee, which I understand is taken very seriously by the President of the Senate and in which he has a personal interest. I encourage him in the way he has contributed to this program and I look forward to its continuing to prosper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.