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Monday, 25 March 1985
Page: 758


Senator WALTERS(9.38) —I start by congratulating my colleague Senator Knowles for a very fine maiden speech. I also congratulate Senator Black for giving his maiden speech tonight, as well. There are several issues I will address in this debate on the Governor-General's Address-in-Reply, and they all relate to the performance of the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the problems that it has caused our country. I refer to the area of foreign affairs, an area that is vital to Australia's security. I look at the Prime Minister's credibility. I do not believe he is left with any credibility whatsoever. I believe his actions have indicated that he is a numbers man. There is no indication at all of Mr Hawke having any principles. In 1976 the present Prime Minister was the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. It was then a matter of principle-or was it numbers-that he signed an advertisement, which appeared in many newspapers, headed 'For An Independent and Non-Aligned Australia'. It states:

We, the undersigned, consider that:

Military alliances are a source of international tensions.

They lead to subordination of weaker nations to bigger powers, and often involve the aligned nations in military interventions.

Foreign military bases on our soil are detrimental to Australia's safety.

They constitute a threat to other nations, make this continent a potential nuclear target, and could be used by the USA contrary to our wishes and safety.

USA-Australian alliance dragged us into the Vietnam War.

Australia's military arrangements with the USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia could involve us in military actions in South East Asia in support of unpopular regimes . . . in new Vietnams.

Therefore, we the undersigned, support the campaign for an independent and non-aligned Australia which stands for: Mutual respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations; equality of national rights; opposition to military alliances, foreign military bases and military interventions; and support for national and social liberation.

This was signed by the Prime Minister who was then the leader of the ACTU. He was in good company. I will read some of the signatures which accompanied the signature of Mr Hawke. We have Laurie Carmichael, Joe Camilleri, Pat Clancy, George Crawford, Bill Hartley, John Halfpenny, Bill Landeryou and so it goes on. This was signed by the Prime Minister. What is one of his latest comments? In an article under the headline 'I won't be Prime Minister where those issues of central and continued importance to our security are at risk' it is stated:

Mr Hawke said he would not want to be Prime Minister if central elements of the alliance, such as port access for nuclear ships and Australia's hosting of joint facilities with the US were repudiated.

He is backing the United States bases in Australia and the United States Navy into our ports. What has occurred since he made the two statements? He has become Prime Minister. In 1976, as leader of the ACTU, he was seeking numbers. He was seeking power in the ACTU and he found his numbers needed him to repudiate all alliance with America, to get rid of the American bases on our soil, be a non-aligned country and all the other rubbish that he spoke about then. Now he is Prime Minister and he looks at the polls. Again, he does not go for principles but goes for the numbers.

Let us have a look at the results of the latest poll reported in the Bulletin:

Three in four Australian electors favour a mutual defence alliance, of the same kind as ANZUS.

A total of 75 per cent of Australians want a defence alliance with the United States. Of course Mr Hawke, being a numbers man, goes for the numbers and repudiates everything he said in 1976. Indeed, when questioned about it, although not in depth by the media-the media at that time last year were still rather on Mr Hawke's side-he said: 'Look, if you read that advertisement properly you will find it doesn't really commit me to a non-alliance stance'. The article which refers to the non-alliance stance says very clearly:

. . . we, the undersigned, support the campaign for an independent and non-aligned Australia . . .

What is the man talking about? His latest stance is: What about it on principle? He is manoeuvring over the MX missiles. We know that in 1984 and early 1985 he was in favour of America's MX missile requests. There was a simple request from America. It said that it wanted to try to see how far the MX missile would go over a large ocean area where it would not be crossing any land. The simple request was: Could Australia just make sure that it refuelled the United States planes monitoring the trials? The Prime Minister was very much in favour. Was that a matter of principle, or was it a matter of numbers? Let us have a look at it.

The Prime Minister was overseas when the story broke, when the leak occurred-that Australia was giving the okay to America. His henchmen contacted him and said: 'You haven't the numbers, boss, so withdraw'. This great man of principle changed his stance once again and said to the American people: 'Sorry, it's not on. I agreed before, but I haven't the numbers back home'. So he withdrew Australia's meagre help in that area. Now he is trying to sit on the fence amongst the group which the Australian put so clearly today is 'kind of centre right but sort of left a bit'. We find that Mr Hawke, who previously felt so strongly that he was going to put his job on the line, is now deciding not to push that too strongly. Indeed he said that he would not pressure New Zealand, that it was New Zealand's decision whether it allowed the American ships into its bases and harbours, and that it had nothing to do with Australia; that New Zealand was an independent nation and he was not going to pressure Mr Lange.

I thought Australia, New Zealand and the United States were part of the ANZUS Treaty, and that Australia had a great deal to say in that regard. It certainly is very much to our detriment that the ANZUS Treaty is now in tatters. Yet Mr Hawke has said that he will not try to apply any pressure on New Zealand. Is that a matter of principle or, again, of numbers? I think it is very obvious to all that it is a matter of numbers. What has been the result of the debacle over the MX missiles and the ANZUS Treaty? The first result we have is that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Senator Chipp both congratulated New Zealand; they were the first to congratulate New Zealand on its stance. That was followed up by the United States cancelling the ANZUS naval manoeuvres and severing its intelligence links with New Zealand. Mr Hawke is saying that the ANZUS Treaty is virtually non-existent, but he still will not pressure New Zealand for the safety of Australia, the security of this Australian nation. Why? Is this a matter of great principle, or for his numbers?

Let us move on to the Prime Minister's support of Mr Hayden's recent sojourn in Asia. Mr Hayden was led up that Ho Chi Minh garden path to see that the pigs might fly in that area. Mr Hayden was, to say the very least, rather naive in his sojourn in Vietnam. We are told that he fully understood its situation; while he did not agree with every detail, he really could understand why Vietnam needed to go ahead in Cambodia. What did Mr Hawke say? He refrained from saying what Mr Hayden had said about him, which was that Mr Hawke had carried on in the MX missile debacle to the best of his ability. Mr Hawke refrained from making that sort of comment and gave blanket support to Mr Hayden. Mr Hayden so desperately wanted to believe in the puppet state of Vietnam. He told not only the Australian audience but also our Asian friends. What a fool he made of Australia while he was there. What an absolute fool he made of Australia in foreign affairs. When he reached Thailand he made an incredible statement, a report of which, appearing in the Australian on 11 March 1985, states:

. . . Mr Hayden agreed last night that the Vietnamese leaders now appeared not to have told him the truth about Vietnamese incursions into Thailand.

What an incredible statement for a Foreign Minister to make! He said that his visit to Vietnam was a fairly emotional visit to a country whose rights to independence he had backed during the Vietnam war. He so desperately wanted to believe Vietnam that he was willing to believe that pigs might fly. When he reached Thailand he found that it was all a pack of lies. It was there that Australia was made to look such a fool in foreign affairs. Why did the Prime Minister support this stupid man? Was it because of principle or numbers? He needed the Centre Left and the numbers.

There was another claim for numbers-not principles-when Mr Hawke rejected the United States of America's research into strategic defence initiatives; that is, the Star Wars program. Star Wars is a non-nuclear research program that aims to destroy missiles as they are set off. It is no threat to anyone. Why would anyone oppose his ally adopting or researching a non-nuclear defence mechanism? Yet the Prime Minister has played for numbers with the Left and the Centre Left and has refused to assist or join America in any role involving the Star Wars defence mechanism. We are told that the Soviets are well ahead with Star Wars defence. Only a couple of days ago two reports were released which claim that the Soviets have a substantial lead over the United States in the development of Star Wars strategic defence, yet our Prime Minister is not backing United States research in this area.


Senator Button —Is your Party backing it?


Senator WALTERS —Of course it is, wholeheartedly. We are completely supporting the United States in this area.


Senator Button —That is good to note.


Senator WALTERS —Senator Button should do so; he needs to. A further action, in 1981, by Mr Hawke again showed him as a man of numbers, not principle. In 1981, before Mr Hawke was Leader of the Labor Party, there was a debate in the House of Representatives on whether Australia should send a peacekeeping force to the Sinai. Many people thought there was a great principle behind Mr Hawke's support of Israel during that period. He was meant to be a great supporter of Israel. At that time our Government wanted to send peacekeeping troops to Israel at the request of Israel and Egypt. The Opposition, with Mr Hayden as Leader, was voting against it. What did Mr Hawke do? He made a very emotional speech. Indeed, he cried in the House of Representatives as he crossed the floor and voted against Israel. Is he a man of principle or a man of numbers? He needed the numbers to rise to the position of Leader of his Party. Again this month he is bowing to numbers and withdrawing the troops we sent to the Sinai, against the wishes of Israel and Egypt. Again, there is a lack of principle. For the sake of numbers he is willing to betray Israel.

Further evidence of the Prime Minister's lack of principle and his seeking of numbers, again in relation to Israel, is the change in Australia's voting pattern in the United Nations. Australia has agreed in principle to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to have equal representation in the United Nations with other Middle Eastern members and has refused to second a Scandinavian resolution in an attempt to block the Iranian move that was the first step in having Israel expelled from the United Nations. Who needs enemies when one has friends such as Mr Hawke? If we look a little further we find that Mr Hawke's pandering to the Left involves Senator Button. We find Laurie Carmichael and John Halfpenny being appointed to the Australian Manufacturing Council.


Senator Button —I did that.


Senator WALTERS —I said it involved the honourable senator. Not many Australians are not well aware that these two gentlemen were members of the Communist Party of Australia. Not many people are unaware that John Halfpenny resigned from the Communist Party and joined the Labor Party after the required number of days. I do not think anybody would argue about Laurie Carmichael's leanings. Yet we find that the Prime Minister-for numbers alone; it has nothing to do with principle-allows Senator Button to appoint Messrs Carmichael and Halfpenny as members of the Australian Manufacturing Council.


Senator Button —Don't blame him; it was me. I did it.


Senator WALTERS —Apparently we should not blame the Prime Minister for anything that happens in the Labor Party as he is not its leader. He is just the leader of one of its factions. An article which appeared in the Australian on 27 March 1984 stated:

Questioned about the appointment of Mr Carmichael and Mr Halfpenny, a smiling Senator Button said the two officials were nominated for council membership by the ACTU 'and quite frankly, in view of what I believe they have to contribute I think it is very sensible'.


Senator Button —How did you know I was smiling?


Senator WALTERS —I read the papers now and again. We find that this great Prime Minister of Australia, in a ploy with the Left to keep his numbers, is willing to have those two gentlemen given a parliamentary appointment. Let us not misunderstand this matter. It was very recent. It was obviously a pay-off because he wanted a couple of right wing unions in Victoria to join the Labor Party.

I believe I have been able to point out tonight the hypocrisy of the present Prime Minister. He is unashamedly a man of numbers. There is no vestige of principle in any stand he takes. He will vote only according to the numbers that will keep him in power. His motto is: The end justifies the means.

Debate (on motion by Senator Grimes) adjourned.