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Hawke's weak and compromising attitude to the US alliance

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ANDREW PEACOCKS Leader of the Opposition ' Λ * 3 g .


The Opposition Leader, Mr Andrew Peacock, said today the Prime Minister's weak and compromising approach to the US alliance was now causing grave concern in the United States.

"Mr Hawke's inability to comprehend the essentially fragile and sensitive nature of any alliance and his willingness to bow to left wing pressure within his own Party has put Australia in this position," he said.

"I said when the Prime Minister was in Washington that the US administration would find suitably diplomatic language to help Mr Hawke out of the hole of his own making.

"That has clearly occurred and the Prime Minister is relying on this language in putting his case to the Australian people - as he did in the interview on this week's "Sunday" program.

"But there is also a growing underlying concern in the United States over Mr Hawke's about-face on the agreement to provide limited support facilities for the MX missile test program.

"This underlying concern is now being reflected in the comments and actions of US Congressman, Mr Richard Chaney, of Wyoming," he said.

"Congressman Chaney's remarks represent the tip of a far larger iceberg of concern in the US over the Australian decision".

"And the Prime Minister has done all this purely in the name of bowing to the left wing of the Labor Party and attempting to keep himself onside with an increasingly factionalised Parliamentary Party."

Mr Peacock forecast the Prime Minister would increasingly become subject to left wing and centre left whims within the Labor Party as a result of the setback to his authority stemming from the MX missile turnabout.

"I think it is a sorry period for Australia in terms of the Australian-American relationship and a sorry period also in terms of the Prime Minister's authority over his own Party," he said.

19 February 1985

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