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Memento : Issue 25
by-election of 22 September, where an anti-government swing of 7 per cent (one issue being the government's apparent commitment to a second Sydney airport) converted a very marginal Liberal seat into a fairly safe one, probably sealed any prospect of an early double dissolution. Foreign relations The Labor government's approach to foreign relations differed sharply both in rhetoric and in substance from that of its predecessor. Whitlam, who was also Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that the new approach was 'towards a more inde- pendent stance' in international affairs. Having recognised Communist China soon after coming to office, the government canvassed the notion of a regional forum to include China and Japan. It advanced the coalition's stand of neutrality on Middle East issues to the point of 'even-handedness' by supporting resolutions condemning the excesses of both sides to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Tensions in Australia's relationship with the United States had risen in January when three ministers had fiercely denounced President Nixon's resumption of bombing around Hanoi. They subsided following Whitlam's visit to Washington in July where he showed that Australia's position was not anti-American, just pro-Australian. But Labor Party unease about Australian access to, and control of, US bases in Australia escalated in October when President Nixon ordered a world-wide precautionary alert to American forces during the Arab-Israeli war -- a decision which included the North-West Cape base -- without officially informing the Australian government. January 2004 MEMENTO 3 The Sydney Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973. Designed by Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, the Opera House took almost 15 years to build at a cost of $100 million. NAA: A8746, KN1/11/73/34 Young girls at the Bagot Settlement, Darwin observe the action on polling day. More than 40 000 Indigenous Australians went to the polls on 24 November 1973 to elect the 41 members of the first National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (NACC). The NACC was established to act as an advisory body to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. NAA: A6180, 4/12/73/63 Continued on page 4