Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 30 May 1990
Page: 1433

Go To First Hit

Senator CAMPBELL —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to yesterday's press release from the Palestine Liberation Organisation stating that yesterday morning the PLO representative in Australia, Mr Ali» «Kazak» , had met with the Governor-General, Mr Bill Hayden. I ask: Was this meeting sanctioned by the Government and at whose suggestion did the meeting proceed? If authorised by the Government, does this meeting at head of state level signify a major change in direction of Government policy and contradict its earlier pledges to restrict such contact?

Senator ROBERT RAY —The Governor-General, Mr Hayden, met the Palestine Liberation Organisation representative in Australia, Mr «Ali» «Kazak» , at Government House yesterday. This, of course, was recorded in the Vice-Regal notice in today's major newspapers. The Governor-General had advised the Government beforehand of his intention to meet Mr «Kazak» , who, of course, is an Australian citizen. Mr Hayden had previously met Mr «Kazak in Mr Hayden's former capacity as Foreign Minister.

This meeting does not signify any change in the Government's policy on the Middle East or its attitude to the PLO and it is entirely consistent with the Government's policy on contacts with the PLO. The Australian Government acknowledges that the PLO represents the opinion of a significant portion of Palestinian people and must be involved in negotiations towards settlement of the Middle East dispute. However, the Government does not recognise the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

On 15 December 1988, Senator Evans announced that statements made by the PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat, on the previous day in Geneva had satisfied the Australian Government's three conditions for direct dealings with the PLO. These were, firstly, that the PLO expressly accept Israel's right to exist without any accompanying qualifications; secondly, that it renounce all forms of terrorism; and thirdly, that it accept the United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 as a basis for negotiation.

The Australian Government does not recognise the state of Palestine, proclaimed by the Palestine National Council in 1988. The Government has made it clear that the question of Australian recognition of a Palestinian state will arise only in the context of an overall peace settlement. As the Government recognises states, not governments, recognition of the PLO is not a relevant consideration.

In 1982 the Palestinian Information Office was established in Australia. In March 1989 Senator Gareth Evans announced that the Government had no objection to this office being called the Palestinian Liberation Organisation Office, thus acknowledging its representative status without conferring diplomatic or consular status. The Australian Government representatives maintain contacts with the PLO up to and including ambassadorial level. Ministers can avail themselves of opportunities for meeting with PLO officials as they arise, as have at least two members on the Opposition front bench over the last two years.