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Media release by the Opposition Defence spokesman and Leader of the National Party, Ian Sinclair

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Opposition Defence spokesman, Ian Sinclair, today.said any move by the Prime Minister to reverse Australia's stance on the MX missile issue could undermine the stability of the entire region.

.Mr Sinclair said that Australia needed to stand firm behind the United States on the issue and Mr Hawke now had the opportunity to demonstrate our alliance with them.

"If Mr Hawke capitulates to .the hard-liners of the ALP he will do tremendous harm to Australia's international standing and the security of our region," Mr Sinclair said.

"This is at a time when the situation is anything but stable in New Caledonia, between Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea and between Cambodia and Thailand.

"The timing of the left-wing revolt in the Labor Party is particularly significant as it comes on the eve of the superpowers strategic arms limitation and disarmament talks in Geneva.

"The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have taken a position which the Opposition supports. Any deviation will be to our country's detriment."

"Also, any deviation will pull the rug right out from under the Foreign Minister, Mr Hayden, who last night on television strongly supported the MX proposal."

Mr Sinclair said the tests were designed to ensure the long range capability of the intercontinental ballistic missiles which alone could penetrate the strongly-armed bases from which the Soviet could launch its first strike,nuclear-armed ICBMs.

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"If the Australian Government follows New Zealand's example into isolation, Australia will suffer internationally, not only with the United States but as a nation of responsibility in the Pacific and ASEAN region," he added.

CANBERRA 5 February 1985