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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3141

Senator GEORGES(12.36) —I must admit to some embarrassment about this whole debate. I find the manner in which the debate has developed completely unacceptable. I find it extraordinary that we should be engaged in a squabble on a subject to which there must be some clear solution. I find it very difficult to accept that we should be engaging in such a very important debate in terms of the past. I am astonished that Senator Sir John Carrick, who endeavours to reach the position that I support, uses terms that are now outdated and, in so doing, reveals that events have bypassed him. For instance, he still uses the word `deterrence' when it is fairly obvious--

Senator Sir John Carrick —Your Government is resting on it as a policy. So all in your Government and all your Party are using it.

Senator GEORGES —Yes, that could be quite correct. Nevertheless, let me say that if they are guilty of that, so is Senator Sir John Carrick. We are beyond the stage of deterrence now. The powers are now racing to a position of ensuring that they can survive a conflict and, by the use of massive technology, can achieve a victory, no matter what the cost.

Senator Crichton-Browne —That doesn't remove the role of deterrence.

Senator GEORGES —The honourable senator can talk as much as he likes about deterrence. I listened to the honourable senator's speech. He engaged in sabre rattling and used past techniques in support of his argument. He argued that one can survive only from a position of strength. However, he must appreciate that our opponents are saying exactly the same thing. The inevitable conclusion of such a policy is massive destruction and possibly the complete elimination of all species upon this earth. It seems to me that that almost inevitable conclusion is not realised in this place.

I find that the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill, which the Australian Democrats are seeking to amend, reveals the weakness of the Government's position. It has been pointed out that the Government's position is contradictory, that its proposal to establish a nuclear free zone is subject to so many qualifications that it is merely an exercise in futility. We cannot establish a nuclear free zone unless all nuclear activity is excluded. We cannot allow testing of any sort, we cannot allow the porting of nuclear vessels and we cannot allow bases if we are to achieve a nuclear free zone. Senator Sir John Carrick argues that because this approach is in place the whole concept, therefore, is incorrect. It is not. We should be endeavouring to achieve a reversal of thinking, a reversal of activity, which will take us away from the brink of destruction to the possibility of peace. If that is what Senator Sir John Carrick desires, he should be supporting--

Senator Sir John Carrick —I am supporting a nuclear free world.

Senator GEORGES —To achieve that, let us support the establishment of a zone in the first place. Let us change the attitude and the thinking. That has been the purpose of the peace movement in this country, and those who support it, which honourable senators opposite so devastatingly denigrated yesterday--

Senator Crichton-Browne —Not all of it.

Senator GEORGES —Yes, they did. In the past five years the peace movement has endeavoured to achieve a change in the thinking of people. Instead of thinking in terms of war and destruction-those terms have been used by honourable senators on both sides of the chamber-we should be thinking in terms of peace. The peace movement has succeeded in making governments and parties in this country adopt some change of attitude. That is why the International Year of Peace was put in place. In spite of criticisms, it has been successful in achieving some useful initiatives by government and by this Parliament. The peace movement sought time, in the hope that, somehow, there would be a breakthrough. That breakthrough has taken place. The great leaders of the world have been able to get together and talk in a constructive way and that, to many of us, is very encouraging. In fact, a breath of fresh air seemed to sweep through the world after the first summit meeting of the leaders. However, that breath of fresh air seems to have passed this place by because we are still debating this subject with old terms and attitudes. We are still going out and saying: `Let's fight, let's continue the confrontation, let's get more and more powerful'.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator MacGibbon) —Senator Georges, would you relate your remarks to either the amendments or the Committee stage of the Bill.

Senator GEORGES —I will take the same amount of time to get to that particular point as did Senator Sir John Carrick and Senator Gareth Evans at the beginning of this Committee debate. Mr Temporary Chairman, you were not in the chair at the time--

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —No, I was not, but I am in the chair now. Would you relate your comments to the business before the Chair.

Senator GEORGES —Nevertheless, I am getting to the amendments. I am merely indicating the weakness of the position which has been revealed by the support for both the legislation and the amendments before us, which will not achieve what the Democrats intended. Mr Temporary Chairman, you have broken my train of thought. Maybe it would be unfair to say that that might have been your intention. Let me get back to the fact that the leaders have met; there has been a change-a substantial change; and there has been an attempt to get some understanding. That is why I am perturbed by the events in the United States of America which have the possibility of damaging the credibility of President Reagan at a time when it ought not be challenged. It is very important that Gorbachev and Reagan are allowed to continue, without interference from militarists, working towards that reconciliation which is the hope of us all.

Let me get back to the Democrats' amendments. Although I am sympathetic to their intention, I must admit that I cannot quite understand what their tactics are. However, they are endeavouring to remind the Government and the Australian Labor Party of its policy. I find it exceptionally difficult to understand how the Party could break its recently established policy and export uranium to France. I cannot quite understand that. I was suspended from the Party for a beach of Party policy. I do not think I breached the Party policy but it was stated that I did. I was suspended for that. Yet the whole Party can break its policy and remain without any sort of criticism or penalty. What I say might be influenced by the fact that what has been meted out to me is not meted out to others. As a result of that incident, I can speak much more freely than I once would have.

Consideration interrupted.

Sitting suspended from 12.46 to 2 p.m.