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Friday, 11 October 1985
Page: 1094

Senator COLSTON —Has the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs noted the reported statement of the Opposition shadow spokesman on foreign affairs, Mr Peacock, that a coalition government `would have striven to keep the ANZUS Treaty operative'? Is this statement consistent with Mr Peacock's earlier repeated calls for Australia to establish a bilateral treaty with the United States if New Zealand did not change its ships visit policy within three months of an Australian ultimatum? Would calls by the Leader of the National Party and Opposition shadow defence spokesman, Mr Sinclair, for economic sanctions against New Zealand have assisted Australia and the United States to keep the ANZUS Treaty operative?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I have noted the recent claim by the Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, Mr Peacock, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23 September, that a coalition government `would have striven to keep the ANZUS Treaty operative'. I note that that stands in very direct and stark contrast to his repeated earlier calls for Australia to initiate moves to establish a bilateral treaty with the United States in place of ANZUS. If the Hawke Government had adopted the Opposition's earlier approach of placing ultimatums and even economic sanctions on New Zealand, Australia would manifestly have jeopardised our very close relationship with New Zealand without achieving anything in relation to New Zealand's policy on ship visits. Instead, the Hawke Government has pursued a consistent policy of seeking to preserve Australia's national interests in our relationships with both our ANZUS partners despite the current policy differences between New Zealand and the United States.

Australia's relationship with the United States is firmly established beyond any challenge. The ANZUS Treaty reflects a coincidence of strategic interests between the United States and Australia that goes far beyond the terms of that Treaty. Defence co-operation between Australia and the US includes the joint facilities, combined exercises, technology transfers, intelligence exchanges and continuing consultation on international issues. While New Zealand is fully aware that the Australian Government does not share its views on the question of the allied ship visits, the Hawke Government has maintained Australia's important interests in its relations with New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand have common strategic concerns, particularly in the South Pacific region, and these are reflected in continuing co-operation in the defence field, including bilateral exercises and intelligence exchanges. These national interests are not to be lightly sacrificed, as they would have been had Australia pursued the ill-considered and heavy footed policies which have been advocated by the coalition parties.

The Hawke Government will safeguard Australia's interests in our relations with both the United States and New Zealand, whatever may occur in relations between the United States and New Zealand. I make the point finally that our consistent, careful and moderate approach on this whole issue stands in very sharp contrast with the strident vacillation of our opponents.