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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2362

Mr PEACOCK —The Minister for Foreign Affairs will recall that in answer to a question from me last week he quoted from a minute, put to him by his Department , containing a number of recommendations and from a cable of instructions on the Australian delegation's voting intentions on the United Nations General Assembly proposed resolution on Grenada. Does he agree, on rereading the cable he quoted, that the wording-namely, his instructions-was ambiguous? Why, on a matter of great importance such as this, did he rely on the views of other people to determine Australia's vote? As a consequence, was not that vote and the subsequent explanation both humiliating and damaging to Australia's reputation? In the future, on matters of such importance and sensitivity, will he give firm and unequivocal instructions?

Mr HAYDEN —Certainly, in future I will give firm and unequivocal instructions in relation to votes. In short, I intend to change the procedure which was established when the Leader of the Opposition was Minister for Foreign Affairs, when the tendency was to follow substantial blocks of votes amongst the Western European nations and other groups of countries. My instruction was unequivocal, both in the submission sent to me by the Department, where I noted my instruction, and also in paragraph 3 of the cable, to which the Leader of the Opposition referred. It states:

For your reference, you should be aware that abstention reflects Mr Hayden's unwillingness to go beyond his statement of 31 October. The proposed resolution on Grenada goes beyond this significantly.