PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Fraser, Malcolm

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

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Fraser, Malcolm

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

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

Release Date: 02/06/1976

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4138

PRIME MAINISTER
FOR PRESS 2' June 1976
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Australia, with many other countries, will observe
World Environment Day on 5 June.
The United Nations Environment Programme has established
e-Day to focus attention on the need for cooperativ-e acticto
improve the quality of life.
In Australia, World Environment Day activities are being
sponsored by the Australian Environment Council which
consists of Federal and State Ministers concerned with
environmental protection.
It is important that we take stock of what is happening
to our environment. Our recognition of World
Environment Day, with many other countries, is an important
Part of that stocktaking.
This task is not one that should be or is being left to
Governments. In all walks of life Australians are workiic
to protect our unique natural and historic. heritaae.
The efforts of conservation groups and concerned individua-S
are being. r. ewarded by an increasing awareness of the need
f or concerned action to preserve our common environment.
This year the international theme for e-Day is twater".
Australia is particularly aware of the need to conserve
our water resources and use them wisely. We need to ensureadequate
quality and quantity water for agriculture
and our major cities and on a smaller, often local scale
to protect urban waterways from pollution and degradation.
In this way we will help preserve essential breathing spaces
in our cities. 00000oo0000
I

Transcript 4138

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ON THE COMMITTEE TO ADVISE ON POLICIES FOR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

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Fraser, Malcolm

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

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

Release Date: 02/06/1976

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4137

l~ jS_ > U L I L
DRAFT FOR PRESS June 1976
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ON THE COMMITTEE TO ADVISE ON
POLICIES FOR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
The Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, and the
Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator Roben. t_ Cotton,
today announced that Volumes III and IV of the report
of the Committee to Advise on Policies for Manufacturing
Industry, the Jackson Committee, had been tabled'in the
Parliament. The main part of the Committee's report Volume I
had been released on 30 October 1975. Volumes III and
IV contained studies commissioned by the Committee in the
course of it,* s work. Volume II of the Committee's report
containing statistical material would be released as soon
as copies were available from the printer, which was
0 expected i-aabout two weeks.
The.-. eight studies in Volume III deal with:
* industrial Policy in certain O. E. C. D. countries
the Industries Assistance Commission's approach to the
development of industries
* financing manufacturing
* foreign-owned manufacturing-firms in Australia
* European policies regarding large foreign companies
worker participation in Australia
worker participation and policy integration in
Yugoslavia and Romania
* communication between the Australian and State Governments
on industry policies. / 2

Volume IV contains studies dealing with the economic
and social aspects of seven selected industries.
Copies of the reports could be ordered through any
Commonwealth Publications and Inquiry Centre.
The Government trusted that publication of the volumes
would help to promote continuing discussion of the many
important issues concerning manufacturing industry raised
in the Committee's main report. These issues would also
have to be considered in the preparation of the White
Paper which would be presented to the Parliament in the
Budget Session.
The White ; Paper would provide a basis on which industry
could plan ahead with greater certainty as to the nature
and direction of Government policy. Interested parties
had previously been invited to forward submissions to
Senator Cotton setting out their views on matters to
be covered in the White Paper. At present relatively
few submissions had been received and it was hoped
that many more would be forthcoming before 1 July 1976.
00000oo0000

Transcript 4137

DERWENT BRIDGE STUDY

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Fraser, Malcolm

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

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

Release Date: 01/06/1976

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4136

F76/] 04
Jj) AUS T P. ALA
PRIME MINISTER
FOR PRESS 1 JUNE 1976
DERWENT BRIDGE STUDY
Detailed investigation of the river bed is under way
for the permanent bridge across the Derwent from
Dowsing Point.
In a joint statement today the Premier Mr Neilson, and
the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, said that the first progress
report covering the period up to 3] March ] 976 had been
received from the Joint Committee on the Second Hobart
Bridge established by the Commonwealth and State Governme-. ts.
The Report indicated that the investigatory drilling
programme began on March 9. The first stage was intended
to cover the total length of the proposed bridge. It
should be complete within four months.
A barge mounted drilling rig was supplied and operated
by the Mines Department while the Public Works Department
was providing direct supervision of the field work and
all laboratory testing of the material encountered.
Good progress had been made with preparatory work for the
second permanent crossing since the Joint Committee was
set up to arrange and co-ordinate investigation and desic-f: r
the bridge and its road approaches.
The firm of Maunsell and Partners had been appointed Cons-! t-=
Engineers for the design of the bridge and related invest--Z---
and studies. Eight alternative design concepts were bein=
appraised for the new bridge which would cross the Derwen-
. just north of the present temporary bridge.
Mr Neilson and Mr Fraser said further drilling would fol:: athe
present initial investigations to provide enough
information at each pier and abutment location to enable
all foundations to be designed with confidence as to founi'-
level and foundation conditions.
An investigation of velocities and directions of river cur_=.
at various depths near the proposed crossing had been starc
by the Hydro-Electric Commission. This information would
necessary for the study of pier protection. / 2

S A tentative programme for the investigations, studies
and design of the Bridge indicated that design and
documentation to the stage where tenders could be called
would be achieved in the second half of next year.
Four closely related studies concerned with the impact of
a second permanent crossing in Hobart had begun and
should be available to the Joint Committee within four
months. The consulting firm of Atkins Meinhardt was
conducting a study of river transport as it might affect
the design of the Bridge.
The development impact would be assessed by Nicholas
Clark and Associates, while P. G. Pak Poy and Associates
would report on traffic impact.
Mr Neilson and Mr Fraser said an important issue was the
effect of the Bridge on the natural environment and the
local community. The firm of M. S. T. Keys-Young would
investigate this matter.
It was possible the new Bridge would offer an alternative
route into Hobart for the national highway from northern
Tasmania and the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads had been
co. nissioned by the Commonwealth Minister for Transport
( M: r Nixon) to carry out a study of the optional corridors.
The Public Works Deoartment was co-ordinating all the
investigations and studies and also was carrying out plannnand
design of the road approach system and its connections
into the Glenorchy atea.
Mr Neilson and Mr Fraser said that close liaison was
necessary between the various consultants and a number
of local councils and other authorities. Arrangements
were being zade to ensure that the attitude and opinions
of all authorities and the public were obtained and
carefully considered.
The Joint-Ccmmittee's Reports on all investigations
were expected to fully cover the consequences of the decision
to build a new Bridge and the findings should be of
great benefit to planning development in the Hobart area.
000oo00000

Transcript 4136

STATEMENT ON THE WORLD SITUATION

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: 01/06/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4135

A\-WC F76/ 103C
1 JUNE 1976
STATEMENT ON THE WORLD SITUATION
Tonight I am going to talk about Australia's place in the world and about
the inter-relationship of. domestic policy and foreign policy. The purpose
of this statement is to outline some of the basic guidelines for the
Government's approach in its dealings with other countries.
The first requirement for an effective Australian role in the world is a
realistic assessment of the state of the world in which Australia must act.
That assessment must, as far as possible, be free of self-deception,
self-delusion. We must be prepared to face the world as it is, and not
as we would like it to be. Only in that way can we avoid becoming
involved in the pursuit of policies whose assumptions are so remote from
reality that their failure is inevitable. Only in that way can we hope to
perceive accurately, possible problems for Australia and seek to overcome
them. Only in that way can we effectively advance our objectives of peace
and security.
To point to possible problems and dangers is not to be gloomy or pessimistic.
It is an essential step in the development of realistic and appropriate
policies. It is an essential step in enabling us to Avoid problems and
dangers which may arise.
First of all, I will discuss the Government's general approach to Australia's
foreign relations. Australia's basic interest is in survival as a free
and democratic country, a country which can work effectively towards a world
in which all people can live in self-respect. We want to help diminish the
dangers of war and conflict, to help others as well as ourselves to
live in peace and prosperity and to work towards an international
environment which is favourable to these ends. There is a yearning in the
world for peace and security. These must be the constant objectives of
our policy.

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We will also seek to further our own deeply held values of democracy,
freedom and respect for the individual at every opportunity. In our
relations with other countries, the ideology of regimes is not irrelevant
but it cannot be the guiding principle of our policy. While common values
and attitudes may serve to make cooperation easier, their absence need not
preclude such cooperation if there are parallel interests. Whatever the
basis of a regime, whatever the organisation of its domestic government,
the chief determinant of our relations will be that country's approach to
foreign relations, how it meshes with ours, and of necessity the extent of
the interests we share.
We should strive to deal with other countries, and look to the development
of cooperative relations with those countries with whom we have some common
interests, regardless of ideology. A relationship founded in common interes
is ultimately the only relationship that can be depended upon.
In recent years, abroad as at home, lack of realism has inhibited Australia
from the constructive role open to us. A government does a great disservice
if it encourages acceptance by the people of an unrealistic view of the
state of the world in which they live. At home, the costs of a lack of
realism have become very apparent in the economic dislocation Australia has
suffered. Abroadunrealistic notions that an age of peace'stability had
arrived encouraged a neglect of power realities a neglect which did not
serve our interests.
It is time to move towards realism abroad, as we are at home. Australia in
common with other medium and smaller countries is now facing a more
difficult task in developing foreign policy in a deeply disturbing world
environment. The evidence for concern is apparent to anyone who takes a
realistic and dispassionate view of the world. The aspects of the
international situation which give rise to concern are:-Firstly, the
continued readiness of some states to pursue their interests by the use
of force by the growing influence on the international scene of countries
opposed to the freedom and respect for the individual person on which our
own democratic system is based.
Goodwill between nations would be enormously advanced if all nations could
treat those within their boundaries equally and justly, and if nations
could refrain from forcing their own form of government on others.
But unfortunately, it would be unrealistic to expect that they will do so.
Indeed, the practice of non-interference places a heavy responsibility on
states.

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We have come far beyond the point where anyone can pretend that the
denial of rights to minorities, or of basic rights to majorities, is not
a matter of international concern. It is a tragedy, nevertheless, that
great powers have sought to use problems arising from such situations
not to achieve actively a just solution but to achieve the dominance of
one ideology over another. A second aspect of the world situation giving
rise to concern is the state of relations between the superpowers.
Despite the hopes placed in detente, it has not st abilised relations
between the great powers. Indeed a renewed arms race now looms as a real
prospect. I shall comment on this matter further in a moment. Thirdly, there has
been a spate of criticism, often ill-founded, of the United States which
has reinforced domestic disputes within that country. Disagreement between
Congress and Executive has impaired the capacity of America the only
power which can provide a balance to the Soviet Union to act with full
effect abroad.
Let me not be misunderstood. This is not a plea for any power to be a
policeman for the world, nor to do what small powers should do for
themselves. A country without the fortitude to defend itself does not
deserve help. But having said that I want to draw attention to the
fact that there are many things which only the world's greatest free power
can do. If she leaves them undone, they remain undone.
Fourthly, the internal economic and political problems of many countries
has led to uncertainty in their external relations. Fifthly, there is a
serious problem of double standards in international life. Countries demand
from others standards they do not observe themselves, while too often
judgements are based not on the nature of an action but on the identity of
the actor. Sixthly, problems of energy and raw material supplies have
faced the international community with a novel set of problems which, if
unwisely handled, could add a new set of disputes to the catalogue of
dangers confronting mankind.
Finally, the appalling widespread problems of poverty, hunger or disease.
are not only an affront to human dignity, but constantly threaten discord
and conflict between nations. By no measure can the developed nations of
the world claim that they have acted with adequate foresight to redress the
balance.

The developed countries have pursued a policy of tied loans and tied aidbut
have completely failed to open their markets to the developing
countries which will provide proper returns for their products to the
developing countries. The developed countries are regrettably more
interested in trade between themselves than they are in facilitating
the progress of nations poorer than themselves. They can take no pride
in their actions in this area.
These factors show that a nation does not have to face a threat of imminent
invasion before it has grounds for concern at the international
situation. From our own point of view the primary concern is an internationa:
environment which could progressively limit the capacities of Australia,
her friends, and allies, to advance their interests and ideals: which
reduces options: which almost imperceptibly weakens the capacity to
pursue our interests. and advance the cause of human dignity#
Whether or not such an unfavourable external situation occurs is ultimately
of course, not in Australia's control. But it is not totally beyond the
influence of our policies;
A successful Australian external policy must be flexible, alert, undogmatic.
We must recognise that Australia, a middle power, lives in a world where
power in a broad sense remains the major factor in international politics.
In international politics power indludes not only military strengths.
Economic resources, industrial capacity, population, domestic stability
and diplomacy all contribute to a nation's power and influence in the
world. Australia lives in a world where predominant power is controlled by the
United States and the Soviet Union.

It is a world whose relations also depend however, on the actions of
other major powers China, Japan and the European powers and
within particular regions also on the distribution of power between
middle and small states.'
The international diplomacy of the major powers with which Australia
has to deal has to be understood principally as an effort by these
powers to create a balance in the world favourable to their interests.
It is in the pursuit of a more favourable balance that their policies
impinge on middle powers, st~ ch as Australia, and on areas of immediate
importance to Australia, such as South East Asia, the South Pacific
area, and the Indian Ocean.
We have certain advantages in achieving our international
objectives. One lies in the common interest between us and others in the pursuit
of similar goals. We have, for example, a common interest with the
ASEAN countries that no one power should dominate the region again.
It is not in China's interests that the Soviet Union should become
dominate in the Indian Ocean.
On the other hand, it is not, presumably, in the Soviet Union's
interests that relations between China, Japan and the United States
should be too close.
In current international circumstances it is in the interests of many
countries that South East Asia not become a region of increasing great
power competition.
Such a development would not merely be dangerous to our security.
It would greatly restrict our freedom of action across the whole range
of our foreign policy objectives.
Another advantage we have in pursuing our objectives lies in the fact
that% we have not only relaticn--s of convenience, common interests or
even necessity with a great variety of nations. With some we also have
co-.-non philosophical commitments, and friendships which we can and will
strengthen. 4;

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Our final advantage is in our people and our way of life. For all
its faults, democracy is the best form of government yet devised,
but its survival depends on the will and resolution of its leaders
and peoples, and on a recognition that its values cannot be taken
for granted.
The guiding principle for Australia's role i~ n the world ought to be an
active and enlightened realism. Although our capacities to advance
our interests are limited we should be active and constructive in
pursuit of a peaceful and favourable international environment.
I turn now to consider relations between the superpowers and how
these affect Australia's foreign policy.
Detente It is clear, and it has been clear for a long time, that the U. S. A.
and the U. S. S. R. have, as a major policy imperative the avoidance of
nuclear war.
Their principal common interest lies in limiting the possibilities of
nuclear conflict and ending the wasteful arms race. This interest,
shared by the rest of the international community, gave rise to the
first S. A. L. T. talks and then to the enunciation of certain " basic
principles of relations between the U. S. A. and the U. S. S. R."
These principles were signed in Moscow by President Nixon and Leonid
Breznev in 1972. They included the declarations:
* That the different ideologies and social systems of the two
powers would not prevent them developing proper relations.
* That both countries attached major importance to preventing
situ'ations capable of cau~ sing a dangerous exacerbation of their
relations.
* that efforts to obtain urn-flateral advantage at the expense of
ofthe other were inconsistent with these objectives.
* arnd that both powers would seek to promote condibons in which all
countries would live in -aace and security and would not b e subject
to outside interference in~ their internal affairs. ,7/

Every country which desires peace must wish to see these principles
observed. In an important sense, these principles, far wider than the mere
containment of possible superpower conflict below the nuclear level,
is what the world hoped Detente was all about. After all, earlier
relations between the superpowers also involved a concern to avoid
nuclear war, and Detente was heralded as a significant advance on
this. As understood by people throughout the world, Detente meant not merely
the search for security from nuclear war, but a genuine overall
relaxation of political and military tensions.
Unfortunately, the reality has not matched these aspirations.
It is clear that maintenance of a stable relationship between the
superpowers depends on realistic negotiation and crisis management.
Negotiation is not a substitute for, it is an essential concomitant
of, a stable military balance.
Negotiations will not succeed unless they are accompanied by~ a clear
determination to maintain a balance of forces, and are free from
illusions about the effectiveness of unsupported goodwill.
Our interests are in a lessening of tensions between the superpowers
which only realistic negotiations make possible.
I now turn to consider more closely the roles of the superpowers.
The Soviet Union
The Soviet Union has an immense responsibility before * mankind to
use its power-and influence z. o strengthen the fabric of international
peace and security. It has an historic opportunity to use its
position to help build a stbeand humane international order and
to end the arms build-up. It will be judged by the great majority
of miankind against these stan~ dards. a4. 8/

The Soviet Union is unquestionably committed to the avoidance of
nuclear warfare. Reasonable people can however reasonably conclude
that the Soviet Union still seeks to expand its influence throughout
the world in order to achieve Soviet primacy. Its actions all too
often appear inconsistent with the aim of reducing world tension.
The U. S. S. R. Is actions during the 1973 Middle East war increased
tensions to the point that the U. S. A. was led to put its armed forces
on a world wide alert. The U. S. S. R. substantially assisted the
North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam. In Angola, the U. S. S. R.
intervened by introducing 12,000 Cuban troops into the situation, and
supplying them.
In the last decade, the Soviet Union has expanded its armed forces
by 1 million. The Soviet navy has grown substantially while the
size of the United States' naval forces has declined.
The Warsaw Pact countries have a major advantage in conventional
forces over NATO. NATO has 70 divisions, the Warsaw Pact has 178
divisions -' excluding the 43 Soviet divisions on the Sino-Soviet Border.
This is a discrepancy of major proportions even when allowance is
made for the difference in the sizes of the respective divisions.
In addition, it would appear that the superior quality of NATO equipment
which served to partially offset NATO's numerical inferiority has
been eroded.
The build up of the Warsaw Pact far exceeds the objective requirements
of defending Eastern Europe.
The Warsaw powers possess the conventional capacity to move into
Western Europe with such rapidity and penetration that the use of even
tactical nuclear weapons against them is now questioned.
The U. S. S. R.' s nuclear armory has been elaborated to a point where
there is considerable debate about the possibility of the Soviet
Union gaining a strategic advantage. .9/

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The Soviet Leaders now have a strategic and political reach a
capacity to influence and even intervene well beyond the periphery
of the established zones of Soviet security interest.
The U. S. S. R. has demonstrated the will to exploit that capacity where
the opportunity offers.
Angola is not the only place affected by Soviet trained and sponsored
movements. The Soviet Union is engaged in a major political offensive
backed by the known presence of force, by training and by propaganda.
The fabric of negotiations with the Soviet Union which we strongly
support has unfortunately had limited success in winning restraint
in this campaign.
President Ford's abandonment of the term " Detente" clearly shows a
recognition that the more extreme claims made for changes in the
superpowers' relationship were quite unrealistic.
Stability is disturbed and tension increased if the Soviet Union
makes geo-political gains through its support of wars of national
liberation, by the use of surrogates.
The time has come to expect a sign from the U. S. S. R. that it understands
this and that it is serious about reaching global accommodation with
the West. A tangible signal is required from the U. S. S. R. in the
form of a restraint in its military expansion. The pace is being set
by the U. S. S. R. not by the U. S.

While the NATO powers' capability remains relatively static, whly
is the Soviet arms build.-up proceeding apace? It is reasonable
to ask: Why does the Soviet Union desire a military power far
greater than any needed -to secure her own frontiers, or the expanded
frontiers embraced by the Warsaw powers?
It is for the Soviet Union to show that the conclusions so easily
drawn from its actions are wrong that its basic purpose is
world peace a world in which different nations can live and
cooperate in harmony.
That opportunity is open to the Soviet Union. It is up to the
Soviet Union whether it pursues that path or whether it takes a
different path which would lead to disturbing conclusions.
The United States
Along with many other countries concerned for their security and
political independence, Australian security is greatly affected by
the role of the United States.
The world cannot afford any reduction of the credibility of the
U. S. Foreign policy. In that way would lie huge risks. The dangers
of miscalculation by other powers could become substantial, not only
for the United States herself but for all those countries which look
to a confident exercise of American policy in the cause of peace
and stability.
America is the only power that can balance the might of the
Soviet Union. If America does not undertake that task it will not
be done. If it is not done the whole basis of peace and stability
is u. nsupported.
Tte Vietnam war and Watergate undermined America's self-confidence
and sense of purpose. Un~ fortunately, a contributory cause has
also been undue world criticism of the United States opposition
by people who ought to hav~ e been her friends and who ought
to have understood Ameri~ a's objectives in the world.

Mutual recriminations about the causes and results of foreign
events, differences between President and Congress on the conduct
of American foreign policy area, are producing concern about America's
capacity to act effectively around the world.
This Government, while maintaining to the full its own independent
national perspectives and sovereignty, will ensure that the ANZUS
alliance with the U. S. and New Zealand does not fall into disrepair and
disrepute.
The interests of the United States and the interests of Australia
are not necessarily identical. In our relations with the United
States, as in our relations with other great powers, our first
responsibility is to independently assess our own interests.
The United States will unquestionably do the same.
The fact remains that of all the gre at powers with active interests
and capabilities in the areas of critical concern to Australia, the
United States is the power with whom we have the closest links.
Those links are based not merely on known common interests in, 9nd
commitments to, a peaceful and stable world, but on common traditions
of democratic institutions and values of respect for the individual.
As long as Australia values freedom and respect for the individual,
the United States is the power with which we can realistically
establish close and warm friendship and with which we can most closely
work to advance world peace and humane values we share.
The U. S. can expect all p-roer cooperation from us in support of
our comm= on objectives.

Although relations between the superpowers are a fundamental
determinant of the world environment, Australia has the most vital
in~ terest in the relations between countries in the areas of critical
concern to us. We are and must be intimately involved in our own
region I turn now to discuss relatisns between cour~ tries in the areas of
critical concern to Australia.
South East Asia
The South East Asian region has been an area of close Australian
concern and involvement for many years.
Our interests are that the region should not become in the future
an arena for great power conflict: That relations between States
should be peaceful and cooperative: That political change in the
area shou-ld not provide occasion for the assertion of a dominant
role by any of the great powers: And that there should be opportunityI
for commercial and cultural exchange between Australia and the
countries of the area.
Beyond these concrete interests, we would wish, within the limits
of our possibilities, to help in the region's development needs
and to be an understanding and dependable neighbour.
Internally, most of -the countries of the region are vitally concerned
with problems of economic development and social stability. Externally,'
they are adjusting to the victories of communist movements in Vietnam,
Laos and Cambodia and the changing roles of major powers with interests
in t'n region. This change has inevitably brought a period of
uncertainty and anxiety for countries in the area.
W. e Share the concern of re= z: onal states at insurgency problems and
at'-continued armed irS-= gencies encourage and supported from

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It would, in our opinion, be undesirable for mutually exclusive
groupings to develop which could foster antagonism at the expense
of economic and social development.
We therefore, have an interest in establishing as broad relations
as possible with countries in the region and this, of course,
means that we stand ready to explore with the new governments
in Indochina the development of relations Qf mutual benefit.
It is critical for the peaceful development of the region that
there should be mutual non-interference between the states and
a commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences. Australia
will seek to play a constructive role in the reduction of tensions
and the resolution of disputes.
Australia has long standing friendships with all Asean Governments.
We welcome the activities of Asean as providing a constructive basis
for regional relations.
We want to identify and develop further areas of practical cooperation
on shared political and strategic interests. We will seek to do so
through our aid programmes, through involvement in regional efforts
to advance economic and social development, and by the promotion
of trade and other economic cooperation.
Australia has a deep interest in maintaining sound and close
relations with Indonesia. The broad relationship is of great
importance to both countries. Relations are such that both countries
can state their views plainly. Both countries have broad interests in
the stability of the region and fundamental interests in avoiding
great power conflict in the region. It is against that background
that we have stated our views on Timor. We support a genuine act
of self-determination in Timor. The very fact that we have stated
our views on Timor plainly is a mark of the underlying strength of
our relationship. Despite differences, a major concern of our policy
will be to continue the friendship we both value.

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We would like to see the development of constructive relations
between the region and countries beyond the region.
The major powers will continue to be interested in South East Asia.
The Australian Government will urge the major powers to restrain
their competition in the region. Restraint will in any case be induced
by the independent national interests of the countries of the region.
Our own role is similarly influenced by what is acceptable to these
Governments. Papua New Guinea
The Government places very great value on Australia's relations with
Papua-New Guinea. The warmth and respect between the two countries
provides a strong foundation for our relationship.
Papua New Guinea's needs will have the highest priority in our aid
programmes. We have recently announced a five year aid programme which
represents a substantial increase in Australian assistance. This
programme has been warmly welcomed by the Prime Minister of Papua
New Guinea.
The Australian Government firmly supports the concept of a united
Papua New Guinea. The unity of Papua New Guinea is of great importance
to the stability of our part of the world.
Japan Japan is of fundamental importance to Australia's long term political
economic and security interests.
Few countries match Japan's economic significance in the global
system and with no country do we have closer economic links than with
Japan. The Australia-Japan bilateral trade flow is the seventh largest
in the world.

Japan's political and economic security is largely a function of her
relations with the great -powers. The role which she defines for
herself will be influenced by the condition of the great power balance,
by her relations with China and the U. S. S. R.
By the credibility of America's strategic role in the pacific, and
by the qualities of her relations with countries like Australia.
But Japan's role will also be defined by the reliability with which
these relations guarantee her access to critical sources of supply
of raw materials and mar1~ ets for her products.
Australia and Japan therefore, share an interest in a-stable,
great power balance in which no potentially hostile power dominates
a region of critical concern to either of us.
We share a respect for democratic institutions.
We have mutual interests in establishing and maintaining reliable
access to each other's markets.
Since the agreement on commerce was signed in 1957 Japan has become
Australia's largest trading partner. Australia is in turn, one of
Japan's most important suppliers.
The Australia-Japan ministerial committee ( AJMC) was established in
1971 as a recognition of the importance of the economic ties between
the two countries, and provides for wide-ranging discussion at the
highest level on matters of mutual interest.
In the light of change in the composition and structure of trade
between the two countries, since the revision of the commerce
agreement in 1963, at the October 1973 meeting of the Committee it was
decided that the agreement should be reviewed taking account of the
discussions on the basic treaty.
As a result of Mr. Anthony' s visit to Japan, there is greater
understanding of the importance of stability of trade both ways.

-16-
Australia also understandis the importance placed by Japan on access
to the markets of the United States and the European community.
These concerns provide a sound basis for a frindly and expanding
relationship between Australia and Japan.
Early in the life of the new Government, the Prime Minister of Japan
expressed to us the wish of the Japanese Government that a
treaty of friendship and cooperation should~ be concluded in the near
future. The Government welcomed this indication of interest
and the negotiations delayed last year were continued.
The negotiating officials some weeks ago agreed on a draft text of the
treaty. It could be expected that the treaty will be signed by
P. M. Miki and myself during my visit to Japan.
The Government also places importance on broadening our relationship
with Japan.
Earlier in this Parliament the Government introduced the
bill to establish the Australia-Japan foundation. The foundation
will have the important role of promoting the study by the people
of Australia and Japan of each other culture and institutions.
Relations between Australia and Japan will be enhanced by the
personal contacts and research which will come from the work of the
foundation.
Understanding between Australia and Japan can play a vital role in
strengthening peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia
will act consistently to deepen that understanding.
China In moving towards a world in which peace is secure, a vital part must
be played by the Peoples Republic of China.

-17-
The development of China's foreign policy is difficult to foresee.
In many respezt1-s, China remains a great unknown in international
affairs. This is one reason why it is desirable for as many countries of the
world as possible to develop close links with China.
We look forward to a continuation of good working relations with
the Chinese Government both now and in the future.
A realistic view requires us to recognise that despite ideological
differences, there are important areas where our ' interests overlap.
In recent years, China's relations with the U. S. have improved due
to certain mutual interests.
China is clearly concerned at the Soviet role on her northern
and southern frontiers.
Australia and-China have a like interest in seeing that Soviet
power in the Pacific and South East Asia is balanced by the power
of other major states or by appropriate regional arrangements.
We can therefore expect Chinese support for our own views on the
need for an effective American presence in the Pacific and Indian
Oceans. Such support has, in fact, been given.

-18-
While I was in New Zealand, the Pacific Forum countries agreed to accept
the movement of U. S. nuclear ships in the Pacific Ocean area. Such a
decision, of course, reflected each country's independent assessment of
its own interests. China has acknowledged that such an arrangement is in
her interests also. In other areas too, China can make a positive
contribution to peace and stability. We welcome the development of
coaLnercial re2. ati . onship s between China and Japan and look forward to an
expansion-of our own trading tiJes with both. China's attitudes and view
of the world are often far removed from our own. Chinese judgements of
the West, or its systems of representative government and the ideals of
liberty and freedom of the individual seem to us mistaken.
Moreover, China continues to give support to insurgencies in South East
Asia. Australia does not support interference by great powers in the
domestic affairs of smaller countries. We hope that China will give
priority to the development of constructive relationships with a region
which needs to be given every support for stable and effective government
to develop and prosper.
Nevertheless, constructive relations do not depend on agreement on all
aspects of relations but on the development of those areas where there
are common interests. My Government believes that interests of this kind
provide a solid basis for working relations. We shall work to develop
these, as well as improve our understanding of each other.
INDIAN OCEAN
The Indian Ocean is of considerable political and strategic importance
to Australia. It is crossed by sea and air communication routes vital
to Australia. Much of the vital flow of oil to our neighbours, friends,
and trading partners passes through it. The entrance to the Persian
Gulf has become a major focus of international attention.
The objective of a neutral zone in the Indian Ocean, while admirable,
has litl chance of success with the U. S. S. R. significantly increasing
its =--a'nent presence in the vital North West sector of the Ocean.
It is clearly contrary to Aus-ralia's interests for the balance in this
area to move against our majcr ally, the U. S. A.

-19-
It is also against our interests for both superpowers to embark on an
unrestricted competition in the Indian ocean. We seek balance and restraint.
We have supported the U. S. development of Logistic facilities at Diego-
Garcia so that the balance necessary to stability in the area can be
maintained. We also strongly support the recent appeal by the United
States administration for restraint so that the balance can now be
maintained at a relatively low level.
This analysis cannot pretend to be a complete description of Australia's
attitude to all parts of the world, but it would be unrealistic to make
this speech and to refrain from mentioning two preas of great concern
to us, and to the rest of the world the Middle East, and Africa.
MIDDLE EAST
In the Middle East the only future lies in negotiation -in a proper and
broad recognition of the rights of all groups within that troubled aorea..
Of an absolute recognition of the right of Israel to survive as a
nation. And an equal recognition of the problems of the Palestinian refugees'
There have been many wars in the Middle East, but no one has been the
ultimate victor. There can be no ultimate victor. Compromise through
negotiation is essential if there is to be any real settlement.
AFRICA Even more than the Middle East, tensions and problems in Africa grow and
become more difficult the longer they remain without solution. If
movements towards majority rule in Rhodesia are not made within a
reasonably short time-span, the result will be inevitable conflagration
and lasting bitterness. There are a number 6f leaders in Africa who
certainly do not support the white minority supremacy in Rhodesia but
who have no wish for armed insurgency and no wish for ultimate conflict.
They realise that such a solution to the problems of Rhodesia would lead
to lasting bitterness, lasting divisions, and an increased possibility of
domination of the continent of Africa by external powers. The national
leaders of Africa have no wish t.-o see that happen.
I have pre viously indicated in plain terms why we believe the policies
facertheid will not work in telonger term. The greater the success

of the Bantustans, the greater will be their failure to achieve the
objectives they were set up for. The more equal men become in economic
and social matters, the less thcy will be prepared to accept denial of
their basic political and humtan rights. However, we note with great
hope the growing relationship between South Africa and some of the black
nations of Africa. It offers the prospect of a broader and more sensible
solution to Africa's problems.
Within the framework of the Commionwealth of Nations we will seek to play
what constructive role remains open to us and to the Commonwealth to help
achieve a reasonable solution to these intract~ ble problems-.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
In a world where increasingly complex problems transcend national
boundaries, a commitment to multi-lateral cooperation; particularly in the
field of economic and social development, is an indispensable part of
Australian foreign policy.
We support the United Nations, its Charter, and the work of the various
specialised agencies. We have noted the degree to which the United
Nations has come under attack. Its alleged failings have caused disillusion
and even dismay. Despite the hopes held out for it, grievous problems
between nations remain. It must indeed, be recognised that the United
Nations is still an imperfect instrument for the solution of major problems.
Some disquieting features have become apparent in its deliberations.
These have included the use of confrontation tactics and the curtailment
of the rights of participation of some member states.
However, in our view, a number of the attacks on the U. N. have largely
sprung from an unrealistic view of what the U. N. could hope to achieve.
They also stem from a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the
problems begetting the U. N. because of the sharp divisions throughout the
world. The problems faced by the U. N. in no way diminishes the need for
all nations to support the U. N. and make it a more effective instrument
for peace.
There are in fact many areas where the U. N. has achieved a great deal in
imnproving conditions of life around the world. Australia will make every
effort to help the organisation to expand its effectiveness.

I -21-
We shall, be seeking opportunities to work cooperatively within the U. N.
frainework as in other multi-lateral forums. These include the Commonwealth
of Nations. We believe the Commnonwealth has continuing relevance as a
distinctive indeed a unique framework bringing together something
like a quarter of the world's population. As a means of fostering
cooperation and consultation in many varied areas, it retains a lasting
importance. ECONOMIC RELATIONS
one of Australia's most prominent roles in the world is that of an
important trading state. Indeed, with our annual trade worth some
$ 17 billion, Australia ranks fifteenth in the world as a trading country.
Despite an expanding export trade in manufactured products the bulk of our
exports are raw materials and food stuffs. Australia is a resource-rich
country in a resource-tight world. We have energy and raw material.
resources of great importance to the world, and we are one of thefew
food exporting countries.
our position in world trade also implies duties and responsibilites.
Countries which are rich in resources cannot neglect the needs and concerns
of those countries whose principal resource is the energy and initiative
of their people. This Government intends to have a reputation of
responsibility and reliability in its international dealings. I believe
other Governments overseas, whose economies depend on Australia for energy,
raw materials, or foodstuffs, will welcome this.
At the same time let me emphasise that the Government will ensure that our
resource producers receive fair returns for their commodities.
The Government will strive to widen and secure access to overseas markets
for Australian producers. The Government is concerned, in particular, to
improve access to the European community.
The expanded European Community is the largest source of our imports and
the second largest market for our exports after Japan. Raw or processed
minerals, wool and other rural products account for 87% of our exports
to the E. E. C. 13% are manufactured goods. Because the E. E. C. is the
world's largest trading bloc, the trade policy decisions taken by the

-22-
Commnunity are important to Australia, especially as they frequently
affect not only the development of our direct trade but also
our prospects in Third countries.
The decisions of the Community, especially as they affect trade in primary
products, are of course, also of great importance to the developing
countries.
As the second largest economic unit in the world, the Community-has a
major role to play in world economic development. -We welcome the
Community's prosperity and progress, which is also in our interests.
The Government strongly hopes that it does not develop into a narrow
and inward looking grouping but will come to play the role in the world
which other countries expect of it. We welcome the constructive role
Great Britain will play in the European Market, and the more outward-looking
approach she has undertaken to encourage.
There is a great need in general, for more practical recognition of the
significance of international economic relations for the developing
countries. More than any other single factor the developing countries
need access-for their products to the markets of developed countries
which we believe would come to be reflected in more appropriate terms
of trade for their exports.
International trading arrangements which provide relatively free trade
for the industrial products of the developed countries while placing
excessively high barriers before the products of the developing countries,
offer little hope to the poorer countries in solving their great and
grave pxroblems. One of the greatest contributions which could be made*
by the industrial countries to the peace of the world would be
international trading arrangements which provide greater opportunities
for the primary products of the developing countries.
We will cooperate closely with developing the Asia-Pacific region.
But further afield, the Government is ready to concert its activities
with other like-minded countries. In general, we must participate fully
in the shaping of those world economic arrangements which will, in turn,
help Ito determine our own econcmnic progress. In world financial and
currency arrangements, in international raw materials, and energy bodies
we must stand ready to play our part. The answer to these great world
econcmic problems lies in international cooperation. ' Neither an abrasive

-23-
., confrontation between competing nationalisms nor decisions by too narrow
a club of decision-makers is likely to be helpful. Australia will
meet the international responsibilities I have outlined.
DOMESTIC CONDITIONS AND FOREIGN POLICY.
Finally, I come to the crucial relationship between domestic and
foreigj policies.
Given the reality of the world situation it is critical that Australia,
her friends and allies, must be able to bring their capacities
to bear in the most effective way, if their position is not to
be continually eroded in favour of regimes Inore effectively able to
commit resources of all kinds.
The international situation I have outlined clearly requires a
carefully formulation approach to defence policy.
The Government has asked for much more definitive work to be done
in this area, so that defence planning can be based on the most
realistic foundation.
Our determination to act to improve our defence capabilities is
evidenced by the program announced by the Defence Minister
last week.
International policy clearly requires a full appreciation by government
of the economic and social characteristics of the international
environment. The capacity of democratic countries to conduct effective foreign,
defence, economic and social policies depends fundamentally on
the understanding and backing of the people, on their will, and
their commitment.
One of the most critical conditions in securing developments in the
world congenial both to our intersts and to our ideals, is that the
democratic countries should retain their faith in systems of
Government based on the freedom of, and concern for, individual
people.

244
Our capacity to act effectively in the world in the end depends
on our sense of ourselves, on the strength of our commitment to
ensuring that all Australians can live in freedom and dignity, and in
our determin :_ on not to follow the paths of other states where
belie--the capacity and right of people to seek their own goals
is increasingly replaced by am enforced conformity to the wishes of those
who control powerful bureaucracies.
We believe that Australians will wish to take a realistic view of
the world, and Australia's place in it. So long as our institutions
foster a-resourceful and independent-minded people and a society based
on self respect, Australia need not fear the future.
It is here that the Government's domestic policies and long-term
conception of Australia's role in the world are linked.
Our ability to act with maximum effect to realise both our interests
and our ideals in the world depends to a large extent on our
capacity to work together at home.
one of the great tests for the character and stamina of democracies
is whether we can combine individual freedom with the capacity to
acknowledge our responsibility to the common interest, whether we
are prepared to sacrifice some of our apparent short-term interests
to the long-term interests of the whole of the Australian people.
If we cannot work together as a people except under threat of a
clear and present milita : y danger to our national integrity, it is
certai n that we will not be able to advance effectively pressing
natic-nal interests in the world which faces us.
There are common interests which unite all Australians.
interests in a region and a world which is constructively meeting
thie Dproblems which face Interests in an Australia which is
: etitive in world mark= ets.
Interests at home in securinz a return to soundly based growth in
~. economy. Only out o_ such growth can higher real wages and

salaries and improved social welfare provision be paid, without
inflation and unemployment..
Without such growth we cannot meet as we might the requirements
of security and aid.
We will not achieve these objectives unless all sections of the
Australian community are prepared to work together in the common
interest.
The question which faces Australia in common with other democracies
is whether we are going to meet the challenge of cooperation and
mutual restraint required from all the diverse groups in our society.
In achieving success in our domestic policies, the Government hopes
that Australia can be an example of the vital strength of the values
of freedom and democracy which are still pursued and still far
from reach in many parts of the world.
The Government believes that the days of an elite forming foreign
policy in isolation axe long since gone. They depended on a badly
educated and apathetic public that could readily be manipulated.
The people of the Western democracies are not passive, nor
apathetic. The freedom and pluralism of democracies should not be
regarded as a constraint on responsible foreign policy.
On the contrary, free and open discussion, fairly conducted with
respect for the views of others, will strengthen our foreign policy.
A-foreign policy that ignores the realities of the international
situation is irresponsible. A foreign policy which ignores the
intelligence and goodwill of the people, that does not trust its
people sufficiently to explain and seek support of its actions,
cannot succeed.

26-
The contemporary international situation is a test of the
capabilities of democratic leaderships and democratic peoples.
It is an environment with disturbing tendencies and shifts in
balance. This diffuseness and complexity is the test. In finding our way in
such a world, the democracies must not lose their sense of purpose.
There must be no failure of will or resolution.
The first step towards an adequate response must be a realistic
assessment of the world and Australia's role in it. On the basis
of such an assessment, we can work to advance our objectives of peace
and humanity.
The survival of democracy depends on a recognition that its values
cannot be taken for granted.
Let history not record that this was the age when the democracies
abandoned their faith. 000...

Transcript 4135

CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL OPENING

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: 29/05/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4134

IjA. USTRALIAE 2
PRIME MINISTER
FOR PRESS MAY 29, 1976
/ Y& T 67Y
CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL OPENING
Today's ceremony-is not only an act of faith by the
Church of England. In its own way, this project-symbolises
Darwin's recovery from Cyclone Tracy, and the determiniation
to build a better city.
It reflects the faith of the citizens of DarwYin in the future.
Thnere must have been many who doubted whether Darwin could
ever rise again after the devastation of the cyclone. It
is a measure of the determination of the former residents
of Darwin and their affection for the city that so many have
ratu. rned to help in the rebuilding.
I understand that 7: he population is now only 8000 short
of what it was on Chnristmas Eve 1974. The loss of the
old Christ Church was one of the sad losses of the disaster.
It had been one of Darwin's oldest buildings-it had
stood for 72 years when the cyclone struck. In its
build'ing it had sy,--bolised the diversity of people who had
built Darwin. Its stone had been hewn by Chinese. Now
a new cathedral church is being commenced, but it will
have, links with the old Darwin. The ruins of Christ Church
will be in c orporated in the new cathedral complex.
I hope that the new church which will rise on this site will be
a vital part of the new city. It will seat 300 worshippers
and provide facilities for community activities, conferences
and wedding receptions.
1understand also that some thought is being given to
setting up a cathedral choir school as part of this church
complex.-Fund raising appeals will be launched next
month in the Northern Territory and the rest of Australia to
ehlp meet the cost of building the-new cathedral church.
I urge strong support for these appeals. I am sure they
will be supported.
I am very conscious that it is the wish of the people of Darwin
that the city should be rebuilt as quickly as possible. 2

People. throughout Australia want to see Darwin rise again
and soon. That is certainly the wish of the Commonwealth
Government. Through the efforts of citizens, private
enterfrise, the Housing Commission and the Reconstruction
Commission the city is once more taking shape.
The result of the efforts of individuals and private
enterprise in rebuilding Darwin are plain for all to see.
Nearly 2000 residents have commenced rebuilding their homes,
250 have already completed them. Most business premises
have been restored the recent auction sale of industrial
land in Darwin suggests that private industry has confidence
in the future of the city.
The kind of city the new Darwin becomes will depend, in the
end, on the commitment, the work, the willingness to cooperate
of the people of Darwin. Government, can, and is, helping
to establish the framework for the new city. It can offer
aid and assistance. It can help to ensure that th. physical
development provides a decent context for the life of the
people. But the new Darwin, like the old, will in the end
be the product of the people who live in it, and their
attitudes to one another.
The Federal Government is determined, for its part, to do what
it. can to see thac che rebuilding of Darwin proceeds as
quickly as possible.
To aid this process we have increased the financial assistance
for reconstruction in the next financial year. We believe
that all Australians wish to see this done. I believe
that the Commonwealth Government's funding of the Darwin
Business Relief Loan Fund and the concessional 6 percent home
rebuilding scheme have helped to inject confidence into the
city. I hope it will not seem too much out of place on an
occasion such as this if I mention some of the details,
financial an, otherwise, or what has been done and what is
proposed. The opportunity for me to mention these matters directly
to the people of Darwin comes all too rarely. Nearly $ 3.5 million
of low interest loans has been advanced to 223 small businesses
to boost commerce and industry. Approvals for the home rebuilding
scheme have now passed 500, with a total value of $ 14.7 million.
During the current financial year the people of Australia,
through the Darwin Reconstruction Commission will have spent
$ 110 million. I have been advised by my colleague, Mr Adermann
that this will rise to $ 139.5 million next year.
Three new homes a day are now being completed for the Reconstruction
Commission. The rate of construction will accelerate in the
months ahead. More than $ 16 million has been spent since
Cyclone Tracy on weather proofing and repairs to private
and government buildings and on cleaning up the debris and
making damaged homes safe. / 3

The Darwin Reconstruction Commission is also responsible
for the restoration and upgrading of the whole range of
government services a community like Darwin needs, including
the new Casuarina Hospital..
$ 44-million has been spent this financial year on new and
rebuilt homes. $ 5 millionhas been spent on education
facilities and $ 8 million on public health and welfare.
The city's basicjinfrastructure and community facilities
have largely been reestablished. We are all indebted to
the members and staff of the Darwin Reconstruction Commission.
A major contribtuion in overcoiming the accommmodation
oroblem in Darwin is also being made by the Northern
Territory Housing Commission.
In 1975/ 76 the Commission was provided with $ 13 million.
In 1976/ 77 this will rise to $ 21.2 million. The
Housing Commission has commenced construction of 360 new
houses. 100 have already been completed. 105 f
have been commenced, 49 are completed. Permanent
repairs have begun on 118 houses. In addition, the Northern
Territory Port Authority has spent $ 1 million this financial
year rehabilitating and upgrading Darwin's port facilities.
The amount that being spent on the reconstruction
b-the people of Au. stralia through Government and through
private activities shown the priority we all place on
having a new city here that we can all be proud of.
Darn, of course, has a new role to look forward to with
the movement of Territory towards statehood. We are
moving quickly to give effect. to this undertaking. A Bill
to amend the Nort-rn Territory ( Administration) Act has
already been introduced into the Federal Parliament.
When enacted this Bill will pave the way for the transfer of
executive ' Rowers to the Legislative Assembly.
My colleague the Minister for the Northern Territory is in
regular contact with the majority leader, Dr Letts, and
the executive members of the Assembly. I am confident
that the Legislative Assembly will soon assume responsibility
for a number of functions of Government in the Northern Territory.
The success of these-measures will depend very largely on the
good will and common sense of our Federal and local legislators
and administrators. It will also depend significantly
on the development of commerically viable industries which
will generate incomes and revenue within the Northern Territory.
The potential and the Territory is exciting. 1Within weeks
of assuming office, the Minister for the Northern Territory
ended a long period of stagnation and frustration in the minerals
area by issuing new mining exploration leases and offshore
permits. ./ 4

The development of the region's:. minerals depends
very much on our ability to contain inflation and
rising costs. Possibly not part of Australia has been
more adversely affected by inflation than the Territory.
The Government is determined to restore economic
responsibility to Australia and to our relations with
' our trading partners, the natural markets for our minerals
and metals as well as our agricultural and pastoral exports.
The Territory unquestionably has a great future. The
rebirth of Darwin shows what is possible where people
commit themselves to a goal and dedicate themselves to
realising it. Great tasks like this are never easy.
The work is often frustrating and difficult. I doubt
if anything that is worthwhile can ever be otherwise.
I started off by talking about an act of faith by the
Church of England. We all share a faith that by
cooperating together we can build a country which will
ensure decent lives for all its people. The new cathedral
complex will be a symbol of that cooperation between
people that we all seek.
I congratulate all who are associated with the rebuilding
of the Church. 000000000

Transcript 4134

PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE, CANBERRA, 27 MAY 1976

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: 27/05/1976

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 4133

100
PRME uAIVNISTE
PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE, CANBERRA, 27 May 1976
This is basically an opportunity to enable you to ask
questions of myself or Mr Hunt or Mr Ellicott, on the law
of this particular matter..
The Government was advised, as I indicated in the Parliament
this morning, in a joint opinion, that indicated that
continued payments to the States for the purposes of the
hospital. agreements would not be valid because the agreements
had not been drawn up in conformity with. the Act that
had been passed through the Federal Parliament. And this
concerns-us, because quite obviously the Commonwealth needs
to meet its obligations, there is an understand to pay half,
under the present arrangements of the costs of running the
major hospitals in the States, and we're advised that because
of the joint opinion that has been provided by the Attorney
and-the Solicitor-General, that the Auditor-General would not
authorise continuing payments under the present legislation.
So at the moment, special legislation is being drafted which
will cover: the situation until the 30 September, and in the
intervening Athe Minister with his colleagues, as I indicated
this morning, will be having discussions with the States about
continuing and on-going arrangements that would be within the
law. This is really only repeating what I said in question
time:-this morning, but I want to emphasise, that no
arrangements in relation to patients of any kind will be altered
by this situation that has been revealed, this inadequacy in
the law. I want to give the strongest possible assurance-that
nobody need be concerned about these particular matters. The
rights and interests of patients under Medibank will be protected,
and the emergency that we'll be. introducing will make quite
erOain of that. I can't give the full details of chac legislation
at'the moment, because it's still being drafted:-there are
a covple of aspects of it that need sorting out.-but the
Attorney and the appropriate Departments and the Treasury are
looking at those particular matters. But it's likely that it
will be done on the basis, as I . indicated again this morning,
of working out the sort of total payment that would go to
each State-in these areas over the next few months, and providing
legislation for that bulk sum to go to the States, for the
purposes required. / 2 i I
I I I
i I
j t

, STION: Prime Minister, you said in Parliament this morning that
the Attorney-General's department advised the department
of Socip. l Security last year that some of the hosoital.
agreements weren't in compliance with the Act. Why is it
that nothing was done until now about the acts
if you suspected, or someone suspected that they weren't
in compliance?
LD. MINISTER: I think you'd have to ask other people that. The
dates of the letter were in April, and there was an exchange
of letters involving April and May of 1975 a different
administration w.. as in power and it's a question as to whether
or not Ministers were aware of the situation. This situation
came to our knowledge yesterday or the day before within
the last couple of days. But we had not been advised of it
before then. I'm advised, but. I can't vouch for it, you
could ask the people concerned, that the previous Government
was aware of this situation., ut you also need to understand
that the legislation had been part of the double dissolution
procedures,-sdi ~ ny amendments to the legislation after it
had gone through the double dissolution procedures and the
Joint House would have enabled the Senate to be in the position
of blocking the legislation and the previous administration
might not have wanted to run that risk, and therefore decided
Sto do nothing about it. Now, I make no allegation about that
at all.. I've been given conflicting advice about whether
any Ministers in the previous administration knew of this
or whether they didn't. But departments were certainly aware
of it and there was an interchange of correspondence between
departmental officials in relation to it.
JESTION: Prime Minister, why has it taken so long to be brought to
your Pttention.? Are you saying there's been some degree
of inefficiency with regards to your ( inaudible) advisers?
LIMOINISTER: I make no criticism of that. at all. I quite specifically
asked the Attorney-General to look at these particular agrPements
as I indicated in the Parliament, because of one or two
statements that had been made by one or two States in relation
to the hospitals agreements. And so I said look at the provisions
of the agreements and see what powers lie in the hands of the
States, what powers lie in the hands of the Commonwealth, and
this was the result the Attorney came forward with-
IESTION: Prime Minister, what will be the effect on the States. Will
money at all stop flowing.
IME MINISTER: No, the emergency legislation is going to cover the
period until the 30 September so that money will continue to flow.
So that hospitals will be protected, but above all so that
patients will. be protected, and that's what were concerned
about, preminently,. and absolutely. We're going to make
quite certain of that. What is needed is for the Minister
for Health and his counterparts, properly advised by law
officers to get together with the States to sort out the
situation that's developed. But this is a matter between
Governments, hospitals, are going to be protected, and patients
are going to be protected. One of the reasons I wanted
to respond to the recuests for further information in these
particular matters was to give a complete and absolute guarantee
in relation to those n-tters.

QUESTION: Sir,-, when did you ask the Attorney-General to look. at
these agreements?
PRIME MINISTER:' Two days ago.
QUESTION: And what were the specific matters that prompted you to
do this?
PRIME MINSTER: They'd been some rather strange statements by a
Minister in New South Wales, and they'd been statements
by one or two other people also about the matters, a; fd
Swas those matters that prompted me to ask the Attorney
to look at the agreements?
QUESTION-And it only took them two days, the Attorney-General's
department, and the Solicitor-General's department. to come
uo with this?
PRIL MINISTER: ' They went straight to the law, straight to the agreements,
and demonstrated that lawyers can act swiftly uhen there's
P need to.
QU ION. Sir:-. are you going to release to us the advice upon which
you've made this decision, the advice of the Solicitor-General
and Attorney-Gereral.?
PRIME MINISTER: At this stage not, but I would be intending that a
copy of the joint opinion should go to the Premiers concerned.
And I think at this stage the decision to send a copy of
that joint opinion to them is the appropriate and oroper course..
QUESTION: Thy w-on't you release it to us?
PR. MINISTER: I think at this stage the appropriate thing is for
a cooy . to go to-the Premiers who are intimately involved.
It after all involves an agreement between Governments.
We've been given a certain opinion in strong terms, and
as to any future decision, well, at the moment, let me leave
0 that open. But certainly it should go to the Premiers
inthe first instance.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, you said you had had conflicting advice about
whether the Labor Ministers knew about this conflict in the Act
but you're saying that you feel that some Labor Ministers
a dikdn ow?
JRIME MINISTER: I would find it very difficult for them not to know,
but. I make no allegation about it. I don't know.
ø] QUESTION: Mr Fraser, will you be raising this specifically with Premier
Wran in a few minutes time?
RIME MINISTER: I'd imagine that he'd want to talk about it, yes.
UESTION: Can I ask Mr Ellicott where this conflict arises, what is the
N legal point? 1
_ II~

-IR ELLICOTT: Well section 30 of the Act requires that any agreement
that's. entered into should be substantially in accordance
with the heads of agrement. And those heads of agreement
are set out in the schedules of the Act. Well, fairly
clearly, when you look at the agreement and ask the question
whether it's substantially in accordance with the heads
of agreement, the answer is no. And I refer there to
head of agreement No. 3.
QUESTION: Mr Fraser, now that this situation has arisen, and I notice
that any emergency legislation will take only until
October 1, the new arrangements for Medibank, would you
expect to be: in a much more powerful position now in seeking
increased hospital charges in States.
? RIME MINISTER: I think we're in a very strong position in relation
to that anyway. Because what the Minister's proposing, what's
the Government's accepted and fully supports, and what our
Parties support, is that there'd be no change in standard ward
treatment which is the basic Medibank approach and standard
of health care. But then there are people, in . many different
categories who wish to insure either for intermediate
or private ward treatement and there are still 60 or
of people covered for that-throughout the Australian community.
Now,. the question of. increasing in public hospitals the
intermediate and private ward charges would have the result
of lessening the subsidies to those who wish to. pay something
else to upgrade their. bed treatment, and to enable their own
doctor to follow them into the hospital. And we felt
that there was no real justification on those who were
content with Medi1ank treatment, paying the levy, or on lower
incomes,, not paying the levy at all and the general run
of. taxpayers to provide additional subsidies to those seeking
intermediate or private ward treatment. Now I do believe
in some of the cor ents, been a real measure of misunderstanding
C in relation to this particular matter I think when the
Minister speaks with state Ministers, and when the matter
is properly understand, the logic of what we're proposing
will stand in its own right.
) UESTION: Prime Minster, that doesn't answer Mr Howard's question.
Does the new situation give you a stronger position to argue
with the States?
PRIME MINISTER: I suppose I'd have to say yes.
! UESTION: Prime Minister, can you give us some idea of what amounts
of money are involved here?
' RIME MINISTER: I wouldn't know, the Minister might know but you see
there are two questions there is also a view as to whether
Q past payments are valid, but otherwise you've got a question
of part of May, June, July, August, September. So you've
got several months of the year they'd be very considerable
sums...
P: INISTER: About $ 60 million a month.

QUESTTQN: Will . this legislation seek to make it retrospective.
back to'July 1, when Medibank started, in fact all the payments.
PRIME MINISTER:. No, the emergency legislation we'll be bringing
through will be providing for continued payments from now,
until-the 30 September. Other matters will be resting upon
negotiation and discussions between the Minister and his
State counterpart.
QUESTICN: So there is the chance that some of the States will owe.
the Comonwealth money, if it's considered that those payments
have been invalid?
PRIME MINISTER: I suppose in technical terms you could put it that
way, but you know,. one might judge the reality of that sort
of situation.
QU~ TION-: Sir, disregarding how much the former Minister may have
Lknow or not have known, are you surprised at all that whoever
gave that opinion to the Social Security Department in April
didn't give you that advice?
P-I E MINISTER: Earlier...?
QUESTION: Earlier.
PRIME MINISTER: But this advice was offered in April of last year
I don't know if he's in the same position or not, I really don't.
Our own particular examiniation of Medibank had n't come
across-this particular point because I don't think that
it had occured to ary person in the Government and I doubt
if it had -occured to anyone in the Medibank Review Committee
that there was any conflict between the actual agremeents
ardthe law as it had been passed.-
QUESTION:.: But did the Review Coummittee investigate these legal points?
PRIME MINISTER: I would have doubted it I don't think it would have
occured to anyone that there was a conflict, until these
specific questions were raised, as I indicated two days ago.
QUESTION: Is it fair to say that the invalidity would have never come
to light had you not undertaken a review of Medibank?
IRIME MINISTER: I think it probably would have come to light, at some
stage, nobody could say when, but invalidities of this kind,
I would have thought, would have a way of surfacing in one
form or another. I think it's much better-that it's surfaced
now rather than much later?
QUESTION: Do you think it would be a fruitful exercise to ask the
Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General to take a look
at some of the other legislation that's been tabled
in the past three years?
PRIME MINISTER: Well it might well be a fruitful exercise and the specific
agreements with the states that have been encompassed in a number

6.
of matters, are in fact, under examiniation as a result
of this, for that very purpose.
' QUESTION: Since you found this flaw...?
PRIME MINISTER: Yes, since this instance?
QUESTION: That means all other agreements?
PRIME MINISTER: There were a number of formal agreements signed,
and if there are illegalities with them, if they're
not in conformity with the law, I think we need to know
a bout it, so that the matter can be properly rectified.
QUESTION: Mr Nixon raised the question of the South Australian
Railway ( inaudible). Are we to take it that you're
examining all agreements made...
E MINISTRR. Well the major agreements will be under examiniation
yes, we don't want tc be surprised by this sort of situation
in some other arena?
ISTION: It may also mean that you can't get out of some of them?
? RIME MINISTER: It depends on the nature of the agreement.
1) x

Transcript 4133

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OPENING - 27 MAY 1976

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: 27/05/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4132

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OPENING 27 MAY 1976
IT GIVES ME PARTICULAR PLEASURE TO BE STANDING
HERE THIS EVENING AND TO GAZE OVER A SEA
OF FRIENDLY FACES.
ON OCCASIONS LIKE THIS,: IT IS COMFORTING FOR
THE SPEAKER TO KNOW THAT HE IS AMONGST FRIENDS,
I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED VERY GOOD RELATIONS WITH THE
PRESS... SOMETIMES THEIR RELATIONS WITH ME'HAVE
BEEN A BIT STRAINED, IT HAS NEVER BEEN MY FAULT.
THI-S OCCASION,-IS OF COURSE, OF SPECIAL IMPORTANCE
TO THE PRESS IN CANBERRA. IT IS ALSO SIGNIFICANT
TO ME AS THE LIBERAL PRIME MINISTER.
YOU'VE HEARD FROM THE PRESIDENT THAT THE LAST
LIBERAL PRIME MINISTER, BILLY MCMAHON, 1URNED THE
FIRST SOD IN THIS SITE IN 1972,
HOWEVER, HE DIDN'T REFER TO THE CAPTION UNDER THE
PHOTO IN THE BAR OF MR MCMAHON PERFORMING THAT
TASK, IT READS: " BILLY MCMAHON TURNS SOD."

I AM INDEBTED TO THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NATIONAL
PRESS CLUB FOR SCHEDULING THE BUILDING AND
CONSTRUCTION WORK SO. THAT : A LIBERAL PRIME
MINISTER IS STILL ABLE. TO COMPLETE . THE COMMEMORATION.
THE PLAQUES WILL READ THE FIRST..' SOD WAS
TURNED BY: BILLY MCMAHON ETC, ETC," AND
" THIS BUILDING WAS OFFICIALLY OPENED BY MALCOLM FRASER."
So TO THE CASUAL OBSERVER, IT S AS THOUGH THE THREE
LABOR YEARS NEVER HAPPENED.
INCIDENTALLY, LOOKING ROUND THIS BUILDING AND
ITS FURNISHINGS, I CANNOT HELP BUT MARVEL AT THE
TRUE PATRIOTISM OF THE NATIONAL PRESS CORPS,
IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF WEEKS AGO THAT THE NEWSPAPER
HEADLINES ERRONEOUSLY SPLASHED OUT WITH
I.
" FRASER SAYSBUY BUY'BUYAND OLFRASER SAYS
GO OUT AND SPEND. .1
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MR _ PRESIDENT, ' YOU SEEM;. TO HAVE DONE THAT WITH
A VENGANCE HERE. UNTIL NOW, T HADN T REALISED
THAT-. THE PRESS BELIEVED EVERYTHING I SAY.
SOME JOURNALI STS AMONG-YOU MAY FIND IT IRONIC
THAT.: MALCOLM FRASER OF ALL PEOPLE -' IS
STANDING . UF HERE READY TO OPEN THE NATIONAL
PRESS CLUB. C'
IVE BEEN CALLED MANY THINGS AND DESCRIBED
IN MANY ' WAYS BY JOURNALISTS. AND I MUST
ADMI. T THAT : IM NOT OPENLY REFERRED TO BY MY
CCOLLEAGUES AS THE_ JOURNOS FRIEND.
BUT-PERHAPS FOR MALCOLM FRASER THE TIMES ARE
CHANGING.. WITNESS A BRIEF EXTRACT FROM LAST
WEDNESDAY'S SUNDAY PRESS NEWSPAPER IN MELBOURNE
SWRITTEN BY A MELBOURNE AGE JOURNALISTS a 9* L
rr' 1117 1 I

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S.. THIS MAN, THE PRIME MINISTER, HAS
DONE MORE. FOR THE ORDINARY AUSTRALIAN
WOMAN-THE AVERAGE STAY-AT-HOME CHILD
:: BEARING HOUSEWIFE THAN ANY OTHER PERSON
IN THE COUNTRY'S HISTORY.
MORE THAN ALL THE GERMAINE GREERS, THE
PROTESTERS, THE BRA-BURNING, THE WRITING
Sø AND BALLYHOO PUT TOGETHER.
SIMPLY, HE GAVE HER-WHAT NO ONE ELSE HAS
BEEN ABLE OR WILLING TO...
, HE GAVE HER A BILLION DOLLA
$ 1125*. TO BE PRECISE. WHAT'
.' IT FROM HER HUSBAND."
I'M SURE YOU WILL ALL-AGREE . THA RS. OR
S MORE: HE TOOK
T THE TONE
WAS DISTINCTLY FAVOURABLE.
PLAINLY, THIS IS THE START OF A NEW ERA FOR ME
THE CHAMPION OF WOMEN JOURNALISTS, AT LEAST,

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PERHAPS,. THAT ARTICLE HAS NOT CONVINCED YOU
OF HOW. THE PRESS REALLY SEE. MALCOLM FRASER:
PERHPAS. MY REPUTATION WITH . THE PRESS IS.
WELL FOUNDED.
BIIT I. CAN CLAIM A GOOD EXCUSE ITS HERIDITARY.
THE PATRIARCH OF THE FRASER
FAMILY,-. SIMON FRASER,-OCCASIONALLY CROSSED
SWORDS WITH THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS.
IN1889, THE WEEKLY MAGAZINE " TABLE TALK" SAID
THIS OF SIMON FRASER, THE POLITICIAN:
" HE CONTROLS THE POLICY OF THE EVENING STANDARD,
OF WHICH HE IS A LARGE SHAREHOLDER, AND IS A
FRIEND OF-THE PROPRIETOR OF THE AGE.
AT. THAT TIME SIMON FRASER SHARED A VIGOROUS
BELIEF IN FREE TRADE WITH THE AGE! S PROPRIETOR
DAVID SYME; HOWEVER AS OFTEN HAPPENS WITH
NEWSPAPER PROPRIETORS AND POLITICIANS THEY
FELL OUT, WHEN SYME BECAME AN ARDENT PROTECTIONIST.

I 6
SYME BANNED FRASER FROM THE EDITORIAL
COLUMNS OF THE PAPER.' BUT SIMON FRASER WAS NOT
EASILY DETERRED. -HE IMMEDIATELY RETORTED BY
PUBLISHING HIS OWN SPEECHES AS PAID ADVERTISEMENTS.
S. I: GUESS : TIMES HAVEN'T CHANGED THAT MUCH.
THE PROPRIETOR OF THE AGE: AND THE CURRENT
RASER. ARE'STILL CONCERNING THEMSELVES ABOUT
PAID ADVERTISEMENTS THAT RECENTLY APPEARED IN
THAT'NEWSPAPER. OF COURSE THE WARMTH OF THE BOND BETWEEN
JOURNALISTS UPSTAIRS IN THE GALLERY AND US
POLITICIANS DOWN IN THE GOLD FISH BOWL OF THE
CHAMBER VARIES.
SOMETIMES IT IS MORE CHEERY THAN AT OTHER TIMES.
SSOMETIMES IT IS FIERY 4
1dOWEVER I LIKE TO THINK. THAT OVER THE YEARS WE
ARE COMING TO KNOW EACH OTHER, ALTHOUGH FROM TIME
TO TIME I FIND MY BREATH CAN STILL BE TAKEN AWAY.

I WOULD LIKE TO RECALL A TIME DURING THE
POLITICAL CRISIS LAST YEAR, WHEN THE PRESS WAS
SPECULATING. INTENSIVELY. ABOUT WHETHER THE:
BUDGET WOULD BE PASSED BY. THE SENATE.
SEVERAL: MEMBERS OF THE GALLERY BECAME SO
IMPATIENT. THEY DECIDED BOTH TO ANTICIPATE
THE. EVENT ANDTO ENCOURAGE'A COURSE OF ACTION.
LET ME SUM IT UP FOR YOU, IN JUST ABOUT THE
EXACT WORDS THAT WERE USED:
" I THINK MALCOLM WILL REJECT THE BUDGET,
HE'S MAD IF HE DOESN'T," THEY TOLD MY STAFF.
" MIND YOU, WHEN IT HAPPENS, WE WILL KICK THE T
OUT OF HIM IN PRINT,"
WELL. THE SENATE DID REJECT. THE BUDGET, AND I W
LIKE TO COMMEND YOUR ABILITIES AS FORECASTERS
YOU DID KICK THE TRIPES OUT-OF US IN PRINT.
I THINK EVENTS LIKE THESE HELP PEOPLE TO UNDER
EACH OTHER BETTER. RIPE OUL STAI i.,
ES ND
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.1' TO SUPPLY THE PUBLIC WITH INFORMATION.
HOWEVER, IN THE MINDS OF MANY, CONFIDENTIALITY
SWHEN.. IT APPLIES TO GOVERNMENT HAS COME TO
HAVE. A BAD OR EVIL. CONNOTATION.. THAT-IS A
MISCONCEPTION. 8.
ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE, HOWEVER, AND SO
I MAINTAIN MY REPUTATION WITH THE PRESS
CAN I. BRIEFLY TALK . TO YOU ABOUT GOVERNMENTS
KEEPING SECRETS.
FIRST AND I . WANT TO MAKE THIS POINT CLEAR
' I STRONGLY. BELIEVE THAT: AS MUCH INFORMATION AS
POSSIBLE: SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC.
MINISTERS SHOULD BE APPROACHABLE, AVAILABLE AND
' ACCESSIBLE.
THEY HAVE BEEN REQUESTED TO MAKE THEMSELVES
AVAILABLE WHEREVER POSSIBLE TO THE MEDIA, AND ENSURE
THAT THEIR DEPARTMENTS MAKE THE GREATEST EFFORTS i

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U" WITHOUT CONFIDENTIALITY IN THESE AREAS, MUCH OF
THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY WOULD DISSOLVE,
OF3COURSE,-THERE ARE MANY PROTECTIONS AGAINST
EXCESSIVE. CONFIDENTIALITY.
THE NATURE OF OUR PARLIAMENTARY. SYSTEM PROVIDES
FOR THIS, . ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION.
o. t
ALSO A VIGILANT AND RESPONSBILE PRESS CAN PROTECT
AGAINST EXCESSIVE CONFIDENTIALITY. WE'VE SEEN THAT
AMPLY DEMONSTRATED IN THE WESTERN WORLDAT.
THE RISK OF OVERSTATING THE ARGUMENT, CAN I
MAKE A COUPLE OF POINTS.
CONFIDENTIALITYIN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, IS PART
OF * OUR LIVES PRIVATE-. LIVES, BUSINESS LIVES
. OR FOR THOSE IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS, PUBLIC LIVES.
, kNA RELATTONSHIP BETWEEN DOCTOR AND PATIENT,
. LAWYER AND CLIENT, -PRtIEST--PARTnrTiO'NERT, HERE
ARE MATTERS OF CONFIDENTIALITY OFTEN PROTECTED
BY LAW,.
' I

OVERTHE PAST FEW YEARS.
SOMETIMES THERE ARE SUGGESTIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT
WANTS CONFIDENTIALITY FOR ITS OWN SAKE.
I WOULD.. PREFER TO ARGUE THAT THE GOVERNMENT
SOMETIMES SEES THE NEED FOR CONFIDENTIALITY
AND WHEN . IT DOES IT'MUST DEFEND IT AND TAKE
WHATEVER CRITICISM COMES.
IN RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS,
CONFIDENTIALITY IS OFTEN QUITE ESSENTIAL IN THE
INTEREST OF-FRANK AND TRUTHFUL COMMUNICATION.
IN OUR FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, RELATIONSHIPS
BETWEEN THE STATES REQUIRE A DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE
THAT WOULD NOT APPLY IF EVERY LETTER BETWEEN A
PREMIER AND PRIME MINISTERV-WERETO BECOME PUBLIC
IN THE PROCESS OF JOINT DECISION MAKING.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT, CAN RE-ITERATE MY FIRST
STATEMENT ON THIS SUBJECT. / 11
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11.
I WANT AN UNHINDERED FLOW OF INFORMATION TO
THE MEDIA, .1 WANT MINISTERS TO BE AVAILABLE
TO COMMENT . I WANT FACTUAL INFORMATION PROVIDED.
. How CAN ANY COMMUNITY PROGRESS WITHOUT CONTINUING
: INFORMED AND -INTELLIGENT DEBATE. AND HOW CAN
THERE'BE DEBATE WITHOUT INFORMATION,
FINALLY, WITH DUE DEFERENCE TO THE A. B. C. CAN I
S SYMPATHISE WILL ALL BROADCASTERS. I AM ONLY TOO WELL
AWARE: OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF BROADCASTING
AND THE HAZARDS.
A FEW WEEKS AGO, LATE ONE'EVENING, I SAT DOWN IN MY
OFFICE TO RECORD MY WEEKLY BROADCAST TO THE GOOD
PEOPLE OF MY HOME ELECTORATE, WANNON.
I THINK IT WAS ABOUT THE 1000TH SUCH TIME I HAD
SAT. DOWN TO IT, I VE. BEEN RECORDING IT WEEKLY FOR
SOUNST 21-. YEAR.
I READ THE FIRST COIPLEOF PARAGRAPHS, AND AS
I WAS A LITTLE TIRED I MADE AN ERROR.

Ir 12
UNCHARACTERISTICALLY, I GAVE AN INVOLUNTARY EXLAMATION..-
WORDS NOT-FIT TO BE REPEATED HERE STOPPED THE
TAPE AND STARTED AGAIN,.
THE-TAPE WAS DULY LANDLINED TO RADIO 3HA HAMILTON,
WITH A WARNING OF THE-FALSE START.
HOWEVER, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE, THAT MESSAGE
DID NOT. GET THROUGH THE TAPE WENT'TO AIR
( ON A SUNDAY EVENING TOO) FALSE START AND ALL.
THE. MOST DISTURBING ASPECT OF THE INDICENT HOWEVER,
WAS THAT THE STATION DID NOT RECEIVE ONE
SINGLE COMPLAINT.
THAT COULD ONLY MEANTTWO THINGS NO ONE WAS ACTUALLY
TUNED IN, OR THOSE THAT WERE THOUGHT THE LANGUAGE
WAS THE NORMAL PRIME MINISTERIAL MANNER OF ' SPEECH.
MR PRESIDENT, I KNOW THIS DAY IS THE CULMINATION
OF AN EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT-OF-TIME AND ENERGY
BY A GREAT NUMBER OF-JOURNALISTS OVER MANY. YEARS,
THERE IS NO DOUBT ALL THE EFFORT HAS BEEN WORTHWHILE. :. i
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I CONGRATULATE THE MANAGEMENT, PAST AND PRESENT.
THIS FACILITY WILL PLAY A REAL PART IN ENHANCING
THE-STANDING . OF JOURNALISTS IN AUSTRALIA,
. ON THATiNOTE . AND IN ACCEPTED PRIME MINISTERIAL
TQNES ' IT.-NOW DOES GIVE ME CONSIDERABLE PLEASURE
TOOFFIC. IALLY DECLARE THIS MAGNIFICENT
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB BUILDING OPENED.
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Transcript 4132

ECONOMIC DEBATE

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: 27/05/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4131

J ASRAIJ I
FOR PRESS / J
F76/ 100
MAY 27, 1976
ECONOMIC DEBATE
A week ago, the Treasurer announced a number of major measures
designed to take. Australia a further substantial step towards
prosperity and to help in securing that prosperity for all
Australians. The strategy expressed through these measures has been stated
by the Coalition. Parties on many occasions: in Opposition,
during the election campaign, and in Government.
Our constantly reiterated strategy has been: to bring Government
spending under control, to free resources to the private sector
and to individuals, to pursue a responsible monetary policy with
clearly announced goals, and to generate a climate of national
responsibility in which wage and salary restraint will be possible
and in which both business and unions will act with a principal
regard for the national interest.
The de ' bate over thI-e last week shows that the Labor Party has
no coherent alteinative to offer.
The debate has shown that only the Opposition is still unable
to face the realities of responsible Government.
When the Liberal and Country Parties were overwhelmingly
endorsed by the Australian people last December, we faced aset
of economic circumstances which should never have occurred
in Australia.
They were circumstances in which the opportunities of hundreds
of thousands of Au~ stralians had been curtailed and in which the
weakest sections of the community had suffered most of all.
The fundamental reason why we faced those problems, why so many
Australians were damaged was the approach to policy making
of the previous Government.
For three years the former Government took and encouraged
the attitude that the old restraints on Government spending
the limitations on the resources available no longer applied. I
PRINAE MINISTER

-2-
Difficult choices no longer had to be made between alternatives
which were all desirable in some decgree the attitude was
that if something was desirable, it was fair enough to print
money to pay for it.
The final report of the Social Welfare Commission noted this
very attitude.
" There was an expectation that expert commissions could put
forward proposals for expenditure which would be automatically
adopted." Exactly the same attitude of mind was exhibited by the Leader
of the opposition in this debate on Tuesday.
Again he demonstrated a total incapacity to understand the
basic fact that responsible Governments must set priorities,
must make choices. 0
Now he regards all the expenditures of t-he previous administration
as essential this is evidence not of real concern but of
characteristic unwillingness to face reality.
The Leader of the Opposition went so far as to describe our
package as an attack on the living standards of Australiansthis
from the man whose Government achieved the first real
decline in Australia's gross domestic product for decades.
To the previous administration, indivdual spending was not
e~ sentia. Government spending was.
It never seemed to occur to the members of that disastrous
administration that other Australians did have prioritiesthat
individuals also had needs and that they were entitled
to some certainty in the proportion of their earnings they could
retain to meet these needs.
The Shadow Treasurer showed precisely the sam~ e frame of mind.
I need refer only briefly to one part of his speech which
demonstrates this.
In discussing a package of measures which might have been
acceptable to the Labor Party, he stated:
" caution with the money supply, personal tax indexation, and
increased child endowment might well be part of that package,
brut so too would be the continuation and expansion of the
effective expenditure programmes begun by the Labor Government."
In other words he now accepts the historic reforms of-the
Government's package, but refuses to accept the expenditure
restraint which made them possible. In fact, he wishes
simultaneously to expand Labor's programmes.

The Labor Party is apparently prepared to contemplate a
deficit of $ 6,000, or even $ 7,000 million, required to
finance an expansion of Labor's programmes plus the
introduction of full personal income tax indexation.
This is the programme the Shadow Treasurer imaginatively
describes as spending our way " gently but firmly" out of
stagflation.
The Opposition has failed to understand one cardinal fact.
W~ hen there is high inflation and high interest rates, the
Gcver--ent cannot spend the nation out of unemployment.
A strategy based on greater Government spending is relevant
to conditions of high unemployment, low inflation,. and low
interest rates.
These are the circumstances for which the Keynesian pump
priming approach was devised and in which it can succeed.
They are not the circumstances which face us now.
To apply this approach to a situation of high inflation and
high interest rates, is a recipe for disaster.
Labor tried that and it failed.
Their spokesmen are still advocating that approach.
They have learnt r'. ctnlng.
To make possible the introduction of full personal tax
indexation and lay the ground for a responsible budget, very
ajor reductions on f'orward estimates have been necassary.
ministers have outlined detailed savings in excess of $ 1500
million in their own statements.
Additional budget savings will arise from the Administrative
Review Committee, from the ongoing attack on extravagance and
duplication and from other more detailed savings from
Departments. med-bank savings on the expenditure side will further relieve
the budget.
In all, savings of $ 2,600 million have been achieved as a
result of a new ranking of Government priorities in expenditure.
This exercise has been one of the most wide-ranging and
comprehensive of its kind performed by any Government.
imposing restraints on Government spending has inevitably
meant that many desirable programmes can only move ahead at
a slower pace than we might have hoped.
Unfortunately, there has been no alternative.

In making choices we have been concerned to protect areassuch
as welfare payments where * people are affected as
individuals or areas especially important to opportunity
such as education.
Our Medibank reforms show our concern that the poorest people
in our community should have access to high quality medical
care.
The Medibank Scheme requires no payment at all from those on
lowest incorges. It places the burden of medical costs on
the shoulders of those who can best afford to meet them..
The Government has acted to restrain Government spending
because only in this way can resources be freed to individuals
and to companies.
The package of measures brought down by the Government will
give certainty to People in several ways.
The expenditure restraints mean that for the first time in
several years, both individuals-and business can have confidence
that public sector spending is at last under control.
Full personal tax indexation at last provides an assurance to
all wage, salary and income earners that there will be no increase
in the tax burden without deliberate and public decision.
The family allowances scheme shows the Government's determination
to work in the interest of all Australians.
It shows above all, our concern for the disadvantaged in the
Austra lian community.'
These are solid foundations for confidence.
A guarantee that wages will be protected from unlegislated
increases in taxation has been, of course, a major concern
of the trade union movement.
The trade union movement has taken a consistent view that the
certainty provided by tax indexation would be a major falztor
in wage restraint.
The protection afforded by the family allowances to w,. age earners
near the minimum income with large families, has also been a longstanding
concern of the tr , de union movement.
A responsible control over Government spending can only
be one element in a national effort to restore prosperity.
There is a growing awareness that in recent years excessive
increases in wages and salaries have imposed too great a cost
on many businesses.
The result has been the elimination of many jobs and continuing
price inflation.

6 5-
Wage restraint is necessary so that the private sector can
become profitable once more, in the interests of job
opportunities and price stabilitit.
Other ise there will continue to be high unemployment, there
will continue to be price inflation.
Bringing inflation under control is not just a job for the
Government. Restoring -full employment is a responsibility which falls as
much on the trade unions and businesses, as i-L does on the
Go ve rnme nt.
The packa ge of measures announced by the Government last week,
provides an unparalleled basis for national cooperation.
The great majority of Austral ians are sick and tired of inflation
and unemployment.
People want the merry-go-round to stop.
The approach of the previous Government rei terated in this
House this ieek has not worked. It has instead been a
principal cause of' the problems we now face.
The Government's strategy is working. The present measures
will help to sustain and support the economic recovery which
is now occurring.
With goodwill on all sides they will provide a solid basis
for national cooneration. 000000000000

Transcript 4131

COMMONWEALTH SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING - 26 MAY 1976

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: 26/05/1976

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 4130

99
S76/ 98
PRIME MINISTER
COMMONWEALTH SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING
26 MAY 1976
. I am glad to have this opportunity to welcome you to Canberra and
to formally open your Meeting. This is the first " Commonwealth
of Nations" Meeting I have attended as Prime Minister. I would like
. therefore, to take this opportunity of stating Australia's attitude
towards the Commonwealth.
In the early months of office, the Government in Australia has been
very much occupied with events in our own part of the world, and
by our own domestic economic problems. This meeting now provides
a welcome opportunity to emphasise Australia's continued support for
the Commonwealth of Nations. I am a firm believer in the concept
. of today's Commonwealth, and my Government will continue to cooperate
wholeheartedly in Commonwealth activities.
91 am very pleased that Australia is providing the location for this
meeting. This is the first time that the Commonwealth has gathered
at this level, in these numbers, in the Southern Hemisphere, even
though one third of the Commonwealth's members come from this side of
the world. The Commonwealth has now become a substantive international
organisation. It is no longer a mere " ghost of Empire".
It is a voluntary association of independent countries who continue
to belong to the Commonwealth not out of sentimentality but for
sound practical reasons. In a world where there is a growing tendency
for nations to bemore and more involved in the affairs of their own
region, the Commonwealth provides a useful and valuable bridge between
regions.

-2-
The growing regional involvement of members if anything, has
increased the value of discussions in Commonwealth forums by
broadening the perspective of members on world issues. In our
own region, Australia is developing a broader set of relations
with the nations of the Pacific and South East Asia.
Other Commonwealth countries are likewise developing closer links
with their regional neighbours. Britain herself has, of course.,
become more closely involved in the affairs of Europe through her
membership of the European economic community. Before Britain joined
the Common Market she claimed her entry would be a great advantage to
the Commonwealth: a Britain revitalised and strengthened by
participating in the Common Market would be able to play a more
influential and constructive role in world affairs.
We were heartened by the British vow to lead the European Economic.
Community to an outward and constructive role in world affairs,
away from a conception of a narrow and selfish trading bloc.
Many of the Commonwealth's member nations are exporters of primary
products. Although Australia must be considered a developed nation,
since our main exports are primary products, our interests in this
matter lie with the under-developed world.
The European Economic Community whose trading strength in industria@
products is second to none, advocates reduction of tariff barriers on
manufactured goods. At the same time it raises barriers so artificial
so immense against primary products in competition with theirs, thaO
few nations can penetrate them. If the E. E. C. applied their attiurs
on barriers to manufactured goods to primary products, the European
nations could greatly increase their standards of living and lower
their costs.
We eargerly await the plain evidence of British influence in the
European Economic Community which was so emphatically promised to us
as a great contribution to a better and freer world.
If this can happen, Britain's view that her membership of
the E. E. C. will enable her to play a more constructive role in
Commonwealth affairs will be validated. If it is not, the Commonwealth
will not have been strengthened In other ways, the
changing pattern of international relations has altered and
strengthened the Commonwealth.

-3-
No longer are the nations of the Commonwealth linked just through
Britain. Through the Commonwealth a network of relations have
developed between the independent member countries. The links
which have ' grown up between individual Commonwealth countries have
become at least as important as the longstanding links between
each and Britain. The old Empire of Five is a thing of the past.
Organisations managed by, or closely associated with, the Commonwealth
Secretariat, such as the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation,
the Commonwealth Foundation, and the Commonwealth Youth Program
to name only three, undertake effective and expanding activities.
There are literally hundreds of " Commonwealth-based" organisations
covering a broad range of activities one of these, the Commonwealth
Telecommunications Organisation, is to hold a major Conference in
Sydney in early 1977. Many of these bodies were originally established
with and their subsequent development encouraged by financial
and other assistance from the Commonwealth.
These activities now express the importance of Commonwealth linksboth
Governmental and private. They are an encouraging indicator of
the vitality of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not, and never
has been, a political power bloc. And it is quite inconceivable
that it could ever become one. But it can help to give the small
and medium sized countries a more effective voice in world affairs.
An association of small and medium sized countries from all parts of
the world, many of which are also members of important regional
organisations, is well placed to help in developing a stable world
order that is not solely dependent on agreements between the super powers
It is not part of our conception of the world that any grouping
of major powers should have predominant influence over middle and
smaller countries.
We must seek relationships where smaller countries are free and
able to pursue their needs, not a world which requires subservience
to the largest powers.

4
In particular, because it makes it easy to have sympathetic
and open discussion among countries of such varying levels
of economic development, the Commonwealth seems to have a
special role in the search for solutions to international
economic problems.
This is a search which, until now, has tended to be conduced
by and primarily in the interests of, the economically advanced
nations. The Commonwealth brings together rich and poor nations, develope4
and developing, producing and consuming, black and white,
aligned and non-aligned. It is eminently suited to support
constructive discussion between nations on these matters. 0
There is a search for a new international economic order.
The means by which this order is sought will have a large
impact on its ultimate form.
The Commonwealth has, in the past, served as a catalyst in
important international developments, most notably the
establishment of the Colombo Plan Scheme in 1950.
This scheme was subsequently widened to cover the bulk of the
flow of official development assistance to the countries of
Asia. More recently the Commonwealth has played an important part
in focussing attention and achieving action on southern
African issues.
It was also sought to contribute to solving the Cyprus dispute
I believe it can also make a valuable contribution towards
achieving a more equitable economic order.

The present meeting of senior officials is the most important
Commonwealth meeting at sub-ministerial level.
These biennial meetings which commenced in 1972 provide
an important regular way of consulting between heads of
government meetings.
This meeting will be considering, among other things, the
past and future programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat
which continues to serve the. Commonwealth well under a
distinguished new Secretary General.
The Secretariat has played a vital part in a decade of
evolution and change for the Commonwealth.
I welcome the consolidation which is now taking place at
the Secretariat under the leadership of the new Secretary-General.
I read with interest his memorandum to the review committee,
and especially endorse the sentiment of his following comments:-
" As the Secretariat is the servant of all Commonwealth
Governments, I must emphasise that its work programme
and priorities are incapable of being developed
autonomously. They must necessarily be flexible and
responsive to the wishes of member Governments..."
This meeting will be giving attention to a number of major
world problems. It will consider how the nations of the
Commonwealth acting separately and together can help to solve
or amerliorate them.
I am delighted to be able to welcome Papua-New Guinea to these
discussions.-This is Papua-New Guinea's first attendance at
a major Commonwealth meeting.
I am sure we all look forward to their continuing contribution
to Commonwealth meetings.

6
This meeting will also be concerned to give some preliminary
attention to arrangements for the next meeting of Commonwealth
heads of Government
These heads of Governments meeting have been . aptly described
as the hub of Commonwealth cooperation.
I am looking forward personally to taking part in the 1977 meeting
in London.
I would be grateful if you would inform the heads of Government
whom you advise and represent that I look forward especially to
establishing a cooperative relationship with them at next
year's meeting.
Throughout its history the Commonwealth has had the capacity
to respond and change to new demands new needs.
It has now attained a new maturity.
The diversity among the members of the Commonwealth is a
source of strength, encouraging a broad understanding and toler4
of each other's problems.
For nations to talk constructively with one another, and to
co-operate in the solution of shared problems, an attitude
of consultation and a reasoned approach to issues is essential.
One of the strengths of the Commonwealth is that it encourages
such an attitude.
The Commonwealth may well become an increasingly worthwhile
instrument for helping to attack the grave problems of poverty,
disease, injustice and racial conflict which no one Government
no one country can hope to solve on its own.

Transcript 4130

PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES

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: 25/05/1976

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4129

F76/ 97
JIj, AUS K 1A. 1
4'
FOR PRESSMAY 25, 1976
PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES
The Prime Minister will soon make a brief visit to the
United States at the invitation of President Ford.
He will meet the President of the United States on
27 July. A subsequent announcement will be made about
other.-engagements which the Prime Minister will undertake
during his visit to the United States. He will be
accompanied by a small party of senior officials.
000ooo000

Transcript 4129

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