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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2819

STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON DEPARTURE FOR VIST TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND INDONESIA

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/1973

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2819

NQ DATE
M/ 33 18 February 1973
STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER
FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON DEPARTURE FOR VTSIT
TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND INDONESIA
The Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mr Whitlan, said in Canberra today that he hoped his first visits
to Papua New guinea and Indonesia as Prime Minister would serve to
emphasise his Government's commitment to the evolution of a secure,
united and friendly Papua New Guinea and to the consolidation and
further strengthening of Australia's vital relationship with its
nearest and largest neighbour, Indonesia.
In a statement on his departure from Australia today,
Mr Whitlam said that in Papua New Guinea he would be having talks
with the Chief Minister, Mr Michael S'omare, and other Ministers.
He would also visit Goroka where he would have discussions with the
local council and attend the Goroka show.
Mr Whitlam said that the visit to Indonesia would be
his eighth visit to that country, although his first since becoming
Prime Minister. Mr Whitlam said that in Jakarta he was looking
forward to frank and substantive personal exchanges of views with
President Soeharto and with a number of other Ministers including
the Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry, and the Minister
for Foreign Affairs. While in Indonesia he would also address the

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Indonesian Parliament.
Mr Whitlam said that since President Soeharto had
visited Australia and his predecessor had visited Indonesia last
year, the situations in the Asian region had undergone important
changes. New Governments had come to office in Australia and
New Zealand, a ceasefire was now operating in Viet-Nam, and
active consideration was now being given to regional co-operation
by the countries of South-East Asia and by Australia and New
Zealand. Moreover, Indonesia and Australia had both recently
become members of the Security Council.
It would therefore be timely for him to discuss with
President Soeharto and Indonesian Ministers both the new approach
of his government to international affairs and the changed situation
in the Asian region.
Mr Whitlam added that Indonesia was the fifth most
populous nation in the world and the only country with which
Australia shared a boundary. A soundly based, close and lasting
Australian-Indonesian relationship was therefore of paramount
importance to both countries, now and in the future. He hoped
his visit would contribute to the strengthening of this
-relationship. Mr and Mrs Whitlam will be accompanied to Papua New
Guinea by the Minister for External Territories, Mr Morrison,
and Mrs Morrison, and to both Papua New Guinea and Indonesia by
/ 3

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Sir Richard and Lady Kirby, Miss Cathy Whitlam and Mr Bruce
Grant, and members of the Prime Minister's personal staff.
Officials accompanying the Prime Minister are, from
the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Secretary,
Sir John Bunting, and Mr M. J. Wilson; and from the Department
of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Secretary, Mr K. C. O. Shann, and
Mr R. A. Woolcott. The Prime Minister is expected to return to Australia
on Sunday, 25 February.

Transcript 2819