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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9357

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P.J.KEATING, MP LUNCH IN HONOUR OF PRIME MINISTER GOH OF SINGAPORE, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, 13 SEPTEMBER 1994

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/09/1994

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 9357

PRIME MINISTER
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P. J. KEATING, MP
LUNCH IN HONOUR OF PRIME MINISTER GON OF SINGAPORE,
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, 13 SEPTEMBER 1994
Prime Minister Goh and Madam Goh, it's a great pleasure to welcome you
both to Australia.
And let me say at the outset how much I personally value the very close
working relatiorlship that I have enjoyed with you, Prime Minister, since my
visit to Singapore In September 1992.
I also welcome our other distinguished guests from Singapore for what is
indeed a propitious visit.
You are visiting at a time when relations between Australia and Singapore
have never been better.
We have strong historical links, shared economic and trade interests, an
excellent defence relationship and, perhaps most important of all, a similar
vision for the future.
I see Singapore and Australia as two very forward-looking and optimistic
nations with many reasons for moving forward together, in partnership.
One of the reasons for my confidence lies in our shared history which
stretches back to before World War Two when Australia's first overseas
representation in Asia was established in Singapore.
I think It's important to remember that our friendship is an old friendship that
predates the birth of modem Singapore.
The content of the relationship has changed, but its closeness hasn't.
just on fifty years ago, Australia participated in the defence of Singapore.

Today, the defence links still lie at the heart of the relationship, but tey're
much more geared to the future.
This morning, Prime Minister Goh and I discussed the excellent In some
ways remarkable progress our defence relationship has made over the
past few years.
We announced a number of Important new areas of defence cooperation.
And later this year In November, our Ministers will open the Royal Singapore
Air Force flying school at Pearce In Western Australia.
But, as critical as these defence links are, they are only part of the picture
for ours is indeed a broadly based relationship.
More than 6,000 Singaporeans are studying in Australia today while others
who come here to holiday have made Singapore our fifth largest tourist
market.
Singapore is our most Important investment partner in ASEAN.
Singapore is our most important trading partner In ASEAN.
With two-way trade at more than $ 5 billion a year, Singapore is our fifth
largest export market worldwide and our eight largest trading partner overall.
And what is important about this trade, from an Australian perspective at
least, is that a great deal of our exports are high value added manufactures
and services.
In fact, Singapore is our third largest export market for sophisticated
manufactures and a growing market for our services.
But we each want to do better.
And as we look to the future, we look to joint opportunities in third markets.
We share an understanding that strategic alliances can be critical to winning
contracts In the world's fastest growing region.
This is the thinking that lay behind the Strategic Linkages Initiative which we
launched during my visit to Singapore in 1992.
By com bining the respective strengths of Australian and Singaporean
companies, we are better placed to take advantage of major business
opportunities In the region.
Today, I'm pleased to say we have moved this initiative Into an important new
phase with the decision to focus our collaboration on Infrastructure projects.

And here were looking at a potential market in the order of hundreds of
billions of dollars.
In thie five years to 1997, Infrastructure spending in East Asia is estimated to
exceed $ 730 billion.
While we are searching out joint opportunities in third countries, our wider
regional interests are also converging.
In this regard, Prime Minister Goh and I share a similar vision for the Asia
Pacific region.
It is a vision of optimism and abundance.
And APEC is part of that vision.
We are both looking forward to supporting President Soeharto in bringing
about an historic outcome at the APEC Leaders Meeting in Bogor in
November. Clearly, there have been enormous changes in our region over the past
decade, but I suspect they are nothing compared with what Is to come.
In the run up to a new century, I think it is critical that optimists be they
individuals or nations form partnerships.
I say this because it is optimists who can imagine a better future.
And it is optimists who are thereby more likely to create that future.
Obviously, the best optimists are also pragmatists they are the ones who
bring about positive change.
In this regard, I think Singapore and Australia have much in common.
Both our countries have undergone enormous and positive change in recent
times. And, In this regard, it's vital that we guard against the sort of familiarity that
prevents us from clearly seeing how much both our countries have changed.
You represent, Prime Minister, a country that is one of Asia's pre-eminent
success stories.
Singapore has achieved remarkable economic growth accompanied by a real
social concern for its people for good housing, for education and training,
for high standards of health care.

Singapore will continue to make a vital contribution to the region.
Prime Minister, I'm sure that during your visit here to Australia you will see
how much Australia has changed how we have transformed our economy
into one of the most open and competitive in the world, how we have
refocussed our attention to the Asia Pacific region.
I believe our two countries share a real optimism for the region and our
respective roles in it.
For my part, I want to see Australia make its contribution wherever it can in
partnership with Singapore.
I wish you all well for what I hope is a very enjoyable and constructive visit to
Australia. Thank you.

Transcript 9357