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home / archives / 1975 /  3rd April

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Between 3-5th of April, 1975 discussions took place in Townsville between President Suharto of Indonesia and Australia's Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Mr Whitlam is recorded as saying that Portugese Timor should be integrated into Indonesia, but this should be done through self-determination on the part of the East Timorese.

Malcolm Fraser had just replaced Sir Billy Snedden on the 21st of March as leader of the opposition and had been Minister for the Army and Minister for Defence in previous Liberal Governments. The collapse of the regime in South Vietnam was imminent and there was concern that Australia was not adequately prepared for any of the regional instability that might follow.

An interesting note on symbolism: at the time Andrew Peacock - the member for Kooyong - was known as 'The colt from Kooyong'. A colt being a young horse and Andrew Peacock was R. G. Menzies successor... practically annointed by Menzies to take over. As a result, Peacock was tipped to be the new Liberal Leader but Malcolm Fraser won the leadership. So in the cartoon Fraser is riding "The colt from Kooyong" which symbolizes his victory over Andrew Peacock.