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Tuesday, 11 September 1984
Page: 793


Senator MacGIBBON(4.31) —The Senate this afternoon is debating as a matter of urgency the ANZUS alliance and the Labor Government's action in not supporting that in a way that national government should. It is very disappointing for the Senate to have such poor speakers on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, such as Senator Gareth Evans and Senator Sibraa, as they failed to attack the substance of the motion before the Chair. I hope that Senator Elstob, when he speaks later, restores the honour of the Labor Party in this matter with an argument of substance. I will not dignify Senator Sibraa's argument-that the former Government lied about the bases-by going into it. But I would like to ask the Senate why the Labor Party put up only people from the extreme Right to speak on this issue. Why does not the Government put the average Labor member up? Why does it not put up the people from the Left and far Left? Why are those people denied the right to speak both in the Senate and the House of Representatives? Is it because the true colours of the Labor Party in relation to ANZUS and the American alliance will come out?

Senator Chipp, for the Australian Democrats, presented a speech which honestly reflects his point of view, a point of view that I respect although I cannot agree with it. The only thing I can say about his speech is that it was unbalanced in a political sense, insofar as most of it was spent on attacking the point of view of the Liberal Party of Australia. The Liberal Party has never had any ambiguity-


Senator Chipp —I said you were at least honest.


Senator MacGIBBON —Yes. The Liberal Party has never had any ambiguity in our support for the United States alliance. We stand there right or wrong. The point of this motion is that the Labor Party wants it both ways. It wants to be on both sides of the fence, pretending that it is for and against the alliance simultaneously. That is why we moved to bring this matter to the Senate this afternoon. In 1952 Australia entered into an alliance with the United States. It entered into that alliance willingly, even gratefully. There were no real problems with it until the Hawke socialist Government came to power.

The ANZUS alliance is the principal Australian defence treaty and it is by far and away the most important. As Senator Hamer said, it is not an absolute guarantee. There are many difficulties with it, which clearly relate to low level threats and the real possibility that the United States may have a genuine conflict of interest in some problems that we have with our international affairs. But it is very much in our interests to maintain that relationship with the United States. I point out in passing that it is a far more onerous and demanding relationship for the United States to bear than it is for Australia. There is no question that the Australian public want that relationship maintained. There is no question, by any military analysis or any appreciation of the strategic situation that Australia finds itself in, that we need that alliance, particularly given the serious rundown in the Australian Defence Force . We are in danger not only of losing our operational readiness under the Labor Government but also we are in danger of losing the expertise that we have built up over generations. Once we lose that expertise, because of funding cuts under the Labor Government's two Budgets, our military capabilities will go back ten years.

I have lived outside Australia for a large part of my life. I am very proud to be an Australian. I would much rather be an Australian than a citizen of any other country. I am always interested in foreign affairs and defence matters but I have no illusions at all about what goes on in the international scene. I recognise that nations always serve their own interests. They are their prime concern. The law of the jungle is the eternal law of international relations and it is kept in quiescence only by the complex power arrangement that exists between nations at any given time.

I have lived in the United States. It is one of those nations that Australia supports very much with respect to its values and standards. Respect for individual liberty and freedom and the dignity of the individual is a goal of that society, the same as it is in Australia. With a world that is regrettably polarised into two opposing beliefs, there is no question that the mass of Australians will place the values of United States society before those of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That is where we stand in the Liberal Party -four square in support of our allies. That is a marked contradiction to item 7 of the ALP policy. One of its policy objectives is that Australia should move closer to an association with non-aligned nations. We are not interested in that at all.

The ANZUS Treaty is not some dry, impersonal legal document. It is very much a matter of human relationships and friendships between two countries and peoples and the respect that they bear one another. It is important that that respect and friendship is demonstrated when Ministers and officials meet and the people of the two countries meet. The Australian-US relationship is under the greatest strain as a consequence of the Hawke socialist Government that it has ever been under. It is very important to our national interest that something is done about that. The Australian Labor Party has been stridently anti-British and anti -US throughout the whole of its existence since it was formed under that tree in Barcaldine. Many of the Labor members quite like and admire Americans, but there is no getting away from the fact that the public face of the ALP is strongly anti-American, and the Americans do not like that. America is the most charitable and most peace-loving nation on earth. It has difficulties with Europe because Europe is always prickly. The Third World is very anti-American. Australia is the only sizeable nation that has some common interest with the Americans, and they know that. We have a very great asset there which we ought to exploit to our mutual advantage. The United States does see the ALP as a socialist government and it sees the dangers of the extreme left. America knows the ALP's history. It knows that in 1976 the present Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) in a paid advertisement in the National Times, stated:

. . . Military alliances are a source of international tensions . . . foreign military bases on our soil which are detrimental to Australia's safety.

He went on to say:

. . . the USA-Australia alliance dragged us into the Vietnam War.

The advertisement demanded:

. . . opposition to military alliances, foreign military bases and military interventions and support for national and social liberation.

The United States knows very well the strength of the extreme Left in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It knows very well the whole history of the persistent criticisms of ANZUS-the problems we have had with ships visiting ports and the problems we have had with bases.

In 1983, when this Government was elected, one of the very first things it did in international affairs was to embark upon an attack on ANZUS. It was going to renegotiate and rewrite it and do everything-it was unfair! Its respresentative went off to Washington last year and held disastrous talks with the United States. They were absolutely disastrous because the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) had two views. He had a view that he fed to the left wing in Australia on an anti-American basis. He went into the conference room in Washington, talked around the table and co-operated with the Americans. He then went outside and fed the same sort of claptrap to the Australian Press on the front steps of the building as he had been feeding to the left wing in this country. Was it any wonder that the Americans thought they were dealing with someone who spoke in two different languages?

To move to the matter of bases and ships, the Americans know very well that Wran in 1976 tried to ban the entry of the USS Truxtun. They know very well that in 1982, but for the Fraser Government, Mr Cain would have banned the entry of American ships to Melbourne or any other Victorian port. They know very well what is going on in Western Australia at present with Mr Burke. If any further proof were needed about the entry of ships, before Christmas last year we had the saga of HMS Invincible, the shudders from which are still running through the American defence community. The Americans simply could not believe that their old ally could be as treacherous as we were during the situation that pertained in December. It is terribly important to the Americans that they have some harbour facilities for their ships in the South Pacific region; Australia is that haven.

To turn to the United States bases in Australia-or joint defence facilities to give them their correct terminology-we have a long saga of disinformation and leaks from the Labor Party. From time to time the Labor Party has been dragged into defending them. We had the astonishing situation in Geneva in August this year when Mr Hayden implied that in the future some covert functions that he did not know about could well go on at those bases, in which case they would stop. But he then went on to make the most unconscionable attack of all on the United States when he accused the United States of not sincerely prosecuting disarmament talks and said that if the United States did not lift its game the bases would go. I was surprised, having talked to ALP members in the Parliament whom I respect, to be told that Mr Hayden's speech did not contain the things that were recorded in the Press. I accept that point but it is dissembling a bit . I have read his speech and I have also read what he said at two Press conferences outside-one with Alan McGregor of The Times of London and the other with the Australian Press corp. Those reports, since they are available to me, I am sure are available to the Labor Party. Honourable senators will find that what I am saying about the terms and conditions that he put on those bases is factual-so much so that Mr Hawke had to rush in and pretend that it had not happened.

In view of this, is it any wonder that the United States does not trust Mr Hayden? It may not have liked some Australian Foreign Ministers beforehand; that is understandable. But we have never reached a stage in United States-Australian relationships where the United States has distrusted a Foreign Minister in the way that it distrusts Mr Hayden. It distrusts him because he speaks in conflicting ways every time he gets on to the subject of United States- Australian relationships.

There are two other areas of concern about the ALP. The first is the nonsense of the nuclear free zone. The second is the peace motions put up by Australia in the fora of the world. When we are dealing with the nuclear free zone in the Pacific, we have to recognise that New Zealand has now taken the practical application of socialist philosophy to its logical end and dropped right out of any effective military alliance. Most of the island states in the South Pacific are similarly in a nuclear free zone state of mind. Effectively what this means is a ban on all military traffic through the area. Sixty-seven per cent of the United States Seventh Fleet now is nuclear, so when I say that it is an effective ban on military traffic, it means just that. But again the ALP carries on. If one talks to ALP members in this chamber about a nuclear free zone, one gets as many versions as one does on their anti-uranium policy. If it were not so tragic, it would be hilarious.

On the subject of peace motions, there has been a set diplomatic offensive waged by the Labor Government in Australia against the United States interests. Basically the Government is in the business of putting burrs under the saddle of the United States and trying to embarrass it internationally on every occasion by pushing a line that would put the United States in a position of having to disarm unilaterally. The United States has kept the peace for 40 years with the nuclear deterrent. It simply cannot accept the situation of no cast iron verification before disarming.

We live in a different world from that of 1952. Despite Senator Chipp's view that 1952 was not a nuclear age, we were seven years into it by that time. Russia is now a major power in the Pacific and we have to counter that both for ourselves and for our friends in the South East Asian area. The Association of South East Asian Nations has gone on record as supporting Australia's involvement in the ANZUS pact.

There are risks and dangers in what we are doing in following the obligations of this treaty. But we believe in the values of our two cultures and our two civilisations. Let us take the proper course. Let us not have a Labor government in power that thinks it can flirt with the Soviets under the cloak of non- alignment which will result in the tried and trusted alliance that we have built up over the years being thrown away for some nebulous ideology. Let us see a mature Labor government for a change in the field of international relations.