Statement to Parliament: 70th anniversary of the Australia, New Zealand and United States treaty

It’s my pleasure to rise day today and add to the comments of the Prime Minister of Australia and also the Leader of the Opposition, and commend those comments once more to the House.

Mr Speaker, my father best reflects on what it is like to have the United States as an ally – he as a New Zealander and myself as an Australian. He remembers as a serving member being in Wellington, Wellington Harbour in New Zealand, and they had little fuel, few boats, not much of an air force, and they were watching Japanese spotter planes whilst my grandfather fought in the Pacific Islands up to Guadalcanal. Then one day, he turned around and there was the American Navy, and he said to his other serving members, 'We've just won'. And that is what is required. Never doubt the family, which is New Zealand. Never underestimate, as he always said to me, the inspired power of the American people, when put to the flame.

But it's not just strength in military, but strength based on shared values, liberty of the individual, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, rights to private property, no discrimination against ethnicity. This is the cement that binds us together, this is the reason that we strive for what is right and what is just and what is good and have an obligation to be part of that process, which is ANZUS.

In a world moving step by step, back to utilitarianism, where democracy slips to a form of quasi-democracy and a quasi-democracy slips back to autocracy, where autocracy is not tempered by the collegiate aspects of cabinet forms of government, or by referring to an executive, but goes out and parrots the mouthpiece of the supreme leader. Mr Speaker, without being smart, in Latin, si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war – and we want peace. No one ever encourages war. We want peace. But this is an essential component of what must happen if you want peace. It comes from Epitoma Rei Militaris by a guy called Vegetius. And it's Latin because it's been the same through history. There is nothing new about this. And the preparation needs mass, and mass needs allies.

Looking forward requires a learned experience – a learned experience over the long term, a learned experience over 100 years, for which 70 years is part of ANZUS. But it is a learned experience over 100 years, not a memory of the 1990s. The world has changed. Now, the geopolitical circumstances of our region show an uncomfortable resemblance of the power jousting of Europe in a previous century.

Mr Speaker, ANZUS comes with costs and it comes with the capacity and must have the capacity for a bipartisan understanding, and I see that today, exactly what we need that contract for, and exactly how we tie it to that contract. And that comes with the requirement of this Parliament to show to the Australian people continually why we were involved with Korea, why we were involved with Vietnam, why we were involved with Iraq, why we were involved for 20 years in Afghanistan. Because friends have to understand that your heart is where your legs are as well. That you honestly believe in those shared values. That you are willing to say to your people from a parliament, 'This is essential'.

Mr Speaker, ANZUS is an insurance policy for the freedoms of our nation. ANZUS is the insurance policy that lets us sit in this chamber. ANZUS is the insurance policy that keeps us from being, if not defeated, a supplicant. ANZUS is the insurance policy that is essential for us in a new geopolitical world, where the fuels of the bushfire are so apparent. And I commend to the House and thank both the Opposition and the Prime Minister and this Government for its recommitment to this great and noble cause.