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Southeast Asian issues in the 31st Parliament

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The Parliamentary Political Science Fellowship was established in 1971, and one Fellowship is awarded each year.

The aim of the Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for a political scientist to study the work of the Australian Parliament at close quarters, and to undertake research related to it. The Fellow works as a member of the Legislative Research Service of the Parliamentary Library, which, provides an unusual opportunity for observing the operations of Parliament. The Fellow's time during his year of appointment is divided basically


(i) undertaking specific research requests for Senators and Members;

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Approval will normally be given for subsequent publication of the research paper, and initial publication of approved papers is in the series of APSA/Parliamentary Fellow Monographs.

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APSA Discipline of Politics Flinders University

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y Fellows and Their Research


Kenneth Chan: "Parliamentarians, Their Source of Information, and the Parliamentary Library" (1971)

E.J.G. Prince: "Information Supply to the Legislature: Characteristics of the Legislative Research Service Written Output, 1968-1971" (1972)

O.D. Mendelsohn: "Australia's Foreign Aid: The Perceptions of Parliamentarians" (1973)

B.L. Hocking: "Australian Parliamentarians and Foreign Affairs" (1974)

D. Stephens: "Influences Upon Specialization in the Australian Senate" (1975)

D.B. Lundberg: "The Jackson Report and Australian Industrial Development Policy" (1976)

Published as APSA/Parliamentary Fellow Monographs

1. M. Indyk:

"Influence Without Power: The Role of the Backbench in Australian Foreign Policy, 1976-1977" (1977)

2. J.A. Walter: "The Acculturation to Political Work: New Members of the Federal Backbench" (1978)

3. John Funston: "Southeast Asian Issues in the 31st Parliament" (1979)

Published monographs are available

Nos. 1 and 2 $3.00 post paid

No. 3 $3.50 post paid

from APSA

Discipline of Politics Flinders University BEDFORD PARK



South Australia 5042


A joint publication by Australasian Political Studies Association and The Parliament of Australia

( ISSN 0157-6860)


1979 Parliamentary Political Science Fellow

Southeast Asian Issues

in. the 31st Parliament

CanberraAugust 1980 MONOGRAPH No. 3


.D F 3,70.3



In the first two years of the 31st Parliament (1978-1979) Southeast Asian issues featured prominently. In part this was a response to the dramatic nature of regional events, which saw the outbreak of the Third Indochina War, the escalation of refugees from Indochina, famine in Kampuchea and East Timor, a major confrontation with the Association of

Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over Australia's International Civil Aviation Policy, and an ongoing dispute with ASEAN over Australia's high protection barriers. These developments highlighted the growing complexity of regional relationships caused by the rapidly changing strategic alignments and economic development patterns since the 1950s and 1960s, and the growing interrelationship between foreign and domestic events - in this

case illustrated particularly by domestic debates on protection and refugees. Proceeding from the premise that parliament is both an important forum for discussing these issues, and potentially able to play an important role in influencing policy directed towards them, this monograph

critically examines parliamentary debate on these topics during 1978-1979, the views held by parliamentarians who to some extent specialised in this field, and makes some suggestions on how parliament's potential for acting in this area could be enhanced. The principal conclusion reached is that growing interest in Southeast Asia has not yet Led to a broad parliamentary

understanding of the region. In spite of a strong rhetorical commitment to ASEAN, there is a notable diversity of views about Southeast Asia - often cutting across party Lines - and little apparent effort to relate the various facets of regional relationships into a systematic whole. The

introduction of several committee enquiries into the region is an important initiative that may go some of the way towards correcting this.


Research for this monograph was carried out during the second half of 1979 with generous supporting facilities provided through the Parliamentary Fellowship. The Parliamentary Librarian, Mr. H. G. Weir, the Deputy Parliamentary Librarian, Mr.H. MacLean and the Senior Research

Director, Mr. T. W. Lawton made available the unique amenities of the Parliamentary Library, helped facilitate interviews, and provided useful advice. Virtually aLL members of the Library's Legislative Research Service and Legislative Reference Service helped to some extent in providing materials, ideas or at least contributing to a congenial research_ atmosphere. Special mention should however be made of assistance provided by the two international relations specialist librarians, Andrew Chin and

David Anderson, and colleagues in the Foreign Affairs Group, Jim Dunn (Director), Dr. June Verrier, Dr. Frank Frost and Stewart Harris. The present.monograph owes a great deal to discussions with Dr. Frost and his extensive comments on an earlier draft. Numerous other members of the Library and other Parliamentary Departments also went out of their way to provide assistance during the course of the Fellowship year.

In addition to parliamentary staff, I am most grateful to parliamentarians who made time available for interviews ., and discussed aspects of Southeast Asian politics with me. I am particuLarly indebted to the twelve parliamentarians who granted formal interviews, but many more assisted in other ways. An important part of the monograph could not have been attempted without this cooperation.

Outside Parliament my greatest debt is to Professor J.A.C. Mackie, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, who was appointed by the Australasian Political Studies Association as academic 'supervisor' for my research project. I am most grateful for his assistance in helping to formulate the topic, and comments on an earLy draft. Other A.P.S.A. officials also provided helpful advice from time to time.

While any merits of this monograph are largely the result of the assistance received, I alone bear full responsibility for the opinions expressed.



Since Australia tentatively moved towards adopting an independent foreign policy in the late 1930s, Southeast Asia has Loomed as a major area of 'interest. In the first two years of the 31st Parliament its significance continued, and was perhaps heightened by rapidly changing events in the region itself, and in the context of Australia's relations with it. The present importance of Southeast Asia derives Largely from two factors, namely the growing complexity of regionaL relationships caused by the rapidly changing strategic alignments and economic development patterns since the 1950s and 1960s, and the growing interrelationship between

foreign and domestic events.

Australian policy towards Southeast Asia has Lost the simplicity and coherence it had during the 1950s and 1960s. During that period, supporters of the Liberal-Country Party Coalition Government entertained Little debate over poLicy towards the region: Australia was militarily committed to forward defence (in alliance with the United States of

America) in support of non-communist neighbours to prevent the downward thrust of communism from China and Vietnam; and regionaL defences were also to be strengthened by extending aid through schemes such as the

Australian-initiated Colombo PLan. There were hints of future problems when the U.S. did not support AustraLia's opposition to Indonesian campaigns to free West Irian and its confrontation of Malaysia, but otherwise the issues appeared clear cut. The Australian Labor Party, on the other hand, differed in ascribing the dangers of communism to forces within Southeast Asian societies, but'generaLLy supported the principle of extending aid as both a humanitarian obLigation and a practical means of warding off the communist menace.

In the early 1970s such a poLicy seemed increasingly doomed to defeat in the Indochina countries, at the same time as it was undermined by the rapprochement between first the U.S. and China, then Australia and China. Initial Liberal-National Country Party fears of close relations with China were soon swept aside by alluring trade opportunities and a

shared negative perception of the Soviet Union. However, the defeat of U.S. strategies in Indochina in 1975, and the partial U.S. withdrawal from the region that foLlowed, called for other initiatives besides simply closing ranks with China. The Labor Government and the Liberal-NCP

Government that succeeded it, reacted to this new fluidity by declaring the strongest diplomatic support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and establishing a Low-keyed detente with the countries of Indochina. ASEAN, founded to promote commercial, cultural and political

Links between Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore in 1967, has become an increasingly cohesive and cooperative group since the communist victories in Indochina in 1975. This was widely welcomed in Australia, but as it coincided with important initiatives by ASEAN

countries to re-orient economic activity towards the export of Labour-intensive manufacturing goods, it also brought unexpected compLications: to Australian surprise, statements of diplomatic support for ASEAN have been met with requests to match rhetoric with concrete initiatives to offset the region's adverse trade balance. Detente with Indochina was pursued without fanfare, and encountered no significant obstacles until

Late 1978. The. Government, however, responded to an expanding Indochina refugee crisis in 1978, and Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea Late in December, by suspending aid to Vietnam and attempting to mobilise international opinion against it.


The growing interrelationship between foreign and domestic events is clearly illustrated, with respect to Southeast Asia, by two issues: refugees and ASEAN criticisms of Australia's high protection policies. Since 1975 the outflow of refugees from Indochina has become a highly sensitive domestic political issue in Australia. Fuelled by some sensational media reports on the arrival of refugee boats, fears have arisen of a possible massive inflow that might jeopardize the existing Australian way of life. Government policies have had to balance public fear on the one hand, with a clear humanitarian obligation to respond generously on the other. Similarly, the resurrection of the political debate over protection ir the mid-1970s was initiated largely by ASEAN

criticisms of Australian policies in this area.

Interest in the region was heightened, during 1978-1979, by the outbreak of the Third Indochina War, the dramatic escalation of refugees from Indochina, famine in Kampuchea and East Timor, a major confrontation with ASEAN over the International CiviL Aviation Policy, and the ongoing dispute with ASEAN over Australia's high protection barriers. The volatility of these events made it particularly difficult to devise a

consistent regional foreign policy, but at the same time aLL the more urgent that this be achieved.

The purpose of this monograph is to examine the parliamentary debate that has arisen in response to these issues, and the views held by parliamentarians who have to some extent specialised in this field. ParLiament is both an important forum for discussing the issues, and potentially able to play an important role in influencing poLicy directed towards them. .

Parliament is not of course the only place where debate on Australian-Southeast Asian .relations is taking place. Several academics are working in this field, along with a variety of private institutions (business and aid organisations) and, most importantly, sections of the bureaucracy. However outside Parliament only the academic debate is

readily accessible, and its significance is Limited by the time it takes to respond to Southeast Asian events, and its relative isolation from the Government poLicy-making process. Parliament is, then, to some extent by default, one of the most important and open forums, bringing together the most representative selection of differing viewpoints, where Southeast

Asian issues are being discussed.

It may, however, be objected that ParLiament is not in reality in a position to influence foreign policy. According to the Westminster tradition foreign policy is a virtual preserve of the Executive, both for reasons of practicality (for instance, international problems arise when ParLiament is not sitting) and, more importantly, because the conduct of

internationaL affairs requires a high degree of secrecy. Parliament does have the excLusive right to legislate in this field, but few issues actually need Legislation. Its role in foreign affairs has thus been widely viewed as a rather ineffective ability to scrutinise and criticise Government policy, and a more general function of educating parliamentarians and the public at large.(1)

This conventional wisdom on Parliament's foreign policy role no longer appears valid. The 1977 Parliamentary Political Science Fellow, Martin Indyk, specifically examined this issue and argued persuasively that backbench influence could and often did alter foreign policy, or set

constraints within which poLicy could be conducted with popular support.


He saw this as a new phenomenon, due largely to the growing importance of parliamentary foreign affairs committees.(2) This study is not specifically concerned with the extent to which Parliament was able to influence foreign policy, though the degree of interest and attention given

to Southeast Asia does at Least indicate that parliamentarians took seriously their opportunities - which are considerable - to scrutinise, criticise and educate.

Parliamentary Debate on Australian-Southeast Asian Relations


Southeast Asian issues occupied an important place in the first two years of the 31st Parliament. Particularly in 1979, when interest was heightened by the drama of regional events, there was scarcely a sitting day when Southeast Asia was not mentioned in some form in Parliament. The

most frequently used means of drawing attention to the region was in Questions Without Notice or Questions Upon Notice, but this was also done in Notices of Motion, Grievance debates, Adjournment debates, Urgency debates, a major foreign affairs debate, and Appropriation debates. In

addition, a number of reports by independent organisations which touched on Australian relations with Southeast Asia, were tabled and in some instances debated in Parliament.(3)

Committees were also active in this area. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence followed the Third Indochina War closely, and had official spokesmen from China and Vietnam before it. One of its finaL acts in 1979 was to agree on a new enquiry into the

implications of changes in the Indochina region since 1975 for Australia, to commence next year. The Sub-Committee on Defence, as part of its enquiry into Australian Defence Procurement, examined and made recommendations on the issue of defence cooperation with non-communist

Southeast Asian countries. The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence focussed Largely on Southeast Asia in its enquiry into the New International Economic Order, the results of which will be tabled early in 1980. In September 1979 it began hearings into Australian relations with ASEAN, an enquiry that is now welL advanced. Its next enquiry will be on

Indochina refugees, a follow-up to a report on this topic issued in 1976. Government and opposition backbench committees on foreign affairs have also discussed the various Southeast Asian crises that have occurred in 1979. Finally, Estimates Committees, established in the Houseof Representatives

in 1979 following their earlier introduction in the Senate, provided a unique opportunity for parliamentarians to question closely responsible Ministers (on Southeast Asia mainly the Minister for Foreign Affairs and

the Minister for Transport) and their senior departmental officials.

A finaL means by which Parliament became involved with Southeast Asian affairs was through its members visiting the region. Many visits were in a private capacity, but even these were to some extent facilitated by the parliamentary affiliation. There were, however, two official

Parliamentary Delegations to the region, a five-member delegation to Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand from 10 July - 31 July 1979, and a three-member delegation which attended the Second General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation in

Bangkok as Observers from 27 September - 3 October 1979.


Southeast Asian issues raised in parliament may be broadly divided into those considered in some detail, and those only touched on briefly. In the first category were such topics as the Indochina armed conflicts, Indochina refugees, ASEAN-Australian trade relations, and East Timor; in the second category were aid, defence and human rights. The discussion that follows examines the parliamentary debate within the broader context of the issues themselves and Government policy towards them. It includes comments on the appropriateness of prescriptions offered in Parliament, given the broadly agreed goal of developing the best.possible relations with our closest neighbours in non-communist Southeast Asia.

Indochina Conflicts

1979 was a year of war, turmoil and crises in Indochina, which necessarily attracted considerable parLiamentary interest. The main developments of interest reLated to Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea at the beginning of the year, and the continuing, though apparentLy increasingly

futile resistance by supporters of the former Pol Pot Government; China's 17 day war with Vietnam beginning on 17 February, and the subsequent inconclusive peace negotiations, together with an intense propaganda war

and continuing incidents on the common . border; and the problem of organising a massive relief operation to prevent famine taking the Lives of two to three million Khmers.

The Australian government, as mentioned earlier, reacted strongly to Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea, suspending aid to Vietnam and calling on it to withdraw immediately. The only other country to suspend aid at this time, it might be noted, was Romania. The invasion was also an

important factor (though events in Iran and other world problem areas were also significant) leading to the 21 January 1979 announcement of a new Strategic Review. When China subsequently invaded Vietnam the Government

also criticised this action and called on China to withdraw, but the tone was notabLy Less critical than it had been in response to Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea.

When ParLiament resumed on 20 February 1979, just three days after China's invasion of Vietnam, it reacted slowly to these events. They were not mentioned in the House until the third day of sitting when the Prime Minister made a Ministerial Statement entitled "International and Domestic

Situation". In a very brief foreign policy section this noted the general volatility of international relations, Australia's "vital interest" in China and Vietnam swiftly and peacefully settling their differences, and Australian diplomatic activities towards this end.(4) Labor spokesman Mr. Bowen Later criticised the fact that it was necessary to wait three days

for a statement when "there was certainly an international crisis to the north".(S) Yet there had been a complete absence of reference to Indochina by politicians on both sides of the House prior to this, and the silence continued until the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a Ministerial

Statement focussing LargeLy on this topic at the beginning of the second week of session. The Senate's record was marginally better: Senator Wriedt (ALP) addressed the first Question Without Notice of the session to the general area of Government policy towards the conflict, and two days

Later Senator Davidson (Lib.) asked if the Government had yet received any information on the refugee problems that would follow the conflict.

Parliamentary debates which followed the Ministerial Statements by the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs provide a revealing insight into areas of foreign policy that have Long been vexed issues for

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Australian parliamentarians: attitudes towards Vietnam and international communist movements generally. In debate on the Statements 29 members of the House touched on these topics. Despite the evidence of bipartisanship in some areas of foreign policy, this debate indicated enduring differences between the Government and Opposition. Indeed, but for the significant

change that China was now generally viewed by Government members as an ally of Australia.and the U.S., the debate showed attitudes towards communist countries (the USSR and Vietnam) polarized along much the same Lines as they were in the 1960s.

The speech by the Minister for Foreign Affairs ignored the massive Western involvement in Indochina prior to 1975 and placed all blame for the 1979 conflicts on "the hostility and rivalry among four states: the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam and Kampuchea. No one else contributed to them". He then went on to imply that Vietnam was, in effect, acting as a tool of the

Soviets in invading Kampuchea, and that China's attack on Vietnam was to this extent understandabLe.(6) This analysis found few dissenters among Government backbenchers. Six of them explained the conflict essentially in terms of the USSR attempting to enhance its strategic world position. Two of these Members specifically praised China for its action in moving

against this threat. Five others saw it as a vindication of the domino theory (most actually used this term), with Soviet-backed Vietnam making the first move towards the conquest of Southeast Asia. Two members - Mr. Martyr and Mr. Dobie - dissociated themselves from the Government's

sympathetic shift towards China. However only one Member, Ir. Yates, expressed doubts that the USSR must have encouraged Vietnam, and showed some empathy for Vietnam's position by endorsing the Opposition view that

Vietnam should be supported in its desire to enhance its independence (from the USSR).(7) Most members expLicitLy endorsed the Government's harsh criticisms of Vietnam.

Opposition spokesmen advanced completely different interpretations of the conflicts. Essentially, the wars were considered an outgrowth of Indochina's turbulent past (in which the West played a leading part), and more a result of local than great power conflicts. Vietnam had certainly not acted as a tool of the USSR, and China could not therefore be thanked

for acting to Limit the expansion of Soviet influence. The attitude to Vietnam was much more sympathetic, and the attitude to China much more critical, than that shown by the Government side. Most condemned Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea (Senator Wriedt and Mr. Bowen implied that it was justified by the inhuman and provocative conduct of the PoL Pot

Government), but argued that Kampuchean attacks on Vietnam provided extenuating circumstances, and it was to some extent a consequence of Western isolation of Vietnam. Moreover, now that a pro-Vietnam Government had been installed in Kampuchea, it was not realistic to demand Vietnam's

immediate withdrawal since this would only Lead to restoration of the discredited, barbarous Pol Pot regime. Australia's withdrawal of aid was considered Likely to exacerbate Vietnam's feeling of isolation and its dependence on the USSR, at a time when the Government was stressing the

alleged dangers of increased Soviet influence in Vietnam to Australia and the region.

While there is some evidence that local conflicts were more germane to the Third Indochina War than great power confLicts,(8) the relative merits of these contending views, in this context, is less significant than the implications for Australia's relations with the

Southeast Asian region. Government policies were intended to support the interests of ASEAN, yet it is questionable whether ASEAN's long term


interests were served by a Vietnam isolated from all but its Soviet aLLies. Further, it is worth noting that ASEAN in fact retained much closer diplomatic links with Vietnam than Australia did, in spite of a heated propaganda war between the two regions.(9) By September ASEAN also appeared to have moved towards changing its policy on Kampuchea, a development that found no reflection in Australian policy statements. The 5 October 1979 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review paraphrases Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, S. D anabalan, as follows:

... the Vietnamese cannot just Leave Kampuchea to its own devices. For another thing, Asean cannot expect Vietnam to accept an anti-Vietnamese government in Kampuchea to take over. Asean will work out their position on the basis of these basic assumptions ... On the first point, Dhanabalan said that if the Vietnamese just Left and nobody came in, there would be further bloodshed in Kampuchea.

Australia's strong pro-China/anti-Vietnam stance was certainly not consistent with ASEAN's desire to avoid an irrevocable commitment to either side. Also, as Senator Sim (Lib.) pointed out, it disregarded the fact that for some ASEAN states, such as Indonesia, reLations with China were "a very sensitive issue".(10)

After the initial debate in response to the two Ministerial Statements dealing with foreign policy, Indochina problems were seldom raised again until September. The focus of attention then shifted to the problems of providing humanitarian relief to aid an estimated two million Kampucheans in danger of death due to famine. The issue was first raised by Senator McIntosh (ALP) in a Question Without Notice to the Senate on 11

September 1979,(11) and a further 17 questions were asked in this chamber in the nineteen sitting days to the end of October, together with an Opposition-initiated Satter of Urgency debate. In the House during the same period there were only five Questions Without Notice, but there was also a Liberal-initiated Discussion of Matter of Public Importance debate, and one Adjournment speech on the topic.

Government response to the crisis was first announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in reply to a,Question Without Notice on 12 September. He indicated then that 3,500 tonnes of rice, worth $1.7 million, would be made available to the World Food Program, and further aid would be considered when an internationaL appeaL had been launched. The Minister stressed that aid was to go to both sides in the conflict and was not to be taken as implying recognition of the pro-Vietnamese Heng Samrin Government.(12) In further statements Late in September and earLy October Government spokesmen announced initiatives to arrange an emergency airlift to Kampuchea and provide an extra $2 million in aid. Other steps

subsequently announced included the extension of tax concessions to all privately donated aid for Kampuchea and, in early November, the pledge of a further $4 million.

Parliamentary questions and debate assumed a largely non-partisan tone, except for debate on the Urgency motion in the Senate. Senators on both sides of the chamber asked probing questions about the adequacy of the Australian aid effort, including political obstacles (posed by both the communist and non-communist sides) which had apparently delayed the international relief effort. The main Opposition criticisms made in the Urgency deoate(13) were that:


- The Government had remained silent over the Kampuchean issue for too Long, and had delayed providing aid in spite of the situation being apparent since at Least June.

- Australia could act more effectively in getting emergency aid to Kampuchea if it withdrew recognition from the Pal Pot Government and recognised neither party in the conflict.

Government Senators angrily rejected these criticisms. AustraLia was, they noted, the first country to respond to international .appeals, and had done so more generously than others. With regard to Pol Pot, recognition was extended on purely technical grounds and did not imply approval. Many

Governments that had supported Pal Pot were, in the words of Senator Sim, "vital and crucial to our security", particularly members of ASEAN. To take a different attitude from ASEAN "would be an act of absolute stupidity".

There were, however, Government members who supported Opposition arguments. In the Adjournment debate on 10 October 1979, Mr. McLean (whose position as Chairman of the Government backbench Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Committee kept him in touch with refugee and Indochina problems generally) observed:(14)

I am amazed that the international community has seen fit to indulge in diplomatic haggling while millions are dying. Government officials of all countries knew at the beginning of this year that the crops had not been planted in Kampuchea. Everyone knew that there would be famine.

Therefore, it should have been possible to give Long and detailed consideration to the ways and means of distributing food and medical supplies to these people in a way which could have overcome these diplomatic niceties at a much

earlier stage.

Withdrawal of recognition for Pot Pot was also suggested by Liberal member Mr. Neil during the Discussion of a Matter of Public Importance debate in the House.(15) In late October the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Peacock, appeared to clear the way for this when he stated that there may shortly

come a time when the Government recognises that "no one is in control".(ib) The Matter of Public Importance debate was supported by both sides in the House, and was later praised by the Prime Minister for achieving "a real consensus from the Parliament itself about the seriousness of the problem

and the kind of role that AustraLia ought to play in helping to relieve hardship and difficulty in Kampuchea".(17) A specific proposal that emerged from the debate was a suggestion by Mr. B. Jones (ALP), supported by Mr. McLean in the Adjournment debate, that a non-partisan parliamentary delegation should be sent to Kampuchea to investigate problems there. The

Prime Minister later announced that this would be considered after reports were received from Australian Development Assistance Bureau officials who were to visit Kampuchea on 20 October 1979. No further mention of this occurred, perhaps in part because Senator Martin (Lib.) and Senator Ryan

(ALP) visited Phnom Penh with a delegation of U.S. Congresswomen during the second week of November. On their return the Senators strongly endorsed the Government's humanitarian aid program.

After a belated start the Government clearly did act decisively in response to the human tragedy in Kampuchea. Bipartisan support in


Parliament may have helped to bring this about, and probably also contributed to the Government's expressed willingness to consider de-recognition of the Pol Pot regime. To many on the Government side, however, ASEAN loomed large as a factor that had to be considered in framing Kampuchean policy. Indeed, in addition to the question of recognising Pol Pot, it was probably a major consideration - along with Chinese and U.S. policy - in delaying Australia's aid contribution to Kampuchea. Australia appears to have initially believed that even extending aid to the Heng Samrin Government might be regarded as a form of de facto recognition.

If this analysis is correct, then it is arguable that the ASEAN connection was in this case more important than it should have been. As Mr. McLean implied, Australia stands condemned along with most other nations of the world for its slow response to the humanitarian crisis. Rather than waiting for international agencies to approach, it would have been possible for Australia to mount a diplomatic campaign to open supply channels and alert world attention, and operate direct aid flights into Phnom Penh long before these started on a regular basis. It is unlikely that ASEAN would have opposed such initiatives, since a deterioration of

conditions in Kampuchea necessarily meant an increased exodus of refugees across the Thai border. Similarly, no vital ASEAN interests would have been ignored by de-recognising PoL Pot, as Long as it was made clear that this did not imply recognition of Heng Samrin (the U.S. position). Such an act could, however, have improved Australia's capacity to bargain with Kampuchea, Vietnam and perhaps the USSR.

Indochina Refugees

The exodus of refugees from Indochina after the communist victories in 1975 was also of major concern to Parliament. While over 450,000 of these have been Land refugees - 150,000 Laotians and Kampucheans to Thailand (not including the Large influx after October 1979), the same number of Kampucheans to Vietnam, and the same number of ethnic Chinese

from Vietnam to China - the main Australian interest has been focussed on boat refugees. The following figures, Listing Indochina boat refugees to countries of first asylum, indicate the dimensions of the problem:(18)

1975 - 377

1976 - 5,248

1977 - 15,657

1978 - 85,544

1979 - 160,939 (Jan - June)

Since July Vietnam has restricted the outflow to a few thousand.

While the refugee issue assumed much Larger dimensions in 1979 than it did in 1978, parliamentary interest appears to have decreased. In 1978 the refugee issue was raised approximately 33 times in the House, compared with only 14 times in 1979. The main reason for this is presumably that in 1978 a number of refugee boats actually reached Australia,• provoking fears of a massive influx of refugees in some quarters, whereas very few reached Australia in 1979.(19) It is also

interesting that on eleven occasions in 1978, a distinctly hostile attitude towards the refugees - cutting across party Lines - was apparent. In 1979 there were no explicitly critical statements. Indeed in April the Liberal member Mr. McLean criticised the hostile attitude of some parliamentarians,


and urged a "bi-partisan, non-political, humanitarian approach".(20) This did, in fact, prove a generally accurate description of subsequent statements in parliament.

Government policy on this issue has followed a multi-faceted approach. Firstly, from May 1978 Australia moved to take a respectable quota of refugees for resettlement, accepting in fact the second highest number in the world on a per capita basis. Secondly, Australia took these

refugees predominantly from camps in Malaysia, so that Malaysia would cooperate in dissuading refugees from continuing their voyage to this country. Thirdly, the Government also reached a 'gentleman's agreement' with Indonesia to prevent boat refugees sailing on to Australia. FourthLy, Australia expanded its financial contribution to the United Nations High

Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and humanitarian refugee aid to ASEAN countries. And finally, Australia sought to internationalise the issue by urging that other countries accept more refugees and pressure Vietnam (perceived as the main source of the problem) not to pursue policies

leading to the refugee exodus. Neither Government nor Opposition parliamentarians questioned these policies, presumably indicating a broad area of consensus.

It is relevant to note, however, that while attempts to internationalise the issue were Largely extended to aid ASEAN countries bearing the brunt of the refugee exodus (Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia), efforts to cast Vietnam in the role of an international pariah did not seem entirely appropriate. The refugee exodus in 1973-79 was to a very Large extent the consequence of conflict and war between Vietnam and China, for which both sides were to blame. This has been recognised by at least some ASEAN spokesmen: Malaysia's Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie, for example, sharply criticised China for its part in the refugee

crisis.(21) Australia's policy, then, has not been completely in line with ASEAN's, and has in fact not moved as close as ASEAN policies to understanding the complex factors behind the refugee crisis.

ASEAN-Australia Trade Relations

Since the mid-1970s there has been a re-awakening of an old political debate in Australia over the question of protected manufacturing industries. This was in fact largely initiated by ASEAN criticisms, and has been greatly sustained by these. The Government has responded at a number of levels. The Prime Minister has denied that Australia is unduly protectionist, citing a sustained 30% increase in ASEAN imports in recent years.(22) Marginal concessions - such as introduction of a 15% anomaly

quota that has been partly used in ASEAN's favour - have also been introduced to clear the way for additional imports. A range of institutions have been established to foster two-way trade. These include an Australian-ASEAN Industrial Cooperation Committee, which first met in June 1978; an Australian-ASEAN biennial Trade Fair, first held in October 1978; a Joint Research Project on economic relations, still to be

launched; an Australia-ASEAN Forum, providing for regular meetings between ASEAN Ambassadors in Australia and senior Australian officials; and an early warning system, inaugurated in November 1978, intended to forewarn ASEAN of any impending actions that might affect the import of ASEAN goods. The Government has also spoken out at international forums criticising the growing protectionist world tendencies, and has joined with developing

countries in supporting changes such as the Common Fund. Finally, the Government has commissioned a number of studies on the implications of economic growth in the ASEAN-Pacific region, and the growing political and

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economic assertiveness of these countries. This has been a central theme in no Less than three substantial reports released since August 1978. These are: Industrialisation in Asia - Some Implications for Australian Industry, prepared by the Bureau of Industry Economics and released August 1978; Study Group on Structural Adjustment. Report, March 1979 , prepared by an independent committee chaired by Professor Sir John Crawford; and Australia and the Third World, prepared by an independent committee chaired by Professor . Harries and released in September 1979.(23) The generaL

thrust of these reports is that developments in the ASEAN-Pacific region present a unique opportunity for Australia, which can only be grasped if Australia's mantle of protection is Lowered. So far the main Government response has been to postpone consideration of the issue until at Least mid-1982.(24)

A further aspect of the protection issue emerged in October 1978, in response to the Government's announcement of a new InternationaL Civil Aviation Policy (ICAP). Designed in response to domestic and international pressures for Lower fares, and inroads into Qantas profits by European and Asian airlines (particularly Singapore InternationaL Airlines - SIA) on the major Australia to Europe route, ICAP sought to keep fares Low and profits high by discouraging stopovers and ensuring high Load factors through a duopoly of Qantas and the national airline at the other end of the route. This had particularly adverse implications for Singapore, since SIA had built up a substantial route between Australia and Europe and stood to Lose a great deal from its sudden and unexpected exclusion, and the Republic's tourist industry would also be seriously affected by an end to stopovers. To make matters worse, Australian officials sought to neutralise Singaporean criticisms by isolating Singapore from other ASEAN countries, which were not greatly affected by the changes. This provoked a strong

critical response from Singapore and eventually a written protest from ASEAN as a whole directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in late February. The Minister then became actively involved in the dispute, and after Lengthy negotiations a compromise on the major issues - accepted

reluctantly by Singapore - was reached in May 1979. ASEAN was given permission to carry 330 Low fare passengers weekLy each way on the Australia-Europe route for 12 months, subject to review after 9 months, and the stopover surcharge for those on Low fares was set at $150. It is noteworthy that the 36,400 Australia-Europe low fare passengers per annum permitted under this scheme was well below the 98,000 (8.67. of the market) carried by ASEAN airlines in 1978.(25)

In ParLiament, both the Government and Opposition have been internally divided between free-traders and protectionists. Amongst government members there has been a fairly wide consensus that rapid industrialisation in the Pacific region, and efforts to develop close diplomatic relations with ASEAN, imply a necessity to restructure the Australian economy and accept more imports from the region. Generally, however, such comments were made without indicating any dissatisfaction with existing Government policy. There was very Little criticism, for

instance, apart from some comments by Senator Sim, of 12.57. and 2% tariff rises in 1978 and 1979, or proposals in 1978 (later abandoned) to tax profits earned overseas by Australian companies.

The most articulate backbench spokesmen, however, Mr. Hyde (Lib.) and Senator Sim, have made their critical views quite explicit. Only six days after the Prime Minister had spoken of Australia's good record in trade with developing countries, Mr. Hyde used the Adjournment debate to

argue that Australia's slow rate of growth was related to its lack of

- 11 -

preparedness "to purchase many of our needs from those who can provide them cheaper". This was most important in areas of Least comparative advantage, "in particular motor cars, clothing, textiles, footwear, paper products and fabricated metal products. The rapid growth of our region of the world presents us with a singular opportunity. Our own tariff import quotas are shutting that opportunity out".(26)

Senator Sim, in a major statement on trade and industrial policy during debate on the Budget Papers on 11 September 1979, stressed the need to match rhetoric in support of trade liberalisation with performance.(26) He noted in this respect recent IMF criticisms of Australia's protectionist

record, and the Government's failure to proceed to implement "the more forward-looking recommendations of the Crawford Report". By protecting industries unsuited to Australia, consumers were denied access to cheaper goods, and developing countries were forced to move towards more

technologically demanding products which received Less protection, hastening the challenge to this sector of Australian industry. Though the Government espoused a market-oriented philosophy, this was contradicted by its efforts to raise trade barriers for high-cost labour-intensive

industries such as clothing, footwear and textiles. "The implications of that contradiction have not been Lost on our Association of South East Asian Nations neighbours. The erection of trade barriers against imports from ASEAN nations is not only inimical to our own economic welfare, but also it highlights to these nations the conflict between our trade and foreign policies". Senator Sim concluded by favourably quoting an Australian Financial Review editorial on 17 July 1979, which observed that the government po icy to l^ok seriously at trade Liberalisation in the mid-1980s "could well be too Late".

These views were substantially at odds with those held by at Least two Government backbenchers. Mr. P. Johnson, debating the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill, argued that Australia had been very fair on the matter of protection and tariffs "at the expense of thousands of jobs". He

criticised the free trade policy of the Government's main advisory body on tariffs, the Industries Assistance Commission (IAC), and urged the ALP to endorse the principle of continued protection.(28) Mr. Neil, a strong proponent of increased defence links with ASEAN, endorsed such views in an Adjournment speech on 22 August 1979. He•strongLy criticised the IAC draft

report on the textile, clothing and footwear industries issued earlier that month, claiming that 37,000 jobs would be lost. Consideration of policy changes in this area should, he argued, be "postponed for a minimum of

three years".(29)

The Opposition supported the general proposition that Australia should trade more with ASEAN, and frequently criticised the government for alleged incompetence in handling economic relations with the region. There was, nonetheless, a deeper rift within the ALP on this topic than was evident in the case of the Government. At one extreme spokesmen such as Mr. Hayden, Mr. Armitage, Mr. Hurford and Dr. Blewett strongly criticised Australia's protectionist policies, and specifically noted the adverse

implications of high protection for our relations with ASEAN. On the other hand, an important minority within the party, headed by the House foreign policy spokesman, Mr. Bowen, were strongly critical of the IAC and efforts to dismantle protectionist policies generally. Indeed, it is now official

Labor policy to disregard the IAC and take decisions on protection from Industry Councils made up of unionists and employers in particular industries, a policy that virtually ensures high levels of protection.

- 12 -

Economic developments in the ASEAN and Pacific region were regarded by members of the ALP protectionist group far more as a threat to employment in Australia than an opportunity for future economic development. Its members were particularly critical of Australian firms, or transnationals in Australia, investing in Southeast Asia. This was in part because of alleged reduced employment opportunities available to Australians, but economic and moral arguments were also advanced to support the case. On economic grounds, a submission from the Freedom from Hunger Campaign to the Harries enquiry was cited as evidence that foreign

investment leaves both the source and recipient countries poorer.(30) On moral grounds, transnationals were criticised for taking advantage of oppressed, cheap Labour.(31) More generally, the economies of neighbouring countries were held to be fundamentally repressive, due largely to

inadequate assistance to their backward rural sectors. The growth of an essentially foreign—owned manufacturing sector would not solve their problems.

On the issue of ICAP, government backbenchers generally refrained from making public comment. Mr. Katter (NCP), after passing through Singapore and Learning at first hand the reaction there, expressed his regret at the dispute, and urged that efforts be made to reach a compromise.(32) Senator Sim again adopted a critical stance, expressing the view that the Department of Transport had decided on the policy without adequately consulting Foreign Affairs.(33)

The Opposition noted that ASEAN nations viewed air travel as another commodity in international trade, and were critical of the Government for negotiating in a manner that caused strong opposition from ASEAN, but showed little sympathy for Singapore's criticisms of Australia's protectionist policies. The Opposition spokesman on Transport, Mr. Morris, declared just prior to an aviation meeting in Jakarta:(34)

this Government is being seen in the position of being summoned to Jakarta to be executed or else. It is a rather pitiful way to see this great nation of ours being dragged around the Asian scene as some sort of villain when in fact our proper role in the Asian region shouLd be that of Leader, that of giving assistance and direction to and recognition of the needs of ASEAN nations.

The former Labor Transport Minister, Mr. C. Jones, stated forthrightly, on two occasions, that he did not agree with ASEAN demands:(35)

They have no rights to our trade between Europe, Italy and Greece. ALL of this trade shouLd be the sole preserve of the international carriers under the bilateral agreements.

An assessment of conflicting views on this topic must begin by recognising that Australia's policies on trade and ICAP have seriously affected ASEAN interests. References to annual growth rates in excess of 30% for ASEAN imports are misleading since this is explained largely by an

increase in petroleum products (in the case of Singapore merely refined from Middle Eastern crude) and the Low starting base.(36) Given the substantial surplus in Australian trade with the region, and the still barely significant market penetration for ASEAN goods (1% in clothing and footwear, for exampLe),(37) it is difficult to see why further concessions could not be made. This argument is further strengthened by the wide consensus among economists — forcefully articulated by parliamentary

- 13 -

critics of Government policy - that lowering protection Levels against developing country exports will in fact benefit both Australia and the exporter. Even if economic Logic did not favour concessions, a strong

argument could still be made on the grounds of diplomatic necessity. For ASEAN, trade has become the cornerstone of its relations with Australia. • To date this appears to have been recognised by only a minority on both sides of Parliament.

East Timor

East Timor was brought up on the second day of the new parliament when Labor's Senator Primmer commented critically on the Minister for Foreign Affairs' 20 January 1978 announcement conveying de facto recognition of its incorporation in Indonesia.(38) Prior to this, it

should be noted, Australia had adopted the position that Indonesia's military invasion of East Timor in Late 1975 was not an acceptable way for it to take over the former Portuguese colony. The 20 January announcement accepted the incorporation, though it specifically dissociated Australia

from recognising the means by which this had occurred. Over the next few months this act was criticised by several opposition and government parliamentarians. In many instances critical comments were also made about alleged violations of fundamental human rights by Indonesian authorities.

East Timor received little attention at the beginning of 1979, but the topic again became important after Mr. Fry (ALP) asked, on 18 September 1979, whether AustraLian aid to East Timor had been misused and delayed by Indonesian authorities.(39) Aspects of this problem were Later canvassed on several occasions in both Houses and from both sides of the chamber.

Critics (in this case Mr. Hodgman (Lib.) and Mr. Fry) used newly introduced Estimates Committees hearings to make a detailed interrogation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and a senior aid official. The Government's response was to admit that problems had occurred, but these were being overcome through amicable negotiations with Indonesia. Further, the

participation of the International Commission of the Red Cross in aid distribution would ensure that effective monitoring took pLace.(40)

Broader aspects of the Timor issue were raised by Mr. Uren (ALP), in an Adjournment speech on 10 October 1979.(41) He alleged that East Timor's population had declined from 688,771 in 1974, to 329,271 at the end of 1978, and gave other evidence of suffering by the Timorese due to

oppression and outright brutality by Indonesian authorities. The tragedy was, he argued, no Less profound than that in Kampuchea, but Timor had been given nothing Like the international prominence deservedly focussed on Kampuchea. This picture appeared to be partly confirmed by dramatic press

stories and photographs depicting famine in Timor which received national and international distribution late in October.(42) These prompted a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Senator Knight (Lib.), to telegram the Committee's Chairman requesting that

the Committee be urgently convened to conduct hearings on this issue.(43) Committee members did convene privately, and were briefed by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, but they decided to take matters no further at that stage. Two further ALP-initiated Urgency debates on Timor were held in the Senate and House of Representatives, on the 8 and 13 November 1979 respectively. The Government responded to mounting pressures

in and outside Parliament by admitting the gravity of the humanitarian problem, promising additional aid to the value of $2 million (doubling the previous assistance), and allowing tax exemption for private donations to

aid East Timor.

- 14 -

Parliamentary interest in East Timor has, predictably, created some hostility in Jakarta. While it is doubtful that parliamentarians stand to gain by continuing to question Indonesian sovereignty, there are still compelling reasons for Australia to respond to humanitarian tragedies of the dimension now apparent in Timor. Indeed the positive response of

Indonesia's Foreign Minister to the recent revelations - accepting the gravity of the situation and the need for urgent international assistance -indicates that criticisms will not necessarily harm relations and may even be welcomed in some Indonesian quarters. If there is a desire to improve bilateral relations, however, it must be made clear that expressions of

concern about East Timor are not part of a more general vendetta against Indonesia (by far the most important of our regional neighbours), as indeed has sometimes appeared to be the case.

Issues Briefly Considered

Aid: At a general level aid was touched on very infrequently, perhaps reflecting a trend for this issue to form a Less important part of Australian-Southeast Asian relations. The Opposition Leader in the House, Mr. Hayden, did note in February that expenditure on aid since the ALP Government had declined from 0.6% of GDP to 0.45% and was falling,(44) and this was reiterated by other party members. Government members, however, have made few comments at all on this topic. Mr. Hayden implied that the meagreness of this aid contribution would prejudice relations with our

regional neighbours, but a more precise statement of the implications for our relations with ASEAN was made in a submission by the Australian Development Assistance Bureau to the Senate's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence hearings into 'Australia's Relations with ASEAN':(45)

Australia's (aid) contribution verges on being insignificant when related to the massive and generally growing development assistance requirements of these countries and is considera-bly Less than the aid disbursements made by other donors

whose geo-poLitical interests in the region are significantly less than Australia's.

The volume of Australian aid for the countries of ASEAN is clearly not commensurate with our expressed interest in the region.

Generally, aid questions arose within the context of broader political issues. Considerable debate took place in Parliament over Australia's suspension of aid to Vietnam in January, and over extending humanitarian aid to Kampuchea and East Timor. These formed part of the wider debates already discussed. One further issue which did, however,

have important implications in this area, arose out of Government decisions to end free tertiary education for private foreign students, and to require that such students return to their country of origin immediately upon completion of courses. The students affected were virtually all from

Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and around half were from Malaysia. The imposition of fees will create considerable hardships for many of these students, and it should also be noted that the requirement of immediate return will prevent some gaining much needed practical experience.

In introducing this new policy the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs claimed that the imposition of fees (ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 per annum) would Lessen the burden on Australian tax payers and thus make it possible for more foreign students to come. Government

- 15 -

backbenchers supported this reasoning, and initially it was even endorsed by Labor's Immigration spokesman, Dr. Cass. Labor backbenchers, including Dr. Cass, later expressed a number of reservations, perhaps in response to pressures from educational authorities, student organisations and critical

comments by Southeast Asia leaders. It is indeed clear that ASEAN countries are not happy with the decision. The Malaysian Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, has publicly criticised the move, noting the increased pressures this will place on an already over-extended Local tertiary structure.(46) The benefit to the Australian Treasury has been estimated at some $6 million, though late in 1979 the Government introduced a number of exemptions and the figure may now well be much Less. It is difficult to see how such a small sum can be justified given the damage

done to Australian-ASEAN relations.

Defence: There were no general debates in Parliament on the significance of Southeast Asia for Australian defence policy. General views ranged from apocalyptic visions of an 'inevitable' Australian demise due to our

position as a wealthy white outpost surrounded by poor Asians, a perceived direct danger from the expansion of Soviet influence in the region, a more generalised fear that instability in the region might threaten our supply routes or simply make the region a much more difficult place to live in,

fears that military ties with 'corrupt' ASEAN regimes might entangle us in 'new Vietnams' in the region, and more specific concerns about potential Indonesian military ambitions. Generally, Government backbenchers supported or askea for an extension of the existing defence cooperation with the ASEAN region - principally in the form of a Mirage squadron in Malaysia, Australian involvement in the Five Power Agreement Linking also New Zealand, Britain, Malaysia and Singapore, links with the Philippines and Thailand through the 1954 Manila Treaty, bilateral military aid

programs, and occasional military exercises. The alt-party Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence went • even further in its report on Australian Defence Procurement, tabled in November 1979, when it recommended in effect a military alliance with countries in the South West

Pacific and ASEAN, and the standardisation of some military procurements with a view to selling more locally produced weaponry to neighbouring countries.(47)

Labor members made few statements on regional defence arrangements, apart from expressing opposition to the Mirage squadron in MaLaysia.(48) While there may be valid arguments in favour of this, and even Malaysia might not be entirely unhappy if the squadron were withdrawn,

Labor's attempt to make this a domestic political issue will not aid the party's relations with ASEAN countries. More significant, however, was the act of 18 Labor parliamentarians signing an advertisement which appeared in the National Times on October 21, 1976,- calling for Australia to sever military ties with 'corrupt' ASEAN regimes. The signatures did not include those of Mr. Hayden or most of the leading Labor foreign policy spokesmen, and it is unlikely they would endorse such views. If, however, such a policy were adopted by the party, it would probably preclude an effective

modus vivendi with ASEAN under a Labor government.

Human Rights: Human rights in Southeast Asia was mentioned in passing on a number of occasions, and was a major focus in discussions on East Timor and Kampuchea. Liberal-NCP statements have generally been confined to the East Timor and Kampuchea situations, whereas Labor spokesmen have made several

statements critical of countries in the ASEAN region. On 25 October 1979 Mr. Hayden asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he wouLd:(49)

16 -

condemn the quite nasty abuses of civiL rights which have been documented in a number of reports such as those from Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists in relation to countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as many other countries which are in our region but are a little

further away.

Labor appears determined to pursue this issue, apparently sensing a contradiction between the Government's general commitment to human rights and its specific policy towards Southeast Asia. This initiative will not, of course, be welcomed by ASEAN countries. Australia obviously should be heard when significant human rights are violated - such as in the case of

East Timor and Kampuchea - and probably should exert quiet diplomatic pressures against less dramatic violations. But maximum effect would be achieved if such moves received broad bipartisan support, and if differences of opinion were negotiated away from the LimeLight of such

public venues as the Parliament.


Influenced, no doubt, by such dramatic events as the Third Indochina War and the refugee crisis, most Government backbenchers saw Southeast Asia largely in traditional terms as a region central to Australian strategic concerns, threatened by communist expansion from Vietnam and the USSR (but not China). Because of this overriding defence interest, internal political and economic developments in Southeast Asia were seldom commented on. Australian interests were considered best served by expressing strong diplomatic support for ASEAN, exerting diplomatic pressure to mobilize world opinion against Vietnam and the Soviet Union, and strengthening military ties with ASEAN countries. Many backbenchers did, in addition, recognise that rapid economic growth in Southeast Asia

implied the necessity to lower protective barriers and accept more imports from the region (permitting also a return expansion of exports). Very few, however, were ready to challenge directly the Government's highly protectionist record. A small minority expressed some concern about human rights problems in Southeast Asia, generally in relation to East Timor and Kampuchea.

ALP backbenchers did not Link instability in Southeast Asia (except in Kampuchea) to Vietnamese or Soviet ambitions for regional paramountcy. They adhered instead to the traditional ALP policy which related instability essentially to internal political-economic conditions. A broad dichotomy has emerged, however, between the majority who see the non-communist countries of Southeast Asia as essentially progressive, economically modernising, and committed to an acceptable program on human

rights, and a small minority who take quite the opposite view. Those adhering to the first position have often been critical' of Southeast Asian countries, but have nonetheless expressed strong diplomatic support for ASEAN, while also urging a more sympathetic attitude towards Indochina. On the question of economic relations with the region the party was, however, divided between a majority who accepted the need for an essentially free trade approach, and an influential minority who believed that employment in Australia could only be maintained by continuing high protection Levels. Most backbenchers were also highly critical of human rights in ASEAN

countries. A small group in the party clearly regarded non-communist

— 17

Southeast Asian countries as essentially repressive - politically, economically and socially - and for this reason was not at all anxious to promote Australian relations with the region.

Parliamentarians in both parties advocated policies towards • Southeast Asia that were in many respects inconsistent. The main common feature on both sides of Parliament was a strong rhetoricaL commitment to closer diplomatic and trade relations with ASEAN. This coexisted, however,

with considerably Less than generous policies in such critical fields as trade and ICAP. Government backbenchers also did not seek to integrate the aid question into a comprehensive policy towards ASEAN, and adopted a policy towards Indochina which, though consistent with ASEAN's announced

policy, faiLed to note subtle nuances in ASEAN's position, and in some respects did not advance the cause of ASEAN-Indochina detente. ALP backbenchers, on the other hand, pursued their concern for human rights in ASEAN in a manner that seems scarcely compatible with their expressed desire for improved Australian— ASEAN relations.

Perceptions of Southeast Asia

Further insights into Parliament's views on Australian—Southeast Asian relations were obtained from interviews of approximately one hour's duration held with twelve parliamentarians who had shown a particular interest in this region, or closely related fields.(50) Before discussing

the substance of the interviews it is appropriate to briefly note the type of involvement in Southeast Asian issues experienced by these parliamentarians.

All of the interviewees had a substantial interest in foreign affairs. Estimates of the amount of time spent on foreign affairs during parliamentary sessions ranged from 10% to nearly 100%, with the majority probably around 30%. With the exception of Senator Mason, all were active members of one or more parliamentary or backbench foreign affairs

committees. Most had visited Southeast Asia only two or three times, calling at only one or two countries and staying no more than a few days. The only regular visitor in recent years was Senator Sim, who had been there on some ten occasions since 1966. Nonetheless, knowledge of the

region was supplemented by a number of means. Some established close relations with Southeast Asians at international forums such as the United Nations: Many had very close relations with the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. Connolly and Senator Knight are ex-diplomats), and even Opposition backbenchers found the Department helpful when approached. Three had frequent contact with Southeast Asian embassies in Canberra, and most had at Least some contact. Only two claimed to read widely on

Southeast Asian affairs (regularly looking at, for example, the Far Eastern Economic Review and other academic journals on the region), but most read the Department of Foreign Affairs-produced Backgrounder, watched Southeast Asian items closely in the local press and magazines such as Time and Newsweek, and some had Research Assistants with a specialist background in

or b eign'affairs.

Interviews were loosely structured, providing maximum opportunity for parliamentarians to express their views on the following topics: the degree of domestic political stability in Southeast Asia; the extent of economic development in Southeast Asia, and the implications for Australia; the significance of human rights for domestic Southeast Asian politics and

for Australia's relations with the region; Australia's strategic interests in Southeast Asia; Australia's defence relations with Southeast Asia; and

- 18 -

other important areas of Australian-Southeast Asian interaction. Two brief caveats are in order. Firstly, most parliamentarians responded to questions on domestic events in Southeast Asia with considerable caution, frequently explaining that answers were based more on generalised impressions than specific knowledge. Secondly, most of the answers in fact focussed on ASEAN countries, an emphasis which is perhaps understandable in view of the predominant importance of these countries within the context of Australian-Southeast Asian relations.

On the question of domestic political stability in the region, there was a broad consensus that, although most of the countries faced severe socio-economic problems (particularly the Philippines and Indonesia), and the possibility of major changes could not be excluded,

continuity was likely to be the keynote. Often this was attributed more to the weakness of opposition groups than the strength of existing regimes, though difficuLties were expected from communists in Thailand and Islamic

groups in the Philippines and Indonesia. There were, however, three dissenting views which envisaged severe poLiticaL turmoil in the region in the next few years. One parliamentarian referred to a current crisis of

governmental legitimacy in Thailand ("even the King is now being questioned"), unresolved racial probLems in Malaysia, a potential succession crisis in Singapore when Prime Minister Lee is replaced, and acute socio-economic problems in Indonesia (particularly Java). Another expressed the view that within a few years regional opposition groups in the Indonesia-Philippines-Malaysia region will have forced the break up of this region into six or seven countries.

A majority of the interviewees agreed that some economic development had occurred in Southeast Asia (ASEAN), but viewed this as essentially foreign-sponsored, enclave development which did not benefit the mass of the rural population. One or two of those advancing this view

conceded, however, that some governments were aware of the needs of their poorest citizens, and present policies might assist them in the long run. Three parLiamentarians, however, believed that development had been very substantial in spite of the probLems of redistribution that remain.

Questioned on whether more should be done to promote AustraLia-Southeast Asian trade relations, two believed that no further concessions should be given, five believed Australia should move towards Lowering its protection on imports, but only gradually, and five believed that a substantial

Lowering of protection was necessary as quickly as passible. The majority were highly cautious about the political implications, believing concessions to ASEAN might gravely aggravate the unemployment problem in AustraLia. One parliamentarian, however, argued strongly that AustraLia needed ASEAN more than vice versa, and that prevaricating behind the unemployment issue spelt disaster in the long run.

Most parLiamentarians were concerned about human rights violations in Southeast Asia, but considered the ASEAN record much better than many other developing areas. Only three considered ASEAN countries grossly infringed basic human rights. Nonetheless, around half felt that Australia

should make this an important aspect of its relations with the region, most citing Timor as an issue on which a strong stand should be taken. The rest agreed that action should be taken in the face of serious human rights violations, but felt that this issue should not be placed at the forefront

of Australia's diplomatic activities, and that Australia's Limited capacity to influence such developments would best be served by quiet diplomacy.

- 19 -

The significance of Southeast Asia from a strategic perspective was seen in relation to two factors: its importance as an arena for the working out of great power rivalries, and the fragility of political systems in neighbouring ASEAN countries. While neither of these factors

was considered an immediate threat to Australian security, short of a world war, both created uncertainties in the short and medium-term future. The main worry relating to the great power conflict was, perhaps predictably, that an escalation of Sino-Soviet rivaLry might Lead to more instability in the region. Most commonly expressed fears were of renewed Sino-Vietnamese

warfare, a Soviet-backed Vietnamese incursion into Thailand, or the establishment of a permanent Soviet naval/air base in Vietnam (Cam Ranh Bay). Concern was, however, also widely expressed about China's intentions in the region, in the light of its heavy-handed dealing with Vietnam.

Government backbenchers (surprisingly) shared this view, with one dissenter who viewed China's opposition to Vietnam as the main safeguard of regional peace. Two parliamentarians named Japan as a country that, in view of its past history and martial tradition, might upset the regional balance.

Government backbenchers were also concerned by the U.S. withdrawal from the region after its 1975 Indochina defeat, but were generally satisfied by recent increased U.S. activities.

The country which parLiamentarians felt posed the greatest strategic threat to the region, and hence Australia, was undoubtedly Vietnam. With only three ALP dissenters, parLiamentarians feared that Vietnam, acting on its own or as a surrogate of the Soviet Union, might wish to expand its influence south beyond Kampuchea. Even if it stopped short of this, merely by staying in Kampuchea, or perhaps re-activating

support for the exodus of boat refugees, it might seriously destabilize the region. This was not considered a direct security threat to AustraLia, at Least in the short to medium term, but might endanger communication lines (particularly with Japan) and would affect the very considerabLe interest Australia has in maintaining stability in the region. The only other regional country seen as a potential threat was Indonesia. Possible scenarios in this case were either the outbreak of conflict between

Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (mentioned by three parliamentarians) and/or an Indonesian reversion to an expansionist foreign policy should domestic development prove intractable over the next five to ten years.

In addition to concern about specific countries, there was also a more generalised concern that domestic instability in the region might cause difficulties to Australia by upsetting the existing status quo. More specificalLy, domestic instability was perceived likely to increase the opportunities for disruptive great power involvement, apart from

constituting a threat to Australia's limited investments and trading relations.

One final possible threat to AustraLia - to the Australian way of Life if not directly to Australian sovereignty - was 'seen in the form of 'peace armadas', tens or hundreds of thousands of boat refugees arriving on our shores. Three parliamentarians raised the possibility of instability

in our region creating such a problem, citing Indochina, Indonesia (Java) and India as the main potential source areas.

A limited number of suggestions were made as to how Australia should respond to the perceived strategic uncertainty within its neighbouring region. Government backbenchers were anxious to see American re-involvement as far as possible, and to a- lesser extent Chinese and Japanese political involvement. opposition backbenchers saw some potential

- 20 -

for playing off competing great powers. However the main point stressed by virtually all parliamentarians was that Australia had to have cordial relations with ASEAN countries. Australian interests in the future might not always coincide with those of the great powers. It was therefore vital that Australia prepared the groundwork for coming to terms with its regionaL environment independently.

Parliamentarians differed in the emphasis they placed on defence relations with neighbouring countries, but differed Little in substance. Only one expressed clear disagreement with present Government policy. Government backbenchers were anxious to expand relations, both to emphasise our commitment to the region, and to protect Australia's interests through

forward defence. They aLso emphasised the desirability of standardising equipment, and selling Australian-produced weapons to ASEAN. Senator Sim, on the record as criticising the paucity of defence attaches in Southeast Asia,(51) reiterated this point during the interview. Opposition parliamentarians, however, were anxious to keep military cooperation to the

lowest level possible commensurate with diplomatic necessity.

Four other areas of AustraLian-Southeast Asian interaction were noted as important: immigration and refugees, diplomatic cooperation, narcotics and aid. Most parliamentarians believed that refugees and immigrants from Southeast Asia wouLd not directly threaten the AustraLian

life style, but would remain a serious problem for a number of years. ALL expressed broad agreement with the Government's relatively liberal policies in these areas, and some even considered that Australia's regionaL position was enhanced by the growing number of Southeast Asians coming to

live here. Generalised support was aLso expressed for increased diplomatic cooperation in such venues as the U.N., but it was felt that Australia should also maintain close ties with other countries, particularly traditional allies in the Western bloc. Efforts to reduce the outflow of narcotics from the region (especially Thailand) was occasionally noted as

an area of cooperation that was important and wouLd retain its importance for many years to come. Finally, some parliamentarians emphasised the ongoing importance of aid to our relations with the region.


one of the major impressions gained from the interviews is that there is a broad area of agreement on Australian policies towards Southeast Asia amongst the parliamentarians most concerned with this topic. Away from the parliamentary theatre, Government backbenchers tended to be less pro-China and less anti-Soviet; Opposition backbenchers, on the other hand, were more uncertain of Vietnam's intentions and capabilities. Although there were several areas of disagreement these cut across party

lines, and parliamentarians were united by a general attitude of goodwill towards the region (at least the ASEAN countries), and agreement that Australia needed to chart an independent course in this area. The one dissenter argued that ASEAN countries were fundamentally repressive, and therefore unsuitable partners for joint regional endeavour.

It is nonetheless significant that most of those interviewed responded to questions on internal developments in Southeast Asia by giving what they admitted were only generalised impressions. Though better informed on such matters than Parliament as a whole, only a few had a detailed understanding of crucial issues shaping Australia's regional policy, and there was a degree of inconsistency in prescriptions offered

for different aspects of this policy.

- 21 -

The absence of a detailed understanding of regional issues was most clearly revealed in the area of Australian-ASEAN economic relations. With some notable exceptions, most interviewees did not have a clear understanding of economic developments that have taken place in the ASEAN

region in recent years, or of the trading pattern between ASEAN and Australia. The widespread fear of mass unemployment if further concessions were made for ASEAN imports, for example, fails to note the previously mentioned Limited market penetration that has been achieved by ASEAN goods.

Few appeared to appreciate that any 'threat' to Australia`s labour-intensive industries comes in fact from East Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Hongkong (over 10% of the clothing and footwear market for example, compared with ASEAN's 1%}. Only a minority, moreover, had

attempted to examine the economic arguments in favour of lowering protection levels and attempting to direct production towards the import needs of the rapidly developing countries in ASEAN and East Asia.

A second important area in which the interviewees' perceptions seemed not to reflect regional reality was in terms of the perceived danger of Vietnam to its non-communist neighbours, particularly Thailand. There is Little evidence suggesting that Vietnam wishes to extend its hegemony over countries outside Indochina. Even if it did, however, it Lacks the

logistic capacity to pose an immediate threat. Vietnam has faced numerous problems with an army of 150,000 - 200,000 asserting control over a demoralised Khmer population of 4,000,000 - 5,000,000. In the case of Thai Land distance would pose an even greater problem, the population is ten times that of Kampuchea and fiercely patriotic, it has some sophisticated weaponry and could quickly obtain more in an emergency, and it is backed by

an economy 2.5 times the size of Vietnam.

In terms of policy inconsistencies, the major problem area was the high value attached to good reLations with ASEAN, and the extreme reluctance to give this substance by making economic concessions. SimiLarLy, the desire of about half the politicians to make human rights in ASEAN an important politicaL issue (as opposed to those who believed it

important but better handled by quiet diplomacy) appeared not to take into account the ramifications for Australia's overall reLations with the region. Finally, although parliamentarians mostly avoided a strongly pro-China approach to the Sino-Vietnamese dispute, their general hostility to Vietnam nonetheless appeared to rule out the possibility of detente with

Indochina, a policy which it has earlier been argued was neither consistent with ASEAN's interests nor its response to the third Indochina war.

Parliament's Potential

Is parliamentary understanding of Southeast Asia likely to remain at its present level, or can it be expected to significantly increase? From the foregoing analysis there are hopeful signs pointing to future improvement. The degree of interest shown in the region, particularly during 1979, may Lead parliamentarians to make greater efforts to acquire expertise in this area. An important ongoing interest in the region for the next few years is, moreover, virtually assured by the institution of

committee enquiries into four important aspects of Southeast Asian affairs. If the past record of committees is an accurate guide to the future, these enquiries will play an important role in both educating committee members and influencing Government policy.

There are, however, at least three areas - two of which were suggested during interviews with parliamentarians - in which parliamentary


22 -

expertise and effectiveness could be enhanced by relatively small innovations. Firstly, a point made on a number of occasions by politicians and elsewhere by parliamentary commentators, is that several improvements could be made to the Committee system. There is, for instance, a need for some specialists to be appointed to the Committee staff. Limited provisions for this do exist, but these are not sufficient. Generalist staff cannot be expected to understand subtle nuances in Committee submissions (at Least at the beginning of a hearing) and since they bear a heavy responsibility for preparing the questions Committee members direct to witnesses, witnesses are sometimes rather easily Let off the hook. If employing extra staff is not feasible, then at the very least greater use should be made of specialists in the Parliamentary Library's Legislative Research Service. Secondly, it is highly desirable that financial provision be made for Committee members to visit the area they are examining, an issue on which backbenchers have lately been quite vocal.(52)

As a 'second best' alternative, if this proves impossible, efforts should be made to coordinate Parliamentary Delegations with Committee enquiries. Thirdly, machinery should be established to provide for ongoing monitoring of the areas into which Committees enquire. A possible breakthrough on

this issue appears to have been made by the recent decision of the Joint House Committee to establish a Sub-Committee that will "monitor" events in the Middle East.(53) Fourthly, a proposal made by Senator Knight, that Committees conduct 'instant' enquiries into major events as they occur and

report back to Parliament within a few weeks,(54) also seems to have merit. This would markedly enhance Parliament's ability to respond quickly to international events, and make authoritative recommendations while an issue

remained current.

A second area in which a Large number of the interviewed politicians felt an improvement could be made was in terms of allowing a greater number of foreign policy debates in both chambers. There was only one general debate in the past two years.

Finally, visits overseas by parliamentary delegations could be made much more effective (and perhaps more frequent) than they presently appear to be. Such delegations are received at the highest Government levels in the countries they visit, and are thus uniquely placed to enquire

into international developments and fulfil their ostensible role as fact-finding missions. By publicising their findings on return, through speeches inside and outside Parliament, and through the official report, they could do a great deal to educate Parliament as a whole and perhaps even exert wider influence. An examination of the two reports tabled this year illustrates that this potential has not been realised.

The 39-page report on the ASEAN-East Asia visit(55) has at least ten statements that are highly misleading or wrong. The most important example (it is not clear if this argument was actually used on the tour) is the claim that Australian imports from ASEAN were expected to increase by 50-60% for 1978-79, and that the imbalance in trade was improving in ASEAN's favour. Provisional statistics for 1978-79 in fact indicate an

increase in ASEAN imports of only 15%, while Australia's exports to the region went up by 27%.(56) Policy recommendations (some of which are useful) are scattered throughout the report rather than being systematically presented together, and there is very little information in the report that could not have been gleaned from sources available in Australia. The report of the delegation to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation extends to only 14 well-spaced pages (7 in the Appendix) which

in essence reports only the composition and principal decisions of the

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meeting.(57) It is notable also that the tabling of both reports did not occur until the end of the parliamentary year (22 and 21 November 1979 respectively). The reports were thus dated, and in the end of session rush there was no time to publicise them effectively.

Coincidentally, a U.S. House of Representatives delegation visited Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam) from 2-11 August, just after the first Australian delegation. Their report,(58) focussed on the Indochina refugee crisis, provides a model Australian parliamentarians might well seek to emulate. Published on 16 September, it

is a highly informative, detailed account (81 pages) of both the humanitarian and political aspects of the refugee problem. The access such delegations have to top Government leaders was utilised to provide one of the most revealing insights available into ASEAN and Indochina views on this important issue. Fourteen major policy recommendations are clearly

stated at the beginning of the report, comprising largely recommendations at the end of each country chapter. It is not beyond the resources of the Australian ParLiament to produce such a document: the recent report of a delegation to Africa, prepared with secretarial assistance from an

internationaL relations specialist on Africa attached to the Legislative Research Service, if not of Congressional standard, is also clearly presented, informative and groups policy recommendations systematically together.(59)


It is clear, in retrospect, that the dramatic series of events in Southeast Asia during 1979 have sparked an AustraLian interest in this region that has not been evident since the end of the Second Indochina War in 1975. ParLiament followed these events closely, on the floor of both Houses and, perhaps more significantly, by establishing Committees to enquire into those aspects which had ramifications for Australia. Growing

interest in the region, reflecting the region's growing relevance to Australia, has not yet, however, led to the development of a broad parliamentary understanding of Southeast Asia. In spite of a strong rhetorical commitment to ASEAN, there was a notable diversity of views about Southeast Asia — often cutting across party Lines — and little apparent effort to relate the various facets of relations with the region

into a systematic whole. The introduction of a number of wide—ranging Committee enquiries into Southeast Asia is an important initiative that may go some of the way towards correcting this.

The importance of the various issues of Australian—Southeast Asian relations discussed can hardly be over — emphasised. They bear directly on the type of AustraLian society and regional environment that wiLL be moulded in the next few years. Parliament has the potential to influence policies in this area, but realisation of this potential wiLL require a clear understanding of the issues at stake.

John Funston

Canberra 1979 Parliamentary Political

December 1979 Science Fellow

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1. Some of these views are noted in Indyk, M., Influence Without Power The Role of the Backbench in Australian Foreign Policy 1976-1977. APSA Par iamentary Fellow Monograph, Monograph No. 1, Canberra, 1979, pp.1-2.

2. Ibid., passim.

3. The major relevant reports for 1979 have been the Study Group on Structural Adjustment. Report March 1979, chaired by Professor Sir John Crawford, an important section of which deals with export opportunities in Asia and the problems posed by Australia's high protection level; Australia and the Third World, prepared by an

independent group chaired by Professor 0. Harries and released in September 1979, a major part of which is on Australia's political and economic relations with Southeast Asia; and the Industries Assistance Commission, Annual Report 1978-79 , which devotes one of its four

Chapters to 'Prospects for Exports to Developing Asia'. The Crawford and Harries reports were briefly debated in parliament.

4. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 22 February 1979, p.259.

5. House of Representatives, Hansard, 27 February 1979, p.367.

6. Ibid., pp.361-366.

7. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 8 March 1979, p.834. It is also of interest that Mr. Yates visited Vietnam - the only parliamentarian to do so in 1979 - in the course of a world tour during the winter recess.

8. I have briefly discussed the origins of the Third Indochina War in "The Sino-Vietnamese Conflict", Current Issues Brief No. 1/1979. Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library, Legistativ1eseiFTiService, 26 February 1979.

9. I have discussed ASEAN-Vietnam ties in "Thailand and the Indochina Conflicts", Dyason House Papers, September 1979, and "The Third Indochina War and Southeast Asia", Contemporary Southeast Asia (Singapore), December 1979.

10. The Age, 12 February 1979.

11. Senate, Hansard, 11 September 1979, p.518.

12. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 12 September 1979, pp.987-988.

13. Senate, Hansard (Proof), 26 September 1979, pp.959-975.

14. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 10 October 1979, p.1880.

15. Ibid., pp.1834-1835.

16. The Age, 26 October 1979.

17. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 16 October 1979, p.2011.


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18, 'Statement made by Dr. 'Guy Goodwin-Gill, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Australian 'National University Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees on 30 July 1979'. p.11.

19. By early December 1979, just over 2,000 boat refugees had reached Australia in 53 boats. Twenty boats arrived in 1978, but only six in 1979.

20. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 4 April 1979, p.1542.

21. Straits Times (Singapore), 12 July 1979.

22. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 25 September 1979, p.1453.

23. ALso important in this respect, though not commissioned in the same way, were the Annual Report 1978-79 of the Industries Assistance Commission, referred to in footnote 3, and the same organisation's draft report on T extiles, Clothing and Footwear released in August


24. See response of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the Crawford Report in House of Representatives, Hansard , 23 August 1979, pp.562-573.

25. The 1978 figure is cited in Singapore International Airlines' submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. Senate, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (Reference: Australia and ASEAN), Hansard (Proof), 31 October 1979, p.861.

26. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 28 May 1979, p.2490.

27. Senate, Hansard (Proof), 11 September 1979, pp.550-556.

28. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 31 May 1979, pp.2757-2758.

29. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 22 August 1979, p.487.

30. Speeches by Mr. Bowen in House of Representatives, Hansard, 25 October 1978, p.2272 and 18 September 1979, p.1193.

31. See for instance statements in the House by Mr. Young and Mr. Holding. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 11 September 1979, p.945 and p.952 respectively. This viewpoint is also strongly expressed in a press release by Dr. Everingham, dated 11 April 1979.

32. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 27 February 1979, p.377.

33. Senate, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (Reference: The New International Economic Order), Hansard, 25 May 1979, p.830.

34. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 6 March 1979, pp.620-621.

35. Ibid., 8 May 1979, p.1951.

36. Edwards, C.T., "Current Issues in ASEAN-Australian Trade Relations", Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Affairs 1979, Singapore, 1979, p.39.

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37. Bureau of Industry Economics, Industrialisation in Asia - Some Implications for Australian Industry, Canberra, 1978, p.25, Tab Le .

38. Senate, Hansard, 22 February 1978, pp.77-82.

39. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 18 September 1979, p.1184.

40. See House of Representatives, Estimates Committees A and B, Hansard (Proof), 18 October 1979, pp.332-342, passim. U

41. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 10 October 1979, pp.1876-1880.

42. See for instance the report by Peter Rodgers, carried in The Age, 1 November 1979. This, however, put the decline in Timoresepopu'ation at about 100,000, rather than Mr. Uren's figure of 359,500.

43. Canberra Times, 2 November 1979.

44. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 27 February 1979, p.376.

45. Senate, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (Reference: Australia and ASEAN), Hansard (Proof), 21 September 1979, pp.466-467.

46. The Age, 25 October 1979.

47. Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Australian Defence Procurement, November 1979, pp.41, 144, 153.

48. See, for instance, two critical Questions Upon Notice, and a reply to a Ministerial Statement on Defence by Mr. Scholes, in House of Representatives, Hansard, 25 May 1978, p.2564, 24 October 1978, p.2200 and 24 November 1978, p.3564.

49. Ibid. (Proof), 25 October 1979, p.2477.

50. The interviewees were as follows:

House of Representatives Senate

Mr. D.M. Connolly (Lib.) Mr. R.F. Shipton (Lib.) Hon. R.C. Katter (NCP) Hon. T. Uren (ALP)

Dr. N. BLewett (ALP)

Sen. J.P. Sen. J.W. Sen. D.S. Sen. Hon. Sen. Hon. Sen. K.W.

Sen. C.V.

Sim (Lib.) Knight (Lib.) Scott (NCP) K.S. Wriedt (ALP) J.M. Wheeldon (ALP)

Sibraa (ALP) J. Mason (AD)

None of the interviews were on an 'off the record' basis, but I have not, with a few exceptions, identified individual positions for three reasons: firstly, the very openness with which parliamentarians spoke (both on and off the record) entailed a reciprocal obligation of discretion on my part; secondly, the composite picture rather than the

views of individual parliamentarians is of more relevance for this study; thirdly, from a stylistic viewpoint, such extensive documentation would break the flow of the narrative.

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51. The Age, 12 February 1979. Senator Sim specifically criticised a recent decision to withdraw one of the two military attaches in Thailand and the sole military representative in Burma.

52. The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence is planning to visit the ASEAN region as part of its enquiry into 'Australia and ASEAN'; however its request for special parliamentary financial assistance to do this was refused.

53. House of Representatives, Hansard (Proof), 20 November 1979, p.3191.

54. Senator Knight mentioned this in my interview with him and, as previously noted, attempted to initiate such a practice in response to developments in East Timor. The Senate has in the past asked other Committees to conduct short-term enquiries, so there are precedents for this. Since, however, approval for such hearings must be given by the

Senate, only informal meetings on new issues could be convened outside the parliamentary session.

55. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Official Report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Indonesia, The Philippines, RepubLic of Korea and Thailand 10 July - 31 JuLy 19 Canberra,1979.

56. Central Statistical Section, Department of Trade and Resources, ASEAN, Basic Statistics, 1979, p.3, Table 1.1.

57. Official Report of the Australian Parliamentary Observer Delegation to the Second Genera Assembly ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation A.I.P.O. , Bangkok, Thai an 27 September - 3 October 9

58. The Indochinese Refugee Situation. August 1979. Report of a Study Mission of theU.S. House of Representatives August 2-11, 1979. Washington, 16 September 1979.

59. Official Report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Gabon, and Sudan. June-July 1979.

Pri ited by C. I. ThowploN, Commonwealth 0overoment Printer, Canberra