17th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S, Rosevear) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Supplies - Acquisition ORDER
– In view of the fact that producers in my electorate send considerable quantities of stock to the Melbourne market, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture state whether he lias seen the report of tho allegation made yesterday by a delegate to the conference of the Victorian Wheat and Woolgrowers Association, that the meat strike in Melbourne had been engineered by the Newmarket Meat Producers Association - -which he said, represents agents, dealers, their pawns and touts? Will the Minister investigate the accuracy of the reported statement, so that the Parliament and producers may know that persons who really are representative of speculators in stock are masquerading as representatives of the producers?
– I have not seen the report. I shall have investigations made, and 101)1 v to the honorable member later.
– Can the Minister for Commerce say when the meat acquisition order applying to Melbourne will be withdrawn? Will he make a clear statement to the House setting forth what was implied in the meat agreement reached at a conference in Melbourne last week? I assure him that if he knows, nobody else seems to..
– Those who were present at the conference know quite well the terms of the agreement and their implications. It is only those who do not wish to understand who would refer to the agreement in the terms used by the honorable member. In accordance with the agreement reached by the parties at the conference, the order will be withdrawn as soon as normal operations are resumed at the Newmarket saleyards.
– Will the .Prime Minister state whether the Royal Mint in England is striking campaign medals for issue in 1947 to those who served with United Kingdom forces during the war? Have any arrangements been made for the striking of campaign medals in Australia, so that their issue may be made concurrently with the issue in the United Kingdom?
– I understood that it was proposed to strike campaign medals in England, but 1 do not know whether that has been done. I shall have an inquiry made in regard to the suggestion which the honorable member made in the latter portion of his question, and shall advise him of the result.
Applications fob Crown LAND by ex-Servicemen - Surplus Army Materials - Visit bv P ah li amenta k y Party.
– Will the Minister for the Interior state whether a suitable applicant, particularly an ex-serviceman, can apply for and he granted a pastoral lease in respect of vacant Crown land in the Northern Territory, or whether it is the policy of the Government to refuse at present to consider such applications by ex-servicemen, many of whom have served in the Northern Territory? Is it correct that, notwithstanding the holding of 50,000 square miles of the best pastoral lands of the Northern Territory by three .companies- Vestey’s, the Bovril company, and Alexandria company - there is still vacant some Crown land which is suitable for the raising of cattle or sheep, on which ex-servicemen who have fought for this country could make a living?
-At this very moment, a survey of the whole position in the Northern Territory is in progress, the purpose being to ascertain what Crown or other vacant land is available or can be made available, and what resumptions are falling due. The intention of the Government is to divide vacant land -into liveable .areas. When that work has been completed applications for leases will be invited.
– How long is the work expected to take?
– It should be remembered that the whole of the “Darwin aTea returned to civil occupation only on the 1st March. The civil machinery is now being reorganized, and I hope that it will >be working smoothly at an early date.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior whether, in view of the Government’s intention to lease land for settlement in the Northern Territory, he will ascertain whether army dumps of materials, such as barbed wire, steel fencing posts, well-drilling and earthmoving equipment, all of which are needed for developmental purposes, still exist in the Northern Territory? If so, will the Government retain those supplies in the Territory for the use of existing and new lessees for developmental purposes?
– I have already taken action along the lines indicated by the honorable member. I have discussed this matter with the Minister for the Army and the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. I have also written to every roads board and local government authority in the Territory and in the Wyndham district suggesting that they examine the supplies in these dumps and. advise me of their requirements. Obviously, it is sounder to retain in the’ Territory all supplies which will be required by settlers in that area, rather than allow the’ materials to be removed only to be brought .back later to the Territory.
– In view of the importance of developing the Northern Territory, will the Minister for the Interior make available transport for a party of honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives to visit that portion of the Commonwealth, and obtain information about conditions . there? If legislation relating to the Northern Territory is to be introduced, such a visit would better equip members of the Parliament to discuss proposals put forward by the Government.
– I would have difficulty in not agreeing with the. view of the honorable member- for Lang, because I have long advocated that members of this Parliament should visit the Northern Territory for the purpose of gaining . knowledge of its potentialities. I shall discuss with the Prime Minister the suggestion made by the honorable member, and advise him of the decision.
– In view of the acute shortage of telephones - 900 applicants in my electorate alone have been waiting for installations, in some instances for over five years - will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General take steps to accelerate the supply of telephone equipment and cables so that the shortage may be overtaken within a reasonable time ?
– On .behalf of the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, I remind1 the honorable member of the great difficulties that have been experienced in connexion with telephone installations. In the first place, numbers of instruments were requisitioned by the service departments, and during the war some of those were worn out, lost, or destroyed. The replacing of those instruments cast a great deal of additional work on the officers of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. Some time ago it was decided that new installations should, in the first instance, foe made in business premises, and that principle has been in operation since then. In necessitous cases private installations have been made. Every effort is being made to speed up this work, but the difficulty is not so much the provision of telephone sets as the supply of equipment of other kinds. For instance, heavy cables are difficult to obtain. Some of the existing telephone exchanges, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, are already working to their full capacity, and could not carry the additional load which the installation of new instruments would entail. Honorable members know something of the difficulties .associated with the building of new exchanges at this stage. Financial provision has been made to meet some of the demand for new telephones in rural dis;tricts. I hope that within a reasonable time there will be an expansion of the rural automatic telephone system, so that people living in country districts may be provided with one of the greatest amenities of civilization. In view of the shortage that exists, efforts have been made to strike a balance between metropolitan and country districts. Money has been provided in the Estimates, and special releases of technicians were made in the early stages of demobilization, in order to enable the Postmaster-General’s Department to cope with the demand for telephones. I assure the honorable member that everything possible is being done to meet the situation.
– Can the Minister for Labour and National Service say whether the conference of representatives of the employers and employees in the iron and steel industry, which he was asked to convene, has yet been held? If so, was the result satisfactory? If it has not been held, when will it take place ?
– Both parties m greed to meet in conference, and the rime of the meeting was fixed for Monday and Tuesday of this week, the place being the offices of the Broken Hill Proprietary . Company Limited in Sydney. . I have not heard what was the result of the meeting, but I hope that some good results will flow from it. I do not know of any conference of the kind which has not produced beneficial results.
– Mr. ANTHONY.- As the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture knows, there is an acute shortage of galvanized barbed wire for use in country districts. Indeed, it is unobtainable through the usual channels, and, apparently, none is now being made in Australia. Seeing that, from time to time, the Minister has been able to overcome some of the difficulties of primary producers by import ing goods m shout supply, will he con.sider importing some thousands of tons of galvanized barbed wire -from, the United Kingdom or elsewhere, in order to .relieve the situation “until local manufacturers can overtake the demand?
– I know only too well that what the honorable member says regarding a shortage of galvanized barbed wire is true. A certain quantity of black barbed wire was released by the Army, but it is not satisfactory, especially in coastal districts, where it has been badly affected by rust. ‘ But the acute shortage of galvanized barbed wire is, I -believe,, experienced the world over, and I do not think that we can obtain supplies overseas.” However, I shall look into the matter because I recognize the seriousness of the position. I shall see’ if something can be done to increase local production and, if necessary, whether we can import supplies.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether any instruction has been issued authorizing the removal of controls in respect of the production of beer and tobacco from the 25th of this month ?
– 1 have already announced that government control of beer production will cease as from the 25th of this month, and that governmental control of tobacco production will cease as from the end of the month. Steps are now being taken to revoke the relevant regulations, and the necessary orders will ‘be issued within a few days.
Spain - Elections in Greece.
– I ask the Attorney-General what is the attitude of the Government towards the present Government of Spain?
– As this matter is now being discussed in the current debate on. international affairs, I- prefer to answer the honorable member’s question when I am replying to that debate.
– Is it a fact, as stated in the press, that the ex-Prime Minister of Greece-, Mr. Sophianopoulos, has requested the Minister for Externa] Affairs to intervene in f avour of the postponement of the Greek elections? If so, what action, if any, does the Government propose to take?’
– It is correct that I received a telegram last night. Mr. Sophianopoulos represented Greece .at the S’an Francisco conference and was one of the most prominent delegates there. “With regard to the subject of his request, the difficulty of the Government is that it is not aware of the facts of the case. Therefore, up to the present, the Government has not taken any action on the request.
– I ask the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister for Immigration, when migration from Great Britain, including child migration, is likely to begin? Can he make an early statement on this matter?
– The initiation of immigration to this country is dependent entirely upon the availability of shipping. Honorable members are aware of. the difficulty which exists, in bringing to this country not only war brides,, children and fiancees’ of Australian servicemen, but also civilians. Because of the shortage of shipping a number of Australian civilians have been ‘stranded in Great Britain since as far back as 1939. At the moment, we are unable to foresee any easing of the shipping shortage, because the transport of troops and prisoners of war will throw a great strain upon the shipping available for several years, and for six years hence in one particular area. So the bringing of migrants to Australia depends entirely on the availability of shipping.
– An agreement has been signed ?
– Yes, but we cannot say when it will be possible to give effect to it by bringing to this country children or adults.
Position or Siu William Webb
– Has the AttorneyGeneral any comment to make on the statement by Mr. Justice Brennan, of the Supreme Court of Queensland, that the Chief Justice. Sir William Webb, has been placed in a false and invidious position by the right honorable gentleman’s recommendation, that he be appointed a judicial officer for the trial of Japanesewar criminals, when he has already acted a.- an investigating officer? What action r? now proposed?
– Mr. Justice Brennan, is under a. complete misapprehension asto the position. The Chief Justice of” the Supreme Court of Queensland, Sir William Webb, was appointed to direct the investigation of war crimes committed by the Japanese in our territories,, and later his commission was extended tocover’ the South-Wes.t Pacific. He- has made one report and another will beavailable to the House, I hope, next. week.. Those investigations had nothing to do, with his selection as one of the panel of judges who will sit at. Tokyo to try the major war criminals of Japan. Into the activities of these men Sir William Webb made noinvestigation. He simply dealt with the cases of the Japanese now being tried by ‘ military courts in the territories, Darwin, and other parts of the SouthWest Pacific. Australia, as one of the nations engaged in the war in the Pacific, was asked to nominate a judge for appointment to the panel of judges tosit in Tokyo. We nominated Sir William Webb, who, as he had nothing to do with the investigation of the crimes that will be tried in Tokyo,, is completely free togive his judgment on all the mattersthat will come before that tribunal. Furthermore, without his having been nominated by Australia for the position. Sir William Webb was selected by theCommanderinChief of the Allied forces in, the Pacific, General Douglas - MacArthur, as president of the tribunal from the nine or ten judicial officersnominated by the Allied governments in the Pacific area. Mr. JusticeBrennan has failed to distinguish between the two classes. I repeat that SirWilliam,,.Webb had: nothing ,to do with.. investigation of the, matters over the trial, of which he is to preside.
Destruction at Morotai.
– I ask leave to have incorporated in Hansard a statement in reply to published charges that large numbers of motor tyres have been burned at Morotai. I think the statement will disprove the allegations.
– Is the House agreeable to the incorporation of the statement in Ilansard11.
– Not without its beingread.
Leave not granted.
– Then I ask leave to read the statement.
– The allegations published in a section of the Australian press on Monday that between 9,000 and 10,000 new truck and motor tyres had been deliberately destroyed at Morotai recently, are totally inaccurate and grossly misleading. The report stated that the tyres had been dumped with other Army equipment over a precipice and burned. Immediately this matter was referred to me I directed the Master-General of Ordnance, Major-General Beavis, to inquire and report upon the position. I have now been informed that approximately 3,000 wornout tyres were destroyed at Morotai on the instructions of the regional manager of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. All tyres in this area held by the Army were supplied from Australian sources and were not obtained on a lendlease basis. All stocks of new tyres were transferred to the Australian Ordnance Depot in Japan or returned to the mainland. Used tyres, if required, were returned to the mainland, the balance being readily sold to the Dutch. It is the practice to pass worn out tyres to the salvage authorities for destruction. It is not known what quantities of tyres, if any, have been destroyed at Morotai by the Royal Australian Air Force or the United States of America forces. Investigations have revealed that certain Army vehicles in a very bad state of repair were destroyed at Morotai on the instructions, of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. No surplus Australian Army vehicles, equipment or stores were destroyed at Morotai or elsewhere other than at the request of the Commonwealth Disposals .Commission.
The general policy adopted in the disposal of surplus Army equipment in territories outside Australia and, in particular, the Dutch territories of Borneo arid Morotai, is that stores and equipment required, for current or post-war Army needs are earmarked for return to Australia. Similarly, stores and equipment suitable for diversion to civil use and for which there is an urgent demand in Australia are given high priority for return to the mainland. The policy in regard to stores and equipment outside the categories mentioned, which, in view of shipping limitations and freight costs cannot be economically returned to Australia, is that they be disposed of locally, first, to South-East Asia Command, and secondly, to Dutch Government agencies. In respect of stores .and equipment of lendlease origin, approval of the United States authorities is obtained. Other stores of United States origin outside these categories’ are declared to the United States authorities as surplus and in the event of them not being repossessed are, with the approval of the United States authorities, destroyed only if they are of no economic value. Items in this category include deteriorated equipment, generally of low salvage value, or stores of purely military origin not capable of being diverted to civil use.
The Department of the Army recognizes the necessity for the return to the mainland of vehicles, stores and equipment of Australian or lend-lease origin which can be diverted to civilian use if not required by the Army. The Government has charged the services with the’ responsibility of determining items and quantities required to be returned to the mainland for post-war requirements, and for the submission of the balance to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission for disposal. The policy of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, in regard to material located in the islands, is that all items required in Australia should be returned to the mainland if they can be economically moved. If practicable the balance may be sold on the spot. The
Commonwealth Disposals Commission then requests the services to destroy or abandon any remaining item.
Factors that may possibly influence this decision include the necessity for evacuation of the Australian Military Forces personnel from areas in which stores are held, because the cost of retaining such personnel ‘for guarding and maintaining stores of doubtful ultimate value is high and uneconomic; the urgent necessity to return long service personnel from the islands for demobilization; the shortage of shipping necessary for the return of such stores; and the cost of freight on stores and equipment of doubtful value, which in most cases would make return of such stores uneconomic.
There has been much criticism in recent weeks of the procedure adopted for the disposal of vehicles and army equipment held at depots on the mainland. Press reports have alleged that equipment to the value of millions of pounds is deteriorating at Army vehicle depots. These reports also are inaccurate and misleading. The only Army vehicle park in New South Wales is at Ryde. Vehicles at Leichhardt and Moorebank are vehicles on base ordnance depot strength, and are employed daily on routine duties. There are 1,810 new vehicles at Moorebank, but these are crated and are not deteriorating. Of this number, 609 vehicles are of lend-lease origin. The majority of the vehicles at Ryde are still an Army requirement; others are lendlease vehicles awaiting disposal. There are 31S motor cycles, 70 trucks, and 1,748 new motor cycles in eases.
Disposal of lend-lease vehicles is awaiting the outcome of discussions at present proceeding in Washington between representatives of the Australian and United States of America Governments. The following vehicles were transferred to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission from the Ryde Ordnance Vehicle Park during the period the 3rd January to the 13th March, 1946: - Armoured vehicles, 14; wheeled vehicles, 1993; and motor cycles, 524. These include the. following vehicles of lend-lease origin : - Wheeled vehicles, 58 ; and motor cycles, 204.-
The following vehicles were disposed of by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission from the Ryde Ordnance Vehicle
Park during the same period : - Armoured vehicles, 9, valued at £520; wheeled vehicles, 1,231, valued at £224,997; and motor cycles, 571, valued at £10,117. The total value of 1,811 vehicles was £235,634.
– On Wednesday, I asked the Prime Minister the following question : -
Can the Prime Minister say whether efforts have recently been made to resuscitate the Australian Overseas Transport Association - generally referred to’ as A.O.T.A. - and can he say whether or not any of his ministerial colleagues have discussed its re-establishment with any of the interested parties, and, if so, with whom? Will the right honorable gentleman indicate his attitude towards the revival of this association?
The Prime Minister promised me that he would confer with the Minister for Supply and Shipping. Is the right honorable gentleman now in a position to inform me whether any discussions took place, and if they did, who was present at them, and what interests did they represent ?
– I regret that I have not yet .been able to obtain the information required by the honorable member. Although I instituted inquiries, I have not been able to get the final answers, but I shall endeavour to secure the information as quickly as possible.
– As many farmers, especially those in wheat areas, are hampered in their agricultural pursuits by the lack of tractors, and as many have placed orders, most of which are of long standing, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the House when tractors are likely to be available and what method will be adopted for distributing them? ‘’
– It is difficult to answer the question offhand. The shortage of tractors is acute because the demand greatly exceeds the supply. However, representatives of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture have visited the United States of America recently with a view to securing tractors for Australia, and the department has also made investigations in the United Kingdom. I assure the honorable member that the Department has done everything possible to organize supplies from manufacturing countries. In the last twelve months, Australia has imported a record number of tractors, but that number was not nearly sufficient to meet the demand. Consignments of tractors are arriving weekly, and they are allocated to the States according to an agreement made with the Commonwealth. Every State receives a fair proportion of imports. The Director-General of Agriculture, Mr. Bulcock, maintains constant communication with producing centres in other parts of the world in order to obtain maximum supplies.
Occupation Force in Japan : Supplies and Equipment;
– Has the Minister for the Navy seen a report in the press that officers and men of the Royal Australian Navy, who arrived at Rabaul on the warshipsHobart and Arunta onWednesday, said that conditions under which the Australian members of the Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan were compelled to live were disgraceful? If so, what has the Minister to say about the statements of these men that they would have been unable to carry on had it not been for the generosity of the Americans, from whom80 per cent. of their winter clothing was obtained, and that, during the five months in which they were stationed at Kure, their only duties were to carry out one or two naval exercises? Will the Minister ensure that all Australian naval forces stationed in Japan are provided with adequate supplies of winter clothing?
– I have sufficient confidence in the ability and interest of the officer commanding the Australian squadron, Commodore Collins, to know that he would make it his first task to see that those under his command were properly provisioned, and were afforded amenities appropriate to the service which they have been called upon to undertake. The matter raised by the honorable member was brought to my notice last night, and I instituted immediate inquiries to ascertain the facts. I am informed that, in December, Commodore Collins was re quested to advise the Superintending Victualling Store Officer, Royal Edward Victualling Yard, Sydney, of any additional quantities of winter repayment or loan clothing required so that shipment could be effected in H.M.A.S. Warramunga ;but none was so notified, nor did H.M.A.S. Warramunga demand any additional supplies. As H.M.A.S. Shropshire had previously rendered a fairly heavy demand for such supplies in September, 1945, and received them ex H.M.S. Apollo in October, this may have accounted for the fact that no additional items were demanded. As stocks of clothing items are carried in Royal Naval Victualling Store Issue Ships servicing both H.M. and H.M.A. ships in Japanese waters, any items urgently required should normally be obtainable from that source.
Debate resumed from the 21st March (vide page 517), on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the following paper be printed: -
Foreign Affairs - Missions Overseas - Ministerial Statement, 13th March. 1946
.- The debate during the last few days has been upon the motion for the printing of a paper presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) detailing the foreign policy pursuedby the Government and by the Ministers representing the Government in the councils of the world. It portrays the part Australia has played in its relations with other countries and indicates the lines upon which future foreign policy will be shaped. The purpose of this debate is to ascertain whether honorable members generally are in accord with the foreign policy pursuedby the Government, to give them an opportunity to express their views upon it, and to enable them to indicate what other measures or what further steps the Government should take in stating the views of the Australian people in the councils of the world. The statement presented by the Minister for External Affairs which is clear, concise and powerful, is in conformity with the high standard of service we have learned to expect from the right honorable gentleman. Never’ before in our history have we had so clear and definite a statement as to Australian foreign policy, and we learn with pride of the vital influence this comparatively small and youthful nation has exercised upon the affairs of the United Nations. The Attorney-General has created a profound impression throughout the world, not solely by his own personality, but also by his objective reasoning and the keen insight which he has .brought to bear upon the vexed and difficult problems which confront the world. Only recently have we emerged from one of the greatest conflicts in history. Necessarily, the problems that have followed in the wake of the war are more sharply defined and more clearly revealed against the background of world affairs than were the problems that existed before the war began. War solves no problems, but merely throws into bolder relief the differences that exist between nations. The policy that we should pursue and the one which, in fact, has been followed, is that of endeavouring to lessen sharp devisions of opinion and to obviate clashes between nations. Instead of diplomatic representatives meeting in secret, the rights and aspirations of the various nations should be brought into open conference, where the aim should be to achieve a just solution; in fact, to replace the arbitrament of war, the rule of the jungle, by the peaceful settlement of international disputes through the medium of arbitration. On a previous occasion, I said that this country pays little respect to its great men when they go abroad. Australian representatives who have pleaded Australia’s case, or have assisted to solve the very many vexed and most difficult problems with which world assemblies have been* confronted, have frequently been given abroad the credit of having played a major part in the decisions that have been reached. Yet in Australia their efforts have been belittled, and every endeavour has been made to convey the impression that they have had an insignificant or even a turbulent effect upon meetings of world leaders. What occurred on a previous occasion was repeated when one of the most distinguished figures that, has graced this Parliament for a long period was elected to a position of honour. Even at this distance from the place at which the meeting was held, we are able to appreciate the ability that was displayed by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) in the difficult role that he had to fill. We can be definitely assured that the honorable gentleman discharged his functions with perfect honesty, dignity and sincerity. That cannot be questioned either in this country or, indeed, anywhere in the world. So I deprecate in the strongest possible terms the sniping and the unfortunate propaganda to which the honorable gentleman was subjected in Australia when he was honoured by being chosen to preside over the deliberations of the Security- Council, at -which the most conflicting, emotions must have emerged, and the most vital opposition of interests that could be imagined must have been manifested. If we. cannot “ write up “ those who represent us in world councils, we should certainly not go out of our way to endeavour to “ write them down”, to belittle them, and to depreciate the confidence and prestige which they undoubtedly enjoy, by sniping attacks designed to achieve merely a party political advantage. As I said earlier, the problems of to-day are probably more complex than those that existed before the war. The passions that have been aroused from time to time since the Minister for External Affairs made his statement, are quite out of place in a debate of this character. The future of mankind will be’ dependent upon the results that are achieved by the organization . that has lately been brought into being. If ever clear minds and calm heads, rather than the heat of passion and the distortion of party political propaganda, were needed, they are needed now, and in this place. So I urge that, in dealing with this matter, all honorable members will realize the great issues that are involved and the vital results that should flow from this world organization to which we have given our blessing. Two points emerged from the reply by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) to the statement of the Minister for External Affairs. In the first place, the right honorable gentleman repeated the oftmade charge that the present Government, and the Labour party generally, are actuated by anti-British bias. In fact, he asserted that the Minister for
External Affairs had time and again displayed an anti-British bias which he would do well to modify. I characterize that statement as unfair, untrue, and completely unworthy of the right honorable gentleman who made it. We on this side affirm that Australia has grown into a nation which, though small in population, is one that, in relation to strategy, can and must play a vital part in world affairs. We consider that a clear, firm and definite lead by this country in respect of matters in which we are primarily and vitally interested cannot do other than assist the British Empire, and particularly the British Isles ; in fact, the effect must be to place the Empire in a far more important position in the world’s sphere, and strengthen its voice should it need to be raised at any time in the cause of world peace.
The second claim made by the Leader of the Opposition, ‘ and repeated by succeeding speakers, was that the Government and the Labour movement have a pro-Soviet leaning. The Soviet Union, from its inception, has ‘been ‘ one of the main subjects of the political storms that have arisen throughout the world. There has been bitter opposition to it, and quite as often an unreal defence of it. No one will claim that all its actions have been blameless, or that its activities have made it unworthy of a place in world economy. The Soviet Union, as a great world power, is indispensable to the economic life of the world, and is vital to the maintenance of peace, which we hope will result from the influence of the organization that has just been established. Because the Minister for External Affairs has not roundly condemned the actions of the Soviet Union, he and we have been accused of a pro-Soviet bias. This proves that honorable gentlemen opposite have not bothered to read even cursorily the report which the right honorable gentleman has presented to this House. On the second page of that report, dealing with the aims of the “Big Three”, he stated clearly and powerfully that the leadership of the “Big Three” is accepted. He then went on to say -
At the same time there was a duty to bring other directly interested belligerents into consultation on important peace arrangements, especially those affecting territorial adjust- ments. During the war, this principle was sometimes departed from. Notable examples are the Cairo declaration affecting the Pacific and the arrangements made at Yalta granting the Soviet Union territorial concessions in the Far East in anticipation of it entering into the war against Japan.
In neither case was there any prior consultation with belligerents outside the Big Three. I presume that no Australian can be found to justify such a procedure except upon the doubtful ground of urgent military necessity.
That is clear and unambiguous. It declares that these matters should not be decided in secret, but should be brought openly to the forum of world opinion, where the case for’ or against can be heard and a decision be made in the light of the facts put forward by the different interests concerned. Only two major arguments have been adduced by Opposition members. First, they have accused the Government, and the Labour party generally,- of an anti-British bias. That cowardly accusation has been levelled time and again in an endeavour to secure some advantage from the electors, but it was completely conf ounded by the speech of the Minister for External Affairs. ‘ Honorable members opposite do a great disservice to the cause that they would champion- when, time after time, in parrot fashion, both in Parliament and from the hustings, they seek, to attribute to honorable members on thisside, and to the Labour movement generally, an anti-British bias, or endeavour to belittle the Government and the Labour party by insinuating that it has not a.ny keen interest in the peoplein the British Isles. As to the second argument of the Minister for External Affairs, all that he said was that, before
Ave arrive at a. conclusion/instead of hasty passions having sway, we should seek to ascertain the full facts, and should make our decisions in accordance with our honest views after the case has been fully examined. I mentioned earlier that Australia has grown in stature in the international sphere by virtue of our representation and the clear presentation of the case for Australia, and ako by the acceptance in principle, and the incorporation, in fact, of many of the Proposals of the Australian delegates into the framework of the United Nations organization. The veto power was suggested as being inimical to the future developments of that organization. That is probably true, but the important fact is, that in the discussions that took place, Australian delegates took the lead in opposition to the veto principle. Where force might be needed, and the major powers must make the overwhelming bulk of the contribution, there is something to be said for the veto principle, but not in matters of arbitration and discussion, or in respect of issues in which it appears unlikely that force will play a part. Although it is a fact that the veto lessens the effectiveness of the Security Council and, indeed, of the United Nations organization itself, Australia has placed on record, through its delegates, opposition in principle to the veto. Whilst we can understand that at this stage, when so much discord exists throughout the world, and major differences of opinion have yet to be reconciled, the views expressed by the Australian delegates have not been accepted, they will undoubtedly exercise an influence when future decisions are being made, and the organization and administration of the United Nations are being stream-lined in accordance with experience as the organization comes to perform the work that it will be called upon to do. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony),, following along those two lines - an antiBritish bias and a pro-Soviet leaning on the part of the Government and its .supporters - made an impassioned appeal to Australia to rest upon its own strength. He said that Australia’s views will hot be heeded or its interests regarded, unless we can back up our protests, or support our demands, with armed might. That theme also permeated the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). Referring to the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the right honorable gentleman said that the balance of power had been upset on the Continent of Europe. Honorable gentlemen opposite seem to learn nothing from history. They forget the long period when the balance of power was a live issue; they forget, too, how men endeavoured to organize power politics with triple alliances and triple ententes which inevitably led to war. They-forget that unilateral armaments - individual nations striving for security and arming to the teeth so that they may back their views with force - leave only a brief step to war. Australia certainly must have a defence policy; it must take steps to ensure that it can play its part, if necessary, in any future war waged for the defence of principles or to preserve the rights and liberties of peoples ; but the future peace of mankind can be ensured only by collective action by the nations rather than by unilateral action. I characterize as an unsafe philosophy and as dangerous arguments the reasons advanced and the principles expounded by the honorable .member for Richmond last night.
The Trusteeship Council also has come in for a good deal of criticism without the principles upon which the agreement is founded being clearly understood. The principle was explained at length in a previous debate when a bill to ratify the agreement was introduced to this Assembly. We were told then, and we have heard it repeated on several occasions, that trusteeship is similar in principle to the mandate principle that preceded it. The underlying purpose of trusteeship is the welfare of backward nations and native peoples, so that their advancement towards selfgovernment shall be aided, rather than retarded, ‘by the country which, for the time’ being, has control of their destiny. There is, as the Minister for External Affairs said on an earlier occasion, and as he explained again last night by way of interjection,’ a very definite difference in one respect, namely, that whereas, formerly, the nations holding mandates could not arm the territories entrusted to them, or establish bases from which to defend them, on this occasion, and under this new principle, the United Nations organization itself, through its Trusteeship Council, can extend the power to provide bases and the right to use them as media for, the protection of the liberty of the people or the defence of the country. That is a vital difference, but Opposition members do not appear to have bothered to examine the clear and definite statement of the Minister for External Affairs. He said -
We shall accordingly ask for the right tn establish bases. in the interest pf the security of Australia and of the southwest
Pacific area. It was the provision in the existing mandates prohibiting any fortification which helped to give the Japanese so great an advantage in the early stages of the Pacific war. Despite assurances given to this Parliament by the Government of the day, it is certain that in their own mandated territories the Japanese established naval and military bases in flagrant breach of the mandate;’ and they did so with impunity.
He went on to say that the Commonwealth Government will agree to nothing that will limit the rights of Australia in the territories concerned. The governing power and the trustee power will ‘be guided by a desire to further the interests of the native peoples, and further their progress towards selfgovernment. The desire of all should be to promote the welfare of native and dependent races.
The .purpose- of the. organization is, not only to prevent wars from breaking out or. from spreading if they do break out, but also to deal with matters affecting the economic and social welfare of the nations. It must concern itself with scientific education and with cultural development. These are fundamental matters in. any world organization for the maintenance of peace. I pass over them now, not because they are unimportant, but because we are at the moment obsessed with the difficulties of the world situation, with the doubts and fears entertained by many peoples, and with the steps’ which must be taken if we “are to ensure a just and lasting peace, and develop an organization which will ensure the future peace and prosperity of the nations.
When discussing the Pacific region the Minister for External Affairs laid stress upon Australia’s special interest in this sphere. He said that as we accepted the leadership of Great Britain in Europe, and the leadership of the three great powers in matters of general world policy, so Australia, because of its geographical position, must continue to have a profound interest in Pacific affairs, and must take all steps possible to ensure that war does not break out here again, and that Japan shall not re-arm as Germany did after the last war. For that reason, Australia must take an important part in the discussions for the settlement of the Japanese problem. So much is now admitted, and Australia’s position in the
Pacific is stronger to-day than ever before. Australia must, make a major contribution- to the settlement of the Pacific problem. The Minister for External Affairs stated further -
J he detailed means of implementing a security policy for the Pacific have yet to be decided, but this much is already apparent: - Australian security is very largely dependent on our closest co-operation with the British Commonwealth and the United States of America. Any hindrance to the maximum degree of co-operation with cither is contrary to the interests of all these countries.
That, I think, will be generally accepted, even by members opposite, although some of them are disposed to believe that every motion we have made, and all negotiations which we have conducted, are calculated to create discord rather than to promote good feeling. The policy of the Government has been to support the world organization for- peace. This policy provides that all problems, nomatter how vast or difficult, shall be brought to the United Nations organization, and dealt with by that organization or its subsidiaries. The organization is still in its infancy, but the principles on which it is founded cannot be questioned. The soundness of the Government’s policy in this regard cannot be successfully attacked by the Opposition, and I am sure that it will receive the general support of the people.
Finally, the Minister for External Affairs laid down this proposition -
Australia has consistently maintained the view that the United Nations Organization should be given the fullest possible support by each member. By this means, a collective world opinion can gradually be built up, and it may also be possible to avoid the establishment of rival blocs of powers viewing one another through an atmosphere of distrust :ind suspicion. ri’.: - policy will be pursued by Australia in the Security Council where every effort will be made to ensure full discission of international disputes as and when they arise. In this respect the initial meetings of the Security Council were remarkably successful. There was free, full and frank discussion at which the public was present. Those who claimed that the Security Council would meet in secret and avoid a public discussion were confounded by the event.
Even full and public discussion is not enough. Indeed it may degenerate into mere assertion followed by mere counter-assertion, charges followed by counter-charges. There should, therefore, in most cases, be a careful investigation of the truth of the assertions and the charges, and a true assessment of the facts by the Security Council or other United Nations agencies, followed by a just recommendation or decision. This procedure would Ihi in accordance with the true, spirit of the Charter of the United Nations. That is the organization which was established by all its members for the very purpose of discouraging isolated or limited alliances in favour of collective action in accordance with the principles of justice and law laid down in the Charter. The main purpose of the United Nations is security against war. With atomic energy being used for purposes of unlimited destruction- a new world war would cause* devastation almost beyond human imagination and would end modern civilization as wo know it.
Special prerogatives and privileges have been vested in the major Powers by the United Nations organization. Their mutual confidence is an essential feature of the new international order. Those who by a calculated policy sew distrust between them endanger the life of the United Nations. Those who endanger the life of the United Nations threaten our chief bulwark against a third world war.
That is all we can ask, namely, that the organization shall deal with problems as and when they arise, that the facts shall be elicited, and a just decision reached in the light of the facts. A notable place in the councils of the nations has been won by Australia’s delegates. I believe that, in future negotiations, difficulties will be ironed out, and the terms to be imposed on the aggressor nations will be decided upon. In this way we can help to shape the future course of world events. A vindictive peace can only engender brooding discontent among the peoples of the defeated nations, and will pave the way for. some upstart dictator to fan the embers of discontent into flame, as occurred after the war of 1914- IS. We should not accept the policy of arbitrarily drawing lines across the map of Europe, and fixing national boundaries without the closest investigation. Such a policy will lead to future wars. I believe that, rather than continue a multitude of independent states in Europe with their never-ending quarrels, there should be evolved somethins in the nature of a United States of Europe. However, that is for the future. First, we must ensure a just and firm, but not vindictive, peace. Although our enemies have been defeated in war, they represent a large part of the human race. They were led into war. The flames of patriotic fervour were fanned by dictators to serve the interests of the dictators themselves; and when the tocsin of war sounded there was little for the peoples to do but fall in behind the vast armaments that, had been amassed and the huge military machine that had been built up. Therefore, we must have a firm peace, a peace that will ensure that dictators will not again arise to spread ruin, suffering and misery throughout the world. But we must also have a peace in which the rights of hum-ans, vanquished as well as victors, will be recognized. Upon those rights I believe that we can build a just and lasting peace.
I believe that by the contribution that we can make ‘ here and in our activities throughout the country we can play .a major part in the solution of world problems and the work of the United Nations. Therefore, I implore honorable members not to engender heat into this debate, and not to allow passion and political advantage to influence .their speech or govern their actions. We have great and vital responsibilities. Calm reasoning and sound objective judgment are the only means by which we can decide these matters. I believe that our decisions can influence -the way the world will take in the future. Destiny waits upon our decisions; the civilization of the- world trembles in the balance.
. ‘ - I agree with the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke) that the issues which arise in this debate are of such transcendental importance that they require a calm and deliberate approach; and, indeed, we owe it to the country that each of us shall deal with these issues to the best of his individual ability. Heat was first engendered into this debate by ministerial supporters. However, I shall not engage in recrimination?. I prefer to make a few comments upon the issues that arise. We see a world at present which cannot give much comfort to those of us - and J. assume that this means all of us - who desire lasting peace. I deplore very much indeed the continual talk of another war. I believe that talk of war breeds war. It must not be thought, however, that I am prepared to withhold criticism where criticism is needed, not for any party political motive but for the purpose of indicating the best course this country can take in the future. The issue in this debate clearly arises between the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), namely, that the United Nations is an experiment - a grand and magnificent experiment - and the criticism directed by the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) and, indeed, by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) against that view. “We shall be wise to examine the faults inherent in the United Nations,’ not for the purpose of saying that something better should have been evolved, but in order that we may know the strength, or weakness, of the instrument upon which, apparently, this Government principally relies to maintain world peace. While i was listening to the honorable member for Perth, and, also to the speech of the Minister for the Navy the other night, I could not help but feel that the words of 25 years ago were being repeated. For example, the Minister for the Navy said that . world opinion was the greatest corrective. He said that the peace of the world depends upon future collaboration . between the public powers, and that discussion between the United Nations in both the Council and the Assembly were sufficient almost in themselves to provide a sure safeguard for the peace of the world. If I do not agree with that view, it is not because I challenge the sincerity of the Minister. But I challenge his judgment of the world. We live, after all, in a world of men and affairs. Nations do not change their habits overnight. Whilst I am a great believer in the principles for which the United Nations stand, and whilst I am convinced that it is the responsibility of every public man and of every country to. advance those principles as quickly as possible to their utmost crystallization, none the less my judgment must be conditioned by a knowledge of history. All of the arguments which have been advanced in this debate by the Government and the reasons why we should almost solely rely upon the United Nations were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson 25 years ago. I recall that President Wilson, in practically the same words as those used by the Minister for the
Navy, expressed the belief that worldopinion would be the greatest corrective in the interests of world peace. When Clemenceau pointed out that there could be no security unless power existed to protect the peace- of the world, Wilson replied almost exactly as the Government now contends, that we can rely upon man’s change of heart. One would have thought that after the war of 1914-1S, with its tremendous devastation’ and destruction of human life, men and women would have learned its lesson. They did not. Within a short period a second world war was in the making ; and we have gone through another war of catastrophic proportions, which again should persuade us that we should abandon for ever recourse to the arbitrament of war to settle disputes between nations. But I am not yet convinced that we have yet reached that stage; and that is the point upon which this debate turns. We believe in the United Nations. We do not quarrel with the Government’s principles as expressed by the Minister for External Affairs, but we say that unless there is power to protect nations that fear aggression, and to stop those who may seek to engage in aggression, there is yet no lasting fabric for peace. After all, it was said in the discussions which followed the last war that the personal moralities of the leaders of countries, the national moralities of the different nations and the civilized morality of mankind, would be sufficient to prevent war. Yet, we know that that was not so. Why? Because, whether we like it or not, we cannot escape yet from the fact that the politics of power rule the world. There is, indeed, a very grave danger that irresponsible actions and utterances may even create, two separate world blocs at the present moment. That, in the end, would ‘result in armed conflict. ‘ None of us who see the world as it is to-day can be without misgivings. Many people hate the Russian ideology and many, because they hate it, are capable of saying and doing things that can have serious consequences. I am opposed to the Russian ideology and I am opposed to Russia’s actions in Europe and Asia, as I regard them as inconsistent with the obligations it assumed under the Atlantic Charter and as a signatory to the Charter of the United Nations. But we have to avoid “ red-baiting “ and, as best we can, all issues that may complicate the position.Nevertheless, we must say fearlessly and frankly that there can be no peace in this world unless all nations, including Russia, abide by the principles to which they have solemnly given their pledge. It is because of that I am now critical of the Government, not in a, political sense, but because of its conduct of foreign affairs. It seems to place too much emphasis on securing future peace through the United Nations organization, which is still in its swaddling clothes. It is my hope that it will grow to full and strong maturity, but we on this side are convinced that the world does not change quickly. We believe in making, as we are obliged to make, every effort to develop the United Nations organization to increased strength and stature as quickly as possible so that it shall play its destined part in the shaping of the history of mankind. None the less, we think that continued, indeed increasing, emphasis must be placed on the necessity to bind together in strength the constituents of the British Commonwealth of Nations. We also believe in the development, in the Pacific, of the closest liaison between the United States of America and ourselves. That does not speak in terms of bio(:s or military alliances; it speaks in terms of people anxious to preserve peace, people who seek no aggrandizement or gain. No doubt the forum of public opinion provided by the United Nations organization will go some way along the road to the preservation of peace. There can be, however, no forum of public opinion unless it is .made up of the peoples of the world. While a large part of the world is still under autocratic and dictatorial control, while there is a great tract of country where there is no free press or free expression of opinion, and where the atmosphere in which public opinion can grow has-been destroyed, there can be no public opinion worth anything at all. So I put the strongest emphasis upon the strengthening of the bonds that bind the British Commonwealth of Nations together, concurrently with the development of the
United Nations organization. It is claimed that that is also the policy- of the Labour Government. So it is in one sense, but, in another sense, that Government places too little emphasis on the strengthening of the bonds of the British Commonwealth of Nations and too much on idealism. Creditable though idealism always is, it was idealism which destroyed the last peace and may well destroy this one. I cannot help but think that, in defending Russia, the Minister for External Affairs might have been actuated by a desire to remove in some way suspicions between Russia and other parts of the world. If be was right, Mr. Bevin and Mr. Churchill are wrong. Those who have seen what has taken place in the last couple of years and know what Russia has done can reach but one conclusion. Whether Russia is impelled by a desire to defend itself or not, it is engaging in a programme ‘of territorial aggrandisement and obtaining control of the nations bordering its frontiers, because it does not believe that the United Nations- organization can ensure its peace.
– It does not mean to take a risk anyway.
– Exactly. It does not believe the United Nations organization is capable of protecting its peace. In other words, whatever support it may give to the United Nations organization, it is making certain that its territory will be sufficiently defended, should something go wrong. When we are dealing with a nation which differs politically, economically and racially from us, and has different educational and living standards, it is obvious that we must not in any way neglect our’ own defences or set aside the strength that belongs to the British Commonwealth of Nations. There is nothing inconsistent about that. Indeed, I believe that it is on the foundation of strength of a tried organization, such as the British Commonwealth of Nations, that the structure of the United Nations we are talking about might be more firmly erected. My attitude may be summed up in the dictum of Oliver Cromwell, “ Put your trust in God, but keep your powder dry”.
I turn now to another matter. The Minister for External Affairs said that lie believed that the actions of Russia,, winch he enumerated, were impelled by a defensive policy in the sense that it wanted to protect itself against any possible attack. I cannot imagine that that would fail to” reveal to every honorable member an amazing similarity with the justification advanced by Hitler and the German Geo-political Bureau for Germany’s aggrandizement and territorial conquests. It betrays a strange similarity to Hitler’s speeches in 1938 and 1939 when he said that Germany was being encircled by hostile powers and consequently had to break out of the ring to secure its own borders. That is the very defence of Russia advanced by the Minister for External Affairs, who says that Russia seeks to avoid the cordon sanitaire. On the one hand, we had Germany’s claim that it was being encircled and, on the other, the cordon sanitaire, which is another name for encirclement. Thus we have the amazing sight of a democratic Minister in a democratic government justifying actions that Hitler tried to justify on the same ground.
– Arid other people like the Minister justify it. “
– Exactly. How is that consistent with the maintenance of the Charter of the United Nations oi? the Atlantic Charter? We have gone a long way from the Atlantic Charter in the last two years. Looking back on Hitler’s Germany from 1937 to 1939,. we remember its conquest of Schleswig-Holstein, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Sudetenland, and Austria and its penetration to the heart of the Balkans, which we can compare with Russia’s actions to-day. So there cannot be a great deal of comfort to be found in the United Nations organization unless Russia has a great change of heart. I shall leave this matter with one further observation: The Minister for External Affairs made a rather unfortunate reference to the part played by Great Britain before the war. He said in unambiguous words, that certain western democracies had always been against collaboration with Russia, and had hailed Hitler as the saviour of western civilization from bolshevism. When I asked what nations the right honorable gentleman was referring to, ultimately he said Great Britain and France. That charge comes poorly from the mouth of any Labour government.
Whilst I dislike casting up what somebody said years ago, I believe it to be necessary for me to place on record the fact, that when the Munich Pact was being considered by this Parliament in September 193S, not one word of protest against it was voiced from the Labour side. On the contrary, the then Leader of the Opposition, the late Mr. Curtin, gave his complete support to what had been done, and, indeed, directed criticism against Czechoslovakia as a potent cause of war. Only certain members of the parties now on the opposition side of the chamber advocated a stronger attitude towards Hitler. A speech made by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) is a true reflection of the respective views held in this Parliament at that time. The honorable member said -
Now,, inasmuch as peace has been achieved, at least’ temporarily, they are pacifists, and the last thing they would like to admit would be the truth, namely, that whatever may be our views about the British Government, the policy of that Government has represented a triumph for pacifism throughout the world. There are men in this Parliament - there are men in this Government- who would have thrown, their hats in the air in delight if the news had flashed across the world that Mr. Chamberlain had made a stand against Herr Hitler, and that the wardogs were to be. called out. Those honorable gentlemen can scarcely conceal their chagrin at the turn of events. They join in spirit with those who. in the press and on the platform in other parts of the world, are deriding and attacking the British Prime Minister for having secured the peace of Europe, saying that it was won at too great a price: that we made others pay for it; that we let the people of Czechoslovakia down.
I make that quotation because I would like to see the end of this practice of delving into the past.
– What is the honorable member himself doing?
– I am replying to a grossly unfair charge made by the Minister for External Affairs. In the period prior to 1939, few people, irrespective of their political views, foresaw what was to occur. I think it is best to forget the past, and to turn our attention to the future.
In conclusion, I shall deal with the position in the Pacific. Our great danger lies in the fact that we claim the rights of complete independence, whilst at the same time -we are a dependent nation - dependent in the sense that of our own strength, we cannot ensure the safety of this country. Consequently, our foreign policy must be directed to taking practical steps to safeguard ourselves against the possibility that some day we may again be attacked. The utmost criticism can be directed at the Minister’s statement on foreign .affairs, not for what it contains in respect of our position in the Pacific, but for what it omits. In regard to the future of certain areas to the north of this country, I can obtain no guidance from the Government. First, there is to the north the DutchPortuguese island of Timor, and to the north-east there is New Caledonia. For a long time past I have sought to emphasize that Australia has certain rights in those areas. I say deliberately that the inability of small powers to protect their colonial interests in the South-West’ Pacific Area is a constant source of danger to Australia. Timor is of vital strategic significance to this country, but Portugal is unable to assist in its defence. Unless these areas are protected by the presence of our own forces, or ‘ our own forces and those of other nations on a conjoint basis, they will continue to be a source of danger to this country. We should assert our rights in those areas, because Australian forces played a predominant part in their protection during the war. We should assert our right to have bases in Timor. I know it will be argued that such action would be an interference with _ the sovereignty- of Portugal, but sovereignty is something which apparently can be disregarded when it is being destroyed or its destruction is threatened by Russia. ] If Russia has a right to occupy defensive positions, or to claim interests, in certain areas, lOW I much greater is our right to defensive bases in Timor and New Caledonia? It ‘would be wise to encourage American interest in the areas to the north of this country. I say that as a deliberate and considered statement. It would be of advantage to Australia if the United States of America were committed for all time to the South-West Pacific, and, speaking personally, I should like to see joint bases’ established at various strategic points throughout the area from
Indonesia to the Solomons, and to the north of the Solomons. .
None of us can foresee the future, but obviously Asia is on the march. There are more than 1,000,000,000 coloured people to the north and north-west of Australia, and we are only a handful of white people. I repeat that I should like to hear from the Government a much clearer enunciation of its Pacific policy. 1. am not satisfied with the -statement that the defence of Timor is the subject of discussion between Portugal and ourselves. In the first place, Portugal is not likely to take upon itself any responsibility for defending that area; but Timor is of vital significance to this country, as is our eastern bastion, New Caledonia. I should like to see a more generous attitude towards the American overtures for bases in these areas. Putting aside -party politics, I would feel much safer if the Americans were established in the islands -to the north of this country than I would if we had to rely entirely upon the United Nations. I should like to know what honorable members have in mind when they speak of the “ regional defence of the Pacific “. Do they have in mind some regional area in which all the nations of the world will be engaged, or do they think in terms of trusteeship? Trusteeship of our territories would be vested in an authority, one-half of the members of which have no interest whatever in the area in which those territories are situated. Regarding its policy in the Pacific the Government has not given any indication to the House. Yet from our standpoint that is the most vital area! I hope that before this debate concludes, the Minister for External Affairs will give to this country some guidance as to what our policy in the Pacific shall be - whether it is to depend entirely upon defence wholly and exclusively within the United Nations, or whether the Government intends to make as close a liaison as possible with the United States of America and attract that great nation as much as we can into the areas of the Pacific* Unless we are able to live with the United States, of America as a constant friend and protector in this area, it would be very un- wise for us to expect to live in peace in. the Pacific in the future. More attention should be devoted in the remainder of this debate to our peculiar position in the Pacific. We must force from the Government some statement of policy , on that matter.
.- The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke) drew attention to the real nature of this debate when he asked us to keep acrimony from it, and treat it on the high level of international affairs. He succeeded, in a brilliant speech, in raising the tone of the debate, and the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), who followed him, maintained the high standard. Despite the invitation, which is a very pressing one, to keep the debate at that level, I believe that we must first consider certain inhibitions which may be imposed upon us by the question of how, or how not, the debate should be conducted. In this chamber at the moment, ‘there is a disposition to avoid an important issue which has been raised in relation to a great ally. Another inhibition that I find is the keenness of the press at the present time to remove from context and misreport any statement made in all sincerity by any honorable member regarding that great power. I refer, of course, to our ally Russia. It would be a very great degradation of this chamber, and a great dereliction of duty on the part of members of this Parliament, if we were intimidated by either of those two features. . Furthermore, it would be serious indeed if, in order to get a mellow debate which flowed evenly like the rippling brook flows to the sea, bearing with it only the flotsam and jetsam of pleasant conversation, we overlooked the importance of our international relations. Before I discuss certain salient and vital points, I desire to make it clear that I owe no allegiance to a foreign star; the Southern Cross is good enough for me. But that fact does not inhibit me from making in this House and to my electorate what I consider to be important points that have been raised by the statement by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). That statement ii only one of twenty made by the Minister, all of them progressive inasmuch as he tells us from time to time what have been the immediate moves, and his reports are clear, accurate, and timely. Consequently,
I cannot understand why the Oppositionhas rushed to the attack, and debated with a certain degree of fury this subject of international affairs. After all, antiLabour governments were in office in Australia for nearly 25 years, but they did not have a foreign policy. It was never in existence. The most eager seeker after truth would not find it. I attempted to do so in my adolescent search for knowledge of this country and other countries, but I found that when antiLabour governments were in office, all the foreign policy, that we had was some sort of lick-spittle attitude to the Secretary of State for the Dominions, or to the British Foreign Minister. It was a sort of applause committee. It could never be called an “ attitude to foreign affairs “ as it is to-day. The most regrettable feature of the Opposition is its complete abdication of its Australianism when any subject has to be discussed relating to our position in the Empire. I can never understand that. Something has been missed in the minds or make-up of honorable members opposite, and I am very ‘sorry for them. Regarding the Opposition’s accusation that the Labour party is anti-British, I may refer later to the professional returned soldiers opposite, and their attitude to Australia. In the meantime, I shall refer specifically to a nasty acrimony in the debate which developed from the Opposition side of the chamber, and a charge that this Government is anti-British. In my opinion, we have spoken far too much around that issue. That charge is merely some sort of political quirk that entered the mind of the brilliant Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) as he was expounding his case. Knowing the value of argument as he does, he realized that his case carried no weight, and he had to call up the necessary reinforcements. Accordingly, he produced this old charge which has lain in the cellar of diseased minds for years, and accused us of being anti-British. I remind him that there is nothing incompatible with being proBritish and at the same time Australian. When the Opposition realizes that, its numbers may increase.
The authority in support of our so-called “anti-British > attitude” is purely a jingoistic rump that infests the
Opposition benches. The authority who supports the viewpoint that we are proBritish as well as good Australians is none other than our Governor-General, the Duke of Gloucester. In the issue of Australian Facts and Figures published by the Department of Information on the 31st December, is an extract from a speech by His Royal Highness. He said, inter alia -
From personal experience I know that in Australia loyalty to the Crown and a spirit of service are second to none anywhere in the Empire.
Would any member of the Opposition now rise in his place and challenge that statement by the Governor-General?
I regret that I have been obliged to waste the time of the House in disposing of that accusation. I come now to the development of our foreign policy as a foreign policy. As the honorable member for Perth mentioned, we pay scant credit to the great men whom Australia produces from time to time. One section rather likes to condemn them and nourish that crusade of inferiority which will eventually destroy them as Australia further progresses to great nationhood. In the Minister for External Affairs, we have a man who has “ crashed through “ in world affairs. Whilst greatly admiring him, the Opposition, for political reasons, has to deride his every action. In the United States of America, he is treated as a hero. The .greatest newspapers in that country have used language of a nature which, I am sure, must have made him blush in his modesty. They agree that he has done excellent work in a vital sphere - the creation of another organization which may preserve world peace. So I was tremendously disturbed to hear the rhetoric of the Leader of the Opposition, who referred to the United Nations as an “ experimental organization”. If he had paused to think for a. moment, he might not have used that unfortunate term, because the experiment that we are making with the United Nations as an instrument to prevent war is a counter-experiment. The fate of the world hinges on the decisions that we make, and any light satire or toss of the head in a rhetorical way is a danger to the course that we are pursuing. As usual, when I want to refer to the Leader of the Opposition,’ he is not present in the chamber, but since we “ back-benchers “ have limited opportunities for talking I must proceed in his absence, although it is like speaking to a ghost. The right honorable gentleman has taken so many roles in his career that he is reminiscent of the protean actor, the quick-change artist of the vaudeville show: A few weeks ago, he told us with some satisfaction that he was known as “ Pig-iron Bob “. Now, as the result of advertisements inserted in the newspapers regarding the future election policy of the Opposition - which consists of “ everything free and no taxation “ - he is known to the populace as “ Old Silver Hair and Heart of Gold “. In this debate we find him, with his very limited numbers, standing in front of the statue of Britannia with his paper sword challenging us to dare to say anything against the Empire. His posturing is so ‘ absurd that I ask myself whether I am in Wonderland. I wonder whether the Opposition will ever realize that time has flown by and that its old-fashioned ideas are now out of place.
– The honorable member will be out of place after the elections.
– There is an old slogan to the effect that threatened men live long. I have in mind an absentee friend, who has consistently referred to the probability of my absence from this place after the next elections, but who, by a curious coincidence, will himself be absent.
I come now to the subject of Indonesia, which was dealt with so trenchantly by the Minister for External Affairs in referring to developments in our near north. I have listened with some consternation to Opposition statements that there are starving men and women in Indonesia from whom the Government is withholding food ships. Those statements illustrate the degree to which the vision of honorable members opposite is distorted. During the economic depression in Australia, the eyes of those honorable members forever sought the Pacific, but they could never see the “ Happy Valleys which avc were forced to live amongst. By some queer method of their own, they could always see the misery overseas but they overlooked the misery on their doorstep. 1 say to them that a survey of our history .proves that the workers have always been sounder judges of good nationhood, patriotism and humanitarianism than have governments in which present members of the Opposition have been predominant figures. From Eureka to Rothbury, the miner has demonstrated that he can take the part of the people in the struggle against tyrannical government. In the day’s of the “ coffin ships “ which traded around the Australian coast, the Sydney Morning Herald said nothing about the weevilly biscuits, rotten meat, bilge water, and generally filthy conditions provided for merchant seamen, because they were provided by capitalist enterprise, and it would have been had commercial policy to expose such things. From the days of those “ coffin ships “ to the days of Port Kembla, the seamen and the men working on the wharfs have been aware of the conscience of the Australian people, and they have been more closely in concert with it than have been the anti-Labour governments in charge of the country. I shall not say that the waterside workers arp entirely wrong about affairs in Indonesia, because the factual material at our disposal is limited. That question can be left for the judgment of posterity, and I am reasonably confident that the judgment will ‘ be on the side of the workers. The man who is close to the heart of Australia, the common worker, knows how the heart of Australia beats, and as a rule he interprets public opinion much more accurately than does the man in the stratosphere of intellectualism and political intrigue. The men on the waterfront may have saved us from some crass action. Nobody is more warm-hearted towards people in distress than the workers. When we appeal for food for Britain, those who rifle the panfry and use coupons to swell the volume of relief are the worker and .his wife; not the men who wave banners and beat drums, although somebody with adecoration on his breast and a fair phrase on his lips invariably collects the credit. On the subject of Indonesia, there is no great need for apologies until the full facts of the case are known and truth can be separated from the welter of party politics.
My final point relates to Russia. Not very long ago, all of us, including members of the Opposition who to-day are so outspoken in their criticism of Russia, cowered over our radio sets to hear what was happening in Stalingrad, waiting for the last Russian soldier to leap into the breach in the fight against Nazi-ism and Fascism. By a queer volte face, we find honorable members opposite now angrily clamouring that Russia’s ideas are imperialistic. If that be true, then from whom did the Russians learn imperialism ? I view the subject from a ‘ different standpoint from that of the Opposition. We are waiting for Russia - a vast country which is now oneof the greatest in the world - to reach a settlement on its foreign policy. Probably the nation is in the throes of making decisions about its future. In the meantime, we have as a safety valve the organization of the United Nations, to which protests may be made and which is empowered to make decisions concerning international relations. A great outcry is being made by people who have decided to contest the Soviet Union, and their efforts might easily force us into a war in clue course. I have no immediate fear of war, but a continuous wearing down of public opinion may eventually rupture pacific relations between great powers. In any case we owe a debt to our allies. We all are aware of the tremendous work that has been done by the United States of America, of the fight put up by the Russian’s and the British, and of our own fine war effort. After this unity of action in the fight against dangerous political ideologies, it is a pity that, there should be an immediate row between the former partners as to who shall get what. The precariousness of the international situation has been cleverly fostered by sensation-mongering newspapers and people who are afraid that the development of world conditions will bring socialism a little nearer to them. We do not want to be deluded by these things, because men of good intention of nil political opinions from all parts of the world are trying to make this matter as objective as possible. Several members of the Opposition have’ said, with their well-known inferiority, that what we say here will make no difference to the affairs of the world. I disagree with that. What we say here, providing that it is honest and decent and Australian, will be heard and noted in other countries’. Australia is not judged overseas by the fact that it has a population- of only 7,000,000 people; it is judged by what the 7,000,000 people have done. It has created its own armies and has sent five expeditionary forces to fight for the cause of the Empire. It has its own literature and art, and it has a galaxy of brilliant men. Norway, with 3,000,000 people, scorns any suggestion that it is a small nation. It has many great achievements to its credit, and one of its citizens is the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The meagre attitude of mind that holds Australia to be secondrate, because of its small population, is contemptible. The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) deserves credit for having nourished Australianism and taken it overseas with him. He has been accused of brusqueness on occasions. I do not know why. He was always sincere and undoubtedly won the admiration of the world. One would expect to find people, naturally those from the opposite side, challenging his political approach, but surely not the stature of his work for this country. Allied to these questions of foreign policy is the disgusting way in which the Minister for the Navy and Munitions (Mr. Makin) was treated by the press in relation to his important job abroad. I am quite satisfied that some one “ went out after him “. It was a flat tyre in factual reporting and obviously fashioned to bring down a man who was doing an excellent job. Honorable members will note that it was not the Australian press which circulated the rumours about the inefficiency or lack of judgment of the Minister for the Navy. In the usual way they do these things they got a “ stooge “ ; first of all the story was cabled to Canada, but Canadians did not give a damn for it; they were not interested in an Australian Chairman of the United Nations except as the leader of the organization. But with great glee the patriotic press, ever ready to lift the star of Australian nationhood to the firmament, announced in 48-point letters that “ Makin is no good “. Is not that a disgrace to Australia rather than a reflection upon its personal representative? I have recently been abroad and can give my own balanced judgment on overseas committees and secretaries, secretariesgeneral and Ministers. I should say that all of us would achieve a stature of considerable importance by comparison with our opposite numbers in Europe and America. I appeal to honorable members not to be gulled by the suggestion that nothing good can come from Australia ; plenty of good’ will come from Australia’s work in the United Nations organization. The Minister for External Affairs has put many bricks into the structure of the United Nations and we, as Australians, must see that the edifice is soundly completed. This completion may mean a new era and will give us many years in which to work for the welfare of humanity and the social improvement of the peoples of the world. Despite its small population, Australia’s leadership is acknowledged throughout, the world. It was only during that awful interregnum when honorable members opposite were in office that we got into the slough of despond ; but we are reaching the fair bank at the top, and it will be a Labour government which generated this love of humanity, this decency of conduct in’ its relations with other countries, which will eventually enable people to live in amity. That is the essence of the Minister’s statement to the House. I welcome the Australianism of it, its ruggedness, and the lucidity with which the right honorable gentleman has explained his case. I admire his courage, and above all I congratulate him on expounding his views on- foreign affairs in this chamber and on giving honorable members an opportunity to discus’s them so that we may know where we are. If it were otherwise this House would merely become a negative chamber where people were intimidated and prevented from expressing their views. If we have something to say to this Parliament and to our electorates we should be encouraged to do so. When the sincerity in the Minister’s statement is so apparent, I cannot see why he should be challenged for having brought Russia into it. Some : people say that it is extraordinary that we should have to talk about Russia. What could be more ordinary in a discussion about the future of the world? A ministerial statement on foreign affairs as they exist to-day which omitted any mention of Russia would be like an egg without salt. The right honorable gentleman knew only too well that mention of Russia would present an opportunity for honorable members opposite to throw brick-bats at him, but that did not deter him: He knew full well that their “ Australianism is a negative quantity and that they will inevitably be treated as they deserve by the Australian people.
This debate has been remarkable inasmuch as it has enabled a great number of speakers to discuss this important and vital subject of foreign affairs. I understand that the debate might have dropped” to the level of the buffalo fly but for some fortuitous circumstance. We should therefore be grateful for this opportunity to maintain the level of debate and even for a brief while discuss fearlessly the important issues with which this legislature was principally established to deal.
.- A discussion of international’ affairs is always welcome, and I believe I speak for most honorable members when I say that I would like to see greater opportunities for discussions of this kind. When, in 1933, I returned from overseas, I asked in this Parliament whether a foreign affairs committee, consisting of members of both Houses of the Parliament, could be set up to consider international affairs so that Australia might be able to evolve a considered policy reflecting the views of the Parliament as a whole. No one will deny that that would bf a reasonable approach to this vexed question. Under our present system, the Government has to take the initiative and complete responsibility for its actions in. the international sphere. However, if such a committee were established it could play a valuable role in shaping Australian foreign affairs policy. I cannot help feeling that- the present foreign affairs policy of the Government is a case of "”Len, it +o Bert”, just as in an aircraft the pilot “Leaves it to George “ when he switches on the automatic pilot. However, the automatic pilot cannot take off or land the aircraft ; it has no guiding hand. And the position “of the Attorney-General is somewhat analogous. In spite of his gifts and his undoubted knowledge of international affairs, I am afraid that the right honorable gentleman will lead Australia to :t spectacular crash if he continues along the lines he has followed in the past. By leaving the conduct of international affairs entirely to one man, whatever his capabilities may be - and every man is liable to err at times - Australia is likely to drift away from a policy best suited to its interests and traditions. The troubles of the war’s aftermath will remain with us for many years, and the Government must formulate its foreign policy in the light of that knowledge. Our geographical isolation leaves us free of many of the difficulties that confront the old world, but our own problems are enormous, and only by facing them with tolerance and patience and bringing to the task the diplomatic skill that i3 so noticeable in consultations overseas will Australia’s name be revered and we be able to play our -part effectively in’ the re-shaping of the world. It is undoubtedly true that Australia’s name stands higher in the world to-day than ever before, not so much because our representatives abroad have distinguished themselves^ but mainly because of the high renown of our troops on the battlefields of the world during the two world wars. No one who was abroad during the war years could but feel ashamed of some of the press reports that came from Australia regarding happenings in this country, and even in this chamber. No one will deny that the great problem facing the world to-day is the looming shadow of Russia, and the fact that that country, has adopted a policy even more imperialistic than that of Peter the Great. Russia has been guilty of one tyranny after another. Undoubtedly, Russia played a great part in the war just concluded, but victory would never have been possible without the help of the other powerful countries composing the United Nations. Now, however, for some extraordinary reason, Russia wishes to expand its borders and to surround itself with subservient pro,vinces and satellite states. When the Minister for External Affairs tells us in his report to the Parliament that, in his considered opinion, Russia’s expansionist aims are justified, who can blame us as good Australians for believing that the right honorable gentleman is lacking in judgment?
Sitting suspended from 1245 to 2.15 p.m.
– Among the many troubles in a troubled world, the menace of Russia rises above all. That country, which was aided so greatly bv Great Britain, and with which we had hoped to live in democratic harmony, has an expansionist, imperialist policy more far-reaching than that of Peter the Great. It has ringed itself with satellite states and puppet governments. Rumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia are mere puppets of this great and powerful nation which to-day is disregarding treaties, including the definite treaty to evacuate its troops from Persia, which was not a mere scrap of paper, to be torn up and ca.-:t aside. It is conducting a war of nerves which is reminiscent of that conducted by Hitler in 1938. Yet, in the document which the Minister for, External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has placed before the House, informative though it is in many ways, there is this comment regarding Russia -
Having no clear evidence to the contrary and having during the last four years come to know some of Russia’s greatest statesmen, I take the view that the Soviet Union’s policy is directed towards self -protection and security against future attack. In my opinion, its desire is- to develop its own economy and to improve the welfare of its peoples.
Of course its desire is to develop its own economy and improve the wel-are of its peoples. That, I take it, is the objective of any government. But for an intelligent Minis er of the Crown, and a gentleman who has been entrusted with Australia’s destiny in international affairs, to say that he has no clear evidence to the contrary and that, having known Russian statesmen, he takes the view ‘that the Soviet Union’s policy is directed towards self-protection and security, is sheer nonsense. Self-protection against whom ? Against Persia ? Dees the right honorable gentleman know anything of that country? Does he consider that the
Persian Army or nation can threaten Russia which is as impregnable to-day as it was in the time of Napoleon, which could not be conquered even by the partial victories that were achieved in the Crimean War, and which in the last war again demonstrated that it could not be conquered? What pretence it is to profess that it fears for the security of its people ! Did it not outrage Poland ? Let it not be forgotten that it was an alliance between Germany and Russia which at the outset of the war caused so much embarrassment and upset the Polish plan of campaign. I put it that it is just as serious to a member of the Polish nation to lie conquered by a Russian as by a German. I have spoken to Poles who were prisoners of the Russians during the last war. Some of them were released, and others escaped from territory which had been captured by the Russians. They despaired of ever getting back to their native land. They fought magnificently in Italy, the Lowlands, and other campaigns. Their airmen composed many squadrons of the Royal Air Force. One of them, a fighter squadron, for some time had the best record of any squadron during the war. Has- Russia played the game? Has it been fair to that gallant nation? General Anders, the general commanding the Polish troops in Italy to-day, says that he considers that Great Britainhas let them down. He has expressed extreme disappointment, and a determination not to return to Poland. This matter concerns the destiny of thousands of soldiers and airmen who have fought in many campaigns. They are not merely armchair critics. The Minister for External Affairs said that the reinstatement of Poland was not carried out to the satisfaction of -the Poles because Britain considered that it had to do something to appease Russia. Is the right honorable gentleman not alive to the situation in Yugoslavia? He claims to have known a number of Soviet statesmen. Some of us who were in Russia immediately after the revolution know what misery the civil war caused te everybody in that country. civil war dons not leave anybody untouched. We know what degradation, cruelty and hunger resulted from th-o Bolshevik revolution in Russia. It- was enough to make any Australian hope that the ideology responsible for such conditions - communism - .would not be embraced in his native .land. The Minister for Transport (Mr. Ward) defends any action of the Communists, but sneers and jeers at Britain’s policy, using fag-ends of quotations in order to mislead. We ought to treat such speeches with silent contempt, and would do so were it not that he is a Minister of the Crown, and consequently his remarks are cabled abroad and it may be considered in other ports of the world that that is Australia’s policy. But it is infinitely worse when a Minister who knows the facts professes that he sees no danger, and that it is Russia’s security which is at stake. Can be name one nation among those which already have been swallowed up or are adjacent to Russia to-day which could threaten that country? Has a voice ever been raised in this Parliament regarding the Latvians, Estonians or Lithuanians? Finand was in the unhappy position of being attacked before Russia was in the war against Germany and found itself on the side of the enemy. In Yugoslavia to-day, Russia’s agent, Tito,, is carrying out a . ruthless policy foi- the extermination -of those who differ from him politically, contrary to the principles of the humanitarian international organization whose objectives the Minister for External Affairs applauds and every human being should applaud. The London Times yesterday published the following: -
Unrra is entirely maintaining 3,000,000 people, and partially maintainng ‘another 2,000,000, and is bringing in food, stores and equipment equalling, if not exceeding what Jugoslavia’ imported before the war. But no word of thanks appears in Jugoslav newspapers, nor is the slightest tribute paid to the countries from which this help chiefly comes.
All gratitude and fair words are reserved for Russia: while ill-disguised sneers are directed at capitalist countries.
Tito and his Ministers often express the desire for good relations with Britain, but in the circumstances these statements must be regarded as mere perfunctory courtesies.
I consider that the Minister’s statement in relation to Russia can be characterized as appeasement, and possibly a display of courtesy towards that country. Are we indifferent to what is happening in Asia? Russia, which embraces a sixth of the world’s surface, is in political darkness.
Will any honorable member say that. Russia is a democracy, and that .it has political freedom ? There is no opposition in that country, because, immediately it manifests itself - it is exterminated. An election is merely a contest between Communist nominees. Anybody who put himself forward as a Liberal, or what in Australia is termed Labour, would be immediately put out of the way. That is what is happening in Yugoslavia, which is a country of soldiers who, in the” 1914-18 war, had a magnificent record of heroism. Some of its soldiers’ fought independently against the Germans in World War II. after Europe had been subjugated by Hitler. Many of those who fought as partisans have been executed because their political beliefs ‘differed from those of Tito. In this large document nothing appears to show that side of the picture. Although Russia should have evacuated Manchuria and handed over that territory to Chinese forces before now, Russian troops have looted Mukden and other great cities;, they have taken away machinery from factories and left only empty shells. Russia has also taken possession of island territories to which it is not entitled. Yet we are expected to remain friendly with the Russian authorities and, indeed, not to offer any criticism of their actions. Ever since Russia entered the war Moscow has- been trying to convince the world that Russia must be on its guard. That is the way of all dictators; Hitler used the same technique. Iri his book Mein Kampf, Hitler showed that he borrowed from the Communists the idea which, later, the Nazi party put into practice, namely; the villification of individuals, attacks on groups, and a war of nerves until war itself broke out. T spent two years as a prisoner of war with a number qf Russians, and I havemany friends among the Russian people. I believe that if the Russians were left alone to work out their political destiny,, they would become a democratic people,, but there is in that country a minority which is in control. And because Russia is under the control of a dictatorship^ that country is ruled with a rod of iron. When I was in Germany in 1938 I talked: with many prominent Nazis. I asked* one of them what was the difference between nazi-ism and communism. He- replied that there was no essential difference; the Nazis believed in a greater Germany . and would do anything to establish a Greater Reich, whereas the Russian people had an international outlook. He repeated that the policies of the two countries were, nevertheless, essentially the same. That is true. There is no free entry of news into Russia, no freedom of speech and action such as we know in Australia. The four freedoms of the Atlantic Charter are not known in Russia. The people there are not given news of Great Britain and the rest of the outside world which is not tainted with the views of the coterie which is in control. The common people have no access to the information which is available to the common people of democratic countries. What has happened in Russia is that there has merely been a change from the tyranny of the Czarist regime to the tyranny of control by the proletariat leaders. The following excerpt from a report by an unbiassed observer, who visited Russia with a prominent American mission sums lip better than I could do the situation inside Russia to-day : -
Suppose you had been born and spent all your life in a moderately well run penitentiary Which kept you working hard and provided a bunk to sleep in. three daily meals, and enough clothes to keep you warm. Suppose the walls were covered with posters explaining that freedom and justice could only be found within its bars, that outside was only disorder, strikes, uncertainty, unemployment and exploitation of the workers, while this place was being run only for your benefit. Suppose it was explained that the warden and the guards were there largely to protect von from the malevolent outside world.
The Minister subscribes to that statement. Bte says, in effect, “ What is going on in Russia to-day is only in the interests of Russian security “. The quotation continues - heedless to say, you would fight like a tiger if any one attempted to release you or menaced you. There is, however, one marked difference’ between inmates of the Soviet Union mid of the Kansas State Penitentiary at Lansing. where I have often visited an old friend. Food and clothing in both places are about the same, maybe- a little better in Lansing. But should my Kansas friend decide that his penitentiary is not well run, and express the hope that there might bc a change of wardens, he would run no danger of being shot were he overheard. I concede, however, that in Russia a talented inmate, might work himself up to be a warden, which would be impossible in Lansing..
Honorable members will find a similar story in other literature about Russia, notably in Eve Curie’s A Journey Among Warriors, which is an impartial account of conditions in Russia. We may object to the cast-iron regimentation of the people of Russia, but that is their own business. I have never advocated, and I never will advocate, that we should interfere with the domestic affairs of any country, but when Russia- encroaches on the liberty of other nations, especially small nations, we in Australia, as part of. the British Empire, which stands and has stood for right and justice to all, should raise our voices in protest, and not resort to appeasement, as the Minister for External Affairs has done in the document presented to us. Russia to-day is more or less a police State. Some of the countries borderingon Russia have modified forms of democracy. Persia is not what we would call an up to date country, but it possesses great wealth in its oil supplies. Turkey will fight- if challenged,, yet Ave in Australia remain indifferent. We are indifferent also to the hideous atrocities that have been perpetrated in Bulgaria. Large numbers of Bulgarians have been: exterminated for not accepting the Communist ideology. What is going on to-day in Yugoslavia is what prevailed in Russia in the early days of the Russian Revolution. We must be realists, which means that we must be awake to what is goingon in the world. Some of us - and I was among them - pointed to the clanger of a second war -with Germany. I always believed that Germany would rise again. Honorable members are prone to confront, their opponents with their previous utterances. I challenge any one to prove that. I ever expressed any other view regardingGermany and Italy. Yet those of us whodared to criticize Hitler and Germany’spreparations for war were branded as”sabre rattlers” and “ war-mongers “- To-day, there is in existence an organization which is merely a new type of Leagueof Nations. I question whether it is anybetter than the old League. The United’ Nations is supposed to have sufficientforce to deal with any nation which causes trouble in the future. We were told that the weakness of the old!
League of Nations was that it had no strength to enforce its decision. “When I was a Minister in a former government, I introduced legislation to impose sanctions against Italy when Abyssinia was’ attacked. That action was taken in accordance with pr’ocedure auhorized by the League of Nations, but it proved futile because it was not complete. The sanctions should have covered requirements of all kinds, including oil. I said so at the time. The League of Nations proved to be a broken reed. Recently a new world organization, known as’ the United Nations, was set up with much pomp and ceremony. That organization, instead of coming down heavily on Russia for its actions in Persia, agreed that the dispute should be settled between Russia and Persia. To-day, Persia has a new government which is more in line with Russian thought. Russian troops have pushed farther into Persia, instead of withdrawing from that country as the Russian Government had undertaken to do. Russia’s action has caused resentment among the Kurds, who are warlike and turbulent, and will fight. There is a possibility of conflict on the borders of Persia. Should trouble occur there, Russia will step in to settle it as Germany did in Europe. Russia wants access to the Mediterranean Sea, and has put strong pressure on Turkey to grant it freedom of movement through the Dardanelles. Russia has. gone so far as to ask for a naval base in the Dodecanese Islands, and control of portions of Northern Africa which, as Mr. Ernest Bevin put it recently, “ cuts across the throat of the British Empire “. One would have thought that in this Australian Parliament, which owes much to the mother of Parliaments and to the -people of Britain, the Prime Minister, or at least the Minister for External Affairs, would have endorsed the sentiments expressed by Mr. Bevin. That no such word has been uttered on behalf of the Commonwealth Government shows the difference between the Australian Labour party and the Labour party of Great Britain. The position was put to me frankly .by a British Labour man recently when he said,’ “ In Australia there is no Labour party “.
– How did he know?
– He had been out here. He had met many of the Trades Hall officials here. He said - and in this many members of the Labour party will probably agree with him - that in Australia there was not a Labour party somuch as a trades union party, the members of which had vested interests in the Trades Hall. In Great Britain, there is a different kind of Labour party. In that party there are men who support Labour from conviction, and from choice, having formed their opinion as the result of study. They have not all graduated from the same school, as have most of the members of the Labour movement here. It comes to this :If the Labour Government in Great Britain can adopt a foreign policy in accordance with British traditions, there should be no objection to a Labour government in Australia offering its support. Labour supporters cannot say that the present foreign policy of Britain is dictated by conservatives. In this matter there is no reason why they should not follow Mr. Bevin. I now quote the statement of a man whose words, during the war, were accepted by every one in the Allied Nations as a rallying cry. I refer to Mr. Churchill, who recently spoke as follows : -
An iron curtain had fallen on Europe from the -Baltic to the Adriatic, b,hind which a dozen countries were under Russian influent, and democracy had not a chance to raise its head.
Can any one deny that? He goes on -
We cannot bc blind to the fact .that liberties enjoyed by individual citizens of the British Empire arc not valid in a considerable number of countries, some of which are very powerful.
In. those countries control is enforced by various kinds of police governments, contrary to every democratic principle.
Power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and political police.
He said that it was not our business to butt into matters affecting their form of Government, but our in–tinct for selfpreservation demanded that we should recognize the danger which threatened our own liberty. He said that there was a fifth column in every country working for the expansion of the Communist ideal.
– There are fifth columnists working for the overthrow of democracy.
– I am surprised that the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) does not denounce the activities of Communists in Australia. To do so, would be more in keeping with his line of thought in other directions. Instead of doing so, he and other members of the Government facilitated the visit of Mr. Thornton to Russia, and the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin) gave authority for two Communist ‘youths to attend a youth congress in Europe. It would have been more to the point if two Air Force lads, thousands of whom were then in England, had been allowed to represent Australia. That was not done, but these two Communist youths were allowed to go to what was virtually an all-Russian conference, because it was attended by. 50 Russian delegates, who greatly outnumbered the others. The Labour party should break this association with Communist organizations. ‘
It seems to me that _ the Minister for External Affairs has run away from the . danger. For the last five or six years, Mr. Chamberlain has been villified because he did not stand up to Hitler. He, as a peaceful man, hoped that peace would prevail. He preferred to believe that Hitler’s word might be worth something. In any case, he gained time for Britain to arm, so that it could stand alone when there was no one else to fight the Germans, and so that it might become the spearhead of the attack which eventually broke the Axis powers. Now we have a repetition by Russia of the very ‘tactics employed by Hitler, but no one on. the Government side has a word to say in condemnation. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) spoke about being 100 per cent. Australian. It is possible to be 100 per cent. Australian without developing an inferiority complex, and continually boasting about being different from the older countries from which we have sprung. The British ‘ will place their own valuation upon us. If our statesmen who visit Great Britain cnn measure up to the standard of Alfred Deakin. Andrew Fisher, and William. Morris Hughes, we need have no fear of our reputation overseas.
I quote another extract from the paper read by the Minister for External Affairs -
It will not be forgotten that in the Munich era of appeasement of Hitler and his Axis associates, there was the greatest, inclination on the part of some Eastern democracies to isolate the Soviet Union and to hail Hitler as the saviour of civilization against the so-called Bolshevik hordes. It is important to note that some of those who, between 1933 and 1939, first endured, then pitied, and, finally, embraced Hitler and most of his works, are now to be found amongst those who are prepared to join forces at once against the Soviet Union without any important investigation as to whether its expansionist policy is aggressive or defensive in intent.
I commend that paragraph to- honorable members opposite for their study. When the Minister was pressed he said that he was referring to Great Britain and France. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. The statesmen of Great Britain knew the position. Mr. Chamberlain tried to ward off what he knew would be a world calamity. He did not run away from any one, and it was he who eventually declared war on Germany when that country broke faith with Poland. Yet, in the whole of the Minister’s statement, there is not a word of approval for what Great Britain has done, nor one of sympathy with Great Britain in the difficulties now confronting that country. We know that Russia is pressing out to the west, south and east; that it is trying to Sovietize the Balkans, so as to gain access to the Mediterranean. Great Britain, whose soldiers cleared the Germans out of Greece, was asked to- keep forces there until elections were held, and the people could say what sort of government they wanted. As a reward for this, Great Britain was attacked by Russia before the United Nations. Is there anything in the .Minister’s statement sympathizing with Great Britain for the loss of British lives in the performance of this duty? Not a word. Neither is there any praise foi’ the stand taken by Great Britain in Java where, at the request of the Allies, British troops are restoring order. British lives havebeen lost on this work, which is one of peace, not of conquest. No support, however, has been forthcoming for the British Government from the authorities in Australia.
When Russia was most gravely threatened during the war, Britain sprang to its help. The British equipped ten divisions of Russian troops with armour and supplied enough cloth to Russia for uniforms and overcoats to stretch from theWhite Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. British convoys carried food and arms and oil to Russia at great hazard from the enemy. Great Britain made a twenty- year peace pact with Russia, and I happened to be in the House of Commons when the proposal was brought down, and I heard how it was received with acclamation. It was hoped that, when the war was over, we would live in peace and concord with the Russians. Yet it is Russia that is now taking the offensive by breaking all the treaties, and abandoning the high aspirations that were encouraged at that time. I should like to refer to a poem by A. P. Herbert, the noted humorist and author, who, as honorable members know, is a member of the House of Commons. With the permission of the House I shall incorporate the poem in Hansard. It reads -
Let’s have less nonsense from the friends of Joe;
We laud, we love him, but the nonsense - No.
In 1940, when we bore the brunt,
We could have done, boys, with a second front,
A continent went down a cataract, But Russia did not think it right to act.
Not ready?No. And who shall call her wrong?
Far better not to strike till you are strong. Better, perhaps (tho’this was not our fate), To make new treaties with, the man you hate.
Alas! These shy manoeuvres had to end When Hitler leaped upon his largest friend; (And if he’d not, I wonder, . by the way, if Russia would be in the war to-day?)
But Who rushed out to aid the giant then -
A giant rich in corn, and oil, and men,
Long, long prepared, and having, so they say,
The most enlightened leader of the day?
This tiny island, antiquated, tired,
Effete, capitalist, and uninspired!
This tiny island, wounded in the war
Through taking tyrants on two years before.
This tiny isle of muddles and mistakes -
Having a front on every wave that breaks.
We might have said, “ Our shipping’s on the stretch -
You shall have all the tanks that you can fetch “.
But that is not the way We fight this war;
We give them tanks, and take them to the door.
And now, we Will Not hear from any one
That it is not for us to hate the Hun.
It does not profit much to sing this tune..
But those who prod, cannot be quite immune,
And those who itch to conquer and to kill
Should waste less breath on tubs on Tower Hill.
Honour the Kremlin, boys, but now and then
Admit some signs of grace at Number Ten.
We must do everything to-day to establish the greatest possible degree of Empire unity.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- This debate is one of the most important that has taken place in this House for a considerable time. Together with other honorable members on this side of the chamber I welcome this opportunity to discuss the Government’s foreign policy and also to give my own views with respect to the conduct of foreign affairs in the future. On the whole,this debate has been maintained on a high plane. I endorse the views of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Burke) and the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) who deprecated the introduction of party politics into it. Foreign policy does not concern parties; it is a national matter. We are developing, and I hope we shall develop fairly rapidly, a livelier outlook on international affairs. This is exemplified in the setting up of the United Nations. However, the introduction of strong national feelingsin the international sphere will prove just as detrimental as the introduction of party political feelings in a debate on foreign policy. I remind the House of British foreign policy during the last 100 years. Throughout that long period, British foreign policy has been one of great consistency despite successive changes of governments from Tory to Whig, from Conservative to Liberal and from Conservative to Labour. Despite those changes, one finds one straight line in foreign policy being followed. British foreign policy during that period is delineated in two parallel lines. The first is the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe. To-day, that balance of power has gone. It has been upset as the result of the war and the rise of Russia to overwhelming’ strength. Today, forgetting the United Nations for the moment, it is a question of the world balance of power, that is, if such a balance of power, unfortunately, should prove to be necessary. The other line of British policy during the last 150 years has been the maintenance of the- British Empire, which means the maintenance of communications and bases overseas in order to ensure those communications. To-day, that particular aspect of British policy is being assailed on every side; and the question one asks oneself is where he himself stands in regard to that matter. One thing among several others in the speech of the Minister for. External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) which disappointed me was his failure to pay any attention at all to Empire policy. I use the word “ Empire “, although I know that some honorable members opposite prefer to say the British “Commonwealth of Nations “. However, I believe that the two phrases are substantially the
– There is a difference.
– I shall’ leave it to the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) to explain the difference. The Minister for External Affairs said nothing about the- British Empire. But it is necessary that we should support the Empire to the utmost of our resources. I should like to give what I, myself, believe should be the fundamental basis of our foreign policy. Our security rests upon four pillars-; first, as evidenced by the Minis- ter’s statement, adherence to the United Nations; secondly, the maintenance and strengthening of the British Empire: thirdly, the maintenance of the closest relationship with the United States of America ; and, fourthly, the cultivation of friendly relations with all Pacific powers and other powers with which we come into -contact. I propose to deal briefly with each of those aspects. I endorse fully the remarks made by the Minister for External Affairs in his references to the “United Nations. The hopes -of mankind are directed towards making the United Nations succeed. At the same time, the United Nations is still an institution which is entirely untried. It differs from the League of Nations only in the fact that the League of Nations failed to include within its organization from its beginning the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America. That failure was largely the cause of the league’s collapse. The success of the United Nations will depend, as the League of Nations should have depended, upon the wholehearted co-operation of the three major nations, the United States of America, Great Britain and Russia. So long as those three nations work together the United Nations will succeed, but if they do not work together in spirit as well as in action the United Nations will fail just as the League of Nations failed. T am compelled also to point out that in this modern world,, whereas big nations have become stronger, small nations, among which ‘ I include Australia, have become weaker. Centuries ago small nations, by combining, were able to resist a big nation. To-day, that is impossible. Militarily, -any one of the three big nations could overwhelm any combination of small nations ; and in such a conflict the small nations would have no hope of success. Therefore, our hopes rest entirely on the three big nations, Britain, Russia and the United States of America continuing to work together in the United Nations.
To-day, the British Empire is being assailed at all strategic points - in the Middle East, Egypt, Palestine, and even in India and Malaya, as well as elsewhere. These events are not unconnected; they are more or less directed by one mind which is attempting to strike at the whole foundation of the British Empire. . Thic development is not due to the national ambitions of the peoples concerned. All of us appreciate the legitimate aspirations of any nation ; but these disturbances, as events’ in Egypt have proved, have been the work of Communist agents wlm. [ believe, are responsible very largely for recent riots in India. Attacks have also been made on the whole concept of the British Empire, not only abroad, hut also in’ Australia, and it. seems that some people do noi understand its essential purpose. The alternative to the Empire is tyranny . or anarchy. Were British control of some areas dispensed with, either tyranny, or anarchy would undoubtedly arise and we should have the supposedly freed countries vying with, indeed fighting each other for increased power. Great Britain has promised that it will grant India self-government as soon as constitutional agreement has been reached between the religious and political factions there. I do not know the prospects in that respect, .but if Great Britain surrendered control of India without such an agreement, having been reached, anarchy would follow as night follows day. We. all should know that the President of the Moslem League, Dr. Jinnah, has threatened “ tragedy unprecedented in Indian history “ if Great Britain yields to the Hindus and fails the Moslems. I well remember, too, the talk I had many years ago in London with the then High Commissioner for India in London, a Moslem, who I knew well, who told me that, the Moslems regard the Hindu as an inferior, weak race. He likened the Moslems to hawks, and the Hindus to sparrows upon which the Moslem hawks, would swoop once British control ended. “ We shall then,” he said, “ again have control, as in the past “. That is the out-look for India once British control ends.
I cannot imagine a true Australian that does not desire the closest co-operation with the United States of America. In my years on the Rhine’ and in Paris during and after World War I., American Army officers and American officials who understood Europe and the rest of the world said to me, “ If only America and Britain could come together we could ensureworld law and order regardless of any other power “. That grand concept I am afraid is difficult to realize even now, because America, through ignorance, is suspicious of the British Empire. American economic ideas do not fit in with ours. Hence I fear that, great as the ideal is, really close co-operation between the two great English-speaking races will be hard to achieve. Others may not agree with me, but, in that connexion, I regard the recent speech in America of Mr. Winston Churchill as wise and timely, not only as regards his advocacy of the closest co-operation between the two races, but also as regards Russia. What he said was fact, lt had fo 1m- stated sooner or later, because in foreign, as well as domestic affairs, the sooner the truth is spoken the better.
In the Pacific we are more or less closely associated with four Powers, the United States of America, Canada, the Soviet Union, which will undoubtedly play a great part- in the Pacific henceforth, and the Netherlands East Indies, which means the Dutch, and the Portuguese. I agree with the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) as to the need to come to an agreement with the Portuguese about Timor. That agreement can be reached if we preserve the closest co-operation with Portugal. The seizure of Timor is not even thought of. Our strategical considerations there- can be assured by an agreement of the kind reached between Portugal and Great Britain under which Portugal granted Britain a base, in the Azores during the war just ended.
– The honorable member has overlooked the United States of America, Canada, France and New Zealand, as Pacific powers with which we have an intimate connexion.
– The United States of America and Canada I have already spoken about.
– But what about New Caledonia and New Zealand?
– For the purpose of my immediate argument I do not need or want to include those countries. Russia is the enigma. No. one has a greater admiration for the Russians than I. No one admires more than I do their courage and perse’verance against the German invaders. In speaking about Russia and the Russians, I have an advantage over most honorable members, because I have lived in Russia.
– To which party did the honorable member belong?
– My own party. I spent some time in Russia, and got to know the Russians and to admire them. I also admire their realism. No country is more realistic in its outlook towards world affairs. The Minister for External Affairs said that the present-day Russian policy was directed towards selfprotection and the defence of its own frontiers. As far as that goes I agree with the right honorable gentleman. T agree also that Russia has not the slightest desire to go to war. No country amongst the Allies sutler ed more heavily than did Russia. It lost millions of men.
– Seven million.
– Yes, and .it suffered enormous loss of material wealth ‘by enemy action. What Russia wants is a long period of peace, but, above all, it wants security. Its people have seen their country overrun and ravished by the* Germans and their accomplices. Yes, Russia wants security; but what may be security for Russia may be insecurity for other countries. In order to illustrate my point, I cite the fact that Russia has been demanding the freedom of the Dardanelles, a fortress in the Dodecanese Islands and control over Tripoli. That would assist the Russians in their search for security; but it would also mean that the Russian people would have their hands on the windpipe of the British Empire. Is that the position that the Minister for External Affairs and the rest of the Labour party would like to see? Russia is extremely difficult to understand. It is a country that one cannot understand unless one realizes that for six centuries it has been completely out of touch with Western thoughts and ideals. It is essentially oriental. It cannot follow our thoughts. It has a subtle mind, not the direct mind of the Anglo-Saxon. It cannot relate its own mode of life to that of other nations. Czarist Russia was for many years nationalist in outlook, and to-day the Communist nationalism of Russia is exactly the same as the Czarist nationalism. Its object is to strengthen and extend Russia. Since the beginning of last century, Russia has desired friendship with Germany. The Bismarckian policy of friendship with Russia was supported by many Russians’, and by Russian governments, and but for certain curious twists of history, there would have been an alliance between those two countries many years ago. Just before the la.ct war started the bombshell of the Russo-German pact was exploded upon the Western democracies. The majority of people in the allied countries believed that Russia signed that pact to gain time to prepare to fight Germany. That theory has since been proved completely wrong.- An interesting document pro duced at the Nuremburg trials is the diary of the German war-time naval leader, Grand Admiral Raeder. That diary reveals that prior to Russia’s entry into the war, that country was doing everything in its power to make the 1939 pact with Germany work, and that. Russia’s anger with Germany was caused primarily because Germany broke that pact. Other facts brought to light in the diary include the following: -
The diary also refers to action taken bv Russian authorities on one occasion to detain British ships at the Arctic port of Murmansk until German craft were free to leave. The Times of the 11th December,” 1945, published the following statement taken from (he diary: -
During the autumn of 193!) Russia was press- ‘ ing for the delivery of German war materials, and the opinion of Raeder’s Chief of Staff was that Russian economic help was decisive, and given so generously that the success of the British block seemed impossible.
All that is not anti-Russian propaganda. It is a statement of facts. It proves that Russia at that time -was not on the side of the Allies but on the side of Germany, and had no intention of breaking its pact with that country. In fact Russia was intensely upset when the agreement was abrogated by the invasion of that country in 1941.
– What somebody said to Raeder and what Raeder entered in his diary does not seem to be reliable evidence.
Mr-. RYAN. - The diary is vouched for by Raeder himself.
To-day, Russia’s realistic outlook upon world affairs- is known, or should be known, by every one. The co-operation of Russia with the Allied Nations, either through the United Nations or in other ways, will depend entirely upon what Russia considers to be expedient; Russia regards the United Nations favorably for the time being, and no doubt hopes that at some future date it will be a strong body capable of preserving peace throughout the world; but Russia’s aim now, when the Anglo-Saxon peoples are tired of war and seek the return home of- their troops, is to make its own safety. more secure. Events in central and western Europe to-day are also most unsatisfactory and are causing much anxiety: The countries .that have been completely taken over by Russia are numerous, and are well known to all honorable members. In- addition there are a number of satellite countries whose governments are under Russian control, and whose people have no opportunity to express their own views. They include Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, portions of Austria, and eastern Germany, where Russian influence is supreme and where communism is already being introduced. In- the countries farther west, too, the situation ‘is balanced delicately. Events in France are uncertain. Should that country embrace communism, and there, is a distinct possibility that that may happen at the next elections, Russian influence will extend right through central Europe to within twenty miles of Great Britain, as well as far into eastern Asia, including India and Indonesia. Although one cannot speak with absolute certainty, there is a distinct possibility that before many years have passed, Russian influence will be supreme, not only in Europe, ‘but also in Asia. That is a possibility that we - cannot regard with any degree of equanimity. I bring these facts to the notice of the House because it is no use us attempting to formulate a foreign policy on ideas that are not true or sound. All we can do is endeavour to ascertain the facts of the world situation, determine the dangers that lie ahead of us. and decide what we shall do to meet them. Possibly, the United Nations will be successful - again I am supposing that Russia will co-operate. There can- be noquestion about the- real sincerity about theUnited States of America . and Great Britain in ‘their endeavours to make the United Nations a success! If Russia doesnot co-operate it will not be a success, and the only possible alternative will be a balancing of world powerThat will mean the Anglo-Saxons against possibly Europe and parts of Asia. Australia has a small population, and isgeographically remote from the othergreat nations, and; the whole of our future appears to< depend upon the way in which we mould our foreign policy to-day. If we make a mistake-, we areliable to suffer very grave consequences.. Therefore, I hope that the Government will assess at their true value the eventswhich are now taking place in the worldStatements by Ministers reflect too much wishful thinking. The Government expresses the hope that “ something or otherwill succeed “, but leaves out of consideration almost completely the real’ events and trends of national policies.. The Government should take these warnings to heart and realize, as we all’ realize, that so far as the British Empire is concerned, words are not allimportant. They must be supported by action, both economic and in the defensive sphere. The Government should’ review its policy, and recast it on thebasis of. hard, solid facts.
– The Minister for External Affairs (Dr_ Evatt) has given to the House a narrative of the events that culminated in this interesting experiment, the United Nations, to give peace to a disordered world. In effect, this organization is arevival of the original League of. Nations,, but it will fail, as the League of Nations failed, unless the United Nation’s at itsinception is given teeth in the form of an international military police ‘ force. If any great power within that organization can impose a veto upon the activity of the international police force, the organization is doomed to fail. The mortal’ blows dealt to the League of Nations were struck when action was not taken tocombat Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and. later, Italian aggression in»
Abyssinia. Of course, sanctions were imposed against Italy, but they were not effective. They should have been followed by military action if the league was to survive. After those two events, the possibility of the League of Nations performing any useful work to prevent war disappeared. Therefore, I believe that the failure of the United Nations to deal with the Persian position may easily deal a mortal blow at this young organization. If one of the members of the United Nations is able to “get away” with an encroachment on the territory of another member and deprive it of some of its national rights without definite action being taken against it, this organization will soon collapse.
In studying the present world position, and especially the three great nations that now dominate the world, and the United Nations, I was interested to note that each of them is the result of a wonderful political experiment from which we may learn some interesting lessons in world organization. Those great nations are, of course, Great Britain, the United States of America and Russia. The ultimate goal of the foreign policy of Britain and the United States of America, which after all stems from British origin, has been evident for many years. That goal is world peace without the abandonment of national freedom. They believe in the conservative way of change by modification and adjustment, rather than by revolution, and the material welfare of all without the moral degradation of the individual. Russia’s greatest contribution to civilization will be found, not in the doctrine of communism which is only a passing phase in the Soviet Union, but in the manner in which it hasbeen able to deal with the problem of nationalities. Therefore, what it is doing at present has for us great interest. But this policy is not so evident and clear as is the policy of world peace advocated -by Great Britain and the United States of America. It is not now clear whether Russian policy is to create a world-policed democracy, such as complete socialism is, or to evolve gradually into some other form which would be closer to the view-point of the Western democracies. There are indications that the policy of Russia is changing rapidly and substantially. The policies of Great Britain and the United States of America and Russia are really contradictory and must ultimately conflict if unchanged.
Of the three nations, Great Britain is the richest in history and experience of dealing with world problems. It has gone far to solve the thorniest prob- . lems involved in the attempt to combine unity of empire with diversity of geography and resources, and of peoples. The fact that it has been able to do so is no mean asset, as the world’s chances ofpeace depend upon this very thing. One of the two great objectives of the British Empire, as the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) rightly pointed out, is to maintain the Empire. I like the term “ British Empire “ much better than “ British Commonwealth of Nations “, because it has stood much longer. It is worthwhile remembering thatthe longer the Empire lasts, the less imperial it becomes. The logic of the British Empire is perpetual change and diversification by compromise and adjust- . ment.It has taught the whole world how that can be achieved. Its goal is a co-operative association of states without even a common legislature. But although there is no common legislature, we are able to evolve a common policy. The task of the British Empire is to maintain conditions of peace and free movement that will permit the Empireto continue its long evolution. The second objective of the British Empire is a world of peaceful trading, based on regional specialization and a stable international currency. It is important to note that this objective is shared equally with the United States of America. Article VII. of the master agreement on lendlease in 1942 provided expressly for agreed action- . . directed to the expansion, by appropriate international and domestic measures, of production, employment, and the exchange and consumption of goods, which are the material foundations of the liberty and welfare of all peoples; to the elimination of all forms of discriminatory treatment in international commerce, and to the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers. . . .
Therefore, that particular objective of the British Empire is identical with that of the United States of America. The interesting experiment which has taken place in theUnited States of America is as striking as that which has taken place in the history of the British Empire. The United States has been able to take the individual citizens of all the warring nations of Europe, and mould them in the crucible of its national life into common citizenship and nationality.
The third great nation has not yet frankly stated its aims. We can only judge its motives by its actions. Ever since the foundation of the Soviet regime, it has steadily brought into one political ambit a number of separate nationalities or states which had at one time or another a separate political existence. At the outbreak of the last war it had brought into being a republic of sixteen states, some of which had been independent nations and others of which had long been associated with Russia. Now it apparently desires to absorb into this federation, or at any rate to take control of the economic order of, a number of satellite States on its borders. Our policy must be based on the national safety of Australia, and therefore we must ask ourselves this question - “What will be the effect of the absorption of other States by Russia? “ It may mean the complete adoption of communism by those States, which cover a huge area of the world’s surface and represent a large proportion of the world’s population. However, there is an alternative to the socialization of those countries which is not often considered. It isthat the effect on Russia of the absorption of other States may ultimately be a compromise between the capitalism of the western nations and the total socialism of the Russian State. It is afact that there was in existence in the Russian social fabric for many years, even during the Czarist regime, a system of co-operative action amongst the peasants, particularly regarding domestic manufactures, which enabled them to compete on better than equal terms with big industrial cities. This co-operative system was still in operation at the time when Czechoslovakia was drawn into Germany’s orbit. It will be interesting, in view of this fact, to see whether the absorption of neighbouring States by Russia will lead to the development of this form of voluntary co-operative action, which provides the advantages of individual freedom together with many of the advantages of State socialism. Much progress has been made in Russia within the last twenty years, particularly during the ten years immediately preceding the outbreak of the last war. We have seen the original scheme of the new Russian state changed from the system of payment according to the needs of the individual to the system of payment according to work performed. Before we do anything to prevent or permit the absorption of other countries by Russia we must examine Russia’s motives. Is Russia’s purpose to establish a protective cordon around its borders, or is it to establish a springboard as a jumping-off place for an attempt at world domination similar to the attempts which were made by Germany? I should like to hear that question answered definitely by the Minister for External Affairs, who has been in frequent contact with men of all nations. Those are possibilities. What we have to face are facts. If we look at the facts of history, we must realize that peace in Europe will depend in the future, as it has done in the past, on the moral leadership of Great Britain, which can retain its position of leadership only if it is backed by a strong Empire., At the same time, peace in the Pacific depends, in the last analysis, upon the moral leadership of the United States of. America. Therefore, Australia should do everything possible toarrange the most intimate contacts with America so that it may be able to influence American policy in the Pacific.
We must examine the activities of the Minister for External Affairs from the point of view of Empire solidarity. Have his actions increased the Empire’s capacity tospeak authoritatively in world councils with a unanimous voice, and have they improved Australia’s prospects of intimacy with the United States of America? The greatest interests of Australia, and the Empire as a whole, lie in world peace, and therefore the importance of the members of the Empire speaking with one voice cannot be over-estimated. In examining the initial causes and the final results of the two great world wars, we are led to the conclusion’ that the actual precipitation of the conflict -in each case was largely due to the growth of a delusion that the British Empire was tending to disintegrate and therefore would not fight as one unit. A contributing factor was the fact that Great Britain had allowed the world to underestimate its strength and determination. The Statute of Westminster has, to some degree, tended to foster that delusion, particularly amongst Latin peoples such as the French. They take the Statute of Westminster at its face value, and they think that the countries of the British Empire act as entirely independent nations. They do not realize that the Empire governments are in continuous consultation, and that the United Kingdom Government particularly maintains close contact with the Empire governments. Each government has a thorough knowledge of the opinions of the others. The spirit of unity regarding policies and actions is. greater than can be achieved by the closest alliance of foreign nations. The result of this delusion regarding the impending disintegration of the British Empire has been to plunge the world into war twice within a life-time. What happened in each war? Within a few hours of the commencement of hostilities, every Government in the Empire ranged itself alongside the British Government and stood there to the finish. It is true that different parts of the Empire are independent nations, but they are just as certain to stand together in a crisis as is the. Ukraine Republic to fight with the Soviet Union if Russia should go to war. Our policy therefore should be to emphasize to the world at large the unity of the British Empire in relation to world affairs. Great Britain has always- been ready to give to Australia and the other dominions full information regarding its foreign policy. Britain is also willing for us to take our full share in formulating Empire foreign policy, subject to the condition that we must also bear a fair share of the responsibility for implementing that policy. Before the war which recently ended, Great Britain was expending on defence five times as much per head of the population as was Australia; it was spending propor tionately ten times as much as New Zealand and 20 times as much as Canada. Despite this tremendous disproportion of defence expenditure, the dominions were given full access to Britain’s plans. I am aware of this from personal experience since 1923, and I have no doubt that the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) can state that this has always been the case in his experience, which has been longer than mine. Early consultation is necessary to ensure that the. trend of dominion policy is not so rigidly fixed that it cannot be altered. Many of the difficulties that have confronted us in the past could, I believe, be overcome by a continuous inter-change of officials between the United Kingdom and the Dominions. Mr. Anthony Eden, in a recent press article, pointed out that consultation between Great Britain and Australia at the official level had increased immeasurably during the war years. When I was in England, I found that, as a member of the War Cabinet, I was in practically the same position as a British Minister of the Crown ; if anything was withheld from the members of the War Cabinet it was so secret from an operational point of view that it was withheld from all except those occupying the very highest posts. Not only should we arrange for a greater interchange of officers with the Foreign Office, but there should also be a continuous interchange of officers between the various dominions, particularly of officers dealing with trade and commerce. If that were done we should then be able to come to’ a decision on economic problems knowing in advance the effect of that decision in the matters of policy on otherparts of the Empire. To some degree my suggestion has already been adopted, but the system of interchange of officers is capable of wide expansion.
The next step should be to carry the system of intimate official association into the administration of other democracies with similar ideals and whose language has practically the same meaning, such as the United States of America, and the ‘ Scandinavian countries. Complete and intimate understanding of policies and ambitions would make it easier to proceed to the next stage of convincing the remaining countries of our peaceful intentions and make possible similar administrative interchange and association. By these means we could secure the best possible relationship with Russia, which as the honorable member for Flinders (Mi-. Ryan) has pointed out, has an ideology vastly different from our own, and to which the interpretation of the exact meaning of many of our words causes frequent difficulty. That is true also to some degree of -the Western democracies, and undoubtedly contributes to misunderstandings and charges of bad faith. In the case of Russia this is quite understandable, because that country has for many hundreds of years been isolated from active association with the policies and ambitions of Western Europe. The historic mission of the British Empire is to carry the tradition of liberty and tolerance, and the rule of law and change without violence, into the world system. Maybe such a system would coalesce, not through’ the deliberate framing of a federated world structure or pa.per constitution or agreement, but through the gradual admission of citizens of constituent nations to the administrative services of other nations. I believe that in the fulfilment of the Empire mission, we should take every step to bring about greater understanding of the ideals and mentality of the peoples of all countries, particularly of China, India and other countries whose policies and aspirations we have not always understood. As an active members of the British Empire, Australia’s greatest possible contribution towards world peace would be to develop our resources as quickly as possible in order that we may be in a position to exert our influence in the direction of Empire policy. During the last few months, there has been throughout the world a continuous flood of speeches derogatory of the ideals and aims of the British Empire. Only recently Professor Lasky, head of the. British Labour party, said that Great Britain was a second-rate power. The time has come for us to restore the prestige of the Empire in the eyes of the world, and to place in proper perspective in world affairs this greatest political union in the world, which, has more people within its confines thanRussia, and which has more territory than either Russia or the United States of America and has greater and more varied’ resources at its disposal than any otherpolitical unit. We should set to work te emphasize the status and importanceof the British Empire in the councils of the world, and reiterate its historicmission as the guarantor of world peace and of the rights of the individual. Recent happenings indicate that although there has been a great deal of unfavorablenewspaper propaganda directed against the Empire, its supremacy in world affairsis still recognized. If that were not so,, why would we have been asked to intervene in Indonesia and to clear up the messthere that the war had left in its wake?’ Charges have been levelled in the SecurityCouncil that Empire troops have caused trouble in Greece and other places. Most of these charges have come from Communist sources, but it is difficult to say whether or not they have had official sanction. There is, however, one type of speciouspropaganda which we must resistThat is the specious propaganda which falsely suggests that imperial preferenceshould be scrapped in the interests of an. increase of world trade and the betterment of the world generally. Actually, theBritish Empire is a great federation in the same way as are Russia and theUnited States of America. What fundamental difference in principle is therebetween the free trade that exists between the sixteen Republics of Russia or the 4S States of the United States of America, and the lowering of duties among the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations? We are freer than are those countries, because as independent constituents of the British Commonwealth of Nations we can makeour own tariffs and either raise or lower them against one another. The republics in the other federations have not that power. For 50 years we have had the experience of Empire preference, as a result of which there has been rapid development within the Empire. Tradehas expanded both internally and externally. Had the Ottawa Agreement not been made in 1932, the quantum, of world trades would have been very much less than it was during, the bitter years of the depression. It enabled certain industries in Great Britain and Australia to be kept on their feet, and increased their purchasing power. How could that do any harm to world trade? We should fight with all our might this specious attempt to implant the conviction that because this is good for us it must be bad for the world. It is good for the world, just as is the free trade that exists between the componentsof Russia and America. There should be the greatest organization within the Empire to fight this specious propaganda without restraint. Viewing the immediate problem that confronts the world, one realizes how necessary it is to do this. That problem is to feed the starving millions of the world. In what better way could production be stimulated in this or any other country than by assuring to those who grow food a reasonable return for their labours? We are able to do that by means of imperial preference. If that be taken away, production will decrease and we will have to make all sorts of other efforts. I urge the Government not to be completely obsessed with the political side of the United Nations. The most important feature of that world organization seems to be the economic side. A world that is able to obtain a plentiful supply of food is much more likely to be peaceful than one that is always half fed. If we desire to restore international trade, we should make certain that the great primary industries shall be developed for the earliest satisfaction of the world’s need for food. One-half of the producers of the world are associated with rural production, and the commodities they grow require a. substantia] volume of transport for their carriage to other countries for distribution. The stimulation of primary production would provide not merely for the immediate security of employment of one-half of the population of the world, but also a tremendous volume of work in connexion with transport. This would lead to an enormous increase in the production of goods iii the factories of the big citieS Possibly, the opportunity would be afforded to place in employment 70 per per cent, or 80 per cent, of the total population of the world. Those engaged in the production of luxury goods would then be placed in a favorable situation for the development of their industries. From the outset, we should-‘ stress this aspect so as to ensure that as early as possible the opportunity will be afforded for the re-establishment of world trade.
– The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.’’
Debate (on motion by Mr. Hughes) adjourned.
Re-establishment : Land Settlement JLoans; Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Motor Vehicles : Impressment ; Man u facture - Canberra : Development - Wives of Exservicemen : Transport to Australia - Apples and Pears - Royal Australian Air Force: Re-organization - Civil Aviation : Grafton Aerodrome ; Sydney-Brisbane Services - Fruit Fly - Gift Duty.’
Motion (by Dr. Evatt) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish to deal with- two or three subjects relating to the re-establishment of exservicemen. As the- responsible Minister is not present, I. trust that the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully), to whom I shall address myself, will pass on my remarks to him.
The first subject deals with the necessity for single-unit farms being permitted to come under the jurisdiction of the Soldier Settlement Commission that was recently established in Victoria. By single-unit farms I mean farms which already are in the possession of ex-servicemen, or the purchase of which is contemplated by exservicemen. These should be permitted to participate in the benefits of the scheme for the settlement of exservicemen, assuming that the terms imposed under that scheme will be generous. I shall cite a case that recently came to my notice, and was referred by me to the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Commission in Victoria. It is that of a young man who, shortly before the war, bought a property. He paid a deposit on it’, and intended to complete the purchase price as time went on.
He had it stocked, but was progressing very slowly because of poor prices when war broke out. He enlisted in the darkest days of the war, and leased his farm. When discharged from the Army, he returned to the farm, but has since experienced a period of high prices for stock he wishes to buy and high costs of every other activity associated with farming. The purchase of stock at existing high prices, due to drought and other causes, is imposing on him a severe financial handicap. He is experienced in matters pertaining to the land, having been born and brought up on the land. Because of the circumstances I have mentioned, he asked me whether it would be possible for him to come under the scheme -for the settlement of ex-servicemen. I inquired of Mr. Simpson, who informed me by letter three weeks ago that there was no provision in the agreement that had been made between the Commonwealth and the States for single-unit farms to come under the jurisdiction of the Soldier Settlement Commission, although he considered that they should be entitled to do so. The Minister can imagine the problem which faces any young ex-servicemen who, having had a farm leased while at the war, attempts to re-stock it and to install the plant which he badly needs. The outlay involves him in a very severe financial handicap.
Mr. Simpson said that the only way in which the commission would work was to deal with subdivided properties. We all agree with the settlement of ex-servicemen on such properties, but I submit that single-unit farms also should come under the scheme. Many factors combine to make such projects successful ; the man concerned has invested his capital in the enterprise, and he has had practical experience on the land. I trust that this matter will be considered carefully by the authorities concerned, and that exservicemen such” as the one I have mentioned who desire to come under the scheme will be able to do so.
I come now to the granting of loans to ex-servicemen. Under the Reestablishment and Employment Act it is possible to grant a roan up to £250 to an ex-serviceman engaging in a business. The act provides that the loan must be made to an individual ; in other words, three men who, if they engaged in business separately, would each receive £250, or a total of £750, are entitled to receive only £250 if working together. Ex-servicemen, like others, have to face high costs of materials and pay heavy taxes. That makes it difficult for them to set aside reserves for the expansion of their businesses. Many returned servicemen who would have little prospect of making a success of a venture if working on their own account may have every chance of doing well if financial assistance could be given to each of them on the basis of £250 each. Honorable members of all parties wish to see returned servicemen succeed in their enterprises, and there seems to be no reason why a group of men working together should, be restricted to a loan of £250.
Numbers of discharged servicemen had motor vehicles belonging to them impressed by the Government during the war.- They now require other vehicles to carry on their business in the civilian life of the community, but they experience great difficulty in obtaining them. I have in mind, the case of a young man in my electorate who was recently discharged. He is a married man who enlisted in 1941 or early in 1942. For the conduct of his business as a commission agent he used an International utility truck. After his enlistment this vehicle was impressed by the Government, and he was paid £2(20 for it. Now that he has returned to civilian life, he wishes to re-engage in business as a commission agent, and requires a motor vehicle,’ which honorable members will agree is essential to his business. He has found it ^ impossible to buy a utility truck. He approached the various motor car distributors, and eventually- he was offered a Dodge Brothers utility truck, which had travelled 42,000 miles, for £416. His International truck, for which he was paid £220, had travelled only 22,000 miles. I asked the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost) that a vehicle under the control of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission should be made available to him. When I did so I was aware that the Repatriation Commission was not in charge of Army vehicles, but I thought that as a truck was required for this man’s rehabilitation in civil life, the Minister for Repatriation would be able to help him. I found, however, that the application was passed on to the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley), and from him to the Minister for Transport (Mr. “Ward). I am aware that utility vehicles are scarce, but it is the duty of the Government to do something for men whose vehicles were impressed for war purposes. Limited numbers of vehicles of this class are made available from time ,to time, and it should be possible to do something for men in the position of this young man.
The Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) has given evidence of an interest in the manufacture of motor vehicles in Australia. As honorable members know, offers have been made by a number of companies to manufacture motor vehicles here without any assistance in the form of bounties or additional tariff protection, but some of ‘them require buildings in which to engage in the enterprise. Although building permits are now under the control of the States, I do not think that the Commonwealth Government can say that the matter is entirely out of its hands. It was due largely to the action of the Commonwealth Government that the companies submitted their’ offers. The success of this enterprise will be determined largely by the progress which can be made within the next eighteen months. To-day, world prices are high, whilst .manufacturing costs in Australia are reasonably low. A splendid opportunity therefore exists to establish this business in Australia before overseas competition becomes stronger. I understand that priority in respect of buildings is not extended by State parliaments to projects of this nature, although I understand that the Commonwealth Government is willing that they should be given some priority. I trust that representations will be made to the State governments with a view to enabling buildings to’ be erected so that this enterprise may be proceeded with without delay. As sheet-metal comprises about 40 per. cent, of the total weight of the raw materials used in the manufacture, of motor vehicles, I asked the Minister foi
Munitions (Mr. Makin) some time ago whether it was a fact that the price of sheet iron in Australia was greatly in excess of the prices ruling in Great Britain and the United States of America. He expressed surprise that that should he so, but later he made inquiries, after which he told me that what I had said was correct. Apart from the price difficulty there is a serious shortage of sheet steel of the kind required for motor body building. I should like to have from the Government all the information it has on this subject, and to know what it proposes to do to ensure that sheet steel is rolled in greater quantities so as to permit of ian expansion of the present body building industry, and eventually, the construction in Australia of complete motor cars.
.- Now that the war is oyer we should turn our attention to popularizing the city of Canberra. The joint statement made recently by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Johnson), and the Minister for Works and Housing (Mr. Lazzarini), on the plans for building 1,000 homes at Canberra to meet the immediate need was very timely. While it was not .possible ti> do very much during the war, the attitude adopted in the years preceding the war was, in the main, one of ineptitude and neglect. We then had all the physical things we heeded to undertake such a plan of home building in our Capital City. The present proposal, if tackled vigorously, should, in a short space of time, make up the leeway, and when this has been done we can, perhaps, think more seriously about bringing more Government departments to Canberra, and of undertaking a second progressive building plan. We should keep well in the mind the need, as opportunity permits, to popularize this very beautiful city. It is a truism to say that people should know their own country before they go further afield. I have been staggered at the ignorance and prejudice of the average Australian citizen towards the National Capital. Neither young nor old know very much about Canberra, and, unfortunately, right up to the present time, they do not appear to want to acquire such knowledge. It is, therefore, the duty of members to impart their knowledge to those with whom they come in contact. There are several ways which, I think, might be considered when plans for popularizing Canberra are seriously receiving attention. However, . I would start with our school children, since impressions gained in youth are almost always retained. Conducted tours’ of school children - say those of high school and technical school age - might be arranged through the medium of the Education Departments of each State. The scheme would necessarily need some financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government, and, as an added incentive, there might be free trips - limited in number - which could be awarded annually as. a prize for special stud v of Australian history - political, economic, and geographical. Those who were awarded such prizes would return to their own schools and impart their own impressions of what they have seen and. heard in Australia’s Capital City.
If the Government subsidized such tours every child - irrespective of his status in life, who qualified under the plan - would have a chance to ‘ see Canberra. Of course, the question of suitable accommodation would enter into fi proposal of this nature, but if a properly planned hostel was established at Canberra, there is no reason why it could not be used for some part of each year by various organizations who could, and I feel sure would, in time, . regard such tours as part of their annualfixtures.
I suggest that, to start with, as a way of popularizing Canberra among our young people, there might be held a peace scout jamboree. Let us have here the largest scout jamboree ever yet organized in Australia, to mark fittingly the cessation of the worst war the civilized world has yet had to face. I feel confident that the Boy Scouts organization would be willing to co-operate in such a scheme. There would be no difficulty in accommodation, because scouts bring tents, &c. School children should be invited to take a part in con.nexion with peace celebrations. I suggest that “prizes be given for essays from children in each State in the various age groups on ““What Peace has meant to Australia “, or some other suitable title. For those children in the high school and technical school groups, I suggest a government prize for the most outstanding essay from the senior student section - the essayist to be given a special prize in the’ form of a. trip to Canberra. In time, the No. 1 prize-winning essay might be embodied in the War Memorial records of World War II. I was very impressed by the plan given, effect to by one of the leading newspaper proprietors in Australia who awarded an outstanding newsboy - a trip to another State. Surely if this can be done by private enterprise- as a means of creating greater interest and efficiency in the joh, a similar scheme should be well worth while in order to increase the interest and knowledge of Australian citizens in the Commonwealth seat of Government. Recently, on a visit to Western Australia, I was pleasantly surprised; and certainly very impressed, with what has been done by that very fine Australian, Mr. J. Simons, in his promotion of the Young Australia League, and his conducted tours throughout the world. I maintain, however, that Canberra should be one of the first places that the members of such organizations, composed of Australian youth, should visit, so as to enlarge their knowledge of Australia and its capital before they go abroad. Every child going abroad on a conducted tour should at least be able to answer questions about his national capital, and, once having seen Canberra, and having had explained all the points of interest here, each boy and girl visiting other countries will speak proudly of the very beautiful city of Canberra, the heart of Australian life, where Australian laws are made which affect their daily lives. It is the practice for professional men of all sections to hold annual or bi-annual conventions, and annual conferences are also arranged by organizations of all shades of thought. Why should not Canberra be regarded as the city where such conventions are held? Through our government tourist departments, there could be arranged properly sponsored- trips of so many days’ duration, which would include some time in the Capital City. Many of our young couples, at the outset of married life, plan a fairly extensive trip away from their home State. Why should not these honeymoon trips be directed to Canberra? Similar things have been done in other countries. Our friends across the Pacific for many years regarded the NiagaraFalls as the mecca of honeymooners. although other tourist resorts have come into being. However, thereis no reason why Canberra should not become an outstanding holiday attraction - not only for our honeymooners, but also for other young and old alike. A trip to Canberra, the seat of the Australian Government, should be an everyday suggestion on the lips of tourist office employees,instead of, as now, its being regarded as an almost unusual trip.
I, for one, donot subscribe to the views which are sometimes expressed in this chamber and elsewhere, and which are derogatory to the National Capital. This is a beautiful city, which impresses most people who see it. It is not, as is commonly suggested, a white elephant. In th is connexion the following figures relating to the cost of Canberra are interesting:
When one looks at Canberra as it is to-day, and then looks back over the years toCanberra as it was just after World War I., and when one considers what has been accomplished in the years in between, despite the apathy of our friends opposite and the six years of World WarII., one must believe that if the same rate of progress is maintained during the next 30 years, Canberra will develop so much that it is almost impossible to visualize just how beautiful, interesting and outstanding it will then be. To my mind, if the rate of progress is maintained, people will not have to be asked to come to Canberra; they will be anxiously awaiting their turn to do so.
The figures which I have given are authentic. I have presented them to-day because in the past much of the criticism voiced regarding expenditure at Canberra by the Government has been to the effect that the money has been thrown down the sink, and that there is nothing to show for it. However, as I have shown, the residents of Canberra to-day are paying interest at the rate of approximately 34 per cent. on that money, and there is good value to show for that expenditure. Anyone who visits Canberra during the spring or autumn months cannot fail to be impressed by the beauty of the city. I again urge the Government to do more to popularize the National Capital, so that the day will soon come when Canberra will be the first choice of all Australians as a holiday resort. I am glad to note that the Minister for the Interior is present at the moment, because I know that he is greatly interested in Canberra. I am sure that he will give full consideration to my remarks.
– I received the followingletter, dated the 3rd March, from Mr. J. R. Graham, of 10 Underwood-street, Bishops Park, Toowoomba: -
I have seen a statement in the CourierMail that the Federal Parliament was going to hold a debate on the positionof the English brides married to Australian servicemen.
I am going to state my case to you, Mr. Fadden, andhope my statement will be helpful to you and that you will be able to get. the authorities to get my wife out as quickly as possible.
I was among the first Australian Imperial Force to land in England in 1940.
On the 30th September, 1940, I married a Scottish girl who had lost all her relatives, also all her belongings in the first blitz on London.
On the 4th January, 1941, I was sent from England to the Middle East where I served untilI was landed back in Melbourne on the 7th August, 1942.
Near the end of 1943 I made application to the Repatriation Commission to have my wife brought out to Australia.
On the 23rd February, 1945, I was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force medically unfit and permanently disabled.
Since my discharge I have spent the whole of my deferred pay and all of my own savings to keep my wife and her child. Every ten pounds I have sent to my wife has cost me £131s.5d.
I have now come to the end of my tether, and unable to send any more money to my wife. I also have four children under fourteen years of age here in Toowoomba, my first wife cited soon after I joined the Australian Imperial ‘Force in 1939. My sister who has one child keeps house for me.
So you see, I have been keeping a wife, my sister and six children.
I have asked the Repatriation Commission for assistance and have had no results from there.
I have written to Australia House several times and have not received as much as a reply from there.
I am. unable to do anything but the lightest of work when I can work, and I get the magnificent pension of -1.5s. per fortnight. Last week I wrote to Mr. Jack Beasley in London asking him to take steps to have my wife sent out, if he can’t get her out on the next ship she will be in a desperate position.
That letter, I repeat, was dated the 3rd March. I forwarded it to the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Frost), having previously notified Mr. Graham that I was taking up the .matter on his behalf. I received the following letter from Mr. Graham, dated the 18th March : -
I received your letter in answer to my complaint in connexion with the trouble I am having in getting my wife out from England. I sincerely thank you for your, prompt attention to the matter.
I now wish to make another complaint to you. After serving in the second Australian [imperial Force for five and a quarter years, two years and three months of that time being served in England and the Middle East, I wasdischarged from the army medically unfit. Since my discharge from .the army on 23rd February. 1945 my health has been deteriorating until now I am unable to work at all. 1 was granted a pension of 15s. a fortnight when I appealed in the first place. I appealed to the Assessments Tribunal last September o-ml my appeal was disallowed.
I was admitted to the Repatriation Hospital’ (Rosemount) on the 12th February, 194r>, for a. period of nearly three weeks and during that time I lost 4 lb. in weight. I left the , hospital in far worse health than I entered it.
Just after Christmas I registered for a drivers job at the Labour Agents Office in Toowoomba and they started me off on the soldiers dole.
I have four children of my own here with m« all under sixteen years. My wife and another child is still in England waiting for a passage out. Prior to going to hospital I had drawn four weeks unemployment relief pay at the rate of £3 15s. per week. That was for myself, my wife and the four children from my first wife (deceased). The authorities would not Allow for. the child of my second w.ife because I couldn’t produce its birth certificate.
To-day when I reported to the National Services Officer he informed me that the authorities in Brisbane had demanded £4 back from me. He informed me that I could not get an allowance for my wife because she was not residing in Australia. I will draw £1 15s. a week now for unemployment allowance, £1 2s. (id. a week child endowment, and the large pension of 7s. (id. per week.
Now Mr. Fadden would you caro to try and keep yourself, wife and five children on £3 5s. per week. On top of that I have my sister and her child to keep too, as she keeps house for me until my wife can get out here.
When I joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1939 I w.as in perfect condition and could hold my own in any heavy or hard work 1 was put to do. I was discharged from the army a physical wreck and with n steel back support on my back.
I am unable to work, I am unable to send any money to my wife and child who are starving in London and I am unable to pay my way here now.
With my deferred pay and some money I had saved before I enlisted I have kept my wife and child in England until a month ago and 1 also partly built my house on a loan from the Darling Downs Building Society. I made inquiries from the gratuity officer in Brisbane during last month as to whether I could have my gratuity credited to the building society to enable me to finish my house. He informed me that after the 2nd March, 1940, I could apply to have my gratuity credited to the building society for that purpose and to apply for the necessary form after the 2nd March, 194G. Oh the 5th March, 1946 I wrote to the officer asking for the form and he now informs me that gratuity can be credited to the War Service Homes Commission or other government institutions.
.- I bring to the notice of honora’ble members, particularly the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) the plight of apple-growers, with whom, I know, he is always sympathetic. All over Australia, and particularly in my electorate, orchardists arc very much affected by the curtailment of the order for apples placed by the United Kingdom. On the 20th November last, over the signature of M. Pascoe, the following circular letter was sent to growers: -
The Australian Apple and Tear Marketing Board has received an order from the British Ministry of Food for the export of apples to the United Kingdom during 194(1 and has afforded each and every State an opportunity to take uo its quota thereof.
Thu t is all I need read, for it indicates :he definite sale .of apples to the British Ministry of Food, under the conditions set out in the rest of the circular. Many growers, on receiving that notice from the responsible authority, made the necessary arrangements to pack apples for export, which involved buying cases, wrapping, strawboard, tvc. On the assumption that their apples would bc exported in accordance with the notice, they made no arrangements for cool storage. As the Minister knows, shipping space was curtailed and for some time the order was withdrawn. I understand that about 350.000 cases will be shipped, which is about one-third of .the original ‘order of about .1.000,000 cases. That leaves a large quantity of apples in the hands of growers who have made rib arrangements to handle them otherwise. They also have in their possession cases and other materials that they no longer need. They have no cool storage for their crops. The matter was considered last week by the Victorian Fruit-growers Council, which represents all ,thc growers of Victoria except, I understand, some in the northern district. The council considers that the Government should stand by the agreement implied in the letter. Two alternatives are suggested. First, it is suggested that the Government should buy the apples on behalf of the Ministry of Food. Whether it would be possible to ship them later I do not know, but I am informed that if that step were taken, a good market exists in Singapore and the Malay States.
– Again shipping is the difficulty, because refrigerated space is needed.
– For that short distance?
– I am told so.
– Anyway, I make that suggestion. If that is not possible the Government should try to provide sufficient cool storage space to store 1S0,000 cases of apples for Victorian growers. That is the most important need at the moment, if the first course is unacceptable. Secondly, the growers ought to be compensated for the cases and other articles bought by them to export their crops for which they have no further use. The matter is of great urgency. Harvesting will begin next week, and. unless action bc taken by the Government, serious loss will be incurred by large numbers of growers, not only in Victoria, but also in the other States that export apples. I hope that the Minister will seriously consider this matter in order that a solution mav be found without delay.
Mr. WHITE (Balaclava) [4.3:1 .- The re-organization of the Royal Australian Air Force is a matter to which the Government should direct its best attention. The powerful hammer-blows of allied bombers upon enemy formations and centres of production were a major factor in attaining victory and should not be quickly forgotten, especially with the constantly improving range and speed of aircraft and the incalculable possibilities in devastation by the use of atomic power with aircraft, flying bombs and rockets. Whatever the future may have in store, it is essential that we maintain our Air Force in sufficient strength and with high efficiency to enable us to withstand initial assault upon this country and to secure our interests and outposts in adjacent islands. To ensure this, the closest study of the problem should now bc undertaken and an early statement of policy made by the Government. Otherwise we shall disperse and dissipate the highly trained personnel now returning to civil life after active service in various parts of the world. Statements made from time to time by the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford) have not been adequate to the importance of the subject, and have dealt with only certain phases of the problem. Consequently there is uncertainty in the minds of many men within the Royal Australian Air Force, or who have recently retired from the force, as to the future. The Slater report on reorganization has not yet been tabled ; there have been certain retirements ; but the general position regarding future retirements, the future strength of the Royal Australian Air Force, and the general plan as far as can be disclosed, have not been announced. Therefore, considerable uncertainty exists in many places, and it is understood that enlistments for the Interim Air Force are flagging. With experience of the service and interpreting the views of many other ox-members of the Royal Australian Air Force. ‘ I make the following suggestions for consideration by the Government in the best interests of the service. First, E ask that an establishment be laid’ down for a sufficient number of squadrons adequate to our obligations, and for close co-operation with the British, United States, and Netherlands East Indies forces. In 1943 on my return from overseas, I asked that a tentative establishment be laid down and that all members of (bc Royal Australian Air Force, whether permanent or “ duration “ nien, be invited to volunteer to continue after the war, so that the widest choice might be made. In January, 1945, applications were invited under Air Board Order A.S/1945. But, as stated in a letter of the 25th April from the Minister to me, the number of permanent commissions was contingent upon the post-war composition of the Royal Australian Air Force which could, not then be stated. I understand that only a limited number of permanent commissions was offered, as a result, of which even some air crew members of world-wide reputation were not selected, men who have been decorated for outstanding service. They have consequently returned to civil life with some disappointment, and their services will be lost to the Royal Australian Air Force, unless quick action be taken and more permanent commissions are granted. A. handicap suffered by all. those who served for the duration of the war under the Empire Air Training Scheme was that no matter how they distinguished themselves and to what high rank they rose, their substantive rank in the service was only that of flying officer, which is equivalent to the rank of a lieutenant in the Army, whereas members of the permanent forces retain their substantive ranks up to the limits of the establishments to which they belong. This right should have been permitted in both permanent and “ duration “ cases, so that merit and efficiency only would be the test for selection. The retirement of officers on an adequate pension scheme is long overdue, so that an officer may know his future, and the services of the best mcn retained. Pensions have operated for years within the Royal Air Force, which explains in some cases why outstanding Australians have preferred to remain in the Royal Air Force rather than return home. The present retirements of senior officers by apparently lopping off all those above a certain age and position on the seniority list, is unfair. The Government appears to have taken the easy way, instead of being guided by the neal to retain the most, efficient. Other considerations are first, the establishment of a Royal Australian Air Force- college for air crews, and an aircraft apprentice school for the enlistment df youths for trade .training. Continuance of the Air Training Corps on a reduced basis would also provide a recruit corps for both permanent and citizen ‘force enlistment. The second consideration is that, an adequate number of citizen force squadrons should be formed. Personnel of thu squadrons existing at the outbreak of war rendered splendid service to the country during the war. From the thousands of Empire Air Training Scheme men desiring still to serve, an efficient citizen force could be formed. An early statement should be made on this subject. Stagnation in command mid appointments could be obviated by rotation of duties, especially in the higher ranks including the Chief of Air Staff, thereby enabling officers of experience to hold posts of responsibility mid giving them a balanced training. Frequent interchange of’ Royal Australian Air Force with Royal Air Force officers at all stages of rank, and attendance at specialized schools overseas by officers and airmen when possible, would also assist. The outstanding success of the Empire Air Training Scheme which showed how co-operation in training between the Dominions and Britain, could challenge and defeat the Luftwaffe which was believed to be the equal of the air forces of the world, indicates that a nucleus of some such organization should beretained. Suggestions have been made, both in Britain and Australia, that squadron.; for Empire service should be retained. If exchange squadrons were formed for this purpose, Royal Air Force squadrons could serve in Australia as Spitfire and transport squadrons did during the war, and Australian squadrons could serve in Britain or any Royal Air Force station throughout the world. Such reciprocity would renew the Empire associations that were of such value during the war. while the benefit arising from uniformity in training and equipment, and knowledge of areas other than our own in world strategy, would vitally assist our state of readiness for a state of war. Attachment to Royal New Zealand Air” Force. Royal Canadian Air Force, and South African Air Force is also recommended, whenever possible. Certain Royal Air Force members have been permitted <o join the Fleet. Air Arm of the Royal Navy during its stay in Australian water.?, though only after much pressure, as honorable members can see from Hansard reports of frequent proposals made by me. It is suggested now that the Australians in the Flee* Air Arm bc a nucleus of an Australian Fleet Air Arm. “With our depleted Navy weakened by losses in gallant conflict in the seven seas, renewal of ships is urgent. Carriers are essential to, the type of operations with which Australia is likely to be faced. If we are to play our part in conjunction with the Royal Navy, we must proceed immediately with the formation of a Fleet Air Arm, about which an early declaration should he made as being part of our defence plan.
Last week the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) tabled a document dealing with war medals for overseas service. The statement referred to certain reservations made by Australia to the United Kingdom scheme. While some minor points put forward by Australia have been conceded, there will be disappointment regarding paragraph 3 c, which reads -
That overseas service in the United Kingdom should qualify for the 1030-4.5 Star. Since the Australian reservation, was first made, the defence medal has been authorized. This gives one medal to our forces serving in the United Kingdom and the introduction of the war medal now proposed will be a second. As the United Kingdom authorities have indicated that acceptance of this reservation would load to difficulties elsewhere, the Government, on the recommendation of its military advisers, has agreed to withdraw the reservation.
In May last year, the then Prime Minister stated, inter alia), that “ the United Kingdom should be an operational area for the 1939-45 Star” and that this submission, among others, was being forwarded on the advice of his “service advisers”.. The matter cannot be allowed to pass without strong comment. I point out, first, that the award mainly concerns the Royal Australian Air Force, 2,000 ground personnel of which served in Britain during the war. The Army is concerned mainly with sma.il forestry units which served there. .Does the decision mean that the Australian Military representatives in Britain accepted this withdrawal, when it is mainly an Air Force matter? There can be no question that if equivalent musterings who served in the Middle East - including Cairo - and New Guinea - including Port Moresby - are eligible, that these men, who were among the first to leave Australia for overseas, and who suffered casualties at sca and by bombing, are eligible, too, and should not be given the same award as airmen who served only in north Australia, without proceeding overseas. Their position, also, is different from that of British airmen who did not leave Britain, and at least is parallel with British airmen who left Britain for service in Egypt. Air Marshal Williams is in Britain now and will be finalizing Royal Australian Air Force matters there during the next few weeks. The Prime Minister should cable the Resident Minister to confer with Air Marshal Williams to see that the matter is re-submitted, with proper consideration being given to the Royal Australian Air Force point of view. Otherwise, an injustice will be committed against a branch of the overseas forces in the war who at least deserve equal consideration with others.
I ask the Minister for Air to give serious consideration to these matters, which I submit are of importance, as affecting the efficiency and welfare of the Royal Australian- Air Force, of whose services we can be proud, and on whose efficiency we may again have to rely.
.- I wish to raise one matter of general importance and one of specific moment. The first relates to the treatment of fruit fly in citrus orchards. In New South Wales a penalty of £20 may be imposed upon a citrus grower who does not take the prescribed action to rid his orchard of fruit fly. The accepted method of dealing with this pest, is by setting baits c-om posed of sugar and tartar emetic. In my electorate, there are citrus orchards extending for 300 or 400 miles along the coast. Growers complain that they are unable to obtain sugar to make baits because the Customs authorities will not grant them additional coupons. Here is a letter .1 have received from Mr. R. Hartley, of Whiteman Creek, via Grafton : -
T venture to address von in the hope that you may he able to help me. 1 am a citrus fruit grower at the above address and am fighting to save my crop from the fruit fly.
The approved method is to poison the fly with u mixture of sugar and tartar emetic, also ]’ am liable to a line of £20 if I do not destroy this pest, about four months back I applied (with the approval of the Agriculture Department) to the rationing Commission for coupons to purchase two (2) bags of sugar for this purpose. I was refused. I then asked Mr. C. G. Wingfield to see if he could do anything. I have had several letters from that “gentleman, but have not yet got any sugar.
The fly is busy now and I will lose best part of my income if I do not soon get it.
If you will please try and help nic in this matter T will be grateful indeed.
That letter is typical of many requests that have been made to me, and I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) if he will take up this matter with the Department of Trade and Customs to see if it is possible to have sugar made available for this purpose. Now is the time to curb the depredations of the fruit fly.
– Would raw sugar be satisfactory?
– Any kind of sugar would suffice. They do not insist upon refined sugar. It seems absurd that fruit-growers are unable to obtain supplies to destroy pests.
The second matter which I desire to raise has already caused considerable loss to Australia, and may easily cause loss of life as well as material in future. I refer to the necessity to provide lighting facilities at the Grafton aerodrome. During the last two years, no fewer than five aircraft crashed when making night landings on that field because no landing lights are provided. In practically every instance, the aircraft were landing at Grafton because their fuel supply was exhausted. The local authorities referred the matter to the Air Board, and were informed that, instead of attempting night landings at Grafton, aircraft should fly to Kempsey, which is about 120 miles south, or to Evans Head, which is about 1 00 miles north; but the aircraft landed at Grafton, because they had no fuel, and could not possibly have flown to Kempsey or Evans Head. Coffs Harbour is more than 50 miles away. On several occasions, the owners of motor cars endeavoured to assist the pilots by directing their headlights upon the aerodrome.
– Are there no boundary lights?
– No. The last forced landing at night occurred about a month ago, and the aircraft crashed through the back door of a cottage, to the great consternation of the housewife, who was preparing tea. In 1942, five bombers that were being flown from the United States of America crashed at Grafton aerodrome at night (because of the absence of landing lights. Residents of the district attempted to show the pilots where the aerodrome was, hut the bombers which had been flown here specially to participate in the defence of Australia crashed. They followed the radio beam, of station 2NR, which is very powerful, and noticed the bridge across the Clarence River at Grafton. The crews concluded that’ they were at Brisbane, and began to search for the aerodrome. When their supply of .fuel was exhausted, they overshot the Grafton aerodrome, because they had no lights to guide them: As the result of my representations at that time as to the necessity to correct this danger the Royal Australian Air Force established in a hotel at Yamba, which is situated at the entrance to the Clarence River, a receiving and transmitting station to divert aircraft to other aerodromes. The cost of maintaining that establishment was considerably more than the estimated cost of installing lights at the Grafton aerodrome. The Clarence River is one of the principal physical features of the North Coast. “ There is an enormous bend in the river, which can be seen from aircraft at high altitudes 150 or 200 miles away. An Airacobra was lost when flying from. Rockhampton to Brisbane. The pilot travelled too far to the south and having exhausted his fuel landed at Grafton, because he saw the landmark provided by the Clarence River. The proposal of the Royal Australian Air Force thai aircraft should not attempt night landings at Grafton does not solve the problem because, as I have already shown, aircraft which crashed there were landing -because they had exhausted their supply of fuel.
I urge also, the restoration of aerial service to the intervening towns between Brisbane and Sydney. Before the last war, a service operated between such points as Taree, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Lismore, and Brisbane, and the demand for seats was always greater than the service could cope with. At present, the only way in which people may travel by air is to proceed first to Brisbane. The journey from Grafton to Brisbane takes from eight to ten hours in a train, and from Lismore to Brisbane, six or seven hours. Many people prefer to make the rail trip to Brisbane, and then travel by aeroplane to Sydney, rather than travel from Grafton or Lismore to Sydney, spending ,all night in a train. That was particularly noticeable when sleeping berths were not provided. I urge the Government to provide lighting facilities at those aerodromes so that air services can be restored.
I have been asked to bring before the Parliament certain defects in the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act. I do so, remembering that the act had the approval of practically all parties. We tried to bring the original act up to date, but as these anomalies have been discovered since the return of servicemen from the last war, I should like to place them on record, because they have a. general application. I have received the following letter from the Wingham subbranch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers “ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia : - 1.1, e above sub-branch having become perturbed by the weaknesses and unfairnesses existing in the present system of reestablishing ex-members of the forces on their return to civil life have directed that I write you and ask that you make all possible representation in the proper quarters to have these failings corrected. lt will probably be easiest to understand if I outlined our points as a series of questions under various headings.
Business ok Professional Loans.
RE-EMPLOYMENT and Full-time Training Allowances.
We realize that in such a vast undertaking a& the re-establishment of all the servicemen and .servicewomen of this past war, mistakes and oversights must occur. But, at the same time, there has been the experience of the similar undertaking at the end of the 1914- 1918 war which should have helped to obviate some of the glaring inconsistencies of the present system. If, for example, a returned serviceman is eligible for a grant of £500 for the purpose of setting himself up again in business, there can be not one whit of justifiable excuse for refusing the same rights to two men who wish to set themselves up together. That is a very paltry, and pinchbeck interpretation of the nation’s gratitude. More especially is this so at the present time, where two men expecting to receive the £1,000 which is their right to help them start a business find that they receive instead a miserly £250, or £240 if they have already accepted the grant of £10 for tools of trade; moreover, this stone where they expected bread is only received after months, and months of waiting and interviewing. Nor is it the fault of the officials with whom the ex-servicemen make contact in securing these loans. They are the soul of help, but they are forced to apologize for inability to even discuss loans of £500 because the Act has not yet been implemented. If our information is correct, and an undisclosed Bill of Sale is taken up on any loan made under this scheme, an iniquitous burden is being placed on’ that man. If such a practice exists it must be made to cease at once.
We don’t consider that an amount of £4 ls. per week for a man, wife and child is sufficient in these days, and think that the basic wage is the least that should bc paid under the reemployment allowance scheme. Especially as under the training allowance scheme, the same man would be paid £5 5s., and his pension would not be deducted.
The cases where a doctor has assessed an ex-serviceman as having such-and-such a percentage of incapacity, and that assessment lias later been set aside by non-medical men are legion. This is monstrously unfair, as well as being a Gilbertian example of maladministration. The examining doctor’s assessment should be final.
Although we do not for one minute question the gesture behind the payment of a war gratuity, we do feel that some ex-servicemen will be penalized to some large extent through no fault of their own. Consider the case of the armoured division. These men were to have gone overseas, but due to the entry into the war by Japan they were kept in Australia, and not even all of them saw service in New Guinea. To these mcn especially the pecuniary benefits which would have accrued to them had they been overseas must seem out of all proportion to what they will receive for their service here.
Aware of your keen interest at all times in matters pertaining to ex-soldiers we know that you will do everything in your power to bring these points we have raised to the notice of the authorities concerned and to have the inequalities and irregularities ironed out. That anomalies and inequalities were allowed to persist in such matters after the end of the World War I. is an unquestionable fact, but it was partly the fault of the returned men themselves in that they did not work together in attempting to eradicate such weaknesses. It can be done, and done it must be, by the close co-operation of all concerned, both the mcn and the Government. And it is to this end that we are enlisting your help as our representative at the scat of government.
I direct attention to the fact that the medical assessment of the disabilities of an ex-serviceman is the assessment of medical officers who are habitually doing this work. That assessment is the one which should stand, because the medical officer personally examined and observed the patient. Years ago, when I was Minister for Repatriation, I arranged that assessments should be altered, not by officials but by a special medical tribunal on which I was able to get the best medical men in Australia to act. If the doctor who examines the patient is to bc overruled, the alteration of the assessmentshould be made only by another medical tribunal.
– The Government will realize that many ex-service personnel are offered assistance by institutions and parents and. friends associations to go into business. The business may be an ordinary one in towns or cities, or a farm. A.s it is becoming the habit of the Government to levy gift duty on financial assistance rendered in this way, I urge the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) to give early considera- to the wishes of many sub-branches of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia regarding this matter. Amounts up to £2,000 at least should be exempt from gift duty. It is most unfair, when parents or others have made gifts to ex-servicemen on their return to businesses or farms, for duty to be levied. The Government should assist ex-servicemen as much as possible,- and by eliminating these charges it would be showing practical appreciation of their war effort. Such gifts are of great assistance to exservicemen, and I believe that if duty were not charged, more people would be encouraged to give this sort of help. It is also a factor in relieving governments in the -matter of. assistance rendered by them to servicemen. I hope that the Government will abolish this charge and make its action retrospective so as to cover the cases of all returned soldiers.
A matter which affects the welfare of ex-servicemen is the acute housing shortage at Brisbane and large rural towns in Queensland. Brisbane is in a very badsituation with regard to housing. Many servicemen meet their wives in that city on returning from overseas, but it is extremely difficult for them to secure accommodation. I suggest that the Government make use of many of the wartime buildings erected at Brisbane and elsewhere by American, Australian and British forces and which are no longer required for their original purpose. In Brisbane, for instance, buildings which could provide accommodation for thousands of people are lying unused within a ten minutes’ tram ride from the centre of the city. I have in mind buildings in Victoria Park, which is a good residential locality. They have all the necessary water, sewerage, and lighting facilities, and it would not be difficult to modify them to provide accommodation for ex-servicemen and their wives, and also for the general public. The larger buildings could be let for a low charge to people prepared to conduct them as guest houses. The same thing could be done in many country towns where there is an acute shortage of accommodation. The Government could give local governing authorities power to make necessary changes and arrange for the letting of the premises. The seriousness of the position warrants such action.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Coal Miners - Report of a National Survey of the Health of Coal Miners, by Sir Raphael Cilento. Dr. H. M. L. Murray and Mr. David T. Brewster.
Coal Mining Industry - Report of Mr. Justice Davidson, Commissioner appointed under National Security Regulations.
Ordered to be printed.
HospitalBenefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1946, No. 52.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Commonwealth purposes -
National Security Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (168).
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Ordinances - 1946 -
No. 1 - Licensing Court (Adjournment of Proceedings).
No. 2 - Darwin Leases (Special Purposes).
No. 3 - Licensing.
House adjourned at 4.58 p.m,
The following answers to questions were circulated : -
e. - Yesterday the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) stated that certain information in. regard to daily enlistments supplied by mein answer to a question’ upon notice did not contain the information which he sought, and he asked whether recruiting for the first month of the campaign was stopped after only eight days, and if so, why.
I now inform the honorable member that the recruiting campaign was not stopped after eight days, and is at present being continued; but at the rate recruits are now coming forward, it may be necessary to limit the intake of recruits who have had no previous military service to 1,500 per month. However, the position is at present under review and a decision has not been given, recruiting being continued for the time being. The enlistments of new recruits into the Australian Army for each of the four weeks ended the 16th March were -
s asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : - *
s. - asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Wool : Appraisement in Queensland.
n- asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table of the House the report or reports made by officers of his department or by any other person since this Government took office on the subject of the establishment of wool appraisement centres in Queensland?
– It was my responsibility to make a report and recommendations to Cabinet. The reports and statements which I used in reaching my views are confidential, and it is not appropriate that they be placed on the table of the House.
Housing: Occupation of Private Dwellings by Armed Forces.
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Mr.Forde. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Mr.Francis asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping has supplied the following answers : -
This is due to the fact that when conditions return to normal the Australian industry will face the position where the total production will be far in excess of the local demand.
Mr.Conelan asked the . Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
y. - The Minister for Health has supplied the following answers : -
Programmes are governed by the terms set down by the Commonwealth as follows: -
e asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice -
Will provision be made in the proposed school for the training of officers of the New Guinea service for the trainees to receive a proper presentation of the case of those pioneers of the Territories and others who believe that the Government’s policy of indentured labour and other matters may prove detrimental to the best interests of New Guinea and of the Commonwealth ?
– The curriculum at the school will include lectures by competent persons onall phases of administraiton and activities in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea. Any person who wishes an opportunity to deliver a lecture to the students at the school could communicate with my department, and the request would be considered.
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Mr. CHIFLEY. - Action is being taken to obtain the information sought by the honorable member and replies to the various questions will be furnished as early as practicable.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 March 1946, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1946/19460322_reps_17_186/>.