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Tuesday, 26 February 1985
Page: 204


Senator JESSOP(5.28) —I have listened with some interest to the speech just delivered by Senator Macklin and object to some of the inferences in that speech. He implied that some honourable senators in this place would advocate the use of nuclear weapons. I thought that at the outset of the debate, particularly in the speech that you contributed, Mr Deputy President, you made it quite clear that we are all against the use of nuclear weapons and that we are all in favour of bilateral or multilateral disarmament. It seems to me that the speeches that have been made by the Australian Democrats lean towards unilateral disarmament. I must confess that when I first heard of the Australian Waters (Nuclear-powered Ships and Nuclear Weapons Prohibition) Bill being brought forward by Senator Chipp I found it almost unbelievable, until I heard his speech. He is a former Minister of State for the Navy and a Minister of the Crown in another area of responsibility. I can recall him, when I was in the House of Representatives at the same time, defending the ANZUS Treaty. I was going to look up the reference to it but the National Times of 8 February compared Senator Chipp's attitude now, when he derides the ANZUS Treaty as a con, with what Mr Chipp, as he was then in Parliament, said in 1969. He said:

The Prime Minister brought back a reaffirmation of the ANZUS treaty by President Nixon in such unequivocal and categorical terms that gave heart to every member on this side of the House who still believes that the ANZUS treaty is the most precious piece of paper in Australian archives.

He went on to say other things. I just cannot believe that Senator Chipp could completely change his views in the way in which he apparently has, particularly in view of the fact that the Asia-Pacific region is a most significant region as far as Australia is concerned. The fact that since World War II the Soviet Union has conducted the biggest military and naval build-up in this region is quite significant. I heard Senator Walters quote from an article which referred to General Sejna, who was the Chief of Staff to the Czechoslovakian Minister for Defence. He wrote a book called We Will Bury You. Senator Walters quoted words that were used in that book by a most influential member of the Soviet hierarchy, Boris Ponamarev. He said, among other things, to his comrades:

. . . you must understand that if we wish to control Asia we must first control Australia.

It seems to me that this Bill poses a threat to the ANZUS Treaty and is a dangerous movement towards its destabilisation. Therefore I cannot support it. The Opposition has put forward an amendment to the second reading of the Bill proposing, I believe, a sensible approach; that is, that we support continued access for United States and United Kingdom nuclear powered ships and nuclear capable ships as that is vital for the maintenance of peace and an effective stable deterrence. Unilateral disarmament measures can only undermine the cause of peace and contribute to instability. Senator Hamer said earlier that it is not a question of disagreement with the proposition of nuclear disarmament; it is a question of the means by which we achieve that ultimate goal.

Senator Macklin said that some of us may support the use of nuclear weapons. That is not true. I venture to say that no one in this chamber would support the use of nuclear weapons, but I think the following is an interesting question to pose and should be posed: If the United States had no nuclear capability, is it not reasonable to expect that other, more unscrupulous, countries would be tempted to use nuclear weapons and cause tremendous devastation and death that we would all oppose most emphatically?

A number of articles have been written about this matter in recent times. An article in the South Australian News on the 13th of this month with the headline 'US warns of Soviet Viet base', referred to Cam Ranh Bay as the base port for 26 Soviet ships and a number of submarines, minesweepers and aircraft being capable of being launched for sea and air attacks. It said that the base posed a potential threat to the sea lanes in the area. We see other headlines, equally dramatic, referring to the Soviet build-up in the Pacific region. One article that I read with interest also was referred to briefly by Senator Walters. It draws attention to the fact that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has been test-firing missiles into the South Pacific region for years without a word of alarm or protest from those who are horrified by either Reagan's immorality or Hawke's secrecy. The article suggests:

In fact, the Soviet Union has recently test fired its SS18 (Mk 4), with a range of 16,000 km, and with 10 warheads, each 50 times more destructive than the Nagasaki weapon, into the vicinity of the Cook Islands. One can only admire the sangfroid of the anti-nuclear lobby, which uttered not a word of protest against the Soviet tests while publicly expressing horror at the Americans.

Someone said earlier that the Greenpeace people certainly had not been sailing their ships into the areas off the Cook Islands to demonstrate against the Russian build-up in our region of the world.


Senator Chipp —When did the Soviets last test near the Cook Islands?


Senator JESSOP —Several months ago. The honourable senator should know this, if he has studied it.


Senator Chipp —This year?


Senator JESSOP —It was last year. As a matter of fact, I attended a very interesting conference in Fiji last year where I heard a paper delivered by Rear Admiral Robert Hanks, the Seventh Fleet commander in the Pacific region. This paper pointed to the importance of the Asia-Pacific region and the trade and the economic advantages of the countries in our region. Hanks also issued a grave warning about the build-up of Soviet interest in the region. He suggested that the Soviets were anxious to establish fishing bases throughout the Pacific region and, of course--


Senator Townley —You know what their fishing boats are.


Senator JESSOP —Of course, as Senator Townley interjects, once the Russians establish fishing bases in those areas, they become de facto naval bases as well. Rear Admiral Robert Hanks, who retired a year or two ago, finished the paper by saying:

Finally, let me just mention the southwest Pacific. As I've said, the ships operating out of Da Nang and Cam Ranh Bay now pose significant threats to Australia and New Zealand, and it's here that close naval co-operation and air co-operation among the ANZUS Pact Nations (Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.), it seems to me, is essential. Eventually I would like to see the same kinds of exercises recently undertaken.

Such exercises were undertaken last year but, of course, these have now been placed in jeopardy by the action of New Zealand. He went on to say:

The threats in this part of the world are manifold. The only way we can successfully counter them is through international co-operation.

The situation in the Pacific region is quite alarming when we have regard to the numbers of Russian ships that are constantly patrolling that ocean. The Soviet's military expansion in the Pacific has occurred largely in two phases. This was referred to in the Bulletin of 4 September last year. In phase one, from 1965 to 1978, there was a dramatic increase in the numbers of naval vessels in the Pacific. The number of submarines went from 86 to 113 and the number of major surface combatants increased by 20. In phase two, from 1978 onwards, there has been a more qualitative rather than quantitative update. The Bulletin article stated:

The United States naval commander in the Pacific, Admiral Sylvester Foley, said recently that while in the past the Soviet Pacific fleet has got 'the leftovers and cast-offs from other fleets, today it gets the most modern ships'. The fleet now has two of the Soviet Navy's four Kiev class carriers. The number of major surface ships has gone from 64 to 84.

When one compares that with the United States naval presence, it is quite significantly greater.

I believe in the ANZUS pact; I believe it ought to be strengthened. I certainly oppose nuclear war, as we all do. I support a multilateral disarmament program. I have pleasure in supporting the Opposition amendment to this Bill.