Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday called on the public to give the new Government a chance and said the media should not start running a 'scare campaign' in Hong Kong. After meeting Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming, Mr Downer said civil liberties should continue. But he declined to say whether amendments passed by the Provisional Legislative Council had damaged democracy. 'The test is going to be how any new legislation that has been put in place will be implemented in practice . . . 'If there is to be any drawback, let's wait and see, but so far my observations within a day and a half [after the establishment of the SAR] are that freedom of speech and expression is continuing,' Mr Downer said. He said the signs were optimistic. 'Some people have chosen to run a sort of horror scenario for Hong Kong - you know, tanks will be rumbling through the streets within hours of the Chinese takeover. 'So I say give the place a go, don't run a scare campaign until we know what actually happens on the ground. 'There have been headlines that have implied that people won't be able to demonstrate freely, that the freedom of speech and expression would just be stamped on. But so far there hasn't been any sign of that.' Mr Downer said the Australian Government would monitor the election of the first legislature. He had reservations about whether the single-seat, single-vote system, adopted for the 1995 poll, was the best method for Hong Kong. 'We will have a look, a very close look, at the evolution of the model that will be put in place here in Hong Kong. 'But there are a variety of models which are perfectly legitimate ones.' Mr Lee said although the Australian Government did not boycott the swearing-in of the Provisional Legislature, he was not worried that it seemed to be going along with the Chinese Government. 'I don't have the impression that the Australian Government is 100 per cent behind these proposals for change,' he said. 'Mr Downer did not disagree with me [that the provisional legislature is illegitimate], but of course he is looking at a reality which is the Provisional Legislature is going to sit in the Legco building and that we are out of it.'