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Transcript of address to ship's company at farewell of HMAS Westralia

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PM: ... I and the people of Australia hope that this conflict in the Gulf will be resolved peacefully. Australia and all the nations who have forces in the multinational forces there have no desire at all for war because we all know the disasters and the tragedy of war. But we know that

conflict can in fact only be resolved if Saddam Hussein will abide by the decisions of the United Nations Security Council, and that in so complying with those resolutions he withdraws immediately from Kuwait.

There is today in Geneva taking place a meeting between United States Secretary of State, Jim Baker, and the Foreign Secretary of Iraq, Tareq Aziz, and the key purpose of that meeting, my friends, must be that the message is to be conveyed to Saddam Hussein that the choice between war and peace is in his hands. He must be made to understand that unless he does withdraw completely and immediately from Iraq

(sic) then the alternative is devastation for him and his people and he must be made aware, as I know Jim Baker will convey to his Foreign Secretary, the total and the unqualified determination of the international community

that the decisions of the United Nations Security Council shall be adhered to. Because unless that is done then there is nothing but devastation for him and his people.

We know that you will be inspired by the work of your comrades in the Navy who have already been in the Gulf. I've had the occasion and the opportunity, as you know, both to farewell them and to welcome back those who have returned. In particular I know that you here on HMAS Westralia will be particularly proud, Commander, of the work

that's been done by Success. They've done a magnificent job and in a very short time have acquired something of a reputation. As I understand, you would know and ... members of your company would know, they seem to have exceeded even the bounds of duty in terms of meeting the requirements, the conventional requirements of our vessels there, and in

typical Aussie fashion have created the reputation of being able to get anything, supply anything, under any circumstances.

I have no doubt that the magnificent reputation that has been already established by Success will be at least maintained by you and your colleagues on Westralia.





It's also a very special occasion today ladies and gentlemen in that there are in the 81 members of this company seven women sailors. This will be the first time in Australia's history that ... they have gone into a potential combat zone. So this is an historic occasion and a milestone for participation by women in Australia's armed services.

I had the great pleasure, as you know Commander, of early last year being at HMAS Stirling for the commissioning of this ship. It's a great ship. It has a very distinguished record. It was previously Appleleaf. I was there for its commissioning and I was singularly impressed by the quality

of the ship then and I must say that we all owe a great debt to the engineering staff and the local contractors at HMAS Stirling for the way in which they have undertaken the refit and have got the ship ready now for this exercise.

So I conclude, my friends, as I began. I want you in this company to know that you leave Australia with the best wishes and the firm commitment in spirit of the people of Australia. I want you to know that you are part of the

great tradition of the Royal Australian Navy. Over many years now, some 80 years, getting on for 80 years, they have served Australia faithfully in war and in peace. We are at a point now where we have the Cold War behind us, where the world has been entitled to look forward in hope, to being

able to enjoy a more peaceful and prosperous state of the international order than ever before. And so the way in which this conflict is resolved is going to ensure whether the people of the world are going to be able to have their hopes and their aspirations fulfilled. Because we'll only be able to have proper, peaceful and ordered relations between nations in terms of the Charter of the United Nations if it becomes well-known to aggressors and potential aggressors that the world will not tolerate aggression.

So you are indeed part of an important and historic mission and you take with you, I repeat, the very best wishes of the Government and the people of Australia.

I wish you all bon voyage and, as I say, a safe and an early return.

Thank you very much.