17th Parliament · 2nd Session
The House met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. J. S.Rosevear) took the chair, and read prayers.
The Usherof the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Exellency the GovernorGeneral desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
Motion (by Mr.Curtin) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Statutory Declarations Act 1911-1922.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
DEATH OF MR. MAURICE McCRAE BLACKBURN.
– It is with very sincere regret that I refer to the death, which occurred on the 31st March last, of Mr. Maurice McCrae Blackburn, & former member of this House and of the State Parliament of Victoria. Honorable members will recall the shock and sense of personal loss felt by all on the receipt of ‘the sad news in Canberra at the close of the last sitting day.
The late Mr. Blackburn had a long and honorable parliamentary career, having first entered the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, for Essendon following a by-election in July, 1914. That seat he held until the general election in 1917. He was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly for Fitzroy at the by-election in February, 1925. Following upon the State electoral redistribution of 1926, he was elected for Clifton Hill at the subsequent general election in 1927, which seat he held until August, 1934, when he resigned, to contest the Bourke seat at the federal general election. From the 11th October, 1933, to the 1st August, 1934, he was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the House of Representatives for Bourke at the general elections in 1934, 1937, and 1940, and was defeated at the general elections in 1943.
It can be said without fear of contradiction that the late gentleman was held in the highest esteem by all who knew him and, indeed, between himself and many of his colleagues there existed a bond of affection, which was a natural corollary of his deeply sincere and sympathetic nature. He was, nevertheless, a man of strong character and of great independence of mind, direct and fair in the expression of his views, and forceful in the advocacy of those things which he considered to be right and just, regardless of whether or not they were popular. He will forever be gratefully remembered by the workers, particularly of Victoria, for his devotion to the cause of trade unionism and for his ready and valuable assistance in the solution of industrial problems. In addition to his colleagues in the political and industrial spheres, <a large number of friends in legal and cultural circles, of which he was a well-known and respected member, will mourn his loss.
Maurice Blackburn, for at least 40 years, was engaged in the service of the people of this Commonwealth, and, in particular, of that section of the people who suffered injustice and whose capacity to speak for themselves was limited. For such people he became an advocate. He pleaded their cause, and he engaged in the study of how best he could serve them. It was the privilege of some members of this Houses - it most certainly was mine - to have shared with him, when we were quite young, the early struggles which young men have in giving effect to the ideas which come to them, and in serving the ideals which they cherish. Those ideas and ideals in the case of Mr. Blackburn impressed every one who came in contact with him. He lived his ideals, and it was his over riding desire that he should find in democracy, in the contest of mind with mind, not only the answer to the question of how, but also an answer which would appeal to the reason of all the people.
He was opposed to violence. His soul revolted against the use of brute force, either to assert some right or to redress some wrong. Indeed, he revolted against the use of force in the settlement of any dispute anywhere. He was not a pacifist, but he was a fighter who believed that the struggle for right should be worthy of the ideals that would animate the right. As I have said, Maurice Blackburn was a cultured man, and in addition he was a most lovable man. He was, if I may use the expression, conscientious to a fault. He would allow nothing to turn him from what he considered to be the right, and however unpopular he might become, however discomforting his attitude might be to his colleagues, the divine monitor within him impelled him to stand for what in his soul he believed.
He rendered great service in the legislatures of Victoria and of the Commonwealth. His influence affected the Labour movement, and the men and women associated with it, and he also had a profound influence upon every political party. He set a standard, and all of us were the better for endeavouring to live up to it. I pay a tribute to one who was the companion of my early years, and who, in himself, was one of the great servants of the people of the Commonwealth.
To his sorrowing widow and family, by whom some consolation will no doubt have been derived from the tributes paid to his memory, we extend our deep sympathy in their irreparable loss. I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Mr. Maurice McCrae Blackburn, B.A., LL.B., a former member of the House of Representatives for the division of Bourke, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Victoria, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow und the members of his family in their bereavement.
– My colleagues desire to be associated with this motion. I myself speak to it with very great sorrow.
The Prime Minister has said a number of things about our late friend, Maurice Blackburn, all of them true and completely just. He was, as we all know, a man of many qualities, but perhaps his most remarkable quality was his indomitable moral courage. What he felt to be right was, in his mind, right, and he would pursue it wherever the journey might take- him. In the course of his political life he went through some very stormy periods. He was the centre of many bitter controversies, and many bitter things were said about him at various times, but I believe that he lived to enjoy a time when no man had any bitter thing to say about him whatever. It was a complete triumph for his character.
The motion before the Chair mentions his widow and his family, and with them, of course, we sorrow. We sorrow profoundly. I should like to say to honorable members that I myself learnt for the first time after Maurice Blackburn’s death that his mother is still living at a very advanced age, and I am happy to say that the widespread tributes which have been paid to him by men of every shade of political opinion brought comfort to her.
Maurice Blackburn served the people in two remarkable ways. One was in Parliament where, as the Prime Minister has truly said, he set a standard that all may well try to achieve. He was a man for whom no good cause, as he saw it, was lost while he lived. That, I think, sums up his attitude. Outside Parliament he brought, over a long period of years, a richly stored mind, great experience and great zeal to the service of the industrial movement of Australia. It was my pleasure, long before I was concerned with politics in this Parliament, to be associated with him on many occasions in industrial litigation, and I can speak at first hand of the unwearying zeal with which he placed his gifts at the disposal of the great trade union movement, not in a “professional sense, not because he dreamed of making money out of it - for no man was less interested in money than he - but because he was convinced that that was an important way in which to serve the cause in which he believed.
I honour his memory more than I cansay, and I am sure that every honorable member on this side of the House wishes to be associated with what I know will go to his family as a wholehearted tribute to a great man.
– - I sadly and reverently associate the Country party with the sentiments expressed regarding our late friend,. Maurice Blackburn. Speaking for myself, I always numbered Maurice Blackburnamongst my friends. His was a personality that this House appreciated and sadly misses. He brought to Parliament a discerning mind, and exercised a vigilance over all governments, all parties and all legislation. His watchful eye; his method of interpretation, his knowledge of the people, of Australia were advantageous to our consideration of matters concerning not only this Parliament, but, also, through this Parliament, the nation. Maurice Blackburn will be missed for a very long time by those who were privileged to be associated with him. I join with the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin), and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) in conveying to his widow and family our heartfelt sympathy in their loss. I also express to Parliament and Australia as a whole my sympathy for the loss that they have suffered as the result of his passing.
– I associate myself with the expressions of regret at the passing of Maurice Blackburn. I was a friend and supporter of his for many years. I saw the work he did for those who require assistance most, th£ workers of this country. He devoted his life to their cause. He was a man of high principles and convictions, and because of his adherence to principles with which I disagreed I eventually opposed him politically. We had a friendly fight. We finished that campaign in a friendly spirit. Australia has lost a good citizen, and the working class a good friend. The good that he did will live after him. I extend my deepest sympathy to his mother, widow and family.
– I rise to pay tribute to my very dear friend, the late Maurice Blackburn. It is usual to discover a man’s attributes and qualities after he has passed on, but I am in the fortunate position of being able to repeat to-day the things I said of him while he lived. When he first came to this Parliament, I became a very close friend of his, and, as the years went on, that friendship became greater. Like many other honorable members of this Parliament, I had the advantage of his wide knowledge. I believe that every member of the Labour party, which he so loyally served, knew of his great worth and of how he assisted the Labour Government. Even though at that time he was not recognized by those in authority as a member of the Labour party, when we became a government, he assisted Ministers in drafting legislation and regulations. His aid was frequently sought by the Labour party, and was readily available. Maurice Blackburn has been referred to as a great scholar: I believe he was the foremost constitutional authority in this country; but where he differed from others who likewise may be classified as having scholarly attributes, was that, whereas Maurice Blackburn could have become a wealthy man had he desired to accept fees and retainers from wealthy combines and monopolies in this country, he refused to accept them, because he preferred to serve the people. He was, by choice, the people’s champion and will long be remembered for the work he did in an honorary capacity for the Labour movement of this country. He assisted trade unions in the preparation of claims to be presented to the Arbitration Court. Without hope of fee or reward, he assisted individual members of the working class, who required assistance. I mention as an illustration of the character of Maurice Blackburn that when I, myself, had to face a royal commission concerning certain statements that I had made, I asked him to act for me. Because he thought that he would not help the presentation of my case, as he was a member of the same party as myself, he refused to accept any fee or brief, but gave his advice and throughout the hearing rendered every assistance that he could possibly give. That, in my opinion, was typical of his whole attitude to life. He was a great scholar. He contributed many outstanding pamphlets on national questions. He was editor of a socialist newspaper in Melbourne at one period and editor of the Labour Call at another. So, he gave a lifetime of service to the people of this country. I join with others in regretting the passing of a great Australian and a great scholar, and I extend, my heartfelt sympathy to the sorrowing relatives and friends whom he has left behind.
– I first met Maurice Blackburn in the closing years of the last century and we then formed a friendship and an association, later a political association, . which endured until his death. That is my reason, perhaps I should say my excuse, for interposing a few words in this tribute. The question has been posed as to what is the salient, the outstanding quality of youth, because Maurice Blackburn was necessarily very young at the time I first came to know him. Some have said that seriousness is the outstanding quality. One writer suggests eagerness. But I would say of Mr. Blackburn that he very early developed qualities of eagerness and deep interest, in his fellow men. Those qualities se evident in his youth, interest and eagerness, he retained until his death. He had a singularly acute capacity for appraising the characters of men. Those judgments which he made, subtle and penetrating as they were, conceded something at times to the virtue of charity, hut nothing to the sourness of ill-will. Outside the domestic circle, the circle of his own family in whom he was, of course, deeply interested, I think he preferred the company of men rather than that of women, and he loved most the unusual man; the hard-bitten character pricked his analytical mind into action. I do not pretend, longstanding as my friendship was with him, that I was within that inner circle of his most intimate friends. His public services, as has been pointed out by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), were outstanding, but I am of the opinion that his best work was personal and private. He joined the Labour party, not because he particularly loved party, and certainly not because be loved manual labour, either as a diversion or as a means of livelihood, but because the Labour party stood for things in which he most strongly believed and in the advocacy of which he was for many years an outstanding figure. He went out of the Labour party, indeed out of life, making room for my esteemed friend, the present honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Bryson), with the firm conviction that he had lived so long as to see everything which had attracted him to politics abrogated or destroyed in the rapine of war. He preached, and, to some extent, practised socialism, but rather, I think, as an instrument of service to the people, than from a deep-rooted belief in the doctrines of socialism, because from his individual judgment once formed there was no appeal. As was finely said at the time of his death, “ He went his way though he went alone “. He wasted no nerve tissue in useless anger, no breath in profanity. His mind was entirely free from the influence of the salacious. His tastes were of the simplest and may be summed up in three words - reading, walking, talking. He was as bright a talker as was Wilde; he was as rapid a reader as Macaulay, and as retentive of what he read. In the Garden Beautiful, he suffered a nostalgia for the musty air of the second-hand bookshop. He made no claim that, in doing so, he chose the better part; he merely made the claim that he had the right to make the choice. As I understood him, and I think I understood him well, he was little interested in creeds, but he raised his ethical standards to the dignity of a religion. He was modestly agnostic, though it grieved him that the Christian theory was allotted so subordinate a part in. the history of the nations’ travail. I adopt the graceful words of condolence of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. His was a simple, scholarly, lovable nature. May his gracious soul rest in peace!
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I sincerely regret to inform honorable members of the death of Mr. John Henry Prowse which took place on the 20th May last. The late Mr. Prowse sat in this Parliament for a period of 24 years, having first been elected for the division of Swan, Western Australia, at the general election in 1919. He was subsequently re-elected for the new division of Forrest at every election for the House of Representatives up to and including 1940. He was defeated at the general election in September, 1943. During the long period that he was a member of this House, Mr. Prowse sat on a number of committees and held other offices. He was a member of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts from 1920 to 1923 and from July, 1925, to September, 1929, and was chairman of the Select Committee on the effect of the operation of the Navigation Act upon Australian trade and industry, and of the royal commission on the same subject in 1923. He acted as ministerial Whip from March, 1923, to August, 1924. From October, 1927, to August, 1934, he was Temporary Chairman of Committees. He was a member of the Commonwealth Delegation of the Empire Parliamentary Association, which visited Canada in 1928. In October, 1934, he was elevated to the position of Chairman of Committees and continued in that capacity until his resignation of the post in June, 1943. I am sure that honorable members who sat in committees of this House under his chairmanship will agree that he carried out his duties in a most thorough, efficient and business-like manner, his handling of bills being marked by quick perception and understanding, and his control of the discussions which took place on them by courteous treatment of the members of all parties.
In this chamber and elsewhere his voice was invariably raised on behalf of the man on the land, for whom he did a great deal, particularly in his own State of Western Australia, where he was widely known and greatly respected. Before he became a member of this Parliament, lie had been Mayor of Perth, and in that capacity contributed much towards the development of the dignity of that gracious city. But he was interested also in a number of bodies, all of which were devoted to some form of public service. His connexion with the Primary Producers Association in Western Australia did not in any way compass the wide range of his interest in the problems of the man on the land. Time and time again he travelled through the State to ascertain the needs of roads boards and other public instrumentalities. He was keenly interested also in hospital welfare in the rural area of Western Australia. In many ways he devoted himself to the service of men and women, particularly in that State. So devoted was he to what he considered to be the interests of Western Australia that he believed that the State did not receive justice. The truth, however, is that the late Mr. Prowse was not only a proud member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth - proud in the sense that he considered that it was a great honour to serve in this Parliament - but also had a high and conscientious conception of the duty that he owed to those who elected him to this chamber. I am sure that throughout Western Australia there were many sad hearts when the news of his death reached the people. I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Mr. John Henry Prowse, a former member of the House of Representatives for the division of Forrest, and Chairman of Committees, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow and the members of his family in their bereavement.
– Members of the Opposition support this motion with feelings of very deep regret. For many years the late Mr. Prowse was a member of this Parliament. He was a popular member, a very assiduous member, and in all circumstances an extraordinarily goodtempered member. He brought to this Parliament a most remarkable set of qualifications. As the Prime Minister reminded us, the late Mr. Prowse had been the Mayor of a great city. At another stage of his life he had been interested in roads boards in the country districts of Western Australia. For a number of years he had been a successful business man in the metropolitan world, and thereafter he engaged actively in rural pursuits. Consequently, he brought quite an amazing all-round experience to the service of the people of Australia. He placed that experience at the disposal of this Parliament with great good will, and without stint. We miss him very much. I shall always think of him particularly for his constant humanity, his constant interest in everything that was going on, and his never failing good humour.
– The Australian Country party associates itself with the expressions of regret at the passing of John Henry Prowse. He was one of the foundation members of this party, and his loyalty and conscientiousness throughout his association with it were never in doubt. He was a champion of the Australian countryside, the rural industries, and all those connected with them, and I am sure that the people of Western Australia, particularly the electors of Forrest, realize the loss that they have suffered by the death of such an upholder of their cause. It has been said that the late Mr. Prowse graduated to the Parliament of the Commonwealth after service with localgoverning authorities in Western Australia, and that he had been Mayor of Perth. But I remind honorable members that the late Mr. Prowse, when a young man, gained his early commercial training in Townsville, North Queensland, where he was manager of the United Insurance Company. To this day he is remembered and respected there. He was transferred to Perth and ultimately became Mayor of that city. For business reasons, he resigned from that public office. The late Mr. Prowse was a prominent and skilful exponent of cricket and tennis, and later of golf and billiards. He had h profound knowledge of true Australian life. The Australian Country party misses his association with it, and his loyalty to it, and this Parliament mourns his passing. As the Prime Minister stated, the late Mr. Prowse served Australia in many capacities. Western Australia has lost a great champion, and the rural industries of Australia are poorer for the absence of his advocacy. I join with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in conveying sympathy to his relatives who mourn his loss.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I desire to announce that the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) has been appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
-I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency was pleased to make a Speech to both Houses of the Parliament, of which I have obtained a copy (vide page 6).
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to -
That a committee, consisting of Mr. Frost, Mr. Watkins, and the mover, be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Eeply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to both Houses of the Parliament, and that the committee do report this day.
Mr. Curtin, for the committee, presented the proposed address, which was read by the Clerk.
– I move-
That the following Address-in -Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to: -
We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
I am quite certain that honorable members of this House will have thought deeply about that passage in the Speech in which His Excellency said, some what sadly, that that would be the last occasion upon which he would address the members of this Parliament. I am quite sure that those words not only filled all with a sense of sorrow at an impending parting, but also conjured in our minds a realization of how much the people of Australia owe to His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie, and to the Lady Gowrie, for the distinguished services which they have rendered to us, and indeed, may we humbly say, to His Majesty the King, over the period during which they have been associated with the life of this country.
His Excellency had been in Australia for a brief period some twenty years prior to assuming the office of Governor of the State of South Australia. Thus we were not strangers to him, nor was he a stranger to us at that time. Having filled that important office, His Excellency was appointed to a similar office in the State of New South Wales. It will be recalled that he assumed the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia more than eight years ago. The long and gallant military career which he had had before his appointment to those high offices in Australia gave him experience which specially qualified him for the position which he has had to fill in these times; we have found in him a man of ripe judgment, mature wisdom, and a rare sense of what was appropriate. I believe it to be true that my predecessors, in common with my Ministers and myself, have found in him not only the representative of His Majesty, but, more than that, a friend, a counsellor, and a servant of the common weal. As His Excellency has said, we shall welcome his successor. That welcome will be warmhearted: It will, of course, contain all those elements which His Excellency said would form a part of the welcome we would give to His Majesty’s brother in assuming so high an office in this country; but it could not be greater than the goodwill that will accompany Lord Gowrie and the Lady Gowrie in the many years in which they will have, we hope, an opportunity to derive a sense of not only comfort, but also, we sincerely believe, rejoicing, at having served so well, in so important a place, at so critical a time. This satisfaction will be accentuated hy the knowledge that their successor was a brother of His Majesty the King. These two incidents - the parting and the coming - are combined at the present time. Never previously in the history of Australia has the association of this country and the Mother j and been so real, so vital, or so desirable to each, as it is to-day.
I am disposed, if I may, to make a few remarks concerning a member of this Parliament who is not able to be present to-day. I refer to the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). Strangely enough, to-day is the 50th anniversary of the first election of the right honorable gentleman as a member of Parliament. It is true that he was a young man when that happened. Regardless of how any of us views the political opinions which another espouses, 1 do not believe that there is any feeling other than that of the greatest goodwill towards the right honorable gentleman to-day, on what is, to him, a most notable occasion. He is the one remaining member of this House who listened to the Speech that was delivered by the then Duke of York, later King George V., when the Commonwealth Parliament first met in Melbourne in 1901. The right honorable member for North Sydney had previously been for six years a member of the Parliament of New South Wales. He has, I believe, filled every office in this Parliament except that which you, Mr. Speaker, occupy. It would not appeal to him, because the holder of it is expected to be impartial. Nor, strangely enough, has he had the opportunity or distinction - or, may I say, the necessity - of filling the office of Leader of the Opposition. But he has held ministerial office on many occasions, including that of Prime Minister of Australia during the last war. He was Prime Minister for a longer period continuously than any of the other fourteen men who have held that office at different times. Notwithstanding that he sits opposite to me, I number him among the most picturesque and influential figures in the life of this country, and most certainly of this Parliament. What he did for the Labour movement in its early days, will never be forgotten in the annals of that movement. I hope that we can all be just. All of us will eventually appear before some tribunal, and I take it that we all hope that the Guardian Angel will take into account our virtues as well as our defects.. Every man has a balance-sheet o.f what is good, and what we may describe as not so good. In the early years of this nation, William Morris Hughes was a valiant warrior for the cause of Labour. That lasted for many years. He has since been a valiant warrior in political parties other than the Labour party. Indeed, he can be regarded as a man who always fights toughly and strenuously, with all that he has and everything that he can give, on behalf of whatever he may be seeking to attain. He spares no enemies; he hits very hard; he is not kind, or even generous, to opponents in the heat of a political struggle. But one must like him, however hard he may hit. I believe that for many decades there will not again sit in this place a man who, for 50 years uninterruptedly, has been a member of an Australian Parliament. That, in itself, is unique. So, to-day, I beg leave of honorable members to pay tribute to the work which the right honorable member for North Sydney has done, to tender to him, on behalf of this House, sympathy in hi3 illness, and to say to him that on 30mE occasion which is to be deferred from next Wednesday, his fellow members will be delighted to have the opportunity to compliment him upon his unique record in this Parliament.
This country, as the Speech says, is engaged in war, and that war is the predominant and overriding preoccupation of the country; not only of this country, but also of other countries. We are engaged in a global war. The whole world i3 either engaged in it so heavily that every activity is either coloured or deeply influenced by it, or, as in the case of neutral countries, feels its impact.
Inevitably, the British Commonwealth had to reach the stage at which it would he desirable for the heads of governments to meet in consultation. That consultation was arranged a considerable time ago, and was due to take place last May. Honorable members were kind enough, prior to my departure from Australia, to express to me their personal goodwill. I desire to take advantage of this opportunity to make some observations concerning the discussions in which I have been engaged, and, in part, to outline them.
The conference held in London last May was convened for a personal exchange of views between Prime Ministers, and not for the purpose of taking decisions on the extensive and varied field of important subjects which were discussed. These broadly fell into two main groups -
The conduct of the war, in which the measures necessary for the defeat, of Germany and Japan were considered, in order that the Government of each part of the British Commonwealth could review its war effort in relation to the strategic plans; and
Post-war problems of an empire or international nature.
The discussions alsoincluded questions of procedure on future courses of action.
My visits to the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Canada, also enabled me to convey to the heads of the governments and the people of those countries, a message from the people of Australia, expressing our admiration of their war efforts and sacrifices, and our deep gratitude for the aid which has been extended to us in our struggle in this part of the world.
The dimensions of the war effort of the British people, and the degree of success achieved, form one of the marvels of the war. They have thwarted an invasion by a great and powerful continental foe. At therisk of their local defence, they have conducted campaigns overseas, and are at present engaged in the greatest of all. They have maintained command of the sea over a large part of the globe, and have reduced the submarine menace. They have conducted an air offensive in Europe. They have produced immense quantities of munitions and supplies, not only for their own requirements, but for other members of the United Nations as well. In order to achieve all this, the British people have cheerfully accommodated themselves to a high degree of austerity in their living conditions.
I am sure that we have the greatest sympathy with them in the new perils from the air which they have been called upon to endure. The new weapon is a gambler’s final throw, theaim being to encourage the German people at the eleventh hour, and to create a diversion of Allied air strength from the fighting front, because of the enemy’s great inferiority in respect of air power.
My primary duty in the United States was to express to the Government and people of that country the profound gratitude of the Australian people for the assistance that we have received. I also spoke of our great pride in the comradeship of arms of our joint forces in the South-West Pacific Area and of our admiration of the magnificent victories’ won by the; American forces in other” areas in the Pacific and in the African and European theatres. The war effort of the United States is an amazing proof of the resourcesof that country. America has millions of men underarms, and is engaged upon a vast war production programme. Notwithstandingthese demands on its man-power and material resources, the United States of America has been able to maintain its standard of civilian consumption at an extraordinarily high level.
In Canada, I conveyed to the Government and people the thanks of Australia for assistance that has been given under the Mutual Aid Agreement, and for the great hospitality that hasbeen extended to Australian airmen, whose exemplary conduct and manly bearing has won for them the warm friendship of the Canadian people.
I was also able to visit some of our air squadrons in the United Kingdom and to express to them the pride of the Australian people in the part they are playing in the war in Europe.
In December, 1941, Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt made the momentous decision in global strategy for the defeat of Germany first. The marshalling of the strength of the United Kingdom and the United States to strike a decisive blow in Western Europe, in conjunction with the Russian advance from the east and the assault in Italy, has been a prolonged and prodigious task. In the meantime, it has been necessary to overcome the submarine menace, to destroy or neutralize the main units of the German surface fleet, and. to eliminate the Italian Navy. Command of the sea has been vital to sustain the war effort of Britain and to enable the man-power and material strength of the United States to be brought into the line of battle in the European theatre, lt has also been essential to establish air supremacy over the enemy and at the same time reduce his war productive capacity, and damage and disrupt his transport system. During this lengthy period of preparation for the offensive in Europe it was necessary to maintain the ring around Germany by the operations in the Middle East. The unfolding -of the Allied plans commenced in the offensive in North Africa. It has continued with the advance through Sicily and Italy, where it has been greatly to our advantage to fight and destroy the German armies there, rather than receive a walk-over by their withdrawal to the eastern or western front.
The great decision taken at the Tehran Conference was to launch the attack on Western Europe. During the conference in London, we were acquainted with the’ gigantic preparations which had been made, and one could not fail to be impressed with the almost intolerable burden imposed on Mr. Churchill and other leaders of the United Nations, and the commanders, by the momentous importance to the Allied cause of the success or failure of the initial phase of the operation to establish a foothold in Europe. Notwithstanding anxieties about the weather, tactical surprise was attained, and it is a matter for deep thankfulness that casualties were mercifully on a much lower scale than had been anticipated. The press reports have fully covered the operations, and I would merely underline certain important aspects.
In the early stages of the war, inferiority in air power brought us some, bitter experiences. The boot is on the other foot now. The numerical superiority of the United Nations on all fronts is a most heartening figure. As a result, the Allied forces have an air shield of unsurpassed power, in addition to great strength for strategical bombing of important targets. An immense armada of ships is also available for landing and supply operations, and the* forces in the bridgehead are being rapidly built up.
With the timing of the Russian offensive and the advance in Italy, the Germans are being heavily assailed on three sides in a heavy and concerted blow. This is the dilemma that German strategy has always sought to avoid. It was for this reason that Hitler chose to attempt the elimination of Russia before concentrating his entire strength on Britain. That he has not only failed, but also has been called upon to pay a frightful price for his failure, is some indication of the service that the heroic Russian resistance has rendered to the United Nations. Furthermore, the tyrannical heel of the German oppressors has so ground down the peoples of the occupied countries that the Nazis dare not weaken their hold on any part of Europe. The moment they do so, the sorely tried peoples and the Allies will grasp their opportunity to add to the enemy’s embarrassments. The Germans are also endeavouring to maintain their position in the Balkans, from which they draw vital raw materials and where political events have important repercussions in the rest of Europe. It will be recalled that, in the last war, Ludendorff said that he was convinced of Germany’s inevitable defeat when the first cracks developed in this region. The crux of the situation is the capacity of Germany to withstand all these strains and stresses. I offer no opinion on the speedy end of the struggle in Europe. No one knows the period for which the Germans can continue to resist under these conditions, or whether they may collapse or resist for longer by contracting their fronts. The primary aim of the United Nations is the destruction of the German forces, and this will be unrelentingly and remorselessly pursued. It has been said that no one can command success, but we can do everything to deserve it. Having done so, we can only wait on events, with confidence that victory is certain, whether it be long or brief in coming.
The plans for the war against Japan were discussed with General MacArthur before I left Australia, and on ray return. While abroad, I also had discussions with Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt, the ‘Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the Chiefs of Staff of the United Kingdom and the United States. When the decision to defeat Germany first was taken in December, 1941 - which was before the transformation came over the Pacific situation by the loss of the Philippines, Singapore, and the Netherlands East Indies - the war against Japan was to be a holding one. As I have said on many occasions, the Australian Government never disputed the right of the Powers with the greatest resources to determine global strategy, but its view was that the forces allotted for the strategy to be employed against Japan should be adequate for the purpose. We therefore hailed with the greatest satisfaction the decision reached by Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt in May, 1943, that the war in the Pacific would be prosecuted with the same vigour as the war in Europe. Extraordinary results have since been achieved.
A year ago, we used to speak of the great change which would occur when Rabaul could be neutralized and the Japanese pushed back to their main base at Truk. To-day, in the North Pacific, the American forces have advanced their front 4,000 miles from Hawaii to the Marianas, and General MacArthur, by his enveloping movements, has brought to a close, for strategic purposes, the campaigns in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. Another important pointer to the progress of operations against the Japanese is the fact that, of the list of formidable tasks imposed on General MacArthur by his directive of April, 1942, most have been accomplished. He now faces, with confidence, the final and, of course, most difficult and decisive phase - the offensive to defeat the enemy forces in the South-West Pacific Area.
Mr. Churchill discussed the part to be played by United Kingdom forces in the ultimate defeat of Japan. Though the transfer of the main British effort must await the defeat of Germany, large and powerful forces will become available this year, and the planning of the whole British effort is being vigorously pursued.
Mr. Churchill summed up the position as follows : -
Though we might have to begin in a small way, we intend to pour all our forces into that struggle to which we are pledged by honour and fastened by interest.
In the vital element of sea-power, the Japanese, who are already in greatly inferior strength, will be outnumbered several times. When the full weight of the British and American land and air forces is brought to bear, the Japanese will be as decisively defeated as Hitler. Final victory over the Axis Powers will not have been achieved until we do so.
I discussed with Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and General MacArthur the future part to be played by Australia in the war against Japan. There was general agreement, in both London and Washington, as to the lines our effort should take in the shape of fighting forces, the economic basis of the direct military effort, and the contribution to be made towards the maintenance of forces in the Pacific and the provision of food for Britain. I emphasized in both London and Washington that, as the Australian people wish to have a say in how the Pacific area is to be managed, they realize that the extent of their say will be in proportion, not to the amount of wheat, meat or clothes they produce to support the forces of other nations, but to the amount of fighting they do as well. There is, therefore, a minimum fighting strength below which Australia will not go. There is also a maximum strength for the Australian forces, beyond which they cannot go, and it is the balance between these limits which the Government is seeking to fix.
The Advisory War Council has agreed to certain recommendations for the review of the Australian war effort. After the Defence Committee has reported on the aspects relating to the future strengths of the forces, the Production Executive, in consultation with the War Commitments Committee,- will consider the allocations of the balance of the man-power and woman-power. The total position will then be considered by War Cabinet and the Advisory War Council.
We do not know how long it will take to defeat Japan, and we must see that our effort is so organized that we have the stamina to stay the distance. The highest authorities have impressed on me that it is preferable that we should be certain of achieving what we attempt even if it is less than we feel we might do, rather than that we should attempt too much and be uncertain of its fulfilment. Reliance must be placed on the contributions of all the United Nations in the plans that are being prepared.
The Australian people will be glad to know that the account of their war effort, which I gave abroad, evoked the highest praise. Mr. Churchill referred to -
The very impressive account of the strides Australia has made in production since the outbreak of war, and to have mobilized over 26 per cent, of your men for the forces is an achievement of which the country has indeed a right to be proud. I had certainly not realized before how great were the calls upon Australia with the supply of food and general facilities for the prosecution of the war.
The Foreign Secretary, Mr. Eden, said -
It was not generally realized in the world at large how great a part the Australians had played in the South-West Pacific Area.
The Minister of Food said -
We at the Ministry of Food can never be too grateful for what Australia has done for us in the supply of food since the war began.
In his speech of welcome when I addressed the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Mackenzie King said -
After Pearl Harbour, after the fall of Singapore, before aid could come to you from any quarter of the globe, you and the people of Australia must have experienced terrible anxiety. What Britain had to endure, when she stood alone facing the might of Germany, Australia for many months must have felt in facing the might of Japan. As Britain kept open the gates of freedom in the North Atlantic, so Australia and Kew Zealand kept open the gates of freedom in the South Pacific.
The free world will probably never realize what it owes to Australia. We are anxious, however, at this moment, to express what acknowledgment we can of so great a debt. With this acknowledgment we wish to give to you the assurance that just as your forces and ours have been exerting their strength wherever the call was most imperative in this global war; just as to-day we wait with confidence the outcome of the colossal conflict which will crush forever the menace of Nazi tyranny; so on the morrow our forces will be found closer than ever at the side of yours, sharing with our allies in the total destruction of the tyranny of Japan.
This is a very graceful tribute from a sister dominion, and we welcome the assurance of Canadian co-operation in the defeat of Japan.
It is, of course, impossible to traverse in detail and in public the highly secret discussions on foreign policy, as they are closely related to the conduct of the war. I can only refer in broad terms to the aims of foreign policy in war. They art) -
To give all possible support through the diplomatic channel to the fighting forces in the conduct of operations. In occupied countries, this means support of those elements that are fighting the enemy. It also involves an assurance that, when the war is over, the people of each country shall have a free chance to express their views, whether by elections or otherwise. In neutral countries, foreign policy must be employed as an instrument to support military operations by seeking to deny to the enemy aid which he might secure from these sources, and, if possible, to divert it to our own war effort.
To maintain unity among the Allies in order to achieve victory and to lay the foundations during the war for future co-operation for the maintenance of peace and the promotion of international collaboration.
To prepare the terms to be imposed on the enemy, when defeated, and the machinery of control. The European Advisory Commission, comprising representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Russia is at present engaged on this task.
There is, however, one cardinal aspect of foreign policy, which I desire to mention. It is the vital importance to the future of the world of collaboration between the British Commonwealth, the United States of America and Russia.
One of the remarkable achievements of the war, for which too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt, is the high degree of friendship and co-operation which has been created between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America. It has been of fundamental importance to the successful conduct of the war, and, if what has been demonstrated to be possible in war can be maintained in peace, a notable contribution will have been made to international relations of the future. The realization of it should be a corner-stone of our foreign policy.
Of parallel importance is the collaboration achieved with Russia in military operations and in the Moscow declaration for the building of an international organization at the end of the war. This, too, must be maintained and developed in the critical tasks that await the leaders of the United Nations when the victory is won. It must be equally an aim of our policy to develop the friendliest relations with Russia, too.
My concluding observation on foreign policy is to quote the declaration issued by the Prime Ministers at the conclusion of the conference -
We have also examined together the principles which determine our foreign policies, and their application to current problems. Here, too, we are in complete agreement . . .
Mutual respect and honest conduct between nations is our chief desire. We are determined to work with all peace-loving peoples in order that tyranny and aggression shall be removed or, if need be, struck down wherever it raises its head. The peoples of the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations willingly make their sacrifices to the common cause. We seek no advantages for ourselves at the cost of others. We desire the welfare and social advance of all nations and that they may help each other to better and broader days.
After victory, the first task must be the framing of measures to preserve world peace. In the words of Mr. Churchill -
We have no selfish aims. We have given all that we had. We are concerned now only to ensure the establishment of a structure by which we will be able to promise those who are fighting in this war and their descendants a peace with honour and safety.
The maintenance of peace and security is, however, not merely, an end in itself it is a means for the promotion of an ordered society of nations, having as its aim the welfare of mankind. Security must be blended with a positive policy based on high ideals of international conduct and human welfare. What are the ideals we seek to establish as the recompense to mankind for the sacrifices it has made? What is to be the machinery for the maintenance of peace and the promotion of international co-operation to ensure their attainment? It was the threat of danger to ideals of honest conduct in international relations that made the decent people of the world go to war in their defence. The moral fibre of a nation is indicated by the willingness with which it is prepared to defend the ideals which it regards as the very essence of its way of life. Only, however, if people are enjoying worth-while rights will they fight to maintain them, and the standard of the civilization of any nation or association of nations is to be judged by the rights of the mass of the people. The four essential freedoms defined by President Roosevelt and the common principles of national policies, as outlined in the Atlantic Charter, must be translated into national and international policies, not only to secure the rights of man to freedom, but also to increase his well-being as an individual.
This has been a total war of all the people. All have been called upon to serve, and many to suffer. This spirit of service and sacrifice has created a widespread resolve that an age of peace and a better social order, leading to a fuller and more abundant life, must supplant an era of war, of social indifference, economic insecurity, and want. The hope of better things to come has been the inspiration which has sustained the peoples of the United Nations, and the source of their determination to see the struggle through until victory is won. [Extension of time granted.]
Conditions of social betterment are not attainable without a lasting peace, and a durable peace is not possible until those causes of war, which have their origin in wrong social and economic conditions, are corrected. After the scourge of two world wars, and an uneasy peace which was little more than an armistice, all the dictates of reason and humanity demand that the leaders of nations should not fail to achieve the vision of a happier, better, and secure future for the human race. When this has been realized, the victory of arms will have been crowned by a still greater victory for mankind.
The critical question that faces the United Nations is the creation of the appropriate machinery for the maintenance of peace to enable these ideals to be realized in the realms of national policies and in the sphere of international relations where national policies make contact with each other. In London, the Prime Ministers discussed the principle of the machinery for the preservation of peace and international collaboration, but it would be premature for me to attempt to outline a blue-print of the organization.
In Article 4 of the Moscow Declaration of November, 1943, the Four Powers state -
That they recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States, and open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and si security.
Until the ideas of the Four Powers are a i ail able for consideration by the other members of the United Nations, I can mention only certain broad principles which, in my opinion, are fundamental to any scheme adopted. The first is that the organization must include all the Great Powers within its membership. We must avoid a repetition of the mistake that occurred with the League of Nations when some of the Great Powers stood out. When dealing with questions of global strategy during the course of the war, even though the decisions might not have agreed with our views, I have always maintained that, as the Great Powers had the greatest responsibilities and resources, they had the right to make the major decisions regarding the conduct of the war. It follows equally that we must look to the Great Powers with their resources to ensure the preservation of peace, until a permanent and effective system of security can be established. The Great Powers aire obviously the nucleus of any world council that might be created.
Some sceptics argue that the interests of the Great Powers are so competitive that co-operation between the British Commonwealth, the United States of America and “Russia, is impossible. If this is the case, the future outlook for peace is bleak indeed. A prolonged period of peace is essential for recuperation and reconstruction after the war, and unanimity of the Great Powers on the need for it is, I think, sufficient assurance that it will be realized. I rely on the good faith of the Moscow Declaration, which says -
That, for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security pending the re-establishment of law and order and the inauguration of a system of general security, they will consult each other and, as occasion requires, with other members of the United Nations, with a view to joint action on behalf of the community of nations.
It is in this vital transition period that the foundations of a world organization must be well and truly laid. If this be done, a bulwark will have been established against the recurrence of aggressions which have their origins in the clashing of rival national interests. The small nations of the world, as well as the. great, have their part to play in the maintenance of peace. In many cases their geographical locations in important strategical areas make them potential battlegrounds. The bitter experiences of Holland and Belgium throughout the centuries have only too well earned for them the description, “ the cockpit of Europe”. The dilemma of the Small Powers has been one of the tragic experiences of the war. As weak neighbours of the aggressors, they have had the awful choice of either becoming their satellites or .being over-run and occupied. The new system of world security must safeguard the weak as well as the strong, but the weak must recognize their responsibility for doing what they can towards the defence of their territories and by co-operation in the wider system of regional security in the areas in which they and their territories are situated. The enjoyment of benefits implies the obligations that go with them.
A handicap of the League of Nations was the fear of the Great Powers that they might be embroiled in war by the actions and decisions of the small States. The pendulum must not, however, swing too far in the other direction of might being right. A corrective against such a tendency must be provided in the shape of an assembly of nations, where policy can be moulded by ascertaining the highest common denominator among the opinions expressed. The Moscow Declaration lays down that the world organization shall be based on the “ sovereign equality” of States. Another handicap of the League Covenant was the too rigid definition of the occasions for action for the prevention of war. The consequence was an inability to take effective action when danger arose. The cause of peace can be better served by flexibility, with power to make action effective, and responsibility to see that peace is maintained must be definitely assigned. The world organization must have a combined naval, military and air staff to prepare plans and to co-ordinate action.
There is also the important principle of regionalism, through which the lesser nations could effectively contribute to the working of the world organization. Last December I referred to the supreme importance of the world system of collective security being buttressed by regional arrangements and plans, and mentioned that the defence of the strategical area in which Australia is located involves co-operation with the United Kingdom, the United States of America, New Zealand, and certain European Powers with territories in the Pacific. In another realm of regional interest, the Australian-New Zealand Agreement provides for the establishment of a South Seas Regional Commission directed towards the advancement and well-being of the native peoples of the Pacific. Finally, there are functional bodies of a technical nature, such as those relating to labour, health, and transport, which will require to be related to the world organization.
The declaration issued at the conclusion of the Prime Ministers Conference was limited to a general statement of adherence to a world organization -
Wo affirm that after the war a world organization to maintain peace and security shouldbe set up and endowed with the necessary power and authority to prevent aggression and violence.
I said last December that the evolution of the British Commonwealth has exemplified the manner in which autonomous nations can co-operate on matters of mutual interest, and I made certain suggestions for improved machinery for Empire consultation and co-operation. During the Prime Ministers Conference, I put forward the following proposals : -
The aim of all machinery must be to provide for full and continuous consultation. This consultation must be consistent with the sovereign control of its policy by each government.
No machinery which may be established can be superior to, or more satisfactory than, the periodical conferences of Prime Ministers of the various parts of the Empire, provided they are held frequently. The place of meeting should not necessarily always be in London.
The meetings of Prime Ministers should be supplemented and reinforced by meetings of other Ministers of the British Commonwealth as occasion may require, to deal with important questions of mutual interest, such as trade and communications. Again, these conferences need not necessarilybe held always in the one place.
There should also be meetings at the official level between officers from the various parts of the Empire to deal with technical matters or to carry out exploratory discussions, with a view to their subsequent consideration by governments.
The procedure to be followed in London between conferences of Prime Ministers should be monthly meetings of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the High Commissioners of the Dominions, and the regular daily meeting of the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and all the High Commissioners, which is the present established practice.
In addition, there is the ordinary day-to-day machinery for dealing with the three groups of important questions - foreign affairs, defence and financial, economic, and social questions. The External Affairs staffs in the respective High Commissioner’s offices are in close contact with the Foreign Office and each dominion would create such machinery and employ such methods as appear desirable, in the light of its own circumstances. All the Dominions have their service representatives in the United Kingdom. The positions of individual dominions differ so greatly that the machinery and procedure must be appropriate to the circumstances of each.
During the war, there has been a great expansion of co-operation in regard to financial, economic and social questions. It is desirable that this co-operation should be maintained and increased. It was suggested that so much individual co-operation has now been established that the time was opportune for bringing it under a central direction. It was proposed that an examination be made by a small committee, representative of the United Kingdom and Dominion Governments, as to whether some centralization of effort is desirable.
Mr. Churchill readily expressed his willingness to have monthly meetings with the Dominion representatives in London and the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and this met with general agreement. The Dominion Prime Ministers undertook to consult their Governments on my other proposals, and certain additional suggestions that were made during the discussion. I refer briefly to the views that were expressed :
The United Kingdom Government put forward what were described as certain lines of thought in regard to co-operation in. Empire defence. They did not proceed beyond the essential idea of the machinery that existed in peace in the shape of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and certain principles of Imperial defence which had been laid down by earlier Imperial conferences.
The Prime Minister of ‘Canada, in his address to the British Parliament a few days earlier, had said -
From time to time, it is suggested we should seek new methods of communication and consultation. I believe very strongly in close consultation, close co-operation, and effective co-ordination of policies. What more effective means of co-operation could have been found than those which, in spite of all handicaps of war, have worked with such complete success?
During the conference, Mr. Mackenzie King said that, whilst there was much in my proposals with which he was in agreement, the questions raised would have to be carefully considered along with the whole range of matters connected with world security.
The Prime Minister of South Africa did not express an opinion on my proposals.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand said that there was little in my proposals with which he disagreed, and mentioned that the Australian-New Zealand Agreement provides- for co-operation in regional defence in the South-West and South Pacific Areas.
As I mentioned earlier, the positions of individual dominions differ greatly in regard to defence, and our experiences in this war have varied accordingly. Canada has not been directly threatened in this war, and, as a consequence, its military effort has been an overseas one. Mr. Mackenzie King explained to the conference that its defence arrangements are closely interlocked with the United States of America through a permanent Joint War and Defence Board. South Africa, like Canada, is favorably located from a defence aspect, and has not been directly threatened. Its military effort has been in Northern Africa, which General Smuts considers is within the European strategical zone.
I envy our sister dominions the good fortune of their geographical and strategical locations, but our experience has been entirely different from theirs. I quoted earlier the graceful tribute paid by the Prime Minister of Canada to the way in which Australia had met the threat of invasion, and the steps which we had taken to deal with it. That situation brought out the need for improvements in the machinery at the points of contact with Great Britain and the United States of America. As a result, an accredited representative was appointed to the United Kingdom War Cabinet with the right to be heard in the formulation and direction of policy. We also sought the appointment of a Pacific War Council at Washington, but when it failed to function, we achieved our objective by establishing a direct link between the Australian Government and the Commander-in-Chief, South-West Pacific Area.
I do not seek to convert my friend, Mr. Mackenzie King, to my view, any more than I can accept, from the Australian point of view, his opinion that the present means of co-operation has worked with complete success. A preeminent characteristic of the British Commonwealth is its diversity within the framework of its unity. My proposals for improved machinery for Empire co-operation were accordingly put forward on the basis of what Australia considers to be necessary in the light of its recent experience. I pointed out to the conference that, though we all hope to be able to maintain peace by the system of world security which it is our aim to build, the experience of the British Commonwealth has shown that the growth of co-operation has been slow, notwithstanding that we have so much in common. [Further extension of time granted.] It remains to be seen how quickly and effectively we can develop and maintain a system of world security, but we dare not fail our own people in providing the security for which they so greatly yearn. In doing so, by co-operation amongst ourselves, we also contribute to world security at large. The one is complementary to the other.
I also observed that the security of any part of the British Empire in the future will rest on three safeguards, each wider in its scope than the other -
There is the system of collective security which can be organized on a world and regional basis.
Then there is the degree of Empire co-operation which can be established. This is a matter of bilateral or multilateral planning and arrangement according to the strategical position of the particular part of the Empire concerned, the views of its government and those of the other governments that may be concerned.
Finally, there is national defence, the policy for which is purely the responsibility of the government concerned. The extent and nature of a government’s defence policy will be influenced by the degree of reliance that can be placed on the other two safeguards.
These safeguards are complementary to each other, none is exclusive of the others, and plans should exist to give effect to them all.
The discussion on colonial questions wasprimarily focused on the establishment of regional bodies along the lines of the South Seas Regional Commission provided for in the Australian-New Zealand Agreement. General agreement was expressed with the value of such bodies as an aid to colonial administration and in giving effect to the doctrine of “ trusteeship “ which has as its aim the welfare of native peoples and their social, economic and political development.
There were also discussions on economic, social and transport questions, to which I shall refer briefly. Discussions on the technical level regarding the scheme for an international monetary fund have been proceeding for some months, and the conference reviewed the stage which had been reached at the date of its meeting. A further conference is at present in progress in the United States of America. Any proposals formulated will be referred to the governments concerned for their consideration. There was also a discussion on commercial policy, which had been considered earlier in the year on the official level, but the matter has not been advanced sufficiently to enable a public statement to be made at the present time.
The conference was furnished with an outline of the United Kingdom Government’s plans for the allocation of manpower between the forces and industry during any interim period between the end of hostilities in Europe and the defeat of Japan. This, and wider aspects of the United Kingdom Government’s policy, are covered in detail in the White Paper on Employment Policy which is being tabled for the information of Parliament.
The conference agreed to a proposal by the United Kingdom Government for an examination on the official level of possible arrangements for migration, on the understanding that the results would be submitted to the various governments for consideration.
The conference reviewed the stage which had been reached in regard to postwar arrangements for civil aviation. As they are still the subject of international discussion, it is not possible to make any useful public statement at present.
The conference discussed post-war shipping policy, and agreed on certain principles as a basis for further intergovernmental discussions as occasion arose.
The conference was described by Mr. Churchill as one of the important milestones in the history of our united association. General Smuts said that, in his experience of the last 40 years, he could recall no Imperial Conference which compared with it, both in the magnitude of the issues raised and in the spirit of mutual understanding that prevailed throughout.
An outstanding impression was the great significance and importance both to the members of the British Commonwealth and to the world, of the maintenance and development of our unity and co-operation. The strength of Britain has been described as her “ alliance potential when she speaks with the united voice and authority of the whole British Commonwealth. This is also true of the Dominions, for individually we are weak, but united we are strong. Co-operation in regard to our policies should, therefore, be such as to ensure that, mutually, each commands the support of the others. The British Commonwealth has demonstrated how this can be done among selfgoverning nations, without any infringement of their sovereignty.
I was also impressed with the high principles which governed the approach to all questions. The meeting was not an exclusive British Commonwealth bloc seeking its own selfish ends. The discussions were directed not only to strengthening the noble ties that unite us, hut also to the advancement of the greater cause of humanity at large. The success of this association of free nations has been described as due to a simple human code founded on fair play, fair dealing, tolerance and justice, and the right of each to live his own life freely, so long as he does not interfere with the rights of others to live their lives equally freely. This is the common ground on which the members of the British Commonwealth meet like-minded nations in the wider amplitude of a world organization which has as its aim the welfare of all men everywhere.
In accordance with these ideals and ideas the Commonwealth Government has pledged itself to share with the United Nations the tasks of relief and rehabilitation. Our fighting forces now go to Europe as deliverers; they do not march to overrun peoples as did the forces of Germany. In the lands of the Pacific our purpose is attuned to these high dictates. Australia’s contribution to the relief and rehabilitation policy will be based upon our national income. The approximate figure is not less than £10,000,000. A bill on this matter will be submitted when we meet after the adoption of the Address-in-Reply.
It will be gathered from what I have said that it is as an integral part of the British Commonwealth that Australia can most influentially express itself in the world organization, and I have no doubt whatever that the unity of the British Commonwealth will, in the problems of the future, give to His Majesty’s subjects everywhere an authority in the consultations with other countries, that will enable our concept of life to influence greatly the decisions which have to be made so that all we have fought for can be achieved. The relationships of the Dominions to each other and to the Mother Country may even now not be completely understood by the rest of the world. But our influence, historically great, is at this stage greater than it has ever been and, I am confident, will not grow less. Our readiness to associate in a world organization does not lessen the realism of our membership of the British Commonwealth. It is requisite for all the Dominions, and also for the Mother Country, that the subjects of the King should find not only means of consultation and agreement, but also that unity of declaration which will maintain for the British Commonwealth that range of influence we believe it should have.
There are great tasks confronting the people of this country. The immediate and most important consideration is the exertion of our complete capacity for war. There are no bloodless- roads to victory, either in Europe or in the Pacific, and it is clear that every strategical concept underlying the conduct of the war by the United Nations involves war in the Pacific after the war in Europe has ceased. Therefore, there can be no early abatement of our concentration upon the struggle, which but yesterday was on our doorstep, to-day has been driven away from our mainland, and to-morrow will be fought at the very heart of the J apanese Empire itself. The sacrifices which our fighting men have still to make, the devotion they have yet to proffer, must be matched by the equal readiness of the civilian population to bear their part wholly and without limit.
It is, however, sound policy that, from time to time, there shall be a re-assessment made of what is best to bring victory and what are the changes that should be made. In 1942, and last year, and for the greater part of this year, it was inescapable that every man that could be available to the fighting services should be so allocated. Our war effort during the period in which we were resisting invasion was reinforced by the contributions of our Allies, but these contributions had to be set flowing. These were limited by the demands of other theatres, and they were also governed by the overriding considerations of global strategy and the nature of the directive given to the CommanderinChief in this theatre. Until the strength which our Allies could allocate to us had reached at least a given dimension, the paramount responsibility to maintain the fighting services in resisting the Japanese devolved on ourselves. Furthermore, on the civil population devolved the duty not only of maintaining on an austerity standard the physical needs of our people, and of equipping and supplying to the uttermost of their capacity our own fighting forces, but also of meeting the needs of Allied servicemen in this theatre, as well as making contributions to other theatres. All this we have done. It has been done well. Its purpose has been vindicated. The enemy no longer marches towards us; he retreats. And the forces of the United Nations now march towards his heart to strike the mortal blow.
As I indicated, in the discussions which I had with Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt, and with the combined Chiefs of Staff, and with the Chiefs of Staff of the United Kingdom, and of the United States of America, I have arranged for steps to be taken to re-allocate the manpower resources of Australia. There is a fighting contribution which this country should make, and will make, until the enemy has been completely defeated. There are, however, leeways in the economic life of Australia which we should commence to overtake. Some part of the physical equipment for the maintenance of our war effort has to have strength added to it. I do not here intend to particularize. I merely say that the strength of our fighting services has been the subject of a mutual understanding with our Allies. This will enable more, but not unlimited, man-power to be allocated to the economic services of the nation.
I have also arranged what shall be the extent of the production of this country which shall be allocated for export. This is a part of the understanding that has been reached. Two considerations enter into this matter. One is the realization of the total nature of the Australian war effort, and the other is the capacity to supply the transportation required for that part of our production which other countries require and can take.
The problems of the diversion of our man-power from the tasks of peace to those of war were not simple. Neither is it a simple matter to re-allocate to the civil economy that portion of the manpower hitherto engaged in war, and now required in the essential industries of the nation. It has to be done deliberately on a common-sense basis, and wisdom, informed by knowledge as to the total requirements, must govern what is to be done. It would be a mistake for anybody to assume that all demands can be satisfied. There are orders of priority applicable to this problem as there are to every phase of production and industry in time of war. The very fact, however, that this country has reached the stage where this re-assessment is now practicable is evidence that the enemy’s plans of conquest have grievously failed. Where he sought to conquer the world, he now faces what I believe to be a futile endeavour to avert signal and overwhelming defeat.
I would add that while sacrifices have been general on the part of the peoples of the United Nations, the first claim on our gratitude is that of the fighting men and their dependants. It is tie supreme duty of governments to see that this debt is discharged, but the people as a whole deserve, by reason of all the sacrifices they have made and the tribulations they have undergone, surcease from strain. Those of us who have the responsibility of government must so discharge our high duties as to ensure that the freedom for which they have struggled and the peace for which they hunger will be a freedom giving security against aggressors and security in the economic requirements of their personal lives. Thus only will security and peace be assured.
I found faith in these high purposes in the discussions from which I have just returned. We are at war against evil forces. Mastering them, as we shall, we will from the idealism which has glorified our exertions gather the inspiration to combat those evil forces and conditions which, in our own countries in the absence of aggression, were too considerable a feature of our national life.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Curtin) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 3 p.m.
The following Papers were presented : -
Air Force Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos.64, 75.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1944 -
No. 11 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 12 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia and Australasian Society of Engineers.
No. 13 - Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers’ Association.
No. 14 - Amalgamated Engineering Union and others.
No. 15 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.
No. 16 - Arms, Explosives and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia; Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia; Fourth Division Officers’ Association of the Trade and Customs Department; Commonwealth Temporary Clerks’ Association; Victorian Public Service Association; Public Service Association of South Australia; and Tasmanian Public Service Association.
No. 17 - Peace Officer Guard Association.
No. 18 - Commonwealth Foremen’s Association.
Canberra University College - Report for 1943.
Coal Production (War-time) Act - Orders - Cognizance of disputes - Exception of certain members of Federation (dated 21st April, 1944).
Control of coal mine - Commonwealth. No. 2.
Customs Act - Proclamations prohibiting the exportation (except under certain conditions) of goods - Nos. 595-602.
Dairying Industry Assistance Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 57.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 65, 69, 71, 72, 82, 89.
Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 95, 96, 102.
Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 90.
Lands Acquisition Act or Lands Acquisition Act and National Security (Supplementary) Regulations - Land acquired for-
Commonwealth purposes -
Adelaide, South Australia.
Alexandria, New South Wales (2).
Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
Bondi, New South Wales.
Botany, New South Wales.
Broken Hill, New South Wales.
Broome, Western Australia.
Darwin, Northern Territory.
Denman, New South Wales.
Donnybrook, Western Australia.
Dorset Flats (South Mount Cameron ) , Tasmania.
Dubbo, New South Wales (2).
Dundas, New South Wales.
East Sale, Victoria.
Fremantle, Western Australia.
Islington, New South Wales.
Julia Creek, Queensland.
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia (5).
Lithgow, New South Wales (4).
Meckering, Western Australia.
Moruya, New South Wales.
Neutral Bay, New South Wales.
Newcastle, New South Wales.
New Lambton, New South Wales.
Parafield, South Australia.
Port Adelaide, South Australia.
Port Hedland, Western Australia.
Portland, New South Wales.
South Guildford, Western Australia.
Townsville, Queensland (3).
Wallarobba (Dungog), New South Wales.
Warnervale, New South Wales.
Whittingham (Singleton), New South Wales.
Postal purposes -
Brisbane and Ipswich (between), Queensland.
Denmark, Western Australia.
Liverpool, New South Wales.
Murrurundi, New South Wales.
Port Pirie, South Australia.
Spring Hill. Brisbane, Queensland.
Springwood, New South Wales.
Telephonic purposes - Perth (near),
Nationality Act - Return for 1943.
National Security Act -
National Security (Economic Organization ) Regulations - Order - Exemption.
National Security (Food Control) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 7-9.
National Security (General) Regulations -
Control of -
Liquid paraffin (No. 3).
Stock foods and remedies (No. 3).
Entry on wharfs and ships (2).
Heating and cooking appliances (Control of manufacture) (No. 2).
Heating and cooking appliances (Retail sales) (No. 4).
Manufacture of domestic furniture (No, 2).
Postand telegraph censorship.
Prohibited places (8).
Taking possession of land, &c. (517).
Use of land (40).
Order by State Premier - New South
Wales’ (No. 46).
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (647).
National Security (Land Transport) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 18, 19.
National Security (Liquid Fuel) Regulations - Order - No. 17.
National Security (Man Power) Regulations - Orders -
Dental profession control.
Employer’s return in respect of shearing labour.
Meat industry establishments (Queensland) .
Protected undertakings (174).
Registration of domestic servants.
National Security (Meat Industry Con trol) Regulations - Orders - Meat (Returns) (Nos. 8-10).
National Security (Potatoes) Regulations - Order- No. 16.
National Security (Prices) Regulations -
Declarations Nos. 135-140-
Orders- Nos. 1471-1569.
National Security (Rationing) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 40-49.
National Security (Shipping Coordination) Regulations - Order - No. 59.
National Security (Stevedoring Industry) Regulations - Orders - Nos. 45-58.
National Security (Supplementary) Regulations -
Order - Deferment ofbanking business - Termination of Order dated 10th March, 1942.
Orders by State Premiers -
New South Wales (No. 47).
Queensland (dated 8th . June. 1944).
Victoria (No. 56).
Western Australia (dated 22nd
Statement of Australian Banking Statistics for the five quarters ended 31st March, 1944.
National Security (Universities Commission ) Regulations - Order - Classes of students to be assisted.
National Security (Vegetable Seeds) Regulations - Notice - Returns of Vegetable seeds.
National Security (War Damage to Property ) Regulations - Order - Public authority.
National Security (War-time Banking Control ) Regulations - Order - Exemption.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 56, 58, 59, 61, 62, 66,67, 68, 73, 74, 76, 77, 78. 79, 80, 81. 83, 84, 85, 86, 87,88, 92, 93, 94, 99, 100, 103.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, Nos. 63, 97, 101.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rule’s 1944, No. 91.
Rural Reconstruction Commission - Second Report (Settlement and Employment of Returned Men on the Land ) .
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances - 1944 -
No. 5 - Trespass on Commonwealth Lands (No. 2).
No. 6 - Canberra Community Hospital.
No. 7 - Trustee (Emergency Provisions).
No. 8 - Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Regulations - 1944 - No. 3 - (Building and Services Ordinance).
Superannuation Act - Superannuation Board - Twenty-first Annual Report, for year 1942-43.
Supply and Development Acts - Regulations -Statutory Rules 194.4, No. 60.
War Service Homes Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 98.
Women’s Employment Act- Regulations - Statutory Rules 1944, No. 70.
The House adjourned at 5.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 July 1944, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1944/19440717_reps_17_179/>.