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Monday, 23 February 1987
Page: 477


Senator WALTERS(10.17) —It was Senator Haines who forced me to my feet. I have never heard a more illogical speech than the speech Senator Haines gave. Senator Haines and the Australian Democrats have now moved to the very left of the Left of the Australian Labor Party. They no longer believe in the ANZUS alliance.


Senator Hill —Did you hear Senator Sanders the other day?


Senator WALTERS —I have heard Senator Sanders on many occasions, both in this Senate and back home in my State.


Senator Hill —The most vitriolic, anti-American rhetoric you have ever heard.


Senator WALTERS —Absolutely vitriolic. He is so anti-American that he cannot even see his way clear to admit that the situation in Cam Ranh Bay exists.


Senator Hill —He said that he is much more at home negotiating in the Kremlin.


Senator WALTERS —He visited the Kremlin, he told us.


Senator Hill —That is why Senator Haines wanted to gag this debate.


Senator WALTERS —Senator Haines said that democracy would have been served by having two speakers from each side. Senator Evans and the Labor Party believe in the sort of democracy whereby two speakers from each side is seen as co-operation; no matter how important the debate is, two speakers from each side are quite sufficient.

Senator Evans has gone on record as saying that the Senate is quite superfluous. It was part of the Labor Party's platform to do away with the Senate. But Senator Evans, when he first moved to the Senate, said that that was not too popular out there amongst the people, `so let us change our written word, although not our aim'. The Labor Party's aim still is to abolish the Senate. It is for that reason that Senator Evans says that we had 11 speakers on this matter in the House of Representatives, so we do not need a debate in the Senate. That is the reason the Minister gave for cutting short the debate in the Senate. He acknowledged that there was no agreement with the Opposition to cut short the debate, yet tonight Senator Haines told us that an agreement had been reached, which even Senator Evans acknowledged was not the situation.

The Democrats' priorities obviously are not on defence. They are on issues such as the environment. Senator Sanders certainly makes his presence felt on that. I hope that Senator Evans has learnt from the debate that has occurred tonight. The matter of defence is seen by the Opposition as a No. 1 priority. It may not be Senator Evans's priority; it is the Opposition's priority. As Senator Georges said tonight so eloquently, it is no use the Minister trying to frustrate members of the Opposition if they want to speak fully on a subject, because the Standing Orders of this place allow them to do so. We can only ask that Senator Evans, who has just taken over the responsibility of Manager of Government Business, at least learns a lesson from tonight. I know that honourable senators on this side of the House wish to speak. Bearing in mind the time, I will not take up any more of the Senate's time.