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Tuesday, 26 May 1987
Page: 3293

Mr LANGMORE —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister inform the House about recent developments in relation to Libya in the South Pacific?

Mr HAWKE —I thank the honourable member for Fraser for his question. On 19 May I announced that Australia would expel the Libyan People's Bureau from Canberra-a bureau which, I remind the House, we inherited from the previous Government. As I say, I announced on 19 May that the Libyan People's Bureau must go. That decision was communicated to regional governments and it has helped to underline the strength and the validity of the views of my Government on Libyan activities. The House will be aware that a senior official of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr David Sadleir, who is, in fact, a Deputy Secretary in the Department, has recently concluded a tour of South Pacific countries during which he discussed this issue in detail with our friends in the South Pacific. I am very pleased to say that these talks were constructive and timely and have led to a clearer understanding between Australia and its regional partners on this issue. It is obvious from those discussions and from events such as the meeting of Melanesian leaders in Rabaul last week that security issues in the region are at the forefront of leaders' minds in Pacific countries at the moment, as they should be.

I note that in Port Vila this morning Prime Minister Walter Lini, who happily was making his first public appearance for some time, announced that the Vanuatu Government had decided to postpone indefinitely the question of the establishment of a Libyan People's Bureau in his country. We welcome that statement. I finally observe that the Foreign Minister and I expect to have an opportunity to discuss these matters with regional leaders in Apia at the end of this week.