18th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. J. S. Rosevear) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Nationalization : Petitions ; Statement by Sir Earle Page, M.P.
Petitions in relation to banking in Australia ‘were presented as follows : -
By Mr. ARCHIE CAMERON, from certain electors of South Australia.
By Mr. ANTHONY, from certain electors of the division of Richmond.
By Mr. ABBOTT, from certain electors of the division of New England.
Petitions received and read.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Acting Attorney-General been drawn to a statement published in the daily press of the 8 th September last to the effect that the right honorable member for Cowper, when addressing a meeting organized by the trading banks at Kempsey the previous night, said that Australia was gradually approaching the stage when blood would flow as freely here as it is flowing in India to-day? Will the Minister see that all persons who make statements of that kind and are thus guilty of incitement to civil disorder and bloodshed are prosecuted with the full rigor of the law?
– I have not seen the press report to which, the honorable member refers; but if it be a correct report of statements made by the right honorable member for Cowper, all I can say is that something must be wrong with the right honorable gentleman’s brain. I shall bring the matter to the notice of the Acting Attorney-General.
– Can the Minister for Information tell the House and the country who is responsible for sending out a barrage of letters, from the anti-Labour strongholds of North Sydney, Bondi and other places, to electors whom I represent in the division of Hunter, where opposition to the banking nationalization scheme is receiving meagre support? These letters contain typed statements in opposition to the nationalization of banking, and the recipients are requested to sign on the dotted line. I should like to know who pays for this campaign and also who pays for pamphlets which employers are inserting in workers’ pay envelopes, because I fear-
– Order ! The honorable member must not make a speech.
– I shall endeavour to satisfy the honorable member’s natural curiosity in this matter. I have a shrewd suspicion that the directors of the trading banks are paying for the whole campaign, and using whoever they can to try to protect their own vested interests.
– I have here a substantial bundle of petitions relating to the Government’s proposed legislation on banking signed by many thousands of persons, most of whom reside in my electorate. The petitions are addressed to the Prime Minister personally. I now ask the right honorable gentleman if he will provide me, and also other honorable members who have petitions in similar form, with an opportunity to present them to him.
– As the honorable member knows, I am always glad to extend to honorable members the courtesy of hearing representations made by them, provided, of course, that they are not made at great length. If the honorable member is of the opinion that he should present to me the petitions which he has received, I shall receive them, regardless of whether they support, or are in opposition to, the views of the Government.
– What will the right honorable gentleman do with them after he has received them?
– I leave the answer to that question to .the imagination of honorable members.
– Can the Minister for Repatriation say whether it is correct, as reported in this morning’s newspapers, that the pension to widows of servicemen is to be increased, and, if so, can he say from what date the increase will take effect?
– The report in this morning’s newspapers is correct. The widow of a serviceman who has one child will receive £4 a week, instead of £3 12s. 6d. as at present, and a widow with two children will have her pension increased from £4 12s. 6d. to £5 a week. That will mean a total increase of 12s. 6d. a week to widows in those two groups, including the as. a. week increase which dated from the 1st July last. I expect that the increased rates will come into operation at an early date.
– Is the Minister for the Army familiar with the terms of the resolutions that were carried by the meeting that was held in the Melbourne Town Hall to discuss the pensions of war widows, the basic wage and related matters? Has the honorable gentleman discussed the .matter with Cabinet, or has he taken any other steps with a view to effect being given to such resolutions?
– I understand that the principal purpose of the meeting that was held in the Melbourne Town Hall was similar to that of another meeting that was held in the Adelaide Town Hall, the strongest representations of which were that the pension of war widows should be increased. That matter has been dealt with by the Minister for Repatriation who has made a pronouncement upon it to-day. I shall have another look at the other matter involved, and shall supply as early as possible the information which the honorable member requires.
Stamp Allowance of Members
– Knowing the solicitude of the Prime Minister for the pockets of Ministers and honorable members, I now ask him if he will arrange for a special “stamp allowance to honorable members so that they may- reply to the many letters and telegrams of protest which they are receiving in connexion with the proposed banking legislation, without placing an unnecessary burden on their finances; or does the right honorable gentleman consider that honorable members generally should follow his reported example, and consign such communications to the waste-paper basket? l,Ir. CHIFLEY. - I do not propose to give any consideration to the granting of an additional stamp allowance to honorable members because, in my opinion, the present allowance is reasonable. I resent the implication contained in the latter part of the honorable member’s question.
– That part of my question was based on reports which have been circulating freely.
– I cannot be held responsible for all -the reports about me.
– Does the right honorable gentleman read all the communications which he receives?
– I make a habit of perusing all the correspondence that comes for me - so far as time permits. It is true that a great deal of superfluous matter is addressed to Ministers from time to time. Not all of it has to do with the proposed nationalization of banking; some of it is on other subjects, and in the past it has happened, I imagine, that some such correspondence has finished up in the incinerator, but I should not like the honorable member to convey the impression to the House that all courtesy is not extended to those who write to Ministers.
Inquiry into CHARGES by Me. F. A. Lush : Issue oe Passport to Me. S. E. PARRY; REPORT
– “Will the Prime Minister inform the House why a passport was issued to Stanley Evan Parry, a material witness before the land sales inquiry, enabling him to leave the jurisdiction of the inquiry? “What amount of overseas currency was Parry permitted to take out of the country? “Will the Prime
Minister lay on the table .of the House all papers relevant to the matter, and also all papers relating to the expenditure of Commonwealth funds on the “ Victory Garden “-
– On what?
– On the “Victory Garden “. Those *re the words which the Prime Minister used in a letter to Parry on this subject. This area was later converted into a golf course, and was the subject of attention by the royal commissioner.
– I do not know that there is any restriction on the issue of passports to Australian citizens at the present time, but I shall arrange for the Minister for Immigration to prepare a reply on that aspect of the matter. It is some time since any Australian citizen has been restricted in his movements so far as leaving this country is concerned, provided he is not the subject of a criminal prosecution of some kind. As for the amount of currency which Mr. Parry was allowed to take out of Australia, it is not usual to disclose the private business of persons who have transactions with the Commonwealth Bank, nor to reveal the amount of currency which they draw, nor the nature of the financial transactions which they may conduct with the bank. The general rule is for the Commonwealth Bank to deal with all applications for overseas credit on their merits, although it is true that applications are” sometimes referred to me when the amounts involved are large. As for the “ Victory Garden “, I have no clear recollection of the name of the property about which the honorable member has inquired, but I remember the circumstances connected with it. I shall see what information I can. obtain on the subject.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether the inquiry into the land sales control in Sydney has been completed? If so, is the report in the hands of the Government, and will the Government make it available to honorable members?
– I have received the report from the Governor-General, to whom it was forwarded by the judge who conducted the inquiry, but, so far, only one copy is available. It is not possible to have the report printed due to the pressure of work at the Government Printing Office, and in view of the desirability of having further copies made, the Attorney-General’s Department is endeavouring to have the document roneoed, so that when it is tabled in this House an adequate number of copies will be available for honorable members and for the press. I hope to be able to table the report to-morrow.
– Is it a fact, as stated in the press, that the Prime Minister told members of the Australian National Airlines Commission that the Government does not particularly care how much money it expends so long as TransAustralia Airlines comes out on top in its fight with Australian National Airways? If not, has the Prime Minister taken any action to limit the expenditure which the government-owned airlines may incur; and can he inform the House, approximately, how much profit, or loss, is disclosed by Trans-Australia Airlines’ latest profit and loss account?
– It is not the way of Treasurers to tell anybody that they can spend as much money as they like. I should be a traitor to the “ Treasurers’ union “ if I did anything like that. No such statement has ever been made on my behalf. I cannot be responsible for reports of the kind mentioned by the right honorable member. The accounts of Trans-Australia Airlines have been subject to examination by me. I realize that in the establishment of Trans-Australia Airlines there would be a good deal of expenditure which would not be likely to be covered by receipts in the initial stages of its operations. That is the history of all new companies. The right honorable gentleman can rest assured that expenditure by Trans-Australia Airlines ha9 been carefully checked from time to time by the Minister for Civil Aviation. I could give relevant figures to the right honorable gentleman, but I shall not detain the House at this stage. I shall let him have the information in the f or.ru of a letter.
Auction Saxes - Strike of Buyers
– Has the Prime Minister seen? the newspaper report concerning the existence of buying rings and other irregularities at auctions conducted on behalf of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission? Is he aware that irregularities at these sales have become a grave public scandal? Therefore, will he institute a judicial inquiry with a view to investigating the facts?
– I do not remember seeing any press report of the kind mentioned by the honorable member. However, I did hear that for .many years, buying rings operated at wool sales.
– This is a protest by the commission’s auctioneer.
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping reported to me yesterday that a strike of buyers had occurred and that the commission’s auctioneer had made some statement with regard to that aspect. However, I am not familiar with the details of happenings at yesterday’s auctions. I shall obtain the information for the honorable member, and I shall arrange for an inquiry to be made into the existence of these socalled buying rings. That inquiry will be conducted not by a judge, if that is what the honorable member means when he asks for a judicial inquiry, but by an official with a judicial mind.
RECONSTRUCTION Training Scheme.
– Has the special building industry technical training scheme for ex-servicemen been discontinued ? If not, what stage has it reached? What is the present position of the general reconstruction training scheme for ex-service men and women?
– The special training course for artisans in the building industry has not been discontinued. Up to the present 10,500 men have reached or exceeded the minimum efficiency mark of 40 per cent., and are nowworking on building construction on a subsidized basis. The number still going through the course at various stages is 7,000. I assure the honorable member that there is no intention to discontinue the scheme. In reply to the second part of the honorable member’s question, the general position is that, since the inception of the post-war reconstruction training scheme for ex-service men and women, 206,000 people have been accepted for training, 161,000 are in course of training, and 27,000 have succeeded in reaching the stipulated percentage of efficiency and are now employed in subsidized industries, following the callings for which they were trained. With the exception of a few who withdrew their applications for training and accepted work in other professions, trades, callings or businesses which appeared to offer better scope for their aptitudes, the remainder are still going through their courses.
– Oan the Treasurer say when it is expected that campaign medals will be available to members or former members of the armed forces? Will effect be given to the suggestion that names or service numbers should be stamped on the medals as has been the practice in the past?
– I am not able to say offhand the date on which campaign medals will be available. Difficulty was experienced in having the medals struck in this country, and conversations took place with the British Mint authorities in regard to having the work done there. A request was received that the names be stamped on the medals, and the proposal was given full consideration. It was decided, however, that this would be almost a physical impossibility. In the circumstances, the Government has been unable to accede to the request.
– Is the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction able to inform the House of the decision made recently by Cabinet with reference to the diversion of the Snowy River waters? Will the committee that is now investigating this matter make a full examination of all proposals for the diversion of these waters?-
– Cabinet has not reached any decision on this matter. It was discussed at the recent conference of Commonwealth and State. Ministers, which had before it a preliminary report relating to the proposal for the diversion of the Snowy River waters into the Murray River. The information available to the conference was that this diversion would not preclude the ultimate use of the waters in the Murrumbidgee River as well. The position now is that by agreement between the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria further investigations are to be made into proposals for the diversion of the Snowy River waters, including the original scheme advanced by New South Wales for the diversion of these waters into the Murrumbidgee River. The report on these investigations is to be made within twelve months, and when it has been received further consideration will be given to the matter by the three governments concerned.
Proposed Commonwealth Line
– Can the Prime Minister indicate when a Commonwealth shipping line will be established ?
– As the honorable member knows, certain ships owned, controlled and operated by the Commonwealth are, in effect, an existing government line. If the honorable gentleman refers to ships trading overseas or to New Guinea, I cannot provide all the particulars, but I will arrange for the Minister for Supply and Shipping to supply him with a detailed statement covering the latest government decisions on the matter.
– I ask the Prime Minister what is the difference in principle between the partial ban imposed by trade unions on the handling of Dutch ships during the last two years and the complete ban on all Dutch ships and aircraft which the Australian Council of Trades Unions decided to impose recently. Was Government pressure responsible for the Australian Council of Trades Unions’ decision to reverse its earlier agreement to impose a complete ban, an<3, if so, would not any argument used by Ministers apply with equal force to the partial ban which still exists?
– I think questions about the trade unions’ ban on the transport of munitions to the Netherlands East Indies have been answered on other occasions in this House. The ban recently imposed by certain trade unions in the Australian Council of Trades Unions applied to not only certain Dutch aircraft at Archerfield aerodrome but also the Holland-Australia shipping line. I discussed the matter on several occasions with the Dutch Minister in Canberra. I did make strong representations about the ban on the Holland-Australia shipping line as the ships were not in any way engaged in the transport of goods into areas where there were difficulties. Later, as the honorable member may know, the ban on these ships- was removed. Certain consultations have taken place about Dutch air transport from Archerfield. Although I cannot suggest that the Dutch regard the arrangements as entirely satisfactory, I am sure that they would say that we have tried to meet them as well as possible in the circumstances. In reference to the ban on the shipment of goods from Australia to the Netherlands East Indies, the honorable member will understand that others have also declined to allow munitions to go into that area. The position has been difficult there. I hope that, at an early date, as the result of action taken through the Security Council, and in other ways, there will be a better disposition in Indonesia for agreement between the Dutch and Indonesians. I do not propose to say anything that would be likely to interfere with a satisfactory settlement.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping whether stocks of sheet steel are insufficient for industry and are allocated to various industries on a quota basis? Will he arrange for a greater quota to be provided to manufacturers of refrigerators as against the manufacturers of luxury motor vehicles?
– It is true that there is a grave shortage of sheet steel, but the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government is confined to the allocation of supplies to the various States. The State governments have the responsibility of allocating their quotas to industries. Consequently, the Commonwealth Government cannot take the action that the honorable member desires.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Works and Housing been drawn to a statement by the Government Statistician of Queensland that the estimated unit costs of building rose during 1946 by 11 per cent, for brick houses, 20 per cent, for wood houses and 10 per cent, for fibro-cement houses? Has the Minister also seen the Statistician’s further statement that, although a standard wooden home was undoubtedly better constructed in 193S-39 than is the average home being built now, the cost of wooden houses was 72 per cent, higher at the end of last year than in 1938-39? Will the Minister inform the House what measures have been taken by the Government in regard to rising costs of home building, and will he investigate these increased costs, particularly in the State of Queensland?
– I have not seen the statement mentioned by the honorable member, but I shall obtain a copy and examine it. I remind the honorable member that two years ago there was a great clamour in Australia for the removal of all economic controls. The honorable gentleman probably was one of many members of this House who called upon the Government to remove price controls and other restrictions. State Premiers joined in the campaign at that time and, at a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, they urged the removal of all controls which applied to building materials. Control of such materials reverted to the State governments then, but the States have failed to maintain a proper relationship between the numbers of building permits granted and the quantities of timber available. This has caused a great deal of time to be lost on certain construction work, with a resultant increase of costs. Even at the latest conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, the attention of the Premiers was drawn to the seriousness of the position and the Commonwealth Government asked them to pass legislation with a view to relating’ the number of building permits granted to the quantities of building materials available, so as to reduce waste time and,, therefore, building costs. In addition, the Commonwealth Government has established an experimental building station at Ryde, New South Wales, where work is being carried out for the purpose of establishing specific standards for home construction so as to reduce the cost of home fittings by means of standardization.
– This time last year, I asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the serious food position in Great Britain, he would follow the example of “the Australian people and send a substantial quantity of food there as a Christmas gift. The right honorable gentleman promised to consider the matter, but later’, he did not adopt my Suggestion. I now repeat the question, in View of the worsening food position in Great Britain and the fact that unrationed food is obtainable.
– A few days ago, I made a brief reference to the fact that the arrangements which have been made between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth are designed to give/ to the United Kingdom the maximum quantity of food. On behalf of Australia, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture conducted most of the discussions.
– Will Australia make a gift of the food, or will we sell it to the United Kingdom?
– In relation to payment for the food and sterling balances, there are certain other considerations to which I referred in my budget speech, and I shall not infringe the Standing Orders by mentioning them now. However, the availability of food for Great Britain is not wrapped up with the matter of payment. The question is, what quantity of food can Australia provide? I shall ‘endeavour to give to the honorable member a written statement covering the wider field, because it does involve sterling balances and the neces sity for the Commonwealth to live within its sterling earnings, from time to time.
– Argentina made a gift to the United Kingdom.
– I understand the point which the honorable gentleman has raised, and I am merely indicating that it would not affect the quantity of food which we send to Great Britain. I shall endeavour to supply a full statement on the matter.
Northern TERRITORY ExpoRTs
– Will the Minister for the Interior inf orm me whether the Commonwealth Government proposes to prohibit the export of live cattle from the Northern Territory to the Philippines? During the .first week of September, a shipload of live cattle was sent from Darwin to the Philippines after the lapse of many years. The Sydney Sun, on the 2nd September last, published the following report from Darwin : -
It is understood here that a line has been drawn across the territory below which no cattle may be bought for export.
This line runs from Booroloola on the Gulf of Carpentaria to Daly Waters and thence to Victoria River.
This will strangle export from Darwin and only a few hundred hea<l will be available annually.
I ask the Minister whether the report is true that the Government proposes to prohibit the export of live cattle to the Philippines? If so, will the honorable gentleman ensure that that outlet for live cattle throughout the whole of the Northern Territory shall be permitted?
– The matter mentioned has caused considerable concern in the Northern Territory, and (some eight or ten days ago I authorized the Administrator to go to Adelaide for the purpose of attending a meeting of the Australian Meat Board. That board has given full consideration to the position as it affected the Northern Territory, and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, who will make the final decision, is awaiting the board’s report.
Priorities for ex-Servicemen.
– I understand that the Government has decided on a measure of preference to returned servicemen in the matter of delivery of farm machinery. I have just received from the Bogan Gate sub-branch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia a communication which indicates that the Government has not fulfilled its promise in this matter. In view of the problem confronting- many ex-servicemen who do not have adequate means of handling this season’s crop, will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture give me an assurance that he will have made an immediate re-examination of this position, in order to allay the fears of these ex-servicemen ?
– The position in regard to the allocation of farming machinery, particularly tractors, is that the Government sponsors and arranges for the importation of machinery to Australia and ensures that there is a fair distribution- between the several States. By arrangement with the Commonwealth, the States then determine priorities for the allocation of the machinery. Every endeavour is made to give preference to ex-service settlers and intending settlers, and I am quite sure that the State governments are doing their part. If the honorable gentleman can bring to my notice the facts of any case where preference has not been granted I shall be glad to investigate it.
Indian Civil Servants
– I have received a letter from a constituent who is interested in immigration forwarding a communication from a representative of the Indian Government who recently toured Australia and New Zealand. Because of the withdrawal from India of United Kingdom personnel, there are numbers of medical officers, forestry officers, electrical, mechanical, and irrigation engineers and veterinary officers, all of considerable experience, seeking to come to Australia. Can the Minister for Immigration inform me whether any difficulties will he placed in their way?
– The Department of Immigration has done everything possible to assist members of the British Civil Service and armed forces to settle in
Australia. If the honorable gentleman will give me details of any complaint I shall take the matter up immediately with the Australian High Commissioner in New Delhi, General Sir Iven Mackay. However, the Government has not been remiss in its duty .because, when Sir Iven Mackay advised us some time ago of the imminent withdrawal of British people from India, we made special arrangements to facilitate their passage to Australia. H.M.A.S. Manoora was taken off the AustraliaJapan route and placed on the AustraliaIndia route, and arrangements were actually made to transport to Australia between 3,500 and 5,000 British people who, we were told., wished to come to Australia. However, when the vessel arrived in India it was discovered that many intending migrants were not willing to travel under austerity conditions. When Manoora arrived in Bombay last July only 600 or 700 people wanted to come to Australia. That does not mean that we shall not try to help those who changed their minds. The number of ships trading between Australia and India is limited. We shall assist to the best of our ability everybody who wants to come to Australia from India, now that conditions have so changed as to necessitate their seeking employment elsewhere.
– Did the Rural Reconstruction Commission, about two years ago, make a report to the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction on irrigation, water conservation and drainage problems? If it did, will the honorable gentleman state whether Cabinet has yet given any consideration to the several recommendations which the report contained? Will the honorable gentleman also state whether the Government intends to take any action to draw up a national irrigation and water conservation scheme? When may we expect to have the details of such a scheme placed before us?
– The Rural Reconstruction Commission has compiled a series of very valuable reports, the subjectmatters of some of which relate to activities of the States as well as of the Commonwealth. For that reason, it is necessary to refer the reports to the Premiers of the various States, with a view to learning whether they are agreeable to the publication of them without any amendment. Whether that process is being followed at present with the report referred to by the honorable member, I cannot say, but if he will let me have the details of that report I shall inquire as to what hag happened to it.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Australian Wool Board - Eleventh Annual Report, for year 1946-47.
In the period under review, the Australian Wool Board put into operation the most comprehensive programme of wool promotion in its history. Valuable research work on sheep and wool problems also has been carried out during the year.
I take this opportunity to record an expression of appreciation of the service that has been rendered by all the members of the board since its inception.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral been directed to the report that, on the 7th and 8th September, the Australian Broadcasting Commission broadcast statements on frequency modulation which were misleading, and gave the public the impression .that frequency modulation broadcasting was likely to be introduced shortly and, possibly, would render valueless existing radio receiving sets? Will the honorable gentleman state whether the Government has yet reached a decision in regard to the introduction of frequency modulation broadcasts in Australia, and when, if at all, they are likely to be introduced?
– I was not in Australia ou the 7th September, consequently I did not see the newspaper report to which the honorable member has referred, but I am in a position to advise him in regard to the
Government’s policy in respect of frequency modulation, facsimile broadcasting and television. Some little time ago, Cabinet established a Cabinet subcommittee to deal with these matters. That sub-committee decided that no action should be taken in connexion with the issue of licences in respect of any of those matters until the discussions and negotiations that are- now taking place in America had been concluded. Australia is represented at those conferences by high-ranking officials of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. When the reports of those officials are submitted towards the end of this year, the Cabinet sub-committee will again examine the matter. We know that a number of people who are making radio receiving sets are at present actively endeavouring to persuade the public that frequency modulation is not likely to be introduced until some distant date. Cabinet’s decision, as expressed by the sub-committee in a press statement some little time ago, is that frequency modulation is not likely to be introduced for a considerable time.
Bill presented by Mr. Pollard, and read a first time.
Mi-. POLLARD (Ballarat-=-Minister for Commerce and Agriculture) [4.2]. - by leave - I move -
That, the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to amend the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924- 1942 to provide for the reconstitution of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, as established under that act for the purpose of regulating and controlling the export of butter and cheese from the Commonwealth of Australia. During the war the board’s activities were curtailed considerably, and meetings were held only to comply with the provisions of the act, as in November, 1939, with the passing of the National Security (Dairy Produce Acquisition) Regulations, the control of the dairying industry was taken over by a small committee, which was vested with wide powers to control the industry under war-lime conditions. The Government now proposes to reinstate the Australian
Dairy Produce Board so that a statutory authority shall be available to advise and assist in dealing with the important problems likely to arise in the industry, with the gradual rehabilitation of overseas markets. The present board consists of seventeen members appointed under the act. These comprise four producers, nine representatives of co-operative butter and cheese factories, two members of proprietary and privately owned butter and cheese factories, one representative of the Australian Council of the Australian Institute of Dairy Factory Managers and Secretaries, and a representative of the Commonwealth Government. It is the view of the Government that more effective administration would be achieved by a smaller body, and the amending legislation provides for twelve members in all who will be representative of the following interests : -
As the six members elected to represent co-operative butter and cheese factories will be directors of those factories elected to such positions by the producer suppliers to those factories, it will be appreciated that producers will have eight representatives on a board of twelve members.
The Commonwealth Government has entered into a long-term purchase arrangement with the Government of the United Kingdom covering the export of Australian butter and cheese up to the 30th June, 1948, and an extension of that arrangement has been sought to the 30th June, 1950. That has caused a complete change in the methods covering the export of butter and cheese from Australia, and in view of the period of the arrangement, it is essential that control of the industry be transferred from the war-time authority to a statutory board. The terms of the purchase arrangement with the United Kingdom Government make it necessary for the Commonwealth Government to empower the board to carry out certain of the functions of the war-time authority, and to enable it, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, tobuy and sell butter and cheese intended for export. For this purpose provision is made in the bill for the board to obtain advances from the Commonwealth Bank. The board will, during such period as the long-term purchase arrangement for the sale of Australia’s exportable butter and cheese continues, handle annually Commonwealth Government finance to the amount of more than £15,000,000, and in these circumstances it is the view of the Government that it should have the right to appoint the chairman of the board.
Provision is also made in the amending bill for the board to take over the assets, rights, obligations, liabilities, contracts and agreements of the Dairy Produce Control Committee constituted by the National Security (Dairy Produce Requisition) Regulations in force under the Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act 1946. Other amendments are of a machinery nature only, and are necessary to give effect to the major amendments, to which attention has already been directed.
Debate (on motion by Mr. McDonald) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 19th September (vide page 130), on motion by Dr. Evatt -
That the following paper be printed: -
Foreign Affairs - Statement by Minister for External Affairs, dated 6th June, 1947, together with related documents.
.- In some respects the debate on this motion has been unrealistic in discussing the European situation. Especially was the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) unrealistic in his references to the degree to which the opinion ofthe Australian Government influences the European situation to-day. It is instructive to contrast the post-war situation in Europe to-day with the postwar situation which existed in 1919. At that time, three great powers - Russia, which was ah ally, and the enemy countries of Austria-Hungary and Germany - had collapsed. In those circumstances, the western powers had a clean slate. .There was no significant power in eastern Europe, so that the decisions made by the western powers - Great Britain, France and the United States of America - could be given effect in that area. To-day, Russia., far from being in a state of collapse, is in a dominant position in eastern Europe, so that the influence of the western powers, including the United States of America, in that area counts for little. That is the first difference between the post-war world of 1945 onward and the post-war world of 1919 onward. The second vital difference is that in 1919 France was the dominant military power on the continent, and was subject to the influence of Great Britain. In the period from 1945 onward France counted and counts for very little - so much so that the courtesy of an invitation to discuss the post-war settlement was not even extended to France by Great. Britain, the United States of America and Russia during the war. The third great difference between the post-war world after 1919 and the world after 1.945 is that in 1919 Germany was industrially intact, whereas to-day Germany has been smashed. Consequently, as a result of the complete destruction of Germany’s industries, there has been an upsetting of the balance of power in Europe to a much greater degree than that brought about by Germany’s defeat in 191S. Furthermore, there has been removed from Europe the most efficient industrial power for the supply of Europe’s needs, a task greater than the remaining industrial resources of Europe are able to perform. The fourth important factor is the spread of communism to-day, something which was not a factor of anything like the same importance in 1919. Every one of those factors makes for the limitation of the influence of Great Britain in Europe to-day as compared with its influence in 1919, and no amount of scolding or deploring - and there was a great deal of deploring in the speech of the honorable member for Warringah - can alter the hard facts, which are there for better or for worse.
It is very important for us to recognize yet another contrast between the two post-war worlds. In 1919, there was a principle accepted by all the powers as underlying the peace - the principle, as enunciated by President Wilson, of the self-determination of the peoples. There was believed to be a need to allow the people of Europe themselves to determine how the frontiers of Europe should be drawn; and, insofar as it was not possible to draw frontiers without including some minority, it was agreed that a minority commission should be set up to protect the rights of the people included in another national entity. All pretence of such elementary justice has been abandoned by all the Great Powers to-day. Admittedly, the principle was not always acted upon after the first World War, but it was not ignored to anything like the same extent as to-day. At Yalta, Teheran and Moscow, the British Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America committed their countries, without consulting with their Parliaments, without consulting with their Cabinets, and without even informing the press, to the drawing of frontiers in eastern Europe which nobody can contend correspond with justice or the wishes of the people. I am not proposing to be a futile deplorer of that. It was a case of needs must when the devil drives, and great concessions were made to Russia to keep the alliance firmly cemented. However, we must look at the facts that have emerged, and in any scientific analysis of the peace so far established - if it can be called peace - we can see the seeds of what will be another “ just “ and prolonged war.
– A just war ?
– As I use the word “ just “, it should be written in inverted commas. I refer particularly to the drawing of the eastern frontier of Germany. It was agreed by the British Prime Minister during the war that the eastern frontier of Poland should be moved very much farther west in Russia’s interests so as to correspond with the Curzon line, and that Poland should be compensated out of the territory of eastern Germany. Thus, an. area of 40,000 square miles of Germany, inhabited by 10,000,000 Germans and 300,’000 Poles, has been given to Poland. I draw the attention of honorable members to an important statement by Mr. Anthony Eden, in a debate in the House of Commons, wherein he pointed out how disastrous that move is for Europe. He said that, just as in 1919 Poland had prejudiced the peace of Europe by going too far to the east, and seizing the territory of Russia, taking advantage of the fact that Russia was in turmoil, so this time Poland has come too far west, and has acquired territories which, no matter what German government may emerge, whether Communist, socialist or capitalist, will always be re,garded by that government as part of Germany. No German government will accept the present boundary as a final settlement of Germany’s eastern frontier. No one can pretend that a territory inhabited, by 10,000,000 Germans and 300,000 Poles will be regarded by any German government of the future,’ whatever its character, as anything but German territory. Why such a move was made I will discuss later, but it is enough now to call attention to its effect on Germany. The Poles are trying to expel the Germans from this area, with the result that in a smaller Germany a larger German population is being concentrated, much to the disturbance of the French Government, whose Foreign Minister, M. Bidault has protested. Secondly, the Poles are incapable of providing for the German industries of eastern Germany labour equivalent to that which they are removing. Consequently, the industries of eastern Europe which could serve in the rehabilitation of Europe are undermanned. A third point is that Polish agriculturists are less efficient than the German agriculturists whom they are replacing, with- a consequent reduction of food supplies for Europe at a time when they are most needed.
We must ask ourselves, since it is apparent that the theory underlying peace to-day is not the self-determination of the peoples, on what theory peace is being drawn - if there is any principle other than the convenience of Soviet Russia in eastern Europe operating to-day. Several theories to explain the reason for German aggression were advanced during the war, and before it. There was the theory advanced by Lord Vansittart that the Germans are essentially a depraved and vicious people. If we were to operate on that theory, we must envisage permanent repression of the Germans, but that theory has been expressly disallowed in a number of selfcontradictory statements by the Russian Foreign Minister, M. Molotov, who said that the Russian Government did not accept any racial theory, including the theory of German racial viciousness. Then, contradicting himself, he said that the Germans were, of all peoples, most liable to Chauvinism - that is, the disposition to attack other people. He made this statement when attacking the British proposal to federalize Germany. He said, when he was criticizing the British proposal, that if Germany were broken up into loosely federated states, there would inevitably be an attempt to re-unite Germany, that such an attempt would inevitably be led by the former militarist factions in Germany and that they would restore their prestige. There is an element of truth in that argument; but it applies very much more forcibly to the Russian detachment, allegedly in the interests of Poland, of a large part of Germany. If it be true, .as Molotov said, that federalism would give the militarists in Germany an objective to work for and would enhance their prestige, it is equally true that Russia by its detachment of eastern Germany has given the German militarists something to work for. Poland has accepted the view of the German people, and especially the Prussians, as an essentially aggressive people who must be repressed; and that theory is held to justify the Polish acquisition of most of Prussia. I expect that it is natural for Poland to take that attitude when we consider that in the course of the German occupation of Poland some 6,000,000 Poles were put to death. But it is important to note that Russia is not now acting upon the theory which it officially embraced during the war. The theory which Russia officially embraced was that not the German people but cliques of Junkers and industrialists were responsible for German aggression, and that if that class were eliminated Germany would be ,a power with which nations would be capable of living at peace. Russia has not accepted that theory, because it has foreshadowed many years of occupation of Germany; and since we may expect that the militarists have largely been eliminated, if that theory were really believed in by any of the great powers, the position would have arisen that Germany would now be capable of being trusted. That, of course, is not accepted by any of the great powers; and all of them envisage a long period of occupation. At the same time, there has arisen a dilemma, and none of the great powers has shown any sign that it can solve it; that is the dilemma of German reparations. Russia estimates the damage done by German occupation forces in Russia at 128,000,000,000 dollars. Russia has billed Germany for an enormous sum in respect of reparations. The bill for reparations is so colossal that, if it be accepted all over Europe, it would give to Russia a claim on all German production in excess of the very minimum of German needs for the next 40 years. However, reparations give rise to this dilemma : How is Germany to pay them unless its industries are rehabilitated ? And if its industries are rehabilitated, how can it be prevented from being placed in a position to wage aggressive war again? Russia is particularly desirous that the German steel industry should be rehabilitated, but M. Bidault, with the consent of all parties in the French Parliament, has stated that he does not desire the German steel industry, to be rehabilitated. France desires that the German industrial effort be concentrated upon the production of coal which can be used to rehabilitate the industries of Germany’s neighbours; and France has laid claim to the entire coal output of the Ruhr and the Saar, amounting to 60,000,000 tons of coal a year. That claim is resisted by Russia, which desires that coal to be the basis of German steel production, which steel production is to be directed toward? the rehabilitation of Russia. So we find ourselves back in the old dilemma: How can we squeeze anything out of Germany without allowing Germany’s industries to develop in order that commodities may be obtained? And if Germany :is to be allowed to develop its in- dustries, can we prevent Germany from re-embarking on a course of aggression? If we are to attempt to rehabilitate German industries while our forces occupy German territory, how are we to get the German people to work for the rehabilitation of its damaged neighbours? But the problem is also confused by the fact, in which the British Government has shown its interest, that while Czechoslovakia and Poland are expelling Germans and concentrating them in the rump of Germany, they are causing a greater population pressure in the territory left to Germany, and to that degree are giving cause on the part of Germany to embark in the future upon a course of aggression. If Germany is to be trusted to live at peace with its neighbours, even under the check of the armed forces of its neighbours, it is obvious that the territory in which the Germans are forced to live must be sufficient for the needs of the German people, unless we take the attitude that Poland and Czechoslovakia take, namely, the attitude of straight-out revenge which the British and Americans repudiate and which Russia accepts, or rejects, according to the circumstances of the moment or according to whatever issue might be before the Foreign Ministers of the big powers. But the reality which we’ must accept is a. hard one, and that is that so far as eastern Europe is concerned to-day, “the writ of the western powers does not run “. If we regard the war-time commitments of Yalta, Teheran and Moscow as binding upon us, the western powers have abandoned all authority in eastern Europe, and, indeed, in Manchuria, Korea and many islands of the Pacific where already in the wartime agreements the general outline of the position has been laid down irrevocably very much to our disadvantage and very much to the advantage of Soviet Russia.
That brings me to the part of the Minister’s statement dealing with the Pacific. The Yalta agreement has assigned to Russia a sphere of influence in Manchuria. It is true that that rests upon the consent of the Chinese Government. The Chinese Government, anticipating a long war in the Pacific after Russia declared war on Japan, gave .its consent only to find the war over very quickly and Soviet Russia in command of substantial resources which it won as ;he result of a week of very minor skirmishing with an already defeated Japan. Soviet Russia has taken from Manchuria reparations, so-called, to the value of £360,000,000 sterling in return for one week’s fighting. Those reparations are on a scale much greater thar: China has received as the result of almost sixteen years of fighting against Japan. Russia has been given by the consent of the British and American Governments a virtual monopoly over the railways of Manchuria. It has been given by Mr. Churchill and the late President .Roosevelt special rights in Dairen and Port Arthur; and it has taken occupation of Northern Korea. With the United States of America, at the moment, retaining Southern Korea, Russia is biding its time for the inevitable disinclination of the democratic people of the United States of America to maintain occupation armies abroad for a long period; and with the withdrawal of’ the United States of America forces it will occupy the west of Korea, which Japan long ago realized to be a strategic point from which to dominate China. It is sufficient to say that if the honorable member for Warringah is right in regarding Russia as the major menace to-day, its western allies certainly took very great care to provide it with some springboards from which to embark upon a policy’ of aggression if it wishes to do so. It is rather pitiful to hear a foreign minister of a very’ minor power, namely, the Australian Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), held responsible for this situation when the position in which Russia stands to-day was brought about its the result of agreements signed during the war by Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt, both of whom we normally regard as skilled diplomatists. I realize the position with which they were then confronted, but if we are to make an assessment of the international situation it is necessary to commence with a recognition of how much was given to Russia during the war before the general outlines of the peace had been discussed. One of the principal features of the Yalta agreement which will have ari influence on Australia in the future is the assignment to Russia .of the very important
J apanese fishing rights’ in southern Sakhalin. I believe it is generally agreed that Japan should be shorn of every territory it acquired by a systematic policy of aggression from the ‘nineties onwards. It is also generally agreed that having shorn Japan of the fruits of aggression, we should, as far as possible, remove the stimulus to aggression; but, insofar as Japan is deprived of essential food supplies in southern Sakhalin, its people may be rendered desperate by a shortage of food and be bound to support an aggressive foreign policy. While the territory of southern Sakhalin has been given to Russia, whose claims to it do not appear to be very substantial, I hope that some attempt will be made for. the sake of future peace in the Pacific to ensure that Japanese fishing rights in that area are at least safeguarded to the same extent as Russia’s fishing rights were safeguarded under a Russo-Japanese fisheries treaty of the past, when Japan controlled southern Sakhalin. Under the Yalta agreement Formosa and the Pes:cadores were disposed of to China, and, whilst few would dispute the justice of that disposal, it must be said in passing that the restored Chinese rule in those areas has been so grossly incompetent as to provoke a serious rising which bids fair, unless Chinese rule is reformed, to constitute a danger to the future peace of the Pacific. That leaves us with the Ryukyus and the Bonin Islands. I hope that Australian foreign policy will be directed towards securing those islands as mandated territories for the United States of America. We have shown some hesitancy in the past, which appears to be entirely unjustified, in strengthening the position of the United States of America in the Pacific. We have exhibited that hesitancy in relation to the Ladrones, the Carolines and Manus. It is hoped that a clear stand will be taken by the Minister for External Affairs to ensure that by right of full occupation or by mandate the United States of America is given possession of the Ryukyus and the Bonin Islands, which include Iwo Jima, where so much American blood was shed and which will be an important point of control of Japan by the United States of America if at any time the occupation of Japan should cease. We should recognize clearly that by the handing over to Russia of the Kurile Islands north of Japan and southern Sakhalin there has been placed in Russia’s hands the capacity to apply very strong pressure to any future independent Japanese Government, and accordingly we would be wise to assign to the United States of America the means of exerting counter pressure by giving it control of the Ryukyus and the Bonin Islands, so that at lea3t some measure of influence upon future Japanese policy may be in the hands of one of the western powers. It would be wise to do this early because the extent to which the western powers have abandoned their position of influence throughout the world is very marked.
These are considerations underlying the present Peace Conference. We should recognize that without any attempt at self-determination by the peoples concerned the main outlines of the peace have already been made. I do not accept the idea that there is no principle underlying the disposition of territory in Europe. I am not so naive as to believe that Soviet Russia does not fully realize that Germany will want to attempt to obtain from Poland Eastern Prussia and the eastern territories which it has handed over to that country. The Russian motive is a very old one, namely, the balance of power motive. The motive of the balance of power policy is to detract from possible enemies any territories or resources which may strengthen them, and by detracting from Germany Russia is not unnaturally endeavouring to safeguard itself from a repetition of German aggression. Another motive of the balance of power policy is to create a cause of quarrel between possible enemies which will prevent them from combining in the future. I have no doubt that by encouraging Poland to take these eastern territories Soviet Russia is endeavouring to bring about a permanent issue between Germany and Poland, as was done when the Polish corridor was created. Insofar as this country has any influence in Europe - and it is very slight - that influence should be directed first towards the rehabilitation’ of Great Britain, and, secondly, towards the rehabilitation of western Europe, so that there will not be a general collapse of European society through malnutrition and through inadequate production which, in effect, may well mean that Hitler won the war.
.- Honorable members should welcome debates on international affairs because, isolated though we are, world events do shape our destiny. Aviation has in effect considerably reduced the world’s dimensions. We must realize that we are but a small white outpost near the most densely populated region of the earth, that although our huge territory has enjoyed a creditable development over the last century and a half Australia is still under developed and under peopled, that our potential wealth is a rich prize and that accordingly we cannot stand alone. Having regard to that our foreign policy should not be left in the hands of one man; it should be determined by the Parliament itself. International affairs should not present political party differences,’ yet the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. . Evatt) is the sole arbiter of what utterances should be made on behalf of Australia. In 1943 I first advocated the establishment of an international affairs committee, consisting of members of both Houses of the Parliament so that these matters of such vital concern to us might be fully discussed. The Government, however, still adheres to its plan to leave them in the hands of but one of its Ministers. Whatever his abilities may be it would be better to secure the advice of a cross-section of parliamentary opinion. I intend to demonstrate how short-sighted the right honorable gentleman has been and how he has put Australia in the wrong. For all the high hopes expressed about it, the United Nations has but limited value. Similar high hopes were expressed when the League of Nations was established, but it failed because its principal, sponsor, the United States of America, did not join it. When the league was defied by Japan, Italy and Germany it became a broken reed. All efforts for international mediation failed, and we were again plunged into a war. The United Nations was set up in the belief that it was an improvement on the original model. It was supposed to have greater power and greater possibilities; hut what has been the result? The excessive use of the veto by Russia has nullified its usefulness. It is becoming a political propaganda platform. Although it was meant to be an instrument for collective security, M. Vyshinsky’s recent “tirade should- warn us that further appeasement of Russia is useless. “We must, do. our shave. All other matters should be put aside. Internal problems, of course, concern the people of the Commonwealth, and are of considerable importance, but there are world events that will have serious repercussions upon us. It is argued that a small nation like Australia can have little influence on international affairs. It is true that we are not numerous, but we must play our part, particularly in concert with the other countries of the Empire. In 1942, at the height of the war, Great Britain signed a treaty of mutual support with Russia. Russia was in dire danger - how soon have some of Great Britain’s allies forgotten the great help that they received from the British nation ! The fruit of victory for the British people has been greater and greater austerity and mounting debts that have placed the Homeland in extreme difficulties; yet Great Britain was a victor nation - the nation that stood -alone for so long, and made the greatest contribution to the winning of the war! After- all, the war was only made possible because of the Russo-German pact of 1939 - Ribbentrop and Molotov were the signatories - providing for the partition of Poland. Poland was invaded, defeated, and has not risen since except as a puppet of Russia. The Poles have been pushed into Germany. Russia came into the war only when it was attacked by Germany and Japan would never have come in had Germany not appeared to be winning and been allied with Russia. “When Russia was invaded Great Britain equipped ten divisions of the Russian Army with tanks, and supplied other essential materials such as cloth for uniforms, petrol and metals, often at the expense of other theatres of war in which Empire forces were engaged, including Malaya and the Middle East. All that was- done to help an ally which has since shown nothing but ingratitude.
The Anglo-Russian agreement laid down that there should be no territorial aggrandizement after the war, but has that agreement been adhered to? Russia has shown itself even more unreliable than Germany in the honouring of “ scraps of paper “. The Soviet has pushed its boundaries outward in every direction. Its policy is more imperialistic than it ever was in Czarist days. The Russians today are more offensive to their neighbours than they were in the time of Peter the Great; yet Russia has the temerity to appear in international councils with an injured air and to expect the world to believe that its territories are threatened. What is Russia’s strength to-day? The Soviet has ringed itself with satellite States in the pretence that its territories are in danger.- These satellite States are all smaller nations and their political freedom has been taken from them. Rumania to-day is in utter misery due to the results of the war, sickness and starvation. As soon as hostilities ceased, Bulgaria, a nation that fought against us, began exterminating its political enemies. Many thousands of people have been executed. Only yesterday, the leader of the Bulgarian Peasant party, Nikola Petkov, a man with a splendid record of achievements for his country, was executed. Britain and America protested against the farcical trial of this statesman and urged a more impartial inquiry, but without success. Russia backed Bulgaria’s action. This is the ruthless system of government that prevails in that country. Hungary elected its own democratic peasant government, but a Communist coup was staged and the Prime Minister had to flee the country. He is now in the United States of America. Russia declared that it had a quarrel with Persia and forced that country into an agreement regarding the sale of oil, of which Russia already has great quantities within its own borders. The Soviet is also threatening Turkey and is seeking control of part of the Dardanelles. In Germany, there is utter degradation and misery. These are the beaten peoples, but if we are human, and if the world is to prosper and .be happy as we know it could be but for the constant turmoil caused by Communist activities, we must let Germany revive. Russia has occupied much of Germany’s agricultural land and has sent millions of Germans to the American and British areas. America and Britain are paying millions of dollars to keep their former enemies from starving. The following statement was made by Mr. “William Philip Simms, foreign editor of the Scripps-Howard newspapers, who has returned to America after a four months’ tour of Europe: - “ Hunger and cold will be at their worst this winter,” he said. “ The summer’s record drought lias played havoc with the crops.
Seldom, if ever, has Europe been in such a chaotic condition politically. Food distribution is badly organized, even where food exists. Intercourse between Western Europe and the Soviet sphere is practically nil.
The Communists are the only well-organized force. They are busy night and day taking full advantage of every situation. Despairing people everywhere are urged to turn against their governments and look to Moscow for deliverance.”
That is happening in Australia too. The statement continues -
There have been ominous bread strikes, mass demonstrations and bloody riots.
It is an open secret in Western Europe that Moscow is convinced that Communism is on the threshold of domination of Europe and Asia. It believes that one determined push can put it across.
If that is true - and I am convinced that there is some truth in it - it should bring the parties in this Parliament together. Democracy to-day is on the defensive. No longer can we laugh at Communism. In the early 1930’s, when Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published, _ it was read with hilarity. People said, “ This crank believes he can dominate his country “. Then, when Hitler became Chancellor, these people again laughed at the thought of his dominating the world, but he very nearly succeeded. At least Hitler’s machinations were only within his own borders. The operations of the Communists to-day are not defined. Their objectives are known only in Russia itself.
The article goes on -
The Marshall aid plan and proposals to make the United Nations effective threaten to upset the Kremlin’s plans for world revolution. That was the reason for Mr. Vyshinsky’s outburst.
Vyshinsky,. who conducted the treason trials of 1938, when thousands of prominent citizens were put to death, is a delegate with Molotov, who was associated with Ribbentrop, recently hanged at Nuremburg. He signed the pact with Germany. Men with blood-stained hands attack Great Britain and the United States ‘as war-mongers, and attack Mr. Winston Churchill, the man to whose great courage and ability they owe their existence as a nation to-day. The article continues -
The Hitler-like fury of Mr. Vyshinsky’s speech has awakened any members who failed to realize that the present United Nations Assembly is a matter of life and death.
The newspaper further reports -
How desperate is Europe’s plight is described by’ the Kew York Sun’s Berlin correspondent, who says : ‘ The fight for bread has become so brutal that Germans say they are back in the Stone Age. Morals are steadily declining. People are robbed of their ration cards and are even murdered for them ‘.
Because General Marshall, a great soldier, diplomat and humanitarian, wishes to rebuild devastated western Europe, the centre of the world’s culture and civilization, and end the starvation among the nations of western Europe, not only those we defeated, but also France, which was on the verge of a Communist revolution, to which Vyshinsky is opposed, the countries west of the iron curtain remain in grave difficulties. The United States of America, under that great scheme prepared by General Marshall, has promised to lend to the sixteen nations prepared to participate, over £5,000,000,000. Czechoslovakia, under orders, will not participate in the consultations. The Czechs, to those who know them, are a great people, great democrats. They had the model democracy in Europe before the war, but, having recently had their country occupied by soldiers of the Soviet and being still under the thrall of Russia, they, who said that they would join, hurriedly changed their minds. Poland dares not participate. There is fear, too in Scandinavia because it borders on Russia. But sixteen nations are prepared to accept the promised aid-. Vyshinsky does not want that.
The other proposal by the United States is that a Standing Interim Committee of Peace and Security be formed to obviate the veto obstruction in the Security Council. This would enable majority decisions to be made on important matters that might otherwise lead to war. This would operate as in the General Assembly where no veto prevails. The Russians do not believe in majority rule. If honorable members do not know, they should know that in Russia there is no opposition. There is no political liberty. A man can vote for a Communist and no one but a Communist, and if he dares to raise his voice against the government his life is in jeopardy. It is useless for the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) to talk lightly and loosely about what faces the world and to try to -explain things to his own satisfaction. Let us realize the dangers that menace the world, for the Russian danger overshadows all, and in this ominous atmosphere, war may recur. We are all familiar with the period known as the xt phoney “ war up to early 1940, when Germany was gathering strength, after having overcome Poland, to pounce on and defeat France. We can now call this period the “ phoney “ peace, because there is no peace. There is war in the world. The statements of Molotov, Gromyko, Vyshinsky, and other Russian delegates to the United Nations General Assembly are like those of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels ten years ago. The position i3 worse now though because there is definite war in the Balkans. Democracy has a precarious toe-hold in Greece, where British troops and Ameri- can support have enabled some recovery. Communism would have spread throughout the Balkans otherwise. There has been fighting on the Greek border for many months. I know that arms dropped into Greece to help the resistance movement during the war went into Communist hands, and that when the Germans were driven out of Greece, those who had obtained the weapons turned them on their Greek compatriots and began a civil war. It is Communist policy to stir up civil war. There have been incursions into Greece by Yugoslavs, Albanians and Bulgarians prompted . and aided by Russia. Moscow-trained Tito did not fight for Yugoslavia until Russia was attacked by Germany. He then promised autonomy within the Soviet Union for Macedonia, a turbulent part of Greece, where trouble is easily fostered. So serious is the situation that only yesterday we learned that Greece was calling up 35-year-old men so that the regular army should be able to fight on the frontier. If Russia overcomes Greece it will hold the eastern Mediterranean. There is no end to Russia’s ambitions. Albania laid mines that sank two British destroyers and killed many British sailors. When the matter was raised at the United Nations General Assembly, the Soviet bloc opposed any compensation to Britain or any apology. Yugoslavia, the country that after World War I. absorbed Serbia and Montenegro, has been torn with conflict, and Randolph Churchill, who is now in Australia, in a recent talk has told us about it. He spent fourteen months with the Yugoslavians during the war. They suffered more than 1,000,000 casualties, but only 200,000 were caused in battle against the Germans and the Italians. The remaining 800,000 were killed in civil war promoted by Tito, the man trained in communism, the man who used his weapons against his own people. It is the Communist policy to stir up civil war and revolution. World dominion is Russia’s aim. Does one honorable member of this House think that Russia is a democracy? But what do we hear from the strange people in our midst, the Australian Communists ? Many of them are idealists, others frustrated failures, and others opportunists who wish for a revolution in the hope of getting something for themselves. Others are pseudo-intellectualists. I say that advisedly, for many teachers and others feel that it is the stamp of intelligence to believe in something leftist. How foolish ! Socialism, communism, nazi-ism and fascism are materialist theories. Communism would not work except under terrorism. Russia is governed by the Politburo of fifteen men. It does not exist in the Constitution, yet it is all-powerful, Molotov and Vyshinsky are members. Its ranks have been changed from time to .time according to circumstances. That is the organization which in secret conclave decides Russia’s policy and hence the fate of nations. There is Thorez, who deserted his native France for Moscow. There is Tito, whom I have mentioned, and there are countless others in other countries. In Australia we have men w’ho have visited Moscow to be trained and to receive orders. Unfortunately, this Government has paid the fares of some of these disciples because they happened to go as the representatives of some organization. Mr. Thornton is one of these. Others perhaps went to Russia at their own expense. In any case, all of them went for the definite purpose of receiving training and later betraying their own people.
Soviet communism is a creed of hate and violence which emanated from the disordered mind of Marx, who was himself a failure and who had no friends. He maligned his own people and flattered the very worst in humanity. Unfortunately, he expressed two beliefs - that only labour counted, and that every movement for improvement in the world was merely economic - and these beliefs appealed to many people. They have never encouraged incentive and there is no spirit ‘ or soul in them. Nevertheless, they obtained followers. Socialism is a milder offshoot of Marxism. Such creeds are negative and obsolete and can only operate successfully in a police State in which the citizens lose their souls and their liberty. Communism promises a universal paradise on earth, but it has brought more bloodshed and misery to the world than any other tyranny in history. All the barbarian conquerors - the hordes of Tamerlane, the Moguls, and the Tartars - pale into insignificance beside communism with its record of death and suffering. I refer honorable members to a declaration made by a German Communist which was published in the London Review of World Affairs of the 1st July, 1947. This man thought that, with the invasion of Prussia by the Russians, he would come into his own. He was bitterly disillusioned. This is what he said -
Immediately after the town was occupied by the Russians all Nazis, party members, &c, were arrested and taken to various camps such as Metgeten, Labiau and Insterburg. In the court prison of Konigsberg, political prisoners were eight to one cell. We Burgomasters very often had to be present when inspections were carried out. By May more than 1,500 men had been murdered, disappeared or died through typhus.
Me was made a burgomaster because he was a Communist. His statement continues -
About 20th August, 1945, all ‘twelve Burgomasters, including the newly elected Oberburgomaster Mau, were forced to be present at a mass execution of 1,000 political prisoners in Konigsberg. They were killed by guillotine; two men were saved from this mass, execution at the last moment, and were given ten years’ forced labour.
He spoke in detail of the atrocities committed by Russian troops, who were given every kind of licence in every city that they entered. When they found themselves in the great cities of Europe, after having been kept under the rigorous conditions of the Russian slave State, they plundered to their hearts’ content.
We should take note of these facts and realize what they mean to us, because Communist plotting is going on in Australia. The distance between Moscow and Melbourne is not great under modern conditions and with the close liaison that exists between Communists here and the master Communists. Russia’s internal policy is its own business, and it is not for us to interfere with that. However, we will resist its encroachments upon our form of government and our own .liberties. The time has come when the iron curtain should be lifted so that people may know of the actual conditions in Russia. One of the worst denunciations of Russia is the fact that the Russian Government will not permit fifteen women who married British officers and men in Russia to go to Great Britain. Nobody may leave or enter Russia to-day without the greatest difficulty, and those who do visit the country are taken on a “ Cook’s tour “. Some of us have seen Russia under different conditions. We who know what Russia is like would not exchange our liberty in this country, under any conditions, for the way of life that prevails in Russia to-day. It is regrettable that Australians who advocate communism are not sent to Russia at the expense of some fund raised for the purpose, and kept there for a considerable time, in order that they might be disillusioned and return to tell us about their disillusionment. .
The Communist organization in Australia is similar to that which exists in Canada, where a royal commission recently inquired into the activities of Communists. Startling confessions were made on that occasion by a Russian named Gouzenko, who found that he had been lied to in his own country. Living in a British dominion, he realized what freedom meant and he had sufficient strength of character and personal courage, in the face of threats to his safety, to admit that he had been misled in his own country. The Canadian royal commission discovered that, through various strata of society, in all kinds of occupations, ‘ were key-men who were supplying information to Russia about secret weapons. One of these men was a professor of science, who later, was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in “Great Britain. Another was a member of Parliament. Others were public servants. We need a similar inquiry in Australia “to-day. Our own difficulties are great enough without being increased by the activities of men who would betray their country because of some crazy alien belief that has proved itself to be a failure but which may yet force the world into’ (mother war.
One would think that the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) would be conscious of these things. Supporters of the Government say that he is aware of them, but he gave no indication of any such fact in a statement on international affairs which he tabled in this House about a year ago. I hope that he has learned a great deal since then. In that statement he made the following declaration
Having no clear evidence to the contrary and having during the last four years come to know some of Russia’s greatest statesmen, I take the view that the Soviet Union’s policy is directed towards self-protection and security against future attack. In my opinion, its desire is to develop its own economy and to improve the welfare of its peoples.
Security against future attack! From Persia? From Turkey? From Greece? Perhaps from Switzerland! What nonsense for a Minister to talk so! Because he has heard Russian statesmen make such declarations, he assumes that they must be correct. Doubtless he has learned more about the truth since then. However, he should say so, in order that this Parliament might speak for Australia with a united voice. There should be no party differences on such matters. In Great Britain, where there is a Labour government to-day, there is continuity of foreign policy. The utterances of Mr. Bevin are just as forthright and loyal as those of the previous British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Eden. That should be so in Australia also. Let us do away with this miserable situation, in which a few Australian Communist waterside workers are allowed to dominate our foreign policy. There should be a declaration from this Parliament, with one voice, that the people do not approve of such conduct and that the Government will not allow it to continue.
What has happened during the last two years ? The Dutch, a European, cultured nation, which colonized the islands of the East Indies long before the British settled in Australia, have been treated more scurvily than an enemy race. Incidentally, the Dutch have a better record of the treatment of native races than we have in Australia. Their ships, which carried our troops to the islands, have been denied labour for the loading of medical supplies that were needed for sick women and children in internment camps. They have- been held up by waterside workers because the known Communist leader of the Waterside Workers Federation, Mr. Healy, and his associates have said that this shall be so. This spineless Government accepts that as its policy, and the perambulating Minister for External Affairs tells the great nations of of the world what he thinks about various subjects. Yet, within a few hours’ flight of Australia, we have this problem. To misery, murder and torture, the hapless inhabitants of Java are to-day subjected. Chinese and Indians have been massacred by lawless bands of Javanese. No one denies the legitimate aspirations of the Javanese to have their own form of government. One day, they will have the same degree of liberty as that which Great Britain gave to the people of India. Great Britain showed that it was able to govern India better than the Indians can govern themselves. Even in the Indian mutiny there was never so much bloodshed as there has been since India achieved self government. A similar position exists in Java. The Dutch were prepared to grant to the J avanese a large measure of self-government. But Java is being terrorized by lawless Communist bands. During World War II. these Communists were harboured in Australia by, and associated with, Australian Communists. After the conclusion of hostilities, the Javanese Communists returned to their own country, and have worked for the collaborators and the Japanese, yet this Government is swayed by them. I have a copy of a document which the Dutch issued to the Security Council. It states -
Dutch troops liberated 72 Chinese near Garoet, west Java. At Tjiawi, near Bandoeng, they discovered the mass grave of twelve murdered Eurasians. Around Bindjai (east coast of Sumatra) 52 persons were kidnapped during the last fortnight of whom 20 have been murdered in the meantime. In the Medan uren., life is returning to normal. The population is no longer afraid of Republican gangs, because of intensive patrolling by Dutch troops.
Large numbers of Chinese have been murdered, and many Dutch citizens have been killed because they tried to “ stick it out “ in those parts of Java where disorder is rife. According to the Netherlands Information Bureau, the Indian community of Sumatra have forwarded to the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru, a petition, which describes some of the atrocities -
After the houses of the Chinese and Indians had been looted, the occupants were forced to return indoors, which were nailed up and whole rows of houses were set on Are. The future owners of Indonesia only grinned when their victims begged for mercy.
Incidentally, I remind honorable members that Pandit Nehru stated that he agreed with the view expressed by Australia regarding the policy of “ Hands off Java “. But the dispute is an internal matter which the Dutch and Indonesians could settle between themselves. The petition also describes the pitiful conditions of the Indian community in Java, and recommends that the government of India send a commission to investigate the plight of Indian citizens in the Netherlands East Indies. These atrocities are occurring within a few hours’ flight of Australia, and this Government has allowed that deplorable condition of affairs to continue. Dutch women and children are still held prisoner by Indonesians, some of whom collaborated with the Australian Communists who sit in the galleries of this House when industrial legislation isbeing debated. These Indonesians areled by Dr. Soekarno, who collaborated with, and was honoured by the Japanese.. In conclusion, I emphasize that we must have the greatest possible unity within the British Empire, and support the United States of America in the councils of the United Nations.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr.. Clark) Order! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- Certain comments and conclusions of thehonorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) during this debate last Friday require a reply. I noticed, with some dissatisfaction, that his survey of” the European scene was confined to a diary which apparently he wrote on his way home from overseas. Knowing the quality of the mind of the honorable member, I had hoped that he would give to us a picturewith two sides ; but instead, he evolved at considerable length what amounted to an anti-Communist tract. As he could have delivered a first-hand reasoned summary of the situation in Europe and the United States of America, where he attended the deliberations of the United Nations, his speech was disappointing.. However, the main contention which I have with him, and it is not a heated one, is the matter of the leadership of theAustralian delegation and the work of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). The honorable member for Warringah said that Australia’s foreign policy was a one-man policy - a policy of appeasement. In general terms, he derided the whole of the activities of the Minister, and theMinistry. I should like to say, as an observer on foreign affairs rather than one possessing an intimate knowledge of the subject, that this is the first time that Australia has had a really clamant voice in overseas affairs. The fact that we now possess one is due mainly to the activities of the Minister. Any complaint, on that basis, because the Minister has begun a job which none of his predecessors thought of or was too diffident to continue, is not a valid criticism of the work of the right honorable gentleman.
The point which I emphasize is that Australians do not take a real interest in foreign affairs. This attitude is reflected in this Parliament, where a mere handful of honorable members listen to the debate, even when the Minister for External Affairs himself is addressing the House. The newspapers do not show any genuine concern regarding foreign policy, and its correct interpretation. Ask any journalist in the press gallery how much space he will be allowed, at any time, for a speech on foreign affairs or any comment on foreign affairs, and he will reply, “ It is a dead letter with subeditors”. Recently, when walking along a street in Sydney, I saw a newspaper poster which read, “ Attley for America “. I thought “ Here at last we have a pronouncement which is worthy of a poster “, and I bought a newspaper, only to discover that Attley was a racehorse which was going to join Bernborough in the United .States of America. So, the contention which I am making is that the Australian people and politicians in the main are not interested in our foreign policy. Newspapers also are not greatly concerned with it. Having arrived at that position, we find that the attitude of the average Australian is to deride the work of a man who has created something in relation to our contacts overseas.
– Did not the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) do more to establish Australia’s name when he attended the conference that drew up the Treaty of Versailles ?
– Yes, I admit that. [ was speaking more of contemporary affairs than of the position immediately after World War I.
– It is only after wars that these things arise.
– There is a continuing foreign policy which prevents wars.
– To date, that “ continuing foreign policy “ has not been very successful.
– The continued battering of Soviet Russia on the one hand, or the United States of America on the other, may lead us into the intolerable position which developed after World War I., if we have two massive ideologies opposing one another and between them the threat of war and the threat of the use of the atom bomb. Of what use is it to us, who are concerned with the future of our nation, our families and our dear ones, when discussions of international problems of peace and war always descend to a futility, namely, that Russia or America is to blame for the present position? Each of these great protagonists must have some minimum requirements in relation to foreign affairs? Surely, then, it would be better if the members of the United Nations were to accept as irrevocable certain imponderables and certain decisions which have already been made. One of those is the veto. Since the League of Nations failed after the United States had refused to join that organization, the price which apparently we have paid for some kind of peace structure is the veto power. Surely, whilst trying to break down some of its more direct and difficult aspects, we should accept that proposition at the moment, and proceed with building the peace structure, which is the United Nations. Although the great difficulties remain in relation to war and peace and deep anxieties exist as to which of the dominant ideologies will prevail, and for how long, we have to consider all the other things which are being established under the United Nations, such as provision for the care of peoples, the International Refugee Organization, and numerous small committees and bodies which have begun to create a significance for the United Nations.
The honorable member for Warringah also made some play about the “great nation “ complex that is held at the United Nations. I am afraid that such a complex will persist while people are in their present anxious frame of mind regarding peace. We expected that the honorable member for Warringah would convey to the House his knowledge of the international situation which he must have acquired abroad. As a prominent King’s Counsel, he would not appear before a court and read a statement which was purely ex parte and give no facts of the situation. Regretfully, but without heat, I repeat that his speech was to me a disappointment.
Reference has been made to reparations. In my opinion, reparations is one of the most difficult subjects which we have to consider in relation to the peace treaty. I regret that reparations ever crept into any international agreement, because that is the basis and the seed of future wars. Reparations destroy the man producing either the money or the goods required to meet them. From the binding effects of the Treaty of Versailles on the vanquished countries World War II. developed. One of the principal reasons was the difficulties arising from reparations. Consider the harshness of the Russians in regard to reparations. Their attitude towards Finland has been hard to understand. After Finland capitulated to Russia, that country almost dismembered it. Nearly all the fruitful land was annexed by Russia, and, in addition, a huge impost by way of reparations was exacted. When I was in Europe in 1 945 the whole of the Northern European peoples, and particularly the Scandinavian Hoc, were anxious at the possibility of the Finns being unable to pay the reparations demanded by Russia. An improvement has taken place since, but the Finns will always be embittered in their attitude towards Russia. Finland’s traditional policy has been to associate itself with western, rather than with eastern, Europe.
Reviewing the position in the Baltic zone we find that whole nations have been dispossessed. Those peoples can look to no independent destiny, can perceive no future for the entire Baltic bloc because, as was pointed out so clearly by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), Russia has chosen to advance its influence down the shores of the Baltic Sea. And, as the honorable member for Fremantle -illustrated, this is but another exhibition of aggressive imperialism, which is, in itself, an outmoded and discredited policy. Indeed, that policy was practised by Russia itself-, under the aegis of the Czars, and has been followed by many other expansionist countries. Its keynote was to establish, or seek to maintain, the “balance of power “, a policy which, for many centuries, operated in Europe, and, indeed, still operates to-day. But making allowance for that viewpoint, we cannot escape consideration of the present state of Europe. How much of it . can be salvaged and what form must that salvage take? Of course, there must be preparation, and the only positive policy yet announced is the “ Marshall plan “. Australians, as a whole, are wont to adopt a cynical, and sometimes irresponsible, attitude in. considering these matters; an attitude which reflects itself in derision of the United Nations, and includes condemnation, in advance, of the efforts of the United Nations, and the part played- in that connexion by the Australian Government. The fundamental objective of that organization, however, is to rehabilitate all Europe; and that leads us to consider the difficulties confronting the United Kingdom in its courageous efforts to emerge from the depression created by the recent war. The United Kingdom placed itself in the disastrous position in which it finds itself to-day because of its valiant efforts to sustain democracy when it was left alone to fight the battle of Europe, and indeed, of the whole world. Re-emergence of the United Kingdom as a world power represents, to a considerable degree, the re-emergence of Europe as a reconstructed society of nations, whatever its constituents may be, and the United Nations is the only body to-day which is striving to achieve the ideal of a reconstructed world. The man who adopts a defeatist attitude towards that body admits at once that there is no hope for peace among mankind; that man is a savage, and must remain a savage; and his eventual destruction is inevitable, because of the employment of the diabolical implements of war presented man by modern science. Quite recently an airliner took off, under its own propulsion, from America and flew to Europe, where it landed, its whole flight being governed by remote controls. That is a simple, but graphic, illustration of what may happen if war comes to the people of to-day. Then there is the terror inspired in ordinary human people who have experienced the realities of the recent war. It is a far cry from the age of chivalry to the modern era of mass destruction by the atomic bomb!
Although we experience a natural irritation at the attitude pursued by Russia at the United Nations, we should, to be just, experience a similar sense of irritation at the display of aggressive imperialism by the United States of America manifested by the dominance of the American dollar. There are two sides to the present world dispute; but set between the two conflicting forces is the United Nations. It is the only hope of mankind ; and we should pay to it a much greater respect than we do. Australians tend to exhibit an inferiority complex, and this is nowhere more apparent than in their attitude towards foreign affairs. That attitude can do little good to Australia. We find prominent newspapers taking a particular delight in referring disparagingly, and even ridiculously, to the Australian Government’s participation in world affairs. It may be that because of the special aptitude and ability of a man who has dedicated himself to this work we tend to confound our foreign policy with the views expressed so forcefully by the Minister .for External Affairs. But I would remind honorable members that the criticism so frequently levelled at the Minister is purely destructive; and nothing is accomplished by the adoption of that attitude. The Minister is an authority, acknowledged even by his international enemies, on the intricate process of diplomatic negotiation. He is the only man whose opinion the Americans seek on affairs related to the South- West Pacific ; and he has impressed the people of the United States of America with the fact that he has a competent knowledge of foreign affairs and is sincere in his dedication to his ideal of attaining peace for the nations of the world. From that dedication he will not deviate. I agree that it is absurd to suggest that his policy and his work should not be open to review in this House ; but for the sake of Australia I think that there can be too much criticism - and too much unfair criticism. After all, in striving to achieve the preservation of world peace he is striving to bring some benefit to the whole of mankind.
Turning to the Pacific and reviewing happenings there, I should like to make a few comments. In regard to the Indonesian dispute we are accustomed to hear from the Opposition the monotonous criticism that the wharf labourers of this country are dictating Australia’s foreign policy. Of course that is an absurdity, because, if the Opposition’s criticism of the Minister for External Affairs that he is entirely dominating the country’s foreign policy be true, then neither the wharf labourers organization or any other tody could influence him. That criticism has been expressed in newspaper headlines over and over again - mainly because it makes a short headline, something which is desirable from a journalistic point of view, but something which can be a wicked lie at times. However, I should like to take honorable members forward rather than backward. We have discussed the Indonesian dispute and the part played by the wharf labourers of this country in holding up shipping. But let lis, for a moment, review the position when things were desperate; when the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) asked for, and obtained, the intervention of the United Nations in this matter. That intervention was a triumph for the Australian Government and the Australian people, and our prestige abroad received considerable enhancement. The intervention of the Prime Minister resulted in immediate consideration being given to the cessation of the dispute. Because of that consideration countless lives were saved, and the heat has gone out of the quarrel. Most of the forces engaged have been withdrawn, and if actual peace has not been achieved, at least the preliminary steps to its attainment have been taken. The sympathetic consideration given to this country’s representations by the United Nations has been a triumph for the Government of this country. Those are not little things. From smaller wars and affrays, from isolated outbreaks, may grow the concentrated essence of armed conflict on a vast scale.
The other point in connexion with the . South-west Pacific that I wish to return to is the highly dramatic stories about how utterly and suddenly the Japanese have become democratic. We must sift the chaff from the wheat in relation to press statements, and to the reports of foreign correspondents, particularly in relation to Japan. Having read only recently three or four hooks by Australians who were in the Malaya campaign and were prisoners of the Japanese - two honorable members of this House can speak very fully on that matter - it seems to me that suddenly, miraculously, overnight, the Japanese have become docile and amenable. I do not know what the position is, because I have not been close enough to the Japanese scene to estimate it, and I cannot judge from what I have read as to whether the story of democratic Japan is true or false, but there is scope for doubting that these people, who were the aggressors in the Pacific for so many years, and who pitilessly planned their Greater East Asia scheme of expansion, should suddenly “ go quietly”, were it not for the advantages accruing from such conduct. I remember that the design of the capitulation notice conceded by the Japanese Emperor at the time was that this was not to be the end of war. “ We have lost “, it said, “for the time being”. While in no way wishing to raise the sword again, or to consider that there should be any aggressive measures for the preservation of peace in the Pacific, nevertheless we must have some analysis of what is really happening in Japan. There is in Japan a curtain as rigid as is the iron curtain in Russia. The curtain in Japan is softer, it is more diplomatic, it is draped with silk, and the Mikado stands behind it somewhere an enigmatic figure. Nevertheless, the true story is not coming to this country of the rejuvenescence of Japan, of its rehabilitation, and, above all, of the democratic outlook it has so suddenly acquired. I am afraid that underneath it all we get the picture of big business getting a rake-off and find that tremendous concessions are being made and that an organization is in full swing for the transference of industries. The dirty old game of reparations is going on in Japan, and that will surely bring war to this country, as reparations brought war to Europe. That is the burden of my complaint in this House. This matter should be investigated at the General
Assembly of the United Nations. If possible, something should be done in regard to reparations. The cupidity of people and nations is quickly aroused by the fact that there is a fallen enemy with possessions. There are people who say, “ Would it not be glorious for Australian industry if we could get so much of this nation’s machinery? Would it not be splendid if the trade which this country had now became ours ? “ Thai; sort of thing has been exploited from the days of Cain and Abel - “My brother’s goods “. We shall find, if reparations are persisted in that the world will be back to the days of Versailles.
– Has the Commonwealth Government made any claim for reparations against Japan?
– So far as I know, the matter is at an intangible stage.
– Has it not, in fact, done so? Does not the honorable member know that?
– I am protesting, at the moment, against the whole idea of reparations. I know that there have been submissions concerning reparations. I know that business people all over this country are “breaking their necks” to get to Japan, in order to see what they can get “ out of the wreck “. If the matter were merely one of moving machinery and making the enemy pay in kind, there would be nothing wrong with the transaction. But even if payment be made in money, his potential will be removed and his production limited, and he will be made an enemy who no longer will be dangerous. That is the classic theory of reparations, and it has failed repeatedly. That is the danger to which I point. It is a serious one, which should be given consideration, and not from a political point of view. Does the honorable member for Warringah consider that the exaction of reparations is wise in these days?
– I agree entirely with the view which the honorable member is expressing. But the Government which he supports, has made a claim for reparations !
– The honorable member would not expect me to wander from my subject in order to say that I disapprove entirely of what the Government is doing. I am not attempting to make a propaganda speech. Had the honorable member been in the chamber, he would have heard what I said earlier about his shipboard diary.
– I heard what the honorable member said. I have been here all the time.
– The honorable member gave us a picture of Russia, which may be found in any tract. It was very well written, but his conclusions had no factual basis. The general theory was there. The point which struck me was that it had no significance beyond this fact : “ It was a nice sunny day. We can say something about Russia “. I know that the honorable member can do better. We expected better of him. It will be some little time before it will be possible to accept him into the Fellowship of Writers, even though some members of his family are welcomed with pleasure.
– If the honorable gentleman is a member, I do not want to be one.
– That may be. Referring again to the honorable member, who has returned to the chamber-
– I have been here all the time.
– The honorable member descended from the high level of international affairs so as to make th, old complaint about the appointment of Communists to positions in Australia.
– Obviously, the honorable member did not listen to my speech, because it did not contain anything of the sort.
– I have read the report of the honorable member’s, speech. The only other point that I want to make relates to the position in regard to Japan. Are we getting sufficient information in respect of all the secret moves ? Are there reasons that we cannot discover, for the silence that prevails ? Is there too much appeasement concerning the overall policy in Japan?
There is nothing else in the paper that has been submitted by the Minister for External Affairs upon which I wish to comment. I want to conclude on this note, that no plan for general peace can succeed if old theories are accepted; for example, the pushing forward of frontiers against other people, the suppression of minorities, and the exaction of reparations, which to my mind is the most hideous of all. If these practices are persisted in, the United Nations will discover that its existence, which is threatened at the moment, will be a very unhappy one until its final extinction. We do not want that to occur. Above all, we hope that the great powers will consider very strongly before they commit the United Nations to the international dustbin, which is the only thing that separates us from eventual conflict.
To revert to the South- West Pacific: I believe that our foreign policy close to home has been good. It has been based on factual information and on sound performance. But I still regret that the information from Japan, the plan of rehabilitation in Japan, and the general tendency towards a soft peace with Japan, are matters that are veiled in silence. They should be considered very seriously in this chamber.
– I am concerned chiefly with the situation in Indonesia, that area extending from the Malay Peninsula to the Solomon Islands, and with the future of Asia. I compliment the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) on the outstanding speech delivered by him in this chamber last Friday. In it, the honorable member touched on the real position in world affairs, as I see it from my reading, and. as the result of my knowledge of various ideologies. Other speakers would do well to model their utterances on his speech. As a keen observer, the honorable member noted many things during his recent trip abroad, and the Government would do well to give heed to his opinions now that he has returned with first-hand information on a number of subjects. Geographically Indonesia is near to my electorate and - other portions of north Australia, and it is, therefore, a country about which we should increase our knowledge. Jokjakarta, the capital of what is called Free Indonesia, is only a few hundred miles from Darwin as the crow flies. During the war, Jogjakarta was the Japanese head-quarters j and for- all practical purposes: it. is. still; their head-quarters. It is well to remember Tojo’s slogan,. “ Asia f or the Asiatics “, because that is still the aim of the Japanese.. He also said, “ This is a war of one hundred years, even though we lose it this time “. Although it is true that the Japanese are no longer in Jogjakarta, they left behind them their arms and their collaborators. Alt through the war the Indonesians were collaborators of the Japanese. That they were also the collaborators of the Russians made no difference because right up to the last moment- in the war, when there was something to be obtained for nothing, the Russians also collaborated with the Japanese* They supplied Japan with food ;. they harboured Japanese embassies ; they laughed up their sleeves when the Japanese killed Australian “ Commos.” who were ordered to enlist after 1941 to fight a great patriotic- war. To-day, at the United Nations Assembly the truth is being thrown in the teeth of Russia-, its representatives are reminded of Russia’s actions before Germany attacked their country. Many allied airmen were shot down during the Battle for Britain by German fighting planes fuelled with oil supplied by Russia. It is common knowledge that Dr. Soekarno was a Japanese collaborator- in the fullest sense of the word.. He was a collaborator when the Japanese bombed Darwin and killed many of my friends and constituents in a fiendish raid. He gloried in Japanese successes when they were raiding Australians on their own soil. He accepted a decoration from the Emperor of Japan for the aid which he gave in carrying on the great patriotic war o.f south-east Asia against Australian women and children. Evidence was produced at the Australian Council of Trades Unions conference held in Melbourne a few weeks ago that Dr. Soekarno and his friends actually intended to help the Japanese to resist the Australian forces, had they landed in Java to free Australian prisoners of war. Yet the Australian Government has not hesitated to place itself on the side of these people, and has allowed our trade with the Dutch to be paralysed on their account. It even secured recognition of the Indonesian
Government, and generally has acted a3 an ally of these people. I say these things to the shame of the Government. I shall not say more on this, subject because I fear that my feelings will overcome me. I have some sympathy with the Government because I, who have been a prisoner of war, sympathize with its members and supporters for being prisoners of a class wai-. They suffer politically what we suffered physically: we were kicked and bashed physically by Japanese guards; they are forced to stick their noses in the dirt of Jokjakarta by the unions which are their class war guards. That is. the fate of the Government - if Government it can be called. In view of its. behaviour in the field of international affairs I doubt that it merits the name of government. It speaks of mandates: and trusteeships, but it would do better to keep its powder dry. The so-called Government of to-day is no more a government in reality than is any gang of slave workers on a Burma railway. If ever the Government writes its autobiography the book should be entitled Behind Bamboo.
– Such an important subject as foreign affairs should be discussed on- a higher plane than, that of some of the speeches delivered in this chamber. In his speech of Friday last, the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), dealt more with the subject of communism than with the paper presented to. the House by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). In this debate honorable members should have regard . to Australia’s foreign policy in general rather than confine their remarks within the limited scope covered by the term “ communism “. In the field of international affairs the Minister for External Affairs has given a leadership of which Australia should be proud, although some people attempt to belittle what he has done, whilst others describe him as a pacifist. It is true that the right honorable gentleman hates war and the bloodshed associated with it, but he is not alone in that attitude. That does not necessarily mean, however, that those who hate war are pacifists who are prepared to go to any lengths to avoid a conflict. It may be that compared with the rest of the world the population of
Australia is as a drop in a bucket, nevertheless I believe that Australia has wielded a great influence in foreign affairs. That applies to not only the Minister for External Affairs but also our other representatives abroad. During my visit to the United States of America early this year I had the honour, in company with our ambassador at Washington, Mr. Makin, of lunching with the president and vicepresident of the Chase National Bank, which honorable members opposite will agree is one of the most powerful banking institutions in the world.
– It must have made- the honorable member ill to dine with those gentlemen.
– I always appreciate meeting men who are really doing things. I had the privilege of discussing international affairs with men whom honorable members opposite would consider it a privilege to meet.
– But the honorable member is a socialist.
– I am a socialist. I emphasize that unless international relations are based on the principles of socialism there can be no hope for the future of the world. Some honorable members opposite have referred to the Minister for External Affairs in a derogatory fashion as a pacificist, yet I have heard the same honorable gentlemen, when speaking in this chamber, condemn Russia’s expansionist policy. They complain that Russia is attempting to dominate many countries in Europe.
– Is that not true?
– Honorable members opposite should be the last to raise such an issue in respect of Russia because they themselves, in opposition to those they describe as pacificists and socialists, advocate the use of force as the best means of maintaining peace. They advocate for that purpose the consolidation of the naval, military . and financial strength of certain nations. They believe that peace will not be maintained by implementing a pacificist policy, but that the future of the world depends upon building up an alliance between certain nations which possess the greatest potential in money and .armaments. ‘Honorable members opposite believe that that is the only way to. maintain world peace. Therefore, if they are logical, they must admit that Russia is doing only what they advocate other nations should do. We must do everything in our power to maintain world peace. That is the one consideration which has actuated the Minister for External Affairs in all his activities. I do not say for one moment that with respect to .all the details involved in the peace settlement with Japan, or the problem of reparations, I accept the Minister’s views 100 per cent. On these matters I differ in some respects from his point of view just as I have differed on many matters with other men who have proved themselves to be very able. Therefore, the statement of honorable members opposite that the Minister formulates the Government’s policy on foreign affairs and that I and my colleagues merely toe the line and accept what the Minister says entirely without question is without foundation. The members of the Labour party in all matters of internal policy seek to serve only the general good of the people; and in formulating our policy on foreign affairs we are equally anxious to achieve what we consider to be the best for the world as a whole. I shall take this opportunity to put forward views which I claim should be considered in any peace settlement with Japan. When I was in the United States of America earlier this year, I attended as the guest of our ambassador, a meeting of the Far Eastern Commission which was held in the former Japanese Embassy in Washington. After listening to the leaders of the eleven nations which comprise the commission, I am convinced that our ambassador at Washington, Mr. Makin, and the New Zealand representative, Sir Carl Berendsen, are two of the most forceful members of the commission. I was also struck by the fact that the views expressed by the representative of the United States of America concerning the occupation of Japan, and also reparations, differed materially from those put forward by the representatives of other nations on the commission.
Sitting suspended from 5.69 to 8 p.m.
– At the conclusion of .the luncheon to which I have referred, after Australia’s ambassador bad spoken, the president of the bank, Mr. Olrich, paid a glowing tribute to the wonderful work which had been done by Mr. Makin when presiding over the first meeting of the United Nations in London, and also when he presided over the next meeting of the organization in New York the following’ January. He said that Mr. Makin had done most valuable work in the interests of Australia, of the United . States of America and of the other allied nations. It is a good thing for Australia that we have at the present time as Ambassador for the United States of America and as High Commissioner in London men who are able to put before delegates to conferences in those countries the point of view of the ordinary people of Australia.
In the field of foreign affairs, we all realize that the future well-being and peace of the world are wrapped up in the present meetings of the United Nations in the United States of America. In my opinion, it is essential that the English-speaking peoples of Britain, the United States of America and Australia should be united in their foreign policy. I, as a member of the Australian Labour party, believe that our future security and prosperity are dependent upon the continuation of good relations among those three nations. My experience in the United States of America was that the people generally were very well disposed towards Australia. While I was there I heard nothing but the kindest expressions of opinion about this country. I suggest that we should take less notice of the small amount of carping criticism which is voiced in the United States of America, and concentrate on the important things about which the people of the United States of America and Australia think alike.
Turning to the subject of Japan, we must realize that while there are British and Australian occupation troops in that country, General Macarthur, the great American general whom the Australian people lauded so much during the war, actually possesses the power in Japan at the moment. He has attempted to develop a democratic outlook among the Japanese people, something which they did not have before, and I have a great admiration for what he has done. The question of reparations is most important in the framing of a peace treaty for Japan. In this connexion, I was pleased to hear the remarks from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), and also the speech from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). It is evident that if the Allied Nations do not exercise great care in the matter of reparations, they will sow the seeds of further conflict in the future.
Reference has been made to the exercise of the veto at meetings of the United Nations. While I deplore the improper exercise of the veto by the Russian delegates on some occasions, we should remember that, had not provision been made for the veto, no agreement would have been possible amongst the “Big Five “, and the United Nations organization would never have come into, being. We recognize that the exercise of the veto would be legitimate in regard to matters involving the possible outbreak of hostilities, but the veto should not be used merely to block any and every proposal to which one of the “Big Five” may be opposed. I raise my voice in opposition to the continued use of the veto as it has been used over the last two months. Those who complain of the misuse of the veto by’ Russia should give credit to the Minister for External Affairs for the way in which he has tried, from the beginning, to have its use limited as much as possible. We have every reason to be proud of his work.
It is well to remember that the work of’ the United Nations is not confined to what is taking place in the United States of America just now. One important phase is connected with the International Trade Organization conference at present in progress in Geneva, where the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction (Mr. Dedman) did very valuable work in connexion with world tariff revision. At this conference, he made strenuous efforts to retain for Australia the advantages which we at present enjoy in British markets, end to prevent the imposition by the United States of America of heavier tariff burdens on Australian wool. In this connexion, the Minister refused to sacrifice the interests -of the great pastoral industry of Australia, although his political opponents frequently charge the Labour party with a lack of concern for those interests. These matters are closely bound up with our foreign policy and the future peace and prosperity of the world. We are all agreed upon the necessity for the continuance of Empire trade preferences and I do not believe that one honorable member will accuse the Minister for External Affairs of not having played his part in endeavouring to retain for Australia the benefits of reciprocal Empire trade. Our foreign policy is also closely bound up with the conflicting interests of the dollar and sterling areas. Who will deny that the dollar is not a big factor affecting the .peace and prosperity of the world? We all know that in the past wars have been brought about as the result of one country competing with another in an endeavour to capture the world’s markets. We are all aware that the trade restrictions imposed on Germany under the peace treaty following the 1914-18 war conjured up in the minds of the German people a spirit of retaliation and a desire so to develop their industrial output as to render Germany capable of dominating the world. Honorable members opposite have endeavoured to link up with our foreign policy a measure which the Government hopes shortly to introduce in this chamber. Specious propaganda attacking the proposal has been broadcast throughout the country designed to lead the people to believe that the Government is adopting the policy and tactics of Hitler. The people have seen these tactics employed on too many other occasions, and the endeavours of. the anti-Labour forces to destroy the Labour party by these means will fail. I do not propose to refer to the proposal for the nationalization of banking-
– The honorable member would not be in order if he did so.
– The foreign policy of any country is largely dictated by its economic conditions. Every country in the world is trying to secure for itself the best prices for its products in the world’s markets. Germany, to-day, is divided into zones controlled by the principal victorious nations, Great
Britain, France, the United States of America, and Russia, in each of which differing policies are pursued. Russia’s occupation policy is designed to ensure that everything ‘ possible shall be taken from Germany by way of reparations; but even if it took everything that Germany could give the return would not compensate it for the destruction wreaked upon Russia by Germany during the war. Although we may agree that the Russians are entitled to exact what reparations they can from Germany, let me again say that reparations taken in a spirit of vengeance will not bring about peace and confidence between the nations of the world. Although Great Britain was allied with the Russians in a common fight against a common enemy two or three years ago, to-day each nation is suspicious of the other and only too ready to apportion blame for things done or left undone. Notwithstanding the high hopes expressed by the leaders of the victorious nations upon the termination of the war there is in the world to-day a spirit of enmity and distrust which is manifesting itself in the building up of armaments and other defence measures. When the Minister for External Affairs has submitted to the councils of the nations proposals for the prevention of war-like preparations he has been branded a pacifist and twitted with endeavouring to impose his will upon the United Nations. If we believe in peace among the nations, in the fashioning of foreign policies on a humanitarian and fair basis, let us not say, “ We have the greatest armaments and the most money to’ fight a war “, but rather let us say, .” We have the most powerful voice in the assembly of nations, and we insist upon our views being heard “. I trust that this House will in no uncertain way indicate that it believes in a foreign policy aimed at the maintenance of peace and good relations among the nations of the world and that accordingly truth and honesty will prevail in all our relations with other countries.
– The statement on international affairs that we are debating to-night was presented to the Parliament by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) on the 6th June. The speech delivered by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) was most interesting, but’ it had little to do with international affairs. The honorable member gave an account of a delightful luncheon that he had with Mr. Olrich, the President of the Chase Bank in the United States of America - the very stud farm of capitalism. When I asked the honorable member whether it made him ill to dine with the principal of a private bank, he said that he had heard words of wisdom from Mr. Olrich. Apparently he was honoured by the presence of this arch capitalist. Then the honorable member dashed from international affairs to matters such as wool, trade discussions at Geneva, and Empire preferences. Then he took us from China to Peru, and made certain remarks about the necessity for a foreign policy. The honorable member seems to believe that if the other nations were to accept the views of our Minister for External Affairs the world would be rid of its troubles. That of course would be rather difficult. The chameleon is able to change its colour to match that of its surroundings and thus camouflage itself, but it would be rather difficult for the nations of the world continually to change their colour according to the foreign policies enunciated by our Minister for External Affairs.
I was taken by the statement made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) that Australians were not interested in international affairs. Undoubtedly there is much truth in that. They are not interested in international affairs so long as they are sure that the international situation will not interfere with their own way of life in this country. But the moment an Australian wakes up to the fact that the f oreign policy thathiscountryispursuing may endanger the integrity of the Australian Commonwealth he is very greatly and seriously interested in international affairs and in our foreign policy. Although only three and a half months have elapsed since the statement that we are now discussing was presented to this Parliament, the world situation has already deteriorated to such a degree that the contents of the document are completely out of date. “We are slipping so rapidly down the devil’s slide that unless our progress is arrested war must inevitably result. Let us look around at the state of the world. Greece and Turkey are trembling under Russian threats. They are being brow-beaten and bullied by a nation which during the war posed as a bastion of liberty. At Yalta, Teheran, and other places where agreements were reached, Russia’s support of democracy was never doubted. But what has happened since? All the technique that Hitler and other dictators employed has been adopted by Soviet Russia. We have seen democracies intimidated. British assistance has had to be given to Turkey and Greece, but the strain has become so intolerable that the United States of America has had to take up the white man’s burden that the British Empire has had to carry for so long. Palestine is being torn to pieces. In that country, too, Britain’s task has become unbearable, even with the support of the Empire. In Indonesia there has been a division of forces, and the whole country is verging on anarchy. In Europe, natural geographic boundaries have been abolished. The Danube basin, a natural trade centre for the whole of eastern Europe, has been divided. And all this is happening behind the iron curtain of Russian censorship. We read in this morning’s press of the perturbation of the Commonwealth Ministry at its meeting yesterday at the trend of international affairs. It was stated that Ministers were disturbed at the dangerous situation that was developing between Russia and the United’ States of America. But it is not only a situation developing between Russia and the United States of America. It is a situation fraught with the possibility of a third world war that is developing between the Soviet and all the democracies of the world. Russia’s aggressive tactics are the same as those used by Hitler in connexion with the Austrian anschluss and the occupation of Czechoslovakia. The democracies must stand up to Russia and say, “ If you do not cease this policy of terrifying your neighbours we will be prepared to make war
The Australian Government is reported to have decided, following yesterday’s discussions, that moral support should be given to the United States of America in its fight at the United Nations meetings against the ideology that Russia is endeavouring to impose upon the world to-day. Surely it is not a matter of giving only moral support to the defence of democracy and the world against Russia. This Government and this Parliament must be prepared to throw the whole weight and strength of Australia behind the British Empire and behind the United States of America if it is necessary to fight on these principles. No member of this Parliament likes to contemplate the thought of a third world war, but we must stand up to vile attacks such as that made by Mr. Vyshinsky upon the democracies at the United Nations meeting in New York. Obviously, the attack was made purely for Soviet home consumption. Mr. Vyshinsky and the other Russian rulers must know that the free peoples of the world will not believe for a moment that the democracies have any aggressive intent against Russia. The sole purpose of Mr. Vyshinsky’s speech was to mislead the Russian people into believing that an attack by the democracies upon Russia was imminent, so that if the Russians have found the secret of the atomic bomb and have undertaken the manufacture not only of that devastating weapon but also of the means of waging deadly bacteriological warfare, the Russian people will be worked up to such a state that they will be prepared to declare war and challenge the might of the democracies. The only way to stop Russia is for the rest of the nations to show a solid front and say, “ On this we stand, and if you do not agree we will fight the issue out with arms and fight it to a finish “. The Russian path is utterly totalitarian. Russia pretends that it fears attack and then seizes upon its small neighbours in the same way as Hitler did, and in every case it claims that the end justifies the means. In 1939, Ribbentrop signed on behalf of Germany, with Molotov signing on behalf of the Soviet Government, what is now known as the “ Pact of Blood “. Now that the secret clauses of that treaty have been divulged in the Nuremberg trials and placed on court record we know exactly how unscrupulously Russia decided to carve up
Poland with Germany and to incorporate in the Soviet the then free Baltic republics of Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania and to deal with Finland. We must be particularly careful in dealing with people with such disregard of the: ethics and honesty of diplomacy. I have heard honorable members opposite talk about “ Municheers “ and appeasement, but according to the press - I hope the Minister at the table (Mr. Dedman) will correct me if the statement is wrong - Australia is to give only moral support to the United States of America in the struggle at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. We have to face the fact that although we are not at war with Russia- and Heaven forbid that we shall ever be ! - Russia is waging a vicious war with fifth columnists against the democracies of the world. The disclosures in the Canadian spy trials showed just a small sector of the spy organization that apparently exists throughout the democracies and is organized and run by the Russian Government.
We must ask ourselves, “what is Australia’s foreign policy ? “ I say that the Commonwealth is without any foreign policy. The Government swings like a weathercock so much that no one knows what its policy is. During and just after the war honorable members on this side rose time and time again with suggestions that there should be conferences of the countries of the British Empire before they went into conferences with other nations. I have heard the Minister for External Affairs oppose that policy with all the weight possible for him to command.
– That is not true.
– He said that it would only cause distrust amongst the other nations and should not be done. Yet, quite recently he summoned a conference in Australia of the peoples of the British Empire as a preliminary to the greater conference on the peace to he made with Japan. I think he did well by doing so, but it is difficult to know what his policy is when he is so infirm as to veer like that. An extraordinary stand was taken by the Minister for External Affairs in Japan. I should very much like to know what directive was given to Mr. Macmahon Ball when he was sent to Japan as Australia’s representative on the Ear Eastern Commission. We have never been told. But we have seen what happened there. Mr. Paul Hasluck, a distinguished member of the staff of the Department of External Affairs and “ Counsellor Australian Mission at United Nations Head-quarters and Temporary Representative Security Council “, is reported as having said -
There has been a sort of larrikin strain in Australian foreign policy - a disposition to throw stones at the street lights just because they are bright. Lt is not a habit that helps the general illumination.
We know something of what happened in Japan. We know about the niggling, haggling and quibbling concerning the second Japanese whaling expedition to the Antarctic. In this statement by the Minister for External Affairs which we are now considering, he complains that the Japanese were not entirely interested in obtaining whale oil down there, but were freezing and salting whale meat in order to feed the starving people at home. Was there any sin in that? Was there anything unholy or inhuman in wanting to get food for starving people in Japan ? Then a complaint was made by Mr. Macmahon Ball to General MacArthur. There is no doubt that he was not acting on his own initiative. He was, like a jockey, riding to orders from the Minister. He complained, and there were complaints from members of the Government, about Japan obtaining phosphate rock from an island in the Pacific. Recently it has been pointed out in an American magazine - I think either the Saturday Evening Post or the Readers’ Digest - that when whale meat was taken to Japan for food and phosphate rock was taken there for conversion into superphosphate with which to increase food production, the drain on supplies in the United States of America to feed the Japanese was reduced and increased supplies were available for the relief of the starving people in Great Britain and Europe. Yet Mr. Macmahon Ball was haggling with General MacArthur about his allowing those things to go on. When the Minister for External Affairs went to Japan he was evidently given pretty straight orders by the Cabinet, or the Prime
Minister (Mr. Chifley) that he had not to quarrel with General MacArthur, and the result was that he fell into line with General MacArthur’s proposals and the two of them got on amicably and well together. I do not know what happened to Mr. Macmahon Ball, but he apparently could not change his views like a turncoat and his colour like a chameleon. So he protested vigorously against the way he had been treated and finally resigned his position. He got right out! He said he could not stand up against being given certain orders one day and having them countermanded the next and having to reverse what he had said and believed in. Consequently he resigned. So this policy of irritation of the Minister was a stupid policy and harmful to our relations with the United States of America and ultimately the safety of the Commonwealth and the Pacific Ocean. If attack is coming there is only one nation to-day that is a potential enemy to the democracies - Russia - and the strike will come down to our shores from Indonesia through the open north.
I now wish to refer to the kind of. representatives that we have been sending to some conferences abroad. I note in the document under the heading “ I.L.O.’’ that “ the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) and Senator Amour have been appointed Government delegates”. It has been freely reported in Australia that Senator Amour’s conduct at San Francisco on his way back to Australia was a disgrace to the Commonwealth. He is a man who should not be permitted to go forth again to represent Australia.
– Is the honorable member poor enough to act on that report?
– If the honorable member wishes, I shall tell him exactly what happened on the ‘plane, as the source of my information was one of the passengers who saw what took place.
– Second-hand information!
– How could it be otherwise ? Neither the honorable member nor I was on the ‘plane, but some reputable British citizens were there and they saw exactly what happened. .1 trust that the Prime Minister will take up this matter with Senator Amour and see that he is never allowed to go abroad again as a representative of this Commonwealth, because he does great harm to the Commonwealth’s cause and brings dishonour upon the nation which he is supposed to represent.
– The honorable member does great harm to a man without having any facts.
– I have all the facts. The facts, as told to me, are that the senator became drunk at the airport at San Francisco, refused to allow a foreign gentleman to get into the seat beside him on the ‘plane, and kicked him on the leg. When the foreigner went to the captain and complained regarding his conduct, the captain came-
– Order ! Has this any relation to the high level of a debate on international affairs?
– Absolutely, because there was a great danger-
– There are certain means by which charges may be made against members of this Parliament.
– I did not propose to state the charges, but my honorable friends opposite asked me to mention them. I shall not pursue the matter any further as you do not desire me to do so, Mr. Speaker.
– Order ! It is not a matter of what 1 desire. The honorable member must take his own risks.
– I shall continue. When the complaint was made, I am informed, the captain of the aircraft came down to the senator and complained about bis conduct. The senator swung a blow at the captain, who simply signalled to a United States policeman and had the senator removed from the aircraft. That is the story that was told to me, and the source was one of the passengers. If it is true, the Prime Minister should never allow such a representative to go forth from Australia again.
– The honorable member knows that it is. not true.
– If it is not true, I shall withdraw and apologize. If it is true, the matter should be dealt with. I am perfectly convinced that it is true.
– The honorable member always has his nose in the sewer.
– The Minister says that I have my nose in the sewer. As the Minister has lived in a sewer and has the mind of one who lives in a sewer, he is an expert on the subject.
-Order ! The honorable member must return to the question before the House.
– I shall do so.
I refer now to statements made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) regarding the allocation of island bases in the Pacific zone, with reference particularly to Manus Island. This island was requested to be handed over to the United States of America for use as a great defence base as long ago, I understand, as March, 1946. From that time until recently, I frequently raised the subject in this House and asked the Minister for External Affairs whether any arrangements had been made to grant America’s request to establish a bastion at Manus Island for the defence of the Pacific, including the Commonwealth of Australia, against any attack. The Minister hedged and put me off repeatedly, saying that I was likely to upset the delicate negotiations that were taking place between the United States of America and Australia. During all this time the Minister, or his officer at Tokio, was pursuing a policy of irritation against the United States of America and was not doing anything to bring about an arrangement for the use of Manus Island as an American base. I refer the House to a report made by the subcommittee on Pacific Bases of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the United States House of Representatives. It states -
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 from attack from the south.
Manus would be a purely military and naval base. Perhaps in that instance some extraterritorial arrangement could be effected.
Manus was a part of the whole scheme of American defence in the Pacific zone during the war. and the United States of
America expended $71,000,000 on establishing it as a base. The report continues -
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.
Manus is of very little economic value to Australia. The report which I have quoted contains an excellent study of the economic potentialities of the island. Before the war, Manus was known to very few Australians and was remarkable probably only for its magnificent harbour, which is capable, I understand, of accommodating the world’s largest fleet.
We have been told that the Commonwealth will offer defence facilities on that island to the United States of America. Does not the Government realize that Australia is incapable of providing and maintaining facilities for great American fleets, and possibly for long-range rocket projectile sites and air striking forces? We could not do the job. In any case, such facilities would not be needed by our own fleets. Under such an arrangement, Manus would be rendered useless as a means of defence in the Pacific simply because of the “ dog in the manger “ policy of our Minister for External Affairs. The Minister’s actions have been tragic. It must be plain to every thoughtful person that Great Britain and the Empire have been so strained that we cannot possibly conduct parallel lines of defence with the United States of America on what Walter Lipmann has called the “ Atlantic bastion “ and at the same time undertake great defence projects in the Pacific area. Australia should have been used as the key-stone for a common structure of defence by the Empire and the United States of America. Under such a scheme, the United States of America and Australia could co-operate for the defence of the entire Pacific zone, and Great Britain and the United States of America could co-operate for the defence of the “ Atlantic bastion “. However, that arrangement was not made. The Minister for External Affairs did not attempt to make it. Therefore, we are now talking about having separate defence schemes by the British Empire and the United States of America in the Pacific area. That would be a disastrous decision. The policy of the Minister for External Affairs in refusing to allow Manus Island to be held by the United States of America has jeopardized the defence of Australia, leaving the nation wide open to attack by the only potential enemy that we have in the world to-day. We should cease this niggling and haggling with the United States of America. There should be the closest co-operation between Australia and the United States of America. We should not forget that we owe to the United States of America the fact that this country was saved at least from the horrors of invasion after Japan struck at Pearl Harbour.
– In a world which is drifting steadily towards another war that may mean the end of civilization, speeches such as those which we have heard in this debate from the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) and the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), among others, constitute, in my opinion, the worst possible disservice to the cause of peace. If we are to believe that the leaders of the Russians - our gallant allies of yesterday, as we were taught to regard them - are power-crazed men who are determined by military attack to spread the boundaries of their dominions then the situation of the world is indeed hopeless. But there is a good deal of evidence for the belief that the whole of the history of relations between Soviet Russia and the peoples of the Western powers ever since the war has been coloured by Russian fear and suspicion of the attitude of Great Britain and the United States of America. There is good ground to-day for regarding the actions of the Russians, inexcusable as many of them are, as being dictated by what they regard as defensive considerations, based on a desperate fear that Great Britain and the United States of America are “ ganging up “ for another attack on the Soviet. It is reasonable to explain much of the attitude of the Soviet leaders to-day as being due to a determination on their part to provide a secure basis of resistance to another attack, either a direct military attack or measures of economic encroachment designed to force a change in the Soviet system of government. Every move which Russia makes to-day, whether it is governed by that consideration or not, is immediately regarded by the United States of America as being an offensive move, and the American leaders, in turn,make a* similar move to defend the position of their country. Their action, in turn, can be pictured in Soviet Russia as a further piece of offensive action and aggression by the Americans, and as confirming the fears and suspicions being planted in the minds of the Russian people. If that is so, it is clear that such a series of moves and counter-moves, dictated on each side as they may be by fear and suspicion and by defensive motives, can bring about a steadily deteriorating situation, until the final incident does occur which plunges humanity into a third world war. If these theories be tenable, the speech which the honorable member for New England delivered, and the remarks of the honorable member for Warringah in his “Stop Russia now” utterance, which reeked with fear, suspicion and provocation, ‘ are the worst service that can be rendered to the cause of peace in Australia. The best service is to promote international understanding and to demonstrate that. Russian fears and suspicions are groundless. If the genera] basis of the speech of the honorable member for Warringah was as lacking in accuracy as was his reference to Australian voting on the Security Council, his speech was not only a disservice to the cause of peace, but also an extremely inaccurate utterance.
– Did the honorable member examine the voting?
– <I did.
– I advise the honorable member to examine it carefully.
– I have examined it most carefully, and I made a thorough check on the statements of the honorable member for Warringah. I now propose to give to the House a summary of Australian voting, and with the consent of honorable members I shall include in Hansard an official statement showing the voting of Australia on the Security Council. The honorable member for Warringah made much of the fact that on many occasions Australia has voted with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is true to say that we have voted with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on 23 occasions, but it is only a halftruth, because the fact is that on eighteen of those 23 occasions, the vote was a unanimous vote of the whole Security Council, or else was a vote in which the United Kingdom and the United States of America voted in the same way as Australia did. What has the honorable member for Warringah to say to that? Does he believe that we should have no foreign policy at all?
– May I reply to the honorable member?
– Order ! The honorable member for Warringah made his, speech on Friday.
– The honorable member for Warringah was prompt enough to interject earlier, but he is not so prompt now that the facts are being ventilated.
– Order ! The honorable member for Eden-Monaro must not invite interjections.
– With reference to Indonesia, Australia voted with the United States of America as well as with Soviet Russia on each of the remaining five occasions. In any event, I suggest that consistency of policy does not mean that a country must vote with another country or group of countries all the time. In my opinion, that is not the essence of consistency in Australian foreign policy. Australia’s foreign policy is a positive one. Does the honorable member for Warringah believe that we should have no policy except the negative one of agreeing with the United KingdomUnited States of America line all the time ?
– So long as I know where the foreign policy leads-
– Does the honorable member believe that automatic opposition to Soviet Russia on all occasions is the proper policy for Australia to follow?
– I never said that.
– If the honorable member believes that, then he believes that all efforts at compromise, and all efforts to make the United Nations work, might as well be shelved, and we can concentrate our efforts on preparing for another world war. I ask the permission of honorable members to incorporate in Hansard a statement showing in detail the Australian voting on the Security Council on each of these questions.
-Is leave granted?
– No. Let the honorable member read the statement.
– A single objection is fatal.
– I shall read the statement. Apparently the honorable member for Warringah did not wish to see a refutation of his statements appear in the official records of the Parliament. The statement is as follows: -
– From what source are those records taken?
– Official records, which are available to any person.
– Was that information ^supplied by the Department of External Affairs ?
– Yes. The honorable member for New England referred to the foreign policy of the Australian Government as being as unstable as a weather vane. 1 suggest that, on the contrary, the foreign policy of the Australian Government has been most consistent. That policy has been based on, first, full support for the United Nations organization ; secondly, on the strengthening of ties with the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth of Nations; thirdly, on full and interested participation in regional welfare arrangements; fourthly, on the development of a system of Pacific regional security in cooperation with the United States of America and other peace-loving nations; fifthly, on the attainment of economic and social justice for all peoples, including colonial peoples ; and, finally, on the insistence on just investigation and the application of firm democratic principles both inside and outside the United Nations organization.
Australia has consistently upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter, although it has relied very considerably on the leadership of the British Commonwealth, and of the United .States of America in matters relating to the Pacific region. The maintenance of international peace and security depends on adherence by all countries to those principles on which the safety of all countries, and particularly the middle and smaller countries, must depend. That, I suggest, is a realistic approach. Australia has opposed or supported action by the United Nations organization according to whether the proposed action adhered to or controverted the principles of the Charter. In actual practice the same view of the Charier as that taken by Australia has been adopted by the United States of America and the United Kingdom on most occasions. We have voted with the United Kingdom and with the United States of America, or they with us, on almost every substantive matter which has come before the Security Council and other organs of the United Nations organization. I cite, as examples, the attitude taken by Australia on the controversies associated with Greece, Spain and Corfu. On hardly any occasion has the United States of America or the United Kingdom adopted anything but an attitude parallel with that adopted by Australia. We have worked closely with the United States of America and the United Kingdom on all aspects of atomic energy and disarmament, and the initiating action taken by Australia in connexion with Indonesia is widely regarded as one of the most constructive steps taken by the United Nations organization during the past year. The result of a recent Gallup poll taken in the United States of America indicates that that is the opinion of most Americans. By initiating action hy the Security Council we brought about a cessation of hostilities in Indonesia which must ultimately save thousands of lives, both Dutch and Indonesian. And although the United Kingdom was not in full agreement with the course which we adopted, we were supported by the United States of America, which voted with us on the resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities. And, of course, we are now associated with the United States of America, and with Belgium, on the three-power Committee which will attempt to devise a long-term settlement. From the beginning of the Security Council in 1946 Australia advocated that no precipitant action should be taken in disputes coming before the council until the relevant facts had been impartially ascertained, and this principle seems now to have been adopted and established. The only fundamental points connected with the functioning of the United Nations organization on which Australia has. been, at times, at variance with the United States have been in connexion with the application of the “ veto “ privilege and in regard to the powers of the Assembly. As the honorable member for Warringah himself said, Australia has been completely consistent on these matters at San Francisco and subsequently; and Australian policy in this regard has now been vindicated by the declaration of the United States Secretary of State, General Marshall, who advocated the exclusion of the “ veto “ for the settlement of disputes and advocated a greater role for the Assembly by the establishment of a standing committee on peace and security.
– That would involve an alteration of the Charter.
– Of course ; and I realize the very great difficulties that stand in the way of the adoption of such a course. It would mean, in effect, a bypassing of the Security Council, and there would be the greatest difficulty in persuading Soviet Russia to agree to that. In fact, the appointment of such a committee might well mean the withdrawal of Soviet Russia from the United Nations organization, which would result in the worsening, instead of the improvement, of the present position. That is a very practical danger, but by the advocacy of such a proposal General Marshall did admit the soundness of the principle advocated by Australia. John Foster Dulles, member of the American United Nations delegation, said, in the course of an address to the American Council on Foreign Relations in New York on the 15th August, that the United Nations organization still had an opportunity to retrieve the situation because of the strong position afforded to the General Assembly in the Charter, and that this opportunity existed only because of the efforts of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) at San Francisco. He said that the course of events had vindicated completely the attitude adopted by the Minister at that conference.
I suggest that it is a travesty of the facts for the honorable member for Warringah to suggest that the Australian Government does not realize the importance of relations with the British Commonwealth. Australia has, in fact, been more ready to initiate and carry into effect improvements in the machinery of co-operation and consultation than any other member of the British Commonwealth. At all international gatherings we work in closest co-operation with the United Kingdom and other British Commonwealth representatives. The recent Commonwealth conference on Japan held in Canberra was an outstanding success, and the choice of Canberra indicated that other Commonwealth countries are not unaware of Australian interests and contributions in Commonwealth affairs, particularly in the Pacific. The Minister has repeatedly stated that Australia must play a principal role in protecting and furthering British Commonwealth interests in the Pacific, and so relieving in a practical manner the burdens of the United Kingdom. During the war this was demonstrated by such actions as the Borneo campaign; and since the war it has been demonstrated by the occupation of Japan, in which Australia is hearing the major responsibilities for the British Commonwealth.
In contradiction of the statement of the honorable member for Warringah, the fact is that co-operation with the United Kingdom on defence matters has been close and cordial. The facts justify and substantiate what I am saying. The Government has developed, during the past year, a most important programme in connexion with the guided weapons testing range and in naval co-ordination, as well as in the traditional integration of the land forces. On all of those matters there is and has been the closest co-operation between Australia, Great Britain and the other members of the British Commonwealth. The visits of Field Marshal Montgomery to Australia and Lieutenant-General Sturdee to England were merely illustrations of the cooperation that is constantly being practised.
The interests of Australia in regional arrangements for the South- West Pacific have been steadily pursued in the foreign policy of this Government. Our policies are co-ordinated with those of New Zealand under the Australian-New Zealand Agreement, and it was on our initiative that the South Pacific Commission was established for co-operation in economic and social matters. On that commission are represented all the six governments which are interested in this area, including both the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The Australian Government has also given constant attention to the development of regional security in the Pacific area, again in co-operation with both Great Britain and, particularly, the United States of America. The policies advocated by Australia for the settlement with Japan are in all essentials the same to-day as those that were advocated by the Minister for External Affairs in the Far Eastern Advisory Commission in 1944, and were incorporated in the statement of basic policy that was drafted in that year by a committee of the commission under his chairmanship. These policies were endorsed by the Far Eastern Commission as recently as June of this year, and they have since received public endorsement from General MacArthur himself.
Australia’s insistence that we, as one of the principal contributors to the defeat of Japan, should participate in the Japanese treaty negotiations, has been recognized by the United States of America. The American Chairman of the Far Eastern Commission has frequently paid tribute to the contribution that has been’ made by Australia in this respect, and particularly by the Minister for External Affairs in the development of policy for Japan, as well as to Australia’s part in the occupation of that country and to the assistance which it has given to the United States of America in its difficult tasks. General MacArthur has paid a similar public tribute. The recent visit of the Minister to Japan afforded a demonstration of the close co-operation that exists between Australia and the United States of America in this area.
In short, Australian policy has been vigorous, consistent and realistic. We have maintained and developed Australia’s position as an integral but independent part of the British Commonwealth, and have shown ourselves to be fully prepared to accept our share of the responsibilities and burdens. We have supported international co-operation through the United Nations as the only way in which Australian security can be permanently assured. We have strongly resisted any attempt by the Soviet Union or any other country to weaken the United Nations or to depart from its basic principles. We have equally strongly supported the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and other countries which have sought to build up the United Nations and to adhere to the purposes and principles of its Charter. Tn other words, we have done our utmost to promote the cause of peace, well-being and understanding in the world.
– It is, I think, unfortunate that once more, on the occasion of one of the rare debates that we have on foreign affairs, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) should be absent. It is, of course, embarrassing to many of us, in the absence of the Minister, to speak as freely as we should otherwise like to speak. But some of that burden is, of course, lifted from our shoulders by the fact that he has had such doughty champions, some of whom have been dull in. the course of debate, but all of whom have been doughty. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser), who has just resumed his seat, conveyed to my mind - and I hope that he will correct me at once if I am wrong - an impression that he was, on the whole, favorable to the learned Minister for External Affairs. All that I can hope is that this warm feeling will be reciprocated, and, at the right time, remembered.
The honorable member devoted the bulk of his speech to a discussion of certain votes upon the Security Council. But he began by making a short statement on the Russian position, which seemed to me to be the most astonishing statement, as though the Russian problem were a dry and academic problem. In effect, he said to us, “ Now, you must not rush to conclusions on this matter; you must not be wholehearted on this matter, as the honorable member for “Warringah was. You rau.st remember that there is a good deal of ground for the belief that Russian policy is coloured by fear of the western powers, by fear that Great Britain and the United States of America are “ - to use his own expression - “ganging up against the Soviet Union”. Having made that statement, which, parallels a statement that was made by the Minister for External Affairs about a year ago, but from which that right honorable gentleman has since retreated, the honorable member passed away from that subject, as though all that we have to do is to form some perfectly theoretical notion about what might be the explanation of the Russian attitude, and then shrug our shoulders and go by. Sir, we might just as well have some real approach to this matter. Does any honorable member doubt, does any person in Australia doubt, that the world at this moment stands in great danger? Does anybody doubt that the cause of the great danger in which the world stands at this moment is the policy and action of the Soviet Union? It may very well be that the leaders of the Soviet Union can say to their own people, in. their own fashion, “ Here is our justification “. Ali aggressors have been able to say that, with success, to their own people. But I agree that it is time that in all free assemblies in this world the representatives of free people should make it clear to the Soviet Union that we are under no illusions about these policies, and that we all over the free world are determined to retreat before them no longer.’ That, after all, is the gist of this matter. “When we look back over the last few years, and remember the facts - not the excuses, not the penumbra of sophistries with which they have been surrounded - we shall recall that, not under the instrumentality of the Charter, not by virtue of some decision of the Security Council, but by the process of taking things first and arguing about them afterwards, Russia has established domination over the Baltic States, the Danubian States, East Prussia and eastern Germany, and has been one of the chief opponents of an early settlement of the German treaty. It has paid the Soviet Union to keep the Germany treaty unsettled, so that there may be in the middle of Europe an enormous and grim potentiality for disaster. Are these things small academic matters? Are we to say, “ Perhaps behind them all there may be some excuse, some misguided belief that Great Britain is about to invade Russia “ ? Let us talk plain English. No honest man in the Soviet Union can pretend that Russia is under any risk of invasion by Great Britain or of attack by the United States of America so long as the Soviet observes the rules of international comity and is no longer an aggressor. Statements’ to the effect that such a risk exists are just so much “ film flam “ and nonsense. If we are to discuss the problem in terms of reality, we should face up to it. There are certain questions which disturb all people who think about this matter ; they disturb the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) as they disturb me. Some of them are: Do we, in relation to the Russian position, keep on retreating? Do we satisfy ourselves by conducting debates on the well advertised platform of the Security Council and leaving it at that? Do we satisfy ourselves by arguments about the existence of a veto, when we know perfectly well that if the veto did not exist, either in theory or in fact, the Soviet Union would not belong to the United Nations at all? If we were to concentrate upon two things, one of which is not the existence of the veto but the gross abuse of its exercise, and the other, th, vital problem of the bona fides of the attitude of the Soviet Union towards th United Nations, we should get further.
In the meantime, it would be a good thing for this world if the democratic powers, speaking not in their weakness, as they were compelled to do at the time of Munich, but speaking in their strength, as they may do at this moment, were to say to the- Soviet Union, “ Thus far, and no further I remind the House that in 1936, 1937 and 1938 the democracies, whatever they thought of German aggression, were almost forced into what has been called a policy of appeasement because they were utterly unready to back their words by force. At this .moment the democracies are stronger than they have been for many years. In ten years’ time they may be much weaker than they are now. If there is to be a time at which a plain warning is given - an honest warning by honest people - this is the time. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro referred to a charge that was made by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr.. Spender) in the course of a most interesting speech on Friday afternoon, that there had been some inconsistency in Australian policy. I should like to add a few words on that subject. I am not concerned to go through the whole record, because that is not the point in this discussion ; I merely take one outstanding example of what I shall describe as inconsistency in a major matter, and of a dangerous kind. At San Francisco the Charter of the United Nations had written into it a clause which has been referred to as the “ domestic clause “. So that we may have the matter clearly in our minds I shall read it. Article 2, clause 7, reads -
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
If honorable members will refresh their minds by referring to the schedule to Act 32 of 1945, they will find that Chapter VII. is one in which power is taken by the Security Council to deal with matters which are a threat to peace. References are made to “ the parties “ concerned. An examination of Chapter VI. will show clearly that the parties concerned in such matters are those who are recognized as States, which, having disputes of an international kind which may lead to grave international trouble, may submit their disputes to the Security Council, or can have them brought before the Security Council. The essence of the domestic clause, as it is called, is that the internal affairs of any country are the business of that country. That clause was written in for two important reasons. One of them was that the classic element of British foreign policy during the last 200 years is that we do not interfere with the domestic problems of other nations. The second reason was that Australia, of all countries, has a keen interest in preserving its authority over matters which are within its own domestic jurisdiction, because, to be perfectly plain, that clause was designed to safeguard Australia’s right to maintain the White Australia policy. In other words, Australia said, “ You cannot get us to abandon the right to control immigration to this country in our own way by having some one say that that policy is an affront to him and is, therefore, a danger to international peace, and for that reason take it to the Security Council “. In such an event, we could be hopelessly outnumbered. Therefore, Australia said - and rightly so - that there must be protection given to the domestic jurisdiction of every country which is a member State. That was fought for at San Francisco, and it was written into the Charter.
That provision having been established, E am at a complete loss to understand by what process of reasoning Australia should be the first country to abandon it in the case of the Netherlands East Indies. The matter to which I refer was an entirely internal one; it was a matter between the Dutch, who have been in the Netherlands East Indies for 350 years, and a great number of Indonesians who are entirely loyal to them, on the one hand, and a certain number of Indonesians who are in rebellion against them, on the other hand. That state of affairs existing, that dispute having arisen, and a handful of malcontents on the Australian waterfront having taken sides in the matter, the Australian Government suddenly abandons the domestic jurisdiction clause and says to the Security Council, “ We invoke the Council on this matter; we ask it to intervene in a problem of domestic jurisdiction in the Netherlands East Indies “. And they are hailed as having performed a triumph of diplomacy in having succeeded in this matter ! . The day will come when we shall regret that we succeeded. The day will come when some ingenious theorist in some other country will say, “ Ah, there is a White Australia policy !”. or perhaps he will refer to the way Australia is treating the natives in Papua or New Guinea, and the problem will be taken to the Security Council. When we object we shall be told, “ That is your own medicine. This is what you did in connexion with the Netherlands East Indies “. To carry the matter to its logical conclusion, I can see the day coming when we in Australia shall be asking Great Britain, as one of the great powers, to exercise the veto in the Security Council so that it cannot meddle with what we regard as our own internal affair. I refer to that case because, if there can be a case involving marked inconsistency in a vital matter, there it is.
Reference was made to-night by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) to a statement recently made by Mr. Paul Hasluck. I read this statement with great care, and I went to the trouble to verify the report in the newspapers because it struck me as a most important statement by a former civil servant. I want to refer to it in some detail, but before I do so, lest Mr. Hasluck should be regarded as a disgruntled person whose words are not to be taken seriously, I remind the House that in April of this year the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) asked, on notice, a question regarding Mr. Hasluck’s resignation from the Department of External Affairs, and the Minister gave the following considered answer: -
Mr. Hasluck’s resignation has not been in any way connected either in general or in particular with the policy and activities of the Australian representation at the Security Council or associated United Nations organization. Indeed, Mr. Hasluck has for some considerable time past expressed a desire to relinquish his employment in the department in order to free himself to carry out important work which he had previously undertaken to perform in connexion with the writing of portion of the official history of the war. It is on personal grounds that Mr. Hasluck’s resignation was tendered late in February last, and an arrangement has been made for accepting the resignation and for Mr. Hasluck’s taking leave before completing his work in the Australian Mission in New York.
The Minister, who can seldom resist the temptation to publish a testimonial, put one into his answer in these words -
In acknowledging completion of arrangements for winding up his work at the United Nation’s Head-quarters, Mr. Hasluck addressed the Minister for External Affairs as follows: - “ I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my continued admiration and respect for your achievements in developing Australian foreign policy.
Then, having read that pleasing tribute, the Minister said -
I wish to express my appreciation of the work done by Mr. Hasluck throughout the war years and since in the Department of External Affairs. Mr. Hasluck was one of the small team of External Affairs officers who assisted greatly in the difficult, but I consider, successful, endeavour to put forward and have accepted many Australian viewpoints at the San Francisco Conference on World Organization. He has since ably represented Australia at New York on the Security Council.
The Minister added that he hoped that Mr. Hasluck would still be available for consultation. In other words, they parted with mutual expressions of esteem, all of which are on the record, and Mr. Hasluck’s departure was on purely “personal grounds”. Unfortunately for that statement, it will not be able to go into the record as containing all the facts, because Mr. Hasluck, on the 9th September, speaking in the Perth University - his own university - -addressed himself to the subject of the External Affairs department, and explained why he had resigned. His reasons were not personal at all. They were reasons of high policy, and they do him very great credit as a former member of the civil service. The honorable member for New England quoted a picturesque paragraph from his speech in which he said that there had been defects in Australia’s foreign policy. Mr. Hasluck used these words -
There has also been a sort of larrikin strain in Australian foreign policy - a disposition to throw stones at the street lights just because they are bright - it is not a habit that helps the general illumination. We have also stamped the foot and thumped the table a little too often. Table-thumping is something like an exclamation mark in a piece of prose. Its force depends entirely on the meaning of the words that go with it. Then we have sometimes butted unnecessarily into other people’s arguments without waiting to consider whether the argument was getting on all right without us. We are not as considerate of other people’s honour as we are of our own, and we have been rather careless of other people’s corns.
That is, brightly stated, a pretty accurate criticism I should have thought, insofar as we have been able to judge these affairs from the information vouchsafed to us. Later in his speech, Mr. Hasluck went on to discuss the External Affairs department, and I quote him as follows : -
I believe that there are still three notable defects in the Australian service -
First, lack of diplomatic skill, or denial of opportunity for the exercise of diplomatic skill by the few experienced officers who may be fairly thought to have it.
Second, lack of a tradition of close historical knowledge of the matters at issue and denial of opportunity for those who have such knowledge to present the fruits of it.
Third, lack of a tradition of trying to understand the other nation’s case as well as their own.
Further, the possibilities of the development of the diplomatic service in its higher branches must always be limited if information is regarded simply as the supplying of facts to support conclusions already reached and advice is regarded as saying “ Yes “ or trying to anticipate a Minister’s wishes.
T quote further - and I apologize for the length of the extract, but this is a notable statement on the position of the civil service, and one which I hope will have its effect. Mr. Hasluck said -
In a discussion of the Australian diplomatic service there may be some natural curiosity to know why I myself should have left it. Up to the present I have made no statement of any kind regarding the reasons for my resignation from the Department of External Affairs nor have I voiced any public complaint. It seemed to me that I was answerable only to the Government and there was no reason to burden any one else with my troubles. I do not intend now to speak of any of the difficulties I met or any of the causes of personal dissatisfaction I may have had. But there are two or three remarks I should like to make, partly because it is olear from some published statements that misunderstanding exists about my reasons, and partly because I think that my remarks will touch on a matter of principle which is of concern to all Australians. Although I should not like to see my personal experience entangled in the more important questions we have been discussing here, there is also one other reason for saying something here to-night, in my own university, for I have now re- turned home and stand among the people who know me, people with whom I will live, and whose understanding and respect I value.
First, I should like to assure you that the resignation was not capricious or temperamental. I worked for over six years in various capacities in the Department of External Affairs and learnt well enough to take the rough with the smooth. Second, the resignation was not due to any difference over policies that had been enunciated. The view I hold is that, whatever opinions I may have advanced or whatever arguments I may have used in the period when policy was being shaped, once a policy had been determined by a government it was my duty as a representative to carry out that policy loyally and faithfully and it was not my privilege as a representative to differ publicly with the Government on a question of policy. I have never done so, even when policies changed their plumage in mid-flight. Third, the fundamental reason for my resignation, overshadowing both the considerable attractions and the discomforts of my position, was a matter concerning the principles of the Commonwealth Public Service and the development of the Australian diplomatic service. The Public Service has, in my view, -its own identity in the structure of government in Australia. It continues unchanged no matter what ministry takes office and, in discharging its duties, does not distinguish between one ministry and another but serves all faithfully, lt lias continuity while ministries come and go. It is not limited in its loyalty to any particular ministry but seeks to serve the government of Australia in the highest and most comprehensive sense of that term. It should know no party but only Australia. Its powers are limited and it is subject always to the fact that the Minister who is placed in charge of a department of the Public Service is responsible for his decisions to Parliament and cannot delegate that responsibility.
By reason of his continuity in office, his expertness and his opportunities for gathering information and studying it - an opportunity which no Minister has - the higher officer of the Public Service may be able to make a valuable contribution in the early and formative stages of policy-making. The late John Curtin, with whom I once talked on this subject, shared such views and I know placed a considerable value on the information and advice that a public servant in my own department and in other departments could give faithfully to Minister after Minister, informing them impartially, showing them what they had overlooked, and presenting arguments against as well as for a proposition right up to the point at which the Minister was ready to take the decision for which he alone could accept responsibility in Parliament. Once the decision is made the Service is bound to carry out the policy, but up to that point it has the full right and duty to give without reserve and without faltering whatever it had learnt from experience or study.
Taking that view of the nature of the Public Service, it is clear that I cannot admit that. the Public Service or any part of it can ever become the personal possession of one Minister and that if any attempt is made to exercise, close control over a department in such a way as to make a department the acquiescent echo of a Minister’s will, then the Service is being debased.
Reluctantly, I was forced to the opinion that the present Minister for External Affairs does wish to make the diplomatic staff and the staff of the Department of External Affairs his personal possession. I do not wish to have any place in a Service of that kind and when I reached this opinion and could see no further prospect of successfully carrying out my duties in the way I conceived a senior public servant should act, I felt bound to resign.
And, as indicating the objectivity with which he approached this matter, he then proceeds to pay a tribute to the Minister for his prodigious labours in the field of foreign politics. That statement is a statement of first-class importance. It confirms what has been the impression of many of us for a long time, that there is one foreign policy, and that is the foreign policy which is the personal possession of the Minister. I do not really believe that any other Minister, or any honorable member sitting behind the Minister for External Affairs, has the faintest idea of what that policy is from time to time. An honorable member opposite can tell what the policy was six months ago by reading the statement, or the Minister’s last publication ; but, from time to time, as our experience has indicated, other Ministers are in no position to tell what policy is being pursued by the Minister. If the External Affairs Department, which has now grown, I note in the last Estimates, to an expenditure of over £1,000,000, is a department which exists to do the personal will of and provide the personal backing for one Minister, it should not be called an External Affairs Department, but should be classified under the publicity vote of the Minister for External Affairs.
– The right honorable gentleman’s jealousy is not concealed.
– Every time I make a reference to this matter I hear a whining voice from the corner, “ There is some jealousy in this “. I am at a loss to know why criticism from me of the Minister for External Affairs should be regarded as jealousy. Of what have I any cause to be jealous? It is my right and privilege to stand in this place, and
I should criticize much more cogently, if the Minister were here, his actions as Minister for External Affairs and the policy he pursues.
The last thing I want to say is this: There is a profound danger on all these matters of foreign politics of occupying too much time on shadows and too little time on substance, of occupying too much time on questions of procedure and too little time on matters which will really affect the world’s peace. So far as Australia is concerned the nearest problem to us, geographically speaking, is the problem of the Netherlands East Indies ; and if we are to be judged by results,, then I want to say plainly that this Government has accepted a policy in relation to the Netherlands East Indies formulated by the Australian Communists, which is a policy of driving the white man out of the Netherlands East Indies just as their policy is to be pliant and complaisant in respect of elements which would drive the white man out of south-east Asia and, indeed, out of the whole Asian continent. If that is our policy, then it represents what a great commentator once described as the very ecstasy of suicide - that we, a country isolated in the world, with a handful of people, a white man’s country with all the traditions of our race, should want to sot ourselves apart by saying to our friends here and there, as in the case of the Dutch, who have been great colonists and our friends, “ Out with you, we cannot support you “. The moment there is any trouble we automatically say we are in favour of the rebels. If that is to be our policy, then we shall be a very lonely country. That is the nearest problem we have on the map. But we have other problems.
The problem of world peace largely involves the settlement of the German treaty; and determination- of the principles that are to be applied to the German people is largely connected with what our attitude is to’ be in fact, and not in theory, to the Soviet Union. [Extension of time granted.] In all those matters, what have we done ? “What has Australia’s voice been? As far as 1 can see, we have devoted most of our time to questions of procedure, to questions of who is to be on this committee or that, in this office or that, in the barren debates - .and they have become barren debates - of the Security Council, not because the United Nations was not a fine conception but because it was frustrated from the outset by the insistence on the veto and the non-co-operative attitude of one of the three greatest powers in the world. I urge that, on all these matters, we should get away from these procedural problems. We should concentrate on the things that count. We should make it our business not to engage in mere formal acquiescence in some course that Great Britain pursues, but to grapple ourselves to Great Britain and the other Empire countries and say to them, “We must integrate ourselves in order to make our strength cumulative in this world if we are to have a powerful voice “. I have said, and I shall reiterate it ad nauseam, that to me, such integration is vital to our position in the world. Having done that, we should realize that if we had devoted one fraction of the intellectual effort that the Minister for External Affairs has put into these purely procedural questions, to discovering ways and means of living in this world in the closest friendship, in indissoluble friendship with the United States of America, there might have been, if I may use the word Hoc, a peace bloc so strong and extensive, and built upon such real foundations that the peace of the world would be secured for our time. But instead of turning to these matters of reality, we turn away to little foolish matters of prestige, and debate, and debate and more prestige, as if these things were any real contribution to the peace of the world. Let us turn away from the shadow and get back to the substance. Unless the whole freedom-loving world gets back to the substance in the next few years, this world is doomed to disaster.
– I noted that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) commenced hia speech by devoting a short period of time to describing the eery grave situation that exists in the world to-day, and then he spent practically the remainder of his time in dealing with an episode relating to the resignation bf a public servant. It seemed to me that the charge levelled against this Government of dealing with the shadow rather than with the substance of things aptly sums up the speech of the right honorable gentleman. I do not intend to devote much time to the resignation of Mr. Hasluck. It was an unfortunate episode. I should like, however, to put on record a few facts in relation to this matter. This is not the first time that Mr. Hasluck has resigned a post. He has, in fact, resigned five times, aud on each occasion, for what he described as personal reasons. On the occasion of the second last of his five resignations, Mr. Hasluck wrote to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) in the following terms : -
I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my continued admiration and respect for your achievements in developing Australia’s foreign policy. It was an honour and a privilege to he associated even in a small way with applying that policy in the establishment and growth of the United Nations and, as an Australian, I feel proud of what has been done by you personally and under your instructions in helping to build the new organization on a basis of principle. While f was moved to resign from the department for the reasons given in previous communications, my interest in the advancement of the purposes of the Charter is unchanged and I beg you to accept my best wishes for the further success of your own and the department’s labours to that end.
I do not intend to deal further with that subject, because I believe that if there is any discrepancy shown anywhere, that discrepancy lies in that statement made by Mr. Hasluck and those which he has made recently to -the press.
The Leader of the Opposition said that this was one of the rare occasions on which honorable members were given an opportunity to debate the subject of international relations. Actually, the House was presented with a statement on international relations on two occasions during the last sessional period. If I may anticipate a little, I expect that it will not be long before the House has before it another statement on international affairs. Therefore, it is entirely wrong to say that it is only on rare occasions that this House is given an opportunity to debate international affairs. The next matter with which I shall deal, again very briefly because there are other matters about which I wish to speak, relates to Indonesia. It is true that we did bring the Indonesian dispute to the attention of the Security Council. Reading, if I remember aright, Clause 7 of Article 2 of the Charter, the Leader of the Opposition said that this was a matter of domestic affairs only, and, as such, should not have been brought before the Security Council. All I can say it that when the matter was brought before the Security Council not one of the delegates of any of the nations present said that it was essentially a domestic matter. Every one of them recognized that the Indonesian situation constituted a threat to world peace. Consequently, all I can say about the right honorable gentleman’s attitude on this matter, as is so very often the case, is thathe regards every one as being out of step except our “ Bob “.
– On the contrary, the representative of Great Britain took exactly the same view as I have stated.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman has made his speech.
– Evidently I did not convey my thoughts to the Minister.
– When I first decided to speak in this debate, I had intended to deal with only two points, first, to kill the canard thatthe international affairs policy of this Government is the policy of one man - that is distinctly untrue - and, secondly, to set out certain reasons which justify the attitude I am taking. Members of the Cabinet accept collective responsibility for the policies put forward by individual Ministers.
– Including the Minister for Transport?
– Including the Minister for External Affairs. I share with the Minister for External Affairs the responsibility for the policies in relation to External Affairs matters that he has enunciated in this House from time to time, and every other Minister shares that collective responsibility. Further, because of the very nature of the matters dealt with by the Department of External Affairs, in quite a number of instances, the Minister for External Affairs has only a joint responsibility with a Minister in charge of another department. A glance at the contents of the document now being debated will show that that is an accurate statement. The first item is headed - “ United Nations - Special session of Joint Assembly on Palestine”. It is true that that is specifically a matter for the Minister for External Affairs. Item No. 2 is “ Disarmament “, Item No. 3, “Military Staff Committee”, and Item No. 4, “Atomic Energy”. Each of these three matters is primarily one for the Minister for Defence, and I can assure the House that before anything is done in relation to these matters there is full consultation, not only with myself as Minister for Defence, but also with the Council of Defence, a body consisting of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), myself, the Minister for External Affairs, the three Service Ministers, the Minister for Munitions (Senator Armstrong), and the Minister for Supply and Shipping (Senator Ashley). All these Ministers consider matters relating to defence policy before the Minister for External Affairs makes any statement. In fact, the work of the Department of External Affairs in relation to defence matters is limited
In the carrying into the field of international affairs of those aspects of defence policy which are related to international affairs, and these in turn, of course, must be related to defence policy in the domestic field. So, an examination of the document now being debated will reveal that in many matters that are under discussion, (he Minister for External Affairs has a joint responsibility with other Ministers, and over and above that, the Government accepts a collective responsibility for the policy put forward by any one of its Ministers. I draw the attention of honorable members to Item No. 7, “Trusteeship Council”. That matter concerns the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward). There is another item - “ Bretton Woods “. Everybody realizes that that is a matter primarily concerning the Treasurer. And so, running through the list of items contained in this document one finds that 50 per cent. are matters in which the Minister for External Affairs has a joint responsibility with some other Minister. There is, perhaps, a reason why the idea that the Minister for External Affairs runs the foreign policy of this country without discussing it with, other Ministers has gained currency. In the field of external affairs particularly, when one is attending an international conference, it is not always easy to get in touch with one’3 government at home. On such occasions, decisions must he made on the spur of the moment. Any Minister who has represented his government at an international affairs conference abroad knows that these circumstances do arise. Generally the matters involved are unimportant because before a Minister leaves his own country he is properly briefed by his government on the various1 major aspects of the problems to be discussed. In any case, it is quite easy for a Minister to retrieve the position at a later date.
Although I am in complete agreement with what has been said in the course of this debate about the gravity of the world situation to-day, I agree also with the statement of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Fraser) that the solution of great international problems is not assisted by attempts to divide the world into two camps, and to erect an unscaleable wall between them. I am prepared to admit from my own experience in Europe, that the Soviet Government is at times most difficult to deal with. However, I do not believe that the faults have always been on one side. In regard to some matters that have come within my knowledge, it seems to me that an unreasonable attitude has been adopted towards Russia. For example, there is the matter of atomic energy, mention of the control of which is made in this document. When I read of the plan that was proposed originally by the United States of America, I realized that it could not have been accepted by Russia - I am sure that honorable members will agree with me if they acquaint themselves with details of that plan. In fact, we ourselves would have found difficulty in accepting it. I am confident that in regard to that matter, and to a great many others, a compromise could be found between the views expressed by the Soviet Government and those of the other nations. I am not minimizing the difficulties. They are very great, and as I have said, the Russian Government in many instances has been most difficult to deal with; but in regard to certain problems, I believe that the democracies could have advanced proposals which, would have facilitated their solution. As. honorable members are aware, I have just returned from a visit overseas. I wasmost distressed to find that in Germany to-day people’ not only are suffering hunger and hardship but also are in the depths of despair. I believe that 90 per cent of the German people are praying for the return of another Hitler to lead them out of their present troubles. That is not because they believe in theideals that Hitler put forward. It isbecause they are in utter despair and misery. It is deplorable that so long after the end of the war in Europe nodecision has been made on the level of industry that is to be permitted to Germany in developing its economy.
– Whose fault is that?
– It is said that thefault lies with Russia, and I believe that that is to a considerable extent true; but at the same time, if it is true that Russia will not co-operate in a plan for developing the economy of Germany as a whole, steps could have been taken to rehabilitate that part of Germany not under Russian control. The powers that be - and I am talking not about Russia but the others - are still discussing the levels of industry to be permitted in that part of Germany outside Russian control. So 1 say that it is deplorable that so long after the fighting ceased in Europe no decision has been made about that matter. One of the biggest problems in the world to-day is the problem of speedy reconstruction of the German economy on whatever scale it be decided that it will be permitted to continue an economy. Until that is decided, the economic state of the whole of Europe, including the United Kingdom, will become progressively worse, and that will have repercussions in Australia and other countries. The key to the situation is speedy rehabilitation of Germany on whatever scale it is decided that Germany shall be permitted an economy.
There are two other problems in the world to-day. One is an economic problem and the other I should describe as a politico-economic one. The purely economic problem concerns the- disbalance between the productive capacity of North America and the productive capacity of the rest of the world. Fifty per cent, of the manufacturing capacity of the world is in the hands of 10 per cent, of the world’s population. There are two dangers in that. First, unless some steps are taken to correct the disbalance by the United States itself, other countries will be forced to correct it by measures such as the United Kingdom has taken in the restriction of dollar purchases. That in turn, of course, possesses dangers because, if the United States can no longer export on the scale of the last couple of years, [ am afraid that it will have to face some very difficult times itself. I believe that there is every evidence of an early recession of business activities in the United States because other countries have been forced to restrict dollar purchases. That recession in the United States will eventually have repercussions in other countries. If such a recession really gets on _ its way, undoubtedly we shall be met with a decline of prices of goods that we sell to the United States and we shall have to face the threat of a recession in this country, too. The Government has prepared plans to meet such a threat, and I believe that if such a recession did threaten this country our plans would work successfully. But that does not solve the problem. I believe that the disbalance between the productive capacity of North America and the productive capacity of the rest of the world arises out of an unfair distribution of the burden of the cost of the war. I have mentioned this on previous occasions. I think the only way to right the balance is for the United States of America to make available to the rest of the world assistance on a very liberal and generous scale.
– The Marshall plan will do that for Europe.
– I do not know whether it will or not.
– That is the idea.
– That may be the idea behind the Marshall plan, but the plan is not yet in operation. I cannot see it being given effect before, at the very earliest, the middle of next year. Before it is given effect it will have to run the gauntlet of the Congress pf the United States of America. It is still only a proposal. Meanwhile, the position in Europe is going to deteriorate rapidly.
– Has the Commonwealth Government said that it will support the plan ?
– It has never been asked about the Marshall plan, and has never had anything to do with the discussions.
– The Minister apparently does not know much about the subject.
– I know all about it, but from what the honorable member says be knows very little about it.
Mr. White interjecting,
– Order ! The honorable member for Balaclava spoke this afternoon.
– On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the debate is on foreign affairs, and the Minister is making a speech about international trade conferences. Is he in order in speaking about economic problems?
– The Minister’s speech is much closer to foreign affairs than most speeches have been.
– The honorable member for Balaclava has shown complete ignorance of the matter.
– Order ! I advise the Minister to forget the interruption.
– The fact is that the Marshall plan is not being discussed by the United Nations at all. It has never come under review at meetings of the Security Council or any other body associated with the United Nations.
– It did yesterday.
– The plan was put forward by the United States of America outside the work of the United Nations. The discussions took place in Paris, and the nations that took part in the discussions were chosen, not because they were members of the United Nations, but because they were representative of nations in Europe most in need of assistance. So the discussions were quite outside the range of the United Nations. I was stating what I think to be the major economic problem facing the world to-day.
– May I ask the Minister a question?
– The honorable member has made his speech, and I wish he would let me make mine.
– I only want to ask a question ?
– The honorable member was heard in complete silence on Friday.
– I was not.
– The honorable member was heard in complete silence. He is continually interrupting. One more interruption from him and I will name I lim.
– Name me if you like. Lt will not bother me.
– I name the honorable member for Warringah.
Motion (by Mr. Dedman) put -
That the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) be suspended from the service of the House.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. J. S. Rosevear.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The honorable member for Warringah thereupon withdrew from the chamber.
With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
If the United Nations devotes its attention to solving the major economic problem of the world, namely, that of the unbalance between the productive capacity of North America and the productive capacity of the rest of the world, it will create those conditions of wellbeing which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations between all countries.
The second problem which I said I would discuss is of a politico-economic nature. It is the problem of how the rest of the world can live in peace with that part of the world which lies behind the “ iron curtain “. I know that relations with Russia have been very difficult, and probably they will continue to be very difficult for some time to come, but I refuse to believe that the other peoples of the world are doomed to have war with Russia inflicted upon them. I believe that the only way to create more friendly relations between the peoples of Russia and of other nations is for us to show the Russians that democracy can work. We must create an economic state in the world outside Russia of which we can be proud and which will give to the peoples a standard of living far beyond anything that they have at present. God knows, with so many people on the verge of starvation to-day, it should not be hard to create a better type of economy and to provide higher standards of living than exist to-day in many countries, not only in Europe but also in Asia.
Debate (on motion by Mr.Bernard corser) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1947 - No. 76 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.
Australian Wool Board - Eleventh Annual Report, for year 1946-47.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (18).
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Commerce and Agriculture - C. M. K. Murphy.
Postmaster-General - N. S. Candy, J. P.
Champion, C. H. Dunning, L. B. Huddleston, F. T. P. Johnson, R. J. Kolbe, M. W. Lilley, E. R. Mayhew, C. H. McCall, D. C. Pawsey, L. W. Travers, D. S. Turner, A. J. Varey.
Works and Housing - H.N. Davis,N. J. Griffin.
Land Tax Assessment Act - Applications for relief dealt with during the year 1946-47.
Lands Acquisition Act- Land acquired for - Banking purposes - Bassendean, Western Australia.
Defence purposes - Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
House adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
s asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Textiles: Supplies fob Men’s Suits; Exports.
s asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Shipping, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Shipping has supplied the following information : -
Woollens (other than blankets) - 1946 - 21,800,000 square yards. 1947 (estimated on first seven months production )- 23,000,000 square yards.
Worsteds - 1946 production - 14,800,000 square yards. 1947 production (estimated) - 18,300,000 square yards.
Export. -16 per cent. of woollen manufacture allowed as exports but this quantity has not been wholly taken up by mills.
Worsteds. - Quantity exported 1946 to New Zealand 300,000 square yards, other countries as token shipments 300,000 square yards. The Government has approved of export of 285,000 square yards to New Zealand and 270,000 square yards to other countries in 1947.
Of the worsted quantity exported, a considerable quantity will be in materials other than men’s suitings.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
n asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following information : - 1. (a) Basic wage adjustments in most industries. (b) Increases in wages under: - (i) Clothing trades award, (ii) National Security (Female Minimum Rates) Regulations. (c) Tobacco, (d) Imported goods except certain items covering foodstuffs, materials for the manufacture of textiles, apparel textiles, household drapery and bed linen, apparel and clothing materials for the manufacture of leather, industrial chemicals and fertilizers, materials for the manufacture of brooms and brushes, crockery, ingredients for the manufacture of rubber goods.
Since the increase in the basic wage was dealt with simultaneously with the effect of the removal of subsidies, it is impracticable to indicate the resultant increase in the price of each item pursuant to the removal of subsidies. In certain items, no adjustment of prices was made, whereas, in others some increase was permitted. 3. (a) 1946-47 - owing to the lag in submission of and payment of subsidy claims, it is not anticipated that the immediate effect of the withdrawal of subsidy will be great during this period. (b) 1947-48 - Imported goods f 1,400,000, Australian goods and services £4,100,000. These savings will be offset to an extent by increased subsidies, consequent upon any rise in overseas prices on items eligible for subsidy.
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Note. - The figures given are for flour tax collection years, not financial years.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
In view of the world position of sterling, what useful purpose is served by retaining the gold price at £10 l5s. 3d. per oz. when private traders are alleged to be obtaining £30 per oz. from free and willing buyers in an open market?
– The information is being obtained, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
n asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
Does the Commonwealth intend to make to farmers any allowance above the actual weight of the cornsack calculated in terms of wheat to compensate farmers for the record price of cornsacks?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Bagged wheat is sold at a premium above bulk prices, and the amount received is paid to growers delivering bagged wheat. The difference between bulk and bagged has been increased since bag costs have risen, and it is therefore not considered that any allowance from Commonwealth funds is necessary.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) and (b). The provisional rate of tax of1s. ld. per bushel on the 1945-46 crop has been levied and £6,900,000 has been collected under the Wheat Tax Act 1946.
Foodstuffs: Exports to the United Kingdom.
e asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
What quantities of foodstuffs were exported to the United Kingdom by Australia in the years 1938-39, 1939-40, 1945-46 and 1946-47?
– The quantities of foodstuffs exported to the United Kingdom are as set out in the following statement : -
d. - On the 29th May, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Hamilton) asked a question concerning the export of building materials toNew Zealand. The Minister for Trade and
Customs has now supplied the following information: -
Question 1. - What was (a) the quantity, (b) the value and (c) the type of Australian timber (sawn and other) exported to New Zealand during 1945, 1946 and 1947 to date?
Answer. - See Schedule “ A “.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 September 1947, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1947/19470924_reps_18_193/>.