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Wednesday, 6 November 1985
Page: 1666

Senator MacGIBBON(3.56) —The Senate this afternoon is debating the following matter of urgency:

The need to strengthen Australia's alliance with the United States through an effective ANZUS Treaty and the maintenance of joint defence facilities.

There are three key points in the motion; namely, the need to strengthen the alliance, the ANZUS Treaty and the joint defence facilities. The urgency of this matter is brought about by the apparently irrevocable commitment of New Zealand to destroying the ANZUS Treaty that has been in existence since 1951. I quote from an editorial which appeared in the Australian of 4 February this year. The editor of the Australian said:

ANZUS is far more important than the rhetorical gestures being made by the New Zealand Government. Everyone would like to be free of nuclear warships-of all nuclear weaponry, for that matter-but this is far from being a perfect world. It is simply not acceptable for New Zealand to destabilise our main defensive pact by going its own naive way.

It must be made very clear that the difficulties that we are in have resulted solely from the actions of New Zealand. They do not come from the present Government in Australia; they do not come from the present Administration in the United State of America. The naive actions, as the Australian described them, of the New Zealand Government have affected the security of Australia and the security of the United States. We have a legitimate right to put our point of view to the New Zealand Government as to the consequences of its action. Regrettably, the Australian Government has not used the opportunities that it had to put to the New Zealand Government that responsible point of view with respect to our security. New Zealand in the past has been quite happy to be an equal partner in what is essentially and absolutely a tripartite agreement-an agreement of three equal partners. This Government has done nothing at all to look after our essential interests with respect to the waywardness of New Zealand.

What does ANZUS provide? Senator Chipp has expressed his view. I would like to answer the question that he repeatedly asked of the Senate: What does ANZUS provide? ANZUS had its origins in 1951. The world in 1951 was very different from the world in 1985. The ANZUS Treaty was drawn up only five or six years after the end of the Second World War. At that time Japan was the defeated power in the Pacific and the United States was the dominant power. Since that time we have seen a very great change in the standing of nations of the Pacific region. However, then, as now, ANZUS was often misrepresented as a defence alliance between Australia and the United States with Australia playing the part of a defence groupie. It was argued that in some way or another Australia's essential interests were subsumed to some sycophantic support of the United States. People such as Senator Chipp still believe that that sort of situation exists. Of course, that is not true at all. I would like to quote from a speech that the present Defence Minister, Mr Beazley, made to the Fabian Society of New South Wales earlier this year in which he tackled this very point. He said:

It was, of course-

speaking of ANZUS-

a fact that Australia and the United States shared, and continue to share, many important interests in South East Asia and the South Pacific.

We both wish to see the development of prosperous, stable, resilient and open societies throughout our region.

That situation conveys the truth as to the relationship, as equal partners, between Australia and the United States.

There is one further point that is relevant to ANZUS. When the Labor Government came to power in March 1983, one of its very first tasks was to examine the ANZUS agreement and come up with, in its view, a complete review. This was completed about the middle of 1983. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), the then Minister for Defence and the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) all unequivocally supported ANZUS. I quote from another speech to the Fabian Society-they must be very interested in defence-by the present Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayden, in which he said:

The great value in the ANZUS arrangements is that they have continuing relevance for Australia's security in present and prospective circumstances.

What does ANZUS provide? Senator Chipp is always saying that the United States just has to get on the phone, because that is all that Article III provides-that the parties will consult. But, as Senator Durack said, Article IV is the key article. Article IV says quite bluntly:

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Areas on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.

It is absolutely wrong for Senator Chipp to claim that all that is required is a phone call. Such a statement is a statement of naivety in international relations. There is no such thing as a treaty or alliance which involves automatic and unconditional commitment by either party in the use of armed forces in support of the other. No treaty like that exists in the world. The United States, in the past, has told its partners in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that that is a fact of life in relation to the NATO agreement. But it also is a fact of life that no great power can ignore or betray the reasonable expectations of its treaty partners. There is no evidence that the United States will take a negligent view with respect to its responsibilities under this treaty.

Treaties are not merely scraps of paper. Treaties do influence the foreign policies of government. The ANZUS agreement has influenced Australia and has influenced New Zealand, and it influences the United States, in the conduct of their foreign policies. So let us have no more of this nonsense that ANZUS does not mean anything.

When we talk in the motion about strengthening ANZUS, we are not talking about the diplomatic side of it alone; we are talking about strengthening its military capacity. We want to see Australia do more to look after its own defence, because that obligation is very much on us in the light of the Guam doctrine of President Nixon, which was laid down in the late 1960s. In essence, the Guam doctrine means that unless a nation is prepared to look after itself and make a reasonable commitment to its own defence, the United States is not prepared to help it. So it is very much part of the Opposition's view, on this motion, that when we talk about strengthening the alliance we are not talking about diplomacy alone; we are talking about strengthening the military capability.

I should like to refer to a curious aside of the Foreign Minister in that Fabian speech to which I referred previously. He said that Australia was getting defence through ANZUS on the cheap; it was getting defence for about 2.8 per cent of its gross domestic product. That is a most unusual, most curious and most unprecedented justification for a defence alliance. But Mr Hayden went on to say that if we did not have ANZUS, we would have to commit about 5 per cent of our gross domestic product to defence to get an equivalent level of protection. Even if we went to 5 per cent, we would be considerably below the figures for defence spending of the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations, the nations in our region. For comparison, I throw up a few figures. Australia can put only 75,000-odd men and women into the field in defence of this country. Little Singapore, with about a sixth of our population, can put in over a quarter of a million. Indonesia, our nearest neighbour, has over 363,000 men. Malaysia, which has about the same population as that of Australia, can find over half a million men. So we can see that the contribution Australia makes to its own defence is miniscule and quite inadequate.

But ANZUS has values, both direct and indirect, for Australia. One of the indirect values is that no attacker of Australia can evaluate precisely the level of the United States response. Another great indirect value is that ANZUS is a stabilising factor in the relationships of the region. The ASEAN countries respect and support the ANZUS agreement. The direct benefits to Australia are many. There are the intelligence benefit; access to latest technology; joint exercises with the United States, which are enormously important to us now, given the great cutback in operational funding under the meagre defence budgets of this Government; and the logistic support. Let honourable senators not have any doubt about the value of that logistic support to Australia. The United States is the only country which, through thick and thin, will provide the weapons and material for Australian defence forces without references to our political situation, as we found out very sorely with respect to the French, the British and the Swedes when we were involved in the Vietnam war.

Why do we need to reinforce ANZUS at this time? We need to reinforce ANZUS because this region is no longer as stable as it used to be. There are potential problems in our region. Only today in the newspapers there are several articles about the major increases in Soviet activity in the Pacific region-the growth of Cam Ranh Bay and the development of the Soviet Navy there. The biggest fleet of the Soviets is now in the Pacific. The Soviets have a bigger fleet in the Pacific than does the United States Navy. I refer to the air deployments at Da Nang in Vietnam and the diplomatic activity in places like Kiribati with the development of fishing ports. All these things reinforce the increased activity of the Soviets in our sphere of interest. Since the Soviets and their supporters on my left in this chamber have no historical interest in this region one is entitled to ask: Why are they there? Are they there for a suntan, or do they like the seafood cocktails? I have my own view on the matter.

A great deal of instability is developing in the region. We have the strange views of the New Zealand Government and the troubles in New Caledonia and the intransigence of the French Government with respect to the development of a new state there. We have the accreditation of the Cubans to Vanuatu, the border problems in Papua New Guinea, the failing days of the Marcos regime in the Philippines and the uncertainties that can come in Indonesia when President Suharto finishes his long and honourable term. All of these things lead us to have grave conserns about our future. Those fears are reinforced by some of the actions of the Government. I have no doubt about the integrity of Mr Hawke, Mr Lionel Bowen, Mr Beazley, many other members of the Ministry and the majority of members--

Senator Gareth Evans —And me.

Senator MacGIBBON —And Senator Gareth Evans-with respect to their support for the American alliance. But one has to recognise that members of the largest faction, insofar as factions can be mapped in that changing game of Labor Party relationships, are trenchantly opposed to the ANZUS alliance and want to pursue an anti-joint defence facilities line. They are xenophobic, isolationists, unilateralist, pacifist, and all sorts of things. The views of these people are known, and they prejudice the good name of the more responsible members of the Labor Party. We had the dreadful debacle of the MX promise being broken when, after the Prime Minister promised to support the testing of that weapons system, the left wing made him back down. We have had the inability to deal frankly and firmly with New Zealand on its illogocal actions, the tacit and the active financial support for the peace movement, and the change of the venue of the Pacific Area Defence Exhibition from Sydney to Darwin. All these things detract from the credibility of the Labor Party. I can assure the Labor Party on behalf of the Liberal Party and the National Party that, insofar as it is concerned about the defence of this country, it has the full and unqualified support of the Opposition.

Finally, we come to the joint defence facilities. As Senator Evans said, they are concerned with surveillance. They have no war fighting capability. Yet we have all this fear campaign drummed up by Senator Chipp and his fellow travellers, resulting in the belief that the facilities make Australia a nuclear target. The illogicality of their case does not weigh heavily with them at all, but the fact is that if one is in a war the first target is the arms of your opponent, not intelligence-gathering facilities. In the event of an open war between the United States and the Soviets we would face the terrible effects of a nuclear winter, so it would all become irrelevant.

There is no isolationist course open to Australia. There is no safety in the Chipp-style neutrality, the craven cowardice of trying to hide under the bed when the thunderstorm is going on.