PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7435


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: 17/11/1988

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7435

Mr Premier, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to
Australia in this, our Bicentennial year.
We are delighted that, with your first visit overseas as
Premier, you bring to a fitting culmination China's generous
participation in our Bicentennial celebrations.
The People's Republic of China was involved in these
celebrations from the very beginning, with tremendous
fireworks displays in all of the capital cities of Australia
on New Year's Day and with a televised message from
General Secretary Zhao Ziyang.
The Chinese Pavilion at Expo, your Government's handsome
gifts to our new Parliament House, visits by a succession of
impressive Chinese cultural groups not to mention the
brief period of residence in Melbourne and Sydney of those
quintessential and enormously popular symbols of China,
Fei-Fei and Xiao-Xiao have not only reminded Australians
of China's great natural and cultural heritage but have
reflected and strengthened the warm friendship between our
two countries and people.
The Chinese community in Australia has likewise left a
positive mark on our Bicentennial celebrations. Indeed
Chinese-Australians have loomed large in Australian history,
as one of the-longest-established ethnic communities in
Australia's multicultural society.
Their contributions to Australia's economic and cultural
development stretch back well into the nineteenth century
though it needs to be added that there have been times when
these contributions have not been recognised and when the
Chinese community in Australia suffered the blight of
My Government is committed to ensuring that there is no
return to those days, either through racial discrimination
in Australia or by the reintroduction of racial
discrimination in the migration program.

The example of the industry and participation of Chinese
Australians in every aspect of life has played a vital role
in promoting in the broader community the values of
tolerance, understanding and acceptance of cultural
diversity. Tonight we will see the Chinese Youth League of Australia
perform a dance drama entitled ' The Dragon Down Under',
which tells the story of the Chinese community in Australia.
Mr Premier, in this Year of the Dragon, a year of good luck,
virtue, wealth and harmony, these young people represent the
future. They are an important part of the human link
between our two countries and cultures a link which fully
complements the outstanding Government-to-Government
cooperation built up since relations between Australia and
China were normalised sixteen years ago at the time of Gough
Whitlam's Labor Government.
Mr Premier,
The future of Australia and of China are inextricably
linked. AS your former Vice-President Ulanhu so rightly put
it earlier this year, we are building a relationship not for
or 20 years, but for generations for our children and
for our children's children.
In building that relationship, both Australia and the
People's Republic of China are, in their different ways,
undergoing profound processes of change.
The far reaching economic reforms introduced in your own
country since 1978 have constituted an enormously powerful
force to reshape conditions within China. They have
produced spectacular growth in the Chinese economy and
rising living Standards.
More than that, however, these reforms constitute a
significant reshaping of the very framework of relationships
throughout the region.
While there may be some modifications, the direction of
reform is irreversible.
Australia has, from the outset, welcomed these policies of
modernisation and opening up to the outside world. We have
done so, not only because of the mutually advantageous
opportunities these policies give us for trade and economic
cooperation but, above all, because they will contribute to
the peaceful and prosperous development of China as well as
of the Asian-Pacific region and beyond.
I have observed personally through my visits to China the
improvements over the last decade in the material well-being
of the Chinese people. The extent to which the policies and
benefits of reform have enhanced China's international
standing and influence are equally dramatic. 3, i27

These are all matters in which Australia and China share
particular interests in common and on which we are able to
talk to one another with complete candour. In fact, as I
have experienced during my many hours of conversation with
the Chinese leadership, our relationship has moved to that
high ground of maturity on which there is no subject that
cannot be usefully discussed between us. I am pleased to
add, Mr Premier, that our talks today confirmed and
strengthened that mature and very positive relationship
between our two countries.
Mr Premier,
In international and regional affairs we are witnessing
important changes.
One important development that Australia very much welcomes
is the recent improvement in Sino-Soviet relations. The
Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev has launched a
wide-ranging political and economic reform agenda, the
outcomes of which have still to be tested, but which
nevertheless is cause for some optimism. The success of
these reforms is a matter of the closest interest to China,
Australia and other countries of the Asia/ Pacific region.
-Indeed, I believe we can be reassured by the fact that in
the world at large, and in our own Asia/ Pacific region, we
have begun to see the emergence of an international
framework that could hold for us the promise of a less
turbulent, less violent and less daunting future than has
characterised so much of this century.
I have in mind current trends, for example, in relations
between the super-powers, in the role and standing of the
United Nations, in the sphere of disarmament and arms
control, and in relation to Indochina.
There is, too, a growing awareness of the fundamental
futility of protectionism, as a threat to the orderly and
rational expansion of international trade. Countries such
as Australia and China share an interest in working to
persuade those who pursue protectionist policies that if we
do not take direct action'the international community as a
whole will bear the cost of distortions in world commodity
prices. Mr Premier,
The pattern of regional specialisation is shifting in ways
which are bringing about greater economic and political
interdependence between countries. This will, clearly,
influence the nature of our own bilateral relationship. In
particular, the greater emphasis being given by the more
developed regional economies to knowledge intensive
industries is allowing other countries in the region to move
into the export of more labour intensive products.
r_ I L2

The economic relationship between Australia and China now
encompasses two way trade amounting annually to more than
two billion Australian dollars, and increasingly substantial
two way investment. There are now more than thirty
Australian ventures working in a dozen provinces in ' China.
China's investments in Australia include the aluminium
smelter at Portland in Victoria and the iron mine at Mount
Channar in western Australia. I was particularly pleased
that you were able to visit Channar on Tuesday as Chinese
involvement in that project originated in a feasibility
study undertaken following my own visit to China in 1984.
Australia is well known for the efficiency and scale of its
farming and the richness of its natural resources.
Many of our best technical innovations and hence many of
our potential exports enhance the abundance of our land or
reduce the difficulties . of life in this vast and sometimes
harsh continent: remote ' area telecommunications, long
distance road and rail transport, computer software, medical
technology, energy and space equipment. I know, Mr Premier,
that you have seen much of this during your stay in
Australia. So while the staples of the trading relationship on the
Australian side are commodities such as wool, iron ore and
wheat, and while those commodities will continue to be very
substantial elements in our trade for years to come,
Australians are keen to diversify our exports.
Trade in services, in particular education, is becoming an
increasingly important element in our relationship, not just
as an economically beneficial development but as a means of
building deeper mutual understanding. It is very gratifying
to see that since I discussed this matter with your
predecessor Zhao Ziyang in may 1986, the number of visas
issued to students from China to study in Australia has
risen dramatically from some 600 in 1985/ 86 to nearly
8,000 in the financial year'just concluded.
For China's part, there is room for exports not only of
textiles, clothing and footwear but also a potential for
machinery and transport equipment.
Mr Premier, the prospects for Chinese-Australian
co-operation to launch the Aussat II satellites on your
" Long March" rockets constitute an important new step in our
relationship. Australia wishes this project to go ahead,
not just for its own sake but as a forerunner of the type of
venture our two countries need to undertake as we enter the
twenty-first century.
many of these elements come together, Mr Premier, in the
Australian Government's decision to assist a new joint
venture that arises, after two and a half years' work, from
the 1986 Australia-China joint working group on iron and
steel. 3529

I am pleased to announce that Australia has allocated
over the next six years to the Wuhan Iron and Steel Training
Centre a project aimed at assisting China to improve the
productivity of its iron and steel industry by strengthening
its training strategy.
This project will contribute to the growing relationship
between our iron and steel enterprises, will further extend
our close commercial links, and will strengthen the
individual links between our two countries.
Another new initiative, with which the Australian Government
is proudly associated through the Australia-China Council,
is the establishment at Sydney's Macquarie University of a
Centre for Chinese Political Economy. we look forward to
this Centre developing into a centre of excellence in the
study of Chinese trade, finance and economics in the years
ahead. Mr Premier, it is important that the business communities
in both our countries continue to work at developing a high
level of trust and confidence in each other as competent and
reliable partners. At the governmental level Australia and
China seek to promote trust and confidence through the
creation of high level consultative groups such as the Joint
Ministerial Economic Commission and Joint Working Groups
covering a wide range of industries. These links are
complemented in the business area by such bodies as the
China Enterprise Management Association, the Australia/ China
Business Co-operation Committee and the Australia/ China
Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mr Premier, my Government has an enduring commitment to
Australia's relationship with China. The maintenance and
further development of'that relationship is one of the
central elements in my Government's foreign policy. we see
the relationship as aimed at enriching the lives of our
peoples. That is our long term goal. We seek to achieve it
in close partnership with your Government.
Mr Premier, you are a most welcome and honoured guest. It
is our privilege to have you with us this evening. Your
visit has provided Hazel and me with an opportunity to repay
something of the generous hospitality we have received in
China. Your visit continues the pattern of high level
exchanges and dialogue established in recent years. I hope
that this contact will continue to characterise the friendly
and mutually beneficial relationship which has been
developed between Australia and China.
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Transcript 7435