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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4684

AUSTRALIA-EEC TRADE, 16 APRIL 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: 16/04/1978

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4684

Ak
AUSTRALA IPRIME
MINISTER
FOR PRESS 16 APRIL 1978
AUSTRALIA-EEC TRADE
I welcome the assurance given in Brussels to the Australian
Ambassador that there is now no question of cancelling the
bi-lateral talks and that these will be held early in June.
It is my wish and the wish of all Australians, that the
negotiations with the EEC that the Minister for Special Trade
Representations, Mr. Garland, will have will be productive. We
seek to achieve equitable trading opportunities with the major
trading bloc in the world.
The Government has consistently and for many months pointed to
the imbalance of opportunities between the EEC and Australia.
We are virtually shut out of many of Europe's markets by
quantitative restrictions and non-tariff barriers. On the other
hand, Europe has much more open access to Australian markets.
The present opportunities are unequal. My government has the
simple objective of giving Australia's producers a fair go in
Europe. I have used, and will continue to use, direct and
accurate language in describing the erosion of our markets in
Europe since the Community came into being.
In addition to that, the dumping of their subsidized agricultural
surpluses in other markets compounds our problems.
I was in Brussels last June. Mr. Howard left a detailed note
in Brussels in October. Now, after Mr. Garland has left
Australia for detailed discussions we learn the Community needs
another month.
My responsibility to the Australian people was to express the
Government's concern in forthright, direct and accurate terms,,
and that I did.
It is no credit to the Labor Party that while Australia's
products were being shut out of Europe it raised no protest and
no authoritative voice to arrest the trend. In their time, our
markets for most of our major agricultural products virtually
disappeared. I find it incomprehensible that the Labor Party speaks on this
issue only to chide the Government for seeking to redress
what the Labor Party lost. They suggest the Community should
be treated with kid gloves and that we should use a feather duster.
If they themselves went even as far as that when they were in
office, nobody was aware of it. Their great achievement was
to lose markets.

Of all the political parties in all the democracies in the
world, it is only the Australian Labor Party which advocates
a counsel of despair in relation to Europe's agricultural
policies. Australian farmers will remember that the Labor
Party not only lost those markets, but now does not want the
Government to do anything about regaining some of them.
At a time when Australia needs a total approach, with the
Australian community standing with the Government totally and
absolutely in its efforts, the ALP takes an attitue that can
only undermine Australia's negotiating position. We can all
remember that that is what the Labor Party did last year when
it set out deliberately to undermine the strength of the
Australian dollar for political purposes.
If the Labor Party was concerned for great national objectives, if
the Labor Party was concerned to achieve the essential
unity of purpose that would strengthen Australia in these vital
discussions, they would support the Government in its effort
and at the same time bring credit on themselves.
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Transcript 4684