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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2231

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the statement in Hungary by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Hungarian communist Government informed him that Hungary and other Iron Curtain nations felt threatened by the current deploying of intermediate missiles by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Western Europe. I ask: Why did Mr Hayden see fit to make this statement without also stating that the countries of Western Europe, prior to the current deployment, have been gravely threatened by the massive unilateral deployment of Soviet intermediate weapons, including the SS20-which he will know was a breach of the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty-against which the NATO countries had no defence? Why did Mr Hayden, on behalf of the Hawke Government, present the communist view without presenting the view of the non-communist NATO countries? Does the Hawke Government support the NATO deployment?

Senator Button —What a silly question from a man of your ability.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —We will be very interested to hear from Senator Button on this subject.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator will ignore the interjection and ask his question.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —May I suggest, Mr President, that it is the interjector and not me who is causing the trouble, and the admonition should be where the mote is in the eye. I ask: If this is so, why is the Government silent on this matter, except where the communist view is to be presented?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I fully endorse the comment of my Leader. That was indeed a stupid question, one without foundation and without justification, and one that does no credit to the person who asked it. I will not dignify the question with a further answer at this stage but will refer it to Mr Hayden for such personal response as he may wish to make, as I am sure he will on his return.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I ask a supplementary question. Does the Attorney- General deny that what I have said is the literal substance of the statement of Mr Hayden in the Press? Does he deny that Mr Hayden simply reported the communist statement and not the NATO statement?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have never been prepared to accept at face value anything Senator Sir John Carrick has said in this place, and I do not propose to start now.