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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4646

BALTIC STATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION, CANBERRA, 15 MARCH 1978

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/03/1978

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4646

Embargo against delivery ( expected 6.45 pm).
PRIME MRIISTER
FOR PRESS 15 MARCH 1978
BALTIC STATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION, CANBERRA
I welcome this opportunity to join with you in celebrating the
Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Latvia,
Estonia and Lithuania. This is a most important occasion
for the Australian Baltic community.
Sixty years ago, the leaders of these three nations proclaimed
a Declaration of Independence which restored a sovereignty that
they had enjoyed in earlier times. Unfortunately, this
independence was to be short-lived.
It was one of the first steps taken by my Government on coming
to office in December 1975 to withdraw de jure recognition of
the incorporation of the Baltic states into the USSR.
The tragi,-events which put an end to the independence which
you are tonight celebrating and which have occurred since
that time have led tens of thousands of Latvians, Estonians
and Lithuanians to seek freedom in other countries.
You have made Australia your new homeland. Australia has offered
new hope to many who have fled oppressive authoritarian regimes
new freedom to achieve and create, new opportunity to retain
and nourish distinct cultural religious and ethnic traditions.
Your communities have seized this opportunity, and it is to your
great credit that you have succeeded in maintaining your
identity, preserving your languages and cultures.
Australia is not a country whose culture and traditions are
drawn from one source alone. We are a multicultural society,
and we are all the richer for it.
You are not a large community in Australia, yet you have
contributed to all fields of endeavour out of all proportion t~ o
your numbers. Sir Arvi Parbo, a leader in our business community;
John and Ilsa Konrads, olympic champions both; Eddie Palubinskas,
the record breaking basketballer of the Montreal Olympics;
Tom Raudonikis, former captain of the Australian Rugby League Team;
Olegas Truchanas, famous naturalist and photographer; and man~ y
others, all have distinguished themselves in the community. / 2

It is the Government's aim to encourage the increasing
contribution of ethnic communities to every aspect of
Australian life academic, cultural, professional,
business and sport.
To this end, we are working actively to improve Government
services to all our ethnic communities, particularly to
migrants who have recently arrived and who have not acquired
a command of English.
We also aim to expand the ethnic broadcasting service, and
establish an ethnic television service.
We recognise that the success of the Government's ethnic
affairs policies depends very much upon the cooperation of
the ethnic communities themselves.
I commend the Baltic Council of Australia for bringing together
the members of three communities which, whilst sharing many
common ideals and attributes, have very individual cultures
and identities.
I look to you to play a most active role in helping with the
Government to improve community services available to migrants
in need of assistance and in helping to make our country a
great country to live for all Australians.
Ladies and gentlemen, will you join with me in a toast to
Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Transcript 4646