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BurmaNet News: February 15, 1995 (r)

Received: by pilot.physics.adelaide.edu.au (5.61+IDA+MU/UA-5.23)
	id AA03474; Mon, 20 Feb 1995 16:45:44 +1030
Subject: Re: BurmaNet News: February 15, 1995

To:   reg.burma-l, BurmaNet, soc.culture.burma

Following is Mr Hawke's letter to the editors of Canberra Times 
newspaper, February 9, 1995; reposted as have promised.

IN KEEPING with your hypocrisy when reporting on me and my 
activities, in your editorial of January 31, portentously 
titled ``Our good name is not for sale'', you claim that the 
media has the right to ``scrutinise'' my activities now that 
I am out of public office and that I must show ``discretion'' 
and act according to the highest standards.

I do. I wish you and the media you are pleased to speak for 
would practise the standards you preach. Recently a journalist 
with the Telegraph Mirror faxed a request for me to list my 
business activities in Asia. I replied by listing things such 
as developing a university, schools, a hospital. But these were 
ignored and references was made only to racing proposals, which 
for a long period have occupied almost none of my time.

You imply that by visiting Myanmar I am selling Australia's good 
name. Let me repeat the points I have made elsewhere. Before going 
to Myanmar I received a written briefing from the Foreign Affairs 
Department, which said, explicitly, that this policy neither 
encouraged {\itelised nor discouraged} commercial contacts by 
Australians with Myanmar.

If Australia had commercial contacts only with countries all of 
whose policies we thoroughly approved we would make a mockery of 
the national interest. Do we cease commercial contacts with 
Indonesia because our Government and other in the community 
disapprove of some of their internal policies?

In some instances the case is so overwhelming, as with apartheid 
regime in South Africa, which condemned the vast majority to 
degradation simply on the basis of colour, there is no question 
about the moral imperative for sanctions.

Myanmar is not in this category.

And, make no mistake, one of the great issues of our time will be 
the firmly held belief of governments in our region that the West 
has no right to seek to impose its values upon Asia.

This does not mean that we should refrain from putting positions 
to governments on particular issues where it is thought that 
universal values are involved. It does mean that if we are to be 
listened to with any respect we should be prepared to acknowledge 
the positive features, achievements and intentions of regimes we 
would criticise on other grounds. In the case of Myanmar there are 
such positives, but would not know it from reading your paper or 
listening to the critics of my visit.

I happen to believe that my capacity to have constructive discussions 
with leaders in Myanmar in such a balanced way in the future will 
follow from the course I have adopted. While Senator Evans says his 
judgement would have been different, he made it clear he did not 
doubt my integrity.

Neither does Conrad Black. The joint statement ending the contretempts 
last year between Black and myself, read, ``.....eith regard to the 
discussion between Mr Colson and Mr Hawke, Mr Black accepts Mr Hawke's 
integrity and the sincerity of Mr Hawke's statement of his 
recollections''. But in your editorial you did not reveal this to 
readers; instead you quoted an allegation made at the first stage 
of the disagreement between Conrad Black and me, an allegation made 
at the first stage of the disagreement between  Conrad Black and me, 
an allegation from which Mr Black himself then resiled. 

It would bee reassuring to think you too were capable of admitting 
to error but, on your record, I will not be holding by breath.

CANBERRA TIMES, Feb 9, 1995.

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