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Thursday, 28 February 1985
Page: 456

Mr HODGMAN(10.25) —Mr Speaker, I would be failing in my duty as a loyal Australian and a member of this Parliament who is not ashamed to call himself a patriot if tonight I did not draw to the attention of this honourable House the enormous damage which has been done to Australia's international reputation by the Hawke socialist Government.

Since the Thirty-fourth Parliament commenced last week we have had all sorts of explanations and excuses proferred by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and his Government of fourth graders and fifth columnists over the ANZUS Treaty tragedy. The headlines of the United States of America Press are eloquent testimony as to what our major ally now thinks about us. I quote them verbatim. The first is 'Australia balks on accord to aid in U.S. test of MX'. That appeared on the front page of the New York Times of 7 February this year and was read by millions of our allies as the story was syndicated nationwide. What does 'balk' mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary it means 'to avoid a duty', 'to disappoint', 'to frustrate'. Is that the action of a faithful and loyal ally? Then there is this headline: 'Premier cites split in party', under which appeared these lines:

Australia's Prime Minister said today that he had told the United States that because of a revolt in his own Party he would probably have to renege on a pledge.

In those words this discredited Prime Minister admitted to the people of the United States that he was the shackled prisoner of the pro-communist Left, the most dangerous and sinister element in Australian politics today. I, as an Australian, felt ashamed when I read that report and that shame which I felt was shared by millions of my fellow Australians. The rest of the headlines spell out in graphic terms the disgraceful and shameless backdown of a Prime Minister who put party factional interests ahead of the national interest.

To get a world perspective of how others see Australia's actions I turn to the Soviet Union. The Novosti Press Agency-APN-of Zubovsky Bulvar, 4 119021 Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics carries the Soviet line right around the world. It translates into English and many other languages what the Soviet Press has said, and what the Soviet Press says is what the State says. Agentstvo Pechati Novosti of Tuesday, 12 February 1985 reprints the leading story of Pravda for 9 February this year. Under the headline 'position revised' Pravda enthusiastically reports that Australia's position of co-operating with the United States has been 'revised'. The article lauds the decision; quotes with approval statements of a member of the national executive of the Australian Labor Party-the master, or should I say the mastermind-of the Hawke socialist Government; predictably praises comrade Lange and claims 'a stream of letters has poured to the Prime Minister of New Zealand from Australians expressing support for the stand taken by him'.

Mr N. A. Brown —Where did this appear?

Mr HODGMAN —In Pravda on 9 February. I-and the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Hand) of course-read it every day. I wonder whether our discredited Prime Minister-the little Caesar of Australian politics who went away as a Hawke and came back as a chicken-is happy to know the joy and enthusiasm with which the Soviet Union has reported the 'revision' of the Australian-United States alliance. In conclusion, I now ask-and demand an answer-yes or no: Does the Australian Prime Minister intend to emulate the action of comrade Lange by calling in the Soviet Ambassador to Australia and telling him that he does not wish his backdown on ANZUS to be written up with such warm approval and congratulations by the Soviet Press? I rest my case.