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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3470

Question No. 381


Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 24 August 1983:

(1) Have United Nations organs and members agreed that the failure of resort to peaceful means of settling international disputes, including agreement on effectively confirmed total disarmament, is due to lack of political will, goodwill and good faith; if so, can he say whether this lack of will lies partly in governments and partly in their citizens who prefer to follow governments in the use of force for short term national interests rather than make short term concessions internationally for long term survival and transnational prosperity.

(2) Will the Government devote information and education to try to initiate correction of this apathy before it kills everything and everyone.

(3) Has the Government acknowledged that most peoples want a peaceful rule of international law enforceable by their chosen international representatives more than they want national supremacy, as shown by (a) public opinion polls and (b) the fact that our allies, enemies and putative enemies during, between and since 2 world wars have changed sides on average more than twice; if not, why not.


Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

1. The Government is aware that there are frequently expressions of concern in the United Nations at the lack of political will, goodwill and good faith in seeking peaceful means of settling international disputes and in obtaining agreement on disarmament issues. The Government shares this concern.

In the ''Conclusions'' of the United Nations General Assembly Second Special Session on Disarmament, the Assembly noted:

''In short, since the adoption of the Final Document (of the first Special Session on Disarmament) in 1978, there has been no significant progress in the field of arms limitation and disarmament and the seriousness of the situation has increased.

The Final Document stated that disarmament, relaxation of international tension , respect for the right to self-determination and national independence, the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the strengthening of international peace and security are directly related to each other.

Progress in any of these spheres has a beneficial effect on others. The past four years have witnessed increasing recourse to the use or threat of use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, military intervention, occupation, annexation and interference in the internal affairs of States and denial of the inalienable right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial or foreign domination. The period has also witnessed other actions by States contrary to the Final Document. The consequent tensions and confrontations have retarded progress in disarmament and have in turn been aggravated by the failure to make significant progress towards disarmament.''

2. The Government supports the United Nations World Disarmament Campaign, the aim of which is to inform, educate and to generate public understanding and support for the objectives of the United Nations in the field of disarmament. On 28 August 1983 I announced that Australia will make voluntary contributions totalling $50,000 to the World Disarmament Campaign and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, in addition to Australia's contribution to the regular budget of the United Nations.

3. I agree that there is an overwhelming desire for peace on the part of peoples around the world. However, peaceful rule of international law enforceable by chosen international representatives implies some form of world government, which is not in early prospect. The Government does not consider that this would be more likely to guarantee international peace than the Charter of the United Nations which already provides for the peaceful regulation of international affairs. Any attempt to launch any form of world government or to promote an alternative to the United Nations would add to rather than reduce the divisions between States.