Thursday, 14 May 2020
Australia-United States of America Relationship: 80th Anniversary
I ask that the names of Senators Seselja, Van and Keneally be added as co-sponsors of the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Askew, Seselja, Van and Keneally, move:
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that this year marks the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the United States of America;
(b) notes that:
(i) Australia and the United States established diplomatic relations on 8 January 1940,
(ii) Australia's first Ambassador to the United States, Mr Norman J O Makin, presented his credentials to the US Government on 11 September 1946, and
(c) recognises the strong and enduring trade and investment relationship between our two nations, noting the following:
(i) the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) which entered into force on 1 January 2005,
(ii) the United States is Australia's largest two-way investment partner, reaching $1.6 trillion in 2017, with two-way trade worth A$70.2 billion in 2017-18, and
(iii) over 10,000 Australian listed companies sell to or operate in the United States; and
(d) recognises the strong and enduring security relationship between our two nations, noting the following:
(i) Australian and US forces have fought alongside each other in every significant conflict since World War I,
(ii) the US-Australian alliance is a key partnership for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,
(iii) US Marines are stationed in Darwin in Australia's north, and our defence force personnel are working together in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,
(iv) Australian and US defence agencies signed a Joint Statement on Defence Cooperation in October 2015, and
(v) in 2017, the United States and Australia participated in the seventh Talisman Saber, a biennial joint military exercise designed to ensure our defence forces can work together with the highest levels of interoperability.
It's good to see the government recognising the importance of the Senate considering foreign policy motions at last. We oppose this motion but won't deny formality; we would rather put our position on the record. This motion celebrates that Australian and US forces have fought alongside each other in every significant conflict since World War I. The Greens think the US military alliance makes us less safe, not more. As we have long said, it's time for Australia to stop unquestioningly doing the bidding of the US and chart its own independent foreign policy course. The importance of this couldn't be more evident with the erratic and dangerous Trump as president, but it will continue to matter when he's out of the White House. Moreover, the Australian parliament must debate and vote on new military actions and deployments that put our servicemen and women in harm's way.
Question agreed to.