Thursday, 28 June 2018
I, and also on behalf of Senators Wong, Payne, Farrell, Hinch, Griff, Bernardi, Hanson, Burston and Anning, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(ii) the hard fought victory achieved by the combined forces at Hamel helped turn the tide of World War I,
(iii) Australia has fought together with the US in every major conflict since 1918,
(iv) more than 100,000 Australian service members have given the ultimate sacrifice alongside fellow servicemen and women from the US,
(v) Australia and the United States of America officially established bilateral diplomatic relations on 8 January 1940,
(vi) Australia and the US formalised their security alliance with the signing of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty, at San Francisco on 1 September 1951 (commonly known as the ANZUS Treaty),
(vii) the ANZUS Treaty was invoked for the first and only time in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001,
(viii) Australia and the US share information essential for security and defence through the Five Eyes intelligence alliance,
(ix) the Force Posture Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America, made on 12 August 2014 in Sydney, enables closer security and defence cooperation between the two allies,
(xi) Australia and the US work closely in a number of international fora, including the Group of Twenty (G20),
(xii) the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, signed on 18 May 2004 in Washington, came into effect on 1 January 2005,
(xiii) Australia and the US conduct $68 billion in two way trade and have an investment relationship valued at $1 trillion, and
(xiv) 4 July 2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Hamel and serves as the date on which Australia and the US celebrate the first 100 years of Mateship;
(b) commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Hamel, forging the unique and enduring relationship between Australia and the US;
(c) reaffirms the strong military alliance between Australia and the US; and
(d) supports continued diplomatic, security, and economic cooperation between Australia and the US.
I want to talk a little bit about Hamel. It's a place I've visited on the Western Front, and I took the diary of my great-grandfather, who served there. And my Uncle Charlie won the Distinguished Service Medal very close to Hamel. So this is an issue that I take very seriously. I want to say today that it's fine to commemorate the sacrifice of Australian soldiers, US soldiers and other allied soldiers at a place like Hamel, but to tie it with blind allegiance to our US alliance is, I think, quite offensive. The Greens have raised as an issue the need for us to revisit our alliance. It's a perfectly rational thing. This motion does point out that that alliance dates back to the 1940s. It's high time we reviewed our relationship with the US, but to somehow tie it to a historic battle that is personal for many of us is offensive.
This is a very important motion, and I'm very grateful to all those senators who, in a spirit of bipartisanship right across the chamber, have supported this symbolic measure to mark what is our most important strategic and economic partnership and friendship. The United States of America is clearly a longstanding friend. We have fought together in battles for 100 years now and we have the strongest strategic and economic partnership and friendship imaginable. I think this motion, supported by both the government and the opposition and by many senators on the crossbench, is an appropriate recognition and marking of a very important occasion.
Question agreed to.