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[Hawke Government jeopardising peace and security in the Pacific]

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The Opposition Leader, Mr Andrew Peacock, today that the Hawke Government by its actions was jeopardising peace and security in the Pacific and our region.

Mr· Peacock said that under the Hawke-'Government. the benchmark for Australia's foreign policy w a s .no longer what was in the national interest, but rather what trade-offs needed to be made to appease the various factions within

the Labor Party.

"As a result what has characterised the Labor Government's foreign policy is weakness and inaction. The consequence of this has been the unravelling of ANZUS and the increasing possibility that the Labor Party will lead us into a defenceless isolation. .

. Mr Peacock said the great tragedy is that ANZUS is a force for stability and peace in the region and our only formal link into the network of the Western Alliance.

"The Alliance was not just the ultimate guarantee of our security and regional peace, it was a dynamic .

relationship between partners that had the same basic and deep rooted democratic values," he said.

"Mr Hawke's cave in to Left Wing pressure from the Labor Party on the MX decision has shown him not only to be weak and vacillating but a Prime Minister who will compromise anything including Australia's vital defence

and foreign policy interests."

Mr Peacock said the Prime Minister should look to his own Foreign Minister who has been strenuously defending the decision instead of buckling to pressure from the Left Wing of his own Party. , . · . .

"As Mr Hayden said 'we are not neutral, we are not unaligned and we are not pacifists'," ·

"By providing logistical facilities to the United States to monitor MX missile tests, Australia is playing a small part in assisting the U.S. maintain its nuclear deterrence.

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"Australia should be doing this not simply because it is aligned with the U.S. but because Australia accepts its obligations to help preserve a stable deterrence and to work towards world peace," Mr Peacock said.

Mr Peacock said Mr Hawke's actions were just as much a reneging of obligations to the US Alliance as the New Zealand Prime Minister's refusal to admit US naval vessels into New Zealand ports.

Mr Peacock said that if Mr Hawke had shown courage in the face of Left Wing pressure he would have done a fine job for Australia. To the contrary he has reversed himself on the MX decision and watched timidly while ANZUS has been gutted.

Mr Peacock said that it now appeared that the ANZUS Sea Eagle exercises had been cancelled as a.result of the refusal by the New Zealand Government to.allow US vessels to enter New Zealand ports.

Mr Peacock said that the Australian Labor Government had known for some considerable time the existence of the problems over US ships and ANZUS and the direction at which the New Zealand Labor Government was moving.

"Despite this the Government refused to intervene in the dispute claiming that the issue was a bilateral one to be worked out between the US and New Zealand," he said.

"This attitude was grossly irresponsible. ANZUS is a tripartite treaty involving not only New Zealand and the United States, but also Australia, and the national interest of all Australians," he said.

Mr Peacock said the Coalition had been saying for months that the Government needed to play an active role in seeking to find a solution to the dispute between Australia's two ANZUS partners.

"Yet because of the Government's fears about alienating its Left Wing, it has feigned indifference to the dispute."

"Mr Hawke wrote just one letter to his New Zealand counterpart, Mr Lange, and then disavowed its message as soon as the letter was made public and greeted by predictable shrieks of protest from the Labor Party's Left Wing.

Mr Peacock said the cancellation of the Sea Eagle exercise should have driven home to the Government the seriousness of the crisis that faces ANZUS.

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· . _ Mr Peacock said "Mr Hawke should have the courage · of his professed convictions and move to ensure that Australia preserve its relationship with the United States and its role in the Western Alliance. .