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Thursday, 22 August 1985
Page: 174

Senator SHEIL —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs inform the Senate why foreign aid of over $8.5m in 1985-86 is to be given by the Hawke Government via the United Nations to the Government of Vietnam in addition to a projected subsidy of $300,000 in non-government aid while Vietnam continues its illegal occupation of Laos and Cambodia and continues to kill Cambodian patriots? Will the Minister deny that our Foreign Minister has assumed the role of Hanoi's chief apologist, despite the concern conveyed by both that the Malaysian and Indonesian governments and despite the fact that the Vietnamese army has now expanded to become the third largest in the world and threatens the security of South East Asia?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I certainly do not accept the crude and vulgar description of our Foreign Minister just advanced by the honourable senator opposite. The reality of the matter is that the Minister for Foreign Affairs has been playing-and has been acknowledged to be playing-a thoroughly constructive and useful role with the other countries of South East Asia in helping to resolve what is manifestly an extremely difficult, sensitive and intractable problem. To the extent that a specific question has been asked about our aid policy in relation to Vietnam I will seek a specific answer from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and ensure that Senator Sheil gets it at an early opportunity.