PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1979

VISIT TO THE U.K. 1969 - EXTRACTS FROM SPEECH MADE BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR. JOHN GORTON, TO THE COMMONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE - 13 JANUARY 1969

Photo of Gorton, John

Gorton, John

Period of Service: 10/01/1968 to 10/03/1971

More information about Gorton, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/01/1969

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1979

VISIT TO THE U. K. 1969
EXTRACTS FROM SPEECH MADE BY THE PRIME
MINISTER, MR. JOHN GORTON, TO THE
COMMONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE
13 JANUARY 1969
Australia attaches great importance to the work of
UNCTAD and we think it is bringing about a greater awareness of the
problems of developing countries. Although there was, I know, a
widespread feeling of disappointment among the developing countries
that the concrete results from the second UNCTAD conference last year
were not greater, resolutions on tariff preferences, commodity problems,
increased aid and improved aid terms, all pointed in the right direction.
In 1966, Australia introduced a system of tariff preferences
for exports of developing countries, which we have since enlarged. We
believe that this system is the most effective way for us to help developing
countries increase their exports of manufactured and semi-manufactured
goods. Trade is, in the last analysis, more important than aid.
Whilst our hopes for really acceptable conditions of access to markets
for agricultural products in the major industrial countries were not
realised in the Kennedy Round, there were some credits, we now have a
new international grains arrangement and a new international sugar
agreement. Australia has always stressed the need for international
commodity agreements in certain products and the arrangements for
wheat and sugar, together with those that already exist for tin and coffee,
are signposts for the future and show that if producers and consumers
are both willing, we can get results.
We were greatly pleased at the inclusion in the sugar
agreement of the special provisions for developing countries the
" hardship fund" for sugar and the preferential allocation of short falls.
We also supported the Food Aid Convention for wheat. Let me emphasise
here we support in the strongest way the remarks of the distinguished
representative from Jamaica. We would urge those countries which have
not yet done so to take the necessary steps to accept the international
sugar agreement. On the broader front in the international monetary
field I believe we can expect further action to see how the system
might be improved and I hope that the International Monetary Fund
will play a central role in any review. There is, I believe, a continuing
need for a multi-lateral approach to international financial and economic
problems. In the past year or so we have had no less than three crises
in the international monetary field...., the sterling devaluation, the gold
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crisis and the recent run out of French francs into deutschmarks. But
despite these crises some progress has been made by the two reserve
currency countries towards a balance of payments equilibrium, which,
if it is attained, must help all around this table.
We all know how severe were the measures imposed on
the British people in the last two years and I understand Britain now expects
to move faster towards first, a balance of payments equilibrium and
then, a surplus which is necessary to meet debt obligations. I am sure
we all wish our British colleagues every success in their efforts for they
are as important to Britain as they are important to all d us.
The new Special Drawing Rights scheme will support the
present structure of reserve assets. The scheme, as you know, is
non-discriminatory and open to all members of the fund. We, in
Australia, earnestly hope that other members of the Commonwealth who
have not already joined will do so soon.
I have previously stated that Australia which in one sense
is a developed country, and in another equally valid sense a developing
and underdeveloped country is playing a part in international aid which
is by no means inconsiderable. It will continue to play that part. We
cannot, however, agree to support the proposition to contribute to a
multi-lateral fund within the Commonwealth and under the control of the
Secretariat. We shall continue to provide our aid under existing multilateral
arrangements and bi-laterally for proposals discussed and agreed
between ourselves and the country concerned either within or without
the Commonwealth.

Transcript 1979