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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2570

Mr GILES (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I address my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Was the insistence of Taiwan that there should be no division of the Chinese nation an important factor in the great discrepancy between the for and against votes on the final resolution from Albania? Secondly, would the Minister agree with the suggestion that if this had not been insisted upon by Taiwan, or is not insisted upon in the future, an opportunity would still exist for Taiwan's membership of the United Nations?

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Dealing with the first part of the honourable member's question, although I have discussed this matter with a very large number of delegates in New York it would be very hard to make a judgement about the influence on the votes of particular members of the United Nations of the fact that the Republic of Taiwan did not feel it was in a position to say -

Mr Whitlam - That is its new name, is it?

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I mean, the Republic of China. Thank you for correcting me. The Republic of China on Taiwan did not announce whether in the event of one form of motion being carried it would adopt one course or another in remaining in. lt is possible this did have an effect on some of the votes. On the other band it is difficult to say whether it did or not. I would say 2 things in relation to the second part of the question. On the important question motion, which we co-sponsored, and which got priority over the Albanian motion for a vote, it was provided, as honourable members will recall, that any motion which would invovle the expulsion of any member would be an important question requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.

It has been suggested that Australia may in some way have been out of step with other countries in this area: nothing could be further from the truth. Joining with us in voting in favour of the important question motion were Thailand, Indonesia, the Phillippines, Cambodia and Japan. I appreciate that Malaysia and Singapore did not join us, but they have a particular problem with their indigenous Chinese population which we fully understand. It would be ridiculous to suggest, after the conversations which I had with the Foreign Ministers of the nations in our area, that Australia was in that respect in any way out of step with other nations in this area. Nevertheless, when the vote was going against that important question motion there was, one could say, a movement of votes during the course of this debate on Monday night in the United Nations to join those who were voting in favour of the Albanian motion. This resulted in a 76 to 35 majority for the Albanian motion, as honourable members are aware. As to whether it is possible, as the honourable member for Angas has suggested, that there will be some future initiative, I am not in a position to express an opinion. But that was the record of events as they occurred on those 2 motions.

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