MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
23 June 1999
Labor And East Timor
I notice today Mr Beazley saying Australia should have taken a tougher stand with Indonesia over East Timor.
Does Mr Beazley think the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, should have taken a 'tougher stand' or has he too been weak? If he has taken a tougher stand than Australia, what is an example of this? If he hasn't, then he is being implicitly attacked by Labor.
Instead of cheap shots, let us be told by Labor precisely what actions they would have taken as part of some "tougher stand".
Would they sever our military ties with Indonesia?
Would they threaten financial support to Indonesia through the International Monetary Fund?
Would they cut off Australian aid to Indonesia's poor and displaced?
Would they withdraw Australia's ambassador to Jakarta?
The fact is that Labor never answers any of these questions. And Labor never explains why constantly denigrating Indonesia with a fuselade of bitter abuse will lead to a more responsive reaction from the TNI in East Timor.
Mr Beazley, with his comments today, has now chosen not only to abuse the Australian Government - whose actions have played a central role in changing Indonesia's policy on holding a ballot in East Timor - but also implicitly to attack the United Nations Secretary-General.
Labor had 13 years to encourage Indonesia
to hold a ballot. It did nothing. Now it can only irrelevantly
shout abuse from the sidelines. What is this tougher action Labor
now demands? They must explain themselves or be regarded as an
irrelevance in international affairs.
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Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville 02 6261 1555
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