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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 28

MR HAYDEN (Minister for Foreign Affairs)(4.22) —I respond as a dedicated socialist and, of course, a member of this democratic socialist Government; but first some pleasantries. I note that the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) has returned to the Parliament after the recess with an injured arm. I trust that it heals rapidly. I trust also that it is not the only part of his body that became disabled or injured in some way during the recess. I must confess that during the recess something rather strange happened to his capacity to think in a reasoned and consistent fashion, because this is the most extraordinary presentation I have heard for many years in Parliament. We limped through the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), and the ANZUS alliance. We picked up the socialist left of Victoria as we went by. Then we heard some quotations of recent vintage attributed to me which I have never heard before. But why worry about accuracy; a good story is more important. Then somehow we got into Poland with an amazing double backflip, condemning the Soviets. We then fell out of that, perhaps flat on our faces, which a side twist into South East Asia, the Association of South East Asian Nations and competition with the United States of America. As if the vagueness and irrelevancy of this meander were not enough, we suddenly found Vietnam being dragged in along with Japan and the Middle East. This mishmash, presented to the national Parliament, is supposed to represent the distilled wisdom of the Opposition on the issues of foreign affairs.

The honourable member for Warringah had all the facilities which I could make available to him as Foreign Minister to support and facilitate a recent extended visit overseas. One rather hoped that as a consequence of that-of those experiences, reflected judgments, weighing up, conversations, the people he met and the points of view put to him-in the context of the national interests of this country, a very mature, measured and reasoned presentation would have been made to this Parliament. But what do we get? We get a sailor's stumble as he goes from one saloon bar door looking for the next. That is not the way to handle foreign policy. It is quite extraordinary for him to try to berate my views as presented recently in association with and at the ANZUS Council meeting and then make some sort of strange, sinister linkage with the socialist left in Victoria-as though it is a sinister body-and to draw from that the massive and heroic conclusion that what I was really aiming at was to discount the role of the Prime Minister and undermine the Americans. All I have to say is that if the honourable member finds that I am on the same platform in terms of values and views expressed on this matter as the socialist left of Victoria let me tell him this: We are on the same platform as George Shultz, Secretary of State of the United States of America. It must be a big platform; to have George Shultz on one end and the socialist left of Victoria on the other in happy harmony. Let me tell honourable members what was decided in the communique in Washington and agreed to by all of us-Mr Cooper, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand, George Shultz and me. The communique states:

The Council members affirm that the alliance is firmly based-

there is no dispute about it-

on the partners' common traditions and concern to protect democratic values. They value highly the co-operative defense arrangements, facilitated by the Treaty since its conclusion, which have served their Government's mutual security interests and promoted a strengthening of each other's defense capabilities.

On a much more generous plane than the honourable member is able to muster, let me say that it is my belief that allowing for the edges of disagreement which are justifiable in a society such as ours where there are healthy differences in points of view, there has nonetheless been a fairly substantial amount of bipartisan support for the sorts of views being presented on many of these issues. The honourable member for Warringah sought to convey the impression that I was suggesting that because, allegedly, we cannot count on the United States in all of these matters we should beware of too much dependence on the United States. I think that was roughly the quotation he attributed to me, saying that by implication perhaps there was some lack of patriotism there, if not something downright worse. I remind him of what his former Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, said on May 28 last year:

You can never automatically anticipate assistance. Nations will always read treaties in terms of the circumstances of the time, in terms of the relationship between the countries at the time; in our case, between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. I do not believe it has ever been the case that anyone-Britain or the United States-would automatically come to Australia's aid, no matter what the circumstances are.

I thought at the time that that was a rather sane and balanced statement. I still believe so. But it is obvious that for some purpose of convenience the honourable member for Warringah has another point of view which he seeks to put forward. I do not want to spend any more time on ANZUS, not because it is not important. On the contrary, it is very important. I will be talking about it in the Parliament in a few weeks time when I present a statement on our recent discussions in Washington on this matter. I want to make it unambiguously clear that there is no difference between the Prime Minster and me, or between any members of the Labor Party including me, on this issue. However, we are sensible . We recognise that a statement of fact in a drafted, legal document such as an international treaty must be literally interpreted. What the ANZUS treaty says very simply is that if one of the partners is subjected to threat or attack there will be a response. But, as George Shultz said, in response to a question from me and speaking as Secretary of State at the ANZUS Council meeting in Washington a few weeks ago-I relayed it virtually exactly at the subsequent Press conference in his presence and there was no demur-what ANZUS says is that there will be a response, but it does not necessarily imply that it will be a military response. A range of responses could be forthcoming. In that sense it was highly desirable that I undertook the mission charged of me by the Prime Minister which was to engage in a review of the ANZUS treaty. This review was welcomed by the other signatories. That is clearly and explicitly stated in the communique. Let me move on in this bewildering pilgrimage that the Minister embarked on.

Mr MacKellar —Nice to see you anticipating, Bill.

Mr HAYDEN —I am sorry. Old habits die hard. I nearly stood to support the honourable member's matter of public importance from force of habit.

Mr MacKellar —Did you agree with it?

Mr HAYDEN —Not now that we have a good Foreign Minister. The honourable member for Warringah said that he knows unnamed people in South East Asia who whispered to him-goodness knows where because there are some dark places you can get lost in in South East Asia-that the condition of our relationship is not good. I can only tell the honourable member what the record states. He drew the United States and China into this debate. Mr Siddhi, the Foreign Minister for Thailand, stated:

As this is an international problem,

that is, the matter of initiatives we are taking in relation to the Vietnamese presence in Kampuchea, which we oppose and which we say is something that must be terminated. We have set down principles on this matter. He continued:

we have no reservation as for Mr Hayden's trip to Hanoi because we also told Mr Hayden the purpose that we have made thus far. If he can probe further and get more information for us, it would be very useful to our search for peace and a political solution for Kampuchea. So in that case I will say that Mr Hayden has a role to play for us, so we have no reservation for his trip at all.

The role that I have enunciated is a very moderate one in its aspirations, aimed at nothing more than helping to facilitate, if possible, some coming together and dialogue. The likelihood of succeeding is very slim and probably non- existent. But that role has been endorsed by the ASEAN countries and by China. When I spoke to the Chinese Premier, Mr Zhao, in China on 5 August, he said:

. . . Australia is conducting a dialogue with Vietnam now and I wish you success .

He added:

I hope the Lord will bless you and that you can persuade Vietnam to change its mind and to change its policy . . . If you succeed, then you have actually performed a meritorious service.

He pointed out that as an atheist there were some qualifications in the strength of his latter observation. The ANZUS Communique, at the suggestion of the United States, includes explicitly a welcoming statement in relation to that initiative . It states:

The Council Members reaffirmed their conviction that the conflict in Kampuchea should be settled by peaceful means. They support diplomatic efforts which would lead to a comprehensive political solution to the Kampuchean problem. The Council welcomed the efforts of Australian Foreign Minister Hayden to establish common ground in the search for a negotiated settlement.

In all the circumstances, no evidence has been produced by the honourable member to substantiate his florid claims, which were perhaps the product of a rush of blood to the head after passing through the equator recently. I have produced evidence to show that there is substantial endorsement for what we are trying to do. In each case, of course, those sources, like us, recognised the difficulty of making much headway and the very high likelihood of failure because of the complex and varied range of interests which must be addressed.

I will quickly discuss the issue of Vietnam. It makes no sense, in my assessment, to continue to isolate and punish Vietnam if all that that achieves is to guarantee that the Soviet presence in South East Asia is expanded and entrenched. It is a matter of some concern to me that the evidence we have available shows that there has been a shift of naval surface and sub-surface vessel deployments from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. Cam Ranh Bay is the focal point for supporting this shift. Very simply, I say-I am sure listeners will apprehend-that the longer this isolation and punishment continues , the greater the dependence of Vietnam on the Soviets to sustain itself and the greater that dependence becomes and the more extensive becomes the role and the influence of the Soviets in the South East Asian region and, indeed, in East Asia. We do not want to see that outcome occur in any circumstances. There are enough tensions and instabilities in the world arising from super-power and great power competition without having a new and potentially very nasty dimension injected into our area.

We respect the views and principles being put forward by our friends and colleagues in China and the ASEAN countries and by our friend and ally the United States. When I visited Vietnam I told Mr Nguyen Co Thach, the Foreign Minister, that in our endeavours it had to be understood that our powerful and valued friend, the United States of America, represented our most important alliance association; that we would in no way allow our friendly relationships with the ASEAN countries and China to be impaired, that we intended to build upon them, and that they were our highest priorities. So there is no misunderstanding about the basis upon which any consultation takes place in this matter.

The honourable member managed to loop his way through the Middle East and end up in Japan. I thought he showed an extraordinary effort of adaptability in linking all those places together in a rather inchoate way. In respect of Japan I have said, very simply, that we can understand Japan improving the capabilities of its self-defence force. Its command controlled communications systems need replacement. Some of its ammunition stocks are dated probably suspect in their effectiveness and of a low quantity. Some of its capital equipment has been superseded. There is no quibble about that. I said that it would cause us and other nations in the region concern if there was a dramatic increase in spending, or if the Japanese defence forces were dramatically restructured so that they projected power with an aggressive capability. Again, if Japan sought to have a militarily strategic role in the region, we and other nations would be concerned. It may come as a surprise to the honourable member to discover that the United States finds absolutely no problems at all with our presentation on this matter. The final thing I want to say to the honourable member is this--

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The Minister's time has expired.