PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6724


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/1985

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 6724

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, has Mr Somare indicated any change of view
on the Australian patrol boats?
PM: I am glad that question has been asked. I have had a
discussion with the Prime Minister and I am very pleased to
announce that Papua New Guinea will be taking four patrol boats.
Q So they will become part of the program. I am very pleased to
announce that. And it will be important I think to have this
commonality program, Papua New Guinea and other important
countries in the region.
JOURNALIST: How did you change Mr Somare's mind?
PM: We just had a discussion about it and while the basic
specifications of, I take out the word basic, the specifications
of the boat will not be changed. We will under the defence cooperation
program, provide a degree of armament to the vessel
which will meet their requirements. And so I think everyone's
best interests have been well served.
JOURNALIST: The original agreement was for 6 boats. Will they
be getting two boats from elsewhere?
PM: No they wouldn't be getting the two boats from elsewhere
as we understand it.
K-JOURNALIST: Are you surprised ( inaudible)
PM: No. My colleagues of the Australian media will tell you,
I am always relaxed about these matters. I think you can very
often get through what appear to be problems just by some sensible
discussion. And that is what happened in this case.
JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed that they are not taking the
full 6 boats?
PM: No, not at all. I think that this is appropriate at this
stage. JOURNA\ LIST: Prime Ministor, Presidert Mitterand has i nvi ted
Pac fic leaders to s
you e going? ). AUST RA L IA..'

PM: I will not. I have one message and one message alone for
President Mitterand. And that is the one I delivered retently.
If President Mitterand is so interested to prove to everyone
in our region. just how absolutely safe these tests are there is
one logical conclusion that follows. Take his tests back to
France and have those absolutely safe tests in metropolitan
France. JOURNALIST: Have you any idea of why he is making this offer
at this time, domestic politcal reasons?
PM: I am not privy to the workings of the mind of President
Mitterand. And I don't assume the impudence of trying to enter
his mind. But the message that I have given is the right one.
And just you look at it. The logic of it is overwhelming. He
is saying to the countries of this region, come and see how
absolutely safe it is. Now if that is true then pick up his
trappings and all his scientists who can tell you how absolutely
it-is. Pick it all up and take it back and do it in France.
Because it is absolutely safe.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, in the last 24 hours Mr Mitterand has
Q suggested PM: You just demoted him; he is President.
JOURNALIST: Sorry, President. President Mitterand has suggested
that anybody who criticises France's tests or its operations in
the Pacific in fact are foes of France. Are you putting Australia
in that categor9? I
PM: It is introducing a new dimension into international
relations. The logic of that is and I understand that the French
have a great love of logic, that the logic of that is that if
you oppose a particular policy of another country then you re
its foe. That introduces a very dangerous dimension into
relations between nations. I repudiate it.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, did you discuss this issue with your South
Pacific Forum colleagues this morning?
PM: Which issue? The one we are talking about now?
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: No, I didn't.
JOURNALIST:-So you don't have any idea what their response is?
pm; Yes, I do. I met with them Rarotonga and on the basis of
everything that happened there I would believe that their reactio.
would be the same as mine.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you witnessed Papua New G-inea's
independence 10 year celebrations today. Do you remain confider: t
that our bicentennial celebrations will go smoothly?
INI: They are ttuo iderenCient ratt-s. thinlk it is
' hat I should riot intrude Australian domestic matters here. i
am more than happy to answer any questions about that wvien I
return to Australia.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, the Nuclear Free* Zone Treaty which was
signed today. The American response so far has been that ' Lhey
have been studying that agreement to see implications of its
policies in the Pacific. Have you had any more feedback from
the United States about their attitude to it? And the country
of the treaty
PM: I don't want to go into details. But let me say this. You
will appreciated that my Defence Minister, Kim Beazley, has just
been, in the United States. Obviously, amongst other matters he
discussed this issue. Those discussions will continue at a number
of levels. I simply express the hope that the United States will
appreciate both the intrinsic importance and significance of the
Treaty for the countries of this region, indeed beyond it. And
also its total compatability with our alliance relationship and
therefore in the light of those considerations we will able in
due time to bring itself become signatories to the protocols.
But you will appreciate that under the decisions made at
Rarotonga there will be later this year, I think probably about
November, the officials together will be approaching the
metropolitan and nuclear powers. But in the time leading up to
those joint approaches we will continue these discussions. And
as I say I hope they will be fruitful.
JOURNALIST: Onto another matter. Australia has got a direct
involvement with the Irian Jayan situation here through money
we have contributed towards feeding those people who have come
across into Papua New Guinea through the United Nations. Mr
Morrison has spent ten days in Irian Jaya and has made some
comments about his visit there. And the Prime Minister-, Mr
Somare, has commented that consideration must be given to allowing
some of the people in those camps to stay here, to resettle in
Papua New Guinea. I was wondering if you had discussed these
matters while you have been up here and what your overall
impressions are of the relations between this country and
Indonesia and the developments on the border?
PM: Let me make these points. Firstly, I must put the first
consideration that I have consistently made whenever this issue
has arisen. And that is that the situation on the border is one
between two sovereign, independent nations, Papua New Guinea and
Indonesia. And we don't presume to intervene a position of
( 9 Australia betieen those two sovereign, independent nations. And
that point is paramount and must be understood. Having said that
clearly, in relations between these two countries, each of which
are friends of-ours, and with whom we have good relations, it
is in our national interest that the issue between them be
resolved in-a way which is least disrputive. Therefore, we have
had discussions with both Papua New Guinea and Indonesia and no
doubt will continue to do so. I have had only a brief opportunity
to have discussions with Mr Morrison. I hope that before I leave
I may have a further opportunity. lie will be submittiri~. a detailed
report of his visit to Irian Jaya which of course I will read
as soon as I can when I get back. I have discussed the matter
also with Mr Somare and I believe as a result of those discussions
there will be further meetings between our officials and the
officials of Papua New Guinea in the near future so tha-t we can
be kept up to date with the latest de,-veloPiients. I shc-. eld a.
a further point that you iw. ould appreciate. We in Australia havu-_
the added interest now, if you like, in that we have these five
Ir~ ao,. nSjorraesi. aveappJ ie '~ Faes tatu,-_

They are not getting refugee status, they are not getting refugee
status. And we obviously for that reason have a vested interest
in this matter being resolved because I want to make it quite
clear as far as Australia is concerned, we do not want to see
any exodus of West Irianese into Australia.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, what in fact is happening to these five
refugees, if they can't come to Australia.
PM: Well, currently their application for a change of status
is being processed. We are opposed to that, but we have as you
know the processes under which people there are able to make those
applications. We will have to consider the position at the end
of those processes.
JOURNALIST: But what is the alternative if they are refused
refugee status?
PM: Well we will come to that when this process that is underway
at the moment comes to a conclusion.
Q JgOoUiRnNgA LtIoS Tb: e nOenc estshaatr ilpyo inat dMerc. iHsaiwokne , b y thgeo vefrinnamle ntd ecoirs icoann, iti s beit
courts Dors committee and ultimately by the
PM: Well that is what I am referring to, the process-, I am
referring to the Dors process. And I am not intervening in that
at the moment. I am simply saying that I have made our position
clear as to what we think. We don't approve of the change of
status which is being applied for but they have the right under
those processes to do it. And let's just wait and see what
happens there.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, back on patrol boats. Are any
concessions being made to the Papua New Guinean request for
PM: No there is no change to the specifications of the boats.
The contract was signed last week. I conveyed that to them.
We have had the discussions with them last year which..
agreement, 20 July last year in writing. We have proceeded on
that basis. They have accepted that and there will be * no change
to specifications. I have indicated that under the defence cooperation
program we will put some armaments on the boat, that
involves no change to the specifications, no change at all.
JOURNALIST: cost of the armaments coming out of the defence
PM: Under the defence co-operation program, yes.

JOURNALIST: ( inaudible question on meat cannery, 300 employees,
PM: Well this has been a matter that was discussed earlier at
officials level. It hasn't been discussed between the Prime
Minister and myself. And I have really got'nothing to add on
it at this point. I think Papua New Guinea is entitled to make
its own decisions. We have made representations to them about
the possible implications of these decisions. But it is not a
point either the Prime Minister has with me or I with him.
JOURNALIST: Could I follow up Ken's question, Mr Hawke. I was
just wondering in your dicussions with Mr Reid about...
PM: No, I am not answering any questions about that here. I
would neither be fair to myself or as I know to your
colleagues that you have left behind in Canberra.
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible question)
PM: I am prepared to answer-any questions in the Parliament or
Q outside the Parliament, not only prepared to but looking forward
to it.
JOURNALIST: Will you also talk to the Fijian Government about
accepting the patrol boats?
PM: Our discussions with Fiji are going on on this matter.

Transcript 6724