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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2374

Senator SIBRAA —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer the Attorney-General to the incredible diatribe which Senator Sir John Carrick dressed up as a question yesterday. I ask the Minister whether he has any information about what Mr Hayden said in Hungary and the Government's stance on deployment of new generation missiles by both North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Warsaw Pact countries?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have been able to secure some further and better particulars as to the matter raised yesterday by Senator Sir John Carrick, in particular in the form of a transcript of the relevant passage of Mr Hayden's remarks when addressing the media following his talks with the Hungarian Foreign Minister. What he said in relevant part was this:

The cost of the escalating arms race is a very severe burden upon them. But for all that they are not going to enter into negotiations in an atmosphere where they feel constantly threatened, where they are not treated with equality, where they do not believe there is a guarantee of equal security. Now all of these things are a reflection of what he says--

This is the bit that Senator Sir John Carrick left out of his question yesterday -

not what we believe or necessarily what we accept. But they are a clear indication of the very serious nature of the problems which are impeding the flow of exchanges which are necessary if we're going to get any dialogue under way between East and West.

I indicate that that selective quotation and selective indignation is yet another demonstration of the kind of meretricious approach to Question Time which Senator Sir John Carrick has made peculiarly his own.

As to Australia's policy on this issue, I refer Senator Sir John Carrick to my reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to Senator Chipp's question on notice No. 388, which was published in the Senate Hansard of 15 November 1983 . It is a long reply and I will not repeat it all, but it is a reply which makes absolutely and unequivocally clear that the Government's commitment is to disarmament generally, not selectively, applicable to the weapons stockpiles of both East and West. More particularly, in the context of Senator Sir John Carrick's question, we fully understand and accept the concerns of the non- communist NATO countries in this respect as, for example, I made clear in the answer I referred to on 15 November when writing on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I said this, and I quote one final passage:

It was the Soviet Union's deployment of the SS20 that provoked NATO's response in the form of its decision to modernise intermediate-range nuclear forces through the deployment of Cruise and Pershing II missiles in the event that negotiations to limit this class of weapons proved fruitless.

So the notion that there is some selectivity or blinkered approach on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Minister to these matters of acute concern, not only to Australia but to the world, is a total falsehood and a total fabrication, and one that ought to demand an apology from the honourable senator concerned.