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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 3031

Senator SIBRAA —On behalf of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, I present a report on a visit to Papua New Guinea.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator SIBRAA —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to incorporate my speech in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

The report which I have just tabled deals with the visit by a number of the members of the Committee to Papua New Guinea earlier this year. The visit was undertaken at the suggestion of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister. Both referred to the need to promote contact between political leaders in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The report suggests that the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea give consideration to the establishment of regular and reciprocal exchanges between our two countries.

The developments of parliamentary exchanges with Papua New Guinea have continued. Recently members of the Committee were able to meet with the Papua New Guinea Minister for Defence here in Canberra.

Time does not permit me to go into great detail about the report, but I would first commend the seven members of the Committee led by Mr David Charles who at their own expense, made the visit. I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence for their assistance, in particular the Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Mr Michael Wilson and the group's escort officer, Mr Robert Webster. I also thank the staff of the Papua New Guinea High Commission here in Canberra for their assistance.

The visit is a significant development in the activities of the Committee, a development which I hope will continue. As Senators would be well aware, that there is no better way to get an appreciation of the issues than by being able to discuss them on the spot with those people who are directly involved.

Senator SIBRAA — I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.