PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 10125


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

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

Release Date: 10/10/1996

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 10125

October 1996
"* Embargoed Until Delivery"*
I am delighted to be with you this evening for this important occasion and to share in
the celebration of fifty years of achievement for the Fuibright Program.
There are many people here this evening who have worked over many years to help
fufi the aims of the Program and many who have benefited from its generosity.
I would like to join with others in conveying a very warm welcome to Mrs Harriet
Fuibright. Your presence with us in Australia for this fiftieth anniversary gives us a
special personal link to the founder of the Program, and I wish you a most enjoyable
and productive stay in our country.
The fiftieth anniversary of any organisation is an important milestone.
It is a time for looking back on what has been achieved and for looking forward to
what can be achieved in the years ahead.
It is a time for drawing strength from the vision and the ideals of those who have gone
before us as we confront the challenge of building for the future on the basis of their
achievements in a very different world.
In looking back tonight on fifty years of achievement for the Fulbright Program, we
reflect on what one man's practical vision has achieved in advancing the interests of so
many individuals and communities. We recall, in particular, the very important
contribution which that one man, Senator J. William Fuibright, made to the public life
of his own country, and to the cause of education and understanding between the
peoples of different countries.

The Fuibright Legacy
The long political career of Senator Fuibright has always defied easy classification.
He was a man of reflective intellectualism and scholarly diligence yet he was also a
visible and influential advocate of change in the practical world of international
He was a man deeply concerned about the policies of governments in an era of the
" nuclear balance of terror" yet he remained always positive and hopeful about the
power of people to break down barriers of misunderstanding and distrust.
He believed in the inherent value of international institutions yet he recognised the
uniquely important responsibilities of the United States in the search for world order
and international stability.
He had strongly held views about what he saw as the limits of American power yet he
was a strong internationalist and an enemy of American isolationism.
As a result of his upbringing, his education and his own inclinations, he drew on the
wisdom of the past yet he also revelled in exposing what he called " old myths and
new realities" in international relations.
He understood the realities of the international system yet he also believed in the
reality of an international society, and what he saw as the need for " civilising and
huxnanising" relations between people and nations.
He emphasised the need for new dimensions of international cultural understanding
yet he saw it as unrealistic and undesirable to aim for universal values, arguing ( in his
words) that " the rapprochement of people is only possible when differences of culture
and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared or condemned".
He once championed Presidential power as the source of any effective American
foreign policy yet his later career highlighted what he believed should be the
Congressional limits on that power.
He knew the creative and constructive opportunities that political power bestowed on
elected leaders yet he never ceased warning about the proper limits of government
and the potential for power to create its own arrogance.
He was at the heart of the great American debates over policymnaking during the Cold
War yet he became, in effect, one of the earliest and most articulate spokesmen for
many who belonged to the first post-Cold War generation.
He was a man without pretensions yet he is one of those very few people in history
whose name has also become a proper noun, as thousands of Fulbrighters around the
world will attest! 1527.

The career of Senator Fuibright was certainly one of contrasts. It was also one of
achievement and endurance.
In 1939, he became the youngest University President in the United States. He was
the first American Rhodes Scholar to be elected to the US Senate. He was Chairman
of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee for fifteen years. And he was
returned by the electors of Arkansas as one of their representatives in the Congress for
thirty two consecutive years from the 1940' s to the 1970' s.
Throughout that period, Senator Fulbright became involved in an extraordinarily wide
range of foreign policy issues.
Those issues included the management of new international structures for enhancing
security and co-operation; the definition of " national interest" and the changing nature
of " national power" in an era of rapid international change; the appropriate balance
between America's international aspirations and its limited national resources, between
its global responsibilities and its domestic priorities; the revolutionary potential of
endemic poverty, nationalism and population growth in developing countries; and the
need to build bridges of co-operation and understanding between the American people
and the peoples of other countries through trade, scientific and cultural exchanges.
The debate over many of these issues, of course, continues today though in a very
diferent context to that of Senator Fulbright's time.
Some of Senator Fuibright's views were a focus of passionate support as well as
vigorous dispute. But the distinguishing mark of all of them was that they were
presented by him with forthrightness, personal integrity and a commitment to the
principles in which he believed. They were all underpinned by his faith in the power of
ideas and in the common aspirations that he strongly believed all people shared.
He had a clear vision of the role of creative leadership, liberal education and
international understanding in helping to build a more peaceful world.
It is that vision which has endured and which lives on in the scholarship program that
bears his name.
It is that vision, and its important future role in a rapidly changing world, which we
celebrate tonight.
The Constructive Internationalism of the Fulbright Prora
What motivated the establishment of the Fulbright Program, and what has sustained
and strengthened it during its first half century, has been its commitment to a
constructive internationalism built on direct educational and cultural links between the
people of different countries.

It was the same constructive internationalism that had inspired the passage into law in
1943 ( three years before the establishment of the Scholarship program) of the
' Fuibright Resolution', committing the United States to support a post-war
international organisation to maintain peace, and thus pre-empting any move to postwar
American isolationism.
It was that motivation and spirit which were again clear in 1946 when Senator
Fulbright secured the passage through Congress of his Bill to convert the sale of
surplus American war property abroad into a major student exchange program. It was
an initiative he had launched the year before, just two weeks after the dropping of the
atomic bomb on Hiroshima. And it was to be described by President Kennedy some
fifteen years later as " the classic modern example of beating swords into
ploughshares". Senator Fuibright saw this exchange program as an important catalyst in the search for
a new constructive internationalism that could contribute to the avoidance of war in
the atomic age. But he also understood the limits of any such programme, once
describing it as " not a panacea but an avenue of hope".
The purposes of the Scholarships have been described in countless ways over the past
fifty years. But, not surprisingly, the best description comes from Senator Fulbright
himself when he reflected on them in later life in the following terms:
" There is nothing obscure about the objective of educational exchange. Its
purpose is to acquaint Americans with the world as it is and to acquaint students and
scholars from many lands with America as it is not as we wish it were or as we might
wish foreigners to see it, but exactly as it is which by my reckoning is an ' image' of
which no America need be ashamed. The program further aims to make the benefits of
American culture and technology available to the world and to enrich American life by
exposing it to the science and art of many societies. Finally, the program aims,
through these means, to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little
more compassion into world affairs and thereby to increase the chance that nations will
learn at last to live in peace and friendship."
In its fifty years of operation, the Fulbright Program has fulfilled these high ideals of
fostering leadership, learning and empathy between cultures.
Approximately 200,000 individuals including 70,000 Americans and 130,000 from
t other countries have participated in the Program since its establishment in 1946.
3 Over 140 countries are currently involved in the program with participants including a
wide range of graduate students, scholars and professionals from outside of academia.
Those who have benefited from the Fulbright Program have contributed to their
societies not only in the field of public leadership but also in the sciences, the arts,
education, literature, business, the media, community support and many other areas of
activity. Some have done so prominently and spectacularly. Countless others have
done so without as much public acclamation but with no less effectiveness in making
their communities better and fairer places in which to live. 1529

The Fuibright exchange program between Australia and the United States began in
1949 and since 1963 it has continued under the auspices of the Australian-American
Educational Foundation. Over 4,000 Australians and Americans have benefited from
the opportunity which the Fuibright Program has provided for study and exchange in
each of our countries.
I am proud to be Honorary Co-Chairman of the Foundation, and I am proud of the
Australian Government's ongoing financial support for the Scholarship scheme.
The Fulbright Program's Next Fifty Years
In looking to the next fifty years of the Fulbright Program, we can be confidlent that its
aims and ideals have never been more relevant.
In a bilateral sense, the place of the Fuibright Program in the broader architecture of
Australia-United States relations will be an increasingly important one.
Australians and Americans share rare ties of history, language and culture. We are
united by common values and beliefs including our commitment to freedom,
democratic rights and equality of opportunity. The Fulbright Program reflects many of
our mutual characteristics as relatively young countries, including the value we place
on openness, vitality and innovation.
The relationship between our two countries is bound together by close and effective
interaction between our goverrnents and our private sector enterprises and this is
evident across a very broad range of political, security, commercial and cultural
activities. At a government-to-government level, the range of interaction between Australia and
the United States is diverse and mutually advantageous. My Goverrnent has made it
explicity clear that we aim to reinvigorate and strengthen our relations with United
States in the future.
I know it has become fashionable in some quarters to categorise alliance relationships,
such as Australia's with the United States, as anachronistic in the post-Cold War
world. That perception is, in my view, totally mistaken.
Alliances are as important in times of great change as they are in periods of direct
strategic threat. The Australia-America alliance contributes as much today as it has
ever done to peace, security and stability and we will be working to expand that
contribution even further in the future.
Nor does alliance co-operation, particularly between two such vigorous and open
democracies as the United States and Australia, entail any diminution of sovereignty or
independence on the part of either.

We will have differences on specific issues as we have had in the past. We will
convey those differences forcefully and unambiguously in support of our national
interests where the need arises. But we will do so in the broader context of a bilateral
relationship that is strong, enduring and clearly in the national interest of both our
countries. Just as we have fundamentally significant economic and security ties with the United
States, we also have dynamic economic opportunities, strategic interests and strong
bilateral relationships in Asia.
As I have made clear on many occasions, my Government does not see any choice to
be made in Australian foreign policy between our past associations and our future
hopes, between our history and our geography.
Nor do we see any choice to be made between strengthening our engagement with
Asia and reinvigorating our relationship with the United States.
Under my Government Australia can, and will, do both.
The bilateral government-to-goverrnent links between Australia and the United States
to which I have been referring work most effectively in the context of strong peopleto-
people associations. And it is those associations which add an important and
enduring quality to the nature of the Australian-American relationship.
For an older generation, there are the special ties of history between Australians and
Americans which were forged during and after the Second World War. For younger
Australians and Americans, there are the special associations developed as a result of
the expanding scale of two-way business and tourism between our two countries and
the accelerating pace of educational, technological and cultural exchanges to which the
Fulbright Program adds such a significant dimension.
It is also cultural links at a popular level that are increasingly opening up our two
societies to each other through films, music, creative art, the Internet, and much
It is these direct links between Australians and Americans that provide such critical
sustenance and support to the official ties between our governments. And it is in those
links that the realisation of the Fulbright vision of understanding, mutual respect and
shared common purposes can be advanced.
The future relevance of the Fulbright Program, of course, extends well beyond the
bounds of the Australia-America relationship. It is a Program that is well-attuned to
what will be powerfidi forces of international change into the next century.
The realities of globalisation and economic interdependence are the product of the
revolutions in transportation, communications, technology and commerce, as well as
political will., that have transformed the nature of policymaking between, as well as
within, nations.

And as part of these processes of change, the Fulbright vision for better understanding
between different cultures and for broader areas of co-operation will have an
increasing relevance.
Another great driving force of international change in the late twentieth century is the
economic dynamism and the developing regional architecture of the Asia-Pacific
region. This regional economic revolution has transformed the Asia-Pacific as well as its
relationships with the rest of the world. It has created changes of an order which, in
my lifetime, have been surpassed only by the implosion of communism.
For both the United States and Australia, the nature of our interactions with the Asia-
Pacific region as well as our strategies for broadening and deepening them lie at the
forefront of policymnaking in both our countries.
More than ever in the years ahead, the Fulbright vision for more extensive educational
exchanges, for better cultural understanding and for wider horizons of co-operation
will have a special significance in relations between the United States and Asia, just as
they will in terms of Australia's relations with the region.
Ma-xdmising Opportunities In. and With. Asia
Against this background, I wish to make some brief comments about the nature of the
emerging challenges and opportunities for Australian and American policy in
development of closer interaction with our region.
No region will be more important to world prosperity and stability in the twenty-first
century than the Asia-Pacific region.
It includes three of the world's most politically and economically influential countries
the United States, Japan and China. The futures of those countries, and their
interaction with each other, will be critical for the region and the wider world.
Inevitably, the relationship among these countries is changing as they themselves
change. The scale of change in China in particular is immense. Growth in China has
averaged ten per cent for more than a decade. This stands to change the relativities of
power in the region. But China's opening up and its growth are indisputably positive
developments. They provide new economic opportunities for others. They also provide
China with a stake in the stability of the region and in the effectiveness of regional and
global political and economic structures.
My Government is strongly committed to engagement with China. In particular, I think
China's entry into the World Trade Organisation is important and I hope that it can be
achieved in the near future on reasonable terms for all concerned. More broadly, the
management of the relationship among the United States, Japan and China is of the
utmost importance for the stability and prosperity of the region.

The Asia-Pacific region is already a global economic powerhouse, and it is likely to
become even more significant in the world economy over coming decades.
In terms of the separate national perspectives of both the United States and Australia
on these regional economic realities, the facts speak for themselves.
Already, one third of US exports go to East Asian markets, representing over two
million American jobs. US projections have put Asia, even excluding Japan, as the
United States' largest export market by 2010.
For Australia, there are comparable realities.
We are far more closely integrated economically with the Asia-Pacific regiQn than with
any other part of the world. Two thirds of our exports go there and more than half
go to East Asia. Nine of Australia's top ten export markets are in the Asia-Pacific
region, with seven in East Asia.
What happens in, and with, the Asia-Pacific region will clearly shape and influence
Australia's destiny.
Consistent policies over many years have enabled Australia to become an integral
member of the Asia-Pacific community and an important political and economic
partner of individual regional countries.
That outcome has been achieved by the work of many Australian Governments, both
Coalition and Labor. I acknowledge the contributions made by all of them, and my
Government is committed to building further on their achievements.
This continuity of Australian policy towards the Asia-Pacific region was one of the key
messages I conveyed during my recent visits to Japan and Indonesia and it was one
which I believe was well understood and appreciated. As a new Government, we will
inevitably do some things differently and we will have some different regional policy
emphases that is only natural and to be expected. But we intend to be, as the Prime
Minister of Japan Mr Hashimoto reaffirmed recently in Tokyo, an " indispensable
partner" for our neighbours and friends in our part of the world.
Our links with the countries of our region have implications which go beyond mutual
bilateral advantage. They contribute to a strengthening network of regional
associations. They also add value to our relationship with the United States, just as
our relationship with the United States contributes importantly to our region.
We believe that the active engagement of the United States is vital to the continued
economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region, to trade and investment as well as to
regional strategic stability.

Recent reminders of the ongoing US commitment to a leadership role in the Asia-
Pacific region have been an important reaffirmation of America's continuing role in
support of regional stability and prosperity. They reflect the importance of the region
economically and strategically to the United States and they are very welcome to us in
Australia. I am thinking of the signature earlier this year by President Clinton and Japanese Prime
Minister Hashimoto of the Joint Declaration of Security. I am also thinking of the
reaffirmation of ANZUS at the recent Australia/ United States ministerial talks held in
Sydney, with the unprecedented attendance by the US Secretary of State, the Secretary
of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
I am also thinking of the extent of America's economic engagement with the Asia-
Pacific region.
The United States plays a vital role in the economy of the region as a source of capital
flows to fund the vast infrastructure needs of the region, as a supplier of technology
and as a market. The United States is the largest single market for ASEAN.
The American commitment to APEC is also fu~ ndamentally important in both regional
and global terms. APEC's iberalisation and co-operation agenda will be critical in
ensuring that the region reaches its fuill economic potential. The commitment of APEC
countries to liberalisation can also be a powerful force against pressures to protect
markets elsewhere in the world. APEC can be an important force in helping to
maintain momentum for ftirther trade and investment liberalisation both regionally and
globally under the World Trade Organisation.
I am very much looking forward to discussing these and other aspects of American
regional policy with another son of Arkansas, President Bill Clinton, when he visits
Australia next month-He will be assured of a very warm welcome to this country.
As for Australian regional policy, the purposes and goals of my Government are clear.
We have stated from the outset our profound commitment to the priority of
engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. This is the region with which Australia's
economic and strategic prospects are most immediately involved. This is the region in
which Australia needs to succeed and my Governmnent is determined to equip Australia
for such success.
We aim to facilitate the development of dynamic, exciting and expanding networks of
regional interaction in trade and commerce, in security
co-operation, in cultural and educational ties, and in people-to-people links.
We aim to develop strong regional relationships as well as to pursue Australia's
regional interests.
We aim to do so in a way that embodies vitality, dynamism and innovation in opening
up new areas of regional co-operation. We also aim to do so in a way that reflects
pride in our national values and institutions.

U It is governments which co-operatively set the tone and provide the lead in terms of
developing regional relationships.
My Government will continue to do so with our regional partners in terms of building
strong political links, maximising two-way trade and investment opportunities and
developing regional security co-operation.
We will also continue to do so in seeking to enhance the scope for direct people-topeople
links and in reaffirming in the strongest terms our commitment to Australia's
racially non-discriminatory immigration policy which has made us a stronger, richer
and more diverse nation an issue to which I will return later.
We are committed, as a Government, to accelerating the scope and pace of our
interaction with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and to doing so in a way which
mutually respects our individual national priorities, traditions and attitudes.
We aim to expand through global, regional and bilateral channels Australia's current
level and range of trading and investment interests in Asia and the Pacific.
Australia supplies nearly half of East Asia's coal, iron ore and beef, as well as over half
its wool and alumina. We are a growing source of manufactures and services to East
Asia especially through small and medium size enterprises. And yet over recent
years, we have barely kept pace with the dynamic growth in regional markets.
Although the value of our regional exports is increasing, our share of key regional
markets over recent years has been declining.
We have opportunities across the board not just in traditional areas such as food
supplies and raw materials but also in services generally in education, in tourism, in
medicine, in finance, in processed food, in manufacturing, in construction, in science
and technology, in transport : in fact, across the full range of our resources and valueadding
Australian exports have made important inroads in most of those areas over the past
decade or more. But in terms of what we are capable, I believe we have only
scratched the surface of our full potential in many areas.
My Government has a clear vision of Australian possibilities in, and with, Asia. But
rhetoric alone will not be enough to make it happen. Nor is a hopeful faith in
geographic proximity to an economically dynamic region sufficient to ensure that our
national potential is realised.
What my Government is committed to is a practical strategy to fulffl our regional
That potential will only be unlocked when we address the inefficiencies in our own
national economic infrastructure and when we develop, in the Fuibright tradition,
patterns of interaction that will enhance personal contacts and cultural understanding. 1535

That is why, as a nation, we need to pursue policies of fiscal responsibility. It is why
we need to tackle our foreign debt and current account problems. It is why we need to
lift our level of national savings. It is why we need to reform our arthritic labour
market system. It is why we need to pursue the essential task of microeconomic
reform in our transport and communications sectors.
Our actions since our election in March confirm the fact that these are all clear
priorities for the Australian Government.
Australia also needs to continue to work with our regional partners in taking the
APEC trade liberalisation process forward.
We must encourage other regional economies to match the significant liberalisation
already undertaken in Australia.
With tariff levels now at five per cent or below for all sectors except passenger motor
vehicles, textiles, clothing and footwear, sugar and cheese Australia has already moved
a long way towards the Bogor targets of free trade and investment.
Australia's regional trading partners have taken some significant steps. ASEAN
countries, for example, have cut applied tariffs on a trade-weighted average by about
two-thirds between 1988 and 1995. China's average tariff rate has come down from
per cent in 1988 to below 20 per cent in 1995. Japanese and Korean markets in citrus
fruit, beef and rice are more open than they were.
But Australian exporters of manufactures still face some very high tariff peaks in the
region. For example some on cars are as high as 200 per cent. Australian agricultural
and food exporters still face tariffs and other barriers, such as monopoly or state
importing arrangements. Our exports of legal and financial services are often
obstructed by regulatory barriers.
The value of APEC is that by liberalising in concert the benefits are maximised. For
this to work effectively, everyone must contribute.
We will use every avenue not only APEC but also the World Trade Organisation,
other regional associations and bilateral links to ensure that access barriers are
reduced and opportunities created for our exporters.
We need to pursue other priorities as well if Australia is to realise its full potential for
regional interaction.
We need innovative co-operation between government and industry on regional trade
strategies, such as the " Supermarket to Asia" strategy which we launched recently.
We need a reform program that will make Australia an even better place from which to
do business with Asia_
And we need expanded people-to-people links with regional countries.

All these priorities are fundamental if Australia is to compete effectively and engage
expansively in the Asia-Pacific region.
And they are all key priorities for the Australian Government.
In addition to our trade and commercial interests, we aim to enhance Australia's
security interests in, and with, the region.
Australia makes an important contribution to regional stability because of our strong
and professional defence force, our alliance with the United States, our active
diplomacy, and our close defence links with other regional countries. My Government
aims to strengthen each of these four elements of our regional security policy.
Our aims in the Asia-Pacific region go beyond, and supplement, our trade and security
objectives. Those aims also relate to enhancing the direct people-to-people links
between regional countries.
Immigration has played an important direct role in developing those links. In that
context, it is important to re-emphasise the non-discriminatory character of Australia's
immigration programme to which the Australian Government is unequivocally
There is certainly room for open and vigorous debate about the size and composition
of Australia's migrant intake provided that such debate is against the background of a
bipartisan commitment to a non-dscriminatory policy.
A wide range of independent contact between Australia and the countries of our region
has been developing. We see this especially in the growing links between Australian
chambers of comnmerce, professional associations, cities, schools, universities and
community groups, and equivalent bodies in many regional countries.
This range of contact is very much related to the Fuibright vision of enhanced cultural
understanding, and as a government we intend to encourage it as much as we can.
Tourism, of course, is an obvious example. 783,000 Japanese tourists visited Australia
in 1995. 77,000 Australians visited Japan, and nearly 300,000 visited Indonesia.
We have many Australians able to contribute with special language, cultural and trade
expertise, as well as through famiily and other personal ties, in developing Australia's
business, cultural and other relations with Asia.
And we have great potential to build on those resources in the future through Asian
language training in our schools and through greater awareness within our wider
community of the scope for regional interaction.
We also have a great opportunity to develop the extensive educational links that have
already been built up throughout the region. For example, there are now nearly 70,000
students from Asia studying in Australia, representing around eighty per cent of all
foreign students here. Nearly 200,000 people living in East Asia have been educated in
1532 w ct

1538 13
Australian universities since the beginning of the Colombo Plan in 1950. And more
young Australians are now studying in Asia each year.
These are critically important personal ties which we aim to further encourage and
develop. They are also ties that relate directly to the high ambitions of the Fuibright
Program for broader and for more direct contact between the peoples of different
countries. Conclusion Senator William Fuibright was a proud American. He was also, in a very real sense, a
citizen of the world.
Tonight, we honour his service to public life in the United States. We celebrate the
world-wide achievements over fifty years of the educational exchange program which
he initiated. And we recognise the ongoing relevance of his vision in a world that is
very different to the one he knew and in which relations between nations, regions and
people are changing very rapidly.
But above all, we celebrate tonight the power of an idea: the idea that through direct
exchanges between the people of different countries and through direct experience of
different cultures, people around the world could learn to focus more on the things that
unite them than those that divide them and so make the world a better and safer
place. Senator Fulbright once described the pattern of international educational exchanges
which he initiated as " a modest program with an immodest aim" f.
He knew its idealism. He recognised the dificulties it faced. But he never lost faith in
its constructive power and nor should we.

Transcript 10125