PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2669


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: 31/08/1972

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2669

Speech by the Prime Minister, the Rt. lion William McMahon
M. P. 31 AUGUST, 1972
S This is a pleasant occasion for me and I hone your appeal
on behalf of the Australian year Of National Development of the
Australian Institute of International Affairs, will attract widespread
support throughout Australia.
In the time I have this evening I want to emphasise two
points that the making and public explanation of Australian foreign
policy is of great and increasing importance to t-he future of this
country; and that our foreign policy should be based on the
understanding and support of the Australian people themselves.
No-one should underestimate the importance of Australia's
involvement in the world around us at a time when there is a
tendency to concentrate on our domestic issues. To underline the
point, may I remind you of a remark made by the late President
i: ennedy. He said once and I quote him: " Domestic policy can
defeat us but foreign policy can kill us."
I endorse and support this view that the survival of
man and the continuing search for progress towards a stable and
peaceful world is very much a practical ani necessary daily
problem for the governments of the world.
A policy of isolation would not be in the best interests
of Australia. Desnite the fact that we are a prosperous island
with relatively few problems, w are directly involved in changing
world conditions of continuing importance to our own future security.
If peace is to be securc in the Asian and Pacific region
in this decade the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan and the
People's Repub'lic of China must come to some accommodationn and a
balance must be found in which each will live with an understanding
of the different systems, goals and aspirations of the others. / 2

Arrangements must also be made which accommodate the determination
of the smaller countries in the region to preserve and strengthen
their own independent societies. It must be obvious that we in
Australia have a constructive and helpful role to play in the
Pacific threatre. The other point I want to emphasise is that we believe
that Australia's foreign policy should rest on the understanding
and support of an enquiring and well-informed public opinion.
Ideally, in an educated democracy like Australia, foreign
policy should grow out of the people. We want to see a more
outward-looking Australian community with a great feeling of
involvement in the affairs of the world around us, and I would like
this informed public opinion to have more influence on the shaping
of foreign policy. Our own foreign policy will obviously be more
effective and stable if it enjoys widespread support based on the
interest and understanding of an informed public.
An active Australian Institute of International Affairs can
and must play a vital role in improving such interest and
understanding in seeking to inject informed ideas into public
discussion of foreign policy, and in stimulating a greater feeling
of public involvement in international issues facing Australia.
I believe that the work of the Institute is steadily and
surely becoming of greater importance. Indeed, at this stage of our
development, it is a role the Institute is well fitted to play.
More than ever before, we want to establish a more distinctive
Australian identity in a changing world. I therefore welcome the
vision and energy the Institute is showing in seeking to strengthen
its role. The target of the apneal $ 300,000 is a sizable one
and it will not be achieved without considerable effort on the part
of the organisers and without widespread and strong co-operation.
I emphasise that the Institute is independent of the government
the success of the aopeal will strengthen this independence and the
capacity of the Institute and add depth to areas from which the
government may draw in shaping official foreign policy. A
successful appeal will also ensure that funds will be available for
the national headquarters the Institute certainly should have.
For all of these reasons I have the greatest pleasure in
launching the Institute's year of National Development and in
asking you and your friends to contribute to this cause.

Transcript 2669