Back to All News

The Australian-US Alliance

Video & Multimedia
Richard Di Natale 10 Nov 2016

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me from moving a motion to give precedence to a motion relating to the Australia-US alliance.

Transcript

During this election campaign, President-elect Trump pledged to ban all Muslims—the 1.6 billion Muslims living across the globe. He said to them, 'There is no place for you in modern America.' He attacked the family of a Muslim soldier who died giving service during the Iraq war. He has decried Mexicans as 'criminals and rapists'. He has said that a federal judge could not hear a case fairly simply because he was a Mexican. He thinks that blacks are lazy; he thinks it is a genetic trait.

He has refused to condemn the white supremacist David Duke from the Ku Klux Klan campaigning for him. He has traded in vile, anti-Semitic rhetoric. He was one of the proponents of the birther movement. He believes that climate change is a hoax from the Chinese. He is a misogynist. He accused a woman of menstruating during an interview. He has bragged about sexually assaulting women. He incites violence; at one of his rallies he encouraged an attacker and said he would pay for his legal fees.

Now, on foreign policy: he believes that Japan and South Korea should develop nuclear weapons—two countries with a history of tension between each other. And, as former Premier Bob Carr said, 'There has never been a person elected to the presidency who has had such a cavalier approach to nuclear weapons.' He has praised authoritarian regimes—Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un—and he has suggested that he does not care if there is a trade war with China. He has questioned the NATO alliance—he has questioned that.

Many Australians are now very, very deeply worried. They are worried because the US has elected a man who is sexist, he is racist, he is anti-Semitic, he is nationalist, he denies climate change and he promotes nuclear proliferation. And it is not just many ordinary Australians. Bill Shorten called him 'barking mad'—barking mad! We had John Howard saying that he trembled at the prospect of President Trump. We have had Christopher Pyne saying he was terrified. And, of course, Minister Frydenberg called him 'a drop kick'. The only people who are wholeheartedly supportive of his presidency are members of the extreme Right, like some of those people within One Nation and, of course, the extremes within the coalition.

And yet here we are, within hours of an election, and we have the government kowtowing to a man who has vowed to block any Muslims from migrating to America.

We had the Prime Minister of this country on TV backing in the US alliance. We have just heard the Minister for Defence say, 'We are right behind President Trump. We are right behind him. We have fought together in every conflict since World War II. If Donald Trump picks up the phone and says, "We need your help," we'll be right behind him.' The Australian alliance with the US is now one of our greatest security risks.

Let's look at the response from other international leaders. Angela Merkel, somebody who has demonstrated in recent years that she is prepared to show global leadership, said, 'We will continue our relationship with the US only if it is built on common values.' Rather than standing up and saying, 'We don't accept your racism, your misogyny, your warmongering and your fear mongering,' we have had both the coalition and the opposition saying, 'All the way with the US.'

If there was ever a time to question our allegiance to the US that time is now. Like all important relationships, this was a relationship that was founded on common values. The time has come to assess whether it is now in our interests. We are like two people in a relationship whose values have now drifted so far apart that we can no longer continue on the same path. Given the questions about Mr Trump's temperament and policies from almost all sides of politics, now is the time that this chamber should be debating the fundamentals of Australia's alliance with the US. If not now then when? The time to follow the US blindly into another conflict is over. Let us have this debate. Let us have it now.
 

Back to All News