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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 155


Senator LEWIS(8.55) —The Senate is debating the Australian Waters (Nuclear-powered Ships and Nuclear Weapons Prohibition) Bill 1984 [1985] which was introduced by the Australian Democrats and which purports in effect to declare Australia a nuclear free zone, but in fact is a proposition for unilateral disarmament. As Senator Georges so ably pointed out in his speech, it is a piece of cynical hypocrisy, designed to try to win back for the Democrats the votes that they lost at the last election to the Nuclear Disarmament Party. Nevertheless, I have to say seriously to the Senate that I was, quite frankly, shocked by the fervour of Senator Chipp's attack on the United States during his speech.


Senator Townley —Terrible, disgraceful!


Senator LEWIS —I agree with my colleague Senator Townley. I thought it was disgraceful. Senator Chipp virtually put the responsibility for the arms race on the Americans. He referred to the Americans as being stand-over people.


Senator Chipp —No, bully boys.


Senator LEWIS —Senator Chipp has just confirmed that that is his view. 'No, bully boys', was his interjection. I feel that he made no reference in his speech to what the Soviet Union has done in its attacks on the peace-loving peoples of the world. I am concerned about the nature of the report and, no doubt, the American Press will feature on what Senator Chipp had to say. The American Press probably will not hear what I have to say, but I have to put on record for the sake of the Americans a couple of matters of great importance. The first point is that, although Senator Chipp is the Leader of a party in Australia, he will never be in government. Those from the United States who become concerned about anything he might say can rest easy on the basis that he will never again be in a government in Australia. The second thing which I have to say to the Americans in regard to Senator Chipp is that he does get very emotional about whatever happens to be his current obsession. He is currently obsessed with trying to win back the votes that the Democrats lost to the Nuclear Disarmament Party. So we are getting emotional speeches about the nuclear holocaust. Quite frankly, I can only say to the Americans that when Senator Chipp gets this way it tends to cloud his reasoning.

The attack which the Democrats have conducted by way of this Bill related to ANZUS. When it has been pointed out to them that in effect this Bill's passing would mean the total end of ANZUS, they have then said: 'What is the meaning of ANZUS?', and they have started to look at the words of the ANZUS agreement. They have criticised the fact that the agreement simply says that the Americans 'will consult'.

I have had many years of experience with partnership agreements and it is my view that once partners start to look at the wording of their agreements, the partnership is in trouble. That is precisely what happened to ANZUS from the day the Labor Party came into office, because very shortly afterwards, Mr Hayden, in his wisdom, said: 'I have had a look at ANZUS and it does not mean anything'-the same sort of argument that the Democrats have been putting here tonight. He started talking about the words 'will consult'. These words were said by Mr Hayden in his new office as Minister for Foreign Affairs and right from the word go the ANZUS agreement was in trouble. I say to honourable senators that the ANZUS agreement required full faith and loyalty on the part of the people involved.

Australians have always understood that if we were attacked the Americans would come to our aid. I have no doubt-I say this to Senator Chipp, who challenged us this afternoon-that the Americans would have come to our aid while the Liberals were in office and while we were standing by ANZUS. On the other hand, in view of how we now stand with ANZUS, I do not know whether the Americans would still come to our aid. They would certainly have an excuse not to do so. It is clear from the Bill that the Democrats propose to disarm all weapons on our side. The Bill says that no nuclear-powered ships should come into Australia and that the Government should enforce this. But the Bill goes further. Believe it or not, it gives power to certain officers, and defines 'officer' in this way:

(a) an officer for the purposes of the Customs Act . . .

(b) a member of the Australian Federal Police;

(c) a member of the Police Force of a State or Territory; or

(d) a member of the Defence Force.

It gives such officer power to board a vessel and to search it. Can one imagine Premier Cain directing a Victorian police officer to go on board an American ship which happened to be in a Victorian harbour, if it could get there, and that officer saying to the captain: 'I intend to board this vessel and to search it'? If that part of the Bill is not bad enough, it goes on to say about any officer who makes such a boarding:

require the master of the vessel to give information to the officer concerning the vessel;

. . . .

. . . . and take copies of, or extracts from, any documents, books or papers produced to him in pursuance of a requirement under this section or found by him in the course of searching the vessel.

No doubt that would include all the secret codes and the rest of the documents that may be found on vessels that come into harbour. Can one imagine anything so utterly stupid as that proposal in the Bill? This is the sort of nonsense that comes from the Democrats, who will never be in government and will never have to worry about such matters. As always, the result of that kind of activity would be total disarmament. Under those provisions no ships, whether they be nuclear powered or otherwise, would want to come into our ports. Even a wooden sailing vessel would not come into our ports if the captain were to be subject to provisions such as those in clause 7 of the Bill.

The clear indication of the Bill is that it warrants unilateral disarmament. It is simplistic nonsense. I quote from an article in the Melbourne Age by Claude Forell, who is not a person from whose writings I would normally quote. He rarely writes things with which I would agree, but I agree with his comments in an article entitled 'Lessons from history Labor must heed':

. . . to be passionately concerned about the dangers of nuclear war and the super power arms race is one thing; to strive for realistic and effective policy objectives is quite another. The issues involved are far too complex and delicate to be solved, or even intelligently confronted, by the simplistic sloganeering, the emotional pressures and the symbolic posturing pursued by the anti-nuclear coalition . . . Most of their demands would do more to increase rather than reduce the risks of war, and could not be met by any Australian Government with a sensible appreciation of national security and international obligations.

I recognise the view taken by Senator Georges, but I adopt a contrary view. Senator Georges is so passionately concerned with the problem that he thinks the best thing we can do is to disarm.


Senator Georges —Who said anything about disarmament?


Senator LEWIS —The truth is that this has been tried before. It was tried in the 1930s and totally failed. It has been tried on previous occasions and will not work. Let us forget disarmament for the moment. Let us look at the current problems this Government is facing with its own Public Service. When the present Government came into office, it disarmed. It did away with the Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act, and one has only to look at the problems the Government now has before it. It is in desperate trouble trying to control its own Public Service because it disarmed. That is exactly the situation experienced by nations throughout the world.

I was disturbed by the attack by Senator Chipp and his colleague Senator Haines, based on fear, involving Australia as a target. It is clear that, as usual, the Democrats want to have their bets each way. Senator Macklin wanted Australia to stay part of the ANZUS agreement, but he thought it could be a non-nuclear agreement. I feel I have demonstrated beyond doubt that that is nonsense. The Democrats have sought to bet each way in their fear campaign. Although they are saying that Australia has targets at Pine Gap and Nurrungar, they also take the view that as soon as one atomic bomb has been exploded anywhere in the world certainly Australia will suffer a nuclear winter. There is no doubt that, by the time a nuclear explosion occurs in Australia, this community, this society and the world as we know it today will be finished.

We all want peace. Even the Soviets say they want peace. The question is how peace is to be achieved. President Carter tried to achieve peace, as did other American Presidents before him, including President Kennedy. They all tried to persuade the Soviet Union to come to the bargaining table and they failed miserably in that task. Now, after President Reagan has had four years in office, the Soviets are finally getting close to coming to that bargaining table. That has happened because the United States has finally reached the stage where it has produced a weapon, the MX missile, which is able to cope with the Soviet SS18s and SS19s, which are aimed all around the world. The Soviets knew that they had control of the world and could blast it apart. They could have started with Europe or with the United States and blasted the world apart with SS18s and SS19s. Now, the Americans have produced a counter-weapon which has re-established the balance of power.

That having happened, the whole world-not just Australia-has been subjected to one of the most massive campaigns of disinformation ever known. After four years with President Reagan in power, there are books about the nuclear holocaust, as well as films on the subject. People are being constantly inundated with material from all sorts of academics and from all sorts of places. Clearly that has happened because the balance has been restored by the existence of the MX missile. A great deal of nonsense is put about in an effort to get rid of the surveillance satellites or the ground stations, but it is clear to all and sundry that, at last, the Soviets are coming to the table to negotiate because of the strength of the United States and its MX missile campaign. The situation will get worse. I predict that, as the Soviets squirm under this strengthening of American power, there will be more and more disinformation and more proposals put forward by people such as Senator Chipp and the Democrats attacking the Americans. Judging by the way Senator Chipp spoke today, I believe that the Americans will hear a lot more from him about their actions. For example, what about that 1980 map of ballistic missile test ranges of the Soviet Union, showing shot after shot being fired into the Pacific Ocean? There is no suggestion by Senator Chipp that some action be taken against the Soviet Union for its activities.

I now turn to the Australian Labor Party. The editorial in the Melbourne Herald this afternoon contains some interesting comments about this matter. It talks about the censure debate in the other place last Friday. It states:

On Friday, Mr Hawke spoke with great conviction of his respect for the American alliance. He attacked the concept of unilateral disarmament. He pledged Australia's continued involvement in ANZUS. These were the right words. But, coming from a Prime Minister who reneged on a promise to support the American MX missile tests, coming from a politician who folded in the face of party pressure and snubbed our major ally, they sounded incongruous, if not hypocritical.

Is that not so very true? Here tonight again there is an opportunity for Mr Hawke, through his Party, to support the Americans by supporting the amendment which Senator Chaney moved this afternoon. But no, those in the left wing, the left faction, of the Labor Party clearly have Mr Hawke and his Ministry in their control. What they have done is come up with some sort of weak amendment which I will refer to in a minute.

Government senators-Ha, ha!


Senator LEWIS —Mr Acting Deputy President, the left wing in the Senate here tonight, or most of them grouped here, are indicating by their laughter that they do not think they have Mr Hawke under their control. But the way the Prime Minister has backed off in regard to this matter is very interesting. It is very interesting that the Labor Party is not supporting our amendment to the motion for the second reading of this Bill. It is very interesting to think back to what happened with the Invincible. One can think back to what happened in the State of Victoria to Mr Cain, who is in the same position. Mr Cain, the current Premier-I hope he will not be the Premier after next Saturday-told the United States that American warships were simply not welcome in Victorian ports. Although it had nothing whatsoever to do with him, in fact, of course, that means that American warships are not entering Victorian ports. As I say, the result is an amendment by the Labor Party. I can only presume that this amendment has been worked out by the faction leaders. We have had Senator Robert Ray and Senator Richardson on one side. I do not know who would have led the left wing of the Labor Party. I suppose that it would have been Mr Hand.


Senator Boswell —Senator Georges is the leader of the Left.


Senator LEWIS —No, I do not think Senator Georges was involved in the preparation of this. I do not know who those in the Left would have got; they probably had to get Mr Hand from the other place. They worked out this weak-kneed amendment, which states:

The Senate is of the opinion that continued access by visiting allied war ships, within the framework of appropriate safety and environmental controls as laid down by successive Australian Governments, is essential for the effective operation of the ANZUS alliance.

Of course, we support that. It goes on:

The Senate is further of the view that Australia's membership of the ANZUS alliance has a significant role to play in advancing Australia's influence in disarmament forums.

Is that the best the Labor Party can say about the ANZUS alliance- that it has a significant role in advancing influence in disarmament forums? Let us look at what the Joint Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee had to say in its report in October 1984. This report was unanimous. There were 21 senators and members on this Joint Committee. This part of the report was quite unanimous. The Committee included Senator Elstob, Senator Jones, Senator Sibraa and Senator Tate from the other side.


Senator Withers —They are all right wingers.


Senator LEWIS —My colleague Senator Withers reminds me that they are all right wingers. There were no left wingers on that Committee; they could not get the numbers. This report says, and this is a unanimous view, that the Committee considers that it is in Australia's interest to maintain the ANZUS Treaty and other bilateral defence arrangements with the United States-no question; no humming and hawing; nothing about maintaining membership because it has a significant role to play in advancing Australia's influence in disarmament forums, but it has something to do with the defence of the nation. That is what ANZUS is all about; it has something to do with the defence of the nation. Those in the left wing of the ALP have persuaded their leaders not to support our amendment. Our amendment actually puts a bit of guts into the matter. It says:

The Senate is of the opinion that-

(a) continued access by the US and UK nuclear powered ships, and of nuclear capable ships, is vital for the maintenance of peace and an effective stable deterrence; and

(b) unilaterial disarmament measures can only undermine the cause of peace and contribute to instability.

They are practically the words of various members of this Government. They are practically the words of Mr Hayden. They are practically the words of Mr Hawke. But the Labor Party is not prepared to support that amendment. That is where the words came from, of course; they came from their speeches. The amendment also goes on:

The Senate-

(a) expresses concern at the attempt unilaterally to place restrictions on the military forces of Australia and its allies-

Of course, we ought to be concerned about that. But the Labor Party is not concerned about it. Our amendment continues:

. . . and strongly is of the view that disarmament measures should occur only as part of a mutual and balanced reduction of arms with effective verification and compliance.

That is what the United States is on about. That is what it is hoping to achieve in Geneva. That is what it is all about with its MX missile tests; it is in order to show the Soviet Union that the strength is there, that the ability to defend this world is available.


Senator Georges —There is no end to that sort of thing; it just goes on and on. It just goes up and up.


Senator LEWIS —Senator Georges says that there is no end to it. That is not true. There is no end to it while we keep unilaterally disarming and weakening ourselves. Once we show strength we reach the stage where the Soviet Union will come to the bargaining table and there will be a chance that we can achieve a reduction. In fact there should be total disarmament of all weapons let alone nuclear weapons, but that can be achieved only by strength. Surely the 1930s told this world that it can be achieved only by strength. The weakness which we showed to the Germans in the 1930s resulted in the disaster of the 1939-45 war. If we had shown some strength in 1932 it would not have happened. If we had shown some strength in 1934 it would not have happened. If we had shown some strength in 1936 it still would not have happened. But, no, people, with all due respect, with the same sorts of views as those expressed by Senator Chipp and Senator Georges this evening, put those sorts of views in the 1930s. That led to the disaster of the Second World War. For 40 years we have had peace, and the only reason we have had peace is the strength of the United States. Finally, it is our view that the Senate should say that it is:

. . . of the view that Australia has a significant role to play in the search for peace and disarmament but recognises that Australia's influence in disarmament fora is dependent upon our continuing to help in the maintenance of an effective deterrent.

That is what it is all about-providing an effective deterrent. At the present moment Australia, with its satellite transmitting station, is simply providing some sort of information about what is happening in this world. There can be no doubt that the surveillance of what is going on in this world is the greatest thing that the world has going for it to bring peace. It is the total surveillance of the world which will ensure that the information is available to people around the world. That is the sort of thing that will bring peace, not unilateral disarmament and certainly not unilateral disarmament by a small insignificant nation such as Australia. In just the same way, unilateral disarmament by New Zealand, which is the effect of what Mr Lange has been on about, will be absolutely meaningless to the Soviet Union. Is there any suggestion about the Soviet Union getting out of Can Ranh Bay of the other areas that it is developing in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific area? Is there any suggestion of the Soviet Union withdrawing from those areas because of this action by New Zealand? Not at all. The sort of action proposed in this Bill by Senator Chipp and the left wing of the Labor Party will just bring tragedy to this world, certainly not the peace which we all hope to achieve.