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Wednesday, 27 February 1985
Page: 239


Senator COLLARD —The Minister representing the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence will be aware of the reported decision of the United States of America to advise New Zealand of severe cut-backs in the fields of defence co-operation and intelligence sharing already alluded to in two previous questions. Coming as it does on top of cancellation of recent ANZUS naval exercises because of New Zealand's refusal to accept nuclear-powered or capable ships in its ports, does the Government believe that this most serious development spells the death knell for the ANZUS alliance as we have known it? Does the Minister agree that the crisis situation which now prevails is an indictment of the Hawke Government's failure to become really involved and to play a mediating role at an early stage in the dispute between two of Australia's closest traditional allies?


Senator GARETH EVANS —No, the Government does not believe that any of the recent developments have signalled the death knell for ANZUS. The ANZUS treaty relationship is a complex one with a number of different dimensions. While it is the case that the kind of peacetime co-operation that is envisaged under Article II of that treaty has been subject to some stress as a result of recent developments in New Zealand and in New Zealand's relationship with the United States, that clearly does not in itself touch upon the operation of Article IV, which is the danger clause, nor on a number of aspects of that relationship.

As I will make clear, to the extent that I have not already done so, in the urgency debate which is to follow Question Time, Australia is anxious to maintain and, indeed, to strengthen the ANZUS alliance. We do not believe that it needs review. We do not believe that renegotiation is either a realistic or a desirable option. We will continue to work hard to preserve the alliance in all its delicacy and in all its complexity, which is in marked contrast to the blundering, ham-fisted approach which has been demonstrated by Mr Peacock and Opposition spokesmen who have been profoundly insensitive to the independent and sovereign status of New Zealand and to the delicacy of the interrelationship involved in that treaty. Our approach, by contrast, has been cautious and entirely appropriate to the mature relationship that ANZUS in fact represents.