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Friday, 22 February 1985
Page: 83


Senator DURACK —I ask the Minister representing the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence: Following the Prime Minister's recent reaffirmations of the Government's commitment to ANZUS and the United States alliance which the Minister has already referred to in Question Time today, can he now give the Senate an unequivocal assurance that ships of the United States Navy are and will be guaranteed access to all Australian ports, including the port of Melbourne, and to repair and docking facilities in the port of Sydney?


Senator GARETH EVANS —It is and has been the Government's position that the question of port access is to be regarded as an inextricable part of an alliance relationship. Very many ground rules have evolved governing the circumstances in which such access can take place. I recall spelling them out in the context of Senate debates at the time of the HMS Invincible visit so far as nuclear power and weaponry were concerned, and those restrictions would apply. I am not aware of any intention by the Government to review its current policy in that respect and answer the honourable senator's question accordingly.