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Tuesday, 23 October 1973
Page: 2566

Mr GRAHAM (North Sydney) - I should like to make some comments about Papua New Guinea and one or two comments about the general issue of foreign affairs. I should also like to reply to a few of the comments made by the honourable member for Holt (Mr Oldmeadow). I find it interesting to ponder the expressions of members of the Australian Labor Party and to note the way in which they identify Australia's independence as being manifested by some various form of international impertinence. Apparently it is their judgment that the people of Australia cannot feel independent unless they are cast in the role of saying to the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries that those countries are engaged in policies which are abhorrent and wrong. If we find ourselves in agreement with the policies of London arid Washington, apparently we are to regard ourselves, to use a phrase used in Peking, as running dogs of the imperialists.

When one balances these issues against the facts of life one can understand the attitude of mind with which I know the Minister is familiar because he has spent quite a considerable time in various parts of Asia. Why is it that we should have an attitude of mind in Djakarta, in Singapore, in Kuala Lumpur and Seoul with which our friends in the Labor Party find themselves substantially in disagreement? They find themselves substantially in the position in which they are saying to these governments of the Asian countries: 'You people have nothing to be afraid of. You do not have to worry about the activities of those in Moscow and those in Peking of whom you have been afraid. You do not have to worry about them at all. We, with all of the wisdom that we bring from Canberra in 1973, are able to advise you that you have no problem and that you are living in a world of fantasy and fear.' The truth of the matter is that in the last 3 decades the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have all been subject to a clearly identified communist subversion, a communist attack.

Honourable members opposite know, and the Minister knows perfectly, the story of Ching-Peng and the terrorist forces in Malaysia. The Minister can explain, although he may be embarrassed so to do, at very great length where the arms and equipment that were captured came from because he knows perfectly well that they were identified. He knows without question in his own mind that had the terrorist activities in Malaysia been successful they would have been carried on through Singapore, and if the efforts of 1965 had been brought to a successful conclusion, they would have carried through, with some form of collusion, some form of arrangement, to Djakarta.

All these things are true. Honourable members know what happened in Vietnam; they know what happened in Korea. If one is to be regarded as servile by believing that the governments of South Korea and South Vietnam ought to have been helped in their attempts to remain free, to remain in control of their countries, then I for one would like to be identified in that event as being servile, because I hold the view that if the attitude of mind that was expressed by the honourable gentleman is followed to its logical conclusion we could have been independent in our outlook only if the enemy had succeeded and if in fact South Korea had become a vassal state of North Korea and if in fact South Vietnam had become a vassal state of North Vietnam. One does not know that this particular trend of history will not develop. One does not know that within the next decade what was called the domino theory may not be seen to develop.

Turning to Papua New Guinea, with which the Minister has a very special relationship, I would like to say that as from 1 December, as has been already said to the House by the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), there will be a substantial change in the responsibilities of the Minister's Department. The title of his Department is to be abolished and the bulk of his advisers will, I presume, become officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Minister will be operating under the Minister for Foreign Affairs and looking after the special relationships between the Australian Government and the Government of Papua New Guinea. Looking ahead to the next decade, I believe a number of things should be said to the Minister - I feel confident that he would not disagree with these things; I am not suggesting that he does disagree - in the hope that he will encourage the Government in Port Moresby to do all that it possibly can as speedily as possible to approach that wonderful light on the hill of economic viability.

One of the ways in which I believe this can be done, particularly in view of the propaganda that is going on at the present time about the world's energy problems, is to invite or influence the Government in Port Moresby to try to accelerate the exploration programs that are being carried out within Papua New Guinea in an effort to identify the ore bodies, to find oil and to develop the resources of that nation. Development should be taken at least to the stage where it will be attractive for international companies to come in and carry out developmental programs, as has already been done in the island of Bougainville. There are great possibilities for the gas in the Purari River area at the north of the Gulf of Papua. I should have thought that if some of the hundreds of millions of dollars that would be necessary for a program of this nature could be secured, at the end of the next decade the enormous concentrations of gas at Barikewa might become commercial and they could be very significant in the future development of the Territory.

The Kennecott company has been developing a copper mine on the western side of Papua. If United States know-how through companies of this nature can be encouraged to an even greater degree to come to the Territory there may be some possibility of Papua New Guinea more quickly reaching the stage where it will be able to develop its own programs and to stand to a greater degree than ever before on its own feet in terms of financial assistance. However, from Australia's point of view there can be no doubt about the fact that Australian financial assistance and Australian underwriting for future economic development in the Territory are absolutely vital.

I should like to repeat what I have said before. I do not wish to see the people of the Territory in the position where they have to waste money on military equipment. I believe Australians should have the courage, at least in relation to Papua New Guinea, to face the future and say: 'We will stand with you and by some formal contract we will undertake to look after your defence, internally and externally, over the next 15 years'. I know people are frightened, in this international world, to be as direct as that. I point out that I regard the manifestation of this fear as a little more servile than that type of independence which was being referred to by the previous speaker, the honourable member for Holt (Mr Oldmeadow). I can see no earthly reason why we should have to apologise to anyone of any colour anywhere else, in any government in the world or in the United Nations, for our particular interest in Papua New Guinea and our particular obligation to see that that country is developed and preserved.

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