PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2611


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 06/06/1972

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2611

Speech by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon.
William McMahon,' CH, MP JUU7E 5, 1972.
Your Excellencies, President Soeharto and MAadamne Soeharto,
Distinguished Guest1-s:
I am honoured and personally delighted to be here with you
tonight among friends. My delight is, however, tinged. with regret
at the unavoidable absence of my wife. But I sDeak for her, too,
when I express our personal friendship for you, Mr. President and
for Madame Soeharto. Your visit to Australia is still fresh in our
memories and I want to convey to you the warmest greetings from her
and from the mnany friends you met in Australia as well as from the
Australian people themselves. 1972 was the year in which you,
Mr. President, by your visit to Australia, gave a powerful stimulus
to enlightened co-operation between our two countries.
Mr. President, I believe our friendship now has firm foundations.
Increasing numbers of Australians share my interest and desire for
closer and direct contact with your large and fascinating country.
Part of this interest arises from our proximity. But much of the
interest arises from a sense of fresh discovery of something
different something that has ancient foundations but-which is, to
many ofr us, refreshingly new. I am sure, too, that in the last few
years you have become increasingly awara of us as a country with
another kind of economy and society.
So we are of interest to each other not just because we are
neighbours, but because we are different and have commonly shared
goals and commonly shared interests. These commonly-shared goals
and interests, I believe, and concerned with
security, stability and peace,
national development,
economic and cultural co-operation and
41r. President I think you will agree that our private
conversations this morning have reinforced this. ./ 2

From the very first days of your independence we sympathised with,
and supported you struggle. We were among the first to establish
diplomatic relations with your newly independent country: And even
when our relations were at a low point we maintained our embassies
in each other's capitals and continued a dialogue.
Mr. President, I am well aware that you have created stability
and maintained growth in your own country, and have contributed to
the stability and development of the South-East Asian region. I
now assure you that I, along with many other Australians, share a
deep and abiding interest in. your country, its culture and its
future. If two countries with such different cultural, ethnic
geographical and religious backgrounds can build the bridges of
co-operation and goodwill as we have, then Sir, we have a unique,
intimate and mutually rewarding relationship which is an example
that other countries troubled by conflict and tension can follow.
We are both members of a region composed, in a political sense, of
many newly-independent nations. We are both devoted to regional
development and to the concept of which you, Sir, are one of the
architects of national resilience. I speak of national resilience
as the will and the ability of each of us, so far as it is within
our capability, to defend our independence by our own efforts.
I believe, too, 1tr. President, that the Asian theatre will be
profoundly influenced by the changes now occurring in the
relationships among the major powers. President Nixon's visits to
Peking and Moscow have altered the balance away from confrontation,
and towards conciliation and detente. If these trends continue, and
we hope they will, the peoples of South-East Asia can look forward
with some hope to greater prospects of peace, stability and progress
This does not mean that we can relax our efforts to build up our
capability, regional co-operation and, in your own words, regional
resilience. Nor does it mean that in all circumstances we can go
it alone'. The conflict is still raging in Indo-China, and at a
higher level of violence. Other nations in the region are still
confronted with problems of subversion and, in some instances, armed
insurgency. These disturbances make it all the more imperative
that we should work actively and effectively together. As I have
already said, Mr. President, 1972 has been the year of enlightened
co-operation in many fields, including trade, development, cultural
and defence co-operation.
Our trade is growing but we want to ensure that it grows to
our mutual advantage, and we believe it is important to do more to
encourage your exports to Australia. You may recall that we
introduced in 1966 a system of preferential tariff quotas on
manufactured goods imported from developing countries. We were the
first to do so. These quotas have been expanded both in size and
numbers over the years. In fact at the recent UNCTAD conference in
Santiago, we announced that a further 200 items would be added to
the system. I feel that Indonesia has not yet taken up its fair
share of these quotas which are designed to help all developing
countries. / 2

We are prepared to do whatever possible to provide your
traders with information on market proposals in Australia. I have
asked my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Trade and Industry, to visit Indonesia for trade talks on these
and other matters, including a review of our trade agreement which
was negotiated initially in 1959. I also expect Mr. Anthony to
discuss investment issues of mutual concern with your ministers.
Then there is economic development. This is a subject to
which your Government attaches the highest priority, and my
Government has been happy to assist in providing technical skills,
know-how and equipment. We have a common interest in the
development of the port of Tjilatjap, and we have been discussing a
new project in animal husbandry of which I will be saying more later
in this visit. This as you know, is a large project indeed.
As I have informed you, Mr. President, my Government plans a
substantial increase in Australian aid over the next three years.
Mr. President, we are also involved in cultural co-operation.
Our two governments signed a cultural agreement four years ago and
there has been a welcome increase in cultural contacts since then:
But more needs to be done. I have proposed, with the agreement
of your Government, to establish a cultural and language centre in
Djakarta. This centre will promote two-way cultural and language
exchanges. And, finally, in the field of defence co-operation, our armed
services are working closely together in a number of projects.
Neither of us wants a military pack of alliance. But there is much
e can do by giving assistance in a practical way and by sharing
experiences and knowledge and co-operating to our joint advantage.
We have arranged to provide sabre jet fighters and accompanying
equipment and technology and flight training, and very substantial
help in equipping an important military airfield at Iswahjudi.
Already your airmen including pilots and technicians are now being
trained in Australia: And we are willing to respond positively to
your wish to strengthen your coastal surveillance capacilities.
There are several other such projects under discussion between us
that I hope to see brought to fruition.
I am now able to say that my Government last week approved
increased financial provision for technical and military
co-operation with Indonesia to enable us to assist in these and
other ways.
Mr. President, I, and the vast majority of Australians, highly
esteem the wise, courageous and unifying leadership you have given
to Indonesia and the energetic role you have played in your
country's development. We are both fortunate that you assumed the
leadership of Indonesia at a moment in its history when your
qualities as a leader were most needed. Since then you have
continued to provide inspiration for your people. You have guided
your country through many difficult years, and have opened up
prospects for a better a much better future.
Mr. President, I now propose the toast to you and to the
continuing friendship of our two countries and our co-operation in
the pursuit of peace and progress for Indonesia Australia and
our friendly neighbours.

Transcript 2611