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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 283

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) (Prime Minister) - The Government is not prepared to accept the deletion of those words because they are placed in the motion for very deliberate reasons which have been explained to this House on a number of occasions. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) has raised the point I will explain the reason again. I hope that he will then accept them because then there would be a bipartisan approach on this particular issue. As I have said from the outset, that would be a good thing for Australia. The Berlin crisis, the Korean

War and the Cuban missile crisis all had two elements of great importance to all of us. They all represented a threat to the determination, to the integrity of the will of Western nations, but beyond that those matters were much more of a regional rather than of a global importance.

Mr Hayden - Come off it.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -The honourable gentleman should remember that at the time of the Berlin blockade the United States of America had overwhelming nuclear superiority and there was no question that the Soviet Union would attempt war on that occasion. That ought to be known and it ought to be understood. Of course, the circumstances now are different. The Soviet Union has at least nuclear parity. It has a superiority in conventional arms. The thrust to Afghanistan, whatever the motives, as has been explained opens the opportunity to create opportunities in relation to control and influence over oil supplies which are vital to Europe, Japan and many other developed and underdeveloped nations. For quite specific reasons it is that additional ingredient that caused the Government to put in that motion those words to which the Leader of the Opposition takes objection. For the reasons that the Government has given, it is not prepared to accede to the wish of the Leader of the Opposition. Willy Brandt, a socialist from Germany, has expressed precisely the same view in the European Parliament that I have, as have many others. They are the views expressed by the European Parliament in its resolutions and they are the views and opinions that were given to me and to the Foreign Minister (Mr Peacock) during recent visits overseas. They all confirm the view expressed in that motion. The Government will not withdraw from it and therefore I suggest that the question be put.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

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