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ANZUS: where do we go from here?

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The crisis in Anzus stems as much from the failure of the Australian Government to act as it does from the determination of the New Zealand Government to ban nuclear powered ships, and ships with nuclear arms.

All along, the Prime Minister has played the part of an observer, almost a political commentator, and has decided that the relationship between Australia and Wellington has nothing to do with the relationship between Australia and Washington, or Washington and Wellington.

As a result of that inaction, as well as the unilateral public utterances of the New Zealand Prime Minister, the situation is such that in the words of our Prime Minister, Anzus is now "inoperative."

There is a great need for Australia to examine her bilateral security relationship with the United States, and on that basis I call upon the Australian Government to convene urgently a meeting of all of the countries of the Pacific who have an interest in the stability and security of the region.

I believe, as I said on Sunday, that there are a number of destabilising elements in the Pacific. Apart from the Soviet and Vietnamese imperialism in Indo China, the Foreign Minister said today that there is a possibility of intervention in New Caledonia by Libya.

With these and other issues likely to arise, the United States, Canada, Japan, China, all of the ASEAN countries and all of the countries of the South Pacific Forum should get together to examine what it is they now expect of each other as partners in a free Pacific, and as contributors to a stable region.

After such a conference, Australia could most effectively examine her bilateral relationship with the United States. Such an examination is vitally important. Without that, the Hawke Government has no policy.

If the Government fails to act now, as it has failed to act until now, Australia's whole relationship with the United States, and Australia's relationship with her neighbouring countries, as well as Australia's whole defence security will be in doubt.

Such doubt will be intolerable to the Australian people, and will jeopardise so much of the hard work and diplomacy of previous governments in Australia and the United States over the past forty years. .


March 5 1985 Melbourne.