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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2117

Mr HAYDEN (Minister for Foreign Affairs)(5.27) —Mr--

Mr Hodgman —Resign, Minister.

Mr HAYDEN —May I finish my speech first? Mr Deputy Speaker, it has been an extraordinary afternoon, given the preceding debate. The right honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), the Deputy Leader of the National Party, gave an imitation of a windjammer under full sail. We just had the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) perform like a thunderclap without a lightning strike. He rumbled all over the place without reaching anywhere. We were treated to various pronunciations of Grenada, from 'Grenarda', to 'Greenada'-almost Cockney like-and told to think of 'grenade', it is 'Grenada'. That is the easiest way to get it. What an extraordinary afternoon! The matter of public importance proposed by the Leader of the Opposition is:

The disturbing trend in Australian foreign policy, and particularly the failure to support peace initiatives in Granada.

The world will stop over on the way past Grenada, all in 15 minutes-not a tour de force, but a tour de farce, masterminded by the Leader of the Opposition! I would not call it exactly one of his golden days or golden performances. Why the agitation? Why the feverish performance-rather unusual from the Leader of the Opposition, who has a style of more aplomb-or used to have. My colleague, my staff member, Mr Costello, draws my attention to yesterday morning's Sydney Morning Herald. The motive is there. The article states:

A phone call to Canberra political journalists went out yesterday from the aide to the former Prime Minister. 'Mr Fraser', said the aide, 'is interested in talking about Grenada. Give him a call at Nareen.'

A call to Nareen confirmed Mr Fraser was indeed interested in talking about Grenada . . .

On it goes. So the prince in exile across the water is waiting to walk back and has the Leader of the Opposition agitated. So we now know. But there is more to it than that.

Opposition members-Resign.

Mr HAYDEN —Not just yet.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Rocher) —Order! The Leader of the Opposition has spoken. I call the Minister.

Mr HAYDEN —This afternoon we have witnessed the Leader of the Opposition suddenly coming alive, galvanised, as it were, by half-voltage shock treatment. Over the weekend he got full-voltage shock treatment. He got it in my home State of Queensland. He got the full treatment from the Premier of Queensland. What the Premier of Queensland effectively said, writing the Leader of the Opposition off as of no account, is that the Liberal and National parties in the national Parliament would be better off led by a superannuated sheepdog. I guess that a superannuated sheepdog might be beyond its best, but there would be a reasonable hope that it would find its way home. The honourable member does not know where he started from, where he is right now or indeed where he is going, except that he seems to be going awfully fast and downhill all the way. The Leader of the Opposition has forgotten all that he ever learnt about foreign policy, just as he has never understood anything about economics; hence his reluctance to talk about the subject which will determine the future of this country.

Mr Peacock —Tell us why you recognised Pol Pot. Why did you recognise him? You recognised him.

Mr HAYDEN —Let the Leader of the Opposition determine the development of the comments I wish to make. He referred to Pol Pot's recognition. How immoral! Let us look at the immorality of it. The Leader of the Opposition is in high dudgeon on the issue of morality about the recognition of Pol Pot. We heard him a few minutes ago and he is at fever pitch right now. In April 1981 he pointed out:

More horrific information about Pol Pot emerged after the invasion of Kampuchea by Vietnamese forces in December 1978.

He continued:

On principle I could not remain part of a government committed to recognition of the Pol Pot regime.

Fine morality! It took him two and a half years to say it; that is the only problem. Let us look at the morality of the Leader of the Opposition since December 1979. He is worried about Pol Pot. He set the agenda for this debate; I am responding. He cannot complain. In December 1979 he stated:

The Australian Government believed that to de-recognise-

he is referring to Pol Pot-

would be interpreted as endorsing Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea. This it was not prepared to do.

But 12 months later the Leader of the Opposition, who was then the Minister for Foreign Affairs, stated:

The Government acknowledges that immediate withdrawal might create a vacuum which could lead to the return to power of Pol Pot, to which we are opposed. However, Australia sees a need for an immediate start to be made on the phased withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Kampuchea.

So we have not the bleeding heart but the shifting heart-international morality on a yo-yo. I do not intend to waste any more time on that particular point. He is worried that the Americans may have lost some confidence in me as a result of my performance. Let me tell him what they have said. I had been hoping someone would provoke me into overcoming my natural modesty in these things--

Mr Hawke —Go on.

Mr HAYDEN —As it is an instruction from the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), I must do so. I received a telex from Washington dated 19 September. I quote it exactly:

Following is the text of a statement read to the Press today by the State Department spokesman (this was at the regular Press briefing and there were no questions):

The official of the State Department in the United States said:

It is a thorough and thoughtful statement-

I point out, with some discomfiture, that he was referring to my statement-

on the alliance and the treaty on which the alliance is based. We believe that it admirably reflects the conclusions drawn in the communique issued following the July meeting in Washington of the ANZUS council.

When I saw Mr Wolfowitz, who as Assistant Secretary of State in the United States is responsible for this region, on 4 October in New York, in the processes associated with the United Nations, he made a similar comment. This is from the notes of the discussion:

Wolfowitz said that he had read, and wished to compliment the Minister for, the statement on the ANZUS review. As far as the United States was concerned, it was a splendid statement.

Who are we to believe? Are we to believe the Americans talking for themselves, or Andrew Peacock, who is worried about his former leader returning and claiming the chair from underneath him, or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard ), who has a more concrete case to take control of things? He is worried about our recent statements on South Africa. He was elusive in what he raised. Therefore, I presume he was referring to our statement that the African National Council and the South West African People's Organisation representatives could come to Australia and set up information offices. He sees this as a somewhat horrendous decision, something that will bring the system unstuck. Such is the febrile imagination of ultra-conservative people in our community. But the facts are that both organisations have already established information offices in the world. They are represented in the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Belgium-the ANC only-the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, the United States and Canada, which has the ANC only. They are some of the many countries I could refer to. We share the concern of the Leader of the Opposition, when it is expressed in a more measured way, that there should be no activity by these representatives which in any way promotes or recommends violence. We will not tolerate that. That has been made a condition of any office being set up. It is a condition which is applicable in other countries in which such offices have been established. It is respected by them, and there have been no problems in respect of that matter. I move on to the matter of Grenada.

Mr Peacock —How did you say you pronounce it?

Mr HAYDEN —I am standing too close to the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition has suggested that we should be in Grenada. He was less than precise in describing in what circumstances we should be there. However, his spokesman on foreign policy was quite explicit this morning on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation AM radio program. The spokesman for the Opposition, the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar), stated:

I would think that most people would like to see the American and the Caribbean forces, armed forces, off Grenada just as soon as possible.

We support that statement and we said that.

Mr Peacock —You said they should not have been there in the first place.

Mr HAYDEN —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for reminding me. That is another issue on which I will demolish him. The Opposition spokesman continued:

Now following that obviously there needs to be a situation of stability and peace on the island.

This is the punch line. This gives the Liberal Party away. Its spokesman said:

That may require the assistance of Commonwealth presence.

He sees combat troops in Grenada, going in to mop up, going in to quell the conflict, being engaged in actual conflict. That is the only interpretation that can be given to those words. Let me tell Opposition members a few facts about the situation in Grenada. At least 5,000-I repeat, at least 5,000-trained troops of the Grenadan armed forces doffed their uniforms, melted into the jungle and into the main course of civilian population. It is not an unreasonable expectation that at the right moment in their judgment, perhaps with a very lightly armed Commonwealth peace force-to which the Opposition recommends we should send Australians-they would attack. We have already seen the gruesome consequences of people uninhibited by decent standards with regard to a lightly armed peace force. We saw that quite recently in Lebanon. This situation is very messy and very unsettled. The Leader of the Opposition is suggesting--

Mr Peacock —The Prime Minister has lied. This man does not tell the truth.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Rocher) —Order! The Leader of the Opposition has made a remark which I ask him to withdraw.

Mr Peacock —The Prime Minister changed his stance and has not indicated why.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw.

Mr Peacock —I withdraw.

Mr HAYDEN —The Leader of the Opposition, exhausting his capacity for spontaneous and wide ranging use of his limited vocabulary, referred to me many times as a lightweight because of some of the comments which I formally presented on behalf of the Government yesterday in our statement. I remind the honourable member of what Mrs Thatcher, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, has said:

. . . I think as a general rule we in the Western countries, the Western democracies, use our force to defend our own way of life, we do not use it to walk into other people's countries, independent sovereign territories.

The Leader of the Opposition said that the issue of apprehension and fear is clear cut. I must say that I suspect the Americans have strong grounds for apprehension about the welfare of their nationals. I believe they should present a concrete case on that point to reassure the rest of us-their allies-who are concerned about this situation. Mrs Thatcher continued:

Our Deputy High Commissioner saw the Governor-General in Grenada last Sunday. He communicated no call for help whatsoever, and as you know no call was made through us, nor indeed through the, I understand from a statement from the Palace, no call was made through the monarch and any call that he made was not known until after those invasion forces had gone into the territory.

She continued:

So if there's going to be a multi-national Commonwealth force in Grenada it must have clear terms of reference, it must have a clear command structure, it must be there for a clear purpose and the timing at which it comes out must be equally clear, otherwise we really shall be so stretched in using our scarce armed forces around the world and we shall get multi-national forces in many, many places without clear purpose . . .

She criticises this out of hand. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to consider what other countries have said. Mr Genscher, the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, said:

Developments since the Cabinet meeting have not brought any information which could justify making a different assessment subsequently . . .

He also said:

. . . we would have advised against intervention . . .

This is what Germany had to say. Craxi of Italy spoke against it. The Netherlands criticised it. Our statement is a very carefully measured statement. It expresses our concern and the advice we would have given in those circumstances. The Opposition, however, wants to go forward in a gung ho style and throw itself and Australians into the jaws of conflict in a situation it does not comprehend. It is proposing a commitment to a military engagement in Grenada. That is the clear implication of the statement of the Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs matters, the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar). Let the Opposition come clean. Let it declare where it stands on these matters. If it intends to be critical of the Government's carefully measured statments on this matter, it is condemning overwhelmingly the industrialised countries of the world, the governments of which, as a matter of common sense, have almost exclusively expressed the same sort of concern that we have. We have done it with the greatest sadness because we are greatly concerned about the problems with which America has been confronted.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Rocher) —Order! The honourable Minister's time has expired .