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Wednesday, 4 December 1985
Page: 2911

Senator GEORGES(3.23) —In what we call an accelerated debate, we each get five minutes to debate a very important subject. I must come to the defence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bill Hayden, and give him some credit for the initiatives he has taken. In our area, the initiatives have lessened tensions and opened up paths for negotiation between those powers that confront one another. I was surprised to hear from Senator Michael Baume a eulogy on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations. The ASEAN position is fairly clear and fairly partisan. If one reads about the positions that the countries of ASEAN take and the announcements that they make, one finds that they are partisan in being completely opposed to the Government of Vietnam. They take a position which is pro-Pol Pot and a previous regime. Their position is to arm and to continue to arm those forces which seek to continue the confrontation in Kampuchea, and they are working against the peaceful trends which are developing, of which trends Bill Hayden had been the leader.

Senator Peter Baume —The peaceful trends in expansionist Vietnam, eh?

Senator GEORGES —Oh, Senator, if you are going to talk in terms of expansionism and Vietnam, you will be talking rather idle talk. That is what ASEAN says-that Vietnam is engaged in an expansionist program which threatens the regimes of ASEAN countries, regimes which are militaristic, dictatorial and completely oppressive of their own peoples. That is what the ASEAN regimes represent.

Senator Michael Baume —But the Defence Department likes them.

Senator GEORGES —Yes, the Department of Defence may take the position that the honourable senator takes, but I have always found the Defence Department to be well behind the changing peaceful attitudes. In fact, I often wonder whether defence departments here and overseas have a vested interest in confrontation and take some comfort from the possibility of war. When the rest of us are endeavouring to solve the world's problems by peaceful means, the defence departments are thinking in terms of the past-and so is Senator Michael Baume. I have to use the word `Michael' because I want to separate the honourable senator from Senator Peter Baume, but maybe the latter thinks in the same way.

Senator Crichton-Browne —Are you happy about Cam Ranh Bay?

Senator GEORGES —Cam Ranh Bay has been a development which has been forced upon the Vietnamese. There has been some change in the last days which ought to give the honourable senator some comfort. The change is that there is now developing an understanding between Vietnam and the United States. It is belated; it should have happened ages ago. Were it not for people such as Senator Crichton-Browne and Senator Michael Baume, it would have developed far more rapidly. The honourable senators are behind the times. An understanding is taking place there that goes far beyond their thinking. Fortunately for us all, this is happening in spite of the honourable senators.

My five minutes is almost over. Here we have an opportunity for a wide-ranging debate on a very important issue and the clock cuts off just when we are starting to develop our argument. I am starting now to put the point of view that I would want to put, but I now have to cede to Senator Puplick. As I have said previously, the Senate will have to take another look at its Standing Orders and see that we have more time to discuss very important matters when they are raised in this place. I put it to Senator Michael Baume that he should take another look at what is happening, rethink his position, give some understanding to the position of Vietnam and to Cambodia, and realise that if they are taking a position with which he does not agree, we have forced them into that position by the fact that we have not understood them, we have opposed them, and we have fought against them.