PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5118

TEXT OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S STATEMENT AT THE OPENING SESSION

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: 02/08/1979

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 5118

0. XX113 MKCR
TOR 0310 02.08.79
O. XX0113 2120 1.8.79 UNC
TO. PP CANBERRA/ 096 T -pr C
FM. XXX CONFERENCE POST C" 2 3:
FILE I
UN C L A S S I F IED
CHOGM FROM LUSAKA
FOLLOWIN G IS TEXT OF THE PRIME MINIiSTER'S STATEMENT AT
THE OPENING SESSION TODAY:
BEGINS: I AM HONOURED TO HAVE BEEN INVITED TO REPLY TO YOUR SPEECH OF
WELCOME, MR. PRESIDENT. ON BEHALF OF US ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO
THANK YOU FOR YOUR WARM WELCOME AND YOUR GRACIOUS HOSPITALITY,
I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK SONNY RAMPHAL AND HIS SECRETARIAT
FOR THEIR DEDICATED WORK IN PREPARING FOR THIS CONFERENCE.
r THIS IS AN HISTORIC OCCASION. IT IS THE FIRST Tt-iE THAT A
RECULAR COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING HAS BEE; HELD IN
AFRICA. YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, HAVE BEEN FIR. i IN YOUR RESOLVE THAT,
WHATEVER THE DIFFICULTIES, THIS CONFERENCE SHOULD BE HELD IN
ZAMBIA A MEMBER COUNTRY WHICH OCCUPIES A FRONT LINE POSITION IN
SOUTHER AFRICAN AFFAIRS, WHICH HAS SUFFERED GREATLY BECAUSE OF
THE PROBLEMS OF THE REGION, AND WHICH HAS MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE TO
THE RESOLUTION OF THOSE PROBLEMS.
MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE YOU TO BE RIGHT IN YOUR CONVICTION
THAT THE LOGIC OF THE COMMONWEALTH'S HISTORY AND CHARACTER REQUIRED
THAT THIS CONFERENCE BE HELD IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. THE COMMONWEALTH
AS IT IS REPRESENTED HERE IS THE PRODUCT OF A MOVEMENT WHICH HAS
SWEPT THE WORLD OVER THE LAST THIRTY YEARS, CONVERTING COLONIES
INTO INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES AND ESTABLISHING POLITICAL EQUALITY
BETWEEN PEOPLES IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE AND COLOUR, MR. PRESIDENT,
IN TERMS OF THAT MAJOR TRANSFORMATION IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS, THERE
IS STILL UNFINISHED BUSINESS TO BE ATTENDED TO IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT. AS THE PROCESS BEGAN IN THE COMMONWEALTH,
AS THE COMMONWEALTH HAS BOTH CONTRIBUTED TO AND REFLECTED ITS
COURSE, IT IS APPROPRIATE AND INDEED ESSENTIAL: THAT WE SHOULD
ESTABLISH THE RELEFANCE OF THIS INSTITUTION BY CONCERNING OURSELVES
WITH ITS COMPLETION. / 2 IV
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XX113
THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, AND IN PARTICULAR
IN ZIMBABWE, ARE ENORMOUSLY COMPLEX ONES. THEY PRESENT DIFFERENT
MEMBER STATES WITH DIFFERENT PROBLEMS, BOTH DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL.
BUT I BELIEVE THAT AS WE DELIBERATE IN THIS CONFERENCE
WE SHOULD KEEP THREE THINGS FIRMLY IN MIND.
FIRST, IT IS VITAL THAT ' WE RECOGNISE AND BUILD ON THE
SUBSTANTIAL AREAS OF AGREEMENT WHICH EXIST AMONG US ON THIS ISSUE,
THAT WE NOT BE DOMINATED BY NEGATIVE ASPECTS. NO ONE AT THIS MEETING
BELIEVES THAT A SETTLEMENT IS COMPATIBLE WITH A CONSTITUTIONAL
SITUATION IN SALISBURY, WHICH IS TAINTED IN ANY WAY WITH
RACIALISM. WE ARE ALL IN FAVOUR OF MAJORITY RULE TRUE MAJORITY
RULE WHICH TAKES ACCOUNT OF ALL ( UNDERLINE ONE) THE PARTIES
CONCERNED AND WHICH IS REFLECTED NOT ONLY IN ELECTIONS BUT IN THE
UNDERLYING STRUCTURE OF POWER AND AUTHORITY.
NO ONE WANTS A SOLUTION THROUGH SLAUGHTER AND BLOODSHED, BOTH
BECAUSE IT WILL PRODUCE UNTOLD SUFFERING TO INNOCENT PEOPLE AND
BECAUSE IT WILL BREED NEW HATREDS, EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE OUTSIDE
INTERFERENCE IN THE REGION DIMINISH NOT GROW. NO ONE WANTS
TO SEE THE COMMONWEALTH DAMAGED. If IS IMPERATIVE THAT AS WE
ENTER THE THICKETS OF TECHNICALITIES AND CONTROVERSIES, WE DO NOT
ALLOW THEM TO OBSCURE THESE BASIC POINTS. FORMIDABLE AS THE
DIFFERENCES ON SOME ISSUES ARE, I BELIEVE THAT, AS FAR AS THOSE
OF US PRESENT AT THIS MEETING ARE CONCERNED, THEY ARE DIFFERENCES
ABOUT MEANS AND TIMING, NOT ABOUT ENDS. WE MUST NOT ALLOW MEANS-TO
DOMINATE ENDS.
MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO ELABORATE BRIEFLY ON ONE OF
THESE ELEMENTS OF AGREEMENT. THE ESSENTIAL CAUSE OF THE GRAVE
SITUATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA IS RACIALISM, THE. BELIEF THAT ONE RACE
IS SUPERIOR TO ANOTHER AND THEREFORE ENJOYS A NATURAL RIGHT TO
DOMINATE, EXPLOIT AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OTHERS. THIS IS A
BELIEF THAT ALL HERE CATEGORICALLY REJECT. ALL OPPRESSION IS
REPUGNANT, BUT THERE IS AN OBSCENITY ABOUT OPPRESSION BASED ON NO
MORE THAN THE COLOUR OF A PERSON'S SKIN. YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, WERE
THE GUIDING HAND BEHIND THE DECLARATION OF COMMONWEALTH PRINCIPLES
MADE BY THE HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING IN SINGAPORE IN 1971, WHEN
MEMBERS RECOGNISED RACIAL PREJUDICE AS A DANGEROUS SICKNESS AND
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AS AN UNMITIGATED EVIL. IT IS NOT ONLY
APPROPRIATE BUT IMPERATIVE THAT AT THIS TIME, IN THIS PLACE, WE
SHOULD SOLEMNLY REAFFIRM OUR ADHERENCE TO THAT DECLARATION,
THE SECOND THING WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND IS THAT, WHATEVER ELSE
IT HAS DONE AND WHATEVER ONE NIGHT THINK ABOUT PARTICULAR ASPECTS
OF IT, THE RECENT ELECTION HAS CREATED CONDITIONS FOR'MOVEMENT.
BUT IN ITSELF, THE ELECTION SETTLES ( UNDERLINE ONE) NOTHING LET
THERE BE NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT. IT HAS ( UNDERLINE ONE) HOWEVER,
BROUGHT ABOUT A DIFFERENT SITUATION. IT HAS CREATED NEW FACTS
/ 3 -ii 1

XX113
y AND DISTURBED A STALEMATE. THERE HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES, AND IT IS CLEAR THAT BEFORE AGREEMENT IS
REACHED, AND THE ESSENTIAL ACCEPTANCE OF THAT AGREEMENT BY A
NUMBER OF AFRICAN STATES IS ACHIEVED, THERE WILL HAVE TO BE FURTHER
CHANGES. AS TO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, THAT IS NOT IN THE LAP OF THE
GODS. IT IS, TO A VERY LARGE EXTENT, IN OUR LAPS. MUCH DEPENDS
ON WHETHER WE CAN SEIZE, AND SEIZE WITH DETERMINATION AND VISION
THE OPPORTUNITY PROVIDED BY THE COMPARATIVE FLUIDITY WHICH NOW
EXISTS, IN ORDER TO ADVANCE TOWARDS A SETTLEMENT. TIME IS RUNNING
OUT AND WE MAY NOT HAVE SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY AGAIN.
THIRDLY, MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK IT IS CLEAR THAT IF A NONVIOLENT
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF ZIMBABWE IS TO BE FOUND IT WILL
INVOLVE FLEXIBILITY ON ALL SIDES FLEXIBILITY NOT ABOUT THE
OBJECTIVE OF A NON-RACIALIST SOCIETY, BUT CONCERNING THE PROCESS
OF ARRIVING AT THAT OBJECTIVE AND THE INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS OF
THE PRINCIPALS. COMPROMISE AND MODERATION SHOULD BE SEEN NOT
MERELY IN TERMS OF ESTABLISHING A BRIDGE BETWEEN DIFFERENT POSITIONS.
THEY SHOULD BE SEEN AS POSITIVE VALUES IN THEIR OWN
RIGHT THE ESSENTIAL VALUES BOTH OF DEMOCRATIC POLITICS AND OF
PEACEFUL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STATES WHICH ARE SIMULTANEOUSLY
SOVEREIGN AND INTERDEPENDENT. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO RALLY
AND INVIGORATE THE FORCES OF MODERATION AND REASONABLENESS IN
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. WE SHOULD ADVOCATE AND PROCLAIM
MODERATION NOT APOLOGETICALLY AND OUT OF EXPEDIENCY, BUT
CONFIDENTLY EVEN PASSIONATELY AS A. MATTER OF FUNDAMENTAL
PRINCIPLE. IF WE DO SO, THE BRIDGES ARE LIKELY TO EMERGE OF THEIR
OWN ACCORD.
MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW DELEGATES, IT IS OUR SOLEMN DUTY AT
THIS MEETING TO CONTRIBUTE POSITIVELY TO THE SEARCH FOR
COMPREHENSIVE, EQUITABLE AND PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS
OF THIS REGION. AT THE END OF THE DAY IT IS VITAL THAT WE UILL
HAVE REACHED AGREEMENT AMONG OURSELVES WHICH WILL ENABLE CONSTRUCTIVE
NEGOTIATION AND CONSULTATION TO PROCEED,
MR. PRESIDENT, INEVITABLY THE PROBLEMS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA WILL
OCCUPY THE CENTRAL PLACE IN THIS CONFERENCE. BUT THERE IS MUCH
ELSE THAT IS URGENT ON OUR AGENDA.
IF A MAJOR THEME OF THE LAST QUARTER CENTURY HAS BEEN THE ENDING
OF COLONIALISM, THE REMAINDER OF THIS CENTURY IS LIKELY TO BE
INCREASINGLY PREOCCUPIED WITH ECONOMIC PROBLEMS. WE HAVE ALREADY
DEMONSTRATED THE SCOPE FOR COMMONWEALTH ACTION ON ECONOMIC
MATTERS BY THE INITIATIVE WE TOOK ON THE COMMON FUND AT THE LAST
HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING. I BELIEVE THAT THE COMMONWEALTH
CAN LEGITIMATELY CLAIM CONSIDERABLE CREDIT FOR THE FACT THAT
THE COMMON FUND PROPOSAL REPRESENTS ONE OF THE FEW AREAS. IN
WHICH REAL PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE SINCE THEN.
S-,, y

I. o l^ S,
XX113
WE MUST ALL VIEW WITH GRAVE CONCERN ASSESSMENTS THAT THERE IS'
LITTLE LIKELIHOOD OF AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE SLOW GROWTH IN
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE THAT HAS
BEEN EXPERIENCED SINCE 1973.
WHAT THESE ASSESSMENTS IMPLY IS THAT THERE HAS BEEN A SERIOUS
DETERIORATION IN THE PROSPECTS FOR REDUCING POVERTY AND
RAISING LIVING STANDARDS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
I BELIEVE THAT A PREREQUISITE TO REMEDYING THIS OUTLOOK MUST BE
TO DEAL WITH THE DUAL SCOURGES OF INFLATION AND PROTECTION.
THESE ARE INTERCONNECTED PROBLEMS WHOSE SOLUTION LIES PRIMARILY
IN THE HANDS OF POWERFUL DEVELOPED STATES, THERE IS ALSO AN URGENT
NEED TO ENSURE THAT INADEQUATE SUPPLIES OF OIL DO NOT ACT AS A
CONSTRAINT ON ECONOMIC GROWTH OR ENDANGER THE INTER-DEPENDENT.
ECONOMIC SYSTEM WHICH HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PROVIDE GREAT MUTUAL
BENEFITS. THE ISSUES ARE COMPLEX AND I SHALL NOT DWELL ON THEM FURTHER
NOW EXCEPT TO SAY THAT I BELIEVE THE TIME HAS COME FOR A NEW
AND BOLD APPROACH TO GET THE WORLD ECONOMY MOVING AT A FASTER
RATE AND TO ENSURE THAT ALL PARTICIPANTS HAVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
TO SHARE IN THE BENEFITS.
A STRONG AND DETERMINED EFFORT WILL BE NEEDED, INVOLVING
ATTENTION AND CONSIDERATION BY WORLD LEADERS. IF WE APPEAL TO THE
CONCEPT OF INTERDEPENDENCE, WE M. UST MEAN WHAT WE SAY AND ALL PLAY
A PART ACCORDING TO OUR ABILITY.
ANOTHER ISSUE WHICH IN ONE WAY CR ANOTHER TOUCHES MOST OF US
IS THAT OF REFUGEES. MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW THAT YOUR COUNTRY
AND MANY OF OUR OTHER AFRICAN MEMBVERS HAVE HAD TO COPE WITH THIS
AND WITH THE ATTENDANT TRAGIC PROBLEMS OF DIVIDED FAMILIES,
TEMPORARY ARRANGEMENTS WHICH TEND TO BECOME PERMANENT, INTERNATIONAL
INDIFFERENCE AND CONSEQUENT PRESSURE ON ALL TOO SCARCE RESOURCESo
THE PROBLEM IS NOW ASSUMING CRISIS PROPORTIONS IN OUR OWN PART
OF THE WORLD AS A RESULT NOT ONLY OF THE INEVITABLE DISRUPTION
RESULTING FROM CONFLICT BUT OF A DELIBERATELY PURSUED POLICY
WHICH, AGAIN, HAS A RACIALIST COMPONENT. WE MUST ADDRESS. OURSELVES
TO IT. HUMANITY REQUIRES US TO COME TO THE AID OF THE VICTIMS
OF SUCH ACTION. BUT HUMANITY AND REALISM ALSO DEMAND THAT THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY ATTACK THE PROBLEM AT ITS SOURCE, THAT WE MOBILISE
PRESSURE TO END THE POLICIES OF PERSECUTION AND EXPULSION
WHICH RESULT IN MASS EXODUS.
I HAVE TOUCHED ON A NUMBER OF THE CENTRAL ISSUES CONFRONTING
IHIS CONFERENCE. BUT IN CONCLUDING I URGE THAT IN DEALING WITH
S
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ACTION: DEP FOREIGN AFFAIRS
DEP P M AND CABINET T/ T
PRIME MINISTER
FOREIGN MINISTER
DEP ADMIN SVCS
DEP EDUCATION
DEP FINANCE
DEP NAT DEV
DEP PRIMARY IND DEP DEP DEP DEP
ONA JiO SCI AND ENV
SPL TDE REP
TDE AND RSCS
TREASURY
7 am ai-. likz i po 1
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MAJOR GLOBAL AND REGIONAL PROBLEMS, WE TAKE CARE NOT TO NEGLECTSOME
OF THE LESS DRAMATIC ONES. IN PARTICULAR, LET US BEAR IN
MIND THE SPECIAL AND OFTEN PRESSING PROBLEMS FACED BY SMALL.
STATES, REMEMBERING THAT THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT AND GROWING NUMBER
OF SUCH STATES AMONG OUR MEMBERS.
MR. PRESIDENT, I BELIEVE, AS IT THINK YOU DO, THAT THIS MEETING
WILL BE A CRUCIAL ONE FOR THE COMMCNWEALTH. RARELY, IF EVER,
HAVE WE GATHERED TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS OF SUCH MAGNITUDE AND
URGENCY. RARELY HAVE WE HAD THE EYES OF THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY SO FIRMLY ON US. AND RARELY, HAVE WE HAD AS GREAT
AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE OF THIS INSTITUTION BY
MAKING A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD ORDER.
IF WE RISE TO THE OCCASION, IF, UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, WE
SET ASIDE SECTIONAL AND SHORT-TERM CONSIDERATIONS AND SHOW THE
STATESMANSHIP, WISDOM AND RESOLUTION WHICH THE CIRCUMSTANCES
DEMAND, WE HAVE IT WITHIN OUR MEANS TO CONTRIBUTE TO PEACE IN
AFRICA AND TO ESTABLISH BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE COMMONWEALTH IS
GOING TO BE A KEY INSTITUTION IN THE LAST DECADES OF THIS
CENTURY. IF WE SPEAK TO EACH OTHER AND WITH EACH OTHER, INSTEAD
OF AT EACH OTHER OR PAST EACH OTHER, IN A WEEK'S TIME WE WILL
EMERGE A STRONGER AND MORE RELEVANT BODY.
MR. PRESIDENT, LET THAT L-E OUR DETERMINATION,
ENDS. XC. O. XXO113 2120 1.8o79 096

Transcript 5118