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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1430

Senator COONEY(3.40) —I wish first of all to put in a defence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayden. It has been said that he in some way made remarks to and about the Americans which he should not have done. I think that may well be an over-reaction to statements which he has made. He has on the record a very good history of trying to obtain peace among nations, and that is what we are all about. It is clear that everybody, from the time Senator Chaney opened this discussion until now, has had that important aim in mind. But the means used to reach that point is, as the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Chaney, said, very much in issue. Senator Sir John Carrick said that one approach should be taken, and Mr Hayden has taken a somewhat different view and a different approach. It is a matter of who is right. But so far as Mr Hayden goes, it should be accepted that what he does and what he has done in the past is done in good faith and in the interests of this country. No doubt the same can be said about Senator Sir John Carrick's proposals-that he, too, is proposing what is best for this country, as he sees it.

I want to make a couple of remarks in this area. What is needed, it seems to me, when talking about this matter not only of nuclear disarmament but of disarmament generally and in the attempt to obtain peace, is an accurate assessment of the prevailing situation. I think that is what Senator Mason was talking about. He said that we should look realistically at the position of the United States of America and the position of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and that America may not always be right and the USSR may not always be right. The Australian Government has recently said that America may have acted differently in regard to Nicaragua. That should not be looked on as anti-American so much as a proper realisation of what is going on. That is the first point I want to make-that in all the discussions that take place about peace one needs an accurate assessment of the prevailing situation.

Secondly, there ought to be monitoring of the rhetoric used. Oftentimes we all get up and talk about the need for peace and about the trouble the world is in because of the nuclear situation, because of the arming of various countries with non-nuclear weapons, however we do not do that in a monitored tone but rather in high rhetoric, which is likely to exacerbate the condition rather than to alleviate it. I think that is a shame. I think we must look very carefully at the sort of language we use when we are talking about peace, and when we are talking of what one country or another may be doing. We are not likely to get the co-operation of a country if we continually abuse it either in quite specific terms or in terms which, although not specific, clearly contain the message we want to put across, namely, that it is the evil party to the whole thing. That should not be done.

Thirdly-and I think Senator Sir John Carrick brought this out well-what is needed is faith. The great theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are very much needed in this debate about how peace and freedom can be brought to the world. What we want is peace. We do not want armed non-peace in the sense that we have it now where, although arms are not used, nevertheless real peace does not exist.

The only other comment I wish to make is this. One of the means people put forward for maintaining peace is the balance of terror argument: One feeds the tinder box with more and more tinder hoping that people will not be game enough, if I may use that expression, to ignite the tinder. The whole difficulty with that argument is that if, for whatever reason, somebody does ultimately ignite the tinder, the explosion is dreadful. The argument which says that one should reduce the tinder in the tinder box as much as possible is the one that should find favour.