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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 1093


Mr ALDRED —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the fact that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies unanimously support research into the strategic defence initiative, as does Japan. I ask the Prime Minister on what grounds he justifies his Government's intended rejection of any United States invitation to participate in research into the strategic defence initiative, as announced by his Defence Minister yesterday? I also ask why this Government is again running away from support for the United States and our friends and allies in the difficult but necessary matter of strategic competition with the Soviet Union?


Mr HAWKE —Mr Speaker, as distinct from yesterday, when a question on this matter was asked, the Minister for Defence has now received a letter from Secretary Weinberger. That was received this morning. We have not had the opportunity of discussing it or examining it in detail. Nevertheless, that does not prevent me from making some observations in response to the question from the honourable member. I say at the outset-


Mr Aldred —You have already announced rejection.


Mr SPEAKER —Order!


Mr HAWKE —Not only do I and the Government deplore, but I believe the overwhelmingly majority of the Australian people deplore, the way in which this question was asked. It was premised upon a proposition and an assertion that this Government is in some sense running away from its obligations and commitments to its alliance partner, the United States. One would have thought, as I have had cause to say before in this place, that the statements of the President of the United States of America, the Secretary of State of the United States, and all other spokesmen for the United States Administration, would have been statements that would have been accepted by those opposite. If honourable members opposite do not accept those statements, do not beat around the bush. What they are saying is that the President of the United States, Secretary of State Shultz, and all the other spokesmen are liars. If honourable members on the other side the House want to embrace that position they are welcome to it, but if they do they will be judged, and judged appropriately, by the people of this country. The facts clearly are-


Mr Aldred —Why did you announce rejection?


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Bruce has asked his question.


Mr HAWKE —The facts clearly are that without equivocation the President and other spokesmen have made it quite clear that the relationship between Australia and the United States is on the firmest possible footing, that they value this country and this Government as firm and reliable allies. It does nothing but an extreme disservice to the basic security interests of this country that those opposite should seek-


Mr Aldred —You are the one who has done the disservice.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I warn the honourable member for Bruce.


Mr HAWKE —Should seek for their own miserable purposes to try to bring that into question.


Mr Aldred —Do you or do you not support the SDI?


Mr HAWKE —Let me go from that general basis to the specific question-


Mr SPEAKER —I name the honourable member for Bruce.

Motion (by Mr Young) proposed:

That the honourable member for Bruce be suspended from the service of the House.


Mr Peacock —If I may speak, Mr Speaker, on this occasion the language used by the Prime Minister to imply that my honourable friend was calling the President a liar was incorrect. He even degenerated to terms such as 'his miserable purposes'. These are not the words and, I trust, not the intent normally of a Prime Minister dispassionately discussing a matter. I would ask that you reconsider what you have put to the House, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Bruce received adequate warning. He defied the Chair.

Question put:

That the honourable member for Bruce be suspended from the service of the House.