PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5880


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: 02/08/1982

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 5880

I have looked forward very much to this visit and the
opportunity it provides to have discussions with you
and your government on international and regional
developments which affect our countries' interests.
This is the first time I have visited Malaysia since
you became Prime Minister, and looking from Australia,
I have been impressed by the determination of your
government to generate national co-operation and dynamism
in order to achieve economic growth and continue to build
a modern progressive society.
I hope that this meeting will help to strengthen the close
understanding and forward looking approach which has been
established between our two governments. It is clear
from our talks that we have a large number of shared
and complementary interests, which will ensure that we
maintain the vitality of our bilateral relationship.
Relations between countries are, however, founded on more
than relations between governments. They are built on a
mutual knowledge and understanding between -peoples.
The foundations were laid long ago for an enduring and
warm relationship between Australians and Malaysians.
We have shared adversity and we have shared peace and
growing prosperity, and our people have numerous contacts.
Thousands of young Malaysians come to Australia and we like
to feel that through these contacts, Australia and Malaysia
are working together to develop skills which are needed
to sustain long term economic growth and cope with a
continuously changing world. We place particular value
on this aspect of our relationship, and look forward to
maintaining it. N

our defence co-operation arrangements represent a common
commitment to the security of our region, and have
contributed to its stability. These varied ties have been
strengthened by economic links which have grown as our
two economies have prospered. Our bilateral trade grew
by an average of 20% per annum between 1975/ 76 and 1980 / 81,
and there is now considerable Australian investment in
Malaysia, and Malaysian investment in Australia.
itically, Malaysia's role as our ASEAN contact partner
been especially important in our evolving and healthy
t tionships with ASEAN. Of course our political, defence
rade I relationships are very important for a number of
\ gic and economic reasons, but the greatest value of
iese conLacts is their role in creating mutual
dge and understanding, which guarantees our close
I. ationship in the future.
The world has experienced great strains both politically
and economically over the last few years. The world economy
is now going through a prolonged recession, a recession
which is having a detrimental impact on both our economies.
I understand that despite the impressive economic growth
which Malaysia has achieved, the world recession is posing
difficulties for your economy. Falling export markets and
commodity prices in particular will no doubt prove a hindrance
to your expanding economy and your successful plans for economic
diversification. Australia has also had comparatively high economic growth in
recent years, but as a major trading nation we are heavily
dependent on exports for our economic growth, and we are
now seriously affected by world recession. This world
situation has been compounded as countries have tried
to protect them-selves by increasing protectionist devices
and export subsidies. These measures are depressing world
trade, and together with falling commodity prices, contributed
to a contraction in world trade in value terms last year
for the first time in over 20 years.
Some economists have been predicting that the world economy
will recover in six months time. They have been saying this
for years, and each six months has seen the situation become
more serious. I believe that the world cannot afford to just
sit back and do nothing, and I also believe that moves to take
effective action need not just be the prerogative of the big
powers. Many of us were disappointed that the recent Versailles
Summit failed to act with the vigor or vision which could
achieve the kind of economic breakthrough which we all want
so much. T 7711T

For our part, Australia has advanced a concrete multilateral
proposal which, if implemented, would assist in restoring
stability and confidence to the world economy. We have called
for a freeze on increases in levels of protection, followed
by negotiations designed to lower protection, and a phasing
out over five years of export subsidies. These proposals have
been well received by the international community. No country
could adopt them unilaterally, no country would find it easy
to adopt every part of them, but if countries would act in
concert to implement these proposals or something like them,
we would all benefit enormously.
The rising tide of world protectionism is making it very
hard to make progress on North-South issues and to provide
greater economic opportunities to countries in the developing
r world, many of which, like Malaysia and Australia, are raw
material suppliers.
Australia has given a very high priority to the North-South
dialogue. Like Malaysia, we endorse the need for global
negotiations on international economic development issues,
and are disappointed that there has as yet been no agreement
on launching the negotiations.. But even this failure should
not prevent progress in specific negotiations on North-South
issues at the GATT Ministerial Meeting in November, UNCTAD
VI next year and the forthcoming meetings of the major
international financial institutions.
I have been disappointed that not all countries have been
prepared to support the draft Law of the Sea Convention.
If implemented it would be beneficial not only to developing
countries but to the whole international community. I hope
those who are not so far committed to the convention will
modify their views in the interests of all of us. But instability
and uncertainty are not just confined to the economic sphere.
Armed conflict has become so widespread that practically no
region of the world is free from war, repression, armed
insurgency or terrorism, and we have recently been reminded
by the wars between Iran and Iraq and in the South Atlantic
of how armed conflicts can erupt quite unpredictably.
International tension has been exacerbated by the expansionist
objectives and destabilising influence of the Soviet Union.
The Australian Government supports strongly President Reagan's
determination to deal with the Soviet Union from a position
of strength, for the Soviet Union in its international dealings
has no respect for weakness. John F. Kennedy put the argument
aptly when he said " let us never negotiate out of fear".
Importantly, Kennedy added to this statement the words:
" But never let us fear to negotiate". We welcome the decision
of the Soviet Union and the United States to begin arms
reduction talks, but these talks will achieve nothing unless
the Soviet Union is convinced of American and Western
determination to counter Soviet aggression and rearmament
in every instance. i, 7

Mr Prime Minister, the Australian people have been very
conscious of the challenge posed by the continued Vietnamese
occupation of Cambodia. The crisis in Cambodia is a human
tragedy of appalling proportions. The Khmer people have
distinctive culture and nationalism, and the current state
of affairs in Cambodia should not continue.
The role the ASEAN partners have played to put pressure on
Vietnam to restore Cambodia as an independent and non-aligned
state has won widespread international support. Australia
has supported ASEAN resolutions on Cambodia put forward at
United Nations general assemblies, and the work of the
international conference on Cambodial-and we share your
hope tha'it the recent formation of a tripartite coalition
of anti-Vietnamese Khmer groups will contribute positively
to a settlement of this issue.
The Australian Government will continue to give active
support to humanitarian relief measures and to play a full
part in developing solutions to the refugee problem.
Mr Prime Minister, the attention of the whole world has
been caught by the constructive role that ASEAN is playing
in the region, its considerable economic achievements, and
its enormous contribution to regional stability.
It is thanks partly toASEAN that our region has become one
of the most stable and prosperous in the world. ASEAN is also
setting an important example to the wider Pacific region.
Many new countries have emerged in the Pacific and they face
daunting challenges of limited resources and vast distances.
The Pacific governments are now playing an active part in
broadening their international relationships and working
more closely together with the region as a whole.
I know your visit to Fiji, Tonga and Western Samoa recently
was greatly-valued, as were the offers of technical co-operation
which you conveyed to the South Pacific countries. In a few
days I will be attending the meeting of the Heads of Government
of the South Pacific Forum in Rotorua where matters of direct
and practical interest to the Pacific governments will be
* discussed. A South Pacific country, Fiji, will be host in October to
the meeting of Commonwealth Regional Heads of Government.
which will discuss a number of major economic and political
issues of concern to our region. We see these regional
meetings as an example of how the Commonwealth has modernised
and kept pace with the needs of the international community.
The Commonwealth as a whole still represents a unique
forum for bringing together for the common good countries
from all over the world and from a number of different
cultures and political systems. Its success as the instrument
which brought a settlement in Zimbabwe, and its work on a range
of North-South issues, are examples of how the Commonwealth
can have real, practical significance.
' J

Mr Prime Minister, I have mentioned just some of the wide
range of common interestL.-s, political economical and strategic
which our two countries have. our close relationship is
going to help us contend with the difficulties and challenges
before our region and before the world.
If, Mr Prime Minister, my own visit and our discussions
have added further to our ties which are a part of history,
I shall be very pleased.
May I thank you and your Ministers for the hospitality
and generous courtesy which you have given me and my party in
this visit. The mutual and co-operative spirit which
manifests here in abundance wvill be for me an endluring
memory. In recognition of this spirit of mutual co-operation,
I now have the honour to propose a toast to the Right Honourable
the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Data' Seri Dr. Maliathir and
Datin Seri Dr. Siti Hasmah. A C

Transcript 5880