18th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Eon. J. S. Rosevear took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Mr. Chifley) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to tomorrow, at 10.30 ft.m.
RELEASE of Dentists.
– Can the Minister for Air say how rapidly dentists serving with the Royal Australian Air Force can be returned to civilian practice? I have already brought to his notice the need for dentists in country districts. In one district in my electorate, since the death of the dentist practising there, people have to travel 80 miles for dental service. While appreciating his difficulties, I put it to the Minister, as strongly as the Standing Orders will permit, that he should expedite the release of the dental officer whose name I have submitted to him so that he may take over this practice- If country children are unable to obtain dental’ treatment, the Air Force will lose some of its best potential recruits.
– It is true that the honorable member, has made strong representations to me on this subject, and consideration has been given to the release of as many dental officers as possible. I assure the honorable member that full and sympathetic- consideration has been given to his representations, and those received from other sources to the same effect. The case mentioned is that of a flight lieutenant who is No. 3 on a list of eleven dental officers still serving. Other requests for release have been received, but it is necessary to honour the undertaking given that dental attention will be available for members of the Air Force. The man mentioned by the honorable member, and others too, will be released as soon as the requirements of the service are met. When that will be I cannot say, but it will be as early as possible, due to the strong representations of the honorable member.
War SERVICE Homes - Steel Houses.
– Recently, during the debate on the motion for the. adjournment of the House, I referred to the action of the War Service Homes Department in insisting upon a prospective builder engaging a registered architect before the department would approve the construction of a house. In a distant country centre this would involve the builder in an extra cost of £70 at least for plans and visits of inspection. Moreover, a country applicant has to pay a higher deposit than an applicant in one of the capital cities. Has the Minister for Works and Housing done anything to remove these hardships under which exservicemen suffer in country districts.
– The War Service Homes Commission is a corporate body established by statute, in which it’ is prescribed that the commissioners are empowered to lay down a policy. I am examining the act with a view to introducing amendments to ensure that overhead costs may bc apportioned more evenly between city and country exservicemen seeking assistance under the provisions of the War Service Homes Act. ‘ “
– I ask the Minister for Works and Housing whether the Government is satisfied with the steel houses which have been constructed as an experiment. If so, have any orders been placed for the maas production of these houses, and with what firms? What number of houses has the Commonwealth ordered, and when is it expected that the first contract entered into will have been fulfilled?
– If the honorable member is referring to the Beaufort house, or the steel house constructed by the Commonwealth experimental building station, I can say that the Government is confident that these are good and durable houses and that construction of them on a substantial scale would make a valuable contribution to the solution of Australia’s housing problem. The Commonwealth has placed orders with the Department of Aircraft Production in Victoria for 10,500 of these houses, of different types, floor areas and specifications. We expect that the total contract of 10,500 homes will have been completed in from four to four and a half years. The first homes are expected off the assembly line in approximately six months’ time.
– In view of the effect of the acute shortage of fencing wire and wire netting on primary producers, will the Minister for Works and Housing stale whether there is any prospect of mi immediate improvement of supplies?
– The supply position in respect of fencing wire and wire netting has been concerning the Government for some considerable period. The Controller of Materials Supply has endeavoured to encourage manufacturers engaged in the production of wire and wire netting to install more modern machinery as a means of overcoming the shortage. In some factories equipped with machinery of the older type the conditions of employment involves great strain on the employees, and because of the arduous nature of their employment it is difficult for manufacturers to retain men on their staffs. Some factories are now operating at only 50 per cent, capacity on that account. The installation of modern machinery now being carried out by some manufacturers will make the work more acceptable to the men. By the end of this year it is hoped that sufficient quantities of wire and wire netting will be produced to meet all Australian requirements.
– I direct the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services to the predicament of many old couples on small unremunerative farms and ask whether they will be made eligible for the old-age pension. I know of a couple, each over 70 years, without family help, and who found it necessary to let their farm. In view of the loss of their home as a place in which to live, and of the fact that the rental received for the farm is only £10 a month, will the Minister consider the provision of a pension in this and similar cases ?
– I shall discuss the matter with the Minister for Social Services. The Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act makes special provision for people of that type. Recently, the value of property that people may own without loss of pension rights was raised to £600. If they do not live on the property the rent is regarded as income, and if it exceeds £1 a week, their pensions are affected; but if they live on the property and their income does not exceed £1 a week, they are entitled to the full pension. I shall obtain a full answer for the honorable gentleman.
– I am sure that all Australians will be pleased with the news in the press yesterday that the Australian Shipping Board has chartered five more British ships with a. total tonnage of 41,000 tons to be used on the Australian coastal trade–
– Order ! What is the honorable gentleman’s question?
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping place before the Australian Shipping Board the urgent needs of Tasmania and try to have allocated to the Tasmanian trade one, or more, of those ships ?
– I am certain that the Minister for Supply and Shipping has always kept before the board the requirements of Tasmania, but in view of the representations of the honorable member, I shall ask him to ‘do so again.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs seen the statement by General MacArthur that “ bayonet rule “ should end in Japan and that a much larger measure of civil autonomy should be restored? Docs the Commonwealth Government share General MacArthur’s view, or does it consider that Japan is not yet ready for civil autonomy and that rigid control must continue to be exercised ?
– I endeavoured to state the view of the Commonwealth Government on this problem in my statement on international affairs. The Government considers that as soon as possible negotiations should take place for a treaty of peace with Japan. The terms of that treaty would be a matter of negotiation. In the sense that I think General MacArthur indicates, this Government favours every attempt to reach a settlement with Japan at the earliest opportunity.
– Can the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction inform the House when it is intended to establish the Australian National University, for which legislation was passed last year? What faculties does the Government intend to establish first? When the bill was under consideration, rumours were current that Professor Oliphant was to be in charge of the Research School of Physical Sciences, and Sir Howard Florey in charge of the School of Medicine. Are these rumours correct? Does the Government intend to extend the National Library to enable it to serve the new university, or is a separate library to ‘be established within the university?
– The Australian National University is in the process of being established by the interim council set up under the act. The erection of the necessary buildings has not yet been begun, and the commencement of construction will depend upon the availability of building materials. The first activities of - the Australian National University will include the establishment of the John Curtin School of Medical Science, a Research .School of Physical Sciences, a Research School for the Social Sciences, and a Research School for Pacific Studies. Whether the services’ of Professor Oliphant and Sir Howard Florey will be available to the new university is rather a delicate subject about which I should not like to say very much at the moment. However, the Government would be very happy if the services of those two gentlemen could be obtained for the university. Whether a library will be established at the university itself for students, or whether the facilities of the National Library will be utilized, is a matter for future consideration by those who will govern the university. According to advice which I have received, the university authorities intend to set up a specialized library for the subjects which will be studied at the university, but the facilities of the National Library will be availed of for general references. I believe that the interim council intends to call applications for the position of librarian at an early date.
Theft of Materials - Detentions
– I ask the Minister for the Army whether it is a fact that investigations are proceeding into the theft of £60,000 worth of army stores in New Guinea? If so, is it correct, as reported, that these stores include jeeps and a lugger, alleged to be hidden on an island north of Australia ? Will the Minister inform the House why there .has been such a long delay in discovering the thefts, and who is making the investigation? Will’ he also make a statement to the House on the subject?
– An inquiry into the matter which the honorable member mentioned is proceeding at present. J ain not in a position now to tell him the reasons for the delay, but at the conclusion of the inquiry, I shall inform him of the finding.
– Can the Minister for the Army say whether it is a fact that many hundreds of soldiers are serving sentences in detention camps and gaols for purely military offences? Will he consult with his colleagues in Cabinet, with a view to arranging a general amnesty for such men, particularly in view of the long delay in the proclamation of peace?
– It is not true that hundreds of men are so detained, but some are serving sentences. I have already taken the matter up, and only last week I had a discussion on the subject with Mr. Justice Simpson. Like the honorable member, I do not believe that men should be held after the war for absent-without-leave offences. I hope that, in tire very near future, I shall be able to inform him that the detainees have been released, and discharged from the Army.
– I have received a telegram from the secretary of the Paint Manufacturers Association in relation to the shortage of linseed oil. The telegram reads, in part -
Largely attended public meeting Town Hall Sydney 12th instant representative of all interests concerned with linseed oil and products including painters miscellaneous workers storemen and packers vehicles builders metal trades and moulders unions also dairying employing interests unanimously resolved in view grave threat growing unemployment strongly urge Government negotiate India for procurement linseed in exchange Australian foodstuffs. Urgency immediate action to avoid spread serious unemployment affecting most industries. All efforts secure linseed oil unsuccessful.
– Order ! Will the honorable member now frame his question?
– In view of the urgency of the situation us outlined in the telegram, will, the Minister for Works and Housing inform me what action, has been taken by the Government to secure increased supplies of linseed oil? Is he in n position to say when increased supplies will be available? In view of the grave situation which is developing as the result of this shortage, will he make a full statement to the House, dealing with the reasons for it?
– For some considerable time, the matter of procuring supplies of linseed oil has been exercising the minds of the Government and myself, I being in charge of the department which controls it. Supplies of linseed oil are provided on an allocation basis to each country by the International Emergency. Food Council, because it is classed as an edible oil. If we were able to obtain our allocation, approximately 75 per cent, of our total requirements of linseed oil would be met; but because of certain difficulties in India, due mainly, we are informed, to the transport position, we cannot have sent to this country from India a quantity approaching our quota. We have been- in continuous contact with India, in an endeavour to obtain our quota. The Minister for Commerce and
Agriculture, through the agency of Australian Trade Commissioners in other countries, has been, endeavouring to obtain supplies of not only linseed oil but also tung oil. Although supplies of the latter oil would not enable us to meet our full requirements, they would assist us in that direction. The Government will continue to use every effort to meet the position; but I cannot give any indication of when, we shall be able to obtain a sufficient quantity of linseed oil to meet our requirements.
– Is the Minister for Air prepared to indicate the Government’s intention, in relation to the maintenance, alteration or abandonment of Cambridge aerodrome?
– The honorable member has raised the question whether or not the Department of Air is proposing to abandon Cambridge aerodrome. The answer is, that it is not. Investigations have been and are still being conducted’, to ascertain., whether it is possible to secure a site which would be regarded as more suitable than the present site, but so far without success. Investigations are still proceeding, and should a suitable site be located Cambridge aerodrome will not be abandoned but will probably be used for another purpose. I can see no indication of that occurring in the near future.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping state the reason for the ‘hold-up in the distribution of power kerosene, and those responsible for it? Will he use his influence with those responsible, with a view to having adequate supplies made available as soon as possible?
– I am not in a position to state who is responsible for the shortage of power kerosene, but I can say that it is not the Government. I shall ask the Minister for Supply and Shipping to do what he can with the oil companies to ensure a. better distribution, of power kerosene than, that which now exists.
– As Mr. Donald Mountjoy did not apply for, or seek by a [personal approach to the Minister, an, -appointment to the executive committee of -the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and as no scientist recommended and no person or body supported the appointment, can the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research state what were his motives in making it, particularly in view of Mr. Mountjoy’.? alleged Communist affiliations? Were those affiliations the reason for the appointment?
– Questions regarding the appointment of Mr. D. A. Mountjoy have been asked by the honorable member
On a number of occasions. I have already made it perfectly clear that the appointment of Mr. Mountjoy, or of any other person, to the executive committee of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is the prerogative of the Minister in charge of the council. I have no apologies to make for the appointment. I deny, for the hundredth time, the allegation that Mr. Mountjoy is in any way connected with the Communist party.
– Has the attention of the Minister for External Affairs been drawn to a statement in the press to the effect that the United Nations is on the verge of grave financial embarrassment, if not, indeed, of collapse? Is the Minister in a position to give a reassurance on that point? If not, can he say whether there are any grounds for giving credence to the suggestion of financial instability?
– Plans which were made for the expansion of the United Nations were, in my opinion, somewhat too ambitious, and may be the basis for the suggestion of financial embarrassment. Australia, like other member nations, is making a heavy annual contribution towards the cost of the United Nations. I do not think that there are any grounds for anticipating financial embarrassment. One great difficulty has been the provision of adequate accommodation for the United Nations in New York City, but the munificent contribution of the Rockefeller Foundation has greatly helped in that connexion. I answer the honorable member’s question quite definitely by saying that there are no grounds whatever for anticipating the danger which she indicates.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture a question relating to the serious situation which has now continued for some weeks in Melbourne, resulting in the virtual cessation in the supply of meat to that city. In view of the great public interest attaching to the matter, and the responsibility which this Parliament must accept in regard to it, will the Minister make a statement either to-day or tomorrow setting out what he and the Government believe to be the facts? “Will he say what merit he believes there is i” the arguments on the one side and the other, and will he make a full statement of the Government’s intentions, and what it proposes to do to bring about a complete resumption of supplies?
– I am not prepared to make a statement regarding the causes of the dispute, nor to fix responsibility for this unfortunate dispute. In view of the information which I have received that the dispute is well on the way to settlement, I do not think that I should be helping matters if I were to endeavour at this stage to ascertain where the blame lies. During the last two weeks, the Premier of Victoria and I have endeavoured, by every means in our power, to find a way out of the difficulty. In order that producers may not be able to say that they cannot obtain the full ceiling price for their stock, the Government has provided alternative killing facilities in the various public meat treatment works in the metropolitan area of Melbourne. I have nothing to say beyond that.
– The Minister cannot maintain this policy of secrecy indefinitely.
– The honorable member for Indi appears to be rather grieved that the trouble is about to be settled.
– While welcoming the hope- expressed by. the Minister for Commeroe and Agriculture tha’t there wilh be an early settlement of the meat difficulty in Victoria, I ask the honorable gentleman whether he will indicate what safeguard is being applied by the Government to ensure, not merely that adequate supplies will be made available but also that such supplies will be made available at prices regarded as reasonable by the consuming public?
– The safeguards regarding the price of meat in Melbourne, which are the same as those which have existed hitherto, are provided by the policing methods adopted by officers of the Prices Commission. There will -be no change in that system. I am sure that the very effective action which has been taken over the last three months to clean up black-marketing in the meat trade will be sufficient to ensure that prices are kept to a reasonable figure.
– Can the Minister for Supply and Shipping say what delays have already occurred in the departure of ships carrying food for Britain as a result of the decision of waterside workers in Sydney not to work overtime, and by their later decision not to work at all until their overtime demands are met? What is the Minister going to do to restore industrial peace so that food so urgently required in Britain may be despatched without delay?
– I shall ask my colleague, the Minister for Supply and Shipping, to consider the matter mentioned by the honorable member.
– Can the Prime Minister clarify the position regarding petrol supplies in country districts? In order to make clear the seriousness of the position, I shall read the following telegram, one of many which I have received : -
In view heavy capital outlay by petrol agents following trade information that pool would finish 29th March and Senator Ashley’s evident repudiation in press reports of tenth Grafton Branch last night resolved invoke your intervention urgently. Agents have agreement with, companies, requiring thirty days notice of termination. Request you endeavour clarify position and wire result. Macpherson Clarence Electorate Council.
Can the Prime Minister make a statement with a view to settling this vexed question of the termination of the petrol pool?
– A few weeks ago, serious shortages of petrol occured in some country towns. The Minister for Supply and Shipping was very perturbed, particularly in view of the fact that in some of the towns there was petrol in the depots, but it was not being supplied to pumps for public use, and the public were seriously inconvenienced. The Minister took the matter up, and last week there was a consultation between representatives of his department and of oil companies. I understand that the shortage of petrol in the pumps was entirely due to the action of the oil companies in withholding supplies in preparation for the resumption of competitive selling of their own brands, or, at any rate, from their own pumps. They wished to store up supplies of petrol in the country depots. The companies expected that the pool would end on the 1st of April next, and they wished to be ready to resume competitive selling. The Government made it clear to them that their proposal in this regard was not acceptable, as it might result in shortages in certain areas. I was assured last week that, as the result of conferences which has been held, an arrangement will be made between the companies themselves to ensure that there arc no further shortages of petrol in country towns.
Victorian Metal Trades Dispute
– I refer to the metal trades dispute in Victoria which has resulted in the closing of workshops, the throwing of many men out of work and the diversion of skilled men into unskilled occupations by union direction. As the result of his recent negotiations in this dispute, has the Minister for Labour and National Service anything to tell the House as to the possibility of the ending of this dispute which has dragged on in many phases since July of last year?
– I can only repeat what I said in answer to a question asked yesterday by the honorable member, namely, that Mr. Commissioner Mooney has made an order increasing the marginal rates .for engineers and iron workers. I understand that to-day the representatives of the unions concerned have been summoned further to discuss the order made by the commissioner. Whether or not that order will be accepted I am, at the moment, unable to say. I was informed this morning, however, that the unions had not rejected it and that the negotiations were still being carried on.
Research in Queensland.
– Has the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research seen a report that the executive council of the United Graziers Association in Brisbane has expressed dissatisfaction with the amount allocated to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for research work into the grazing industry in Queensland by comparison with that for other States? 1 f so, will the Minister consider a suggestion that future funds for expenditure on research work in connexion with the grazing industry be so distributed that, the Queensland allocation will increase until the annual allocation becomes proportionate to the stock population of that State as compared with the stock population of the rest of Australia?
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable member has referred. The suggestion he has made would not, in my opinion, be accepted by anybody who knows anything about scientific research. Scientific research is conducted into a number of problems affecting primary industry, experiments being carried out at locations where it is thought results would most easily be obtained. It may be that climatic conditions in Queensland are not suitable for certain experiments. I should certainly say that no body of scientists would endorse the suggestion that research funds provided for the Council for Scien tific and Industrial Research should be expended on a stock population basis or with any regard for State boundaries.
Incident in Sydney Domain.
– I desire to ask you a question, Mr. Speaker, in connexion with the riot organized by four members of the Parliament of New South Wales in the Sydney Domain yesterday. I have here a letter of protest from one of my constituents who was an innocent observer. My constituent’s protest refers to statements made in this House by the honorable member for Wentworth which may prejudice his defence. Will you protect an honorable citizen from such irresponsible statements?
– I can understand the concern expressed by the honorable member for La ug regard ing a citizen resident in his electorate who has, apparently, got himself into 30me trouble, wittingly or unwittingly; but I believe that it would be a denial of freedom of speech if I were to prevent a reference to the incident. It would be proper to prevent a discussion of a charge against a particular individual before the case was heard, but it would not be right to prevent a discussion of the general incident, and I do not propose to take any action.
Formal Motion for Adjournment.
– I have received from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -
The culpability of the Commonwealth Government for the civil disturbance in the Sydney Domain yesterday mid its responsibility to prevent further organized Communist violence in Australia.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the motion supported ?
Five honorable members having risen
– Yesterday an incident occurred in the Sydney Domain to which some pious reference was made this afternoon by the honorable member -for Lang (Mr. Mulcahy). The incident was one which must have created a feeling of great uneasiness all over Australia. The essence of it was that certain citizens, including certain elected members of the New South Wales Parliament, seeking to address a public meeting in the Domain in Sydney, were submitted to physical violence and severe physical injury. That did not occur as the result of some sudden chance melee in the audience; it was quite plainly the result of an organized Communist attack upon free speech in the Sydney Domain. This deplorable incident having occurred - and it is perhaps the worst incident of its kind we have so far recorded - the matter was raised in this House yesterday, and the Prime Minister, who of course was not associating himself with violence of this kind, replied to my colleague, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison), that the matter was one for the State of New South Wales. Perhaps I might be permitted to quote his exact words. The right honorable gentleman said -
I should imagine that the maintenance ot law and order at any meeting held in the Domain would be a matter for the police force of New South Wales, and would not fall within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Government.
As far as we know, the answer of the Commonwealth Government is, “ This is a matter for the State police “. In order to clear the ground, I say at once that there is not the slightest evidence that the police of New South Wales did not behave promptly and well. I, myself, had some experience during the last Commonwealth election campaign of this kind of thing, and I take the opportunity to say that on that occasion the police of New South Wales carried out their duties in a more satisfactory manner. It is idle to suggest that the complaint that goes up from decent Australians at this kind of incident is a complaint against the State police. After all, the State police are not unlimited in numbers; they must exercise their jurisdiction over a series of meetings, and if some difficulty occurs suddenly at a meet ing they might find themselves undermanned. If they have fair warning that there is likely to be substantial difficulty at a gathering, they may attend in force. This reference to the State police completely ignores the root cause of this disturbance. The incident in the Domain was more than accidental, it represents the settled and violent policy of Australian communism. Australian communism does not believe in free speech. The men who created this riot in the Domain yesterday were not ordinary honest Labour men ; they were not genuine trade unionists seeking a genuine trade union remedy; they were violent, disturbing revolutionaries of the Communist party. If they have now reached a point at which they can offer violence to citizens who desire to express their views in a proper fashion in a public place, then we have reached a time at which communism in Australia has developed more force than the Government of Australia. That is the real test. Who does control the country - the Government of the country or the Communists, who, admittedly, expressed in numerical terms, are a contemptible minority, but who, in the results obtained, are a very powerful and growing force in Australia ?
I leave the position of the police in order to consider whether this is solely the responsibility of the State Government. If we are to look merely at the result and to ignore the cause, then, of course, this is a matter for the State Government, because the preservation of law and order within the boundaries of the State is, prima facie, a matter for the State Government; but, to arrive at that view is to look merely at the effect and to ignore the cause. What was the cause of the outrageous incident in the Domain yesterday? The question was lightly swept aside by the Government. But the cause was not some failure on the part of the police. It was not some breakdown of the legal system of the State. It is to be found in the constant surrender of this Government to the presence of Communist activity and Communist aggression. This Government has paid lip-service to the democratic idea. It has from time to time said a few mildly unkind words about the Communists, but the whole industrial record of Australia in the last twelve months shows the Government has passed from surrender to surrender in the presence of the Communists. We have only to look at what gave rise to this incident. Not very long ago, to be precise, on the 21st February, this year, the Stevedoring Industry Commission gave a decision. The Stevedoring Industry Commission, not the one that is to be created under the legislation that we have been recently considering, but its predecessor in title, the predecessor whose good work is to be carried on by the new commission, presided over by Mr Morrison, who has been referred to in the course of the debates in this House, made an order that men on day-shift could be ordered to work three hours’ overtime on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when vessels could not secure evening gangs. When that order was made the men refused to work overtime. They were subsequently suspended by the chairman of the Port Committee. The whole waterfront industry of New South Wales has been tied up as the result. Does that all arise from some order given by a man unconscious of the rights of the waterside workers? Of course not! If there is one (bing on which every honorable member on the Government side will agree, it is that Mr. Morrison is a man who can be relied upon not to apply the conservative cr reactionary view to these problems. There is no genuine Labour man in this House who will not say that Mr. Morrison will give a fair deal. I have heard it said repeatedly, publicly and privately. But, because his order did not suit the Communists, who are, unhappily, in control of the waterfront, the whole waterfront is tied up. Ships are tied up. The result of ships being tied up is that we have this sickening accompaniment: pious words about food for Great Britain and resolution not to ship the food. We have this accompaniment: regret at the inconvenience caused to the civil population and thousands of tons of food rotting in the holds of ships tied up on the Sydney waterfront. Why? Because the industrial history of this country in the last two years shows that when it comes to a fight between the Communists and this Government, the Communists always win. They always win. The Government quits. The ‘Government says, “ What can we do?” The Government hides behind observations to the effect that it is not going to crucify the workers. The workers! The Communists are not the workers of this country. They are the loafers of this country. Let us get this perfectly clear. The Communists are not interested in doing the work of this country on fair terms as the genuine union leader is. They are interested in preventing the work of this country from being done on terms fair or unfair. But because the Government has lacked the courage to establish an industrial law that will bind the people and has lacked the courage to say, “ We will not have that law destroyed by a few agitators of the Communist kind “, the Communists have gone from strength to strength. I cannot remember a solitary industrial dispute of magnitude in Australia in the last twelve months out of which some Communist leader has not come with enhanced strength, and, unhappily, an enhanced reputation amongst those who are apostles of disorder in Australia. Surely the Government realizes that this is not a fight between the Labour, Liberal and Country parties. This is a fight between law-abiding democratic people and those who have no element of democracy about them. The blows struck in the Domain yesterday are not to be dismissed as a mere incident between some wild men and some member of Parliament who happens to he a non-Labour member. It goes far beyond that. No member of Parliament worth hi3 salt, no parliamentary leader worth his salt, has the slightest objection to standing up and defending his views before the most hostile audiences. That is his job. Let him do his job. But it is a new thing in Australia that a man should have to go before audiences of Australian citizens knowing as he now does that if there are in that audience a sufficient number of Communists, the meeting will end in a riot and that there will be physical violence. I do not speak without some experience. I am bound to say that on a certain notable occasion when I stood in the presence of 3,000 hostile coal-miners it did not occur to me that there would be violence, because the coal-miners, however much we may argue about them, arc honest Australian citizens. But in that particular area of Sydney we may almost rely nowadays on having men who are no more Australians than Turks and have no more British instincts than the wildest Laplanders. They are hostile to the British institutions. They are hostile to ours. They have made up their minds that there shall be no free speech in Australia.
Every honorable member opposite knows that under very considerable provocation T. have steadily maintained my view that there should be no ban upon freedom, of speech. I have done that at times when it might have been very much easier to say, “ Let us ban these Communists “. I have, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) and the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) know, constantly maintained, that if there is any doubt in a country like Australia that doubt must be resolved in favour of freedom of speech. But I want to say that, unless this matter is taken in hand, the time will come when the real conflict .about freedom of speech -will be between those who, like my honorable friends opposite, those who sit behind me, and myself, believe in it and those who do not believe in it. We shall reach the stage in Australia when we shall be compelled to say that there can be no freedom of speech for the enemies of freedom of speech. I hope that time will not come. I hope that the time will never come when we shall have to engage in measures that are suppressive of opinion. But if the time comes when the community has to choose between its own freedom and the freedom of a small gang of revolutionaries, the answer cannot be in doubt. In the meantime, it is abundantly clear that the Commonwealth Government cannot shrug its shoulders, and pass by on the other side. The incident in the Sydney Domain yesterday was not just a Sydney incident, or something for the Sydney police to handle. It was an incident which showed that there is in Australia a grave challenge to ordinary civic liberties, and I assert, on behalf of the Opposition in this Parliament, that this Government, by its weakness in the presence of this challenge, has actually encouraged the forces which would deny freedom of speech to ordinary citizens. I shall not labour this matter. I want every honorable member as far as possible, to have the maximum opportunity to say something about this; but I have compressed into fifteen minutes the reasons which have actuated me in moving the adjournment of the House, so that the nation may know that this problem is not passing unnoticed by the National Parliament.
– I desire to follow closely the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). The right honorable gentleman referred to the undoubted fact that a disturbance took place in the Sydney Domain yesterday. For that disturbance, the State police authorities have summoned or brought before the State courts, according to the information furnished to the Government by the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, ten persons. I assume that they will, in due course, be changed, if .they are not being charged at this moment.
– It depends on what the Attorney-General means by the phrase “ in due course “. On the last occasion a similar incident occurred, five months passed before the proceedings took place.
– The Leader of the Opposition does not carry his argument a step further by referring to another matter. Let us confine our attention to the disturbance in the Sydney Domain yesterday. As I stated, ten persons are being charged by the State police authorities for an offence, not against a law of the Commonwealth, but against a law of New South Wales. No doubt they will be proceeded against in due course. I am sure that the last thing which the Leader of the Opposition desires to do is to prejudice the cases against those ten men. These matters will be investigated by a magistrate, and where an offence has been committed no doubt he will come to a proper finding and impose appropriate sentences. The same report contains some information about people who were not arrested and charged. It states -
At 1 o’clock, Mr. Bridges, M.L.C., accompanied by Councillor Cramer and four other gentlemen came down to the A.W.A. waggon-
The reference is to the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited broadcasting waggon, and their purpose was that their remarks should be heard by people some distance away. The report continues -
They placed a flag over the platform with the words “ Liberal Party “ underneath. During this period, several arguments took place around the waggon between certain women folk, and well-known girls of the Communist shops- 1 do not propose to read the whole report, but any honorable member who is interested in it may do so. What are the facts? A serious industrial dispute is occurring in Sydney, and the Commonwealth Government, through the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley) has done everything possible to effect a settlement. While those negotiations were proceeding, members of a political party in the Parliament of New South Wales called a meeting in the Sydney Domain for the purpose of either discussing this matter or doing something about it. In my opinion, they were perfectly entitled to do so. “ Freedom of expression “ does not depend, as the Leader of the Opposition appears to believe, on whether a few people believe in it. “Freedom of expression” means that the law of the land gives to people the right to express their opinions. Let us assume the worst against those who ha ve been charged ! I want to be most careful not to say anything which might prejudice the court proceedings, but on the facts reported there seems to have been clearly an attempt to interfere with freedom of expression. What happened? The New South Wales police, who are custodians of law and order, arrested those persons who were allegedly responsible for the interference with freedom of speech. The matter will take its course according to the law. That is freedom of expression. Freedom of expression does not mean that everybody observes it. There is a law, but that does not mean that everybody observes it. If there is interference with freedom of expression, remedies are provided, and, in this instance, those remedies are being applied. So far from its being interference with freedom of expression, this incident should show to those who think a moment longer than the thought which might come to him on reading the newspaper headlines relating to this matter, that freedom of expression is safeguarded. Some people might say that those who held the meeting were engaged in an act which might be regarded as provocative and open to a’ery severe criticism. I do not say anything about it, because they had the right to hold a meeting, although their action might have been open to severe criticism. They organized their meeting, and a Communist group apparently organized a demonstration against them. Because some people came up against the law of the land which guarantees freedom of expression, they were arrested and haled before the courts. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) stated yesterday, that is not a matter of Commonwealth responsibility. We are not evading our responsibility. But this incident provides a perfect illustration of the fact that there is freedom of expression in Australia, because a similar incident is not likely to happen again. Presumably, those who organized this meeting in the Sydney Domain obtained the requisite permit required by the State law. If they did, other people had no right to interfere with them.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to an incident in which he was involved during the last election campaign, when his right of freedom of expression was interfered with, or allegedly interfered with. Freedom of expression does not mean that there are not people who will not abuse it. There are people who will libel other people in the guise of freedom of expression.
– The Attorney-General has tried to discourage freedom of expression.
– It does not mean that freedom of expression will be discouraged because a few people break the law. The law operates, and deals with the people who break it. That has happened. As the result of the incident in which the Leader of the Opposition was involved, proceedings were instituted under the Commonwealth Electoral Act, and certain cases came before the court. I shall not refer to them, because appeals are pending from the sentences imposed in some of those cases. How docs the Commonwealth Government come into this matter, and why has the Leader of the Opposition moved the adjournment of the House this afternoon? He referred to the “culpability of the Government”. Very fairly, he pointed out that the Stevedoring Industry Commission, through its representative, Mr. Morrison, is dealing with the matter, and the men who refused to obey the commission’s order have been suspended, and deprived of their right to work in this industry. I deplore that the matter has reached such a stage, but the Commonwealth Government, through its responsible Minister, is doing everything possible to terminate the dispute.
The Leader of the Opposition charged the Government with culpability for the disturbances in the Sydney Domain yesterday. What reasonable man in this chamber would rise in his place, put his hand on his heart and affirm, that the Government was culpable for that disturbance, because a few “wind-hags” in the Sydney Domain had interrupted a meeting of other people? That is what it » mounts to. The State police are dealing with them through the ordinary processes of law. How is the Commonwealth Government culpable?
Mr. Beale interjecting.
– Order ! I shall name the honorable member for Parramatta if he interjects again.
– The Leader of the Opposition declared that the Government had the responsibility of preventing “ further organized Communist violence in Australia”. Those are big words! I was anxious to hear what he suggested about the Communist party. He has not followed the easy path - the path of least resistance - and advocated that because a few people preach Communist doctrines, the Parliament should pass legislation to punish them, and, if necessary, remove them from the country.
– They are subversive of the security of this country.
– Order ! The Leader of the Opposition was heard in complete silence. I insist that speakers from the other side of the House also shall be heard in silence. I shall name immediately the next honorable member who interjects.
– I was pointing out that the problem of communism is not one that can be dealt with in a few minutes on an adjournment motion. Very grave questions are involved in it. I believe in freedom of expression, and so does the Government. That does not mean that one agrees with the views of people who exercise that right. It means that should there be a breach of the law by anybody, the law will be enforced. That is exactly what Ls happening in connexion with the incidents in the Sydney Domain. One contribution which the Leader of the Opposition made to the recognition of that freedom in Australia is, not to yield to pressure groups from the right - they exist on the right as well as on the left - and thus lead to repressive legislation and the destruction of freedom of expression. Having said that, I hope that I am quite understood. I say that the disturbance is now being dealt with by the law, and that indirectly freedom of expression has been vindicated. There will always be found, sometimes in unexpected places, people who want to interfere with the right of others to express their opinions. Freedom of expression is a doctrine which, in substance, is being maintained by the law of New South Wales. The Commonwealth Government is supporting the Stevedoring Industry Commission in its decisions. The men who have been guilty of a breach of the law as it has been, applied by the .Stevedoring Industry Commission, are being disciplined by the commission. Tet in spite of that, the Leader of the Opposition has offered the criticism that in some way - he does not say how - the Commonwealth Government is responsible for what has occurred, and has moved the adjournment of this National Parliament to discuss the matter. I submit that he has made no case whatever to justify the motion he has made.
– I support the motion submitted by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies). The position which the Government has allowed to arise is a disgrace to Australia. The Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) has just stated that the law of this country will be administered. He knows, as well as does every other person in Australia, that the law of this country has not been administered in connexion with transport, and industrial matters generally. We have been working under arbitration laws that are probably the best in the world; yet, immediately some gentleman like Mr. Healy, of the Waterside Workers Federation, decides that there will be a strike, and that he will upset the whole of the economy of this country, the Government seeks some slimy way by which it can sneak out of its responsibilities, and introduces legislation providing for the appointment of a new commission which will do exactly what Mr: Healy wants it to do. That is the method by which the present Government administers the laws of this country. What happened in the Sydney Domain yesterday was a disgrace to the Government, and it cannot place the blame on the Government of New South Wales or the police force of that State. The Commonwealth Government is responsible, because it has encouraged practically every big industrial union in this country to disregard the laws and the interests of the country. It can never live down the attitude that the wharf labourers adopted towards the Indonesian affair, or when workers on the Sydney wharfs refused to load food and munitions, not only for our own troops but also for those of our allies who were fighting for us as well as themselves. It must be utterly ashamed of having had to use troops to load those essential goods. When individuals of the same type tried to organize the transport unions so that the people in Britain would be starved if their demands were not acceded to, the Labour Government of Britain did not hesitate to d.o what had to be done. It mobilized troops to handle the cargoes, and said, “ We will not sit back and allow any section of the community to hold this country to ransom, or to starve the men, women and children of this land “. That Government is composed of men. I am sorry to say that in Australia there has been very little sign of a statesmanlike outlook by Ministers in connexion with industrial organizations and disturbances.
Either the Government must govern this country, or hand over to another administration that will do so. All that is required is ‘that the Government shall take a firm stand, and say that it will not allow the produce for which Sydney is clamouring to rot in the holds of ships, but will engage men who are prepared to do unloading; that it will not allow fruit to rot in the orchards in Victoria when Britain is in such great need of it, and the growers have worked so long to produce it and obtain a return from its sale. The average loss of pears throughout the Goulburn Valley owing to industrial disturbance and the failure to transport requirements of sugar has been at least 25 per cent, of the total crop.
– Order ! Discussion of pears in the Goulburn Valley is a little wide of the incident in the Sydney Domain, and alleged organized Communist violence - ‘the subject of the motion.
– The fact that the Government has never had the courage to deal with industrial disturbances is the major factor which led up to the disturbances in the Sydney Domain. Those responsible for it know that the Government is spineless, and that it has neither the courage nor the intention to deal with them appropriately. They were encouraged, as every Communist “ rat “ will be, by the fact that the Government has not the courage of a terrier, and will not even face them. The Government cannot acquit itself of blame for this disturbance. I was a spectator of what happened during the Melbourne police strike, and can realize exactly what this disturbance might mean to Sydney if the matter were permitted to go a little further. I have seen a tremendous number of people riot and steal. Some of them, who to-day are in the Parliament of Victoria, were caught red-handed, men whom one would think were of a different type. The Government needs to beware that it will not have to call out troops, not merely to load or unload ships but also to quell riots, which develop rapidly. There are some very dangerous men in Sydney, and they would not hesitate for a moment to plunge this country into a revolution. They would burn Sydney down if they thought that thereby they could gain the power for which they lust. The Government is well aware of that, yet it has failed dismally to handle the industrial troubles that have arisen. It was quite futile for the Attorney-General to say that the laws of this country will be enforced. There has been a long train of events of which, in his heart, he must be ashamed. There have been numerous incidents, which have caused the Government to amend the law so as to meet the growing demands of the lawless elements in this country. The Government must either govern, or give way to another administration which will restrain and control these lawless elements, whose aim is to destroy not only the products that are now in the holds of ships in Sydney harbour, not only the people who depend upon the sale of them, but also the opportunity to help our kith and kin in Britain, as well as the chance of the primary producer to make a profit, and the fair reputation of Australia and its workmen.
– I do not suppose that a more futile speech has over been made in this House than that just delivered by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) on what purports to be a definite matter of urgent public importance. Statements such as those of the honorable gentlemen have been made a dozen times at least during recent debates in the House. The AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) has explained the legal position in connexion with the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition. No one could question that the maintenance of law and order in New South Wales is the concern of the State Government. I say at once that I deeply regret such incidents as those which occurred yesterday in an attempt to deny freedom of speech to certain citizens of this country. Citizens, whether they be Liberals, or Communists, or otherwise, are entitled to express themselves freely so long as they keep within the law in doing so. That was the broad liberal outlook stated by the Leader of the Opposition. If such incidents as occurred in Sydney yesterday were allowed to continue without the law being enforced, and if people holding diametrically opposite views to other people were denied freedom of speech, it would be wrong. I make it perfectly clear, however, that the maintenance of the right of free speech in the Sydney Domain or elsewhere is a matter for the State law authorities. So far as I can ascertain, the law is being applied. In connexion with the matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Bendigo regarding Communist influences in certain trade unions, and the allegation of a growing terrorism within the trade union movement, I was interested to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that on one occasion when he addressed the coal-miners there was no violence. I have heard some of the right honorable gentleman’s colleagues say, on many occasions, that organizations of the coal -miners and seamen are Communist-ridden, but I point out that the leaders of these unions, including Mr. Wells and Mr. Healy, were elected by secret ballot. We may hear something about the secret ballot later on. for honorable members opposite are always talking about it. This means, of course, that these leaders were elected by the majority of the members of their respective organizations.
In view of the’ fact that anything further that could be relevantly said on the subject-matter of this motion would bo mere recapitulation, and that similar views have been expressed in this House on many occasions during the last few weeks, I move -
That the question be now put.
-^- I rise to order Standing Order 257b (b) provides that-
A debate on a motion under Standing Orde No. 38 to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance may be continued for a period of two hours. [n view of the fact that we are dealing with the subject of freedom of speech, I ask that the time for the discussion of the subject-matter of the motion of the Leader of the Opposition be not limited to less than the two hours provided by the Standing Orders.
– The standing order is very clear. The discussion “ may “ continue for two hours. But the House is always master of its own business, and it is in order for the
Prime Minister’s motion to be put. There is no substance in thehonorable gentleman’s point.
Question put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)
Foes . . . . . . 27
Majority . . 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the House do now adjourn.
The House divided. (Mr.speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
Message recommending appropriation reported.
In committee (Consideration of Governor-General’s message) :
Motion (by Mr. Ward) agreed to -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to grant and apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund sums for the purpose of financial assistance to the States to be applied in the construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of roads and works connected with transport, and for other purposes.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
That Mr. Ward and Mr. Calwell do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Mr. “Ward, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the hill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to seek provision for certain grants to the States for the construction and maintenance of roads. Provision is also sought for the maintenance of certain strategic roads and roads of access to Commonwealth properties, and under a further heading, for the promotion of road safety principles and practices throughout Australia.
It is proposed that grants to the States shall be for a period of three years from the 1st July this year, when the existing Federal Aid Roads and Works Agreement expires, and be subject to the condition that the money is to be spent on the basis of a road construction policy agreed to by the Commonwealth Minister for Transport after consultation with the Australian Transport Advisory Council, on which the States are represented by their Ministers for Transport. The broad object of this condition, of which T shall speak later, is to secure the co-ordination of road construction policies throughout the Commonwealth on a national basis, and to integrate road construction with the development of other forms of transport.
Briefly, grants to the States will take two forms. One will continue the payment, as under the current agreement, of an amount equal to 3d. a gallon of customs duty, and 2d. a gallon of excise duty, on petrol and certain petroleum products and coal tar distillates entered for consumption. In calculating this amount, however, petrol to be used for civil aviation will be excluded. This is not done at present, because when the 1937 agreement was framed, petrol used in civil flying was an insignificant part of the total. Since then, however, it has grown to considerable proportions, and is increasing rapidly, and because the Commonwealth is now committed to very large expenditures for civil aviation development, particularly the construction of aerodromes, it is considered that the full amount of duties collected in respect of such petrol should be retained for Commonwealth purposes.
On current consumption of petrol, the amount paid to the States under this grant will be about £4,500,000 a year and will of course increase as consumption of petrol increases. Payments to the States will be on the basis of the same formula as is contained in the existing agreement, which provides that 5 per cent, of the total will be paid to Tasmania, and the remaining 95 per cent, distributed between the other States in the proportions of two-fifths as to areas and three-fifths us to their respective populations as recorded at the census to be taken in June this year.
It will be permissible for States to spend an amount not greater than onesixth of the total amount of this grant on works connected with transport other than roads. Provision is thus made for the development of facilities such as country aerodromes, boat havens and jetties for fishermen, and the like.
It is proposed that the States will be required to submit to the Commonwealth Minister for Transport each year a statement on a broad basis of proposed allocations of expenditure on road construction works for the following financial year and that these statements will be referred to the Australian Transport Advisory Council for its information.
In addition to the payments based upon gallonage, for general roads purposes, it is proposed to make available to the States an amount of £1,000,000 per year for the special purpose of building and maintaining roads through sparsely settled areas, timber country and rural areas for which other transport facilities are not available. It will be prescribed that, in general, such roads, will not include State highways, main roads and trunk roads, and it is intended that special regard shall be paid to areas not served by railways.
In deciding to make this special grant the Government has been impressed with the need to make provision for relatively undeveloped districts and areas “ off the main track “, so to speak. During the past twenty years very notable progress has been made in the development of main roads systems throughout the States and this work must go on. But for various reasons the development of secondary roads in many regions has not kept pace. Generally, such roads are the responsibility of local boards or councils whose finances are limited and because they run through thinly-populated country, of low rateable value, these roads tend to be neglected. By providing money specially for the construction and upkeep of such roads, the Commonwealth Government aims to promote the opening-up of undeveloped regions. This should also afford some relief to the finances of local authorities. It is also provided in this bill that money paid under this grant may be spent, if the State thinks fit, upon the purchase of modern road-making plant for use in areas where this is beyond the resources of local authorities.
The State governments will be required to undertake that the roads authorities of their respective States shall be responsible for adequate maintenance of developmental roads constructed from such moneys. Distribution of this special grant between the States will be on the same basis as the other and larger grant. Here, also, it is proposed that States will be required to submit to the Commonwealth Minister for Transport- each year a general statement of proposed expenditure on road construction and maintenance, and the purchase of plant from moneys received under this grant, and that these proposals will be considered by the Transport Advisory Council.
The Government attaches very great importance to the objective of national transport co-ordination. On the one hand, we have the errors of the past to warn us of what failure to plan forward, and to integrate the transport systems of the several States and the various forms of transport within the States, can mean in terms of hindrances to movement and transportation, especially in time of war, and of loss of time and effort and capital to the whole community. On the other hand, as we enter what I believe will be a highly dynamic stage of our national growth, transport itself is undergoing fundamental changes. Road vehicles with higher speeds and greater load capacity compete increasingly with the railways, while air transportation of both passengers and freight presents a rapidly strengthening challenge to both. Without clear and forward-looking ‘ guidance, the whole situation would quickly become chaotic and it is to afford such guidance that the Commonwealth and States have been endeavouring, within the limits imposed by the Constitution, to develop machinery and give effect to plans for transport co-ordination. We have had particularly in mind the lessons taught by the war as to the need for flexibility in our transport system as a whole, and for decentralized industries to meet the exigencies of war. Hence, to bring road construction within the scope of the general co-ordination plan, is an obvious, and yet vitally important measure.
It is further proposed in this bill to provide an amount of £500,000 per year for the maintenance of certain strategic roads and roads of access to Commonwealth properties. During the war, a very large mileage of roads was built in various parts of the Commonwealth for defence purposes. The cost was high, but the roads represent a great national asset, because, apart from peacetime transport uses, they constitute a vital element in the permanent defence organization of Australia. Some of these roads have passed into the general roads systems of the States and it is not intended that any part of the £500,000 will be expended on such roads, except where the Commonwealth Government requires a higher standard of maintenance than would be justified by the volume of ordinary traffic. Strategic roads as such will be defined by the Commonwealth, some in the States and some in Commonwealth territories. Expenditure from the £500,000 will be controlled by the Commonwealth and the work will be carried out by the Commonwealth or State authorities as arranged.
Finally, it is proposed to set aside a sum of £100,000 for expenditure on measures, to be approved by the Commonwealth Minister for Transport, for the promotion of road safety principles and practices. This step was recommended by the Australian Transport Advisory Council, and the Government intends it to be a contribution to the efforts already being made to reduce the grave toll of deaths and injuries caused every year through road accidents, and to bring about safer conditions of road travelling. On the basis of the present consumption of petrol, the Commonwealth will bc making available ‘approximately £6,000,000 per annum for roadworks. This may be compared with an average of £3,800,000 in the three years immediately preceding the war, and an average of £2,900,000 per annum in the ten-year period 1930 to 1940. In making increased provision for road finance, the Government has recognized that costs of building and maintaining roads and bridges have increased materially since the pre-war years, and it has also foreseen the greater demand for road services which must come with increasing motor traffic and the progressive industrialization of our economy. Because of uncertainty as to trends in public finances, as well as in costs, petrol consumption, and other factors effecting transport, it has been thought advisable to limit the term of the grants to three years. At the end of that period the matter can again be reviewed in the light of prevailing circumstances. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. McDonald) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Calwell, and read a “first time.
– by leave - I move -
That the bill tie now read a second time.
This measure is considered necessary, not only to ensure that we shall have some knowledge of the aliens in our midst, but also to provide for an analysis of Australia’s alien population, so that the Government may implement its immigration policy on sound and scientific lines. A scheme for the registration of aliens is not new to Australia. Registration of aliens was first introduced in 1916 as a war-time necessity. This fell into disuse after World War I., but, as the need for some form of control was recognized, an Aliens Registration Bill was introduced in 1920. During the discussion of the bill in” the Senate, Senator Pearce, who had been Minister for the Army during World War I., said -
One great difficulty experienced in Great Britain - and wo had the same difficulty to some degree in Australia - was that they had no record of the aliens in their midst, whereas other countries knew exactly where they were. We had to proceed on a laborious, costly and somewhat inefficient method of ascertaining where our aliens were located. The war has demonstrated that every nation must endeavour to protect itself. Our allies of to-day may be our enemies tomorrow. No country could be cited as more easy-going in a sense than the United States of America, and not only during the war but before the United States ot America entered the conflict tha), country went to the extreme in this regard and outdistanced anything that any other country had done in regard to control of its alien population. … It was a matter of self-preservation. Notwithstanding the numerous alien population the United States of America had within her borders before she entered the war, she knew exactly where they were located and took all the necessary measures to have them watched.
Surely we have all recognized that under the present desperate state of the world no country could afford to go back to that free and easy style that existed before. . . . The registration of aliens is one means by which a nation can keep an eye on those people. So long as they are peaceable and prepared to become good citizens it is no reflection upon them and does no harm to them to call upon them to register, but if they showed themselves to be enemies that registration then becomes our means of defence and our means of preventing them from bringing loss of life and loss of wealth to our country-
Those observations, which are as true to-day as they were when Senator Pearce made them in his speech 27 years ago, have acquired an increased importance in the light of our experiences in World War II.
The Aliens Registration Act of 1920 provided for registration to be effected by the State police departments, as is the case to-day under the National Security Regulations, but, owing to a breakdown in the negotiations as to the terms under which police assistance was to become available, the act did not come into operation and it was repealed in 1934. From 1922 to 1927 there was practically no oversight of aliens beyond the collection of their passports. In 1927 this position was dealt with by an amendment of the Immigration Act, which required all aliens entering Australia to complete a form giving personal particulars. The scope of this act, however, was limited and inadequate, for no provision was made to follow up the movements of a liens, and no check was ma de of aliens resident in the Commonwealth before the inception of the scheme. On the 21st June, 1939, a new Aliens Registration Act was assented to; but this provided for nothing more than a form of registration which was to be carried out by the registrars of the electoral sub-divisions of the Commonwealth. Before its administrative machinery could be completed, it was replaced by the Aliens Control Regulations under the National Security Act. This involved the setting up of a large organization throughout the Commonwealth to trace and control aliens during the war years, and it was only by the expenditure of much money and time that we obtained anything like an adequate knowledge of either their numbers or their nationalities. Had we but possessed the foresight to have continued some limited form of alien control after World War I., we would have been in a much better position to deal with the question of aliens resident in this country when World War II. commenced in 1939.
The Aliens Control Regulations promulgated under the National Security Act required an alien - to register and report; not to land with ciphers, codes, &c. ; not to land or embark except at specified ports or aerodromes; not to travel by air except as passenger in civil aircraft; not to engage in certain avenues of employment; not to board any fishing vessel or other small craft; not to possess anything listed in the Prohibited Possessions Order; e.g., ciphers, motor vehicles, inflammable substances, &c., and not to changehis name, his abode or address, or his employment without notification or authority.
Police officers from the various State departments of police were charged with the day-to-day control of the registration, movements, possessions, and general supervision of aliens, with the Commonwealth Security Service exercising an. overriding function. With the closing of the Security Service at the end of 1945,. responsibility for the administration of the National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations was transferred to the Department of Immigration. When the National Security Act was terminated at the end of last year, some of the regulations in respect of the control of aliens were dropped, but others were continued in the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act, which received assent on the 14th December,1946. The Government is of opinion that the time has arrived when some of the regulations still in force can be withdrawn. A few basic controls must, however, be maintained in the public interest. Thiswas the unanimous opinion of members of the Aliens Classification and Advisory Committee, of which I had the honour to be chairman. This committee, as the result of its extensive inquiries into war-time controls, submitted a report to the Attorney-General, who was at that time responsible for the administration of the Aliens Control Regulations, recommending that some measure of control would undoubtedly be beneficial to the community in peace-time. Referring to post-war requirements, the report states -
Whilst the measure of control exercisable over aliens will, quite properly, be less restrictive than during the war years, there shouldbe no question of the desirability of retaining registration of aliens as the basis of any scheme designed to utilize them as part of the human resources of the nation.
Honorable members will appreciate that to-day we are faced with a set of circumstances vastly different from, and more complicated, than that which existed at the close of World War I. The whole of our economic life and conditions have altered. Consequently no Commonwealth Government can regulate the flow of aliens into Australia or permit an alien population to remain in this country without some form of basic control. It will require registration at least for the purpose of having available proper information as to -
– That, presumably, means that, generally speaking, the Government does not favour the formation of foreign colonies?
– Precisely. The bill is designed to regulate all the things to which I have referred. The Government will also require registration for the purpose of having available proper information as to -
Possession of such information, scientifically arranged, is vital if the Commonwealth is to deal properly with migration, and to minimize the possibility of the introduction of undesirable aliens. It is now plain that national stocktaking, as it were, will be necessary from time to time, and some form of registration of aliens is therefore essential for that purpose.
This bill will do no harm to aliens desiring to settle in this country. In fact, it goes little beyond what is already required of Australians, who are compelled by law to register for electoral purposes and to furnish detailed particulars for the Commonwealth census. Aliens will be free to move at will and to take whatever employment they may choose, and they will be ordinarily free from police or other surveillance; but we do insist that they shall let us know where they are, and how they are employed. The Government also feels that an alien should not change his surname without first receiving ministerial consent. It has to be admitted, unfortunately, that Australians have something to learn in the way of tolerance and forbearance towards people from other lands. We must do our share to assist them to become assimilated and to ensure that they are not ostracized within the community in which they settle: they for their part must not, except in special circumstances, seek to cloak their nationality under another name.
I take this opportunity ‘to express the Government’s keen appreciation of the invaluable service which the various State Commissioners of Police and their staffs have rendered since 1939 in the registration and control of aliens. In future this work will be carried out entirely by officers of the Department of Immigration, whose function it is to encourage migration and the rapid assimilation of aliens into the general life of the community. The necessity to comply with the provisions of this bill will bring all aliens into close contact with officers of my department, who will acquaint them with their responsibilities as residents of this country, and will offer such guidance and advice as may be essential to their general well-being and happiness. In this way it is hoped that all new arrivals from overseas will be made to feel that, so long as they conform to the limited requirements expected of them, they are free to enjoy our democratic way of life, and in the fullness of time to accept all the privileges and obligations of Australian citizenship.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Menzies) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 26th February (vide page 190), on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the following papers be printed: -
.(vide page 190) .
– The Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has once more put before the House an informative document relating to the external affairs of Australia, or, perhaps more accurately, foreign affairs so far as Australia has some direct interest in them. I do not propose to undertake the useless task of going over the same ground. It will, perhaps, be more useful if all who take part in this debate concentrate their attention on two or three major matters in order that we may make some contribution to the general pool of ideas about them. But I have been very much struck by two things recently. The first thing is that it seems to me that the declaration made by the Government of the United Kingdom on
India and -the prospective developments in Burma, in particular, have made it more important than ever that the view of Australia on foreign relations should be clear and, if possible, continuous. In brief, our foreign relations become increasingly important to us as our isolation from the centre of the British Empire becomes more marked. That is putting the matter abruptly perhaps, but I think truly. The second thing that has struck me is that on many matters mentioned by the Minister in his statement there is a great deal more common ground in this House than we may Suppose. I, for example, can read through the long statement on those matters and find myself agreeing with a good deal of it, and, if we arc to have a foreign policy that is genuinely the foreign policy of this, country and has continuity, which is vastly important, I believe that we must increasingly look for those matters on which we can agree.
That, perhaps, can be well illustrated by making a glancing reference to the problem oi the Japanese settlement. The -Minister, in his statement, dealt with the problem of the Japanese settlement. He said, and I agree with him, that the matter was not to be allowed to drag on indefinitely. He realizes, I think, as I think I do myself, that if a settlement with Japan is to wait ‘for the reform of thu Japanese economy, it may wait so long that the Japanese economy may never be reformed. I feel very strongly myself, although I see its difficulties, that if (i settlement with Japan is to await the establishment of democracy in Japan, it may wait so long that democracy will never be established in that country. “We cannot wait for a perfect state of affairs before we have discussions on a settlement with Japan. That, 1 think, is common ground between what the Minister has said and the views I am putting myself. There is, I think, common ground between us that - I use the Minister’s words - “ Japan must never again be permitted to develop the means of waging war “. It is of no use being sentimental about Japan. Japan has broken all the laws of God and man in waging war, and it is not to be put in the position of launching war again. Japan, the Minister says, in the second place, is to be assisted to establish a democratic form of government. Once more we would all agree. But when we have stated those matters which arise on the threshold, we have not solved our difficulties. “We are just beginning to approach them. What actual terms are to be imposed on Japan ? What actual controls of an economic kind are to be established over Japan? How long a period of control over Japan do we visualize? All those matters will require an immense amount of thought and knowledge, and, in relation to that, I emphasize that the policy ought as far as possible to be continuous. If there is one thing that has marked British foreign policy in the last seven or eight years it is that, notwithstanding drastic changes of government, there has been continuity of the central elements of foreign policy. If there is one thing which, perhaps as much as any other, explains the downfall of France in 1940, it was the failure of France to achieve continuity of policy - the grim fact that with every rapid change of government there was a violent change of attitude towards most problems. So I desire, without labouring it, to emphasize the importance of some proper continuity of foreign policy. And there cannot be continuity of foreign policy, unless that foreign policy becomes so much known by the Parliament and so regularly debated in the Parliament that it can be referred to as the policy of the Parliament and not, with great respect to the Minister, the policy of one man or a few men. It would be to the advantage of the right honorable gentleman to be able to say in the fateful discussions that will occur, “ I am not speaking just for myself ; I am expressing the considered opinion of Australia “. If we are to have continuity of foreign policy, this House must have available to it a more effective means of understanding the factors that bear upon policy and of influencing the formation of policy than it has had, in the nature of things, in the past. Some time ago, I made a proposal. I was not the only one to do so. The proposal has been made halfadozen times. It was for the creation of a foreign affairs committee. As I think I said on the last occasion, that proposal was not made in order that there might bc some non-ministerial committee presuming to form policy. That would he not only undesirable but intolerable. But there should be a committee of this House, with a special means of getting information, in order that every time these matters crop up there may be at least a nucleus of honorable members with the letter of the information before them and the opportunity of special study in order that they may have a real grasp of the matters to be debated. All parties in this House- and I put this forward as axiomatic - should be effectively consulted before the peace settlement is made with Japan. ]’ do not say that because I’ think that the negotiations for that settlement should be postponed. T entirely agree that to wait until all conditions have been resolved would be to wait too long. T do not say it assuming that there will be violent difference between us as to the terms. I say it because I am impressed that, on certain vital matters, we have far more ground in common than ground that distinguishes one from the other. But the Parliament itself should be effectively consulted. There could be no more effective method of consultation than a foreign affairs committee that would give to this House, in some way, formal or informal, the opportunity of discussing the actual problems that will emerge. Unless that is done we may have instead of a permanent policy put forward for peace with Japan, a policy that, with a change of government, would be an absolutely different policy. That would moan violent pressure on the peace with Japan which, in the long-run, might disturb the peace. In the phrase of the right honorable gentleman and myself, because I remember using it when the legations were first established, Australia has primary interests in the Pacific. T have been wondering of late whether, before we discuss the settlement with Japan, the opportunity should not be given to representative members of the Commonwealth Parliament to visit Japan themselves to see the working out of the various commissions that have been referred to, in order to get some firsthand view of the problems that will arise in relation to Japan. But whether that be so or not, I strongly advise the
Government that before those discussions arise this Parliament should be effectively consulted on not only the principle that is to be applied to the settlement with that country but also the actual problems, political, military and economic, that will arise in relation to the settlement with Japan. I am not going to dwell on that, because I think I have said enough to indicate my own approach to this matter. My approach is not in some contentious fashion. We are dealing with something that will be of significance to Australia for the next 100 years, and we cannot afford - to put it on no higher ground - to approach it in some merely partisan spirit.
I turn to another matter referred to in the speech of the right honorable gentleman. This side of the House will never hesitate to disagree with the Government’s foreign policy. We can hardly be accused of blind adherence to the policy of the Minister. I think he entertains certain illusions about the state of the world. But let that pass. Again I indicate that there are one or two subjects on which there is some common ground. The second matter is the problem of disarmament and atomic energy. One of the outstanding features of the world between the two wars was the enthusiasm with which the victors in World War I. disarmed each other and the failure of their attempts to disarm their defeated enemies. The result was that by quite early in the thirties Great Britain had reduced its defences to almost a skeleton. We had had the Washington Conference and the London Conference. There had been a steady scaling down of British, American and French naval power and, at the same time, the whole industrial resurgence of Germany was being directed towards rearmament, either publicly or secretly. In consequence, we entered World War II. in September, 1939, not on advantageous terms to us in point of armaments, but actually on terms which handicapped us - all because between World War I. and World War II., disarmament was, to use the modern jargon, a purely unllateral affair. Now, it has been said repeatedly, and I desire to emphasize it, that, there can be no real disarmament in this world unless there is a completely effective system of inspection of all the countries which are parties to the disarmament scheme. It would be suicidal for us to accept the bare word of Japan or Germany on disarmament. We must have, in addition, the fullest authority in whatever international organization is worked out, to inspect and to ensure that their word is being kept. Otherwise, once more, we shall see the day when the dishonest aggressor, who breaks his word about armaments will begin his fight with an advantage against the honest country which desires peace. Therefore, inspection is the essence of it.
That thought gives rise at once to the problem which is referred to in the report of the Atomic Energy Commission. We know that there is a conflict here. The United States of America, which happens to possess, in fact, the store of atomic bombs at this stage, is being invited by the Soviet Union, to destroy them as a preliminary to disarmament. The United States of America, has replied in effect : “ No. Once a system is established which includes inspection and genuine disarmament, and everybody is in it and ‘acting under it, we can certainly talk about destroying the stores; but until that is done, what we have we hold “. I was very relieved to hear the Minister for External Affairs say that the view expressed by the United States of America was, in general, supported by the representatives of Australia, because it would be a completely unrealistic view, in the world as we see it, to destroy our own dominating power at this moment, unless we are certain that every similar power is being destroyed or controlled at the same time. If we can judge by the number of divisions available for immediate purposes, the grea test military power in ease, is the Soviet Union, not the United States of America or the United Kingdom. If we put the potentialities of the atomic bomb on one side and ask, “Who has the most powerful army? “ the answer must be, “ The Soviet Union “. Unfortunately, the Soviet Union, for a variety of reasons which I need not debate, has not so far shown a non-aggressive spirit in its dealings with the post-war world. On the contrary, it has made a series of substantial territorial expansions in the last two or three years. Therefore, I believe that it is completely right that the
United States of America, which has our support, should say : “ Yes, by all means let us look towards a disarmed world and towards a community of nations in which force i3 the perquisite of the united structure and not the perquisite of some individual country. But until that time comes, if it ever does come, do not let us commit once more the incredible folly of disarming the peace-loving nations of the world. When it was done between World War I. and World War II., this disarmament produced the second world war more certainly than any other single element.
The third important matter which I desire to discuss is India. When I read in my newspaper that on the 20th February last the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Attlee, had made his dramatic and historic statement about India, my first feeling was one almost of shock. Although it is true to say that for the whole of our lifetime we have been looking in the direction of India’s selfgovernment, I, myself, did not anticipate that suddenly in February, 1947, the knife would come down ; and I dare say that even those better informed than I am about these matters also experienced some surprise. The decision is very farreaching, and I desire to discuss it in the quietest possible terms. In the first place, I hope that the Australian Government was effectively consulted about it. Sometimes, these matters are discussed without a full realization at, Whitehall that the future of India is in a very real sense linked with the future of Australia and New Zealand. Consequently, I hope that there was an effective consultation at the right time. I should also like to add, without any desire to be impertinently critical of a distinguished man, that I consider that the atmosphere in which the Prime Minister of Great Britain produced this statement might easily convey the impression, to one reading the newspapers, that the Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell, was being dismissed from office. I do not for a moment believe that that is so. Lord Wavell has had in India a problem of enormous difficulty. He has had contending elements, and he will not be the last in India to have contending elements to deal with. He has had the problems associated with the Hindus, the Princes and the Muslims, and all those other problems which involve conflicts much more fundamental than any of the conflicts between the Australian colonies before federation, and, at the same time, vast racial and religious differences. I can very well understand that, with the adoption of a new policy, the British Government thought it proper to have a new Viceroy, and, indeed, we can hardly imagine a man more capable of dealing with human beings than the newly appointed Viceroy. However, it is unfortunate that any impression should have been given that Lord Wa veil’s magnificent and patient services on those problems were being terminated in any abrupt manner.
The first question which I asked myself about India was : Is this last decision right? The matter has been and is being vigorously debated in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. I must say, for myself, that it does not seem very useful to conduct a prolonged debate on that point. It may seem to me - indeed it does - that it is a dubious thing to endeavour to compress into sixteen months, between February, 1947, and June, 194.S, a process which took the Australian colonies, with all their community of race, religion and ideas, 25 years. I may feel, as many millions of people will feel, that the prospect of getting a complete Indian settlement in that period, and pursuant to this warning, is not very great. It may seem to me, as indeed it does, that to abandon control of a people who have not yet shown a real and broad capacity for popular self-government is to do a disservice to them. We do not greatly’ serve a people when we throw them into a state of self-government before the majority of them have become fit to undertake this extraordinarily delicate and difficult task. We know that ourselves. Not by any means have we mastered the problems of selfgovernment. Every one of us knows that we cannot honestly say that we have achieved a complete, perfect and effective democracy in Australia. Yet we have had behind us, not only our own experience of generations, but also the traditions of centuries.
– It is a plant of very slow growth.
– Indeed it is. Anybody who studies the history of Europe in the last few years of the nineteenth century and the early period of the twentieth century will agree that the- parliamentary system, when tried in such countries as Germany and Italy, instead of being a native plant of slow growth, was exotic, and, under artificial treatment, perished because its roots were not deep enough in the soil. I have grave fears about the fate of the institution of self-government in a country which, quite obviously, has not yet reached the stage at which the majority of its people are, by education, outlook and training, fit for self-government. It may seem to me, and indeed it does, that the action which has been taken may precipitate very great civil disorder in India. One has very great fears of what may happen when the common factor in the whole matter is withdrawn. Once more I find myself in agreement with the Minister for External Affairs that, if this statement involves the abandonment of the goal of dominion status for India, it is a tragedy for the British Empire and an equally great tragedy for India and India’s people.
Although I mention those matters, and there is no reason why they should not be uttered in this House, it is still true - and this is the dominating factor-that the Government of the United Kingdom has made this statement, and it must be honored if the honour, prestige and reputation of the British people in the world are to be preserved. Accordingly, we in Australia would be more usefully employed, not in discussing whether it should have been done, but in asking ourselves how we can contribute to making it a. success; how we can help the Indian people to achieve effective self-government; how we can, by strengthening our own commercial and cultural relations with them, assist them in the direction of peace and industrial development and a sober, sensible, all-round self-government on the democratic model.
At that point, there at once comes into my mind, naturally enough, the White
Australia policy. Occasionally, we are told that this subject should be discussed with bated breath. I do not agree. It is a great mistake, in discussing these matters, for us to assume that those responsible for the government of India are not just as capable of looking at this matter in an adult manner as we are. I desire to distinguish between the White Australia policy as a policy in relation to migration and what is sometimes falsely called the “White Australia policy “ insofar as it concerns visits to be made to this country by businessmen, scholars, students and the like. I do not believe that there is a real difficulty between British India and Australia in relation to the migration of people to this country. I cannot believe for one moment that British India has some interest in wanting to send a few thousand people, because that is what it would amount to, year by year into Australia to become settlers here. I want to say, beyond any equivocation, that I believe that, as a policy of migration, the White Australia policy is a sound policy, and it is our business and nobody else’s business. Exactly in the same way as the inhabitants of India have said, in effect, “ India for the Indians “, so are we perfectly entitled - and I refer back to the agreement between Australia and New Zealand - to deal with this matter of migration as one which concerns the receiving country and is not to be made the subjectmatter of an international order. It would be a very sorry day for us should our migration policy, our factory policy, or our any other kind of policy, be the subject of orders from somebody outside Australia. The real difficulty, so far as my investigations have been able to carry me, arises from a good deal of avoidable irritation. For example, some business man from Calcutta arrives in Australia and, under our rules and regulations, finds himself, at the end of six or eight weeks, refused a permit to remain in this country, and from first to last complains that he is being made to feel that *. ; is an inferior being. It is not a matter of inferior beings. Nobody in Australia who has any sense considers that, because he is a white man and an Australian, he is a better man than one who lives in Calcutta or Bombay and is of a different colour. That is just nonsense. We get right back to what we badly need to have purged from our minds - the absurd idea that because somebody is of another race he is of an inferior order of human beings. He is not. India can point to as much in the way of scholarship, benefits to the human race, high thinking, intelligence and character, as we can. This has nothing to do with a feeling of superiority. All that is needed is what I venture to think the right honorable the Attorney-General had in mind - that, in relation to the exchange of visitors between these two countries, we should go to great pains to see that we shall not set up unnecessary irritations. The matter has nothing to do with migration, but has everything to do with the development of peaceful contact and communication between the two peoples. Technical problems are involved, no doubt. But I have never been able to see why students from India should not have the benefit of whatever university experience we can give to them. T do not know why students from India should not be able to get the benefit of such medical training as we can give to them. I see no reason why a business man from India should not be able to come to Australia for a reasonable period of time; just as a business man from Australia can go to India for a reasonable period of time. Let us get rid of the pin-pricks, of the irritating and rather pedantic rules, whilst at the same time making it clear that so far as settlement in Australia and absorption into the Australian community are concerned, we stand firmly by a national policy, which T believe to be acceptable to 95 per cent, of the people of this country.
What I have to say about the last, matter is highly tentative. I have been very interested lately to observe that two or three notable Englishmen, including Mr. Churchill, have been directing a good deal of attention to the possibility of erecting a United States of Europe. Without looking at that as a rather difficult problem of federation, all that I want to say is that what they are looking towards is the revival of Europe. All that I want to do is to point out in this House, if it needs pointing out, that the restoration of Europe is of immense importance to the world and to us. Whatever views may be held about the various schemes that are now being discussed or put into operation in the world, my feeling is that, in the nineteenth century, most of the people of the world lived in peace because Pax Britannica was the dominating factor in the world. That day has gone.From now on, the twentieth century cannot be governed by any system of peace which proceeds from Great Britain. The world has altered. The foci of power in the world have changed. Accordingly, my feeling is that, in the present world, peace depends upon various factors. I believe that it depends for us, first, upon a new integration of the British Empire. Allowing for all those unhappy events that I have been discussing, let us, so far as we remain British countries, integrate ourselves, not only by what I may describe as vertical points of contact between ourselves and Great Britain, but also by horizontal contacts between all the British countries; between ourselves and New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and so on. In the second place, I believe that peace depends upon a complete Anglo-American understanding and co-operation. If we believe that - and I could not believe in anything more - then it is of no use for us to be pedantic about certain matters. I hear arguments occasionally about, for example, the position of the Mandated Islands. If, in the unspeakable wisdom of providence, the time ever came when America warred on us, then we should be lost indeed. Therefore, there can be no sensible policy considered for Australia except upon the footing that America will not make war on us, that we are friends with America; and if we are friends with America, then by all means let the United States of America have as many points of influence and of mutual defence in the Pacific as possible. [Extension of time granted.]
The third matter that I mention as concerning the peace of the world, is the one at which I have already glanced - the restoration of Europe. There was a time, not very long ago, when it was almost a dangerous thing to talk about the restoration of Europe; because the restoration of Europe, mark you, includes the restora tion of Germany. I do not mean the restoration of Germany as a great, aggressive, military power - of course not - but the restoration of Germany as a community in which 60,000,000 or 70,000,000 people will live in peace and contentment without hostile intentions towards their neighbours. Only two or three years ago, in a paper that I read in Canberra, I committed the grave political error of making some such statement as that, and I have been chased by it ever since. The state of mind which seeks to discuss the future of this world in the light of the belief that you can have a happy and peaceful world, and at the same time a miserable and down-trodden, fever-ridden and ruined Germany, is an absurd state of mind. Punishment, yes, by all means, punishment to the last stripe; but then, if we are to have peace in the world, all nations must be treated as though they were composed of men who were brothers in the true spirit of the Atlantic Charter. Consequently, I emphasize that the restoration of Europe is of immense importance in this world if the peace of the world is to be kept.
The fourth matter that I mention, the fourth plank - as it might be expressed - in my own broad belief on these matters, is that all of us who enjoy what we are pleased to call western civilization have some responsibility for raising the living standards and, with them, the chance of individual freedom of the Asiatic peoples. It will not do for any element in Australia to look across the Indian Ocean at India and say, “ They are making things;they are expanding their factories ; they are our competitors ; what are we to do about it?” The truth is, that if we take a long view on these matters we shall realize that the industrialization of India and China, though they may appear in the short run to hold some challenge to us, must in the long run help the world and, therefore, help us, because the result will be that hundreds of millions of people will cease to be a negligible factor in the world economy and world trade and, by creating their own demands, will serve to bring prosperity to countries all round the world. I should be surprised if any one of the matters that I have referred to was a matter which inspired the hostility of honorable members -who sit on the other side of the House; and, if it does not, then we have here a foundation for common action; and if ever there was a time in our history when we needed to aim at common action, it is a time when all the old colours on the map are going, a time when we find that, instead of - being able to look round a world largely covered by British red we are looking round a world in which new movements are occurring, new independences are being established and new republics are coming into existence; we are looking round for our friends, and saying, “What is our common ground? What does this country stand for? In what direction will this country travel?” It is for the purpose of clearing my own mind on these matters that I have treated the House to this rather discursive series of observations this afternoon.
.- I am sure that the House is indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) for the very penetrating analysis which he has made this afternoon of some aspects of international affairs. Matching some of the candour he has shown on two occasions this afternoon, I should like to say that I have never seen any rational objection to the policy advocated by the Liberal party with respect to the formation in this House of a foreign affairs committee. I consider that to be an entirely sound proposal. I further consider that, should the occasion arise which revealed that the views of the different parties composing the foreign affairs committee were in utter divergence in respect of a matter affecting foreign affairs, the committee might cease to function for the time being; but on most occasions it would be an instrument whereby the Opposition could be informed and could have means for research into the facts of some problems which actually confronted the Government. In those circumstances, the plane on which debates on foreign affairs were conducted would be raised. Moreover, it would be made clear to representatives of foreign countries that, on broad questions, all political parties in Australia were united and there were prospects of a continuity of foreign policy.
The first occasion on which I had the honour to speak in this House was when the United Nations Charter was being ratified. It is worth while to look back over the developments of the last fifteen months. Especially is it worth while to ask ourselves to what extent we should regard the United Nations as a serious organization in the arrangement of matters relating to international affairs. I have devoted a few minutes to jotting down some of the major matters of foreign affairs which have been settled without the slightest reference to the United Nations, settlements which perhaps have arisen out of agreements such as those made at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam. Russia has acquired Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Karelian Isthmus and Eastern Poland, and has taken Bessarabia from Rumania. The occupation policy in Germany, which is vital to future peace, was not dealt with by the United Nations nor were the zones of occupation determined by it. Russia is making it perfectly clear that the reparations which it will impose on Germany is a matter of its own decision, and not of decision by the United Nations. Russia has acquired German capital goods without reference to the United Nations or, indeed, to any reparations committee. Rumanian and Hungarian food, and 50 per cent, of Rumania’s oil has been acquired without reference to any authority and the Manchurian railway and Port Arthur and Darien have likewise been taken over. All of these matters have relation to the future peace of Europe and Asia, but they have been determined without consultation with the United Nations. The Persian issue was settled out of court, as it were, under conditions which gave Russia special rights in Persia. Russian armies were still in Persia during the negotiations, if transactions in such circumstances can be called negotiations. The Spanish issue raised by Poland and the British charges against Albania in relation to the mining of British destroyers are being determined in such a manner as must cause us to despair of the United Nations ever becoming an effective instrument for the maintenance of peace, or for the settlement of any dispute which might arise in Europe. These issues are not being determined judicially. It would be far better if the Albanian matter could be passed on to the Hague Court, instead of being determined on the basis of certain great powers backing certain nations. It is well known that Albania is a satellite of Yugoslavia, which, in turn, is a satellite of Russia The issue to which I have just referred is being determined, not on its merits, but because Russia is supporting the attitude of Albania; yet we know that, because of the mining of the British destroyers in question, 44 British sailors lost their lives. If every issue that arises before the United Nations is to be determined upon these lines - and so far they all have been so determined - we must ask ourselves whether the United Nations is to be taken seriously as a factor in the present world situation.
Notwithstanding the great difference between the United Nations from 1945 to 1947 and the League of Nations from 1919 to 1922 - that being, of course, that the United States of America is one of the United Nations whereas it was not a member of the League of Nations - there is no sign that any great power is treating the United Nations as an organization which can be trusted to determine anything which can be conceived to be essential to its interests. It is with very great regret that one makes these remarks, but I consider that the warning which the Leader of the Opposition has given us - which 1 take the liberty of summarizing by saying that it is well to have constructive ideals but not illusions in international affairs - should be taken to heart by the members of the House. I am quite unable to accept very seriously the statement about the latest amendments Australia has proposed to procedure of the United Nations seeing that the matters which are supposed to be subject to determination by the United Nations are not being determined at all. I do not propose to labour this aspect of the subject. I shall content myself with pointing out that it is also clear that powers other than the Soviet Union are not taking the United Nations very seriously when we consider the occupation policy which is being pursued by the United States of America in
Japan. That, too, is a unilateral policy of the United States of America.
This is an occasion on which we should review some other matters which may affect world peace. The Leader of the Opposition dwelt at some length on India. I consider that a statement by Bernard Shaw applies emphatically to the Indian demand for independence. He said that self-government was not necessarily for a people’s good but for its satisfaction. A very strong argument could be advanced to support the contention that Ireland, from 1900 to 1914, was economically better off under the union with Great Britain than it has been since 1922. But when a situation arose as it did in 1920, when enough people in Ireland were strongly determined not to be ruled from Great Britain, there was no possibility of continuing the union of Britain and Ireland. In relation to India the question that we must com sider is not whether India will be better or worse off under independence, but whether the Indian demand for independence is sufficiently powerful to be heeded. I consider that it is. I consider also that the Leader of the Opposition was justified in stressing the fact that we must allow for the independence of India in the future. The AttorneyGeneral, in the course of his statement, drew attention to the fact that we are exporting £18,000,000 worth of goods to India per annum, and that last year we exported considerable quantities of wheat to that country. That brings us to one of the important economic factors in India’s position. To-day India has sterling credits in London which have reached the staggering proportions of £1,500,000,000. To a certain extent the trade to which the right honorable gentleman referred is one way trade. We are being paid, not entirely, but in a large part, by the transfer to Australia of Indian credits which have accumulated in London. Our sterling balances in London, therefore, are rising as the result of our sales to India. How Britain came to be indebted both to us and to India is something that is well worth the attention of the Government and the House. Our sterling credits in London now amount to £230,000,000, about half of which has been accumulated by the transfer of £130,000,000 worth of American dollars. This credit was used by Britain for the purchase of war equipment and the defence of the country. If money which Britain spent in home defence was spent also in our defence I consider that it behoves us to make a ruthlessly honest examination of the position in connexion with our sterling balances in London, and to ask ourselves how much of our war debt to Britain we are prepared to write off, having regard to the fact that a great deal of Britain’s expenditure during the war in its own defence was also in our defence. I do not expect India to adopt the same attitude in regard to its sterling balances of £1,500,000,000. By the curious irony of fate, a leading congressman in India who considers that British control of India is the result of imperialism also believes that the restoration of British industrialism is of the greatest interest to India because of the sterling balances which India holds in Great Britain. In respect of the continual accumulation of sterling balances which have resulted from our exports to Britain and of Britain being unable to export goods to us in return, we should consider the possibility of treating Britain equally as generously, as a stricken country, as we have treated New Zealand in respect of wheat, although New Zealand is not a stricken country.
Another matter which I consider should be carefully considered by the Government has relation to the possession of certain Pacific islands. I direct attention to the following extract from the Christian Science Monitor: -
Washington appears delighted over Russia’s neatly timed approval of the American plan for a trusteeship over 023 Pacific islands formerly mandated to Japan. The Soviet had appeared earlier to be supporting the British and Australian contention that American claims to the islands should await the Japanese peace treaty. Now it is said that all opposition may be abandoned. We hope this spectacle of Russians bearing gifts will cause President Truman and Secretary of State Marshall to think twice about pressing the trusteeship plan . . . Diplomatic observers declare the key to the Soviet’s sudden shift lies in the coining Moscow conference dealing with the peace treaty for Germany . . . They reason that if the United States takes the Pacific islands on the ground that it did the main joh against Japan and made the greatest sacrifices Russia will use that very same ground regarding the war in Europe as the basis for its claims there.
I direct attention particularly to the reference to the 623 Pacific islands. I find myself in entire agreement with the Leader of the Opposition, who implied that it was strongly in the interests of this country that the United States should have possession of these islands without any pedantic quibble as to whether the possession should be had before or after the treaty with Japan had been arranged. The desire of America to take possession of these islands should, in my opinion, be supported by the Australian Government. The islands should not be treated as though they were Japanese possessions to be disposed of by a defeated Japanese Government. The islands, theoretically, were the possessions of the League of Nations and, in my opinion, should be disposed of by the United Nations as the inheritors of the powers of the League of Nations. I do not consider that disposal of the islands should, await the determination of the treaty with Japan, for that presupposes that Japan was the possessor of the islands. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that it is in the fundamental interests of this country that the United States of America should have possession of the islands. Australia played a leading part in the drafting of the trusteeship provisions of the United Nations Charter. It has not played a leading part in carrying them out insofar as drafting the terms of its own trusteeship are concerned. The terms of Australia’s trusteeship in New Guinea look far more like colonial annexation, than do the terms which the United States of America has drafted for its trusteeship of Western Samoa. I am bound to say that the amendment moved by the Soviet Union to the terms of the Australian mandate of New Guinea which amendment was Article 16 of the United States West Samoa Trusteeship ; is far more in accord with the spirit of trusteeship than are the proposals put forward by our own Government. Article 16 of the Western Samoa agreement reads -
If any dispute should arise between the administering authority and another member of .the United Nations, relating to the interpretation or application of the provisions of this Agreement, such dispute, if it cannot be settled by negotiations or similar means, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice.
I am not aware of the reaction of the Australian Government to that proposal. Tt is certainly in complete harmony with our own beliefs concerning the court of human rights, because it would enable any nation, not a mandatory power, to bring before an independent tribunal its allegations that the letter and the spirit of a mandate were not being observed. In the past, the Australian Government has appeared to make up for the lack of Australia’s power in terms of power politics by giving a moral lead on questions like the court of human rights, and by taking the United Nations seriously. However, we appear to have deviated from that in a number of specific instances, and if we did not accept the proposal in regard to Article 16 of the Western Samoa agreement that would be a deviation. Other instances have occurred in which I believe that Australia’s representatives failed to live up to our own moral professions with respect to the court of human rights. I recall a dispute between Colonel Hodgson and the representative of another power concerning the rights of minorities within South Africa to appeal to a court of human rights. The Australian representative was reported in the press as supporting the absurd thesis that there was no occasion for United Nations to recognize a minority in South Africa subject to a disability. When we make a contention like that, when we virtually say that to great powers, “ Your minorities will have the right to appeal against you, but there is no occasion to provide for an appeal by our minorities against us.” - we abandon the moral position which we took up. To that extent, we depart from the standards to which our representatives professed to subscribe at San Francisco. At this stage, it seems to me that we must make certain points quite clear. First of all, we must accept the fact that the United Nations Organization is not a dominant factor in the maintenance of world peace, and is not so regarded by the great powers. Secondly, our attempt as a minor power to establish a moral lead through the United Nations, while worthy, will not be successful, and the United Nations in themselves are not im portant as an organization. Therefore, what should be the policy of this country? Australia is one of the countries undamaged by war. We have a contribution to make towards the reconstruction of other countries. We have already done so, in some measure, in that we have contributed £21,000,000 worth of food and capital equipment to Unrra, another international organization, which has ceased to function. We have made, or are about to make, a contribution towards the reconstruction of Britain. It seems to me that, accepting the view that we cannot have a major voice in international affairs, our fundamental and avowed policy should be that Australia’s first interest is the reconstruction of Britain. I remember my predecessor in this chamber, the late John Curtin, speaking at the Fremantle Town Hall about the need for a much closer co-ordination of policy between Great Britain and the dominions, and in the course of that speech he advocated thu setting up of an imperial secretariat. His recommendation was not given effect. I believe that, both economically and diplomatically, there should be closer coordination between ourselves and Great Britain than exists at present, with the special purpose of achieving the speedy reconstruction of Britain.
After that, our secondary interest should be the reconstruction of our Asiatic neighbours. I share the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition regarding the importance of India in the future of Australia. One of the results of India’s economic independence will be that exports from that country, which formerly served the purpose of meeting interest charges on loans, will in future be exchanged against goods from other countries. In the past, India always had a considerable section of its population on the verge of starvation. Even the gluts which occurred during the economic depression were not due to the fact that there was a surplus of food, but to the fact that certain countries were unable to offer goods in exchange for the food they needed. India is now in a position to offer goods in exchange for its requirements, and just as, during the nineteenth century, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were developed as a result of the demand from the industrialized countries of Europe for food, so we in Australia can look forward to a long period during which India and the Netherlands East Indies will need food from us while they are building up their own industries.
The third and least important factor in Australia’s foreign policy is the continuation of its efforts to make the United Nations effective. However, those efforts should be continued without illusion. In particular, we should not cherish the belief that the great powers will treat the United Nations seriously, or that this organization can be counted upon as an important factor in world peace.
.- Two very valuable speeches have been delivered this afternoon in the course of this debate. The first was the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who made some interesting comments which I desire to support. His first point was that there should be established a system of inspection so far as re-armament is concerned in order to prevent the re-armament of aggressor nations. The second point was that we should acquire a more intimate knowledge of Japan, our closest ex-enemy. To this end, facilities should, he suggested, be provided for members of this Parliament to visit the country. That was a very wise suggestion. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) discussed the impotence of the Unite’1 Nations, and in the course of his speech he put his finger on one of the weakest spots of the post-war set-up.
I am glad that the Government takes the view that the Japanese peace treaty should be concluded as soon as possible. I also believe that the signing of the German peace treaty is long overdue.. The partition of Germany into three separate areas, under separate control, is calculated to have far-reaching effects, and may even sow the seeds of a future war.
Those, like myself, who have seen the failure of idealistic attempts after the 1914-18 war to secure a permanent peace organization are alarmed and dismayed at again mixing the two problems - -the problem of the development of a general international peace system with the prob lem of prevention of the re-arming of the aggressor nations. Experience after World War I. showed that the mixing of the two problems prevented the solution of either. Included in the same plan were the immediate disarmament of Germany, and eventual disarmament of the world as a whole. The major powers were reluctant to disarm because the League of Nations possessed no military power to prevent the military rise of Germany. In turn, the failure of these countries to disarm gave Germany a strong case to re-arm sufficiently for national defence purposes. The surest and quickest means of realizing an effective universal peace system is by separating the German and Japanese disarmament problems from the world peace problem, and solving it first.
The only way to make the United Nations an asset rather than a liability is to transfer the military power of the great nations of the world to an international agency. These nations will not be willing to transfer this military power if it has not demonstrated already that through collective action we can prevent re-armament in the most dangerous countries. The road to universal peace will be smoother and more rapid if we attack first the problem of preventing the rearmament of Germany and Japan. Our experience there will demonstrate the advantages or disadvantages of some of the powers proposed to be given to the permanent international organization.
There are many outstanding reasons for prior action in the direction of settling the German and Japanese treaties first. Restoration of world trade cannot take place until the future industrial and economic policies of Germany and Japan are defined. Those countries constitute such an integral part of the whole world body that, from whatever aspect they are regarded - population, resources, technical skill, organization or trade. - the reactions of their diseased and disordered unproductive state are felt in every other country. Also, other countries must know the form of German and Japanese economy before they can confidently design their own future. These countries constitute such an important integral part of the civilized world to-day that if they are left in a condition of disaster, disorder and chaos there must inevitably be undesirable repercussions and reactions in every country in the world. It is imperative that at the earliest possible moment the peace treaties with Germany and Japan be finalized. Honorable members will recall that the Treaty pf Versailles was not signed until some seven or eight months after the armistice, ft is almost two years since Germany capitulated, and eighteen months since Japan surrendered. Much time has been lost in argument about all sorts of international organizations that will disappear overnight if war breaks out again. The problem of controlling Germany and Japan is much simpler than that of securing a world organization that will function effectively in the maintenance of world peace. In the case of Germany and Japan we are in a position to dictate the terms of peace to a vanquished foe. Conditions with respect to their disarmament and the control of their key industries would not be based upon agreements between contracting parties enjoying more or less equal status; rather they would be the terms imposed by the victors on the vanquished and would be of the same authority as the order to their soldiers to surrender their arms. Contrast that with the very different position with which we are faced in determining what key industries should be controlled in the different countries of the world under the international organization. The task of enforcing the terms of peace on Germany and Japan is essentially administrative and not political. It can be achieved merely by a continuation of the existing military alliance which may hand over the whole task to a joint board under specific orders, and allot troops, as has been done in Japan, to serve under special conditions. In Japan we have a Commander-in-Chief who controls the joint forces of the victorious allied nations. Ultimately, if we are to have an effective international police system, we shall have to bring into existence an international military force. That will be difficult of achievement. On the other hand, the establishment of an international organization designed to police not only the defeated countries but also the victors, such as the United States of America, Great Britain and Russia would necessitate voluntary agreement on the part of these countries and the surrendering of certain forces as well as industries. To achieve that would take much argument and time, and we have not much time at our disposal. We cannot afford to waste time in our efforts to re-settle the world and bring about the rehabilitation of Europe and Asia. International agreement on this matter would be much more readily reached if it had been demonstrated that the German and the Japanese menace was definitely under control. The methods of control of such key industries as electric power, and military and civil aviation could be tried out in Germany and Japan. They could be perfected, as a laboratory experiment on a small scale, and, if necessary, the approved methods could then be used on a world-wide basis.
With the coming of atomic energy, which needs for its final development substantial supplies of electric power, it will be seen that electric power must be controlled if we are to stop the manufacture of munitions in the future. In addition, in Germany and Japan, we must control the manufacture of aluminium ingots and the production of synthetic oil, so that we may be able to control the making of munitions of war in those countries. Our first task, therefore, is to finalize the peace treaties with Germany and Japan. Everything that was said by the honorable member for Fremantle with regard to the impotence of the United Nations and its associated organizations reinforces my argument in this connexion. If we finalize the peace treaties with Germany and Japan the methods of international organization will immediately become clearer. The terms of both treaties are of vital importance to Australia, more especially the treaty with Japan. I have never heard in this House or read in the press any statement by the Government as to the means whereby Australia’s voice can be fully heard in this connexion. These treaties are of the utmost importance to the people of Australia and should involve this Parliament in continuous debate. This Parliament and the public have never been informed as to what terms the Government will insist upon in order to protect us from further acts of aggression. Australia must be protected for at least such a period as will allow it to develop and expand its population sufficiently to enable us to defend ourselves against an aggressor. We need at least from 20 to 40 years of protection under the Peace Treaty to put us in a position in which we will be able to wage a fight in the Pacific on more or less equal terms, no matter where our allies may otherwise be engaged.
The means of control of our ex-enemies must be either preventive, to stop their re-arming, or curative, if they have actually armed. The League of Nations did not conceive that preventive measures were necessary. Economic devices were adopted to stop a war as soon as possible after it had begun; but of what use is it to lock the stable door after the horse has gone? We have to take adequate steps to restrain nations before they commit an act of aggression. We have to take economic steps to prevent war, and if war is started we must have the means of preventing the strategic development of industries in any country closely situated to our enemy which may assist it in prosecuting the war. Because the League of Nations was powerless to avoid war, and because of our policy of disarmament when our enemies were arming to the teeth, they had a running start in World War II. In productive potentiality of war materials the Allies were years behind them. If we are to prevent a repetition of that in the future we must ensure now that sufficient controls are imposed to prevent possible aggressors from developing their war potential in preparation for another conflict. Even if preventive measures against re-armament do not prevent war, they will delay for several years the full development of the war power of a possible aggressor.
Preventive measures must be based on two guiding principles if the world is ever to enjoy an era of peace. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that we must look forward to a prosperous Germany and Japan, but at the same time we must take such steps as are necessary to draw their teeth so that neither will be in a position to attack us again. First, these preventive measures must not be permitted to. throttle the economic life of the country against which they are imposed; they must permit development, but not along lines dangerous to our safety. Secondly, they must be administratively feasible and relatively easy to enforce. If they can be invisible as well, and directed at a few points that do not interfere with the employment of large numbers of people, it would be a great advantage. But that is not enough; we must also impose a combination of economic and military controls in order to prevent re-armament. There must be control of key industries secured by a system of inspection and,- if necessary, of coercion to make certain that the rules are observed.
The coming of atomic power has made economic controls much more feasible because of the size of the undertakings that are necessary to produce results. I understand that atomic energy plants cost hundreds of millions of pounds. The advent of atomic power makes economic controls more than ever necessary. In the past, economic controls were visualized as controls of strategic raw materials. They proved of little use. The control of strategic industries is much more important and much simpler to administer. The control of raw materials was found te be impracticable because of the development of all sorts of devices, such a3 smuggling, hoards of stock-piles, the use of neighbouring countries to develop war-like industries, which were taken over as soon as war began, and the like. Modern developments have made the control of the. electric power industry the most important factor in the control of selected key industries. In preparation for war, the consumption of electric power is found to rise by from 15 per cent, to 20 per cent. As soon as war commences there is tremendous industrial development, and electric power consumption increases by from 50 per cent, to 100 per cent. This increase is brought about by the general extension of industrial production, by the greater mechanization of war factories, by the extraordinary expansion of the electro-chemical and electrometallurgical industries, and by the use of electric power in the production of aluminium, magnesium, alloy steels and synthetic products such as oil, nitrogen and rubber. The advantages of electric power control, not merely in preventing German or Japanese aggression, but also in effectively lessening the risk of war, are evident on examination. I have studied this matter for many years. In Manchester, in 1936, when speaking to the Metropolitan Vickers International Organization, I advocated a co-operative international control of the electric power systems of the whole of Europe as the best check on the recurrence of war. A pooling of all generating capacity, and the interlinking of the whole continent with high power transmission lines, could permit the direction and supervision of the use of big blocks of electric power. As soon as any nation’s activity showed a definite tendency towards the piling up of war materials, or the building up of war-like industries, power could be cut off, first of all, from specific factories, and then, if necessary, from the nation itself. This deprivation of the use of electric power would awaken every housewife and every industrialist to the necessity for exerting their influence to prevent the development of the aggressive menace. The interlinking of the electric power possibilities of fast-flowing European rivers, such as the Rhine, the Rhone, the Danube and the rivers of Northern Italy, with the great black and brown coal resources scattered throughout Europe, should make possible substantial reductions of production costs and permit the decentralization of industry in a way not hitherto possible. Such reductions would cheapen the costs of manufactures and of primary production, which would, in turn, raise the buying-power of wages, and permit the installation of amenities throughout the rural parts of Europe, especially in south-eastern Europe, which would immeasurably improve the standards of living and comfort of the peoples of those areas, and might prove of incalculable value towards the peace of the world by bringing to them a new psychology that would result in the outlawing of war.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The Security Council could nominate the business and technical directors of these undertakings, and lay down a policy with regard to the sale and uses of power.
The peace treaties with Germany give an excellent opportunity to try out the advantages of electric power control on an international basis. Such control could prevent Germany from abrogating the provisions for economic disarmament relating to the production of aluminium ingots, synthetic oil and alloy steels. It would control the peace-time production of electro-chemical and electrometallurgical products, such as hydrogen and nitrogen, which are used for war purposes. In the event of threatened aggression, it would be possible to shut off the electric power of an aggressor, and thus seriously restrict the entire war production programme. Electric power control is not so important from the standpoint of unemployment, as relatively few are engaged in its production. If power were supplied to Germany at an economic rate. German costs of production would not be adversely affected. This electric power control would have the great advantage of invisible administration. The control could be quick in application and decisive in results. The weaknesses of such a control are that many small private stations might be established, and secondly that internationally produced current might not be delivered as cheaply at some points as current produced locally by steam at sites adjacent to coal mines. To overcome this and not retard Germany’s economic development, it might be necessary to subsidize the higher cost of power production at such points. At the minimum, such electric power control would be of extraordinary value because supervision of the plants would be useful as a means of detection of the location of the war centres of industry which must bo great users.
The next economic control that is indispensable is the control of military and civil aviation. This would include the prohibition of commercial as well as military aviation. It would forbid the manufacture of aircraft and the operation of enemy air transport companies. The prohibition of individual private flying, which would be desirable, may be found impossible in practice. This control of civil and military aviation would be assisted by other indispensable economic controls which are practicable, such as the control of the synthetic oil and aluminium industries. Synthetic oil is produced only in large plants, and is a very costly product. It would be better for Germany and the world to have the natural oil imported for German use and this import could be controlled. If no refineries were permitted, the production of high-quality aviation fuel would be hampered.
The next economic control that is practicable and indispensable is the control of the aluminium industry. There are three separate stages in the production of aluminium. First, the production of alumina from bauxite and clays. Second, the production of aluminium ingots; and third, the transformation of metallic aluminium into semi or completely finished products. The only stage at which control is needed is at the second stage - the production of aluminium ingots. These ingots are produced by electrolysis, which requires great heads of electric power. The control of aluminium production at the electrolysis stage has two advantages. First, the administration is simple, as production must be carried out at large specialized plants, and the quantity of electric power at this stage is so great that it would not be possible to divide it up amongst a number of plants. Secondly, the number of workers at this stage is small because the process is electrolytic and automatic - hence suppression of this field of manufacture does not seriously affect the general employment situation in Germany. The elimination of production at the final stage is not necessary, because the control of imports of aluminium ingots into Germany is not difficult owing to the small number of producers in the world, there being not more than five or six in all.
Japan does not present quite the same special problem as Germany because of its insular position, and because its colonies and annexed areas have not been long an integral part of its economy. The strength of Japan in war-time rested upon, the industries it had established as well as the natural resources of its colonies and annexed areas. Without colonies or foreign sUpplies Japan cannot be a strong military power. Roosevelt said during the war that Japan must go back to its pre-imperial territories.
If Japanese economy were forced back, even to its 1929 basis, without its colonies and annexed territories, it could become a strong, prosperous trading nation, giving great employment to its people. The change between 1929 and 1939, when Japan was establishing a war economy, is very striking. In 1929 its textile production was 40 per cent, of total production; in 1939 it was less than 20 per cent. Its foodstuffs production decreased from 15 per cent, in 1929 to 9.6 per cent in 1939. Its production of chemicals increased from 14 per cent, to 17 per cent. ; production of metals from 10 per cent, to 22 per cent., and production of machinery and machine tools from 9 per cent, to 22 per cent. Chemicals, metals, machinery and machine tools were closely associated with war preparations. Japan’s chemical industry could be allowed to expand without detriment to the peace of the world. If the energy it was putting into manufacture of metals, machinery and machine tools in the decade of the ‘thirties were transferred again to the manufacture of textiles and processed foodstuffs as in 1929 it would become very prosperous.
This reversal, however, to the old conditions would necessitate in Japan controls similar to those suggested for Germany. There must be electric power control; control of military and civil aviation, with aircraft production and commercial air transport forbidden; and prevention of the manufacture of aluminium ingots and synthetic oil. With regard to the production of aluminium, it would be necessary to prohibit the importation of raw materials for the production of alumina and also aluminium ingots. This would not cause serious economic disturbance, and prohibition of the production of synthetic oil and the forbidding of the construction of oil refineries would not interfere with the employment problem to any degree.
An analysis of these key industry controls shows that Japan’s war-making power might be severely curtailed, if certain import controls were rigidly and continuously enforced, and if the mandate against certain types of production within Japan could be successfully administered. But in view of the possible gradual accumulation of stock piles over a long period of years, and of the development of new types of plant, Japan might still be able to mate aggression possible, at least against its weak neighbours. Success against these might enable it to begin to come back to its old military strength and aspirations. This indicates that economic controls, such as I have discussed, must be reinforced by military measures in Japan as well as Germany. There must be military strength sufficient to ensure supervision of the various key industries and enforcement of the economic controls through a joint board representing the victor nations with full power for action. There must be brought into existence a prevention of re-armament authority, fully representative, which must be able to carry out these functions without any legislative interference from the Parliaments of the countries it represents. Its first function must be to maintain enough supervisors to detect evasions within the key industrial areas. “When such evasions are discovered, it should call the attention of the responsible government to this evasion. If evasions are not corrected by the local responsible government, the board itself must have military power to correct them. Such corrections may need to go to the length of bombing the capital city, or shelling the vital points in key cities and, if necessary, to employ ground forces to take over control of the offending industries. This treatment, which must be carried out if Germany and Japan are to be restrained, looks as if it ultimately must be the pattern to be adopted by any international police force that is set up by any world-wide international organization.
– Order ! The right honorable member’s time has expired.
.- In this debate, some honorable members have commented on the control which the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) exercises over Australia’s foreign policy, and the allegation has been made that the right honorable gentleman _ is conducting a “ one-man foreign affairs programme”. “We can speedily dismiss that allegation as being mean and unworthy, because it can be factually stated that before the reins of foreign affairs were placed in his hands, Australia did not have a definite foreign policy. That is accepted generally. His dedication to the task, and his singlemindedness may have made it appear that the conduct of our foreign policy was a one-man affair. Although that view has been expressed in the press and in this House, the facts do not support it. The foreign policy of Australia has been a classic one in conception. It adheres strongly to the United Nations Charter and the agreements thereunder. If we examine the progress of our foreign policy under the guidance of the Minister for External Affairs, we shall find that his speeches, books and statements in this House show that he has kept rigidly to the conception that we are creating under the United Nations a new world after the World War II. Australia has adhered - sometimes one thought a little too closely - to the demands and limitations of the charter so inscribed and dedicated, while other and more powerful nations went outside them. If that be a criticism of the Minister, I believe that he can well answer it. But since the discussions on foreign affairs are reported and published abroad, it is only fair to place on record that quite apart from and quite contrary to this being a “ one-man band, “ Australia’s foreign policy has a single mindedness which leads us to believe that the adherence to the United Nations and the conceptions of the new world and new order are a credit to this country and this Government. I believe that I should say that before I answer certain other criticisms, and examine some quite useful statements that have been made in this debate.
When we speak in this chamber on foreign affairs, it is not necessary for us to agree entirely with what has been done or not done. We should be untrammelled in our discussions regarding how far the United Nations has gone along the tortuous road towards making the world safe for man. In our haste we are inclined to say that the speed is too slow, and we may attempt to “joggle” it along with the sarcastic quip and angry suggestion that the United Nations has not achieved any of its objects. If we take history as our guide, we shall see that the League of Nations was in the throes of death as a moral force at a similar stage in its formation. The United Nations, whilst going through certain formative struggles now, still has vigour and vitality, and not one great nation has declared that it will remain outside the organization, as happened in relation to the League of Nations. Whilst some of the great nations, by inference, may be jockeying for positions in the new set-up, they feel that the support of the people of the world is behind the United Nations ; and no matter what may be the contingencies of a government and the considerations of its diplomacy, not one nation, be it large or small, dares to place itself outside (he unity of the United Nations in defiance of the people’s will.
This organization is now our only sate.guard against another disastrous war. The suggestion that the alternative to a ^defeated, disunited and eventually defunct organization is the atomic bomb, is hardly fair. The answer is, a peacemaking machinery that will work. We have built on the foundations which have been solidly laid, and for that reason criticism of the United Nations in its formative stages is perfectly in order. Now, we find that the smaller nations have adhered strictly to the Charter, but a classic battle is proceeding between Soviet Russia and the United States of America. We must face up to that, and to the fact that two ideologies are clashing. Some men are becoming uneasy lest the United Nations meet the same fate as other gallant experiments. Rut are we to reject the whole proposition because we have not been able to accomplish in these early days of the organization’s existence a formula for universal peace? Of course, it is an evolutionary plan. We shall proceed along sidetracks, and experience disappointments and despair. If every man of vision had decided that his vision was nothing but vision, it would never have become a reality. That is why the United Nations is a considerable force to-day, despite newspaper criticisms of its lack of progress, simply because man’s progress is also tortuously slow. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Attlee. referred to the difficulties of the United Nations on the 2nd March last, when he was addressing the United Nations Associa- tion in London. The report of his speech reads -
During the past year we have all experienced disappointment with U.N.O. We hoped for greater progress towards unity in the Assembly and the Security Council. “ I share the disappointment, but other U.N.O. activities give cause for hope.”
Mr. Attlee said that there was danger of devoting too much time and thought to the political organization of the world instead of seeing what was actually being done .to bring the nations together.
He believed the free association of equal nations was better than elaborate constitutions - as in the case of the British Commonwealth.
I come now to what may be the difficulties of the United Nations. To date, the organization has been determining its constitution, and the work has been undertaken by constitutional lawyers. The clatter of legal phraseology leaves the man in the street very cold about the whole proposal. He asks, “ Is this the organization which will prevent my son from being melted by an atomic bomb? Is this the formula for universal peace which I dreamed about when I was on service? Is this the realization of a promise which was made to me when I sweated in the factory to make arms and munitions for the troops? “ The average citizen sees only the steel girders of the structure which is being erected. The United Nations must now finish with constitutional considerations, and deal with matters of substance. We must build a permanent structure. If man is to win in this struggle against war, the foundations must be solid. That we have been overlong in laying the foundations is perhaps an indication that the work will hold firmly in the rocks of civilization. In any event, we must be factual, and recognize that the interminable talks which we have known in the past must be simplified if we are to make the United Nations succeed.
So far, the United Nations is a collection of governments, with government agreements and government charters. It has a body, but no soul; and the soul which must be breathed into the United Nations is the support of the peoples of the world who say to the governments of the nations, whether they be great or small, “ This is the only formula for peace. The alternative is our complete destruction. Therefore, we firmly believe in the United Nations and within the framework of the organization you must find a solution of the troubles between ourselves and our neighbours.” When that fact is recognized, the constitutional difficulties of the United Nations will end, and we must look for the next move during the next twelve months. It could not have been expressed better than by Miss Frances Perkins, who was, for some time, Minister for Labour in the Roosevelt Administration in the United States of America. Addressing a meeting at the International Labour Conference in Paris on the subject of peace and the activities of the United Nations, she said -
There is one thing certain that we will not have the people of the world behind us in relation to the outlawry of war unless we have one compelling moral purpose.
That is the whole secret of the United Nations. It must now give examples of one compelling moral purpose to the peoples of the world. That is not beyond its compass, and I shall be disappointed if, within the next twelve months, or even in the next announcement to the House by the Minister for External Affairs regarding the development of the United Nations, we are not informed that the organization has been humanized, with the people of the world behind it, because they realize that in it lie the elements of their own salvation.
What disturbs many people is thatlarger nations have used the machinery of the United Nations for purposes which seemed to suit themselves, and when the problem becomes aggravated, they, by reason of exercising the veto, and through their own strength, can reach conclusions outside the ambit of the organization itself. Quite properly, that W.as pointed out by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who said that dramatic and far-reaching agreements bad been reached outside the organization. However, that does not diminish its future force, or indicate that it is not of any value and will not be a compelling moral force in future. The weariness of mind that has overtaken so many of the delegates to the United Nations, is due to the fact that no satisfactory solution can be found between the ‘-‘Hayes-“ and the “Have Nots” in relation to the atomic bomb. On one side, that great democracy, the United States of America, with its vast resources and its technology, has evolved, with the assistance of the British Empire, the atomic bomb. On the other side, the Soviet Union demands that some decision shall be reached about the atomic bomb before the smooth working of the United Nations is completed. Within that frustration, the United Nations seems to be a long time reaching a solution of the problem. But people of good spirit in the Soviet Union and the United States of America are discussing the matter. The possible courses have been pointed out to Americans and Russians, and the fight is not lost by any means. The belief that these nations will be at loggerheads for ever is wrong. While pointing out that both the United States and Russia will be the losers if they do not reach a satisfactory arrangement, I desire to quote briefly a paragraph in which the opinion of a famous scientist was expressed last year -
If war is not eliminated, only three possible courses of action remain open to the United States, according to Harold C. Urey, Nobel prize-winning scientist writing in Air Affairs. The first is to build large stockpiles of atom bombs and other weapons and “continue through diplomatic channels to delay wars or to jockey for position in the next coming war With the next war will come the complete destruction of our civilization. The second course is to fight another world war within a few years “ with the frank purpose of conquering the world and ruling it as we desire and preventing any other sovereign nation from developing mass weapons of war”. This is a course Dr. Urey “ cannot contemplate with any pleasure, but it is one which may be a strict necessity”. The- last alternative is tn create an international control of the atom bomb and other major weapons of war.
That appears to be a plain statement of what the United Nations must do before we can commence to plan our peace. We must really expel fear from the souls of men. After six years of war, in which every one was involved in one way or another, when men were cruelly done to death and even women and children were participants, it is only natural that the survivors should look for a quick and sunny peace. Our first taste of the new order was rather disappointing, but one of the things which has survived is the machinery for maintaining peace in due course, that is, the United Nations. It appears to me that perhaps the executive of the United Nations is at a loss to know what to do with its new powers, in relation to this appalling problem of atomic energy. The newspapers report that after a good deal of discussion, it was eventually decided that the site of the United Nations should be in New York. Although the American people are supposed to be atom bomb minded and are fearful of the consequence if the bomb is not controlled, the organization has accepted from the Rockefeller Foundation a skyscraper. This may be more than symbolism. It may be significant of the desire of the people of the world not to go underground in fear. It may be significant that the people feel that eventually we must find the answer to the problem of the atomic bomb, before we proceed to analyse our other problems in relation to universal peace. That is the crux of the whole situation, and it stands or falls on how far it can go in this matter. We have found another thing in relation to the discussions at Geneva. Although the old and dead League of Nations has been deserted, the palaces which that body occupied stand lonely by the lakes of Geneva. I am afraid that the new site of the United Nations will bp haunted by the ghosts of the past. If one. reads some of the discussions, and notes the amplification of them over the air and in the magazines and reviews which deal with international affairs rather fully, one reaches the conclusion that thu same old formulas are being trotted out. As a matter of fact, they have been trotted out in this House as though they have to deal with the atomic age. How are we going to get this and that out of Germany? What are we going to do with Japan ? All of these things are important in their order. But the first order is that we must have some satisfactory and permanent solution of the matter of atomic energy control. Australia’s interest in this matter, of course, has been manifested through the activities of the Minister for External Affairs in New York and other places on the Atomic Energy Committee. He has done a valiant job in that regard, and one which, I am sure, will be duly rewarded.
Of course, there are other aspects of this rather voluminous report of the Minister which have to be discussed. I refer to the subject of reparations. If there is anything old fashioned, out of date, and dangerous to peace, it is the subject of reparations, which has to be dealt with in the same old way in which the late President Wilson, the late lamented Poincaré and Clemenceau - those ghostly giants of the past - dealt with it at Geneva. If we look quickly at the picture, we find sustained the argument of the honorable member for Fremantle - that already Russia has made its own peace, because it has annexed to itself Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, and has pushed its frontiers further west into central Europe. Already, in whichever way the peace decisions may go, it has consolidated its position. On top of that, it is amazing to find in a progressive nation professing socialism, the old-fashioned idea of punishment by means of reparations, which is one way of punishing oneself. We had, only a few months ago, the spectacle of Unrra going through the countries of Europe feeding people, and at the same time in those countries a devastating bill for reparations being lodged by Russia. The first country which comes to mind is Finland. Although it was an enemy alien, it desired nothing more than to have the western form of democracy. Its punishment has been drastic and severe. A country, limited in area, and in other ways circumscribed by its climate, has to pay $300,000,000 within a period of ten years. Every Finn has attempted, as did the French in 1870, to get to work and do that job in order that it may get the country out of pawn. In addition, the Soviet, in its unwisdom, made annexations of territory, such as farm and timber lands, which will make it impossible for the Finns to fulfil their obligations in cash. By exacting heavy reparations, you place upon a country that has to provide money or goods a physical and financial handicap, and imprint on its forehead the symbol of defeat, thus creating the psychology for another war as surely as was done in connexion with Germany in the Versailles Treaty. The Russian reparations are appalling in their magnitude. They are claiming £2,500,000,000 from the Germans, and there may be a further claim, including the removal of capital goods and other assets, in addition to this cash payment. Glancing through the papers presented by the Minister for External Affairs, I find that the reparations demanded of the Hungarians by the Soviet amount to $300,000,000, and that $100,000,000 is to be exacted from the Italians. Albania, Yugoslavia and the other satellites of Russia also have put in quite substantial bills. The appalling sums in the aggregate suggested by the Russians make one doubt whether Russia is sincerely anxious for peace in Europe, and is not playing the old imperialistic game of balance of power which the British Empire, unfortunately, played many years ago. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), who made a very well reasoned speech with, I thought, a good Australian line, made a reference to Pax Britannica. We have to forget those days when one country or another, as he said, had the ability to control and keep in order the smaller nations, and preserve peace for decades. Those times have gone, and only by unity will we preserve universal peace. One wonders what is the true Russian attitude towards peace. One is not prepared to say that there is not some explanation; because fear begets fear, and in that isolation in which we put the -Soviet in the years prior to the war there may be discovered some of the seeds of that distrust of us which we now see. It is apparent that there is no unity between the two great nations which will resolve the peace, whilst there is self-sacrifice and an earnest ‘desire on the part of the smaller nations to fall into line. These are the frustrations that are being experienced at the moment, and they are very important ones to consider.
The Minister made some point about our trusteeship. Here again Australia has been the very acme and the very model of conformation to the ideals of the. United Nations, inasmuch as our trusteeship proposals were submitted to the General Assembly of that organization, where there is no veto, and were there discussed. We were subjected to amendments by India, China, the Czechs, and all sorts of people who really have no true interest in the trusteeship of New
Guinea and Papua. It was a test of trusteeship, and we won through. The trusteeships were very well discussed in open assembly, and we are proud of the trusteeship instrument because it survived the test of our fellow members in the United Nations. We have seen that there are all sorts of edges and distrust in connexion with these matters. The Americans, in relation to the territories over which the Japanese previously held mandates, put the matter through the Security Council, where they took fine care to keep the debate in order, and knew that, if necessary, they would be able to impose a veto. The South Africans talked of annexation, and in relation to South- West Africa would have nothing to do with the trusteeship agreement. No country has shown a better disposition towards peace than has the Australian Government, guided by the Minister for External Affairs. The trusteeship agreement is different from the mandate, and in many instances may be a better instrument. Since we are realists, it provides for fortifications, which by consent were not allowed in the mandates from the League of Nations. But the Japanese fortified the islands they held under mandate while we observed the pact. At what a great disadvantage we were early in the Pacific war, was apparent. Every Australian will agree that the participation of the United States of America in the affairs of the Pacific is all to the good of the Pacific nations. I think we will agree that, because of the blood that was spilt liberally on the islands of the Pacific, whether it be annexation or any other form of control, we should not quibble at the fact that the Americans want a trusteeship over them with a view to preserving the peace of the Pacific. We do not want to be carried away by day dreams.. A solid and realistic view must be taken. That applies to the American attitude in relation to trusteeships. I merely point out the difference between the Australian attitude and that of the small nations which are subservient to the interests of peace and which went through the tortuous processes of the General Assembly, rather than make a fuss, the result being a very satisfactory trusteeship instrument. We have nothing of which to be ashamed in relation to our mandates. “We shall have less to be ashamed if in connexion with our trusteeships. Other nations may look at our account looks on the human rights side. They may ask what we are doing about our native*, and how welfare and hygiene are being taken care of. The lead in Pacific administration and in connexion with many other aspects of the United Nations has been given by Australia. The trusteeship instrument is a triumph for Australian fairmindedness.
I want to refer briefly to the South Seas Commission which sat in Canberra some little time ago at the invitation of the Minister for External Affairs. It was a very good thing that we changed the venue of affairs from the northern hemisphere to the South Seas, and that we have conditioned the minds of the people of thi3 country to the idea that the Pacific is the ocean upon which we must train our eyes. We must forget the old geography lesson of the Far East, which is our immediate north. The whole of our destiny, as well as the destiny of the world, is yeasting up in the Pacific, from India and the Pacific Islands tot Australia and New Zealand. This commission was one indication that a full awareness of it was being brought about. But I am disappointed that, being an advisory and exploratory committee, it decided merely to investigate the welfare of the natives and to consider the matter of their education. The report sets out in chronological order all the things that were being done by the Native Affairs Committee, the Minister for External Territories, and the Australian Government, in connexion with the mandates in those islands, and also suggestions for Pacific policy. I was surprised, when I was a delegate at the International Labour Organization, at the backwardness of other nations in regard to native affairs. Probably the statements of delegates of what should be done were honest. With notable exceptions, there has been a very good level of administration in New Guinea for many years. Therefore, the usefulness of the South Seas Commission was considerably restricted, because it had given to itself a task which already had been safely accomplished. Had it dealt with the security of wider areas in the Pacific, it would have served a useful purpose. I have mentioned this matter rather extensively because we are committed to the provision of 30 per cent, of the total cost of this commission, and apparently Australia will have to have an overriding voice in making it work; because, if it is to be merely an “ all talkie “ commission, as has sometimes happened in the past in connexion with international affairs, it may not be worth a candle, and we cannot afford to make any false experiments in relation to our security in the Pacific.
The future of Australia in the Pacific is another important matter which has been impressed on us by the Leader of the Opposition, who referred to the trend of world affairs and mentioned briefly the destiny of India, which was mentioned also by the Minister. I believe that it would be futile and misleading for us to conclude that India is looking for dominion status. India is looking for independence. There is another point that is always being raised. It is raised by planners, and by the more rabid members of the Liberal party. It has been raised by university students, who do not know what they are talking about. I refer to the White Australia policy. At Summer Schools of Political Science, at which words are bandied about in profusion, the argument has been advanced that we must have a restatement of the White Australia policy. The restatement by the Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have been sufficient to show exactly where Australia stands. We are determined to uphold our White Australia policy, and we shall educate the world in regard to it, so that the peoples of other countries will come to realize that it is one of the basic pillars of our national existence. When that has been done we may talk about how many students and visitors from Asia we shall allow into this country. To speak of dignitaries who have been offended by the White Australia policy is merely to quibble. This policy is something we can afford to be quite firm about, because it is foundational to our destiny. All the aspirations of our people are wrapped round it. The Leader of the Opposition was somewhat gentle in his remarks on this subject; but some quite stringent and irritating strictures have been made by ill-informed people at conferences of the International Labour Organization, the United Nations, the United Nations Economic and Security Council, and other bodies on the White Australia policy. If India achieves its independence we may confidently expect to hear reiterated, again and again, the slogan “ India for the Indians “, “ Quit India “, and the like. We may assume that India will proceed with its own development, and we may hope that something will be done for the 60,000,000 Indian “untouchables “ in order to lift them to a higher standard of life. We can say to India with logic, “We shall look after our empty spaces, and India may look after its empty bellies”. The suggestion has been made that India should join the concert of nations in the South- West Pacific Area; but the first concern of Indian leaders should be the hunger of its people. Our empty spaces can.be left for our own attention. There is no suspicion, hatred or spleen associated with our White Australia policy, least of all towards India. We believe that this policy is basic to our existence, and it is not necessary that frequent statements should be made on the matter. I hope that we shall have a White Australia throughout my lifetime, and for many years after.
A reference was made by one honorable member to a United States of Europe. Far more important is a United States of the world. The subject of federal union should be discussed in this House, because it is a corollary of the United Nations itself. In this regard we need an understanding, not only of governments, but also of peoples. The re-creation of Europe is an important task, but it will not be achieved by talk. The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), in a long and technical speech, suggested that we could take certain things from Germany and Japan. We must remember, however, that whatever we take, we take from the people whom we are attempting to bind into a brotherhood of universal peace, and the more we take from them the less we leave them for the reconstruction of their economy. That is the perplexity of peace planning.
I wish also to say a few words about the treaty with Japan. I am not a great believer in rushing into peace treaties. Either a treaty should be made immediately on the cessation of hostilities, say within three months, or time must be allowed for the tempers of people to cool. We all know what happened after World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was drafted in accord with the hatreds engendered by World War I. It might be a good thing for the drafting of the instrument of peace to be delayed for some time because we may by then become more rational and more peaceminded. Who would have suggested in the heat of the war period that we should discuss peace terms for Japan such as are being discussed to-day? That must always be the situation during a war. In such an atmosphere every effort would be made to thrust a militaristic peace upon a defeated people. It is still hard for the mothers of ex-prisoners of war and of men who died in the service of their country to think about a conditioned peace; but in the preparation of peace terms we have to think, not only of those who have been crushed in the war, but also of the children of the men who have died and of the generations still to come, so that they may be able to live happily under terms divorced from hatred and anger.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) went to some length to show that Australia should have a singleminded policy on foreign affairs. I am not quite certain what he meant. by that expression. If he considers that we should be single-minded in accordance with the single views expressed by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), I would be prepared to agree with him, up to a point. It must be admitted, however, that the signs and portents from heaven to-day are entirely against any undue optimism in foreign affairs, to put it mildly. I wish it were otherwise. I consider that, under existing conditions, our policy must be, “ Trust to God and keep your powder dry “. The Minister for External Affairs, in the course of his statement, travelled practically all round the world. I do not propose to follow him. There was much in his statement with which I entirely agreed, and much that I would like to be able to agree with if I could feel that he had not drawn an idealistic picture; but with some of his views I am in definite disagreement. I would have been happier if I could have felt that the Minister was dealing with realities all the time. Actually, I had the impression that, frequently, he missed reality altogether. It appears to me that the Minister, as well as his Cabinet colleagues and honorable members opposite generally, seem to think that words are of the utmost importance in this modern world, and that they may be substituted for deeds. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We have to face the grim realities of a world in which political ambitions and national and racial animosities abound, and in which there is much starvation among the peoples of many races. and almost universal suspicion. These considerations are, to a great degree, moulding the fate and weaving the pattern of the world.
Let me illustrate my point that the Government is relying on words without deeds. Ministers have quite rightly declared, again and again, that we should claim a voice in the preparation of the German Peace Treaty. Seeing that Australia took an honorable and notable part in bringing about the peace, I consider that we are entitled to a proper hearing in world councils. But what have we done since the end of the war to justify our right to be heard? Let us compare our attitude with that of Great Britain. To-day Britain is bearing the whole burden of the cost of the occupation of the British zone in Germany. It is costing about £80,000,000 a year to feed and maintain 26,000,000 people in that zone. Britain is bearing this expense partly to prevent chaos and partly for humanitarian reasons. Australia, however, has done nothing in relation to Germany. It may be said that we are maintaining our forces in Japan. It is true that Australia is represented in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in
Japan by 10,000 men, and that we have a representative on the British Commonwealth advisory committee. But we are able to maintain our force of 10,000 troops only with the greatest difficulty. According to the latest estimate, Great Britain has 1,100,000 armed men in Germany and elsewhere, whereas we have only a mere 10,000 in Japan. If we were maintaining troops in the same proportion as Great Britain we should have 200,000 men under arms. Britain also is maintaining troops in Palestine, Greece, India, Burma, Egypt and in parts of Malaya. We have done nothing except send a few troops to Japan.
I recall that the Minister, in the course of his statement, said -
Members of the British Commonwealth of Nations are fully grown and are ready .to take over in an increasing degree responsibilities formerly borne by the Mother Country alone
Those are mere words. Where is the action to back them up? If we expect to call the tune we must be prepared to pay the piper; but we are not doing so. That is my first observation.
My second observation is in more genera] terms and relates to what the Leader of the Opposition referred to to-day as the general trend in world events. Until the first World War, all the major powers of the world were located in Europe, and they were able to maintain a relatively stable equilibrium by means of the balance of power. Up to that time it was quite impossible for any one European state to dominate the whole of Europe, and through Europe the world. Now everything has changed. Europe is no longer the political and economic centre of the world. The balance of power has gone from it. There are now several first-class powers outside of Europe, and Europe has fallen step by step under the domination of a single power. The smaller nations in Europe now have to pay regard to the desires of this single nation. They will not get back to a state of political isolation again. The peace of the world, which was formerly dependent on the balance of power in Europe, now depends on the balance of power throughout the world itself.
This brings me to the next point. We have moved into a world in which the nation is no longer the standard political institution. The United States of America is not really the same as Denmark, only bigger. Russia is not the same as Argentina, only bigger. The British Empire is not a collection of states like Egypt or Turkey or Portugal. Britain itself is to-day much more important as part of the Empire than if it stood alone. That being so, the part played by the small nations, honorable and important as it was in many instances in the past, can never be the same again. In the last war, not one small state managed to play any important part, whether a neutral or a belligerent. The small states that got in the way were overrun and absorbed by the larger powers, and nothing could save them from their fate. What happened in the last war will happen again in the future. In spite of this, however, we have the spectacle of such countries aa India, Burma, Malaya, Ceylon and Egypt struggling to achieve national independence, and some measure of political isolation. Their efforts appear to be. directed against the main trend of the world, which is the division of the world into large aggregations of nations.
Australia is caught up in these trends. Let us consider the position of the British Empire itself. Every one must admit that, since the war, the Empire has been considerably weakened. Before the war, Britain was strong enough to carry the hurden of the defence of India and Malaya, Burma, Palestine and EgyptToday, in those countries, and also in Greece, Britain’s strength is not equal to its commitments. Britain is forced, much against its will, to reduce commitments in order to concentrate its strength where it is most required. Greece is one of the few countries in Europe to-day which is free from communism, and which is outside the iron curtain. Communist forces are fighting their way in from the north, and pressing down towards the Mediterranean. Britain knows the importance of the Mediterranean to itself and to the Empire. Britain has done its best to maintain forces in Greece so as to keep Greece a free nation. In spite of its efforts, it- has been forced to withdraw, and to ask help of the United States of America. That help, fortunately, has been forthcoming.
These events concern Australia just as much as they do Great Britain, yet we are doing nothing, so far as I can see, to help Britain in its distress, and to help the Empire to maintain such strength as is possible. Even in the United States of America, there is a general feeling among a large mass of the people that the British Empire is in process of liquidation. I do not believe that. 1 believe that the Empire is still strong, and that it can be further strengthened, not only in Australia, but also in the other Dominions, including parts of Africa, where there is great scope for development. It is essential however, that we should help.
An urgent question, so far as Australia is concerned, is what is going to happen in regard to India? We know that in June next Britain is getting out of India. I will not prophesy, because that has never been a particularly profitable exercise. I do not know the situation in India as well as some others, but I have been there, and I know pretty well what is going on under the surface. So far as India is concerned, I cannot help feeling pessimistic. I do not believe that India is likely to remain within the Empire. Even if it does, what will be its effect on the Empire as a whole? I am convinced that it will never be the same source of strength to the Empire as in the past. We know that the situation in Burma, Malaya and Ceylon is not too happy. At the present time, Australia depends a great deal for its security on the British bastian in India, but when Britain retires from India we shall be left out on the end of a branch. Then, our position must be weaker than it was before.
In the circumstances, we must decide upon our policy. I said earlier what 1 thought about the United Nations. No other country in the world has the same interest in making the United Nations succeed as has Australia. We are a “white” island in an enormous sea of colour. Because of a geographical position, there is no help nearer to us than thousands of mila?. Let us by all means do what we can to strengthen the United Nations, and to make out of that organization a going concern, but I do not believe that we should put too much trust in it. 1 am very doubtful whether the action of Australia’s delegates at the meetings of the United Nations have been to our advantage. Take, for example, what happened in regard to South Africa. We refused to support the claim of South Africa to bring South- West Africa within the Union.
– We oppose all our friends.
– I am afraid we do. Surely, our first concern should be to strengthen the ties of Empire. I cannot think of any legal or humanitarian reason why South-West Africa should be placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations rather than under that of South Africa itself. South-West Africa is contiguous to South Africa, and the authorities in South Africa’ are in a better position to understand the problems of the natives than are officials of the United Nations. Then there is the question of our attitude to our Dutch allies. I do not propose to go over the old story which has been told so often in this House, but I know that the Government’s handling of this situation has done nothing to enhance our reputation in the Netherlands and in other European countries.
The organization of the United Nations is based on the Atlantic Charter, which forbids the aggrandisement of any of the signatory powers. Yet what has happened? I do not wish to say anything against the United States of America, which has done so much for us, but the fact remains that the United States of America has taken on itself to assume control of certain of the Pacific islands. I do not object to this. I think it is right, but such action is not according to the terms of the Atlantic Charter. We know also that Russia has absorbed country after country without a byyourleave or thank-you. Countries have been absorbed into the Soviet system without being given any chance to express their own wishes. Those unfortunate nations have become an integral part of what is the strongest and most ruthless nation in the world.
I return now to the burdens of the British Empire. What are we going to do about this matter, apart from offering good advice? In the first place, we can give military aid. We can provide food, and place everything we have at the disposal of the Empire in order to strengthen this most important institution. India is one of the biggest problems that has to be faced. I do not know what will be the future of India, nor does any one else, but whatever the future has in store it must profoundly affect Australia. What happens in India will spread eastwards, and perhaps northeastward, throughout Asia. Our trade relations with India are growing, I am glad to say, but, in addition, our personal relations with that country must be improved by every possible means.
Several references have been made tonight to the White Australia policy. I listened with interst to the remarks of the honorable member for Parkes, and of my Leader (Mr. Menzies), on this subject. I believe that there is more to be said on the subject than was said by either of them. Although the Leader of the Opposition spoke with a great deal of tact, and with some firmness, he tended to pass lightly over the subject. We inhabit a country which is large in extent and sparsely populated. We say to the nations of the world, “ This Australia of ours is white, and is going to remain white “. I have no objection to that. I believe in a white Australia as strongly as does any one else, but it is one thing to proclaim that policy to-day, and another thing to proclaim and uphold it in five, ten, or twenty years hence. We know what other nations think of it. The matter has been raised officially and unofficially at the meetings of the United Nations. Objection to it was voiced very strongly in India the other day by a prominent Indian leader speaking at Bombay. We must face the fact that our white Australia policy does not commend itself to many nations outside Australia, In the years to come we may find ourselves, still with a small population, and still with an undeveloped and largely uninhabited country. Does anybody believe that we can continue to hold up our little fist to the world, and say, “No, no one shall come in here”. I have explained that political isolation is impossible for a small nation. I am convinced that we cannot support such a policy ourselves, and I doubt very much whether we shall be able to find friends willing and strong enough to help us support it. The answer is that we must at all costs increase the population of this country. At times in this House much is said of the possibilities of migration as a means of increasing the population. I do not believe anybody realizes the seriousness of the situation. If we do not populate this country it will be populated for us against our will. Unless within the next ten years we have a strong, virile and large population in this country we may not be able to hold it as we have done in the past. I do not believe we shall get anywhere in foreign affairs merely by the utterance of fair words: I realize that we must take our place at these international conferences and stand up for our rights and for those of our friends; but I look to the Government, and particularly to the Minister for External Affairs, to see that such words as are used by our representatives are implemented as soon as they possibly can be.
.- I did not have the privilege of listening to the speech delivered by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) which initiated this debate. Upon reading it, however, I found that it followed the lines of other speeches and statements made by the right honorable gentleman following discussions in which he has represented Australia at the world assembly of nations. On the many occasions on which I have been privileged to listen to him, however, I have always paid tribute to the work he has done for Australia and the world. The least we can say now, not detracting but adding to our commendation for his unselfish and untiring efforts for peace in the world, is that in the new and grave responsibilities which have been placed upon Australia we have found in the Minister one ably fitted to handle the problems presented to him. The honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan), in a constructive speech, has referred to many of the problems that beset mankind to-day. His reference, kindly though it may have been, to the singleness of purpose of the Minister or the Government did nothing to explain the situation that exists. In the Minister for External Affairs we are fortunate to have a Minister who has specialized in this subject. I believe we are all agreed upon that; but if it be argued that the policy pursued and the statements uttered by tha right honorable gentleman have not the wholehearted support of members of the Government or, as the Leader of tho Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has suggested, the almost complete support of all parties in this House, then the statement made by the honorable member for Flinders is liable to be misleading. The people of Australia and most members of this Parliament have been loud in their praise of the new part Australia has played and is playing in the councils of the world. The principal consideration that preoccupies men and women to-day is the age-old problem of peace between the nations of the world. The concept of the United Nations is not new, even though the organization as we know it to-day is largely in its infancy. At every stage in the progress of mankind there have been conferences to attempt to devise ways and means by which the conflicting aspirations of nations may be resolved without resort to war. That these attempts have failed to achieve their purpose is evidenced by the conflagrations which have disturbed the world from time to time. Despite that fact, however, it is undeniably true that only in the world assembly of nations, in discussions of international differences and endeavours to reconcile oft-conflicting emotions and ideologies, can mankind be preserved from the scourge of war that too frequently assails the world. I do not look with pessimism on the fact that the United Nations in the short period of its operation has failed to grapple with major problems or to achieve great results. It is probably better, indeed it is better, that the sharp divisions and fierce antagonisms that exist between nations should be brought out in the open forum of public debate than that they should be shrouded in secrecy and an appearance of unity presented to the peoples of the world. The very fact that a conflict between nations may result in future wars will bring the peoples of the world to a realization of the dangers that lie ahead and that peace may be preserved by discussions in international conferences such as those in which we have participated. Australia’s part in these conferences has been criticized - not heavily in this debate so far it is true - because of the stand our representatives have taken on certain occasions, and also on the ground that we have not been prepared to co-operate to the extent that might have been expected of us. The fact is that Australia has adopted a constant and unswerving line, insisting that principle and not expediency shall determine the course which the United Nations should follow. Whether or not our representatives have been right in their attitude towards the fierce divisions of opinions that exist in the councils of the world in regard to certain matters, it is undeniable that Australia has made its mark in world affairs as a nation in which there is no serious division of opinion on the views expressed by its delegates. They have made a profound impact on the representatives of other nations. A great deal of time has elapsed since the war ended and by far £he paramount question now is the extent to which the United Nations can serve the purpose for which it was founded. The lapse of time from the cessation of hostilities until the signing of the peace treaty will give the nations of the world a ‘breathing space which we hope will help towards the making of peace terms which will ensure the preservation of peace in the years that lie ahead. Undoubtedly some of the causes of the recent conflict arose in the years immediately following World War I. The misery and suffering caused by the blockade of the defeated nations, undoubtedly burned into the consciousness of their peoples and led them to seek redress. The humiliations imposed upon them led to far greater bitterness than was caused by their military defeat. The passage of time between the end of the war and the formulation of the peace treaties will enable the victorious nations to see things in proper perspective, and thus we may expect that more just terms will be prescribed than would otherwise be the case. Thus, a more lasting peace will be achieved. I welcome, rather than regret the length of time that has elapsed from the cessation of hostilities to a consideration of the terms of peace.
The honorable member for Flinders said that the Minister for External Affairs merely uttered words, and he saw in his speech on this subject no evidence of a desire on the part of the Government to undertake the new responsibilities which the right honorable gentleman’s words implied. The best way to play our part as a member of the British family of nations is to suggest to Great Britain, the senior partner and governing member of the family, that we are willing at any time to assume responsibilities which it finds too difficult to bear in its weakened state following the war and, in addition, that if collaboration or co-operation is expected or desired of us, the whole of our resources will be placed at its disposal, for any purpose it has in mind. More than that we cannot do; less than that we should not seek to escape from. In the days before the war had ended, and from time to time since then, the representatives of Australia have made it abundantly clear that they were willing to help the British people in their hour of need to the fullest extent of our power, not only in the physical sense by supplying such goods as we can manufacture or produce, hut also by active cooperation in the policing of areas which are our joint responsibility as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The charge made in this debate - but which has not been heavily pressed - that Australia has no settled foreign affairs policy has been answered by the actions of the Minister and the Australian representatives at all world councils with which they have been associated.
The problem of the Empire and its constituent parts brings in the question of Egypt and India. To-day we are witnessing what is said to be the weakening, the splitting up or the disintegration of the British family of nations. Before we pass judgment on that situation, however, we need to cast our minds back to the 18th century when the newest member of the family found the restrictions imposed upon it by the Mother Country too onerous for a new and developing democracy to bear. What we now know as the United States of America, probably for reasons of nationalism rather than resentment of British sovereignty, broke away from the family circle before the British Commonwealth of Nations was really established. It is clear that had the same liberal policy that is now being applied to India and Egypt been adopted by the British government of the day, not only would the United States of America have remained a member of the British family of nations but also in the years that have passed since then it would have played a valuable role in the economic development of the Empire and in the Empire’s efforts to overcome the threats of aggressor nations. Following that line of reasoning honorable members must agree that the British Empire is not being dissolved by this new development in the sphere to which I have referred. No country could hold by force a great and rising nation such as India. The best hope of the world is that India will be bound to the Empire by a free association such as is enjoyed by Australia and other constituent parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. In that way not only will the interests of India be preserved, but also the British Empire will be maintained in a stronger state, and world peace and development rendered more possible of achievement.
– Does the honorable member believe that we could convince the people of India that such is the case?
– I do not believe that we can hold India within the British Commonwealth of Nations by force. I hope, with the honorable member for Darwin, that it will remain within it, but we have a far greater chance of retaining India’s friendship as an integral part of the Empire or in close association with it by freely agreeing to the Indians’ laudable nationalist desires for at least a large measure of selfgovernment than by attempting by force of arms to retain the system of government that the Indian people have proclaimed their intention of removing. History proves that even if Great Britain were as strong to-day as it was when it entered the war it could not hope to retain for long the control over India that it then had. The self-government, that India demands ought to be conceded to it.
I come now to the real problems of the world. Although the peoples of the world, nationally and individually, are sickened by six years of slaughter, their minds are turning to the possibility of another war. Closely allied with despairing talk about the next war is the fear that an economic depression is looming. International problems are an extension of national problems. Even though Australia escaped from the war practically unscathed physically - I do not imply that we did not suffer dire human losses - and despite that employment is at a higher level than ever in history and that the people are undoubtedly better off than ever before, there is a. spirit of frustration and a fear that all is transient. There is an overall sense of insecurity that does not allow a reasoned approach to our problems. That makes the transition period much more difficult than it would be otherwise. If every one in the community showed the patriotism that pervaded the nation during the war, the shortcomings and shortages of to-day would be much more speedily overcome and the ambitions of men, individually and collectively, much more easily realized; but, because of the haunting fear of insecurity, the realization of more leisure and money is more difficult to obtain than it should be. That experience is common throughout the world. I do not believe that any nation desires or intends to resort to war. All have a stark realization that the recent war was lost by both victor and vanquished alike. No nation would deliberately or consciously embark on another war, but the jealousies and antagonisms that exist between nations would undoubtedly in normal times lead to recourse to arms. As in the national sphere the work of government and the people must be directed to removal of the fear of insecurity, so in the international sphere the world must remove the fear that exists and thereby do away with the antagonisms, jealousies and hatreds between the peoples that that fear breeds. “When war breaks out hatred of the nations against whom we are warring is fostered by natural patriotism and there is developed a spirit of co-operation with the people of the nations with whom we are linked in arms to ensure our future. In different wars the contestants are alined differently. That seems to prove that there are no jealousies or antagonisms between nations that cannot be resolved. I think that we have the means of ensuring that peace shall reign throughout the world. The question is how we shall achieve it. The United Nations is in its infancy. I agree that it is undoubtedly the old League of Nations resurrected, but the League of Nations was only one organization, and it attempted a task that was certainly beyond a single organization. I believe that we have made a much more hopeful beginning. We have a “league of nations” to resolve quarrels that may arise between nations, but we have also developed other organizations that I think can play in their area a large part and fill in the gaps that were left unfilled when the League of Nations began its stormy, chequered years. I believe that we cannot allow to continue the conditions that prevailed before the war, when some nations were denied the raw materials that they needed, but did not have within their own boundaries. The nations must have the right of access to the materials that they need in order to provide for the urgent needs of their peoples. It is futile to talk of friendship between peoples; unless active steps are taken to bring together in association the peoples of the different nations in order that there may be inspired within them the feeling that they are really the interests of all, there can be no lasting peace.
In a fine contribution to the debate, the Leader of the Opposition drew attention to the fact that Australia’s interests and economic standards are bound up with those of Asia, Germany, and, indeed, the whole world. That is a truth that cannot be controverted. As the right honorable gentleman indicated, development of Australia hinges on the development of the standards of the peoples of countries not only near to but also far from our shores. Constantly before us is the problem of Australia’s empty spaces. That is a problem that we must solve not only in our own interests, but also in the inter- ests of those who will follow us. We have a great heritage and a great trust. We insist, however, that we must lay down our own conditions. We concede to other nations absolute rights over their own territories. We seek, as the Minister for External Affairs has constantly indicated, nothing from the rest of the world but the right to live in peace with all mankind and the right to exchange our products for those of other lands. We seek only to ensure that Australia shall be developed by the Australian people. We shall readily allow other countries to develop their own way of life.
The speech of the Minister for External Affairs deals with the peace settlements that are to be developed and signed within a reasonably brief period. I wholeheartedly support the claim of the Minister for External Affairs that Australia must take its place in the development of the peace treaties. I do so not only because Australia is an ally of the victorious powers but also because I think we have developed a new civilization removed from the jealousies and antagonisms of the old world. Our delegates will take into the peace conference a fresh mind and new wisdom that ought to be a substantial contribution to the solution of the problems that peace has brought in its train.
Atomic energy is frightening. Its development should, of course, be welcomed because of its vast commercial possibilities and because it will doubtless relieve drudgery and make for the betterment of mankind as its secrets become known. But to-day it is an ever-present threat of a terrible war. The United States of America wisely and justly has insisted that before it will make available to the world the secrets of atomic energy, the United Nations should have, through one of its commissions, the right to inspect national territories, and examine the defence programmes of various countries. Without that guarantee, it is possible that atomic war could be unleashed, and devastation and misery would overtake the world without warning.
Certain other matters are giving me cause for concern. I believe that as with atomic energy, so with other forms of armaments, there should be an insistence that when men are working for peace, the defence programmes of the nations should be delayed until some means of disarmament can be evolved. For that reason, I look with some disquiet upon Australia’s own programme. Honorable members have been informed that large sums of money will be expended upon the construction of a range in Central Australia for experiments with methods of scientific warfare. That news disturbed me very deeply, because I believe that the only evidence of sincerity, at a time when we are discussing disarmament, is an insistence upon member states and nations as a group delaying their experiments in scientific warfare until they arrive at a mutual agreement for the control of armaments. Fear more than any other emotion exists throughout the world to-day. Fear of aggression and fear of insecurity are sending us down the slippery slide into the abyss of war. Anything that we can do to allay fear, and any action that we can take or refrain from taking, -which will remove some of the threat of war, will be amply justified. Some honorable members opposite may retort that while other countries are developing as rapidly as possible new scientific methods of destruction, Australia cannot remain out of the race. My reply is that that contention has been advanced after every war, but it has never prevented war. Even at this stage, the Australian Government should consider very deeply before its embarks upon huge programmes, the purposes of which are to evolve more deadly methods of destruction.
Reference has been made to the possible plight of native peoples as the result of the experiments with new scientific weapons in Central Australia. Of all the injuries that we have inflicted upon these people, this would be a comparatively minor one provided some real benefit was to be obtained from the pursuit of this project. But I believe that we shall not obtain any real advantage, or achieve security through these experiments. We shall only make more feverish the minds of men, and make more tense the existing situation at a time when we are seeking to preserve peace. The wars which the world has already experienced have been dreadful, and it requires no words of mine to convince honorable members that the horrors of previous conflicts will be dwarfed into insignificance by a war in the future. Australia can make a contribution to the preservation of peace by adopting my suggestion.
The Leader of the Opposition advocated the formation of a foreign affairs committee of this Parliament. I do not support the proposal. Obviously, the right honorable gentleman had in mind the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the Congress of the United States of America, but the governmental set up in Australia is completely different from that in America. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition realizes that fact. Obviously, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Senate can have no counterpart in the Australian Parliament. The American Senate has a treaty-making power, which could not be entrusted to such a committee of the Commonwealth Parliament. In addition, the American Senate has the power to veto a treaty made by the President of the United States of America. A similar power could not be entrusted to a foreign affairs committee of the Australian Parliament. If we decided to make international affairs the responsibility of a small committee, we should be presented only with its recommendations. In the circumstances, the better course will be to encourage honorable members as a whole to take part in debates on international affairs. From time to time the Minister for External Affairs makes comprehensive and brilliant statements explaining what has been done in the councils of the world. I suggest that, in addition to those statements, debates should be initiated at intervals on the subject of Australia’s foreign policy, and the Department of External Affairs and the facilities of the Parliamentary Library should be made available to help honorable members to understand the international situation, and assist them to take a more intelligent part and active interest in these debates.
.- I propose to examine the effect of Australia’s foreign policy on our own safety. I shall not cover all the ground that previous speakers have traversed, or the very lengthy and illuminating speech of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), which brought up to date the matters contained in the speech that he delivered to the House last November. But I shall discuss certain matters to which the right honorable gentleman did not refer, and which, I believe, relate to the safety of the Commonwealth. Since last November, the picture of world politics has been clarified a great deal. The United States of America is discarding its policy of isolation, and is accepting international commitments. In addition, we have witnessed a deterioration of the relations between the Soviet Union and the democracies. J am afraid that the Soviet Union may not have departed very far from the policy which Lenin stated in his Collected Works and which is quoted approvingly in Stalin’s Problems of Leninism -
We are living not merely in a state but in a system of states and it is inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue for a long period side by side by imperialist states. Ultimately one or the other must conquer. Meanwhile a number of terrible clashes between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois states is inevitable.
I do not believe that that is true. The conflict can be avoided by maintaining a balance of power between the United States of America and Great Britain on the one side and the Soviet Union on the other. We must do everything in our power to encourage the United States of America to take its share of the white man’s burden and democracy’s burden in protecting the rights of the free peoples of the world. At present, the various countries do not trust the strength of the United Nations to protect them from another disastrous world war, or to give them security from aggression. Only two days ago, we read in the press that the British Government had made available from its small stocks 30,000 tons of the highest grade steel for the construction of tanks, which were said to incorporate the latest German design. These tanks would be an outstanding weapon for attack or defence. The question which many of us ask ourselves is : “ Will war break on the world again, or will the United Nations be able to prevent it?” I do not propose to put forward any empiric opinions as to whether or not war will break out, but the world situation to-day is unstable. The rulers of some nations, believing that there is a likelihood of war, are taking all possible steps to meet it. From the price movements of certain key war metals one can obtain, an indication of the views of the rulers of various countries regarding the possibility of an outbreak of war in the near future. I have obtained my information from the Commonwealth Resources Bureau at Canberra. In 1935, the price of copper electrolytic wire bars was £52 lis. lOd. a ton; in 1938, £65 6s. lid.;, during the war, £99 3s.; and to-day £99 2s. 6d. Tungsten is a most important metal in the hardening of steel for armour plating and for armourpiercing projectiles. The following values are expressed in units, sterling, W03 tungsten 65 per cent, wolfram: - In 1935, £1 16s. 2d. a unit; in 1938,. when war appeared to be imminent, £2 17s. 3id.; in 1946, £3 7s. 2d.; and to-day, £4 15s. In 1934-35 scheelite ore was £7 10s. a hundredweight and in 1946-47, £14 8s. lid. In 1934-35, the price of wolfram ore was £6 8s. 4d. compared with £16 ls. 4d. to-day. In the acid group, a similar increase of price is noted. Those are indications that many governments consider that the continuance of peace is very doubtful, and that the instability existing between various nations is like the instability which exists in uranium 235. There is additional evidence of this trend. Before the war, manufacturers and speculators held approximately six months’ supply of wool, but to-day, they hold at least eight months’ supply, despite the fact that we have a large surplus. Some people in the world appear to be building up stocks which may be used in future for the uniforms of armies when they march against one another. The question which exercises the minds of many people is : “ Can the United Nations prevent another outbreak of war ? “ Danger spots in Greece and Turkey might easily have led to war if the United States of America had not decided to take over the commitments there, and assist in arming the Greeks and the Turks. I believe that, in doing that, it has done what will achieve more for peace in the world than all the debates that have taken place either in the parliaments of the different nations or in the councils of the United Nations.
There is one factor which the Minister for External Affairs did not mention in his statement on foreign affairs, and one which he might well have touched upon. I refer to the oil position in the world to-day. Everybody knows that oil, apart from being combustible in internal combusion engines, is one of the most combustible elements which may cause war between nations. Up to the present, 78 per cent, of the total consumption of oil throughout the world had been provided by the United States of America and the Caribbean Sea area. To-day, those areas are failing. At the present time, 42 per cent, of the proven oil resources of the world lie in the Middle East area on both sides of the Persian Gulf. It must not be forgotten that the area on the northern side, in Iran, is within 300 miles of the Soviet boundary. The whole of the concessions in those areas on both sides of the Persian Gulf are held by the Dutch, the British, the Americans, and to a less extent the French. Russia has no voice in connexion with them. It holds within its boundaries only 9 per cent, of the proven oil supplies of the world. That is a most inflammable position, and it may flare up at any moment. On Boxing Day in 1946, certain agreements were made between British and American oil companies concerning the disposition of Middle East oil. The companies concerned were, on the American side, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the Socony- Vacuum Oil Company of the United States of America, and, on the other side, the Anglo-Iranian group. Under the agreements, the American companies agreed to purchase large quantities of crude oil from the Anglo-Iranian company for a period of years, and jointly with that company to investigate the possibility of laying two pipe lines to the Mediterranean. By the second agreement, they were to acquire a substantial interest in the existing American possessions in Saudi Arabia, from which there was a much discussed project to construct a pipe line to the Mediterranean. The Economist says that the Persian Gulf has been transformed from a forgotten backwater to the very centre of world politics. Mention of this very centre of world politics has been entirely omitted from the statement of the Minister for External Affairs. He has not stated what Australia’s policy is in regard to the supply of oil and the development of the Persian Gulf fields, in which we are vitally interested. The matter is one which closely affects us. If these oils are not made available to the Soviet freely and fairly, there may be an eruption from Soviet territory and a seizure of the oil concessions from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company on the northern side of the Persian Gulf, as well as from the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company on the southern side, which would mean war. I remind the House that the southern side of the Persian Gulf is said to contain one of the richest undeveloped oil-fields in the world. It is of enormous extent. In the Anglo-Iranian field there is not enough refining machinery to refine the oil that is being produced. The Americans are short of oil, but have plenty of distribution and refining facilities. Consequently, the agreement is of the greatest mutual benefit to both companies. The Economist goes on to say -
There can be equally little doubt that the Persian Gulf is one of the most vital regions for British imperial strategy.
It also points out that 86 per cent, of the world’s proven oil reserves are in American, British and Dutch hands, whilst the Soviet has only 9 per cent. Consequently, as I have said, the Soviet must be treated fairly. I should like the Minister when replying to this debate, to give some idea of Australia’s oil policy in the councils of the British Empire as well as in the councils of the United Nations, in connexion with this vast field which is opening up in the Persian Gulf. The Economist states further -
The coincidence that vast quantities of oil exist in a strategic key region makes the Persian Gulf trebly important. Anything that serves to interest Americans in an area that they might easily dismiss as beyond their concern is therefore to be welcomed.
That applies right throughout the world. The American nation has decided that it is responsible for the security of the Pacific Ocean and the maintenance of the status quo in the Pacific, thus protecting
Australia against any aggression in the future from the north; it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to do everything that it can to apply the resources of this nation, in combination with those of the British Empire, to the defence of the free democracies of the world. It is very worrying indeed to find that the Government, and the Minister for External Affairs particularly - whom no one would deny is one of the ablest men on the Government side - are so unmindful of the necessity for doing what I have said that they will not give to the United States of America the island of Manus, which is regarded by that country as a key position in the defence of countries adjacent to us in the Pacific Ocean. I have before me a White Paper issued by the American Printing Office at Washington, entitled Study of Pacific Bases - A Report by the Subcommittee on Pacific Bases of the Committee on Naval Affairs, House of Representatives. This committee travelled all over the Pacific during the latter stages of the war against Japan, and made certain recommendations after interviewing and holding discussions with leading American staff officers, generals and admirals in command in those areas. Its general recommendations were -
For (a) our own security, (6) the security of tile western hemisphere, and (o) the peace of the Pacific, the United States should have at least dominating control over the former Japanese Mandated Islands of the Marshalls, the Carolines and the Marianas - commonly known as “ Micronesia “ - and over the outlying Japanese islands of the Izus, Bonins, and Ryukyu.
With respect to Manus, Noumea, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, and other sites of American bases on islands mandated to, or claimed by, other nations, full title to those bases should be given to the United States.
The report went on to say -
It then went on to state what is the strategy of defence of the United States in the Pacific. It said -
The United States strategy of defence in the Pacific should revolve about a centre lino running north of the Equator through the Hawaiian Islands, Micronesia (the Marshalls, the Carolines, the Marianas), and the Philippines.
The report claimed that, in order, to maintain this centre line of defence, protection must be made against advances from either the north or the south, lt then went on to say -
The northern flank should be composed of defensive fortifications in the Aleutians and Ku riles; the southern flank should be coinposed of defensive fortifications in the Admiralties, New Hebrides, New Caledonia and Samoa.
It is inconceivable that we shall ever be at war with the United States of America. I believe that the peace which has existed between Canada and the United States of America for over 150 years, with an undefended boundary, will be paralleled throughout the world, and that we will not see the United States of America and the British Empire ever at war again. Consequently, every effort should be made to link the defences of the United States of America with those of this country. At page 1013 the report says -
The United States will assume the task of preserving peace and preventing any aggressive action in the Pacific area.
At page 1015 it says -
It is obvious that we cannot permit enemy forces to occupy Australia or New Zealand, for to do so would make our centre line vulnerable to attack from the south.
In order to prevent that occurring, the committee considered that Manus Island was one of the key fortifications which the United States of America should have. At page 1018, the report refers to the strategic location of Manus, and the distance between it and other places of importance in the defence of the Pacific area. The distance to Guam is 960 miles; to Townsville it is 1325 miles; to Truk it is 626 miles, and to Palau Islands it is 955 miles. The report then states -
A fleet at this base controls the lines of communication to Australia, New Zealand, and the East Indies from the west coast of the United States.
At page 1136, it states that the total amount expended on Manus, excluding American army installations but including all naval base installations on outlying islands, up to the date of the report - doubtless there was further expenditure later on defences, airfields and docks - was $71,246,580 dollars. It went on to say-
The above figures are for construction battalions only. Naval personnel attached to other activities performed an appreciable amount of the construction work, especially during the first six months.
I am informed that the island of Manns, on which nearly $71,250,000 dollars was expended by the Americans in making it a bastion of defence in the South-West Pacific Area, has been left by them because the Minister for External Affairs and the Commonwealth Government failed to hand it over in order that it might still be used as a bastion for the defence of Australia. I am told that the Americans have withdrawn their forces from the island, and that we have not sufficient men there to maintain the facilities which have been provided at such a great cost.
– Any one can pull the honorable gentleman’s leg.
– That is the kind of stupid remark we might expect from the honorable member. This is the honorable gentleman who had to withdraw his pamphlet on banking; yet says any one can pull my leg. He ought to hide his head in shame. Many people in Australia would have a roof over their head to-night if it had not been for the bungling and botching that occurred in connexion with housing while he was in charge of the administration. It was a good riddance, from the point of view of the people of Australia, when caucus showed some sense and pushed him off the ministerial bench.
– I informed the honorable member for New England, when he asked his question some time ago, that negotiations proceeding between the United States and Australia in relation to Manus Island had reached a stage which made it impossible for me to disclose any details.
– It is perfectly true that the right honorable gentleman replied to my question in those terms ; but he also admitted that the first request from America in regard to this island was received in March, 1946.
– That is approximately correct.
– Twelve months have passed since then.
– Why blame Australia for the delay?
– In that twelve months great damage has probably been done to the installations at Manus Island. White ants, tropical insects, marine growth, and the like are doing great damage at this very moment. Yet all that the Minister for External Affairs can tell us is that negotiations are proceeding, and that by asking questions on the subject I am causing embarrassment. The right honorable gentleman cannot expect us to listen to that story for ever. The people of Australia expect something to be done in this matter. Manus Island is of the greatest possible importance as a bastion of defence for this country, and the negotiations ought to be completed with the least possible delay. If we control this island we would only provide facilities to make it suitable to accommodate two cruisers with 8-in. guns, three or four cruisers of Hobart type, with 6-in. guns, and several destroyers which constitute our fleet; but that would not be suitable for battleships of the United States Navy class. Therefore, it is time that decisive action was taken in regard to it. Yet this Government seems to be unable to do anything. I read in the press a day or two ago that our air force is to be restricted to sixteen squadrons. The trouble with the Minister is his vanity. He delights in strutting across the stage of world affairs and giving the impression that he is the mouth-piece of a very great nation, whereas, in fact, he is the spokesman for only about 7,000,000 people. The security of Australia would be served very much more satisfactorily if the right honorable gentleman would do something effective and not waste his time in declaring that we will not surrender any of our sovereign rights. It is highly desirable, from the point of view of our security that the strong hand of America should be stretched across from Manus Island to India, and then on to the Persian Gulf, to clasp hands with Great Britain so that we should have a firm protection against the aggressive forces of dictators and others of similar type.
– I, and I have no doubt, other honorable members, would willingly listen throughout the night to a continuance of this delightful discussion, enlivened as it has been in its later stages by the charming eccentricities of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott). However, bearing in mind the admonition that too much delay is not good for the human soul, and bearing in mind also the hour, I propose the suspension of our discussions. I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Mr.Chifley) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Recently the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) made some reference in the House to the distribution to industry in Australia of technical data gathered by Australian scientific and technical missions to Germany and Japan. I have obtained some information on the subject and with the consent of the House I shall incorporate it in Hansard -
In 1945, the High Commissioner in London, the Right Honorable S. M. Bruce, stressed the great quantities of technical data possessed by the occupying forces in Germany. He said that a British Intelligence Objectives SubCommittee had been set up to handle the comprehensive and miscellaneous data which covered patents, designs, specifications, secret processes and technical and manufacturing information over a wide field. The High Commissioner recommended that highly skilled Australians should be sent to Great Britain to assist in the work being undertaken by British Intelligence Objectives SubCommittee and to follow up matters of particular interest to Australia. He pointed out that this action would put Australia on the same footing as Canada and the United States who were already participating in the work.
The Australian Government accepted Mr. Bruce’s advice. Early in 1946 a limited technical mission arrived in England to represent the Australian Government. It was led by Mr. J. R. S. Cochrane, manager of a government explosives factory, and included technicians drawn from government sources and industry representing the following branches of industry: - Inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, electrical engineering, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, and patent law. It also included two brown coal technologists from the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, and an administrative officer from the Department of Post-war Reconstruction.
The principle on which the teams worked was one of pooling their results and frequently their actual investigations and so of covering a maximum of ground for their respective governments with the smallest expense and a minimum use of manpower. Each government was explicitly left free to publish all reports in which its nationals might be interested in its own series. This was the only sensible arrangement under a pool system. Thus an Australian-compiled classified subject index of technical material available was published by the British Government as a British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee document. A similar practice has been followed in America and elsewhere. Members of the various national teams have divided Germany between them for purposes of investigating a particular subject and their work in such instances has led to joint reports.
Copies or all Australian reports by arrangement with the British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee authorities were lodged in London and printed as British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee publications. By a reciprocal arrangement the British Intelligence Sub-Committee publications were made available to the Australian team and transmitted to this country. The fact that there are more British Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee publications as such than reports emanating from the Australian delegation merely reflects the numerical strength of the respective parties.
There was never any attempt to hide or disguise this pooling arrangement. For documentary evidence of that fact I refer to page 4 of a recent publication of my department entitled Wartime Developments in Science and Technology, in which the whole arrangement is set out. There are even directions, on page 10. as to how to obtain from His Majesty’s Stationery Office in London and from the Department of Commerce in Washington reports which my department has not as yet reproduced.
The Government decided to offer reproduced reports as a unique service to industry in Australia, by ensuring that all available publications emanating from Germany of interest to Australian industry should be made available free of cost - in Britain they are, I understand, sold to industry. To ensure that this was done it set up a small unit to facilitate thedistribution of this data to industry, to public libraries, to interested organizations and to branch offices of the department in the various States. To facilitate the classification, recording: and distribution of this data, since all Allied reports are not to be reproduced here, Australian numbers were given to the various reports, and a standard cover was affixed to each report. Incidentally, it should be mentioned that in the early stages a number of the original titles to reports were insufficiently comprehensive and many of them laid the emphasis on aspects of lesser importance to industry in Australia. Wherever practicable appropriate alterations to titles were effected. Additionally, abstracts of the various reports issued to industry were prepared for wide circulation through technical and trade journals.
It is true that the receiving, recording, classifying, evaluating, abstracting and disseminating of these reports involve considerable work, but the whole project has been carried out with a maximum of economy. At any one time the number of Commonwealth technical officers engaged in this work has been under ten in number. The pooling system abroad was aimed at economy, while in Australia the work involved was made possible by the willing and generous cooperation of industry itself. For instance, following an appeal through the Australian Chemical Institute and the Institute of Engineers a number of firms in Melbourne made officers available free of cost for part-time work during the evenings. This effort was, of course, directed, co-ordinated and controlled by a senior officer of my department.
There has been many expressions of appreciation by branches of industry for the service which has been rendered. The department has been only too willing to follow up individual inquiries which have arisen after perusal of the reports by industry. In many cases it has arranged “ on the spot “ examinations of plant or processes by a member of the Australian team in Germany, and as a direct result of this work has facilitated the entry into Germany of Australian technicians and industrialists desirous of making personal inspections of particular manufacturing establishments.
An immediate result of this work has been that firms in industry who might otherwise he unaware of the availability of useful information have not only had their attention drawn to it, but have had facilities provided them in interpreting the information and supplementing it by specific data where it is required.
To assert, as the honorable member for Fawkner did, that the Australian technical experts who have worked so ably in this field arc unwilling to return to England, is fantastic nonsense. In point of fact one of the senior technical experts who has returned to Australia from Germany will shortly leave to take up an important appointment as Councillor in charge of the Scientific Field Co-operation Programme of United Nations Educational. Scientific and Cultural Organization. He is enthusiastic about the work which has been performed by the Australian scientific and technical mission to Germany. This enthusiasm is shared by his colleagues.
The Australian scientific and technical mission to Japan was an outgrowth of a defence service mission which landed in Japan shortly after its capitulation. The earlier examinations bythis first body were confined to service secrets. Later, inquiries were made of Japanese industry, when the mission was altered in personnel and came under my jurisdiction. At any one time the mission in Japan was limited to about six experts. Each member stayed in Japan up to five weeks and on return to Australia was replaced by either a service or departmental officer. The officers conducted specific inquiries. Some of the information will be used by the Australian Government for defence production. Other reports which are suitable and useful to industry have been or are in the course of reproduction for dissemination. All these Japanese reports by Australians are sent to B.I.O.S. in London for information or reproduction if thought desirable. Thus in an area where the British scientific and technical representation and contribution was predominantly Australian, reciprocal arrangements were made to have the Australian reports printed and distributed by B.I.O.S. in London.
I welcome the opportunity which the honorable member for Fawkner has given me by raising this matter, of pointing out to industry in Australia that this service of technical information and advice from Germany and Japan is available at all branches of my department, which will be only too happy to continue the distribution of technical information considered to be of use, and to follow up by specific inquiries in Germany and elsewhere where practicable technical or scientific matters about which our technologists and industrialists may require additional data.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following paper was presented : -
House adjourned at 10.23 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. I know of only one concern of any size manufacturing oil of peppermint in Aus tralia, namely, Plaimar Limited of Perth. To what extent their oil is produced from local sources or blended with peppermint oil imported from America I am unable to say. 1 understand that there is no planned cultivation to’ speak of. There are shrubs that grow wild on Crown Lands from which the company secures raw material which is roughly distilled on the spot and the resultant product forwarded to the main factory in Perth where the finished refined article is produced.
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
e asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : -
The question as to whether there will be any rise or fall in production consequent upon the introduction of the 40-hour week is at present being considered in the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in connexion with the 40-hour week case.
n asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice -
– The Commonwealth Government has no jurisdiction in the distribution of water piping and fittings within a State. This is entirely a State Government function.
Office Accommodation, in Capital Cities.
n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Customs Seizure op Watches.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade mid Customs has supplied the following information : -
Meat: Prices; Tasmanian Live-stock: Rationing.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : -
d.- On the 12th March the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) asked that the existing wholesale meat prices in Tasmania be reviewed in the light of current stock prices in that State. This is a price control matter which is within the administration of the Minister for Trade and Customs, who has supplied the following information: -
Existing wholesale prices for beef in Tasmania are the highest in the Commonwealth. Tt has been alleged that butchers are unable to purchase live-stock at prices equivalent to the wholesale ceilings for meat. As the price of live-stock is established by competitive bidding the level of live-stock prices is fixed by the butchers themselves. The present difficulty would not be remedied by an increase in wholesale meat prices, because if butchers do exercise restraint when bidding stock prices would merely increase by an amount corresponding with the increase in the price of meat.
– On the 12th March the honorable member for Darwin (Dame Enid Lyons) asked whether the Commonwealth Government would consider subsidizing certain classes of live-stock, namely, cattle and sheep,, on a strictly annual basis until the existing dangerous shortage has been overtaken. In reply I have to inform the honorable member that the price of meat in Tasmania is already, as in other parts of the Commonwealth, far above pre-war levels and the payment of subsidy to graziers for stocking purposes would unduly aggravate an already difficult situation in the meat trade without in any way increasing the live-stock population. The Government is not prepared to subsidize the purchase of live-stock.
d. - On the 5th March, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked a question concerning thenecessity for the continuance of meat rationing.
The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : -
The people of the United Kingdom are on such a restricted and uninteresting diet that the Commonwealth Government is reluctant to lake any steps which would decrease the amount of meat available to these people. At present this is less than during the war years, viz., ls. worth of fresh or frozen meat plus 4d. worth of canned meat per head per week.
Meat production in Australia in the last two years has been very low on account of droughts first in Victoria and then in New South Wales and Queensland. There are hopes, however, that next season may be a sufficiently favorable one to enable the increased domestic demand, which it is thought would follow the abolition of meat rationing, to be met, in addition to providing our full commitments to the United Kingdom.
The matter of meat rationing is under constant review by Cabinet, and the Australian Meat Board has undertaken to advise the Government as soon as it feels that the necessary production is assured to enable controls to be discontinued.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 March 1947, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1947/19470319_reps_18_190/>.