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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 132


Senator CHIPP (Leader of the Australian Democrats)(4.52) —I notice that two amendments, one by the Liberal Party and one by the Australian Labor Party, have been made with regard to the Australian Waters (Nuclear-powered Ships and Nuclear Weapons Prohibition) Bill 1984 which the Australian Democrats brought in, through myself, last September. I wish to address my remarks to those amendments. May I, without being patronising, compliment Senator Chaney and Senator Gareth Evans for the thoughtful, high level of debate which they have brought to this crucial question. That does not mean to say that I agree with a hell of a lot of what they said, but I compliment them on the way in which they said it and the thoughtful way in which they put it. I hope that the rest of the debate-I am pleased to say that it has attracted something like 14 speakers-will maintain that high standard.

The first thing that puzzles me about Senator Chaney's amendment is that it suggests that by banning the visit of nuclear powered and nuclear armed ships from Australian ports the Democrats are advocating unilateral disarmament. Never in our history have the Democrats advocated unilateral disarmament. We regard that as an absurd proposition. We have advocated two things: There should be some moral leadership given to disarmament by Australia, as New Zealand has, and by the United States of America; and, secondly, Australia's defence policies should change drastically towards our being more strongly independent in our defence posture and less reliant on a nation or nations whose posture is geared to a global defence strategy and possibly a global aggressive pre-emptive first-strike strategy, which we believe the United States is moving to. Why should there not be moral leadership?

Senator Chaney, or Senator Evans-they both meant the same thing when they talked about unilateral disarmament-suggested that the Democrats are advocating unilateral disarmament. We have never advocated that. The fact is that there are now 50,000 nuclear bombs in existence. Thirty thousand of those bombs are owned by the United States and 20,000 by the Soviet Union. There are a few other nations in the nuclear club, but that is essentially the spread of the nuclear bombs. It is wise, I think, just to pause for a moment to contemplate the amount of destruction that those 50,000 nuclear bombs could wreak. Senator Evans spoke about the nuclear winter. That is a nice poetic phrase, but it does not get to the true meaning of the total insanity which has driven humankind to the point where 50,000 nuclear bombs are in existence. It is the declared intention of President Reagan and President Chernenko and their henchmen to produce a further 20,000 bombs over the next decade. The average size of those 50,000 bombs-not the biggest-is something like 20 to 30 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, which killed 200,000 human beings. The situation is that 50,000 nuclear bombs are in existence. The average one would kill, it it were possible, something like six million people in one hit. That is the stage which we have reached.

If Senator Chaney wants to say that the Soviet Union has never taken the initiative on disarmament, I will essentially agree with him. One interesting point is that every time the United States of America has taken the initiative-it has done so on several occasions-it has been immediately followed through by the Soviet Union. I am not looking to the Soviet Union for moral leadership. I do not look to the Soviet Union for anything that is moral in any form, but the facts of life are that when the United States has taken the path of moral leadership it has been followed by common-sense motivations by the Soviet Union. All we are saying and suggesting now-if Senator Chaney wants to talk about unilateral disarmament, which is not in our dictionary-is that if President Reagan wanted to give moral leadership he could say tomorrow, in Geneva: 'The Americans will denuclearise'-I am sure that is not the correct expression, but I think it conveys a meaning-'5,000 of our 30,000 bombs'. The Americans would still have enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the whole world dozens of times over and still have superiority over the Soviet Union, but it would be an act of moral leadership-I am sure that is not a naive expression-which we believe the world needs desperately before we have the nuclear winter about which Senator Evans spoke.

I agree with Senator Evans that if we have a total nuclear confrontation between the major powers this debate is useless; any talk is useless. There is no point in even contemplating it. There would be a nuclear winter. It would mean that every living creature and organism on earth would be destroyed. The world would be in total darkness. There would be no growth and no life for hundreds of thousands of years. Before Senator Evans dismisses the concern of the Democrats with one swoop of the hand saying 'What are you worried about? If there is a nuclear war there will be a nuclear winter and there will be no need to worry because we will all be dead'. I remind him that there can be and there is an evil, insane concept of a winnable limited nuclear war. This concept is still being proposed by President Reagan and other people in the Defense Department in the Pentagon. Even if the strategic defence initiative is successful, a limited nuclear war is still possible. Australia should not have a bar of it. If President Reagan and his elderly, insane advisers want to play war games with the equally elderly, insane generals in the Kremlin, we cannot do much about it.

In God's name, let us have the guts to say to the Americans and the Russians: 'We do not want any part of your dirty, rotten business of destroying the world because you have no right to do that.' All out nuclear war is not the only concept to be considered. A limited nuclear war is still an item on the agenda in the Pentagon and the Kremlin.

Australia is a nuclear target. It is not Don Chipp or the Democrats saying that; the Soviets say so, the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Hawke, says so and the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) says so. We are now a nuclear target and it is time every Australian who says he or she believes in God, who says he or she cares for the family and for children, realised that. It is not a matter of fantasy; it is a fact. Authorities that cannot be contradicted say so, and nuclear warships and planes carrying nuclear weapons are as much targets in a nuclear conflict as the bases are.

Senator Gareth Evans, speaking on radio today, with Senator Chaney and me, said a very quaint thing as far as the Labor Party is concerned. I do not want to score points but, please, will some following speaker from the Labor Party explain this? Senator Evans said: 'The Labor Party is still adamant that there will be no B52 bombers or any other kind of aircraft carrying nuclear bombs flying across Australian soil.' I believe that, but what I would like to have explained to me is: What is the difference between having a nuclear bomb carried across our soil in an aircraft and having a nuclear bomb on board a ship-a bomb, I remind honourable senators, that could be 20 to 30 times more powerful and destructive than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima-in Sydney Harbour, Fremantle, or Port Melbourne? The logic of that escapes me. If the Labor Party wants to take credit for saying: 'We will not have a bar of aircraft carrying nuclear bombs but we will let nuclear bombs into our ports', there seems to me to be an inconsistency which is unexplainable. Those ships and planes go close to large population areas. The Government is heightening the panoply of hazard and fear in which the people of Australia live. We now have 24 American bases on Australian soil. I bet that comes as a surprise to some Australians listening this afternoon. We now have 24 American bases on Australian soil, some of which are prime nuclear targets. Again, it is not Don Chipp and the Democrats saying that; the Soviets are saying it. The Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence (Mr Beazley) and the Minister for Foreign Affairs admit that we do have American bases on Australian soil which are nuclear targets, one of them within a cricket ball's throw, if you have a reasonable arm, of Adelaide.

The debate on this Bill today is urgent because of Australia's vulnerability. It is not static; it is increasing. The bases are now linked with the infamous SDI Star Wars program-SDI standing for strategic defence initiative. This matter is of the utmost urgency because it is being done by stealth.


Senator Button —You cannot substantiate what you have just said for a minute.


Senator CHIPP —I am about to try. Australia is not even being consulted in this matter. It is all very well for the Minister to interject that I cannot substantiate that for a minute. I am not asking the Minister to tell me details, but does he, as the third most senior Minister in the Government, know exactly what is going on at Nurrungar?


Senator Button —I believe so.


Senator CHIPP —Can he tell me exactly what is going on at Pine Gap?


Senator Button —I believe so.


Senator CHIPP —Can he tell me what is going on at Watsonia?


Senator Button —I believe not, in my case.


Senator CHIPP —The Minister is renowned for his frankness and honesty, and I thank him for those answers. I believe, in all sincerity, he has answered truthfully, but he has not answered in accordance with fact, because I suggest to him with the greatest respect that he does not know exactly what is going on at Pine Gap, Nurrungar, North West Cape and a dozen other bases in Australia. For example, Nurrungar is being transformed from part of an early warning system to aiding the United States in trans and post-attack intelligence, and in this way it is contributing to strategic instability via its contribution to war fighting capacities, and I say to the Minister that that is a direct contribution to the strategic defence initiative.

The debate today is a matter of urgency. I put this very simple proposition: I move from the ultra-technical aspect of Star Wars to something very simple. If I asked the average Australian in the street 'Do you believe it is your right as an Australian to say whether you should have nuclear bombs in your ports?', I believe that, cherishing that myth of independence with which we seem to clothe ourselves, he would say: 'Bloody oath, no one is going to stand over us. No one is going to tell us we have to have nuclear bombs in our ports.' That is what the average Australian would say. But is that the fact? No, we are no longer the masters of our own destiny. We have now got Big Brother, the United States, telling us: 'You step out of line on this, Australia, and we will do to you what we are going to do to New Zealand.' What was New Zealand's horrendous crime that has earned it the wrath of the United States of America? It has had bully boys such as Shultz, Weinberger, this moron called Cheney-spelt C-h-e-n-e-y, not the distinguished Senator Chaney of this House-who says: 'If Australia steps out of line like New Zealand, I will move to introduce private members Bills in the Congress to punish it for stepping out of line.' Did we hear any response from the Government or the Opposition to that outrageous statement from a moron such as that? Yet the statement gets Press coverage here. What did New Zealand do? All it did was to say: 'We do not want nuclear bombs in our ports'. Is it not the right of any nation to say that? That is all Mr Lange said. That is all the New Zealanders say. I have been there recently and 73 per cent of New Zealanders have responded to the magnificent and courageous moral leadership that Mr Lange is giving the South Pacific and Australia and they are totally supporting him.

How would members of the Liberal Party, who pride themselves quite properly on being champions of freedom and justice, feel if the Soviet Union said to one of its satellites, where ordinary men, women and children work and play: 'You must become a nuclear target. We, the Soviets, insist that you have the visit of Soviet warships loaded to the teeth with nuclear bombs. You must accept danger because we, the Soviet Union, believe it is our global strategy for you to have it.'? Every member of the Liberal Party in this Parliament would stand up outraged, and quite properly so. They would say: 'What a monstrous intrusion into civil liberties that is-major powers being bully boys and saying to the minor powers and nations: ''No, you are no longer entitled to your independence.'' '

I am fascinated by the Liberal amendment with regard to our Bill. Honourable senators will notice that there is not one word about ANZUS in the Liberal amendment. Do I take it that at last the Democrats have had some success in that the Liberals now concede that ANZUS is valueless? It is not worth a damn.


Senator Peter Baume —You are not correct.


Senator CHIPP —Why do the Liberals not have the guts to put it in their amendment? They are now relying on phrases such as 'the Western alliance'. What the hell does that mean? Is there a treaty?


Senator MacGibbon —It means the Western democracies.


Senator CHIPP —I see, it means the Western democracies. If anyone can point out to me what bit of paper, what resolution, constitutes the Western alliance I would be grateful. Let me go back to ANZUS. I ask the Senate two questions: What has Australia given to the Americans and what have they given back to us? Let us see how fair and two-way it has been, because Senator Chaney and other people rely rather heavily on this. I just heard some fellow in the Pentagon saying: 'Of course, if our allies like Australia and New Zealand want our protection in time of war they have to be prepared to pay for it'. That is what he said. It is on Channel 9 news tonight.

What have we given to the Americans? Let us look at that first. Firstly, we have given the Americans 24 precious places on Australian soil on which they have built their bases. Some of them are nuclear targets and the character of some of them is being changed by stealth. Secondly, we have now agreed twice to monitor the testing of MX missiles. Do people listening to this debate know what an MX missile is? It is a device which can hit hard silos in which Soviet nuclear weapons are stored. An MX missile does not contain as a warhead one nuclear bomb; it has the capacity to contain eight to 10 nuclear warheads. Australia agreed to monitor the testing of the MX missiles on two occasions-once at least by Prime Minister Fraser and once at least by Prime Minister Hawke.

I mention as an aside the infamy of Prime Minister Hawke. Months after he had agreed with President Reagan that Australia would continue to monitor the testing of the MX missile Australia voted in the United Nations for a nuclear freeze. Months after Prime Minister Hawke had given that assurance to President Reagan we supported a zone of peace in the South Pacific at a meeting of the South Pacific Forum held in August 1984. Even as late as November 1984 Australia voted in the United Nations for a nuclear freeze knowing full well that we had agreed to monitor the testing of the MX missile. The Liberals know that I totally disagree with their policies, but at least, as they say in Cockney London, they are 'straight up and down, guv'. They have said that they are all for the MX missile. They have said that they are for the alliance. I do not know of any occasion on which the Liberals have said something to a President of the United States and then voted the opposite way at the United Nations.


Senator Tate —I think the freeze we voted for was a mutual and verifiable freeze.


Senator CHIPP —It also included the means for delivering weapons as well as weapons themselves. I should have thought that that is precisely what the MX missile is. That is the second thing we have given the Americans under ANZUS. Thirdly, we have given them Nurrungar, which directly links us to the Star Wars concept. Fourthly, has any member of the Senate with any knowledge of the technical defence of Australia looked at the kind of defence equipment we have bought over the last 20 years? I should know more than most senators because I was Minister for the Navy, Acting Minister for the Army and Acting Minister for Air, my qualifications for the three jobs being that I was once a leading aircraftsman in the Royal Australian Air Force. This is the crazy way in which we appoint Ministers in this country. I say in a flash that I have changed my mind in 16 years. If anybody wants to make a cheap fourth form debating point about that I will say: 'Of course I have'. I would not want to have even a cup of tea with an honourable senator who has the same views on everything today as he had 16 years ago. Some honourable senators have.

Does Australia want DDGs? Does it want the incredibly sophisticated kind of equipment we have bought for the sake of the Americans over 20 years or do we want a fast, elite, well-equipped, well-armed Army, Navy and Air Force to keep off some nearby predator? We have spent billions of dollars of taxpayers' money on equipment to fit in with America's global defence policy, not Australia's. That is what we have given to the Americans. We have allowed nuclear ships into our ports. We have manufactured in Australia parts of the electromagnetic rail gun. If Senator Button wishes to interject again and say that that is not an integral part of President Reagan's Star Wars concept let him do so. We have allowed B52 bombers to fly over, refuel and land on Australian soil. I remind honourable senators that next year the B52 will be fitted with cruise missiles. That is what we have given to the Americans, as far as I know. I do not know of any other secret deals that have been done by Prime Ministers, Liberal or Labor.

What have we got out of ANZUS and what were we likely to get out of ANZUS? I have challenged both Senator Chaney and Senator Evans and I challenge any Liberal senator who follows me in the debate to name the article in the ANZUS Treaty which says America will help us. That should not be hard to do because the Treaty is only 1,200 words long. It is only a page and a half long. Surely honourable senators can point out to me the article or the phrase which says that America will come to Australia's aid if we are attacked. The Treaty says that America will consult. That means no more than a phone call. Even if the President of the United States commits land forces or any sorts of forces to Australia's defence, according to article IV of ANZUS the decision still has to go through the constitutional process, which means the President has to have his action endorsed by Congress. Is there one honourable senator in this chamber now or one person listening to the broadcast of my speech who believes that the Congress of the United States would approve presidential action to commit troops to Papua New Guinea or Australia if perchance we were attacked by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam or anybody else? Does anybody in his right mind really believe that because of ANZUS America would come to our aid? Of course it would not. It would come to our aid if it suited the United States of America. That has been the motivation of the foreign policy of every nation since history began. I am not blaming the United States for that.


Senator Messner —They agree to.


Senator CHIPP —Because the Labor Party agrees with Senator Messner on this certainly does not make it right. The Government has voted for these matters, I believe to our shame. How the Government will explain it to our partners I do not know.

Let me conclude my remarks by referring to this man Cheney in the United States. I do not pin-point him because, to use the English expression, he is a twerp or, to use the Australian expression, he could be called a moron. One thing that is indicative, however, is that he mouths some of the sentiments coming out of the Pentagon. He says: 'If Australia dares stop nuclear ships coming into its ports I will move motions in the Congress hurting Australia's trade'. Let us look at that comment. Did nobody tell this individual that we buy two and a half times more from the United States than it buys from us? Did someone not even bother to tell this idiot that the kind of stuff that we buy from the United States is high technology stuff which Japan would love to sell us? Does this fellow not know that we have companies in Australia such as IBM, GMH, Ford, Honeywell, Alcoa, Comalco, Caltex, Esso and General Electric, to name just a few, which are wholly or essentially owned by American shareholders?


Senator Button —What are you suggesting?


Senator Messner —Are you going to expropriate them?


Senator CHIPP —I suggest that instead of having interjections such as the ones I heard from the Labor side and the Liberal side of the chamber and instead of being stood over by the Americans it is time we showed some guts, stood up, were counted and stopped nuclear bombs coming into our ports.