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Monday, 5 June 1989
Page: 3379


Senator MacGIBBON(10.48) —I wish to report to the Senate tonight on the January meeting of the Pacific Parliamentary Caucus, which was held under the auspices of the Pacific Forum. The Pacific Forum is a foundation dedicated towards the furtherance of knowledge as a basis for improving the relationships between nations of the Pacific region. The Pacific Forum is a testimony to the vision, energy and ability of its creator, Lloyd Vasey. He is a capable, intelligent and far-sighted man. Most of his life was spent as a career naval officer-a very successful and distinguished one.

It was apparent to Admiral Vasey that there was a need to promote understanding-at a high intellectual level-of the complexities of the national interests of individual nations so that a better and more peaceful world might result. He has dedicated many years of his life-years which could have been spent in comfortable retirement-towards this end. In those years Admiral Vasey has raised the money from many sources to establish the Pacific Forum, as well as directing its activities as President.

Men and women-world leaders and authorities in their field-from many countries serve as directors, members of the Policy Council and members of the Research Council. The Chairman of the Pacific Forum is Philip Habib, one of the United States' most distinguished former ambassadors. Nineteen participating institutions, which include the Strategic and Defence Studies Institute of the Australian National University, the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and the Chinese Association of Industrial Economics, Beijing, are associated with the Forum as research bodies.

Over the years the Forum has published a regular stream of learned papers on economic matters and foreign relations in relation to the nations of the Pacific. Four years ago, in 1985, the Pacific Forum founded its first meeting of Pacific parliamentarians-the Pacific Parliamentary Caucus-to bring together a number of parliamentarians from the Pacific region. The meetings have been held annually ever since. On several occasions members of the North Atlantic Assembly have attended in association with the Atlantic Council. The themes of the meetings, which extend over four days, deal mainly with trade, economics and security in the region. Being off the record, away from the television cameras, in an open forum format and with capable chairmanship, the meetings are frank and productive. Delegates to the Forum meet on a basis of equality and informality, which is far more conducive to an honest exposition of views than more formally structured international meetings.

This year there were three members from the Australian Parliament. Mr Ted Lindsay and Mr Michael Lee ably represented the House of Representatives. I was also present from the Senate. Thirty-six delegates in total attended. From nations in the Pacific region, delegates came from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan and the United States. From the North Atlantic Assembly came representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The theme of this year's conference was organising for sustained global economic growth and security. Key sessions were devoted to: new political and leadership trends; implications for international cooperation; developing countries in the changing international environment; Pacific security issues; future United States-Soviet relations-implications for arms control; trade trends-problems challenges and opportunities; and organising for sustained global economic growth.

Mr President, it was a great honour for me to be a delegate to this meeting which genuinely and constructively set out to create a better world for all of us by using quiet reason for the promotion of understanding and for the resolution of the serious problems that exist between nations.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.52 p.m.