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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4628


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

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

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

Release Date: 16/02/1978

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 4628

Commonwealth Heads of Government
Regional Meeting
SAustralia 1978 16 February, 1978.
Introductory remarks by the Australian Prime Minister,
Mr. Fraser, at a joint press conference with the
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kr. Rampha, at the
Hilton Hotel on 16 February, 1978,

Secretary-General, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have-had
time to read the commuinique that was agreed this afternoon by the
conference. I believe that the comnmuniq~ ue does contain new and.
promising decisions and that the discussions we have had over this
last week btheeadlsatBowraltol very real significance for
all the countries that have been represented throughout this week,
The raceting has proved valuable. It has proved worthwhile and I think
that is demonstrated very clearly by the attitude of all countries to
the reeting, to the results, and by the determination that after the
next full Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting we have already
agreed to schedule a further meeting of this regional group. India
has very kindly offered to host that particular meeting*
I believe that the discussions we have had and the continuing
negotiations and consultations that will take place together with
further meetings will lead to a better understanding of our common
hopes and aspirationss a better understanding of each other's problems
and difficulties. Quite clearly the meeting has demonstrated that there
is a determin~ ation to act together to advance our common cau. se in a
number of directions,
The exchange of views throughout the meeting has been always
good humoured but it has been thoughtful, creative and sincere, That in
itself has contributed enormously to the success of the meeting as a
whole. There are common area interests which have all been well
considered as well as wider world problems that impinge~ his particular
areas In a number of areas firm decisions have been made and these
are drawn together in the last page of the comriinique. ln paragraph 44
you will see that there is to be a consultative group on trade;
Australia will be responsible for convening that group. Trade there
is to be interpreted in the broadest sense because when officials meet
they will involve themselves not only with trade as such but with.
corrzrnnicationss transport and with any matter that might enable trade
within the region to be expanded. From the body of the document you will
see that the region is not only concerned with increasing trade-between
all the members of the region but also concerned at the 11U discussions
and nego tiations that will take place that there should be some positive
result and that commodities should not be pushed aside, should not be
ignored in those major international discussions and all governments
have recognised the need for progress to be made in that particular
directi on. An imaginative proposal put forward by India has led or will
lead to the establishment of a consultative group on energy. I think
we can all understand how important that can be and I believe will be,
The groups will be serviced jointly by India and by Australia. It is
in this area where cocmon interests between the largest of us all and
some of the smallest of us who are here that I think become apparent in
a very tangible sense, For instance, the problem~ s of -getting the chleapest
and most appropriate form of energy at the village . level in India has
many similarities with the problems of providing energy for the Island
States of the Pacific. That demonstrates in plain and practic-1 terrm-s

how there can be a real similarity of interest between large nations and
small. Working groups will be established. One is to be led by Singapore,,
another by Malaysia on aspects of terrorism and drugs so that we may
all examine those present mechanisms of cooperation which take place through
international forums and to see also whether other aspects need to be
pursued more vigorously by cooperation between us.
A proposal which has been put to the Secretary-General for
examination and report by the Secretariat to see what services the Common..
wealth as a Commonwealth might be able to better provide to small states
is I believe a very useful one. Small states in the Pacific not only have
the problems of distance and problems of development on a more acute scale
than many other developing nations but they also have problems of adequate
representation in international forums. That in itself can be a very
expensive business to a small State and in the number of arenas in which ai
nation needs to have its interests protected it is sometimes very difficult
for the very sm-all States to achieve that. So there will be a number of
aspects that the Secretariat will be examining and I am certain that they
will be followed forward with uigour.
I have already mentioned that it is intended that the next meeting
should be held at Delhi in 1980. 1 am sure that all countries represented
here will look forward to that,
Other matters which are of importance were discussion in relation
to the Common Fund. Australia's position, which I explained a day or two
ago has been noted. The group has lent support to the Secretary-General's
proposal that there should be a M1inisterial m~ eting of Commorm; ealth
countries to discuss the technical working report established as a result of
the June meeting last year, because the main negotiating conference in
relation to the Cor-4non Fund takes place in April of this year. So I hope
that the commonwealth group can get together before that time. I also hope
that the initiative of this meeting together with the position taken by
Australia might help lead to a constructive breakthrough in negotiations
which have been deadlocked over the last few months because we believe
it is of importance that progress be made in relation to the Common Fund,
I would like to publicly thank the Heads of Governments and the
delegations of all those who have visited with us during the course of this
last week. I think everyone has wholeheartedly contributed to achieving
a very constructive result out of a very useful few days' discussions,
I would like to ask the Secretary-General to say whatever he would
like to say and then it would be over to you for questions.

Comm-ionwealth Heads of Government
Regional Meeting
Australia 1978 16 February, 1973o
Introductory remarks by the Commonwealth Secretary-General
N~ Shridath Ramphal, at a joint press conference with the
Agetralian Pritw_ Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, at the Hilton
Hotel on 16 February, 1978.

MR. RAYIPHAL: Thank you Prime Minister.
There isn't a groat deal. I wish to add. I believe that
the meeting itself has vindicated the highest hopes we could
possibly have had for it. When Mr'. Fraser mooted the idea of
a regional gathering of this kind at the Summit which is what
is important about a meeting of this kind, that it takes place
at the Summit when he mooted this in London last year it was
obviously a point of departure in the ways in which we use the
facilities of Commonwealth dialogue and consultation. As is
natural on an occasion of that kind -there is uncertainty, there
is doubt, there is wonder, there is an appreciation of the
potential of the occasion and it is only its practical out-turn
that reveals and justifies it.
What has happened here in Sydney in the last four or five
days has, I think, in every sense fully justified the faith tha~ t
was put in it; not just by the members of this part of the
Commonwealth but by all Commonwealth leaders when they welcomed
these proposals last June. I think the great significance is
that it has happened. The leadership of a very important segment
of the world, about a third of the world has been brought together
at the highest level for the first time in human history and
that's a very important factor. It has been brought together not
just because of geography and economics, but brought together
because the leaders of the countries have been willing to use the
Commonwealth connexion to bring it together. That in itself speaks
volumes for their own confidence in that connex~ ion and they have
gone out of their way in the communiques as you will see to state
that very clearly.
We have bridged, I believe, here in Sydney some very
important gaps that have existed in relations in this part of the
world and nothing is more significant about the occasion than the
human relationships that have been established, the personal contacts
that have been made between Presidents and Prime Ministers
and the effect this is going to have on relations between countries
in this part of the world hereafter, and on relations between this
part of the world and the rest of the world.
So what has happened here is of enormous significance.
Mr. Fraser has already identified some of those practical issues
on which decisions have been reached. They have not just been
general accords. We have been able to develop the processes of
follow-up action. We know precisely who will be doing w* hat and
what line of direction this will take and that's an important part
of the development. On the economic issues, I -think this meeting can prove to
have made an important advance in the international dialogue that
is taking place. The recommendations that have come out of * the
meeting in relation to the Common Fund, and the Common Fund you
must remember is at the very heart of the international dialogue
between north and south, provide the best chance for international
concensus that has existed for a long time. ' It will, I am sure,
give heart to many people in many couhtries, developed and developing,
that there . still exists possibilities of finding a way
towards agreement on the Common Fund. / 1)
1 L2

Australia's very important decisions in relation to the
fund, which are in keepingr with the positions that the Prime
Minister developed at the London meeting itself, when he launched
initiative for the report on the Common Fund, those positions are
going to be of great significance in a regional context and in an
international context. I can only reiterate the hope he has
expressed that other countries, countries in group B, developed.
countries, would follow this lead that has been given down the
path to concensus, and the developing countries would themselves
be responsive to it and match that kind of initiative with a
readiness on their own part to find the way of accommodation.
If we can have begun to develop this here in a regional
Commonwealth context, if we can carry it forward into wider
Commonwealth context, there is no reason why we can't help to
achieve the global concensus that is so important. I'd like
finally just to add my own sense of satisfaction with the conclusions
that have been reached about the need for us to find new and
enlightened and effective ways of helping the small states within
the Commonwealth. Many are here on your doorstep in Australia.
There are others scattered around the Commonwealth. We have all
helped to bring them to independence. They are facing very great
difficulties in a world that is not kind to small and isolated
communities. That this important group of 12 within the Commonwealth
should have recognised collective responsibility to help
them and to have invited me to put forward proposals for a wider
Commonwealth concensus on the way we help them is a very significant
advance here and something that I think will have enormous importanc~ e
to the future of relations in this part of the world where so many
of these states exist and will be coming to independence in the next
few months. THE PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much. I think it is
over to you.

Commonwealth Heads of Government
Regional Meeting
Mstralia 1978 16 February, 1978.
tions and inwe _ a during the joint press confrence
by the Australian Prime Xinister, Mr. Fraser, and the
Secretary-Gceneral, Mr. Ramphal, at the Hilton Hotel on
16 February, 1978,

Q: In relation to parao 34 your Department of Productivity is sending
an overseas mission on textiles around the Pacific region with
the aim of increasing Australia's productivity. I am asking now
how this will halp trade access as far as the countries in the
region are concerned and to Australia and alsot in fact,
how can this not only protect but give encouragement to Australia's
industry, textiles industry, help the regionalisation effort...
Mr, Fraser: I think this proposal in para. 34 needs looking at in its total
context, The purpose of officials meeting will be to encourage
the totalality of trade within the region. It is not, and not
intended, to be just a mechanism in which everyone exports more
to Australia but trade betw;. een other members of the region is also
important and between all the members of the region and countries
outside. There are a number of matters that officials will be able
to report on which will be very significant,
I believe it is coming to be understood that imports from developing
countries have been increasing at. the rate of 40% a year for a
number of years. No matter what the initial base may be~ at that.
kind of accumulation the base starts to become quite large, n
addition of course* you have the per capita imports of very
sensitive items that come into Australia which I think are greater
than for any other developed country, certainly greater than for
any other group of countries for which 1 have seen figures.
Para. 34 does recognise the importance of a number of matters that
are interrelated. The importance of markets outside for the
countries of the region, mrarkets outside which are very often
barred to countries of the region because of non-tariff barriers*
I think sometimes in the past there has been too much attention
merely on the Australian market when after all that is a market
of only 14 million people. Whatever you do about protection or
don't do about protection in Australia a market of 14 million
people just can't solve the trading problems of the whole region
or of South East Asia. The capacity just isn't there. So para., 34
needs to be looked at in the wider context of a general promotion
of trade and a general breaking down of barriers which move against
the interests of all countries of the region. It also needs to be
looked at against the background of the changing movements of trade
over recent years where access to Australia by countries of theregion
and other developing countries has increased verygreatly.,
I don' t think anyone has ever suggested that Australia should not
have any textile industry and that is certainly not the governmnt's
position but there might have been some implication of that in the
Q: Can the Secretary-Ceneral tell us the obviously somewhat fine
distinction between a consultative group and a working group?
S-G: Yes, we see the consultative group as being somewhat more of an
institution having a indeterminate future, an important part of
the mechanism of cooper-ation between the countries of the region.
We see thc working group very much in the nature of an ad hoc
group whose future will be determiined by the character of its work.

Q: Prime Ministers to what extent do you think the impact of the
conference has suffered from the bombing that preceded it?
1-1r, Fraser: I believe that as a resulL of that particular tragic happening
all Heads of Governme~ nt devoted themselves to the work of the
conference with a greater commitment, a greater sense of purpose
because they weren't going to allow an incident of that kind to
divert them iLrom the major and important purposes for which they
had come here. So if there had been an impact, I think it was
to enhance the quality of the discussions and the final outcome.
Q: Prime Minister it is now four days since that explosion, You
have been getting reports from police and security people. Can
you tell us what progress has been made in the investigation?
If as seems to us very little progress has been made, what
problems have been encountered? Does the whole episode show up
deficiencies in Australia's police and security services and
finally are you concerned that the explosion could damage
Australia's chance of hosting the 1981 CHOGRM?
Mr, Fraser: As to last part, not at all, and as to the rest, could I
suggest that we concentrate on questions in relation to the
communique and the substance of that communique first. I would
be very happy to answer any other questions at a later point but
rather than having questions jump backwards and forwards from one
subject to another, I think it would be better if we just make
that distinction.
Q: Prime Minister, in para. 32 you referred to developed countries
at th-e meting. Which do you identify as the developed countries
that were at this meeting?
Hr,, Fraser: Australia and New Zealand would be the developed countries at
the meeting. I don't know, other countries might want to classify
themselves but I think that is fair enough.
Q: In your section on energy the question of atomic energy as an
alternative seems not to be mentioned. Why is that, and is that
a factor in the considerations that the committee will give?
Mr. Fraser: 1 don't think it is -ruled out but the main thrust of what tie
were talking about was not at that level. That sort of energy
is more for the great metropolis and for great industries with
large energy requirements. One of the things that we did have
very mu. ch in our mind was the energy requirements of the howe use
and the village industry use which is of quite a different-character.
It is there that I indicated a similarity of interests between
India, for example, and some very small States. But the termns of
reference of that particular consultative group I don't think are.
going to be restricted. On the needs for village purposes there
was a background paper which Australia had prepared. That,
together with the major Indian paper, will be referred to the
group but at least in the Jinitial stage I think we are all looking
to the rather different purposes than that to which nuclear energ~ y
for peaceful purposes would be applied,

Q. Sir, section 25 on protectionism by industrialised countries
was this aimed at Australia and New Zealand?
Mr. Fraser: I didn't notice anything that was aimed at Australia and New
Zealand and I think if you read Section 25 Heads of Government
expressed their concern over rising protectionism of industrialised
countries against manufactured goods wfiich countries in the region
were well equipped to supply. Well Australia joins in that
expression of conern, You will note that it goes on especially
also to point also to the damaging effects of non-tariff and other
barriers in trade and agricultural products which are of major
importance to regional countries, a matter which Australia has been
emphasising for somne considerable time. Through this paper there
are a number of references to that particular aspect; and that
means of trying to overcome those non-tariff barriers in trade
and commodities which aff~ ect all the countries of this particular
region, I think, virtually all, anyway, is really within the
ter-as of reference of the consultative group on trade. There are
expressions in the document about the importance of getting a
breakthrough in this area at the major trade and negotiations
taking place later this year, It is also recognised in this
paper that those particular barriers on Australia's exports,
to take our example f or a momen't, very much inhibit our capacity
to provide a market for other industrialised goods in the region
because those barriers limit the extent to which we can export
those thing's we can do best and cheapest that therefore weakens.
the Australian economy. So there are a number of things interrelated
here. I believe that we were discussing in proper terms objectives
that we would all want to pursue. We also know that if we are to
advance our common causes to the best possible extent that there is
a need to take account of the particular views, the particular
concerns, the particular problems of all member countries. I think
that has been a characteristic of the Commonwealth as a whole and
it was certainly a characteristic of this particular meeting.
Q: Prime Minister, in para. 41 on the special problems of sinall States,
there doesn't seem to be any reference to the proposed unilateral
declaration for 200 mile fishing zones or how on earth the smaller
States are going to police those fishing zones. Was any consideration
given to this?

S. G.
SJ. G. That wasn't discussed at any great length. One might
well ask how a number of other countries are going to
police those zones too because if you really take a
map and mark in that 200 mile zone for all countries
in the world it does create a very great problem indeed.
You will know for our own part the top level IDO has
been instructed to report to the Australian Government
on the problems involved in surveillance and what's
needed in relation to it and report promptly. You. are
quite right to point to an area which does create very
real problems but I don't think anyone could possibly
suggest that there is going to be 24 hour surveillance
over all of those areas. The cost of that would be
astronomical and beyond the capacity of all of us.
I was wondering why that was omitted in the communique,
no reference to the fishing zone?
The Foreign Minister reminds me that the South Pacific
forum is looking at this Particular matter, but it
wasn't a matter that was discussed at great length in
these discussions. There is no inhibition on it being
raised. I don't think you should look on this as an omission.
There were a number of issues, a number of matters which
are regarded as being of vital interest to the small
countries, this was one of them. There were others, for
example, in relation to the international negotiations
there, the multi-national trade negotiations in GEneva,
the resumption of the negotiations on the second LOMOG
convention which affect the interests of many countries
here. They have not been enumerated but they are very
much a part of the concerns and you will notice a ref erence
to the need to help them, to meet their vital.
interests and pursue them.
In other words the Secretary-General has an unlimited
charter in proposing what he thinks ought to be done.
Mr. Prime Minister, para. 44, I notice that the country
co-ordinating the consultative group on trade is one
that doesn't want changes, the country co-ordinating
the working group on terrorism won't send back plane
hijackers to Vietnam and the country co-ordinating the
working group on illicit drugs believes in whipping
people for possession of a bit of " pot". How were those
countries chosen and why?
I think there was a general concensus that those
countries would be appropriate and would do the job.
And I think the definition of the countries implicit
in the question is not necessarily a completely accurate
Might I with more detachment say that the classifications
you apply to those countries would not have been ones
that would have been genri, 7ally accepted at he conference.

MR. FRASER: We do not for example,* regard Australia as a country
that in international trade is unwilling to face the
realities of change. In fact we believe that many
of the policies that the Australian Government have
become to initiate point in the direction of a willingness
to approach in a systematic and constructive way
the opening up of new avenues of change.
As to para. 27: Sir, the brief and surprisingly mild
reference to the EEC hardly reflects the Australian
position. Were you not able to prevail on the other
Heads of Government the need for a stronger stand
against EEC trade barriers?
I think -there are a number of references, you mentioned
para. 27. I think the language is thoroughly appropriate
for a communique from 12 Heads of Government.
Para. 25 contains an implied reference which is pretty
plain. Para. 26 certainly does. I think para. 27 does
also and 34.-" riecognising the access to major markets
in the European community, North America and Japan were
critical to the well-being of world trade. They also
agreed that the consultative group would examine ways
and means of persuading those major trading blocks to
break down non-tariff barriers, which inhibited so many
of the natural and economic exports from the region".
I would hardly have thought that you could have got a
more precise or explicit reference to a problem which
concerns all of us and one which Australia has mentioned
on a number of occasions.
Mr. Prime Minister, when do you expect some concrete
proposals and concrete decisions to emerge from the two
consultative groups and the two working groups?
I think it is too early to say at this point. But; for
our part, and I'm sure for the other countries concerned
the matters will be approached with energy and commitment.
Some of the problems that the groups will be looking at
are obviously difficult and some of them are not capable
of any early solution. But let me only say that no time
is going to be lost.
Do you expect some action before the next Regional. Heads
of Government meeting?
Oh, in two years time, good heavens yes, yes. It doesn't
wait for them to report back and there are other means
of communication also which I hope, very much, will be
employed. No, please, let nobody think that just because
a meeting has been determined in two years time in Delhi
that the reporting back happens then; long, long before
-that, or I.' ll be very disappointed.
Prime Minis-ter, in relation to the question that was
asked orn the EE~ C, do you feel that Australia's position
has now been strengthened, its bargaining sition has
been strengthened, in -ro'a" Cion to the abso-ate trade
barriers that the issues impose and you've criticised?
MR. FRASER: I think., _ ft ov', Ly Ausl-.' a) ial's positi-on, T

MR. FRASER: commodity producers have had their positions
strengthened because there are other aspects of this
that also need to be taken into account I think and
understood. Under the LOME convention, for examnie,
there are many people who believe that the developing
countries of Africa and the Carribean gain some
advantage in relation to that and some not insignificant
advantage, but that the developing countries of
the Indian sub-continent, South East Asia and the
Pacific, while may be technically designed to be
accommodated within that convention, were not gaining
a great deal from it. That might be another aspect in
a sense but it is related to the problem which has
concerned us. The more discussion there is in world
forums about the way the present policies of the EEC
inhibit trade generally and prevent many countries from
doing that which they can do best and most naturally.
All countries are thereby strengthened in efforts to
get a more rational result.
Q. 39. The communique mentions down the bottom to
examine the possibilities for further regional
co-operation. What are those possibilities?
Well this will come forward as a result of a working
group. That's what it will be charged with doing.
There are a number of international organisations and
arrangements now in relation to these matters. Are
these being pursued as vigorously as they should be?
Are there additional measures that ought to be applied
by all of us or by some of us which aren't embraced
under present international arrangements? Again, there
are no particular restrictions on what the working
group might examine and recommend in relation to this.
This subject of illicit drug trafficking. It is something
that concerns us all. I am wondering why
Indonesia was not invited to this conference in the
first place?
It was restricted to members of the Commonwealth and
that is the only reason.
Para. 13 on the Indian Ocean I am wondering what
sort of practical steps you would like to see taken
for the implementation of the declaration of the
Indian Ocean as a ZOP.
One practical step would be a successful conclusion
of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United
States but which at the same time recognised and protected
the rights of all states in and around the Indian
Ocean. That is one step that could be taken..
Not specifically on the text of . the communique but on
the balance in it, are you happy and do you think there
is a general satisfJ" action of the extent to which the
meeting was able to identify specifically r-: gionally
interests as opposed to world interests whi.-, h occupy
the greater part of the ' Lext?

MR. FRASER: I don't know that world interests really cover a
greater part of the text because you've got a
situation where there are many world issues which
obviously have a very great impact on this particular
region. The Common Fund discussions, that is
a world matter, but nobody can say it is not a
matter of great interest to the region. The meeting
took a view on it and has proposed one or two
matters which might help to break an impasse, We
hope so. Therefore, in a number of areas the world
issues flow over very much into the regional issues.
I think that the balance of the document is not a
bad one. We have addressed ourselves to very specific
regional problems such as the question of small states
in the Pacific. That again, if you like, has got
world overtones because there are small states outside
the Pacific that have, to a significant extent, the
same problems. So you just can't look for rigid lines
of demarcation. The conversations and discussion were
very much related to the particular problems and
interests of the countries that were represented.

MR. FRASER: Prime Minister, para. 11 takes 66 words to dispose
of the subject of terrorism. In view of the bombing
outrage on Sunday night, would it not have been
entirely proper to give more weight to the subject
of terrorism in this communique?
I hope people are not going to judge the merit of
what is done or not done by the number of words used
to express a view or to state an objective and a conclusion.
The meeting quite quickly came to the view
that the conclusion that appears in the document and
the working group relating to it was what they wanted
and that it was the appropriate thing to do. With
all the kindness of the world to a good friend, I
really do believe that to measure quality by length
is not necessarily the best way of doing it. Column
inches. I was speaking in media terms.
There is a reference here to ASEAN, in para. 8 and 9
Mr. Prime Minister. Would you foresee in the future,
if not a state of competition, then an overlapping
between ASEAN and this conference as a continuous
event. Certainly not competition, no. I think that what
happens in this particular discussion contributes to
the worth of other forums in which countries participate.
Let me give one or two examples. Very useful
work is undertaken in the Pacific Forum and the
countries in the Pacific Forum are strongly represented
at this meeting. But they were thus able to have their
views known and heard amongst a wider group of countries
that are not often at normally not at that Pacific
Forum. I think the fact they were here was one of the
reasons why we have discussed and come to the conclusions
we have had about the problems of small States. That
would not have occurred if the Pacific Forum countries
met only in the Pacific Forum and not in the wider
community. Quite obviously, the Commonwealth as a whole in many of
its discussions overlapped matters that are discussed
in the United Nationa. But I believe the Commonwealth
connection, the Commonwealth influence enables individual
countries to play a more constructive role in the United
Nations than if they weren't members of the Commonwealth.
I would believe that is one of the reasons why many
diverse countries from many parts of the world feel
strongly about the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth tie.
Coming back more directly to your particular question,
I see the work of this group as advancing the general
interests of the whole area and of the region of the
countries represented. Strengthening tthose countries,
I would believe, is going to strengthen ASEAN. I
certainly don'~ t see any degree of competition. Australia
supports ASEAN very strongly and wishes that Association
every success. It is a very important one and I think

MR. FRASER: it has achieved noteable results, I believe it will
continue to do so. I am quite sure it would be the
view of the 12 countries represented here during the
course of this week to inake quite sure that nothing
it did cut across the purposes or view of ASEAN.
Mr. Fraser, as a producing country, where does
Australia stand with relationship to the philosophies
of the new economic order and the north-south dialogue?
I think you have got to look at that by looking at
Australia's attitude on the Common Fund which I have.
expressed quite clearly and plainly. We do believe
in commodity arrangements, international commodity
arrangements. We have participated in them on many
occasions. We have tried to nudge developed countries
that might sometimes have been reluctant to undertake
sugar agreements or wheat agreements to do so.
How do we nudge ourselves?
MR. FRASER: In relation to what?
To that.
S). G.
S. G. I think thatq. we are ahead of the B group of countries.
We are hoping that as a result of the initiatives
Australia has t-aken and as a result of discussions
that I hope will take place at the Ministerial level
in relation to the Commonwealth's technical working
group report on the Common Fund that when the negotiating
conference resumes in April or May that it might
get nearer to agreement than it was when it broke up
last November.
There is no problem with Australia's philosophy in
its relationship and support of these particular
matters. Mr. Prime MinistL-er, may I add to that the role of the
media in translating to the public an understanding of
the aspirations of the international community in
relation to the new international economic order and
what iz in it for Australia. That will be an enormous
help to all that the government is trying to do at its
May we ask the Secretary-General if he perceived a
Sydney spirit and if so, how would he define it?
A Sydney spirit? You know, we talked about the spirit
of Ottawa and we talked about the concord of Kingston.
If , it isn't. too hackneyed I think really the best
presentation is for us to think in terms of the Bridge
of Sydney.
Prime Minister-, are a set number-of millio', going to
bc 11ocated in th-2 budget for the nex-, t tw.: years of
research or are they goinlg to have unlimited access to
our funds? .4

Q: For all this research we are apparently going to
finance in the second last paragraph. " Most of the
Secretariat's work..." 1 in section 44.
S. G.
MR. FRASER: That's Secretariat work. That is follow up work
which will be undertaken by the Secretariat. I
would have thought the finance involved in that
would be relatively modest. It needs to be understood
if you are talking about energy that we already
spend a good deal on energy research. We have made
arrangements so that there will be greater funds and
a levy on coal, for example, for additional coal
research. I have no doubt that India spends a good
deal on energy research. We have co-operative programmnes
with the Victorian Government and the German
Government in relation to coal liquification, I would
imagine that it would be up to this consultative group
on energy to do its own work. I would imagine, however,
that a good deal of its early work would be to pull all
the related knowledge that we have, not only Australia
and Indi~ a but from other parts of the world together to
see what is relevant to the countries of the region.
If additional research or a changed orientation of
research is necessary, then that certainly will be
proposed. But I don't think you need be concerned that
as a result of these decisions there is suddently a
large or unlimited call on Australian or any other
exchequer. There isn't.
This is essentially work of co-ordination, trying to
ensure that if I can follow through the Bridge of e
Sydney isn't just an edifice structure that is erecte
but in fact that we use it.
Your expressions earlier in the conference of pessimism
on the world economy and disappointment in US budgetary
policies were widely reported and some sections of the
press criticised. How did you want them to be understood
or interpreted?
Precisely in the terms in which I used the terms. If
a plain meaning of the language could be used rather
than looking for some hidden interpretation sometimes
there would be a better understanding on that score.
The words speak for themselves. I have not seen all
the interpretations, so I can't judge that. But I
think it is an odd circumstance that you sometimes get
a position in Australia where people say you have got
to be independent, you mustn't just quietly accept
what other people of great powers say and then if
something is said that in the m~ ildest and most friendly
terms offers a ooint of view that is different from
that of one -of the major powers, there is immediately
criticism of it. " Yo should-n't have done that"
impliedly meaning that it might give off en,; e. I am
quite cer. tain t.-hat what was said would not give
offence. 34 arm , ilso qui--te certain that there are oc-cas--

MR. FRASER: ions when Australia does need to Speak her view
aloud. Australia will do so but I hope always it
can be regarded that we do so in proper and reasonable
Prime Minister, given the urgency of the drug problem,
what priority would you like to see the working
committee on drugs give to addressing that particular
situation. Indeed, would you not like to see them
report back withi~ n some specific time span rather -than
the rather vague terms set out in the communique?
When you do something like this involving a number of
countries, I think you have got to leave the matter
reasonably broad because you are not quite sure where
the examination will go or where it will need to go.
I am quite certain that the people concerned won't
waste any time in getting down to their examination
and report. But it is not always easy at the outset
to define the size of the. task.
In para. 39 You said " They welcomed efforts to suppress
the traffic". Can you tell me what efforts you believe
are being made already?
In general terms but quite plainly national governments
have efforts in their own boundaries and in their own
countries to suppress traffic. You will have noted in
Australia in recent time some very considerable hauls
of drugs that had been imported.
Is-it your view that any countries in the regions are
not carrying out those efforts to the best of their
ability? I think there is a general recognition that this is
an important problem. We all need to examine what we
are doing and what we are doing in relation to international
arrangements to make quite certain that
nothing that ought to be done is left undone. I
believe that is a very proper examination for governments
to undertake. Again I would hope that it is
possible for countries to get together to undertake
that kind of examination without suggestions that one
particular country is not doing everything it ought.
People have approached this with a feeling of goodwill,
recognising it as a major national and international
problem. Prime Minister, it has been four days since the bomb
explosion outside this building, you have been getting
police and security reports. Can you tell us what;
progress has been made in the investigation. If, as
seems to us, very little progress has been made, canyou
tell us what the problems are, and what is being
done to overcome them, and hasil't the whole episode
shown up a deficiency in our police and security

MR. FRASER: I think that the first parts of those questions
relate to the nature of any investigations that
are being under-taken by those professionally
charged with that kind of investigation. I
haven't got particular information about that.
If I had, I don't think it would be proper to do
it because giving information about examinations
of that kind could well prejudice further examninations.
Quite clearly, I think, as a result of what has
happened we need to review the circumstances of
the past week. We had gone to very significant
lengths between the state authorities and the
commonwealth authorities to make sure that the
liaison arrangements were good. I believe they
were and are. We did in relation to this meeting
undertake more stringent security arrangements than
Australia had in her history. Due to the tragedy
that occurred, those arrangements were immediately
reviewed and additional measures put in train. On
all future occasions Australia has to recognise and
understand that these things can happen here because
they have.
Therefore with major international conferences, we
clearly need to plan in relation to maximum security.
There will be consultations in the future between the
States and the Commonwealth. I had indicated on an
earlier occasion that I would be approaching the
States in-relation to consultations about formal
agreements between State special branches and ASIO.
I now believe that those discussions ought to take
into account the physical arrangements again to make
sure that they are as good as we can make them between
State police forces and the Commonwealth's own instrumentalities.
The Executive order which authorised the use of the
Defence Force declared that this order shall continue
in force until revoked. Can you given an assurance
that that order will be revoked once the last visiting
Head of Government leaves Australia, and if not when
will it be revoked?
The requisition which was related to a couple of days
at Bowral has already been cancelled. The Foreign
Minister cancelled that at 2 o'clock today. I would
expect it won't be very long before the Executive
Council authority is also cancelled.

Mr. Fraser:
Mr. Fraser: Sir* if I could just follow my question. Are we right in
interpreting what you said as meaning that you still have no
idea who planted that bomb?
No. I don't know.
Do the police have any clues? Are they following any
particular line?
I haven't had a full briefing about all the avenues being
persued by the police at the present time. One thing I
would be convinced about is that the authorities would be
using every avenue available to them to find who or what
organisation put the bomb outside this hotel. When they
have matters to report I am quite certain they will,
On the same subject, very briefly, are you now planning for
possible emergencies when Parliament sits or in local VIP
context in view of that bomb explosion? u
Mr, Fraser: There is very plainly a need to
inside Parliament House itself.
of Parliament House I think you look at security arrangements
From your own knowledge
would understand that.
Mr, Fraser:
Mr. Fraser: Mr. Prime Ministerp this is the first time the armed forces
have been used to protect the civil authority. Could I ask
you whether you believe this means that in future the-armed
forces should receive a special type of new training which
might equip them more for this particular purpose?
Using the broad term, aid for the civil power, has always
potentially been one of the Army's responsibilities because
the law and it is not a new law has always allowed for it.
The Army people were well equipped for the task-which wasentnusted
to them over the last couple of days. This was
basically making sure that a reasonably long stretch of road
was going to be secure, the bridges and culvets were secure,
that bombs couldn't have been planted under a culvet and
detonated. I am quite certain that the Armny is well equipped
for that,
You spoke earlier of the question of liaison. Do you think
in this case security suffered because of liaison and because
divided responsibility and in future will there be one authority
in charge?
In Australia, because of the Commonwealth state relationship,
because of different constitutional responsibilities, we have
the circumstance in which things have to be done by liaison.
One of the things which I am sure Neville Wran and myself
would want to examine, is to make sure that liaison and the
mechanisms to govern any particular situation are as best
devised as possibly can be. You can'tf get away from the fact
that the states have their own police forces the Comm nealth

Mr. Fraser: again has its own instrumentalities and in emergencies such
as the kind which we had earlier this week there is an
absolute necessity for them to co-operate. I believe they do.
I would likeg incidentally, to pay a tribute to Neville Wran
for the full support that he and the instruments of the
state government have given this conference. When the initial
news of the bomb outrage came through I rang him and told him
of the incident. He was down here very quickly* and again
early the following morning. He had made it very plain that
his attitude was the same as mine that we must both co-operate
to make sure that maximum security was provided for the
conference in the Hilton Hotel and for the movement to Bowral
and for our guests while they were at Bowral, I believe that
the co-operation between the State and the Commormiealth in
relation to that has been good. I am quite sure that his own
attitude significantly contributed to it,
Mr. Fraser, does the Commonwealth plan to send any police
officers overseas to study anti-terrorism tactics?
There is training, in relation to that undertaken in Australia.
If it was believed that officers needed to go overseas, well
then I am sure that would be done. I think you must appreciate
that government determines that certain things need to be done,
certain objectives attained, There is a trust in those
responsible for the carrying out of that instruction and decisions
that they will do it in a way that's constructive, adequate
and proper,
Sir, is
why was
who had
Mr. Fraser:
Mr. Fraser: that training available to State police and if so,
a state policeman placed in charge of security here
not undergone such training?
I was answering the question in relation to a different matter,
that is the question of international terrorism, which is of
specific Commonwealth responsibility. It was under that
particular responsibility that the call-out was in fact authorised,
It could equally well have been authorised by and Neville Wran
had indicated that either course was satisfactory so far as hie
is concerned as aid to the civil power. But in all the
circumstances it was felt that the course that was taken was
the better one. That is the particular responsibility of the
Commonwealth's and the training that is encompassed-is by the.
Commonwealth. I have indicated that there will be an examination
as a result of this of the co-operative arrangements that exist
between the states and the Commonwealth. I am quite certain
that Heville Wran and myself will both want that. We will1 want
to satisfy ourselves that our own people are doing everything
possible and everything necessary in the light of the somewhat
different circuw~ tances into which that event took Australia.
What has been the total cost of the conference and the security
that has gone into it?
The conference estimates earlier given,* to me were round about
half a million but I wouldn't be surprised if it is noticeably

above that figure. But let me also say thats in terms of
the cost to the Commonwealth and the result, I believe
that it is very well worth while. Every cent, has given
its value in terms of the resul~ ts of the conference. I
haven't got estimates of the costs of the security operation
but$ again, I believe that it would have been the general
wish of the overwhelming majority of Australians to make
sure that we did everything that we could to ensure the
security of the conference of its members and of the
delegations. After the bomb explosion quite plainly if
' there was a doubt about whether a particular thing ought
to be done or not the decision was made to do it, if it
was an additional security item,
S* G9: Before we respond to the Prime Minister for Fiji I think
I would be lacking in my candor with you if I didn't say
just two things on this question, without in any way
presuming to interfere in the ' domestic aspects of it. The
first is that, particularly for those heads of government
and their Ministers, people like myself who live and work
in an international environment, we are very conscious
all the time that events of this kind happen, not because
of deficiencies in security arrangements, but despite them.
There was an overwhelming feeling on the part of all the
heads of government who were here that immense precautions
had been taken and a great deal of care had been lavished on
adequacy of security arrangements. I think it is fair to say
that no head of government, and you all have access to them
and you will know of your own conversations with them how
real this is, that at no stage in this meeting in their
stay in Australia has any head of governmient or any senior
official or Minister of government felt a sense of insecurity,
whether we were here in Sydney or in Bowral, everyone felt
that everything possible was being done and that you were
in a happy and friendly land which like all other countries
in the world are prone from time to time to acts of mradness
and lunacy which we have got to live with.
Q: Prime Minister, do the heads of government feel that the
bombing may not have occurred if the Indian Prime Minister
was not here and if the conferences is ended why are many
heads of government staying in the country for days?
Mr, Fraser: They have different interests in Australia and I am delighted
that they are staying here to pursue those interests. One of
things which I am sure has been conveyed to them is that I
hope that they will be able to enjoy some time in Australia
and not merely be here for the strict time of the conference.
One president I don't know the individual movements and when
each head of government is moving out at least one has
relatives in Australia, as I think you know, and others have
interests here. One I know wishes to visit a particular
fanming enterpriFe because it is not unrelated to an enterprise
that I think he wants to see introduced into his own country*
1, I

I am delighted that heads of governm~ ent, those that can,
are staying here a little longer and now that the conference
is over don't feel im~ pelled to move out of Australia forthwith.
Thank you very much.

Transcript 4628