MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D26

29 November 1999

Alexander Downer at the National Press Club

(As Issued By The National Press Club, 29 Nov 99)

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer will present the National Press Club Telstra Address on Wednesday, 1 December.

Mr Downer says the last few years of this century have seen an historic shift in Australia's foreign policy.

"There have been changes in how we have seen the region and how the region has seen us," Mr Downer says.

"These are the years that I am sure historians will regard as the time when Australia ceased being a regional 'demandeur', desperately seeking praise and attention, and instead became a real and respected regional contributor."

Mr Downer says this year has seen Australia play a constructive role in helping in the resolution of the East Timor issue, watching Indonesia move towards democracy and assisting the region continue the road to recovery after the economic crisis.

"It is the year which has seen Australia win respect for the roles it has played," Mr Downer says.

"It is also the year that has laid the platform for Australia to build on into the next century as a real contributor to our region."

Lunch will be served at noon with Mr Downer to speak from 1pm.

Media Contact: Mr Vaile's Office Bruce Mills 02 6277 7420

National Press Club Frank Crews 02 6273 3644