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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 984

Senator CHIPP —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Is it true that a majority of Australians have been misled into believing that the United States would automatically defend Australia under the terms of the ANZUS Treaty in time of attack by a foreign power? Have successive governments, both Labor and Liberal, mortgaged our future by allowing 24 foreign bases on our soil which according to the Australian and Soviet governments make us nuclear targets? Was New Zealand, a member of ANZUS, attacked recently by a foreign power? Was that foreign power France? Did the United States refuse even to officially protest to France or to support New Zealand's claim for compensation? Is this not concrete and practical evidence that ANZUS is absolutely devoid of any meaning and useless to any of the signatories other than the United States of America?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Senator Chipp's views on ANZUS are well known and have been articulated in this place on a number of occasions. They are not views which are shared by the Government, the Opposition or indeed by the overwhelming majority of Australians, who see ANZUS as being an extremely important security treaty demonstrative of an extremely important alliance relationship. It is not only important for its own terms but also important as demonstrating a solid component of the world-wide alliance of the Western nations which is a crucial part of the process of maintaining world peace in an unstable world environment.

The rationale for ANZUS has a number of dimensions which are not entirely dependent on the strict letter of its potential application in any conflict. I do not think that even the most extravagant interpretation of the operation of ANZUS would suggest that the Rainbow Warrior affair in New Zealand represents the kind of hostility that gives rise to any obligation on the part of the United States or Australia, as co-partners in the ANZUS Treaty, to leap into their warships and come steaming to the aid of the beleaguered little battler of the South Pacific. That is a highly extravagant and fanciful interpretation which Senator Chipp articulated a moment ago in describing ANZUS in the coloured terms he did. Many more things could be said on this subject, but perhaps it is one that would be better debated at length rather than at Question Time.

Senator CHIPP —I have a supplementary question. I asked one question in three parts; I plead with the Minister to answer just one of them. Was France the foreign power that attacked New Zealand recently and did the United States even officially protest to France or support New Zealand's claim for compensation for that attack?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not see that that bears any relationship to the thrust of the question, which was about ANZUS. As to the United States reaction to the Rainbow Warrior affair, I recall that there was a reaction from the United States Government. I will have to remind myself of the terms of that reaction.

Senator Chipp —You have had the question since 10 o'clock this morning.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have not had the question. I do not have it in front of me now.

Senator Chipp —You had it in your office.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I did not have it in my office and I do not have it now. I am sorry. If Senator Chipp wants some further information on any of these matters, I will dig it out and bring it to him.