House debates

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Questions without Notice

ANZUS Treaty: 70th Anniversary

2:28 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] My question is to the Minister for Defence. Will the minister please inform the House of the significance of today's 70th anniversary of Australia's most important strategic and military partnership, the US alliance?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for his question. He is a man who has served his country as an ambassador and continues to do great work as a local member of parliament, and who is one of the strongest supporters of our relationship with the United States.

As we know, 70 years ago today in San Francisco the compact was signed between Australia, the United States and New Zealand. Of course it came off the back of the Second World War, and it came off the back of an effort of our allied troops to save the world from a particular course and a direction that would have been harmful and devastating to the entire world for many decades. The world would never have recovered from the Second World War had the United States and the Allies not approached Germany and the forces against us during that period, without the resolute capacity that only the United States can bring to a wartime effort.

Since that time, over seven decades we have stood with the United States and the United States has stood with us. We've seen in its most recent iteration in the Middle East we brought out 4,100 Australian citizens, visa holders and permanent residents. Not one of those people would have made it to our plane if it wasn't for the effort of the United States. And it wasn't just us. New Zealand, France, Spain—rattle off the countries; they were not able to have a presence at Kabul without those 4,000 soldiers and without the 1,000 British soldiers. We have an incredible partnership with the United Kingdom as well. Our countries would not have achieved the success without the United States.

We turn our attention now to the Indo-Pacific region. We know that there is greater uncertainty in this region than at any time since the Second World War. It is more important than ever for countries in our region to see the rock that is the relationship between the United States, our country and New Zealand. Our shared values, our perspective on the world, our belief in freedom of speech, our belief in a sovereign right and our belief in making sure democratic processes prevail have been at the core of the peacetime success that has resulted in millions of people being lifted from poverty and put on a much more certain trajectory than they would otherwise have faced. With uncertainty in our region the Australian public knows that our ANZUS alliance is more important now than it was 70 years ago. All those leaders on both sides of the equation, who have given their commitment to this compact for 70 years, should know that this government will continue to reinforce the ANZUS treaty for many, many decades to come.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Leader of the Opposition, on indulgence?

2:31 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

I join with the defence minister and others who spoke earlier today in commemorating and celebrating the 70 years of the ANZUS Treaty. It is our most important relationship. It will be even more important going forward given the uncertain times that we're in. I certainly commend my further comments and the comments of both sides of the House in the earlier debate on what is a bipartisan commitment between Australia and the United States based upon friendship.