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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 379


Senator HILL —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence. The Minister will recall denying a suggestion from Senator Collard on 27 February that the developments of recent times have meant the death knell of ANZUS as we have known it. He said that the Government 'will continue to work hard to preserve the alliance in all of its delicacy and all its complexity'. I ask whether he is aware that just five days later the Prime Minister told a Press conference:

I think you would have to say that so far as ANZUS was a tri-lateral relationship, there is virtually nothing of it which is operative now.

He subsequently agreed with the proposition that ANZUS was a treaty in name only. Does the Minister now agree that the Government has totally failed in its stated objective of working to preserve that alliance in all its complexity and all its delicacy?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not accept that any other answer than that which I previously gave is then appropriate. The truth of the matter is that ANZUS is still intact. There is no move afoot in fact to wind it up formally. Mr Paul Wolfowitz, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has made that clear in his own testimony to the United States Congress a matter of hours ago, as reported on the national news at lunchtime today.

It is the case that ANZUS has a number of component parts, one of which does imply a relationship of peacetime co-operation which we, in Australia, have construed as extending to granting port facilities for each other's ships. It is obviously the case that to the extent that that part of the Treaty is incapable of application, given the current position of the New Zealand Government, the Treaty is inoperative to that extent, to apply the language of the Prime Minister. But beyond that I believe that the kind of response which I have just given, and which has been echoed by statements from senior United States spokesmen in recent times, is a demonstration that the basic framework is there.

We are obviously placing our primary emphasis at the moment on maintaining intact very strong bilateral relationships both with the United States and with New Zealand. The impending visit of Mr Shultz in July and the conversations that are proposed between Mr Hawke and Mr Lange in April and next week between Mr Beazley and his New Zealand counterpart are all ample evidence of that.

The three partners are undergoing a period of difficulty at the moment which hardly needs any further elaboration for it to be perceived. But ANZUS as a document, as a treaty relationship, certainly still exists and there is no foundation for the kind of doomsaying of which we have heard so much from the Opposition benches in recent weeks.