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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3132


Senator DURACK(11.43) —I want briefly to return to the point I raised in my personal explanation at the end of the second reading debate. Under the Standing Orders I was not able to do any more than simply cite the misrepresentation that the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Gareth Evans, who is at the table, made about the speech that I had previously made. I pointed out that I had made it quite clear that my objection, speaking on behalf of the Opposition, was to the very wide definition of stationing of nuclear weapons in the circumstances that could arise in time of emergency or, indeed, war. The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty may prevent Australia from being able to exercise the full value of the ANZUS alliance. Mr Temporary Chairman, I really cannot hear myself speak in this chamber-


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Jessop) —Order! There is too much noise coming from my right.


Senator DURACK —Now that Senator Richardson has left we may have a little more silence and attention. During Senator Evans's speech in reply to the second reading debate he claimed that in a statement that Mr Peacock had issued, as shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and on behalf of the Opposition, he had said that Australia opposes the Treaty because it would prevent the home porting of United States warships in Australia and that this therefore means that the Opposition favours the stationing of nuclear weapons in Australia. Mr Peacock, in the House of Representatives on 20 August 1986 when leading for the Opposition in the debate on the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill, referred on page 356 of Hansard to the definition of the stationing of nuclear weapons, which is prohibited under the Treaty, and what is meant by it. He referred to the Treaty's definition of `stationing' as including `transportation on land or inland waters, stockpiling, storage, installation and deployment'.


Senator Georges —You should be doing this on the third reading.


Senator DURACK —For the benefit of Senator Georges, there would have been no need for me to be speaking now or quoting anything had it not been for the Minister who is at the table, Senator Gareth Evans, deliberately seeking to misrepresent the position of the Opposition when he replied to the second reading debate. That is why I am speaking. Mr Peacock went on:

This is an extraordinarily wide definition that in effect could strait-jacket successive Australian governments from offering home porting facilities to the United States Navy or base facilities to the United States nuclear-capable aircraft or nuclear-capable ground units.


Senator Gareth Evans —QED.


Senator DURACK —Senator Evans should listen as I read on. Mr Peacock continued:

It is not the argument of the Opposition that we want to stockpile-


Senator Gareth Evans —You have read enough to make the point.


Senator DURACK —I will start again. Mr Peacock continued:

It is not the argument of the Opposition that we want to stockpile nuclear weapons in this country, but we will not abide a clause which says that in time of peril to this country, need, war or a threat to our security, if our allies want to enter our ports-home ports, if one likes-or deploy troops, they will be forbidden to do so by this Bill because of the definition clause defining stationing as including transportation on land or inland waters and deployment. If we were in the perilous situation of asking the United States to come to our aid, is it to be thought that this legislation is to override ANZUS?

That is exactly the sort of situation in which this Treaty would override ANZUS. For the Government to say that this Treaty and this Bill have no effect on our existing defence arrangements and the basic security of this country under ANZUS is quite false. They certainly do have such an effect because of the wide definition of `stationing' which I have referred to, which has been referred to in the debate earlier and which has been referred to very clearly by Mr Peacock. Mr Peacock made perfectly clear in the debate in the House of Representatives what the Opposition's objection is. It is not that the Opposition favours the stationing of nuclear weapons in Australia. It certainly does not. Senator Evans has used this debate to misrepresent totally the position of the Opposition as expressed by Mr Peacock in the other place and by other senators and me on behalf of the Opposition in this chamber.