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1986 - the end of ANZUS



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

PRESS STATEMENT

HON. A.S. PEACOCK MP

1986 - THE END OF ANZUS

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, said today that 1986 was likely to be the year that marked the end of the ANZUS Alliance.

Mr Peacock said that throughout 1985 the Hawke Government had put its head in the sand and ignored the crisis tearing ANZUS apart.

Mr Peacock said that for well over a year the Opposition had called on the Government to send a clear message to the New Zealand administration about where Australia stood; to take a mediatory role and work for a solution; and to attempt to

dissuade New Zealand from its anti-nuclear legislation.

"No country in the world has more cause to involve itself in the ANZUS crisis or is better placed to mediate. We are intimately connected with both parties, we are members of the same alliance and our vital interests are at stake.

"But the indisputable fact remains that they did nothing to try and stop Australia's most basic defence treaty from unravelling."

Mr Peacock said that the Hawke Government had to accept responsibility for the now seemingly inevitable demise of the ANZUS Treaty.

"Quite simply, they put factional concerns ahead of the national security. They decided it was easier to do nothing, and thereby keep the left quiet, than ζο involve itself in the dispute.

Mr Peacock said that the Hawke Government's attempt to play down the consequences for Australia of the ANZUS crisis were self­ serving and misleading.

"The absence of New Zealand from the ANZUS Alliance will put all the Alliance partners under greater pressure. For we will no longer pull in the same direction and we will lose the cohesion, unity and authority provided by the ANZUS Treaty.

"The termination of US/NZ defence co-operation will increase the forces of regional instability and diminish Australia's security.

"For this sake alone, the Australian Government should have worked to keep New Zealand in ANZUS." .

Mr Peacock said that, in addition, 1986 was likely to bring a review of the ANZUS Treaty.

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"This review is no academic exercise and the legal and operational status of ANZUS is in jeopardy.

"Whilst the United States administration has said that they would prefer that the ANZUS Treaty remained the framework of alliance co-operation with Australia, there were no guarantees that this was possible

"the point must be made that.there are a number of people, including the New Zealand Prime Minister, who don't believe it is possible."

Mr Peacock said that the Government should be laying the ground work now to ensure that at the end of this review process, Australia retained all the legal and operational guarantees currently existing under the ANZUS Treaty.

"Even now, there is no evidence that the Government is doing this. All we get is vague talk about an exchange of letters."

Mr Peacock said that the tragedy was, a compromise might have been possible if Australia had involved itself at an early stage in the dispute.

""We will never know because the Hawke Government never tried."

31 December 1985

For further information contact: Peter Woolcott

■ (062) 733725