19th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister and concerns what has been called the Copland plan, the details of which have been announced in the newspapers in several forms. All of them include a heavy imposition on wool and contain some other related proposals designed, it is said, to reduce the cost of living. Do those statements represent the policy of the Australian Government? Were the statements made by Professor Copland, and had they, as they appear in the press under his name, been brought previously to the notice of the Government or of responsible Ministers?
– The views expressed by Sir Douglas Copland were not previously brought to the notice of the Government and are in no sense a statement on behalf of the Government. They represent the personal views of Sir Douglas Copland. As to what the views of the Government are, all I can say is, that with the budget coming along there is nothing hid that shall not be known.
– Is the Minister for
Immigration aware that concern exists amongst the people of this country about the number of stabbing affrays in which New Australians have been involved? In view of those happenings, will the Minister consider taking steps to have all New Australians specially informed before they arrive in this country that knife-play in Australia is regarded as a very serious offence? If there is no Commonwealth legislation which makes illegal the possession and carrying of knives, except for domestic and industrial use, will the Minister move to have such legislation introduced? Will the Minister also have all migrant hostels,” and New Australians who are under his administration, searched for knives? If any are found, will he subject the owners to prosecution?
– It is no doubt a fact that some people feel concerned ‘when they read reports in the press of incidents in which crimes of violence are committed and in which migrants are involved. I make it clear that migrants or persons who have come to this country under a government scheme are not involved in all of these instances. In one tragic episode that occurred in Victoria recently one of the principals involved was a naturalized Australian who had been in this country for more than thirteen years. It is a fact that very great publicity is given in the press from time to time to incidents in which migrants are involved mainly because the persons concerned are migrants. However, the Government - and all honorable members, I am sure - deplore incidents in which knives are used as lethal weapons. The Government of Victoria is taking action to legislate against the use of knives in cases’ of this kind. I have no doubt that other State governments are of the same mind. We have power to deport a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence, punishable by a sentence of imprisonment for twelve months or more. This power is used from time to time and we shall continue to use it in relation to serious cases of this kind.
– Can the Minister for Immigration say whether the Government is considering permitting approved new Australians to become members of the services ?
– This, of course, is a matter of Government policy, but I am able to inform the honorable member that, at present, certain defence legislation and arrangements are being examined in relation to immigrants, and, in due course, the Prime Minister or an appropriate Minister will make an official statement on it.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Immigration a question which arises out of reports that the pool of displaced persons in Europe from which Australia has drawn heavily has few prospective migrants left in it. Has the Minister received any reports from his officers abroad of the number and quality of persons that this country may be able to obtain as migrants from Germany ? Is he aware that the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia has withdrawn its objection to migrants coming to this country from Germany? In view of the fact that German immigrants have been most successful and loyal in the past, does the Government intend to permit more persons from this source to enter the country ?
– It is a fact that, as a result of the cessation of the displaced persons scheme next year, it is unlikely that Australia will be able to continue to draw immigrants from this source. If the Government is to maintain its immigration programme on lines which have received the support of all sections of this Parliament, it is clearly necessary that it should look, not only to Great Britain, where it hopes to obtain the greater proportion of its immigrants, but also to other European countries. Officers of the department who have gained considerable experience in the selection of suitable immigrants have examined the suitability of European immigrants. The Government hopes next year to attract a large number of Dutch immigrants, and it is clear that in Germany, Austria and Italy there are persons in considerable numbers who would be of value to Australia and who could be attracted here. I have noticed the published reports of the attitude of the federal executive of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia and I welcome this realistic expression of a view which shows a recognition of Australian needs at the present time. I hope that within a matter of weeks the Government will be in a position to make public the details of its immigration programme for 1951. This will cover the matters referred to by the honorable member.
– Has the Minister for Labour and National Service been informed that the coal-miners propose to call aggregate meetings within fourteen days as a protest against an award of the Coal Industry Tribunal which does not permit service that mine workers may render in defence of this country to be taken into account in the calculation of long service leave? Is it not a fact that some mine owners are already paying to mine workers who have enlisted in the defence forces the difference between their service pay and the pay that they would have received if they had continued to work in the mines? Is it not also a fact that an agreement exists between the mine owners and the miners’ federation which provides that for purposes of seniority service in the defence forces shall count as service in the industry? As the award of the Coal Industry Tribunal does not permit war service to be taken into account in the calculation of long service leave it means that if I, for instance, worked in a mine for eight months and then enlisted for war service I would be obliged on my return to work another four months before I would become qualified to have a year’ counted for long service leave. If the Minister does not now possess power under the act to- give an instruction on this matter, does he not think that it is time that he asked the Coal Industry Tribunal to review his decision upon it?
– The honorable member for Cunningham and the honorable member for Robertson have already made representations to me on this matter and I am familiar with the circumstances to which the honorable member for Hunter has referred. I am by no means convinced, however, that this is a genuine industrial grievance in the sense that it arises for the first time or in a way which supports the claim that some injustice has been done to the parties concerned. My own belief is that the decision of the Coal Industry Tribunal is being used in order to mislead many loyal unionists and to induce them to refuse to carry out work on the coal-fields. They are being told that some injustice is being done to them. I have had before me reports from miners’ leaders on the long service plan and at no time have they raised with me this question of war service being taken into consideration in the calculation of long service leave. They called a series of stoppages on the coal-fields in order to make a grievance out of the issue; but as soon as the matter was brought to my notice I expressed the view, which I put on behalf of the Government, that we favour the principle that a miner who gave war service should be entitled to have that service included in the period in respect of which his long service leave is calculated, and I said that if the appropriate application were made to the tribunal, we would support that principle hy our own representations to it. I arranged for a senior officer of the Department of Labour and National Service to convene a conference last week of the parties interested, and those points were put to them. It appears clear that the tribunal itself was not resisting this claim; it was merely explaining that, as the award stood and as the nature of its own powers were defined, it could not take into account the period of war service for the purposes of long service leave, Therefore, some amending legislation may be necessary. If the tribunal decides on the merits of the case, that the period of service ought to taken into account - and we shall support that point of view if it comes before the tribunal - and if an award is made in those terms and it involves introduction of amending legislation by this Government or by the State governments, we shall take the necessary action to ensure that it shall be done.
– Is the Minister for National Development in a position to make public the contents of the report on the Callide coal-field which is known as the Hartnell report?
– That report was compiled by three departmental officers early this year. I do not believe that it is wise to make public reports made by officers to their respective Ministers, because the knowledge that such reports might eventually become public property might inhibit officers from speaking their minds with complete freedom. However, I shall consult my two colleagues whose departments were represented on that mission in order to ascertain whether we can get an agreed statement on the general subject of the Callide coal-field, at least from a factual point of view. A great deal of information has become available since the Hartnell report was written.
– I desire to address to the Minister for the Army a question which is prompted by the fact that we expect that, in the near future, Australian troops will be engaged in combat overseas. Since the sacrifice made by troops in forward or combat areas is so much greater than that made by troops in base areas, will the Minister consider providing a special rate of pay for troops engaged in combat?
– I appreciate the interest that the honorable gentleman has always shown in matters affecting exservicemen and servicemen generally. The answer to his question is that the proposal he has made is already the policy of the Government. Extra pay for troops on service is effected by substantial reductions of income tax, by deferred pay, by substantial repatriation benefits, and after World War I. and World War II., by a war gratuity. All those matters, added together, make a substantial increase of pay for men who are serving overseas compared with servicemen in Australia.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for the Army, relates to the recent statement that members of the Australian Permanent Military Forces will, in the near future, be asked to re-attest under conditions that will oblige them to serve in any part of the world. Can the Minister assure the House that no pressure will be brought to bear upon members of the Australian Permanent Military Forces to sign the new form of attestation? Is it the intention of the Commonwealth to retain the services of members who are not prepared to sign the new form, and that such members shall not be penalized in any way?
– I am certain that when members of the Australian Regular Army are invited to sign the new form of attestation they will do so. If they do not, we shall examine the problem that will then arise. Apparently, I have a higher regard for the enthusiasm of our servicemen to-day than has the honorable member for Adelaide.
– In view of the recent instruction by the Military Board providing for the reimbursement of fees payable in respect of such courses as bookkeeping, accountancy and the like, will the Minister for the Army consider reimbursing the fees of those members of the forces who desire to take out-of-hours training in such trades asplumbing and carpentry at the School of Mines, Adelaide ?
– I shall be glad to consider the point raised by the honorable member.
– Can the Minister for the Army inform me whether it is the intention of the Government to alter the law with regard to displaced persons who desire to join the Army?
– My colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration, has already answered a similar question today. The matter is under consideration.
– I should like to know whether the Prime Minister can give, at this stage, any indication of when the promise which he made in his policy speech last December to grant real and practical assistance to the gold mining industry, will be fulfilled.
– I shall regard the honorable member’s question as being on the notice-paper, and I shall secure a reply for him.
Professor Macmahon Ball - Cricket Test Matches
– I refer the PostmasterGeneral to a weekly broadcast over the national stations by Professor Macmahon Ball at 12.40 p.m. each Sunday under the title of “ Australia in the Pacific” in which a fear is often expressed that we may displease the Soviet Union. Will the PostmasterGeneral inform me whether these broadcasts are authorized by him in his capacity as Minister in charge of the Australian Broadcasting Commission? Are they to continue, and if they are, will he arrange for a speaker to put the other side of the case?
– I inform the honorable member for Mallee that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is a statutory body which does not take its instructions from the Minister; but, at the same time, the Parliament has some control over it, in the sense that the commission must submit its budget to the
Parliament. I have received quite a number of letters of complaint about the nature of the broadcasts by Professor Macmahon Ball. 1 shall ask the Australian Broadcasting Commission to provide me with the scripts of the talks to which exception has been taken so that they may be perused by the honorable gentleman. I shall also examine the exact nature of them.
– I gather from press reports that there is some suggestion that the next series of test matches will not be broadcast. Will the PostmasterGeneral inform me of the facts relating to that matter, and give an assurance that he will make every endeavour to have descriptions of the games broadcast to the people of Tasmania who, because of their isolation, will not have an opportunity to attend them ?
– I have received telegrams from many members of the House asking that every effort be made to facilitate a settlement of the dispute between the cricket authorities, the commercial broadcasting companies and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. At the conclusion of questions to-day, I shall ask for leave to make a statement to the House, indicating what has been done. I am sure that whatever step9 are taken to ensure that descriptions of the matches are broadcast will meet with the approval of honorable members on both sides of the chamber.
. - by leave - The Government has been greatly concerned with the hitch which occurred between the commercial broadcasting authorities, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and the various cricket authorities of the States, concerning the broadcasting of the forthcoming series of test matches. The Government felt that under no circumstances should the Australian people be denied the opportunity of listening to first-hand descriptions over the air of these matches which have become a traditional part of our national life, and are greatly looked forward to by the majority of people both in England and Australia.
In consequence of the breakdown in negotiations which had been reported, 1 intervened in the dispute and separately conferred with each of the parties concerned. I subsequently convened a joint meeting of all interests, in which the difficulties relating to a settlement were thrashed out. The point of view of the broadcasting authorities was that in practically all other sporting events any charge was a nominal one only, and that if a change were made on this occasion it might lead to precedents which would create complex problems in the future with other sporting organizations. The view of the cricket authority was that it was a non-profit making body, and that any profits which accrued were ploughed back into the improvement of the cricket grounds or were dispersed to the various small associations throughout Australia for the development and encouragement of the game. It was also pointed out, that with the exception of the secretary, none of the office-bearers of the association received any fee or emolument whatever. Therefore, any funds which were received from the broadcasting authorities could only be applied to the development of the national game. At the conference, I indicated to the representatives of the Australian Broadcasting Commission that the Government would stand completely behind any arrangements which it cared to make. As a consequence, the New South Wales Cricket Association has agreed to reduce its demand from £1,000 to £900 for New South Wales, and the broadcasting authorities have agreed to advance their offer from £500 to £900. The whole of the additional amount required to bring about the settlement has been provided by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, since the commercial stations refused to make any further advance whatever. At the same time the commercial stations will be given exactly the same rights of broadcast as the Australian Broadcasting Commission, notwithstanding their failure to compromise with the New South Wales Cricket Association.
It was agreed with Mr. Oxlade, the representative of the New South Wales Cricket Association, that the basis of settlement in New South Wales would serve as the basis for settlements in the other States. It was stated by him that he had been in consultation with the other States, and could give an assurance that such an agreement would, in general terms, be accepted by them. It must be emphasized that the settlement at the moment is solely with New South Wales, but I am confident, in view of the facts which I have stated, that amicable terms on similar lines can be arranged with the Victorian, Queensland and the South Australian Cricket Associations. I lay on the table the following paper: -
Broadcasting of Cricket Test Matches - Ministerial Statement. and move -
That the paper be printed.
– The House will welcome the statement by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) that he has taken action on behalf of the Government to ensure that the people of Australia shall have the opportunity to listen to broadcasts of the forthcoming series of cricket test matches. What the people who temporarily have licences to operate commercial stations forget is that they are operating on the public domain. They seem to think that they have acquired rights and, therefore, can hold sporting bodies to blackmail. It is ludicrous for them to say that as the public wants these broadcasts, they should have the right to enter upon sporting grounds and broadcast sporting events without payment of any fee to the authorities which produce the sport, in this instance cricket, and encourage the game generally. All the commercial stations are making huge profits, as they always have, because the number of channels available for use for the purpose of broadcasting on the present medium wave band is very restricted. Therefore, the lucky people who operate the licences were really presented with what was equivalent to a gold mine by the Government that issued the licences.
– Station 4KQ, for instance.
– Station 4KQ is not the most profitable undertaking of this kind. It was granted its licence by the Chifley Government, and other governments granted other licences. However, I am now concerned not with the granting of licences but with the misuse of power by the people who, having received licences, refused the legitimate request of the cricket associations of the various States that broadcasters should pay something in order, in the words of the Postmaster-General, that cricket might be assisted because the profits that come from cricket are either disbursed among cricket clubs or ploughed back into the general work of improving the game. I have an interest in this matter, because like the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), I happen to be a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Members of that body, who represent all shades of political opinion and are persons from all walks of life, were firm and unanimous in their decision that the commercial stations and the Australian Broadcasting Commission must pay a fee for the right to broadcast from that ground. The Prime Minister was not present at that particular meeting, but I have no doubt that he will be bound by it.
– I would have agreed with their decision.
– The right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) is a trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground, and he and his fellow trustees adopted a similar attitude. The trouble in this matter lies with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, because it has been “ ganging up “ with the commercial stations in trying to force sporting bodies to allow broadcasts free of charge. The commission does not mind paying, say, £500, to bring out an artist to this country to broadcast to a relatively limited audience, but it objects to paying any sum for the right to broadcast test cricket matches, to which many thousands more people listen. If the argument of the commercial stations that they lose money by broadcasting cricket matches and therefore they should not be expected to pay had any validity - and it has not - why do these same stations, when test matches are played in England, run all-night sessions, which are sponsored, and which they would not broadcast if they were not profit-making? The Opposition joins with the Government in this matter. It is a good thing that the trouble has ended as it has done. But the commercial stations should be made to pay more if it is possible under the regulations to make them do so. If they continue their attitude of standing the community up, because that is what this attitude amounts to, they will have to have their wings clipped, and they should be obliged to pay more than the miserable £25 which they now pay annually for the right to operate their licences - licences which are most valuable and profitable to them.
– I thank the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) for his intervention, and also the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for his previous interest in this matter. Their object has been to make sure that description of the forthcoming cricket test matches shall be broadcast. I wish to raise only two points. The first relates to the attitude of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in the matter. The commission made an agreement with profitmaking stations to act conjointly. In my opinion that was a complete breach of the charter of the commission which has the obligation of maintaining an independent news service. However, the commission was completely implacable until the Postmaster-General intervened. The second point, which is of more general importance, relates to the various Australian cricket associations which are interested solely in the promotion of the game. They asked for a broadcasting fee of £1,000, and 90 per cent, of that figure has now been conceded. In other countries sporting bodies that provide entertainment that can be broadcast and televised simultaneously are receiving fees compared with which the figure fixed under this agreement is a bagatelle. For instance, in the Americas, I believe that commercial stations are paying no less than 696,000 dollars for the right to televise the seven final matches in the baseball series in that country and a fee of 70,000 dollars in respect of simultaneous broadcasting. I mention that fact in order to show that in this instance the cricket authorities and the ground authorities concerned, asked for a reasonable amount, not a maximum fee, but as a vindication of the principle involved. I again thank the Postmaster-General for his successful intervention in this matter.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I desire to address a question to you, Mr. Speaker. Is it a fact that many members of the staffs of the Parliament who are employed in this building are compelled to work long hours overtime, and, indeed, have been so working for many months, and that, to date, no adjustment has been made relative to the payment of overtime? If that is the position, will you, Mr. Speaker, as one of the two responsible authorities for the conditions governing employment within the precincts of the Parliament, inform this House when it is proposed to adjust those legitimate claims for the payment of overtime ?
– That matter will have to be settled by the normal means of arbitration. The method suggested by myself was not acceptable to the Government, and the employees concerned will have to take whatever course is open to them under our arbitration laws.
– Will the Prime Minister ensure that a statement shall be made of the reason for the summary dismissal of Dr. Paul R. James from the medical staff of the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital ? When the Prime Minister was asked a similar question previously in the House, he said -
The Minister for Repatriation is at present actively inquiring into the case, and he proposes to make a statement at the earliest possible moment.
That was on the 6th June, and the promise has not yet been fulfilled. No statement of the reason for the dismissal has been obtainable. In view of the admitted facts that Dr. James’s work at the hospital was quite satisfactory, and that there was no surplus of staff, and in view of the allegation that he was dismissed because of his political views and trade union activities, will the Prime Minister have the reason for the dismissal stated, especially as Dr. James himself has invited this action?
– I shall ascertain the position from the Minister for Repatriation.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the anomaly that has now become evident as a result of the decision by the Victorian Government to increase by 20 per cent, superannuation payments to former State public servants to compensate them for increased living costs? By way of illustration I point out that a former railway employee who received a superannuation payment of £4 19s. a fortnight, and an age pension of £2 5s. a fortnight, has had his superannuation payment increased by £1, but his pension has been decreased by a similar amount. Will the .Government consider the introduction of amending legislation to eliminate this obvious injustice ?
– The matter referred to lias not escaped notice. It is, in fact, under consideration by the Treasury at present.
– In the absence of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that a meat export licence is held by a Brisbane meat exporting company which is supplying to Singapore and other places large quantities of meat for which it is reported to be receiving fabulous prices. Is the right, honorable gentleman also aware that the company purchases a big majority of the cattle yarded at the Cannon Mills sale yards to supply the Brisbane market and pays up to £5 per cwt. for beef, whereas the fixed price is £3 Ss. 6d. per cwt? Local butchers are unable to compete against it on those terms and the result is that it is depriving the Brisbane public of a plentiful supply of meat at the prices established by the price-fixing authorities. Will the Prime Minister have this important matter investigated, and, if the position is as I have stated it to be, will he take the necessary action to protect the consuming public of Brisbane
– I confess that I am not aware of the position, but I shall certainly have the matter investigated by the appropriate department.
– In view of the recent disclosure in England that a special Russian-trained group of 250 spies and saboteurs, both men and women, had arrived in that country and had then disappeared, will the Prime Minister assure the House that adequate security measures have been taken to ensure that such a thing cannot happen in Australia?
– Yes. This is the kind of problem that receives particular attention from both the Department of Immigration and the security service.
– Is the. Treasurer aware that, although Australia is enjoying the greatest period of financial prosperity in its history and receives a huge wool cheque of over £500,000,000 and large incomes from other export commodities, pensioners and workers with young families are existing in the cities under condition? that are little removed from those of the dole days because of the huge cost of living? Will the Government take immediate action to rectify this situation and thus give effect to the promises that were made on its behalf during the election campaign?
– The subject raised by the honorable member will receive attention when the budget is introduced.
– Can the Prime Minister inform the House why what 1 shall call scandously wide publicity was given to the discovery of uranium in the Northern Territory? News of the find was proclaimed to the world by the daily press. Has the Government taken any action to prevent further disclosures of that character?
– The Government does not possess or exercise any powers of censorship at this time. News of any discoveries that may occur, whether of minerals or other items, finds its way into the press. The Government has never undertaken to supervise what appears in the newspapers, and, in time of peace, it would be a. rather sorry day if it did.
– In view .of the serious deterioration that has occurred in the. quality of railway locomotives on the Trans- Australia, line, can the Minister for National Development say whether the Government has given consideration to the provision of modern diesel locomotives in the near future? If it has not already done so, will the Minister say whether it is prepared to do so?
– The Government has had under consideration for at least six months the manufacture in Australia of diesel electric locomotives, at least so far as it is possible to manufacture such means of traction in this country, and when the Prime Minister recently obtained the loan of 100,000,000 dollars, immediate consideration was given to the importation of component parts for such locomotives. At least eleven diesel electric locomotives will be provided for the Trans-Australia railway, and so far as it U possible to do so, those locomotives will be manufactured in Australia from imported components. It is expected that the provision of diesel locomotives on that railway will effect dramatic savings in operating costs because they will reduce greatly the consumption of coal and water and will enlarge the passenger haulage capacity of rolling stock, as well as save considerable time. T,lie Government regards modern locomotives as developmental equipment which is necessary to improve transport facilities, and the matter is engaging its urgent attention.
– In view of the policy of the present Government to reduce the pensions payable to pensioners in certain institutions which are gazetted as benevolent asylums under the Social Services Consolidation Act, will the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services give special consideration to -the position of Lidcombe and Newington State hospitals with a view to removing such institutions from the gazetted list of benevolent asylums and treating them instead as public hospitals so that the inmates may receive the full benefit of the Government’s hospital benefits scheme without suffering any reduction of their pensions? Will the Minister also take immediate steps to erasure that in the meantime the inmates of Lidcombe and Newington State hospitals will receive the full benefit of any further increases of pensions?
– The matter referred to by the honorable member concerns the Minister for Social Services, and I shall bring it to my colleague’s attention.
– Can the Minister for Health state whether it is a fact that because of the scarcity of accommodation at many hospitals, patients have to leave those institutions before they are well enough to do so? Is it a fact that there is a district nursing service in many districts which looks after such patients but that these services are not sufficiently financial to look after the whole of the patients so discharged, particularly the aged and infirm? In view of the fact that the Australian Government contributes to every hospital by paying a specific amount for each occupied bed, will the Minister favorably consider paying for the patients being nursed at home during their period of incapacity?
– The matter which the honorable member has raised is one for consideration by State governments. If they raise it with the Australian Government, it will receive attention.
– Will the Treasurer consider making provision in the 1950-51 budget for a special allowance of a sum equal to two weeks’ pension, to be paid in December each year to each age, invalid, widow and service pensioner, in the form of a gratuity to assist them to have some little extras at Christmas time such as a holiday trip or possibly extra clothing or food? Will the Treasurer also consider making the pension increases that are expected to be announced in the budget retrospective to the 1st July, 1950, in order to offset the tremendous loss in the value of the £1 that has occurred since this Government took office?
– The Government’s proposals regarding pensions and finance generally will be disclosed in the budget.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that a wife’s war disability allowance is deductible from the tuberculosis allowance paid in respect of a husband who suffers from tuberculosis? If so, would the Minister be prepared to review -the regulation governing that matter, bearing in mind that a family income of £4 a week is permitted without prejudice to the tuberculosis allowance ?
– I shall confer with the Treasurer on that matter.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral say whether, following an investigation, recommendations have been made for the establishment of television services in -the six capital cities of Australia, and that at least one of the metropolitan stations is at present under construction? I point out to the Minister that whilst it may be economically sound to establish such facilities in the major centres of population, the provision of such amenities in country areas would play a big part in improving the lot of country residents, and would, therefore, assist in stemming the flow of people from the country to the cities. In view of that fact, will the Minister give consideration to the early extension cif television facilities to provincial centres that are capable of providing services for large country areas ?
– It is not correct to say that the Government has decided to establish television in the six capital cities. We realize that television is one of the new sciences which has to be taken very cautiously and steadily in order that its impact on the community may be properly examined. In other parts of the world, there is much difference of opinion regarding the benefits of television and the types of programmes that should be televised. The Australian Government recognizes that Australia must enter into the television field and advance with the rest of the world. It has decided that, initially, one television station shall be established in Sydney. From that station, it will obtain the knowledge and experience necessary for it to deter mine the nature of the development of television in other parts of the Commonwealth.
– Is the Minister for Works and Housing aware that the New South Wales Government has decided to increase rail freights by from 16 per cent, to 40 per cent., with the object of raising an additional £8,000,000 revenue a year, and to increase by 100 per cent, the road tax imposed upon vehicles carrying goods in competition with the railways? Can the Minister say what effect the increases will have upon the cost of building homes in New South Wales, which is already prohibitive when compared with building costs in other States, notably South Australia? As the Commonwealth is committed to supply the money necessary for the operations of the Housing Commission of New South Wales, will the Minister make an effort to persuade the McGirr Government to exempt housing materials from these increases, which will have an inflationary effect ?
– This matter is clearly one that is within the domestic competence of the New South Wales Government, and I doubt very much whether the Commonwealth would be regarded as having any status to make representations upon it. There is no doubt that the action of the New South Wales Government will have the effect of increasing building costs, especially in country areas. It will affect particularly the cost of prefabricated houses, which have to be moved long distances. I shall ascertain what the approximate increase of costs will be and then I shall consider with my colleagues whether anything can be done in the matter.
– Is the Minister for Works and Housing able to make an authoritative statement with respect to the importation of prefabricated houses, particularly those which have ,been allocated to the Australian Capital Territory ?
– I have not any statement to make with respect to prefabricated houses at present except to say that the Australian Government is in constant touch with the State governments concerning the total number of houses that the States can import in the coming year and for which they can provide the preparatory “ on-site “ work in advanced The value of prefabricated houses already ordered by the Commonwealth and State governments is something of the order of £22,000,000. In addition, a very large amount of building materials has been ordered from overseas so as to make up for current shortages in Australia. I shall prepare a general statement on this subject and the honorable member will receive a copy of it.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service say whether he was speaking on behalf of the Australian Government when, recently, he criticized the lag on the wharfs in respect of the loading of steel and the removal of merchandise, and also the delay in turning round ships generally? Did the Minister primarily blame the waterside workers for the delay?. Will the honorable gentleman tell the House who, in his opinion, was responsible for the recent stoppage on the waterfront at Newcastle, when the port was laid idle for ten days owing to the spelter dispute? Did the employers throw the port idle by sacking waterside workers who declined to sacrifice safety principles while working and abandon a system of working that the employers had adopted and compelled the men to accept more than three years previously? Is it a fact that on the 10th August, the clay prior to the commencement of the dispute, I requested the Minister to intervene in the matter and to ask the chairman of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board to order a resumption of work upon pre-stoppage conditions and then to convene a conference of all parties to discuss the matters which caused the dispute ? Is it the policy of the Government to expedite the hearing of industrial disputes? If so, why was the Newcastle waterfront idle from the 11th to the 15th August before any attempt was made by the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board to bring the parties together? Is it true, as reported in the ‘press, that during the time Judge Kirby was making an inspection of the work in the told of a steamer a chain sling broke, with the result that spelter was thrown everywhere, and that if His Honour had been standing-
– The Honorable member for Shortland appears to be furnishing a lot of information.
– I am endeavouring to obtain information.
– The honorable member has already supplied an undue amount of information,
– As I was saying, had His Honour been standing where he had been when the previous sling was taken out of the ship, he may have been killed. Was the action of the employers in sacking the men for not sacrificing their safe system of working, in effect, a violation of industrial arbitration legislation? Further, did the employers act within their rights in sacking men who had insisted on adhering to the principles of safety? If so, is it the intention of the Government to take action against the employers for causing an industrial dispute, with subsequent loss of wages to the men and delay to shipping, similar to action that has been taken from time to time against unions whose members have gone on strike illegally?
– Order! The honorable member cannot proceed in this manner at question time.
– I want to know, Mr. Chairman-
– I am not a chairman.
– I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister inform the House whether the Government will order an inquiry into this stoppage with a view to preventing further unnecessary stoppages of this kind, and direct that the men shall be paid for time lost, if it is found that they were not responsible for the hold-up?
– In the first part of his question the honorable member asked, in a general sense, whether I was responsible for a statement that had been published, in which I was alleged to have laid the blame on the waterside workers for delays that had occurred on the waterfront in connexion with the movement of cargoes.
Although. I do not know to which printed statement the honorable member has referred, I shall gladly make available to him a copy of the statement that I made in relation to the waterfront problem generally, to representatives of the waterside workers, shipowners and port and harbour authorities, at a recent conference called by myself. I made it clear that, in my view, industrial relations on the waterfront were very bad indeed, and that a great deal of responsibility rested not only on the representatives of the waterside workers, but also on the men themselves for the undoubted decrease of tonnage handled in recent years. I also stated that there was plenty of evidence of inefficiency and lack of effective supervision by the shipping and stevedoring companies. It was because I considered that an improvement should be effected that the conference was called. I am hopeful that, arising out of those discussions, and as a result of the activities of the committee that has since been established, substantial improvements will be effected. As to the particular instance to which the honorable member has referred, it is not true to say that there was undue delay in the hearing of the matters in dispute. In fact it was as a result of a decision by the local representative of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board that the men refused to go on with the job. Subsequently arrangements were made for Judge Kirby to examine the matter in some detail, as a result of which a decision was given and work was resumed. I do not feel that there is any occasion for a special inquiry into the matter to which the honorable member has referred. The facts are all known, and I am quite confident that Judge Kirby, as chairman of the tribunal, is quite capable of looking after matters within its jurisdiction.
– I ask the Minister for National Development a question relative to the increasing infestation of grass grubs which is causing a serious reduction in productivity in some of the richest dairying and grazing land in the western district of Victoria and in the south-east of South Australia. Will the
Minister give consideration to treating this matter as one of national importance and provide that a comprehensive study of the subject shall be made by competent officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization?
– Although I am perfectly willing to ascertain whether the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is in a position to conduct the research that the honorable member has requested, I must inform the honorable gentleman that the resources of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in relation to its technical and professional officers are already severely strained. At the moment I am without personal information on the subject that the honorable member has raised, but I shall examine it and if the honorable member’s request can be acceded to, without detriment to the work being done by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the additional work that he has requested will certainly be done.
– Has the Minister for National Development, or any member of his department, seen the 10-ton overhead loader that has been made by a firm of engineers at Albury from a converted army tank? Does the Minister consider that this machine, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is comparable to many types of earth-moving equipment being brought into this country from America which involve an expenditure of dollars? If so, will the Minister do all in his power to have more of these machines built so as to assist our developmental programme?
– I think that I am right in saying that the honorable gentleman drew my attention to this matter a little time ago. I then asked that one of the appropriate officers of my department should visit Albury and examine the matter. I have not had a report on the subject, but now that it has been brought to my attention again I shall have it examined once more.
– Did the Minister for National Development recently make a statement with regard to the allocation of the 100,000,000 dollar loan that the availability of the loan would be on the following priority basis: - Priority1. - 80 per cent to private enterprise; priority 2. - State governments; and priority 3. - the Australian Government? Does that statement indicate that there is to be a reduction of Commonwealth national works for which heavy equipment is required? Has the Government given all the assistance it can give to the production in Australia of earthmoving equipment? I point out to the Minister that when the Tasmanian Government applied for dollars to import from fifteen to twenty bulldozers for developmental works and clearing in rural areas its application was refused.
– The Government has established a body of inter-departmental officers known as the Dollar Loan Allocations Committee, to advise it on the order of priority in which developmental equipment should be made available from the proceeds of the dollar loan. I am not aware that I committed myself to the percentages suggested by the honorable member. What I did say was that it was my impression that private enterprise would obtain more of the proceeds of the loan than any other single entity, that next to private enterprise would come the State governments and their entities and then would come the Australian Government. That statement followed a quick survey of the applications for allocations of dollars from the loan for the purchase of equipment and it represented a very rough indication of the priorities suggested by the committee. My department, in conjunction with the State departments concerned, has engaged in close consultation with the State governments, including the Tasmanian Government, to ascertain their requirements of developmental equipment. The loan will be used entirely for developmental purposes, and, that being so, the type of equipment that the honorable member has mentioned will be ‘high on the list. The honorable member need have no fear that the Government of Tasmania will not get fair and adequate treatment in respect of its share of the loan. It cannot bo supposed that all the needs of Australia in the matter of develop mental equipment will be met by a 100,000,000 dollar loan spread over two years. The loan will greatly alleviate the conditions caused by the lack of developmental equipment, but after that period a need will still exist for dollars for developmental purposes.
– Does the Treasurer still regard himselfas bound by his preelection promise that revaluation of the £.1 Australian would take place only over his dead body. If not, has the right honorable gentleman any plan for dealing with the £300,000,000 worth of “ hot “ money that has come to Australia in anticipation of revaluation and which, in? the event of revaluation of the £1 Australian to parity with the £1 sterling occurring, would produce £60,000,000 profit for the holders of that money without them having done anything constructive.
– All these matters have received very serious and mature consideration, and the Government’s policy in connexion with them will be ventilated at the right time in the right way.
– Will the Minister for Health inform me whether it is a fact that the number of drugs included in the free list under the Page free medicine scheme is very limited, and that some confusion exists among chemists about which drugs are to be supplied free of charge and which are not? Will the Minister also state what method has been adopted to refund moneys to persons who have been compelled by chemists to pay for drugs that should have been supplied free of charge?
– There is no confusion among chemists about what drugs are free and what drugs are not free, because they have received detailed information from the Commonwealth Health Department on the subject. Relative to the adequacy of the drugs on the free list, I hold in my hand a letter that I received to-day from a medical practitioner in Sydney, which is typical of many letters I have received. It reads as follows: -
The free pharmaceutical benefits bill is working remarkably well and giving considerable satisfaction to the lay public, and to me as a member -of the medical profession in particular. The drugs available form, in my experience, the major portion of drugs necessary for the treatment of serious illness.
The public now have something of real value which will contribute its share to the restoration of health and the elimination of disease.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that government departments in the Sydney metropolitan area are having difficulty in efficiently carrying on their work because of a lack of telephone instruments? I refer particularly to the office of the Department of Social Services which is now situated in Hexham House, Goulburn-street, Sydney. This important office, which deals with claims from the whole metropolitan area, is endeavouring to carry out its work with only one telephone. Is it a fact that Mr. Prank Packer, the managing director of Consolidated Press Limited, has a direct telephone service to his home, and also a direct telephone service to his pantry? If tha t is so, does the Postmaster-General regard it as necessary for Mr. Packer to have a direct service to his pantry, and if not, will he arrange for that telephone to be disconnected and given to some person who will use it for a useful social purpose?
– I have had no complaint at all from the department referred to by the honorable member. If that department makes representations, they will be properly dealt with. I issued instructions to the postal authorities to examine all governmental departments to ascertain what surplus telephones they had which could be made available to the general public. I know nothing about the private telephone arrangements in Mr. Prank Packer’s house or pantry; but I am prepared to gamble that if Mr. Packer has a telephone to his pantry, it was installed during the term of office of the’ last Government.
– I desire to inform the House that during the absence overseas of the Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Spender) I shall administer those departments, and that during .the absence overseas of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) the Minister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport (Senator McLeay) will administer the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, and will be represented in this House by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony).
– by leave - As all honorable members know, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) is absent from the country, and is engaged in the discussion of a series of important matters. In London, he has been concerned in the continuation of discussions which were initiated in Colombo and pursued in Sydney in respect of certain measures of aid to South-East Asia. He is now engaged in discussing various matters in the United States of America. He is concerned in discussions that are still in a preliminary stage about the peace treaty with Germany, and the peace treaty with Japan. I do not propose to endeavour to cover all these matters, because I think it would be unwise for me to offer some distant observations on matters which are being dealt with rather intimately at the moment by my colleague. Rut there are at least two matters of outstanding moment on which I do desire to say something to the House.
In the first place, I myself, and, indeed, many of us, have said repeatedly that the foundation of foreign policy is defence policy. The truth of that statement, I think, has been demonstrated abundantly during the last few months, and never more abundantly than in respect of Korea. In that instance, obligations suddenly arose pursuant to the resolution of the Security Council, and no less an authority than Mr. John Foster Dulles said a few days ago that it was rather a lucky thing that, at the time the resolution was taken, the United States of America happened to possess in or near J apan a somewhat substantial strength, and that other countries were in a position within a measurable time to give assistance. One of the great lessons of Korea, as I understand it, and it was certainly driven into my own mind when I was going around the world recently, was that if, under our foreign policy, we accept obligations, then we have an instant duty to qualify ourselves as a nation to perform them. Nothing could be more ruinous than the easy acceptance of obligations with an indifferent willingness to perform them, because that, as a celebrated writer once said, merely represents an international policy of bankruptcy.
Korea imposed an instant grievous liability, which now, thank Heaven, is being discharged with magnificent success. But it still leaves us to consider the point that, whatever obligations we may be willing to undertake elsewhere in the world, the first thing that we have to do is to be fit to perform them; otherwise, the acceptance of the obligations is a meaningless gesture. That is why the Government has been applying its mind to what, I repeat, is the first plank of foreign policy. That is, effective defence provision in our own country. Some honorable members at least, will have listened to certain broadcasts which I have recently made on behalf of the Government on our three defence services, and, in particular, to one which was delivered on the subject of the Army. I shall refer to it this afternoon, because it raises a matter which seems to me to concern effective foreign policy very closely. In the course of that announcement made on behalf of the Government in respect of the Army, two major things emerged. I am putting on one side alterations of rates of pay and other matters which, whilst of great moment, are not, for the present purpose, major matters.
One of the two major matters to which I shall refer is that the Australian Regular Army, which has existed so far more or less in skeleton because there was some deficiency of recruiting, should be brought up to its full strength, and that a second brigade of the regular army should then be recruited. The importance of that decision is seen instantly if we look at what happened in relation to Korea. We had on the spot, untrammelled by any limited conception of terms of enlistment, No. 77 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force - a squadron which has done as much for the reputation of this country all round the world as any group of men in the last six months. We had the squadron there. It could almost instantly be made available for service, and it was made available for service within a period of some hours. We happended to have in Korean waters, or in Japanese waters at least, two ships of the Royal Australian Navy, and because their crews were untrammelled by any limited terms of enlistment, they could be made instantly available. In short, we had available to carry out the request of the Security Council of the United Nations an air force and a naval force, but not an army force. Our naval forces were with unrestricted enlistment; our air forces were with unrestricted enlistment; but our army force was with completely restricted enlistment. Even the members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan had been enlisted for service in that country, and were not available for service in Korea, except by a subsequent and separate act of re-enlistment and strengthening by recruitment from Australia. One idea, which is being much canvassed at the moment, is expressed in the statement of Mr. Dean Acheson that the United Nations must be given some effective force that would be instantly available, and that the nations concerned should nominate units of their own forces that would be available for service. Of course, it is abundantly clear that no such unit can be nominated unless every member of it is capable of being sent wherever the United Nations’ decision may require. That means that it cannot be enlisted merely for service in Australia. We have proposed this doubling up on the regular army side because we believe, as a Government, that we ought to have, in Australia at any rate, a force of a brigade group which can, when the international judgment of our friends in the world and of ourselves requires it, be made instantly available in order to arrest some aggression.
The second material aspect of my broadcast announcement is that we propose that, in future, everybody who enlists in the Australian Regular Army shall enlist, as in all other countries, for service anywhere, and not merely for service in Australia. We also propose that, in future, everybody who enlists in the Citizen Military Forces shall enlist for service anywhere. I am talking about volunteers in both cases. We are now asking for recruits to increase the strength of the Citizen Military Forces from a little more than 18,000 to 50,000. As honorable members will at once realize, the significance of this proposal is enormous. In the past, the Citizen Military Forces have been, in a sense, broken up in order to allow people to be set free to volunteer for an Australian Imperial Force, some members of which may have been trained but most members of which may have been entirely untrained, and the result has been that it has taken many months to prepare forces for overseas.
I find it extraordinarily difficult to understand, once we agree to the proposition that we are accepting liabilities outside Australia and therefore must be willing to fulfil them outside Australia, how anybody can resist the idea that now is the time when we begin to get our forces ready to perform those obligations. Any other view seems to me to indicate that we wait until the obligation has arisen, and then begin for the first time to enlist men for service overseas. Indeed, I venture to say that what we have stated on that matter is entirely in line not only with the realities of the world position, but also with the thinking of80 per cent of the Australian people. The Government has been fortunate in being able to appoint a very distinguished citizen and soldier, General Sir Edmund Herring, Chief Justice of Victoria, to the post of Director-General of Recruiting. The recruiting campaign, designed to get people, of their own free will, to enlist in the services on the terms that I have mentioned, is about to begin. I say with regret therefore - and I disclose this with the concurrence of the Leader of the Opposition - that the Opposition has expressed its unwillingness to be associated with the recruiting campaign on the terms that I have stated. In justice to the view of the Opposition, and again with the concurrence of its leader, I shall put the House in possession of what I assume to be a careful expression by the Leader of the Opposition of the opinion of his’ party. I had written to the right honorable gentleman about the opening of the recruiting campaign.
– And spoken to me.
-That is so. I pointed out the value there would be in having both parties associated in the campaign. At that time, I entirely agree. I did not say anything to the Leader of the Opposition about the terms or the substance of the broadcasts that I was about to make in relation to defence policy. To-day, the right honorable gentleman has put me in possession of his views. In a letter to me, he says -
This is in reply to your letter of the 19th September, 1950, referring to the recruiting campaign which the Government is now organizing.
I desire to point out that the broadcast on defence delivered by you on Friday evening last, September 22nd-
That was the broadcast on the Army to which I have just referred - has, in my opinion, entirely altered the basis of our communications on the subject of recruitmentboth for the Permanent Military Forres and for the Citizen Military Force.
I do not quarrel with that. My announcement was a departure from previous policy. The letter continues -
Under the Defence plan decided upon and announced by the Labor Government in 1947, n balanced naval, air force and army programme extending over a period of five years and involving an estimated expenditure of £250 million (subsequently increased to £295 million) was put into operation, with the full approval of the Chiefs of Staff and the Defence Committee. The Labor Government’s plan laid special emphasis upon modern scientific defence projects (e.g. the Rocket Range) and industrial development.
Labor’s army programme was an integral part of the general defence pla.n and covered both the Permanent Military Forces and the Citizen Forces. In the recruitment of personnel for these two basic forces, it was never intended that the soldier should be placed under an obligation to serve anywhere in the world. On the contrary, the very foundation of the two forces was the military defence of the continent and the islands placed under Australia’s authority.
It is now clear, however, from your broadcast of September 22nd that the Government is prohibiting the further enlistment of members of the Permanent Forces and the Citizen Forces except for service anywhere “in the world. ‘J.his fundamental change alters the framework both of the Permanent and the Citizen Military Forces of Australia and, in my view, it is detrimental to the efficient defence security of our. country.
In the circumstances, the Parliamentary Labor Party cannot endorse the fresh conditions of service which the Government is requiring both for the Permanent Military Forces and the Citizen’s Military Forces.
For the above reasons the Opposition cannot participate in recruiting on the basis of the entirely new obligations of the personnel to render military service anywhere in the world.
That carefully expressed statement representing not merely the individual view of the Leader of the Opposition, hut also that of his party, seems to me to present to all of us, in relation to international affairs, a problem that we must solve in our own minds. For years, we in Australia have offered to take an active * part in dealing with the problems of the world - not inside Australia, but outside Australia. We have also had, for many years, as the policy of both sides of the Parliament, ‘adherence to the United Nations and the performance of the obligations imposed on us by our association with that organization. In addition, long before the United Nations was heard of, we had, and still have, a most intimate family obligation to the British Commonwealth of Nations all over the world. In more modern times, Australia has also had a close tie with the United States of America. The problems of world peace and danger do not arise here in Australia. It is quite true that we have some wretched people who support the potential enemy, and who must be dealt with, but the real source of danger is outside Australia. Nobody in .this House can possibly deny that not only has the conflict in Korea evoked the intense interest of the people of Australia, but also Australia’s participation in those events has commanded their unswerving support. Regardless of political affiliations the Australian people generally believe that the fight in Korea does concern Australia. In these circumstances, how can any one justify adhering to the dead idea that we should not have a solitary soldier enlisted for service outside Australia, and that when another Korea occurs, as it will occur, we should say, “All right, send a telegram to the Secretary-General of the United N Nations saying that we are willing to co-operate to the full “, and then set about improvising forces over a period of months? That is an incredible conception in modern times. It is doubly incredible to anybody who has been” looking at the state of the world; who knows exactly what campaign is going on in this world; who knows that all these things conform to a pattern, and that Korea is about as isolated as one pearl on a string of pearls. I genuinely regret that the Opposition in this chamber, all members of a great party intimately associated with Australia, should, in these circumstances, hark back to what I regard as this moribund conception of Australian defence.
There is another aspect that I should mention. If all members of the Royal Australian Air Force are to be enlisted for service anywhere in the world, as they always have been, why is it right that not one man should be enlisted in the Army on similar terms? Even at this stage I beg the Leader of the Opposition to get his party to reconsider this situation. It is not a matter of those old worn-out battles about conscription. It is simply a question of whether, when the blow comes, we are going to be ready at once or are going to ask for time. I shall say no more about that. I most genuinely regret that, at a time like this, when we are seeking volunteers in Australia, there should be any idea in the mind of anybody that it is good Liberal policy or good Country party policy, but bad Labour policy, to fill up the ranks of the armed services. The truth is that thousands of men who enlist in this campaign will be strong Labour supporters.
The other matter to which I wish to refer briefly is the Korean campaign. I have already said something about it, and it is only necessary for me to add a little more. The Korean campaign was, I venture to say,- the perfect example of a campaign that began out of political decision and unanimity to a large extent and military want of preparation. The two things had not gone hand in hand.
When the North Koreans first crossed the 3Sth parallel and began this infamous attack, they were opposed, it is true, by the South Koreans with such organization as they had, but for all practical purposes there was no organization on the side of the United Nations. The first battles that we read about were a few affairs of outposts, matters of a few companies at the most being thrown out on a distant line in order to force the enemy to deploy, to cause delay so as to give us some time in which to build a bridgehead in the south of Korea. Although many people were willing to be. critical, as I observed when I was in the United States of America, I thought then and I think now that the way in which that early rear-guard action was fought against the tremendous odds of overwhelming armour and fire power will be regarded as one of the great incidents in the history of the American forces. Ultimately, as we all know, they were able to concentrate sufficient strength around the perimeter of Pusan to hold the fort. Then, fortunately, General MacArthur directed and organized the characteristic coup of the landing at Inchon and the drive from the east, an operation in which I am sure all Australians had a lively interest because it concerned an old friend. I understand, from information that was laid before me earlier to-day, that the two forces have now pined and the pincers movement is complete.
There is no doubt that at this moment the United Nations forces in Korea have the initiative and that we may say with a high degree of confidence that the invasion will be rolled back, so long as nobody else intervenes. It is still fashionable for the representatives of the Soviet Union, if I may commit the heresy of naming that country, to accuse the United States of America, at international gatherings, of having been the aggressor in Korea - one of those magnificent perversions of history which are always engaged in by people who are aggressively minded. In these circumstances, I refer the House to two paragraphs that are contained in the report of the United Nations Commission on Korea. That commission represents many countries because, as honorable members know, at least moral support to the campaign on behalf of South Korea has been given by over 50 nations. These paragraphs from the report are of moment -
The invasion of the territory of the Republic of Korea by the armed forces of the North Korean authorities, which began on the 25th June, 1950, was an act of aggression initiated without warning and without .provocation, in execution of a carefully prepared plan.
This plan of aggression, it is now clear, was an essential .part of the policy of the North Korean authorities, the object of which was to secure control over the whole of Korea. If control could not be gained by peaceful means, it would be achieved by overthrowing the Republic of Korea, either by undermining it from within or, should that prove ineffective, by resorting to direct aggression. As the methods used for undermining the republic from within proved unsuccessful, the North Korean authorities’ launched an invasion of the territory of the Republic of Korea.
Those are calm objective statements by the commission, which was sent to Korea to study its problems on the spot.
– Are we going to send the invading forces back only to the 38th parallel ?
– The honorable member has raised a very important question. After all, with the fall of Seoul our forces are now very close in at least one place to the 3Sth parallel. As honorable members know, the foreign ministers of the Big Three countries have agreed that the United Nations forces should not be committed to proceed north of the 38th parallel without prior direction by the United Nations. That is, in effect, what the agreement amounts to.
It is very desirable that we should have in our minds some idea of what that means. This issue is not going to be determined here. It is going to be determined by the United Nations, as is eminently proper, because the campaign has been called on by the United Nations. When United Nations forces reach the 88th parallel, which after all is not an identifiable land mark but only a line on the map, I, for one, do not assume that they will cease fire when somebody says, “ We are now on the 38th parallel “. That would not make sense. They might be in the middle of a battle. Armies donot knock off and abandon an advantage in the middle of a battle merely because they have reached a certain parallel of latitude. Practical considerations must be taken into account. It may very well be that, in the course of some battle on or near the 38th parallel, operations will occur north or south of that parallel, or in both directions. That, of course, would present a purely tactical problem for the army to work out. The point that everybody has in mind, I think, is that nobody is going to engage in a war of invasion and conquest of North Korea just for the sake of having such a war.
I believe, as I am sure all honorable members will believe, that we must aim, as the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) knows we aimed before, to try to establish a united Korea with a government that really represents the Koreans, who are one people, and is prepared to live on terms of peace with the rest of the world. The local military problem is one that must be solved in the light of circumstances. After all, it will be of no use to go to the 38 th parallel, leave an army on the other side of it quite intact, and withdraw, because that would merely mean that we shall have further aggression the next day. This is a question of producing effective victory in relation to the invasion of South Korea, and in respect of which we have said to the North Koreans, “ You must get out of South Korea “. From my point of view, and, I should think, from the point of view of anybody, the problem is a purely practical one. How can we make our victory effective so that aggression has come to an end and the people of Korea can be given an opportunity to re-establish themselves ? The issue in relation to the 38th parallel - and this is my point - is not a mere geographical question to be solved by some abstract process; it is a practical military problem, and its solution will turn on how far the invasion of South Korea has been genuinely and permanently overthrown. In the light of those circumstances I have no doubt that the United Nations will be able to reach some sound conclusions on the matter.
There is just one other matter about Korea which may very well raise a challenge to us, and, indeed, to the whole world. At the moment it is proposed thata special United Nations Commission should be set up to look into it. As honorable members may well understand, in the course of the southward .drive by the forces of North Korea vast numbers of refugees passed into what I shall call South Korean territory. In all, the number of homeless, sick, hungry and destitute people has been estimated variously at from 500,000 to 1,500,000. Those people constitute a real problem. Indeed, that problem was confronting the mind of General MacArthur when I spoke to him only a few days ago in Tokyo. Such a large number of homeless and hungry people may easily cause plague and pestilence which might have the most serious effect on everybody in that area, including the forces engaged in liberating the Koreans. The matter is attracting the attention of the United Nations, and a special commission is being set up to deal with it. I do not need to add that we in Australia will be only too willing to do all that we can in the provision of materials and skill for the solution of that problem, which is largely physical and is concerned mainly with health and nutrition.
When fighting ends in Korea the Korean problem will not have ended. We cannot merely send soldiers into action, drive out the invaders, and say, “Let us leave them to it”. This is a test of whether a great international organization can do more than organize an effective military force. It is a test of whether that organization can organize humane action so that the country concerned will pass into a genuine state of peace, with a real chance of living its own life, and of living that life at a reasonable standard. Those are great problems. All I desire to add to what I have already said is that we should do very badly if we thought that Korea was the first and the last example of aggression. We shall have other problems to face. I believe that we shall have a series of problems, and that the rapidity, or the certainty, with which we deal with them, will depend to a large extent upon how far international obligations are supported during the next three or four years by unquestioned international strength.
I lay on the table the following paper : - -
International Affairs - Ministerial Statement by Prime Minister, 27th September, 1950. and move -
I hat the paper be printed.
– In the first place I would say, and I think that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) will agree, that in any statement on international affairs to-day it is not possible adequately to cover all the ground even by speaking at the length to which the right honorable gentleman has spoken this afternoon. As a matter of fact, the canvas on which the picture of international affairs is painted is so wide that I think it would require at least a couple of hours’ speech on my part to describe it, and I do not propose to inflict myself upon the House for more than a very short period. I must say at once that I was rather struck by the Government’s present attitude towards the United Nations, to which the Labour movement has always given great support, and in the organization and function of which my distinguished colleague the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) played such an important part. I do not want to introduce any particular bitterness into this debate, but 1 cannot help pointing out the change that has occurred in the attitude of honorable members opposite, who, only a few years ago, used to sneer and scoff at the United Nations and at the right honorable member for Barton, who represented the Australian Government at the deliberations of that body. Honorable members opposite seem now to have found in the United Nations very great merits that they were unable to discover in it in those days. However, in reminding honorable members of that fact I point out that the Prime Minister himself was not conspicuous amongst those who scoffed and sneered a.t it. I have always regarded the chief merit of the United Nations as being its availability as an international forum for the discussion of grievances and as providing an opportunity for causes of discontent to be brought out into the open. Furthermore, the United Nations provides most valuable oppor tunities for mediation and conciliation in the settlement of disputes. Quite frankly, I have always doubted the physical strength of the United Nations to enforce its decisions, although I realize that provision is made in the Charter for a force to he gathered together such as would be necessary in the event of the outbreak of another great world war. Whilst I have always realized the limitations of the United Nations, I repeat my belief that it is of very great value as a forum for the expression of views, for the adjustment of grievances, and for the exercise of conciliation among the nations.
The Australian Labour movement has always taken that view of the United Nations and has consistently supported it. Indeed, the United Nations must have the full support of every man and woman who believes that we should do everything we can to avoid another world conflict. I know that it is not fashionable to-day to talk about wanting peace. Indeed, there are people in the world to whom the very word “ peace “ is anathema. Such people, not only in Australia but also in other countries, seem to spend their time in blackguarding those who advocate peace. Any one who asserts that peace is desirable is accused of being associated with communism or something of that kind. I think that that is a most deplorable tendency. Statements have been made by public officers - indeed, in the case of the United States, by members of the Administration of that country - in which we have been invited to go to war with Russia straightway.
I do not discuss international affairs with the great bitterness and fanaticism which characterizes a number of people. We should avoid. that attitude because, if there is one thing that is dangerous to the world to-day, it is the fanatic, whether political or otherwise, who can see only with one eye and with some particular obsession which causes him to endeavour to inflame the minds of others. I want to emphasize, as I have clone before, that the Labour movement recognizes to the full the pernicious doctrines that have been promulgated in the ideology of communism. We entirely disagree not only with the principles associated with communism, but also with the imperialism which now characterizes
Russia’s policy. We are gravely concerned at the complete failure of the Russians at the United Nations and at other world assemblies to show any real desire for peace, or to bring about agreement between the great nations, and so save the world from the devastation that would inevitably characterize another world war.
With regard to Korea, the principle for which this Parliament stands is enunciated in the motion that was proposed by the Prime Minister at the end of the last sessional period. It is the principle of resistance to the wanton and brutal aggression of the North Koreans, whether they bc Communists or something else. There can be no doubt that North Korea is a police state and that its attack upon South Korea was premeditated. Some sections of the press have been honest enough to state the real position in South Korea and other countries. Although we stand for the principle of giving assistance to the United Nations forces in Korea, which are largely American forces, we do not stand for the kind of government that was in power in South Korea before the present trouble began. 1 do not doubt that North Korea is a police state which is, if you like, Communist dominated, because the Communists tack themselves on to almost every revolutionary movement, but it is also true to say that the South Korean Government was completely corrupt. In support of that statement, I refer to a report on South Korea prepared by advisers of the United Nations. It stated that in 1949, under the national security provisions of the Rhee Government, 118,000 people were arrested and thrown into gaol, that the Constitution of the country was violated, that the arrests were, in many instances, made brutally, and that some of the arrested persons were subjected to torture. That is an indication of the kind of government that was in power in South Korea prior to the outbreak of the present fighting.
I want to make it clear that our acceptance of the principle of resistance to North Korean aggression must not be taken to mean that the Labour party of this country stands for the support of corrupt governments. There has been a tendency in some quarters to make a pretence of defending Formosa, which would be, in effect, giving protection to Chiang Kai-shek. I do not propose to relate the history of the Chiang Kaishek administration, which is well known to everybody. I am not speaking of the generalissimo himself, but of the Chinese nationalist administration, which was completely corrupt. Perhaps I may say in passing that the administration in the Philippines to-day is something of which ,no democracy has any reason to be proud. I have emphasized those points in order to make it perfectly clear that the acceptance by the Australian Labour party of the principle enunciated previously by the Prime Minister must not be taken to mean that we are prepared to help to restore to power the kind of governments of which I have spoken.
The Prime Minister has said that the South Koreans and the North Koreans are much the same kind of people. Generally speaking. North Korea is largely industrialized and South Korea is largely an agricultural area. In considering Eastern problems to-day, it is important to bear in mind that the great majority of the inhabitants of Eastern countries entertain a hatred of white people. I do not: think it is misstating the position to say that the great majority of the South Koreans and North Koreans bate tho.ce who are seeking to liberate South Korea. However, that does not affect the principle for which we stand. If, despite the saboteurs in South Korea and those who are not prepared to give support to the liberators, only 10 per cent, or 20 per cent, of the Koreans who have been unjustly and barbarously treated want the United Nations forces to take the action they are now taking, the action of the United Nations is fully justified.
There is another important factor to be borne in mind in considering Eastern problems. Despite all our talk about communism - and we know what communism means, because we have read of it in operation in other countries - there is no doubt that if, in the East, where national aspirations are strong, we persist in a policy of appearing, by becoming involved in these fights, to be supporting outmoded, reactionary and feudal forms of government, we shall finally incur the hatred and hostility of the Eastern peoples. I know that the Prime Minister has read deeply about these matters - perhaps more deeply than I have. I do not profess to know everything about international affairs, as do some people. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) stamps round the country one day talking about fighting the Indonesian Government over Dutch New Guinea, yet on the next day talks of friendship with the Eastern peoples. If the honorable gentleman were in the racing world, he would be called before the stipendary stewards after one performance. Australia is a country with a population of approximately 8,000.000. To the north of Australia, excluding the 460,000,000 Chinese, there are approximately 700,000,000 or 800,000,000 Eastern peoples. If this country cannot be on friendly terms with the people of the East, irrespective of the forms of government that they have, the outlook for future Australian generations will be very bad.
I am sorry that the right honorable gentleman, during his travels abroad, was not able to make contact with some of the leaders of Eastern thought such as Mr. Nehru in India, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan in Pakistan, and Mr. Senanayake in Ceylon. I should have thought that it would have been well worthwhile for the right honorable gentleman to have got from those leaders an appreciation of the position in the East to-day, but I know that his time was limited and that he was working very hard.
– I saw Mr. Senanayake in Colombo. I could not see Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, because he was in America at that time.
– I understand the right honorable gentleman’s difficulties. I believe it to be perfectly clear that if the countries of the world established the principle that, merely because the label “ Communist “ is attached to a revolutionary movement or a movement arising from discontent, we are to seek to deny the people concerned what will finally be given to them - because what we do or anybody else does about it does not matter - we shall find ourselves in a difficult position. The population of the Eastern countries is increasing rapidly. The population of Japan has increased by 11,000,000 since the beginning of World War II., and is continuing to increase at the rate of 1,800,000 a year. The population of India and Pakistan is increasing by 4,500,000 a year, and it will not be long before there are 80,000,000 people in Indonesia and the countries associated with it. If we take the broad view that we must resist aggression, and thereby wedge a buttress against the ideology and imperialism of Russia, we must not be blind to the fact that there is an upsurge of nationalism in the East. Had it not been for the degree of independence that was granted to India, Pakistan, and Ceylon by the British Government, the whole of the East would have been aflame to-day. At once I give credit to Mr. Winston Churchill, who despatched Lord Louis Mountbatten as a mediator. Mr. Winston Churchill agreed, on general principles, that that was the soundest policy to pursue. If, as some people have suggested should be done, we were to pursue communism to every corner of the world, I contend that the western democracies would be bled white and would not achieve success. If Chiang Kai-shek were to return to China the effect on the population of that country of approximately 460,000,000 people would doubtless be revolutionary. I agree with what has been said about the Chinese by a prominent English statesman, and also by an eastern statesman. The history of the Chinese people shows that although they get what they can from other nations, they remain Chinese fundamentally. I am convinced that China will never become a satellite of any other nation. I refuse to believe that, whatever doctrines are absorbed by the Chinese, that country will ever be anything other than China. Indeed’, it could very easily form a buttress against the inroad of communism in the East.
I shall not, during this address, attempt to deal with all aspects of this matter. However, I am convinced that it was a grave diplomatic mistake for the United States of America to set its face against the admission of the present Chinese Government to the United Nations. I understand that the representative of the Australian Government also voted against its admission. The Prime Minister has referred to realities. I agree with him that we should not forget realities. “We should recognize the real position in China. A country with a population of about 460,000,000 people, whatever faults and mistakes influenced the formulation of its policy, cannot be ignored in world affairs. I am not suggesting that we should appease China. But we should not decline to recognize the present Government of China merely because we do not agree with the politics of that country. It would be complete diplomatic foolishness to do so. That is why the British Government has already recognized the new Government of China. I repeat that we must apply cold logic to this subject. If the western democracies attempt to close down on every nationalist movement for self-determination in the East they will succeed merely in bleeding themselves white. The Prime Minister has admitted that the South Koreans and North Koreans are similar types of people, and that great difficulties will confront the United Nations forces when they reach the 38th parallel in Korea. If those forces continue beyond the 38th parallel they will become aggressors. The only alternative would be to establish an occupation force in South Korea and to re-establish a corrupt government in office. This problem cannot be resolved lightly.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) from concluding his speech without limitation of time.
– I thank the House for its indulgence. I shall refer now to a report by Mr. Eugene Black on the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, that was published in the London Times on the 9th September. Mr. Black has played a very prominent part in his discussions with the Prime
Minister in relation to the dollar loan, which, I presume, we shall have an opportunity to debate in due course. Certainly Mr. Black could not be regarded as a Communist. In dealing with some of the great problems with which we are confronted to-day, Mr. Black stated in his report -
One must not counter the promise of one kind of millennium by the promise of a millennium of another kind.
I agree with that contention. The report continued -
But if the gap between the standards of living of the under-developed and the developed countries were narrower than it was to-day - if during the past 100 years greater efforts had been devoted towards improving conditions in the under-developed areas, which included most of eastern Europe - there might not to-day be so much social unrest and possibly not even hostilities.
I emphasize this contention by a man who, from a Labour point of view, might be regarded as a great conservative. In other words, he has suggested that down the centuries all kinds of people have planted the seeds that have developed the present plan of communism in the centre of Europe. That is true equally of the East.
I shall refer now to a letter that the Prime Minister sent to me in connexion with the defence policy - particularly in relation to the army - that he has initiated. At the time of the recent conference ,in Canberra between Commonwealth and State Ministers, the right honorable gentleman very kindly invited me to join with him in opening the recruiting campaign. I do not propose to refer in detail to my reply. As I am not a returned serviceman, I informed the Prime Minister that the Australian Labour party would consider appointing from its ranks a returned exserviceman to participate in the launching of the recruiting campaign. At that time, as the right honorable gentleman was aware, I did not know that there had been a change of the’ conditions under which men were to be enlisted for the military forces or for any other purpose. Although I did not hear the Prime Minister’s broadcast speech, subsequently I read a report of it, including the conditions on which the recruiting campaign would be opened. I am not complaining about the conditions, because the Government has a right to do what it likes in such matters. However, having considered the conditions the executive of the Australian Labour party is not prepared to join with the Government in opening the campaign. I do not think that either the Prime Minister is or I am much good at opening recruiting campaigns although the Prime. Minister, by virtue of his official position, has to perform such duties. The position in regard to enlistment having been completely changed, I did not consider (hat I was any longer under any duty to co-operate in the campaign. I also intimated to the Prime Minister that I considered that neither my party nor I could co-operate. In connexion with other matters that he had submitted to me in regard to the campaign I do not believe that an enlarged military programme for this country should be carried beyond a certain point. I do not say so as a result of any sentimental or isolationist views. I believe that the future safety and defence of this country depend upon increasing its population as rapidly as possible. 1 know that there will be objections to that statement. They also depend upon the development of the country’s resources. The greatest means of security that this country can have in the decades ahead - and I have in mind those future years rather than the present moment - lie in a larger population and a greater development of the country’s resources. Those elements will provide us with our greatest protection. I put that suggestion from a purely psychological point of view. Development must go hand in hand with an increase of population. Nobody wants Italy to-day for the exercise of peaceful pursuits, because of its overcrowded population. Were it not for its geographical and strategic value, it would be impossible to give that country away. Holland is in the same position. The population of some countries in Europe is already greater than those countries have the capacity to maintain. But where a country has great areas that are apparently not being used to their full productive capacity other countries consider that something ought to be done by somebody to ensure that such areas shall be used for the benefit of the human race. We must keep in mind that the population of theearth has doubled in the last century. I believe therefore that there is a certain point in the allocation of men, materials, and money for defence beyond which Australia should not go. If the Government goes beyond that point it will simply load this country down with debt, thedevelopment of the country’ will be retarded and it will be impossible for theGovernment to give effect to the programme that it has endorsed so far asthat programme relates to immigration.
The Prime Minister has said, and I concede the point, that we have alwaysagreed that in connexion with our participation in the United Nations, we should be prepared to give some assistance having regard to our physical, material and financial strength. I am not so much concerned about finance as I am about men and materials that are needed to developthis country into as great a nation as possible. The Government proposes that men who enlist in this country shall enlist for service anywhere. The right honorable gentleman said in his broadcast that there is no danger of this country being attacked. That statement was totally different from some of the statements that have been made by the Minister for External Affairs, who even almost challenged the Indonesians to go to war over Dutch New Guinea. Now we are told that there is no danger of war coming actually to> this country in the form of hostile land forces from abroad. In view of that consideration I believe that we, as a small nation, should be attempting to develop our resources not only in our own interests but also in the interests of humanity and of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Prime Minister, as far as I call see, has in mind only one possible antagonist. I am subject to correction if I am wrong in that belief. He considers therefore that we should be able to send soldiers to Europe and to certain places in the Orient.
Let us consider the position in Indo-China. Indo-China is governed by the Bao Dai regime, which has been sponsored by the French Government and supported by the American Government. There is not much use in saying that the Annami tes who support Bao Dai in Indo-China are not desirous of gaining complete independence for their country, because they are. That is one of the things that the Annamites who stand behind Bao Dai, and who are supposed to be supporting his regime, believe to be absolutely essential for Indo-China, They desire self-government and a severance from all French control. The one aspiration that the Communists and the Annamites in Indo-China share is that of obtaining self-government. It may be that Ho Chi-minh, the Communist leader in Lido-China, wishes to have a dictatorship of hlic Russian pattern in Indo-China, and that the Annamites wish to have something of the nature of democracy, with its particular freedoms. Democracy involves three freedoms - the right to vote freely without intimidation for those people whom the electors wish to represent them in Parliament, the right to free worship, and the right to free speech, where such free speech is not subversive. There is not much use in talking to such countries as Indo-China about saving Christianity. The Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees and the followers of Confucius, are not concerned about Christianity. In Korea to-day there are probably only 600,000 people who profess to be Christians, and therefore, in Korea and Indo-China together, there arc probably about 50,000,000 people who have no interest in the Christian religion. The only country in the East that can really be regarded as a Christian country is the Republic of the Philippines. I know that there are people in the Philippines who follow other religions, but, generally speaking, the Filipinos are Christians. The Labour party does not believe that under the present conditions in Australia, which is on the perimeter of the Pacific area, our men should be sent over to Europe. We believe that all our available physical and material strength should be used to develop this country’s resources rapidly, and to populate it at the greatest possible speed. I mention in passing that I consider that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt) has faced the problem of immigration boldly and has done a very good job. He has taken a very tolerant view of the problems that have arisen. 1 have told him before that 1 consider that he is a good Minister and is doing a good job.
Let us consider the population position in Western Europe. That area has a population of 1S2,000,000 people, apart from Western Germany, with its population of 47,000,000 people, as well as Spain, Portugal and Yugoslavia, where there are approximately another 52,000,000 people. That figure of 182,000,000 includes the population of the United Kingdom, but does not include the population of the United States. The task of the United Nations and of democracy is to convince all those people that the democracy that we stand for is the best form of government. That apparently has not been done in Europe, according to what we are told by the press, which is my only authority, although 1 admit that it is a very unreliable authority. The press says that 25 per cent, of French people are supporters of communism, and that the corresponding percentage in Italy is 30 per cent. Surely the greatest task in Europe to-day - and I regard Europe as the pivotal point in the saving of civilization - is that of convincing the European people that democracy is the best form of government. I do not consider that the position in the East affects the world position, although it might affect us. The means of preserving culture, education, democracy and Christianity is the preservation of Europe, which is the real pivotal point in the world to-day. The Minister for External Affairs came round to that view himself. The peoples of Europe have a great deal in common with us. We have to convince them, or the great majority of them, that democracy is worth fighting for. We are not going to convince them of that by showing our readiness to support a brutal, tyrannous landlord system, such as has been operating in many European countries.
Honorable members of the Opposition do not believe that the Government should bleed this country white by sending men, materials and money all over the world. Possibly, money may not be so very important, although the Treasurer (Mr. Fadden) will probably be telling people that the Government cannot proceed with the Burdekin scheme and other schemes because of the expenditure which has become necessary for defence.
Unless there is a realization of these world problems which go deeper than communism or anything of that kind, there can be nothing but economic failure.
– Is the honorable member prepared to give support to the United Nations organization?
– As I said earlier, this country has financial and material obligations to the United Nations organization which the Opposition has always supported. I believe that Australia should make its contribution to the achievement of whatever objectives the United Nations organization decides upon. Honorable members of the Opposition consider that this country should have an army of its own, but that it should not necessarily be sent to any fight that springs up anywhere in the world. To-day, by its policy, the Government is losing the sympathy of India.
– Does the right honorable gentleman believe that Korea is in that category?
– I think that the Koreans hate the white men far more than do the Indians. That information has been supplied by American representatives in Korea. The Indian people are more friendly to the British Commonwealth of Nations to-day than they were twenty, ten, or even five, years ago.
Honorable members of the Opposition are definitely prepared to contribute to the support of the United Nations, but only having regard to the Commonwealth’s capacity to do the things that I have mentioned, and to populate this country to the limit of its available resources. It is folly to think that 8,000,000 or even 20,000,000 people in this part of the world can survive in a state of hostility with 800,000,000 people in the East - a figure which does not include the Chinese. As Mr. Eugene Black has said, exploiters, over a period of 100 years, have accentuated the bitterness and hostility that exist in Asia to-day.
I shall deal later with some of the problems of Europe. I know that it is very easy to talk about these matters, and that it is not so easy to find solutions.
There are a great number of people in the world to-day who hate communism, as wedo, with its ideologies and police state. Before George Bernard Shaw bumped his thigh the other day, he said that Stalin and Lenin had copied communism from him and Sidney Webb and he seemed grieved about it.
Some extraordinary things are happening now. Some of the United Nation’s agencies have been lending money toMarshall Tito of Yugoslavia, who is a professed Communist. The Government, members of which associate communism with socialism, is proposing to provide money for Mr. Thakin Nu, the Premier of Burma, who has made the fact that he is a believer in State socialism publicly known for years. He stated the other day that he stood for socialization of all industry, and that he proposed to enter into relationships with both Russia and China. I think that Mr. Thakin Nu has done a very good job in the last twelve months. The export of rice from Burma this year will probably be 1,000,000 tons, which will be of more value to Eastern peoples than idle words. The Government is providing money for the purpose of building up that State, which is in active contact with , the Communist governments of’ the world. How does the Government reconcile that fact with its proposal to give aid to South-East Asia? Does it wish the public to believe that some remarkable phenomenon has occurred - that the spirit of Communist imperialism has gripped all the Eastern people, and that if it is eliminated, there will be no more unrest in the East ?
With that question I shall conclude my present remarks.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) has taken the House on a ramble round the world and in a rather leisurely and somewhat casual fashion has made a series of more or less laconic observations on what he thinks, or on what other people think, about conditions in various parts of the world. The first observation that I should like to make is that, having regard to the existing state of international affairs, and the sort of situation that confronts the world to-day, Australia expects from the right honorable gentleman, and his followers a clear and definite statement of policy. In the first place Australia expects the Opposition to say whether it supports the measures being taken by the Government to back up the United Nations and to preserve the security of this country. If the Opposition is unable to give that support, Australia expects it to say plainly and in definite terms what is its policy to secure the objectives of the United Nations and security for Australia.
The Leader of the Opposition made a number of detached comments which in themselves might not be objectionable, but upon which there is not unanimity of opinion. We might agree with some of them readily; others we might wish to qualify. Does the right honorable gentleman believe that by a mere series of observations, offered for the purpose of a general discussion, he faces up to the situation in which we find ourselves in the world to-day? He has said, in effect, “ Do noi; oppose any nationalist aspiration. Be careful not to come down too heavily on a nationalist aspiration “. What we must realize is that in the sort of world in which we live to-day a nationalist aspiration, legitimate in itself, may become the cause of even greater trouble. The right honorable gentleman also said, in effect - and I believe I do full justice to bis case - “ Be careful of opposing a movement simply because associated with it are some people who are Communists “. What he has overlooked is that in many instances people who may have a legitimate aspiration may become the tools of Communists and that their association with Communists may not be accidental. That association has too often been contrived by the great Communist power which is using communism as an instrument to advance its own expansionist policy. International communism is being deliberately used to advance the foreign policy of another power.
The right honorable gentleman has also said, in effect, “We are a small country; we have not many people here, and therefore we ought to be on friendly terms with everyone else. We must be careful to be pleasant to every one “. I should like to qualify that statement in particular by adding two observations. The first is that in the progress of international affairs over the past century the essential element has been the struggle to advance some abiding principle of international conduct, to establish some regard for international law, some respect for international obligations, and some sort of a code of international conduct. That is what the United Nations and the United Nations Charter have attempted to do. That is what the foreign policies of the western democracies have attempted to achieve. They have attempted to establish and uphold those principles over the post-war period. The issue is not whether we are too weak to be other than friendly, but whether we have any strength to contribute towards the establishment of those abiding principles of international conduct which, in the long run, are the strongest protection of the weak anywhere in the world. Our eventual protection will not be guaranteed by military force; the weak will eventually be protected by regard for certain standards of international conduct.
It seems to me that the Leader of the Opposition overlooked the further vital point that we are now living in a world of power politics. He said, and it is to his credit that he spoke with keen consciousness of the fact, that there are underdogs in this world, but he revealed not the least consciousness of the fact that there are also at this particular moment “ overdogs There are dogs that are possessed of great strength, and are ready to use it in a ferocious and aggressive manner. In such a world of power politics we cannot merely say, “ We are weak, so we must be friendly “. We must ask ourselves, “ Are we able to contribute anything to our own security or to offer resistance to aggression that comes from quarters that are undoubtedly aggressive ? “
Perhaps I can illustrate what is in my mind by referring to two of the points made by the right honorable gentleman. He seemed to find something objectionable in the fact that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) should be raising some sort of protest because a change is threatened in western New Guinea. The point is that the Government is not trying to invite quarrels with the Indonesian Republic, but is proposing that if any change is to be made in the territorial disposition of any country in the world it should be made by international processes and not as the result of unilateral threats by one claimant. What we are resisting in western New Guinea is a unilateral claim by the Indonesian Republic that it alone, by its own determination and by its own claim, can settle the matter of sovereignty over that country once and for all. The future of that territory must be settled by peaceful mediation, having due regard to the obligations which have been accepted in the United Nations Charter in respect of dependent peoples and with due regard to those processes and principles of international law which should govern the disposition of any territory. The right honorable gentleman in his references to Korea made much of the fact that, in his view, the North Koreans hate us and the South Koreans do not love us. It seemed to me that that observation was largely irrelevant, because, again, the vital issue in Korea is that it constitutes a test of that principle of resistance of aggression on which he, and his party, profess to set so much store in their championship of the United Nations. What is being tested in Korea is not an issue between the coloured and the white peoples or between Asiatic and European. What is being tested there, and what I believe will be triumphantly vindicated, is the fact that aggression will be successfully resisted wherever it occurs. If we can prove that in Korea we shall have done something that will last far beyond the conclusion of hostilities in that country.
I conclude my references to what the Leader of the Opposition has said by taking up his final reference to Europe as the decisive sphere. I do not quarrel with that as a general observation based on history. Civilization finds both its cradle and its chief contemporary exponent in the European region. But does the recognition of that fact mean that we are to minimize or ignore what goes on in other parts of the world? It seems to me that what the right honorable gentleman has overlooked is that a procession of events has been going on steadily year by year, month by month, almost week by week, since before 1946. We must remember the partition of Poland, the acquisition of territory from Finland, the swallowing up of Baltic States, the gradual incursion of Russian power into eastern Europe, the continuous pressure on Greece, Persia, and the inner frontiers of Asia, and a host of other incidents throughout the world that have occurred in steady procession over the last three or four years. It is not enough to say that Europe is the pivotal point. Let us consider some of the events that have occurred elsewhere. Do they not show that they all form a part of a series? Can we not see that a calculated policy is being put into effect and that that policy is designed to keep the western democracies running around the ring, losing their breath, exhausting their strength and failing to come to grip3 with the central problem ? Surely if that is conceded, then the right honorable gentleman will also concede that this expansionist, imperialistic and aggressive policy of the Soviet Union must be resisted wherever it is exemplified. The more firmly it is resisted at any point, the more successfully will it be resisted in total.
When I planned my speech I had no intention of dealing at such length with what the right honorable gentleman said. I wished, rather, to accept the description of the contemporary situation which was given by the Prime Minister, and to consider some possible future events which might affect the fate of Australia. In particular I wish to direct the attention of the House to the situation that faces us in the Indian Ocean region. During the last 50 years we have been justifiably accustomed to think of the Pacific as the region in which Australian interests were most liable to be affected by armed action. The reason for that was largely that the Indian Ocean was a peaceful ocean. From almost the date of the foundation of Australia until the outbreak of the recent war we could afford to concentrate on the Pacific, because -the Indian Ocean was peaceful. No major war had troubled that ocean for centuries. That was no accident and was due to no local climatic factors. Nor was it due to something peculiar in the balmy airs that sweep over that ocean, nor to the character of the waters in it. The reason why it was a peaceful ocean is plain to discern. It was peaceful because every one of its gateways was firmly held by the strength of Great Britain. Nowhere else in the world was Pax Britannica so well exemplified over so long a period as in the Indian Ocean. Peace and good order prevailed throughout the length and breadth of its area. No hostile force from outside entered it, except foi1 a sporadic raider or prowling submarine, until after the Japanese wai1 broke out in 1941. That was because every gateway was held by Britain. The Cape, the Red Sea, Suez and the Persian Gulf were all within the compass of British power. The north-western gateways to the ocean were guarded by the Middle East defence scheme. That scheme has been fully -justified in history, and we have reason to remember it because in two great wars some of the most gallant Australian blood was spilled there and some of our finest tradition was won. From the north-west frontier of India southwards through Burma, the Malayan Peninsula and Indonesia to Australia, every gateway to the ocean was held by the British power. The peace which then prevailed in the Indian Ocean has now ended. To-day that ocean is not one in which orderliness and peaceful.ness are the assured conditions. It is a dangerous ocean because every entrance to it could to-day probably be breached by any hostile force from outside which might seek to enter it.
We should be frank and plain about these matters. Although I appreciate the desirability, for diplomatic reasons, of not giving needless offence to any other nation, I believe that the signs of the last five years are clear enough to justify the statement being made that if another great war occurs it will be between the Soviet Union and the western democracies. I do not say that war is inevitable, but if it does occur they are the two groups of powers between which it will be fought. We must be fully conscious of that, and of the fact that the policy of the Soviet Union over the last four or five years has shown a definite and continuous aggressive purpose and a definite and continuous expansionist tendency. Having regard to that fact as one of the realities of the present situation in which we, find ourselves, we must be conscious also of the fact that great centres of Russian power, population and industrial resources are placed due north of some of the entrances to the Indian Ocean. If, speaking of a supposititious future, the Soviet Government was inclined to expand in a new direction, it would not go to the Far East but would turn southwards towards the Indian Ocean. That is one of the dominant features of the present power situation of which all Australians and all members of the western democracies should be conscious. But it is one of the facts that we are very much inclined to overlook. Accepting that description of the situation we must be conscious of the fact that not only are those gateways to the Indian Ocean weakly held now, but also, if any of them should be forced the western democracies would be at a greater disadvantage in the Indian Ocean when taking counter action than in any other part of the world.
Thinking further of the present security of Australia and of the more remote possibility of an attack on. our own shores, I suggest that the most alarming and striking feature of our presentday defence situation is the weakness of our northern and western coasts. That weakness is due to the absence of local defences of any strength or of bases of any size or quality from which troops, aircraft and ships could operate. Another factor is the absence of local industry which could back up the bases and the resistance of the armed forces. A further reason is the absence of a population which could be available for the servicing of those industries. If there is one aspect of Australian defence preparation or developmental needs which is more urgent than any other, it is surely the development of our west and north. During the last war we in the west and those in the north realized that no hope existed of withstanding any invasion, and that if attacked those parts of the continent, after a temporary resistance, would be overcome. Are we content to allow that situation to remain until another major war occurs in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time? I believe that Australians will respond to the challenge more definitely this time, and recognizing the weakness that exists in the north and the west through the lack of effective means of defence, they will undertake as a national duty to repair that weakness. [Extension of time granted.’]
Beyond our own continental security there is the matter of our more extended defence and of our partnership with other nations. If we are to play our part with the western democracies, and with those countries which desire to combine in the United Nations in order to resist aggression, then- one of our most positive contributions to the general power of the United Nations or of the western democracies could be made in the Indian Ocean. At the present time in the Pacific Ocean we can make but a slight contribution and certainly not a decisive one. In the Indian Ocean we are an essential factor in security. Unless we provide bases on the Australian coast backed by the industries that are essential to operations of the United Nations or of the western democracies in the Indian Ocean region there are only a few other places where they can be provided.
But preparation for defence or the conduct of war is not enough. In my estimation a foreign policy that is centred solely upon defence will inevitably lead us into war. We also have that period of diplomatic grace in which we can bend our efforts persuasively and to some effect to the promotion of more general harmony throughout the world and throughout this region in particular. This is one point on which the Leader of the Opposition and I might find ourselves in complete and cordial agreement. When we look abroad for some region where Australian understanding of Asiatic problems might find an opportunity to express itself and, on the other hand, a region where, by assiduous and patient presentation of our own interests, we might eventually find a ready listener, we find it in India and Pakistan. We must also recognize that in future years India is likely to be one of the most influential, if not the most influential, in giving what I unreservedly call a spiritual leadership to Asia, a leadership in thought and sentiment. On the other hand, Pakistan will undoubtedly be most influential in determining the future course of conduct of the people of the Islam world which stretches throughout this region, whose attitude and line of thought may be so decisive in determining the future of the Middle East and central Asia. Therefore, we should not only make this prompt, effective defence and developmental effort in that part of Australia bordering on the Indian Ocean but also direct a considerable part of our diplomatic energy, skill and goodwill towards establishing harmony in our relationships with India and Pakistan and promoting harmony among other nations which border upon this important region.
In passing, I should like to comment upon the fact that recently the Nobel peace prize was awarded to an American negro, Ralph Bunche, who is a servant of the United Nations. That award gave me much pleasure because I have known and worked with the recipient, but the significant point for this debate is that the Nobel peace prize was awarded to a mediator. One job which those whose thoughts are devoted primarily to peace rather than to preparation for war might well do is in the field of mediation in promoting harmonious relations between conflicting interests rather than allowing conflict of interests to be used as an occasion for advancing their own individual selfish interests.
In conclusion, I wish to refer to the proposal for a Pacific pact. These will be words in criticism of statements that have been made in favour of that proposal. I shall make two comments. First, I doubt whether a Pacific pact is necessary in any way and whether, if such a pact were concluded, it would bind together any more tightly those nations that are already working together or bring into a united front those nations that are not at present working together.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– In the few minutes still at my disposal I desire to conclude the references that I was making to the Pacific Pact. The doubts that I ‘ had expressed to date were simply doubts whether a Pacific pact was necessary; whether it would assist to bind more tightly together those nations which are already closely associated; and whether it would do anything to bring into the fold those nations which are not working together. But my more substantial objection to the pact is that, if negotiations were commenced at the present time, the effects would be definitely harmful to the prospects of the future stability of the East Asiatic region. If concluded at the present time, the pact would necessarily exclude two nations which, in the future, are bound to be both powerful and important in Asia. I refer, of course, to China and Japan. Until recognition is more generally accorded to the Government of China and until the peace settlement with Japan is concluded, there is no chance of those two countries being brought into a Pacific pact; and yet, without them, the effect of the pact would be either to imply that they were not called upon to take part in Pacific affairs or to place them definitely on the other side. I submit that it is a bad principle of diplomacy to assume too early on what side in any conflict of interests a nation will be aligned.
I also suggest that our diplomatic interest in the Pacific at the present time is to keep the situation fluid, and to avoid it being frozen into a form in which it would appear that the Soviet Union was leading the Asiatic nations in opposition to Anglo-American policy. We should be foolish to take diplomatic action which, at this stage, would assist the Soviet Union to perfect that yet uncompleted aim of forming an Asiatic bloc of its own. For that reason, I suggest that, at this juncture, the negotiation and conclusion of a Pacific pact would be not only unnecessary but also harmful and contrary to our own diplomatic interests. Of course, a corollary to what I have said is that, as early as possible, the matter of the recognition of China, and the matter of a peace settlement with Japan, must be determined one way or the other. Regarding the peace settlement with Japan, I only venture to say at this stage that any peace terms, in order to be realistic and to serve our own advantage, should have regard not to our past relations but to our future relations with that country. To my mind, it is of no use to talk of a hard peace or a soft peace. The only realistic course is to consider what kind of peace will determine what kind of behaviour on the part of Japan, and what will be the future relations of Japan with us and with the cause for which we stand.
We are living in a most difficult period. We are not at war, in the technical sense of the term, yet our men are engaged in hostilities. In this period, without a declaration of war, we are as near to war as any nation can be. In a situation of that kind, it is a matter, not of which party or which faction shall succeed, but of whether a nation shall survive. If we are facing an issue involving the survival of a nation, everything should take second place to those qualities that are necessary in order to ensure survival. Therefore, I say this to the Opposition: “ At this juncture the challenge to you is to say plainly whether you disagree with the objectives of resisting aggression which the Government has pronounced and whether you agree with the measures that the Government has proposed for maintaining the security of this country. If you cannot agree with those objectives and measures, you should state plainly your own policy on the subject, if you nave one”.
.- This afternoon the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) gave to the House and to the nation a statement on foreign policy and international affairs. To those persons in the community who are looking foi’ guidance in what are most difficult times for the people of .all nations, and particularly for our own people, since our interests is with our own, there was cold comfort indeed in the right honorable gentleman’s feeble statements on international issues. I express that opinion because I believe that he could have made a much stronger statement than he did, because he is not incapable of making a strong statement upon certain issues. However, pronouncing a fair judgment on his speech, I find it to be a feeble effort, full of evasions. The right honorable gentleman made no attempt to introduce realism into his remarks. The position should be plainly stated, not in the terms that are employed in addresses to members of the Parliament or to delegates to conferences on international affairs, but in language that will be understood by the people who will be involved in sweat, blood and tears if a war is to be fought. We cannot linger any longer in the higher realms of international affairs, speaking the cliches that have been bandied about the country, and debated in this oh amber for so long.
I did note with pleasure a more sober and humanitarian approach in the speech of the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck). I may disagree with him on many matters, but I was gratified with the spirit in which he tendered his conclusions in relation to foreign affairs. I have discussed this subject with many of the people whom I represent, and their observations upon it lead me to the conclusion that Australians generally would like to know exactly where the Government stands in respect of international commitments. Does it really believe in the United Nations, or does it support that organization for the simple reason that, by the accidental vote on the 10th December last, it was returned to office? I ask that question because the Government has not been consistent. To-day, it gives fulsome praise to the United Nations. I hear talk of “realism”, and “ clear vision “, and all those sorts of things. However, there are on record certain debunking and belittling statements by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), and the Prime Minister himself, when he was Leader of the Opposition. The people of Australia, who are committed through the war in Korea to the support of the United Nations as an instrument of defence against aggression and also as the preserver, by united force and mediation, of peace in the world, are beginning to wonder where the Government stands upon those issues. If its purpose is to use the United Nations as a stalking horse for conscription and war-mongering, I am entirely opposed to what it is trying to propound. That is as far as I can see, because the Prime Minister gave us only a comparatively short address “ off the cuff “ upon these matters, and he was followed by the honorable member for Curtin, who has been a student of international affairs and who was rather evasive on matters about which the people desire to have information. We do not want the “ hifalutin “ conver- sations and condescending statements if flesh and blood is to be involved. We want to know the hard, bitter truth and since international affairs to-day are the only source from which we can get the truth, we should demand harder and more truthful statements upon these matters. I shall produce evidence to support my contention that only lip service is paid to the United Nations at the present time by the Government. On the 26th June last, about the time of the intervention in Korea through the activities of the United Nations, the Prime Minister made a statement on the subject of the British Commonwealth of Nations in international affairs. He said, among other things -
History has shown that great wars which threaten mankind are wars which involve great Powers. If a great Power is once again to assume the role of aggressor, an international law-breaker, resistance to that Power must be provided by the strength of some other great Power or Powers.
That statement is a complete negation of the principle of collective action against aggression. The Prime Minister’s statement continued -
As that resistance cannot, by reason of the Charter, be organized or controlled by the Security Council, it must be organized or controlled outside the Council. In other words, the matter must go as though there were no United Nations at all.
That is pure old-time imperialism. I shall leave the matter there and return now to the various conflicting statements that have been made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender). The honorable gentleman has talked pact, pact, pact, until the whole matter of pacts has become confusing and bewildering. The “ Pacific pact “ or “ Spender pact “ has been hawked all over the world to the detriment of this country, and rejected cheerfully wherever it has been offered. As I see the position from my reading of public statements, and from listening to broadcasts from the United Nations, our only hope of getting this Pacific pact with the United Nations means becoming a sort of dependency of a powerful nation or accepting as a quid pro quo the re-arming of Japan. That would be intolerable and is completely unthinkable. The word “ pact “ is simple, and it sounds good, but proposals for pacts are not getting us anywhere. The honorable member for Curtin, who when an officer of the Department of External Affairs found himself in disagreement with the former Minister for External Affairs, now disagrees with the present Minister on the subject of pacts. The honorable member for Curtin has spoken of an Indian Ocean pact. Presumably, by a natural process of events, we shall then proceed to an Antarctic pact, a Great Australian Bight pact, a pact with the Fijians, and so on until the whole position is reduced to an absurdity. There has to be world vision on these matters. Later, in the booklet which I have mentioned, the Prime Minister referred to a “ starry-eyed view of keeping world peace “, but it was far from a starry-eyed view that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) gave to the House to-day. He was at least courageous enough to state the probable causes of a future war. He said in plain terms that it was a matter of chickens coming home to roost. When he related his remarks to the Continent of Asia, it became very obvious that the Chinese, in view of their bitter exploitation in the past had no option but to join forces with the Communists. If such alliances are the outcome of dangerous exploitation by capitalism, it is not much good talking vapid nonsense about methods of meeting the threat of communism in Asia,
As I have only 20 minutes in which to make my speech, I propose to confine my remarks to one aspect of the matter. It appears to me that the United Nations has been used as a front for a plan to gather the forces of Australia to-day into a military organization for war. The saner portions of the plan on which the present Government is working are a legacy from the Chifley Government, but to the other parts - the extraneous dangerous things - we take strong objection. Since the Prime Minister has combined the two issues, defence and international relations, I assume that, in the course of this debate, honorable members will be in order in speaking on defence. The primary question confronting Australians - and after all what Australian does not earnestly want to see his country defended - is how best to use our re sources. There are two points of view which can be shared equally by members on either side of the House. We have a population of only S,000,000. This great continent may be regarded as an unsinkable aircraft carrier, a great base in the Pacific. We have the secondary industries necessary to a great nation fighting in the Pacific. Australia, in the event of war, can be used for the development of an offensive - in the last war, it was the start of the “ way back “. We also have the great primary industries that are necessary to feed troops. One cause of the debility from which we suffer is our inadequate population. . For years the Labour party, which has a true concept of Australianism, has recognized that an increase of our population is of the highest importance. It is not possible for a nation such as Australia to have active secondary industries, adequate labour for primary production, and at the same time, 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 men under arms. We can do only one thing or the other well. The Government is trying to do both and is doing them badly. I say that without an atom of political bias.
Government members interjecting,
– I am not dismayed by the sniggers of honorable members opposite. I say again that our plans need careful consideration. They will not be helped by the giggles of Government supporters. For too long, honorable members opposite have thought that the weight of numbers in the Parliament means the approval of the people. I have risen to-night - to coin a phrase - merely to point out that, in regard to the United Nations, some re-adjustment is necessary. There are stories that must be told to the people of this country, but I do not mean the fearsome stories that have been broadcast to the people by the Prime Minister in his role of the bogy man. We have heard from the right honorable gentleman such phrases as “ It is almost too late “, “ A state of war “, “ We must be prepared “, and so on. All these things frighten people. We already know them and have been planning, but the perilous position confronting Australia to-day is that, because of its limited labour resources, it cannot do two things.
The Government is attempting to do those two things, and must fail.
The Leader of the Opposition touched upon the causes of disruption in China and of the success of the Communist regime. He said frankly and courageously - it has not been said often enough in this House - that some of the trouble stemmed from our bolstering of the wrong regime. Venal , governments were bolstered by American aid. Millions of dollars were poured out to support the Chiang-kai-shek regime. There has been a tendency to condemn the people of Asia, who are nationally minded and are seeking a better share of the worlds goods and improved living standards. Too much has been made of the so-called spine of resistance to communism which the Islamic or Moslem people from across Asia. That may have no permanence. The nationalistic governments that have been swept to power in Eastern countries must give greater social and community services to people living on coolie standards. If that is not done it will be merely a matter of changing the pigmentation of the skin of the tyrant. 1 exclude, of course, great men like Pandit Nehru, the Indian leader. Professor Payne and other students of China have said that this is the century of the yellow man. He has lost his inferior complex. The Japanese proved how nearly the white man could be conquered. His vulnerability is the talk of every village in China, and perhaps Japan, and that is frightening when one considers Australia’s vulnerability in the Pacific areas. The light chatter of members of the Government on issues of such great importance as this is most perturbing to honorable members on this side of the chamber. The real question has been begged’ on many occasions, and it is being begged again to-day by the Government. The Australian Labour party has views of its own. I refer now to the correspondence that has passed between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition regarding conscripts. This sudden hurrying to protect the nation, half way through a parliamentary session during which debate has centred mainly on whether or not a certain measure should be passed by this chamber or by the Senate, smacks of politics. Too many questions have been left unanswered in this House. I want to test the sincerity of the Government. On three occasions I have asked the Minister for the Army what are the rates of pay of Australians fighting in Korea; whether they are paid in dollars or in a currency suffering a discount; whether amenities are provided for them; whether they are fighting for us or the United Nations; and whether they are being paid by the Commonwealth or by the United Nations. All of those questions have an important bearing upon enlistments. I also made inquiries about compensation and other relevant matters, but I received no answers or, at best, only vague answers. The real answers are to be found in the enlistment figures.
There has been nothing so tragic as the attempt that went off half-cocked to attract men into the service. The Government gave no consideration to the needs of industry or to the process by which men had been rehabilitated under an £8,000,000 plan and slowly and carefully fitted back into the economy of the nation. It expected to attract large numbers of recruits merely by coining a few slogans and having a few speeches made in Martin-place in Sydney and in the centres of other capital cities. The results that it hoped to achieve were not realized. That lesson must not be lost upon it. The fact is that there is a dangerous tug-o-war in progress between industry and the army. The eyes of all those men who served in World War I. and World War II. must gleam with avarice when they read to-day that a sergeant will be paid £16 a week and be allowed to live at home while he is stationed in Australia. Men in the ranks will in future be graded as one-star, two-star and three-star privates - an extraordinary scheme that has sent returned servicemen’s organizations into hysterics. With such rates of pay I do not know what will happen to all the “ one-pip artists “ on the Government side of this House when they realize that their private soldiers are to be referred to as three-star privates. Industry has been screaming for manpower for years, and the Chifley Government prepared a stupendous plan of immigration as one means of meeting its needs. It had to sell that idea to the workers, who were suspicious as the result of the mis-management of previous schemes. Supporters of this Government bleat that new Australians ought to join the army. But these people left Europe because of their fear of conflict there. They have undertaken to work at the direction of the Government for the first two years of residence in this country, but I hope that that does not mean that they may be drafted into the army or used without knowing what it is all about. The volunteer system still deserves a fair trial, and there is no reason why it should not succeed. The needs of the defence forces, although alarming when matched against the demands of industry, are not incapable of fulfilment.
Suggestions have been made that as many as 50,000 Germans should be brought to Australia. Such schemes have engendered in the minds of many people the fear that, in the event of war, the average Australian will be placed in the army or in a protected industry and will be unable to change his occupation, whereas a loose, amorphous mass of people who have no fealty to the nation will be enjoying freedom and security within our shores. Who could screen 50,000 Germans? Perhaps the Government is thinking in terms of the engagement of mercenaries for some sort of national police force. Such a scheme would he highly dangerous. The Government is desperate for man-power, and its gaudy plans to create a great modern army are not based upon reality. What was our experience- in World War II? We on this side of the House admit that, because the government of the day yielded to the pressure applied by the military “ brass “ to obtain more and more men for the fighting forces, thousands of men who were enrolled never had an opportunity to serve their country in the field. The result was that a great deal of frustration was suffered by many very fine Australians. We must have a rational and sensible plan for defence. Such a plan should be the very soul and essence of our policy on international affairs to-day. We must study measures that will keep us at peace instead of striving to build an organization that will drive us towards war. [Extension of time granted.’]
The statement by the Prime Minister was feeble and loose. It was nothing more than a stop-gap to keep the House occupied until it turned its attention to legislative business later in the week. That was a cavalier way to treat the people, who are deeply concerned about our commitments, both internally and overseas. The Leader of the Opposition has been honest enough to pinpoint the reasons why we are in the slough of despondency in relation to international affairs, and I have attempted, subject to the limitations of my ability, to outline the grave and perplexing problems that face us in preparing for war while endeavouring to keep our major secondary industries in production. The vital subjects of enlistments in the armed services and restrictions upon fields of military service merit careful discussion. However, they have been mentioned only briefly during this debate because each honorable member is allowed only a very brief period in which to state his views. The Government is required to present a policy that will satisfy the people of the nation. Its representatives should make clear and forthright statements upon international affairs, disclosing how far it proposes to commit Australia in any field of action, and it should demonstrate by deed rather than by words that it supports the United Nations, but so far we have heard only a great deal of old-style rabblerousing talk from a few of its members. The Minister for Air (Mr. White), for instance, recently gave a broadcast talk in which he spoke of a “ people’s army “. His utterances caused me to wonder whether he had been infected by the socialism that he and his colleagues borrowed from the Labour party in order to win the last general election. It was almost heartrending to hear him speak in terms of a “ people’s air force “. I listened to the three broadcast addresses that were given by the Prime Minister, but they conveyed no sense of urgency. The right honorable gentleman merely spun word-pictures, and seemed to me to lack sincerity. I understand that there is a division of opinion within the Government concerning the lengths to which it should go in planning for Australia’s defence. It has not expounded a clear line of foreign policy. That fact was demonstrated by the speech of the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck), who opposed the formation of a Pacific pact, but advocated the framing of an Indian Ocean pact. No doubt he had valid reasons for doing so. There seem to be half a dozen spokesmen on the Government side of the House with divergent views upon such matters. One honorable member from Victoria talked the same old nonsense that his grandfather uttered about being ready to defend this fair land. A Labour government was able to prepare the country to fight valiantly in its own defence by establishing good standards for the people, including full employment. This Government has undertaken the perplexing task of trying to prove that nothing useful can be gained by continuing the volunteer system of defence service. I understand upon reliable authority that a. conference of Commonwealth Ministers and defence chiefs in London during the regime of the Chifley Government allotted to Australia a specific task in relation to defence. The Labour Government proceeded quietly and efficiently with the performance of that task until the present Government was elected to office. Suddenly, we are thrown into a panic, and our minds are being conditioned to war without any practical cause having been shown. Another matter to which I direct attention is the use of the radio to broadcast opinions. A man named Macmahon Ball speaks over the radio on international affairs. Some reference was made to him in the course of a question that was asked in this chamber this afternoon, and I gathered from the reply made by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) that the Minister intended, to ascertain whether he could do anything to restrain Mr. Macmahon Ball’s utterances. About the same time another honorable member asked a question about uranium, which is a mineral used for war-like purposes-
– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in referring now to matters raised in the course of questions asked of Ministers in the House this afternoon.
– I defer to your ruling, Mr. Speaker. All I desired to point out was that there cannot be two points of view by the Government on one matter. If we are to enjoy freedom of speech in this country, then there must be complete freedom for a man like Mr. Macmahon Ball to express his views. Personally, I find his broadcasts one of the finest series “ on the air “.
To-day, I was supremely disappointed with the Prime Minister, who set out to give us some report on international affairs. However, he failed to cover the territory in the satisfactory manner which characterized the former Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt). The Prime Minister did not tell us even what the present Minister for External Affairs is doing in the course of his present tour abroad. “We are not so happy, either, about the Minister’s attitude towards the present Government’s association with the United Nations. Apparently, the Minister is taking a certain- line because of the recent visit abroad of the Prime Minister. The right honorable gentleman himself returned from his visit convinced that there will be a war. In conclusion, let me emphasize that we should take care that we are not pushed pell mell into it, without proper thought and sober consideration about how we are going to fight that war.
– The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) expressed disappointment in the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) this afternoon. I can assure the honorable member that his disappointment in the right honorable gentleman’s speech is infinitesimal compared with my disappointment in the speeches made by members of the Australian Labour party this afternoon. Why does a party, whose members are the logical successors of the party led by Andrew Fisher in 1914, the man who coined the phrase “ To the last man and the last shilling “, make such a hopeless exhibition of themselves in this House every time defence is mentioned ? During the short time I have been a member of this House members of the Opposition have accused anybody who holds defence as of vital importance to this country of being warmongers, sabre rattlers and other things of that nature. The honorable member for Parkes knows perfectly well that if earlier generations of Australians had not listened to what he now stigmatizes as the “ nonsense “spoken by our grandfathers, there would be no parliament house in this country in which people can get up and make speeches of the kind that he himself has just made. The concern of supporters of the Government for the proper defence of this country is not an example of war-mongering. I speak, perhaps by chance, with probably more authority and experience than any other member of the House, on Korea, Manchuria, Japan, and other places in Southeast Asia, because I have been there, and have been in direct contact with the people. Let me say at once that I have a very great love for the Chinese. I owe my life to a Chinese coolie. I have fought liesi.de most of the races in Asia in the two wars to which I had to go. My belief, which is the result of my experience, is that any man - and I do not apply my remarks to any political party - who is not prepared to take his share of the responsibility and sacrifice necessary to provide national security for his country, is not worthy of citizenship. In the course of the speech tba.t the Prime Minister made this afternoon, the right honorable gentleman made a clear statement with regard to two factors ; one concerned foreign policy, and the other concerned the fact that any decision on foreign affairs must be based to a certain extent on defence considerations. Some extraordinary ideas have been advanced by members of the Opposition. One is that the Government proposes to raise the Chinese to our level. Members of .the Opposition do not seem to realize that until 300 years ago China had what was probably the leading civilization in the world. Indeed, it is only since the advent of mechanization that that country has fallen behind. However, even to-day most of the Chinese would not give you “ Thank you “ for the Western hustle. They probably want to improve their standards, but they do not want everything we believe to be necessary for modern civilization.
– No wonder!
– Perhaps the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) agrees with the Chinese. There are all sorts of people in this world, but
Australians feel that they should have the right to develop their own country, just as other peoples feel that they should have the right to develop their destinies without outside interference. At the present time we must face up to the realities of the situation in Asia, and not lose ourselves in idealistic speculation. We are trying to accomplish several purposes in Asia, one of which is to provide economic aid, and in this effort the Australian Government has not taken any minor part. Our principal aim is to enable Asian countries to produce more food, which is really their mainstay. However, as I have said before, and I. repeat now, it is idle to imagine that wo can cure all the economic and productive shortcomings of Asian countries simply by providing ultra-modern mechanical equipment. It is of no use to present them with fleets of bull-dozers and i tractors. The task of development must be accomplished in stages. At first we should content ourselves with making available better hand pumps, and later wi- can provide the Asian peoples with somewhat more advanced mechanical aids, so that they will be encouraged to use machinery efficiently in the production of more food. That is one phase of development. Another aspect of our efforts to help them to help themselves is that they must be allowed to develop their respective countries in their own way. So long as there are people in the world who think that might is right, and who respect only force, we must be sufficiently strong to make them give us some respect.
I quite agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) on the longterm policy which he outlined. We must develop, and we must populate, Australia if we want to retain this country. The phrase “ 20,000,000 in twenty years “ was coined in the first instance in a prisonerofwar camp in Formosa, because those of us who were incarcerated there had fallen into enemy hands and realized the truth of that slogan far more acutely than did other people here in Australia. But what is the use of having a long-term policy if we shall not be allowed to develop it? Therefore, we must also have a short-term policy. In that policy we must take on our shoulders our share of the responsibility of forming and maintaining the United Nations’ police force, or whatever else it may be called. We shall not be allowed to develop our long-term policy unless some one is prepared to help to protect us against any aggressor. If we accept offers to help us then, quite obviously, we must take our share of th responsibility of protecting others. Of course, to decide now whom we propose to help, and what form that help shall take, would be dogmatic and foolish. Take, as an example, the present situation in Korea. A lot of people are unaware of the real facts of the situation in Korea. They imagine, for one thing, that the Koreans are one people. The fact is that the Koreans are not a homogeneous race. The northern Koreans are quite separate from the southern Koreans, and have been separated from them many times throughout their history. Over 1,000,000 Koreans have migrated over the border into Manchuria, particularly into the province of Feng Tien, which was more popularly known during the recent war by its Japanese name of Chientao Therefore, we are faced with this proposition in respect of Korea: first, that General MacArthur must finish the campaign by the second week in November, because the weather then becomes so intensely cold that sheepskins have to be worn and campaigning must cease; and, secondly, what will happen when our forces reach the 38th parallel? That will be a very difficult problem to solve. The United Nations forces cannot stop just at the 38th parallel, and it cannot be expected that Korea will become peaceful and prosperous a week after the fighting has ended.
I am strongly of the opinion that every member of the Parliament and every Australian should consider the American proposals for a treaty of peace with Japan. There are five or six honorable members in this chamber who have no reason to feel very kindly towards the Japanese. I speak only for myself, but I suspect that the other honorable gentlemen to whom I have referred hold a view similar to mine, when I say that it will be useless merely to go on hating the Japanese. That will not get us anywhere. We cannot leave a nation like Japan without hope of a better future, because that would only drive the Japanese straight into the arms of the Communists. Therefore, I believe that the American proposals, which have been published in our newspapers, are good ones. They are that a peace treaty with Japan should be negotiated, that the Japanese should be granted the right of limited re-armament, that American forces should remain in Japan in much the same way as they are allowed in England at present, that the Okinawa base should remain, at any rate for the time being, as a guarantee and as an American centre of assistance, and, last but not least, that the Japanese should be received step by step into the family of the United Nations. If we want peace and progress in the Pacific, we must, as the honorable -member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck) said, consider the future .and not base our ideas and proposals entirely upon what has happened in the past. In relation to both Germany and Japan, we can follow one of two courses. We can say to them either that they are the vanquished and that we shall keep them as slaves, or that we, as the victors, want them to come into our family step by step and help us to achieve peace and progress in the world. The risk involved in doing what I believe to be right is much less than the risk involved in taking the other course.
But that is not an end of the matter, because there is a very thorny question still to be settled in Formosa. We must remind ourselves that we are dealing, not with wars of invasion, but, very largely, with wars of infiltration. I have always considered that Formosa is the key to the strategic position in the Pacific. I think that the Korean incident was an attempt by the Soviet to discover whether the democracies were as feeble and weak as it believed them to be. From Korea in the north and from Formosa and the Liukiu Islands in the south, the Communists could have infiltrated into Japan. There is already trouble in the Philippines with the Hukbalahaps. It is only a hop, step and a jump from Formosa to the Philippines, and only a hop, without the step and the jump, from the Philippines to Indonesia.
I do not know whether honorable members noticed a paragraph in the press of the 4th September relating to what is happening in central Asia. Large military depots, airfields and training centres are being established in the old cities of Samarkand, Bokhara and Tashkent. Afghanistan is divided by the Hindu Kush, through which there is only one military road, and is open to treatment similar to that which has been meted out to Korea. If those military preparations are intended for a definite purpose - and 1 cannot see what else they are intended for, because nobody here is thinking of invading central Asia, not even the honorable member for Parkes - it would appear as if there were a scheme for infiltrating down from Kashmir, Afghanistan and Iran, or, in other words, for two arms of a pincer movement that would cut off the whole of south and south-east Asia.
If we do not make up our minds that we are going to fight this cold war as vigorously as we should fight a hot war of aggression, we shall lead ourselves and others into a great deal of trouble. I believe that that is the reason why the Australian Government, the Government of the United States and, I remind the honorable member for Parkes, the Labour Government of Great Britain are finding it necessary to spend large sums of money upon raising larger forces and increasing our police strength in order to obtain the respect without which we cannot deal with some people in this world. Let us, by all means, go on with other and parallel activities at the same time, but when we see 100,000 people at a football match, and only ten or 110 doing military training so that there may be football matches in the future, can we say that we have no time to do what requires to be done? When we realize that social security is worth nothing without national security and when we consider the fact that this country is probably the most luxurious country in the world and that our people enjoy the highest standard of living, can we say that we have not got the money? The arguments advanced by honorable gentlemen opposite about time and money were based upon neither reason nor common sense. We have both the time and the money to do what is required to be done to enable us to undertake our share of responsibility and to stand side by side with other democratic nations, even if our effort is only one-twentieth of America’s effort or less than that. We have the time and the money to play our part, if we are prepared to do so, but if we are not prepared to give up going to a few football matches and if we want other things besides, we shall not have the time or the money to do it, and, in the not very distant future, we shall have no jobs to go to.
There are three things that we must do to implement our short-term and longterm policies. First, we must enlarge our defence forces in accordance with our capabilities and national resources. Nobody suggests or expects that we should try to do more than that. Secondly, we must keep our developmental and migration schemes going full steam ahead in accordance with our long-term policy.
– We cannot do them altogether.
– Apparently the honorable member for Parkes is no. prepared to give up any of his time or leisure, or to tell any one else to do so. He might as well say, “ We are not going to bother ; we are going to gamble “. He gambled before. What was he thinking the day before the battle of the Coral Sea ? Did he then say that he had not the time and the leisure?
– I have not said that now. I said that the disposition of our man-power was a serious thing.
– If what the honorable member says is correct we shall have to work harder. If we cannot do it out of leisure time we must all work harder in order to do both, otherwise we shall be taking a gamble that no member of any Parliament is entitled to take, or is entitled to tell the people to take. The honorable member well knows exactly what happened last time. On a previous occasion i have told honorable members about troops who had been in uniform for only three weeks being sent to Malaya equipped with rifles the ejectors of which jammed in many instances after the first shot had been fired. We are not going back to those days so long as there are sane people in all political parties as there were on other occasions. Although it may be difficult to realize that the present emergency is just as great as were the two previous emergencies, I am perfectly certain that the position has not been exaggerated. We have a very big job ahead. When we are told that we are using the United Nations as a stalking horse, I sometimes wonder whether some honorable members opposite will be returned in the future, because I do not think that they represent what the people understand them to represent. Of course, plenty of excuses can always be found in order to get out of a job. But we have taken on this job and we are asking other people to protect us in the meantime; therefore we must protect them. We must try to understand these countries. When the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) last addressed the House on this subject, he stated that he believed the movement in Malaya was a national movement. It was evident that he did not know what lie was talking about. I have been in Malaya, but, the honorable member has not. [Extension of time granted. T thank the House for its indulgence. I have tried merely to enlarge upon some of the cogent arguments that were advanced by the Prime Minister. However, I remind honorable members that the Korean incident will not be finished with the termination of hostilities. There will still remain problems associated with Formosa, Indo-China, Burma, Kashmir and Afghanistan. Even India, with five left-wing revolutionary parties gaining strength, may want some assistance from Australia in the not far distant future. Therefore, with all of these problems on our doorstep, we are in a much less happy position than Europe. We have never had to bother about learning anything about the Far East. Our eyes have always been turned to the West. Now, if we want to understand these problems, we must learn something about the people in those countries, and must teach their history in our schools. Without such knowledge we cannot understand their background. To do all these things in addition to maintaining our developmental and migration programmes is a big job. In view of the manner in which the honorable member for Parkes has spoken, it is evident that we shall have to fight an opposition within our own ranks equally as dangerous as Communist infiltration.
.- From the manner in which honorable members on the Government side of the House have spoken during this debate, it is evident that their attitude to defence is just as confused as is their attitude to the mooted wool tax and the suggested appreciation of the Australian fi. What the Australian people want to know, and what every Government speaker so far has failed to tell them, is exactly what this country is committed to. The Australian Labour Government that preceded the present Government adhered to the principles of the United Nations and pledged itself to support that organization. But what doe; this Government mean, and intend to convey to the Australian people, when honorable members opposite talk about supporting the United Nations? They have not stated to what degree Australian forces are to be used, or in what theatre of operations they will be engaged. I listened to the three broadcasts recently made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in connexion with defence, and it appeared to me that he was soft-peddling with his policy, merely preparing the people of this country, and hoping to get the Opposition committed to a policy from which there could be no retreat. However, it is obvious that the Government wishes to introduce conscription soon, not only for home defence, but also for overseas service in any part of the world. That is the real issue that we have to face up to, because the right honorable gentleman spoke about having one brigade to throw into action wherever it may be required at a moment’s notice, and another brigade to hold in reserve. He also referred to the compulsory service trainees in the background. The Prime Minister has not given any undertaking to the Parliament or to the people of Australia that, we are committed to send only one brigade overseas. He know,? in. his heart that obligations have been entered into by the Australian Government the fulfilment of which may require much more than one brigade for overseas service, without a public announcement having been made. I believe that in connexion with any conflict in which this country may become engaged, Australia would be an important base of operations, an important supply base. In my opinion. whatever forces we could raise in this country would be better employed protecting Australia than in overseas operations. The conflict of opinion amongst honorable members on the Government side of the House is evident from the remarks of the honorable member for Curtin (Mr. Hasluck), who referred to the defenceless state of the northern and north-western parts of Australia. He practically stated - which is the fact - that there -are no defences whatever in those important areas of this country. I stress that whatever forces we could raise, and whatever energies we could devote to defence, should be directed to the defence of our own country. But, in the mind of the present Government, is the defence of Australia so important after all? I well remember that during the last war a. British tory asked whether, in the final analysis, it mattered if Australia was occupied by the Japanese, because so long as the allies eventually won, the Japanese could be driven out subsequently and Australia re-occupied. That is not a policy that would be supported by the Labour Opposition or by the Australian people. The honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) stated that a man who would not make sacrifices in the interests of national security was not worthy of citizenship. That is quite true. However, it is indeed remarkable that anti-Labour governments always want sacrifices to be made by only a particular section of the community. The implication contained in the statement of the honorable member for Chisholm about the waste of time by Australian workers attending football matches during their hours of recreation is that any training that a man should undergo to fit him for the defence of this country should be carried out in his own time, without loss to his employer or to the wealthy citizens of this country. It was significant that the honorable member for Chisholm, when talking about sacrifices, did not refer to the record profits that are being announced almost daily by commercial and manufacturing undertakings in this country. I contend that sacrifices in the interests of defence ought to be made by everybody in the community, not restricted to one section only. Honorable members on this side of the House are particularly interested to learn what is going to happen in Korea after the opposing forces have been driven back beyond the 3Sth parallel.
Government members interjecting,
– Well, I have made as good a contribution to defence matters as the Prime Minister has made. At least I have this to say, I did not cost the country anything for military training and then relinquish my commission when a war commenced, as the Prime Minister did. The position is that when the North Korean forces have been driven back beyond the 3Sth parallel, according to some honorable gentlemen opposite the United Nations forces should go on and become the aggressors, driving the enemy I do not know where, but probably right out of their own. country - because, when all is said and done whether Koreans be North Koreans, or South Koreans, it is still their own country in which they are now fighting.
Here is the position as I see it. Why does not the Government request, as it is entitled to request, our representatives at the United Nations to discover and acquaint it not only with the military but also with the political and social programme that is proposed for Korea after it has been occupied? Is any member on the Government side prepared to stand in his place in this House and say that the war is being fought to give the Syngman Rhee Government complete control of Korea - a government that was castigated quite rightly by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) ? Colonel Jackson, the Australian representative on the United Nations ‘Commission in South Korea, referred to South Korea as a police state and talked about the actions of the South Korean Government in preventing the commission from making a proper investigation and in arresting and imprisoning witnesses and placing every obstacle in the commission’s way. It was also reported in the New York Times that some time before - the conflict in Korea broke out, fourteen members of the South Korean Government were imprisoned because they were in opposition to a plan for South Korea to attack North Korea. That statement, which appeared in the New York Times, can he perused by honorable members opposite if they so desire. I am not arguing for one moment that in this particular instance the Nor.th Koreans were not the aggressors. I accept and believe to be true the report of the United Nations which states that on this occasion the North Koreans were the aggressors. But what I am saying is that the evidence appears to prove that either side could have been the aggressors. If the South Koreans had had the opportunity, they were just as ready to attack the North Koreans, given favorable circumstances, as no doubt the North Koreans were to attack the South Koreans. What I want to know is, what social programme is to be given to the Korean people after the United Nations forces succeed militarily? Do honorable gentlemen opposite believe for one moment that a state of society in which peasants were asked to pay as much as 60 per cent, of their production in rent for their properties was worth defending? Do they believe that the re-establishment of such a system is worth the sacrifice of lives?
Some honorable gentlemen opposite talk about a world crusade against communism. On the other hand they state that they can discern no difference between socialism and communism. When such a statement is made honorable members opposite say, “ Hear, hear indicating not only that they would carry out a world crusade against communism but also that they would be prepared to use force to destroy a socialist government if they had the opportunity to do so. I say to them that the Labour party stands for the defence of Australia. We members of that party stand for adherence to Australia’s obligations to the United Nations, but we wish to know in more specific terms what those obligations are. No member of the Government has been able to tell us what they are. It is rather interesting to note that no honorable gentleman opposite has mentioned the menace of fascism in the world to-day. I know that the honorable member for Chisholm is one of the men who made a sacrifice in the last war. Doubtless he has no reason to be favorably disposed towards the Japanese.
Therefore, I was rather amazed to hear him say that he would be agreeable to a limited re-armament of Japan. If there is to be any re-armament of the Japanese, that is an added reason why any forces that this country can raise should be kept in this country, because a rearmed Japan would be a real threat to the security and safety of Australia itself. The Australian people will be very disturbed to know that the present Government is prepared to favour peace terms with Japan which will provide for the rearmament of that country. The trials against Japanese war criminals for atrocities committed against Australian troops and civilians have not yet been concluded, yet we have this appeal from members of the Government for a soft peace with the Japanese and a soft peace with the Germans. They say, in effect, “ Let us again learn to love them “. Surely those who are pouring out this propaganda do not imagine for one moment that the Australian people forget so quickly. I say now, as an Australian, that a re-armed Japan would constitute a real threat to the safety and -security of this country and that, whilst we have had on occasions statements from members of the Government expressing these very sentiments, I am fearful that behind the scenes the Government has already agreed to the suggestion for a re-armed Japan and that it is only a matter of time before the actual plans will be announced.
The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) quite rightly pointed out that the people have no confidence in this Government and that there is no enthusiasm for its plans. That view is correct, because if there were confidence in the Government, it would have been expressed in the response that the Government received to its various recruiting campaigns. But instead of gaining a good response in those campaigns the Government has had to revise rates of pay in an endeavour to attract men to the forces. The Government should pay some attention to the treatment given to the men who have already made sacrifices in other wars. The war gratuity that exservicemen of the last war are to receive next year from the Government has decreased greatly in value as a result of the increased cost of living in this country.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must keep to the subject before the House.
– I am keeping to the subject. I am making some suggestions about how the Government might conduct another recruiting drive. I believe that if it treated ex-servicemen much more liberally than it has there would be a much better response .o recruiting campaigns.
Let me deal with on« other important aspect. It appears to me that although the Government is always expressing adherence to the policy of combining with other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and saying, “ We must have a common approach to world problems “, there is no evidence that it is co-operating with members of the British Commonwealth. I refer to the position in relation to China. Surely this Government does not support a policy, that was referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, of supporting every corrupt government in every part of the world. There is no doubt that the Chinese Nationalist Government was corrupt. That was one of the reasons for its defeat and it is one of the reasons why it will not be restored whatever happens. Why do we not face up to realities? The British Labour Government, which has been spoken of so highly by members of the Government during this debate, has recognized the Government of China, yet Australia hesitates to do so. Why? Does the Australian Government believe that that action will in any way help Australia, or that with our population of S,000.000 and a vast territory to defend, we shall bc able, with our own resources, to defeat the present Government of China and restore the Nationalists to .power? I have never had the opportunity that the honorable member for Chisholm and probably some other honorable members on the Government side have had to visit those areas. However, I have read contributions to journals by men who are operating there and they probably have as much, and most likely more, experience and knowledge of the situation than have members of the Government. I have here a Catholic magazine which reports on the operations of Catholic missionaries in the Far East. This is the issue of the Far East, of the 1st June, 1950. I shall read from an article entitled, “ Meeting China’s Red Army “, and from a second article headed, “Father William McGoldrick Writes from Peking “. A part of the first article reads -
I am able to move around freely in my own parish and say my two Masses on Sundays. Even when I have troops in the compound we have full ceremonies including Mass, Benediction and public prayers. While such conditions last we have no cause for complaint.
In the second article, Father William McGoldrick writes -
So far things have been satisfactory here in Peking, much better than in the country districts. Churches are as crowded as ever and if things would only continue thus we would be as well off as under the last Government.
The writers of those articles are Catholic missionaries and they seem to give some reason to doubt the Government’s version of what is happening in these Eastern countries.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender), who apparently is trying to break the round the world record with his many visits overseas, has some plan whereby he claims that he is going to win for us numerous friends in Asia. Despite the fact that honorable members opposite will soon be saying that they cannot afford additional social benefits foi- the people of this country, under the ‘ Spender plan “, of the details of which we are not yet fully aware, this country is to be committed to an initial payment of £S,000,000. I should not think that £8,000,000 would constitute a very substantial contribution towards raising the living standards of millions of Asiatics. When honorable members on the Government side want to sell primary produce to these impoverished countries, they do not offer to sell it at a price that the purchasers can afford to pay. They must get world parity - the last farthing they can extract from them. One reason for the establishment of the World Bank was stated to be the need for assistance to the backward nations of the world by the guaranteeing of loans for developmental purposes. Interest is payable on those loans and Australia, as a party to the “World Bank, is called upon to guarantee payment of that interest. At the same time the Government proposes to tax our own people in order to hand out, with no hope of its being repaid, millions of pounds that should be provided by the World Bank, [Extension of time granted.’]
If we can help these people in the development of their countries we should do so. If we can help them to lift their living standards we should do so. But we should not try to stop every movement that appears in those countries, many of which are nationalistic in character. These people are beginning to believe that they can run their own affairs better than can outsiders. The Americans previously withdrew from South Korea because the South Koreans wanted them to go, and a similar position, no doubt, has developed in many other Asiatic countries. The British Labour Government was sensible enough to give India and Pakistan their independence and, as the Leader of the Opposition has said, but for that sensible act of statesmanship Asia might have been aflame to-day. These are our neighbours and we should be attempting to establish peaceful relations with them. Prom statements that have been made by some honorable members opposite one would imagine that Australia was a country, not of S,000,000 but of 180,000,000 people. That is the impression one gains when listening to their talk about the forces that should be sent overseas. What is their policy for arresting inflation? I understand that more production was needed. Yet the Government is going to pull more able-bodied men out of industry in order to put them into the forces! One of the ways to get increased production is to reduce inflated profits.
– Order ! The honorable member is leaving the subject of foreign affairs.
– What I am saying has some relation to foreign affairs. A policy which involved the Australian people in any sacrifice whatsoever would be more readily accepted if it were believed that the Government was calling for sacrifices by every section of the community. But it is not. The public heard of profitsharing during the last general election.
– Order ! The honorable member is getting right away from foreign affairs. .
– With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, -I think you will agree that the Prime Minister devoted most of his time to a detailed statement of what the Government proposes to do in organizing this country for war. Surely the production is involved in organizing a country for defence ! I read in the press that the honorable member for Chisholm believed in some limitation of profits. Why does not the Government tell us something about that? I read that one company made 100 per cent, profit in one year ! Standard Motors made 60 per cent!
– Order ! I must ask the honorable gentleman to speak on foreign affairs.
– In view of these facts I approve of the Opposition’s refusal to co-operate with the Government in its recruiting campaign. Had the Opposition taken the initial step it would have been committed and would not have been able to extricate itself later.
This Government means to conscript Australian manhood for service on battlefields all over the world. It aimed to bring 250,000 immigrants into Australia during the last twelve months. What is to be the result of that policy? Australian manhood having been conscripted and sent overseas, the importations under the immigration scheme who are under no obligation to serve this country will take the places vacated by the conscripts.
The Labour party recognizes that this Government is a fascist government and a tory government which intends to destroy the liberties of the people of this country. It hopes to destroy the right of free speech. Why? Because it wants no criticism of its war plans. It wants no criticism of its plans to conscript Australian manhood. If the Australian people are given an opportunity, as I hope they will be in the near future, of recording judgment on honorable members opposite, they will be well advised to play safe and reject this Government, which is led by a man who failed them in the previous world war and who, if permitted to do so, would fail them again.
– With volunteers.
– That is so, and volunteers will join our citizen forces to-day. Yet this pusillanimous Opposition has said to-day that it will not assist the recruiting effort because recruits may be used for service overseas. It is to that statement of the Leader of the Opposition that I wish particularly to refer. All Australians will be both astonished and disappointed by his statement.
Although it will arouse a certain degree of exultation in North Korea and Russia, I can imagine how our Australian forces in Korea will regard it. They will have nothing but contempt for it.. I do not want to import beat into this debate.
The honorable member for East Sydney uttered a word of praise of the latest victim of communism. To-night it is red China. The honorable gentleman read a statement from a magazine in which some priest is reported to have said : “ While the going lasts we are able to go to church here in China “. That was so in every other country that fell under the iron heel of communism ; for a while they had a certain amount of freedom. The Czechoslovakians, an intelligent, industrious people who do not believe in communism, can tell us of the sort of atrocities that are going on in their country to-day. Members, including women members, of the former freely elected government have been executed because they dared to oppose the Communist regime, a regime of force that was brought about by a coup d’etat, because the Czechs were so democratic that they allowed Communists into their cabinet and those Communists displaced the democratic members and are ruling that country to-day. The industries of that country are supplying many weapons of war to Russia. That is the warning we get from socialism.
Mr. Haylen interjecting,
– The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) interjects because he is an ardent socialist. Does he realize that socialism is the half-way house to communism? It is the sincere and earnest socialists who ‘prepare the way for the Communist? to take over.
– This Government is selling malt to Russia.
– In Russia the Czar was deposed by a Liberal-Labour government. That was the Kerensky Government. But it was a revolution of force by the Bolsheviks which deposed that Government. There is no Communist government to-day which was not first socialist before it became Communist. How pitiable it is that an ex-Prime Minister should, in this Parliament, and at this juncture, say, “ We will not co-operate in this recruiting campaign because the recruits will be sent overseas “. Such a statement is unreal and illogical. At the present time members of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy are enlisted for service anywhere. How do the members of the Opposition intend to behave in this coming recruiting campaign? Will they get on the platform and say, “ If so and so joins the Royal Australian Air Force we shall approve of it even if he has to fight overseas; but if he joins the Array, we shall not approve “ ? How absolutely illogical and nonsensical, this view of the political leaders of the Labour party is, is revealed by the fact that Mr. Monk and other spokesmen of the industrial Labour movement have shown where they stand and that they support us. The Australian Council of Trades Unions has approved the Government’s recruiting policy. Men who wish to enlist will not be turned from their purpose by the Opposition, which has not the courage to stand up to the Communists. It is so afraid of the Communists that it opposes the Communist Party Dissolution Bill and takes this unreal attitude.
– The honorable gentleman is a fascist.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman had better not repeat that interjection.
– I should like to know what the honorable member said.
– He said that the Minister is a fascist.
– There is no need for me to reply to that because, as I have already said, there is a saying that to a Communist everybody is a fascist who is not a Communist. The attitude that the Labour party is taking is unreal, because it is merely shutting its eyes to the world position. Russian imperialism is on the march. The lights of liberty have gone out in many countries in Europe. Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Ron mania, all the Baltic States, and much of the Balkan peninsula, with the exception of little Greece, which was assisted by Britain and America, have all gone into the twilight without the loss of a single Russian soldier. While Russia can use communism as a weapon to undermine countries from within it will do so. That is what is happening in Australia.
I have recently been in the United States of America, Canada and Britain, and I say very definitely that communism is stronger in Australia than in any of those countries. It is stronger in this way : Although we read of Communist activities in those countries, the Communists do not hold high office in powerful organizations. Here they permeate into powerful industrial unions and seek to destroy this country by using the democratic liberty which its people enjoy and for which our forces have fought. Communists are so powerful in this country that the last Government was afraid to deal with them and the Labour party even now while in opposition is afraid to oppose them. The attitude of honorable members opposite is unreal because they cannot see this and do not realize how the red tide is flowing on in Asia.
The 400,000,000 Chinese - one-fifth of the world’s population - have gone- behind the iron curtain. What nonsense it was for the honorable member for East Sydney to say that the present Chinese regime is some kind of benevolent communism and that it is not under the domination of Moscow! Mao Tse-tung, the dictator of China, only recently made an agreement with Stalin to cover a period of twenty years. Although in some parts Mao Tsetung’s rule may be moderate, ultimately the people of China will be subject to the full terror of the Communist system of government. The red tide has flowed on into Indo-China. For years French armies have been bogged down there in a war against Communist insurgents. In the Philippines, Indonesia, and Burma, all less than a day’s flight from our shores, there is civil war; and honorable members should remember that civil war is a part of Russia’s expansionist programme. Even if there are well disposed, simple-minded or benevolent people who once believed that there was some ideological, cultural or economic good in Marxism, and even if, 100 years ago, when Marx evolved his hideous creed, there may have been some justification for believing that it had some humanitarian value, they must realize to-day that it is merely a weapon in the armoury of Russian imperialism, and that once the Iron Curtain is dropped over countries they are used as catspaws for Russian conquest. I remind the House of the Czech saying that whilst the Russians deposed the Czar, they never deposed Czarism. The same old expansionist policy of the Czars is the policy of the Soviet Union.
A few months ago we could see danger approaching, and since then we have watched it blaze into the conflagration of war in Korea, where our own No. 77 Squadron has been in action. That the casualties of that squadron have been so few is due to the fact that its personnel are highly trained. I shall now, with a good deal of diffidence, quote from a letter which came to me to-day from the mother of one of our airmen who lost his life while operating with No. 77 Squadron. His mother writes -
If my gallant son and all the brave men who are giving their all will have achieved the freedom of this great country he will not have died in vain. He was so keen to keep that “ little war as he called it, from spreading. He gave himself to save the world fi om a third major catastrophe. God grant that the object of his sacrifice may bc obtained.
Those words should be pondered upon by everybody hearing them. I shall not name the pilot whose mother wrote me that letter, but he was one of our very few casualties. He was one of the men who have been upholding Australia’s name in the skies above Korea. Australia’s battle is being fought there in the north, and those men must be reinforced and supported. In the light of that can the leaders of the Labour party say to-day that they will stand aside from the recruiting campaign because men may be sent overseas? I have before inc. a batch of combat .reports from No. 77 Squadron, a .batch of the kind that tells every day of the great activity of our air units in Korea. These reports tell of tanks, transport and materiel destroyed, and it has been said in America and in many other places that but for air action the North Koreans would have over-run the whole peninsula long before this. I realize that some persons have said that Korea has shown that air mastery is not everything in modern warfare. They have said that a war cannot be won by air activity alone. My reply to them is that even so, a war cannot be won without air supremacy. When the North Koreans were rolling southwards only a very few troops opposed them, the merest fragments of units which were available at that time. The members of the Royal Australian Air Force unit at that time were the only combatants of another nation standing beside the Americans. America has been loud in the praise of its own and our air units and has reiterated that the air forces have saved the campaign from becoming a catastrophe. Those air units have had to fly beyond the 38th parallel ia their bombing operations and the destruction of some of the resources and materials behind the enemy lines has enabled that great and celebrated soldier, General MacArthur, to make the powerful counter-stroke which may bring the campaign to a successful conclusion.
I feel that the action in Korea was worthwhile and that Australia’s part in it was most laudable. I say to honorable members opposite, particularly to those who have had no opportunity of travelling beyond Australia, that if Australia enjoys the high regard of people overseas it is because of what our servicemen have done in two world wars and in the campaigns that are being fought to-day. In saying that I am not forgetting the work of our two air squadrons in Malaya who are combatting murder and terrorism there. The speeches about Malaya of the former Prime Minister and of the honorable member for East Sydney, were pitiable. The Malayan people are with the British. It is foreign Communists who are causing the trouble in Malaya. I repeat that our action in Korea is justified, and that we must ensure that the men engaged shall be properly reinforced. I therefore hope that the Labour party will be represented on the recruiting platforms when we ask for reinforcements for our armed services. I agree with the honorable member for Chisholm (Mr. Kent Hughes) that a man should not enjoy the rights of citizenship unless he also takes the risks of citizenship.
– That is tough on the Prime Minister.
– It is tough on the honorable member, perhaps, but not on some of us. If this campaign ends swiftly - and let us hope that it may and that lives on hoth sides will thus he saved - it may teach Russia a lesson and also give pause to her satellites. It will warn them that if they are content to be catspaws for an imperialistic power the forces of the United Nations will be mustered to defeat them. Although many of us have criticized the United Nations, as we once criticized the League of Nations, I venture to predict that it will not fail as did the League, because it has powerful forces behind it. It is most fortunate that the greatest nation in the world, the United States, had its forces close to the scene of conflict when the Communists attacked and was able at once to move against this most recent act of aggression. Perhaps this action will give pause to satellites of Russia who were looking towards Yugoslavia, which is nationalistic in its communism. Perhaps the Hungarians will not feel like fighting the Serbs, and that in Germany the East may find that it will not pay to attack the West now that it has seen that the United Nations is armed with power. If nations such a3 Turkey, Portugal, the Philippines and others send contingents overseas and Australia stands aside, our prestige will fall in the eyes of all freedom loving nations. Yet that is the policy of the Labour party, although its deputy leader was once a leading figure in the United Nations. Surely that right honorable gentleman supports this armed intervention and the necessary reinforcehave to do the fighting!
I have before me certain figures concerning our squadron in Korea, which is at war strength and therefore is larger than a peace-time squadron. It is equipped with Mustang aircraft which are suitable for the work in hand, although there are plenty of American jet fighters operating in the higher altitudes. So far Russia has not committed any of its aircraft to the conflict. Russia has a tremendous output of aircraft, and has plundered from the Germans much booty as well as many scientists and skilled artisans. We are aware that Russia possesses jet fighters and jet bombers and is producing more in great quantities. The former Prime Minister seemed to have the idea that if Australia adopted the attitude of being inoffensive and not fighting it would he left alone. It has been shown that that attitude has never prevented war. As Australians we are of British descent, and we are proud of that fact. [Extension of time granted.] Throughout the history of our race the practice has been always to fight tyranny that has threatened it from either within or without, no matter how strong the enemy might be. Had that not been the British spirit, the British Empire would not exist to-day, and we, certainly, should not be inhabiting this country. Therefore, at a time like the present when we are threatened by an imperialistic power, we should not adopt the attitude that was adopted by a former Prime Minister that if we remain inoffensive and do nothing we shall not be attacked. Other nations which adopted that attitude have gone under. It has been a strategic axiom that wars are won on interior lines, that is, by striking from the centre. Germany gave proof of the soundness of that axiom, and, in applying it, gained many striking victories. However, aviation has changed that state of affairs. Nations that operate industrial power on exterior lines and possess adequate forces to bomb the enemy’s centres of production will win in the end. Should there be a third world war, Russia, probably, will have striking successes at the outset, by utilizing its satellites, but, ultimately, it will be defeated because, as a glance at the map will show, there is no part of Russia that cannot be reached by heavy bombers of the type that are being produced to-day. Despite America’s production of the atom bomb and although Russia may have only a few atom bombs there are other scientific weapons, such as guided missiles, and I believe that Russia may hope to make up leeway in a third world war ‘by intensifying its defensive measures against bombing attacks. However, to-day, we in this country possess what is necessary for aerial warfare. The record of our squadrons is proof of that fact. Let us realize it, and emulate the spirit of our men who are fighting overseas. I again ask the members of the Labour party to abandon their attitude that they will not encourage Australians to enlist because volunteers will be sent to fight overseas.
– As a service Minister would the honorable gentleman support the re-armament of Japan?
– I do not think that I would, but that is a matter for decision by those who are on the spot. If General MacArthur believed that he could get certain elements as the result of such a policy, his judgment would be respected. However, there is no need for us to be as fatalistic, or as pessimistic, in our approach to this problem as the Labour party is becoming. Let us support the United Nations, and when it asks for armed intervention, let Australia take up arms in a just cause, as it did in the Korean conflict.
.-Whilst I strongly disagree with some points that the Minister for Air (Mr. White) made in his speech, his references to the part being played by the Royal Australian Air Force in the campaign in Korea, and his reading of the deeply touching letter that he quoted, have made a profound impression upon honorable members. If the Minister has reports dealing with the activities of the Royal Australian Air Force, we should receive them more regularly.
– All of those reports have been published in the press.
– If the Minister is furnished with full accounts of the deeds of the Royal Australian Air Force, such reports should be made available to honorable members. What was said in the letter that the Minister read is true. It shows the devotion in that instance, and I have no doubt in all cases, to the cause for which the campaign in Korea is being fought. That is not a campaign for which the Government alone is taking responsibility. It was authorized by unanimous vote of this House when we passed a resolution to support the United Nations in Korea. The Minister was one of those who in earlier days gave very little support to the United Nations. Indeed, he probably took the most negative attitude of Opposition members at that time, but I am glad to note a change of tone in his references to the United Nations to-day.
Let me re-state the position with respect to Korea; it is quite clear. We accepted the view, which I believe to be absolutely correct, that the attack by North Korea was an act of aggression contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. When we debated the matter in this House on a previous occasion, some of us pointed out that certain actions taken by the South Korean Government were open to criticism ; but under the Charter of the United Nations, no nation has the right to take the law into its own hands and interfere with the territorial integrity of its neighbour. That is what North Korea did. The United Nations acted correctly, and it was our duty to support it. We aid so, and everything that was then done was justified.
I agree with the Minister in another respect also. Although, as we might expect, the admissions are not made, it is equally correct that the forces of North Korea were encouraged, if not actually put into action, by Russia. There can be no doubt about that. One cannot study events within the United Nations organization without coming to that conclusion. That fact makes the present campaign in Korea more serious than it might otherwise be. Indeed, it is one of the most serious and scandalous things in history that a great nation, while not itself embarking upon a conflict, should encourage those under its domination, or influence, to go in and take the risk, so that the great nation can say that it is not in the conflict at all. That is one of the acute problems that exist in the world to-day. I believe that by intervention in Korea at that time, through and not outside the United Nations, a great stroke was performed for the cause of the United Nations, which is the cause of world peace.
I come now to another point which is important and cannot be neglected. It is obvious that through the leadership shown in the Korean campaign by General MacArthur and other leaders of the United Nations forces, a complete change has taken place in the Korean campaign. It appears to be obvious that in a very short time the main objective will have been achieved, namely, the forcing back of the invading forces to their original boundary. Therefore, the time has come - indeed, the occasion was reached some little time ago - for the United Nations to indicate what the terms of peace, if I can use that phrase, should be. That aspect should have been considered earlier. When this matter was discussed in this House some months ago, I suggested that that should be studied, and that we should realize that when the United Nations doe3 intervene for the purpose of preventing, or resisting, aggression, it is wise for it at the same time to indicate what the limits of intervention shall be. T agree with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that that does not mean that fighting should cease at the moment the 3Sth parallel is reached. That would be absurd and impracticable because the 38th parallel in Korea runs through many villages and towns. However, the Australian Government should be able to inform the House in the very near future of what its proposals are in that respect.
This debate is supposed to deal with international affairs, and I find it impossible to cover all the subjects that have already been mentioned in it. However, I should like to say first, that the armistice terms with Japan, to which we were a party, prohibit the rearmament of that country. Japan agreed to those terms, and I think that Australia should be most careful lest, by re-arming Japan for the purpose of securing its assistance against Russia, we bring into existence a danger to our position in the Pacific. I merely mention that matter, and I do not desire to elaborate it. The terms of the armistice would have to be altered if it were proposed to re-arm Japan. The majority of Australians would be in favour of looking at that position very carefully, and with the greatest hesitation. We cannot estimate the possibilities of this future danger in the Pacific.
The honorable member for Curtin mentioned several matters to which I should like to refer very briefly. He criticized the proposal for a Pacific pact, and, as I understood him, he rather favoured concentration upon Australia’s relations with the nations of the Indian Ocean, particularly India and Pakistan. All I should like to say about that subject at this juncture is that when we speak of a pact, we speak only of an agreement. Of course, it is impossible to discuss these matters “ in the air “, as it were. I should like to know what obli- gations Australia would be asked to enter into, and what obligations would be assumed by all the parties to the pact. I see nothing in itself that would be opposed to Australia’s interests in a Pacific pact if it meant some regional defence arrangement to which the United States of America and other countries could he a party ; but, again, I should need to see the proposed terms of it. I agree with the honorable member for Curtin about the importance of Australia’s relations with India, Pakistan and Ceylon as well as with the other countries of SouthEast Asia. India, Pakistan and Ceylon are the three countries which seem to me to be at one end of an important strategic area, which will be of increasing significance not only to Australia but also to the whole world. I believe that the Attlee Government in the United Kingdom, by its policy in relation to India, Pakistan and Ceylon, has laid the foundations of permanent friendship and very close relations with those nations which are, of course, a part of our British Commonwealth to-day. Australia must be friendly with those countries. I was astonished a few days ago to learn that Australia, at the United Nations, was the only nation in the steering committee of the General Assembly that had voted against a submission by India to the effect that the matter of the treatment of Indians in South Africa should be debated by the General Assembly. India was not asking for a decision, yet the representatives of Australia tried to refuse to allow the matter even to be brought forward. In my opinion, that is the kind of action that could worsen our relations with India. It is most important that our friendly relations shall be preserved.
I should now like to say a few words about China. I asked some questions about this matter earlier in the year, and the answer that was given to me was that the subject of the recognition of China should be deferred. The Opposition did not criticize that reply at that stage, and I consider that it would be wrong if the recognition of China were obtained by the Communist Government of China simply as a consequence of the intervention by North Korea, with the sponsorship, either open or secret, of Russia. In my opinion, the association of the two would have been quite wrong. However, the time is fast approaching when the nations of the world must face the fact that there is only one government in effective control in China, and that is the government which is recognized by Great Britain, India, Ceylon, Pakistan, and fourteen or fifteen other governments. Recognition of a government does not mean an endorsement of its internal policy. “We may get into a position in which the relations of this country with China in the future may be imperilled. The non-recognition of China may actually throw that country into groups that are unfriendly to this country.
Agreeing with the honorable member for Curtin, who has placed emphasis on the importance of our relations with India, I ask do we need a pact with those countries? We have an understanding with them in the sense that they all are members of the British Commonwealth. A pact may be justified. I should like to see the terms of it. Everything that can be done to maintain our good relations with those countries will be supported by the Opposition, which, when in office, took a. part at the crucial time in action that led to India’s remaining within the British Commonwealth of 1 Nations.
I now desire to refer to the United Nations, and to its future. It is bound up with problems like Korea, and I realize that it cannot be debated here at length. As I tried to point out during the debate on the war in Korea a few months ago, it was only through an accident that intervention was possible in that country under the Charter of the United Nations. That accident was the absence of Russia from the Security Council. Of course, it was only an accident in the sense that the ‘ Russians absented themselves from the meetings of the Security Council at a time when intervention in Korea wa3 considered. They subsequently complained that action taken by the Security Council in their absence was illegal, but they seem to have abandoned that argument. In my opinion, on the proper interpretation of the Charter, it was a perfectly lawful action by the Security Council. Yet, because of the veto that may be exercised by each per manent member, action of that kind may not be possible in the future. Therefore, it is now proposed that if the Security Council fails to act in the event of aggression, some means should be adopted to summon the General Assembly to consider whether action might be taken to deal with the aggression. I say that, in principle, that proposition is perfectly sound. It was adopted by the General Assembly in relation to Greece and the Korean Temporary Commission; and, without accepting necessarily all the details of the proposals, I should like to see that principle fully debated and the House informed of the discussions.
I have now dealt with what may be called the enforcement activities of the United Nations, as evidenced in Korea. That appeals to the Minister for Air (Mr. White). It is the dramatic side of United Nations intervention, and I believe that it will be quite successful - indeed, more successful even than many had hoped. Yet the other side of the work of the United Nations is more important than the enforcement side. Various Opposition speakers as well as the honorable member for Curtin have touched upon it. I refer, of course, to the task of mediation and conciliation. The United Nations has an excellent record in that respect in many parts of the world, including Persia, Iran, Palestine, and particularly Indonesia. I believe, as does the honorable member for Curtin, that the role that Australia, which has not a large population, should try to play in these matters is that of conciliation and mediation. Australians were members of all the bodies that have been engaged in mediation in various countries. Mr. Justice Kirby and other Australians were associated with United Nations mediation in Indonesia, and Mr. Justice Dixon has made a very determined effort to effect mediation in relation to Kashmir. Mediation is’ the positive and more important aspect of the work of the United Nations.
I have canvassed only a few subjects. Before I conclude my remarks, I should like to make one point in reply to the Minister for Air, who has criticized the Opposition in relation to defence. I tell Lim that the Labour party has everything to be proud of in connexion with its conduct of World War II. I do not think that the honorable gentleman will dispute that. I am not making comparisons. I am dealing with the periods during which the Curtin Government and the Chifley Government were in office. A Labour government extended the area of compulsory service for Australian troops in war-time to the Equator. The point that has been made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley) is simply that, for the sake of an immediate recruiting campaign, the Government is making an error in breaking the formations between the Citizen Forces and the Permanent Forces.
– Why does not the Labour party support the recruiting campaign?
– That is the point that the Leader of the Opposition has made. I ask the Minister this question: Is it proposed that members of the Permanent Military Forces or the Citizen Military Forces who are not prepared to volunteer for overseas service, may not remain members of those great forces?
– What would be the use of them in that event?
– The interjection by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett), who is Government Whip, suggests that those men will not be permitted to remain in the services. Such penalization should not be attempted. In the past, when emergencies have arisen and have been explained to the people of this country, on not one occasion has the effort of the Australian people been inadequate.
– On that basis there would be no Australian squadrons now in Korea or Malaya because the opinion of the Australian people would have bad to be sought before they were sent there.
– That is a different issue altogether. I am dealing with the matter to which discussion has been directed, namely, the traditional roles of the Permanent Military Forces, and the Citizen Military Forces. I submit that my criticism is sound, and that the Government is making, an error in interfering with the foundation on which these two great military forces have been built up.
– One naturally respects the views of so eminent a person as the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), whois also Deputy Leader of the Opposition in this chamber. The dispassionate statement of Labour’s point of view made earlier to-day by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Chifley), must also be respected/ However, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has put before us clearly additional information to that which he gave in his recent broadcasts to the nation, emphasizing the gravity of certain aspects of the world situation to-day) and urging a full national effort. There is a curious inconsistency in the opinions that have been expressed in this debate by members of the Opposition, including the Leader and the Deputy Leader. In fact, there are two separate inconsistencies. The first lies in the belief that whilst it is right that members of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy should be enlisted for service anywhere in the world, the advisability of enlisting members of our military forces in similar terms is open to doubt. The right honorable member for Barton referred to the extension during World War II. of the area of service of Australian conscripted military forces. Many times we have heard both the Leader of the Opposition and his deputy pay sincere tribute to the part that American forces played in assisting to prevent this country from being invaded by the Japanese. But those American forces were conscripted ! Therefore, we have the curious anomaly that whereas the Labour party is not prepared to support the conscription of soldiers for service overseas, it is prepared to accept the protection of conscripted forces of other lands.
I wish to keep this matter on a purely impersonal basis, but while listening to the eloquent though illogical address of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), I happened to note that at least he was consistent in his inconsistency. On the 26th October, 1932, the honorable member said in this chamber -
I waa not old enough to go to the last war but even if I had been I should not have gone … I say frankly that no matter what the nation may be with which Australia comes in conflict, I shall not support the project.
I was prepared to regard that statement as merely the product of youthful affliction.
– What about the Prime Minister’s war record?
– I am not aware of all the circumstances of that matter, but I do know that in Hansard of the nth November, 1936, the honorable member for East Sydney is reported as having said -
Panic-stricken, the Commonwealth Government, ulong with the Imperial Government, is spending an enormous amount of money on what it claims to be defence provisions . . . J should not he prepared to take up arms against the workers of Germany or any other nationality.
The honorable member was not prepared, by sending our forces overseas, to prevent the horrors of Belsen from being brought to this country.
– That is a deliberate misinterpretation.
– Let, us look at the matter frankly. In 1936, three years before the outbreak of a war that almost brought the horrors of invasion to this country, the honorable member for East Sydney made the remarks that I ha vo quoted. His speech to-night was no different. In World War II., the Japanese invasion of this country was prevented by the battle of the Coral Sea, fought only 450 miles from Townsville and a little more than 500 miles from Brisbane. It was touch and go whether the allied forces would be able to meet the threat. Japan would either break through or be driven from the seas. Fortunately, victory was ours. Surely the lessons of the past should be heeded. F have no wish for war, but the facts are clear. To-night we have heard the views of a man who, less than three years before the outbreak of World War II., said that the then government was panic stricken because it had decided to prepare for the defence of Australia. Let us play politics, if we will, with other matters, but, for the sake of this country, let us agree on foreign policy. We have before us the example of Great Britain, where, behind all the fighting on political issues, there is general agreement on defence matters. Surely we can find some common basis. In the years before World War II. some people had the mistaken idea that Hitler could be bought off bv a bunch of violets. I was Minister for Education in New South Wales at the time and I know that certain educational authorities believed that, by sending goodwill messages and bouquets to the children of potential, enemy countries, the beast of Germany and the beast of Japan could be dissuaded from attempting to attack us. Surely to-day we cannot turn aside from the fact that at least 10,000,000 of some of the finest people in the world are imprisoned in the worst slave camps known in history and say, “ Let us play politics over this matter “. Let us face the facts and deal with them. We nearly missed our second chance, and we may never get a third chance to get our second wind.
A very important issue is involved in the problem of training our man-power for defence. In order to illustrate my point, which I do not want to be obscure, 1 take the liberty of citing statistics. The total number of male enlistments in Australia during World War II. was 927,000. There were 1S9,000 male enlistments in the Royal Australian Air Force, which represented about 20 per cent, of the total. Deaths of men in the air force numbered 10,264, which represented about 30 per cent, of the total number of 33,826 deaths of Australian fighting men. During World War I., Australia lost 60,000 men from its population of between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000. During the same war, the United States of America lost 60,000 men from its population of approximately 3 20,000,000. Who can compute the effect of that terrific drain upon the leadership and organizing ability of this young country, which made such a tremendous sacrifice by comparison with that of the United States of America ? Who can compute the magnitude of the loss that we sustained during World War II., when 30 per cent, of the total number of fatalities in the fighting services were suffered by a group of the most enterprising, vigorous and courageous men, who constituted only 20 per cent, of the total number of men enlisted in this country? As a public man I was visited during the war by many young men who sought references to prove that they were of exceptional ability and probity so that they could be accepted for air crew training in the air force. The standard set by the air force early in the war required such references although the requirements were later relaxed. The fact is that the airmen who gained for Australia the reputation of producing some of the finest, if not the finest, fliers in the world, were the natural leaders of this nation. Thousands of them were wiped out almost overnight and this nation is the poorer as the result of their sacrifice.
I have recited these facts, not because I believe that deaths can be avoided in time of war, but because, as Minister for Education in New South Wales, where I was constantly in touch with educationists for about 40 years, I learned that about 50 per cent, of the population of every country consists of decent citizens. who are easily led. Therefore, if we skim the cream off our population and send large numbers of our best citizens and natural leaders to be destroyed in war, whilst leaving at home a substantial proportion of the 50 per cent, that I have mentioned without training them to accept their responsibilities to their country, we can blame only ourselves if they fall prey to the scallywags and destroyers who work as fifth columnists in time of war. I have not heard this point of view expressed in any previous debate in this chamber, and I plead with the Government and the Opposition alike to pay heed to it for the sake of the future welfare of the nation. I believe that all parties can reach agreement upon the numbers of Australians who should be sent beyond our shores to fight in any emergency. That issue can be resolved by discussion. My plea is that every section of the community should be drawn upon equally. We should not rely upon the natural instincts of the boldest and most vigorous of our citizens to provide the bulk of our fighting services and go out to be destroyed in such proportions as I have stated. Some honorable members may misconstrue my remarks on this subject and declare that I have presented an excellent case against the enrolment of men for service overseas. I must submit to that risk, but I point out that any such interpretation of my argument would be entirely false and unrealistic.
The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said that the strategic weakness of Australia lay in the smallness of its population. In my opinion, Australia’s greatest strategic weakness lies not so much in the smallness of its population, although that is a factor, as in the maldistribution of population and industries. The bulk of our population is concentrated in a few capital cities and our industries are continually expanding in areas where they would be easy targets f or enemy bombing attacks. When the Soviet Union transfers industries to sites beyond the Ural Mountains as far from the danger of aerial attack as possible, it shows far more realism than we have shown. The honorable member for Parkes also said that we ought to develop the northern and western parts of our continent. I say without the slightest hesitation that I regard such a policy as being completely fallacious and unrealistic. I agree that we should develop our great cattle industry, but if we engaged in intensive developmental work at our northern gateway we might merely expose it to capture by an enemy that could use it as a firm foothold for an assault upon the rest of Australia. If we have millions of pounds to spend upon development, for God’s sake let us spend it south of a line extending approximately from Cooktown to Adelaide and the southern part of Western Australia. By doing so we can get the quickest possible return for the least expenditure and, having accomplished that, we may then turn to the north with some prospect of being able to hold it against attack.
Although the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) did not mention the subject in his speech on this occasion, he has expressed doubts about the value to Australia of the main island of New Guinea. I visited that part of the world recently in search of information. I thoroughly agree with the honorable member who said earlier this evening that we should be careful about our policy in relation to western New Guinea. When returning from my recent visit to that territory, I left Port Moresby one morning in a slow DC3 aircraft and was over Cooktown within two hours. Only two and a half hours later I was in Cairns. If Moresby were permitted to fall into the hands of an enemy force, then inside of one hour fast enemy bombers could blow the lights out of our northern towns and could establish a base of most deadly character. That is unthinkable. New Guinea, to which Manus Island is the key, affords us a natural bridge of protection. In that country there is undoubtedly a larger number of natives than has been stated officially, and many of them have not even come in contact with white men. If we allow an enemy to supply them with grog and rifles, then God help any chance we may have of holding New Guinea in the event of trouble. Our business now is to do two things. First, to encourage big companies with capital to develop the great valleys like the Markham and the Ramu, which possess enormous potentialities, and secondly, to grow the cotton with which to enable the natives to improve their standard of living, particularly those natives who inhabit the highlands of New Guinea. [Extension of time granted.’] I thank honorable members for their indulgence. . A great problem is presented by the many natives, estimated to number from 500,000 to 1,000,000, who have not come in contact with white men. Those natives are a trust handed to Australia, under the United Nations mandate, and that is a trust which we are obliged to defend. Australia is doing quite a good job and is facing up to its responsibilities at the present time. However, I believe that our policy must be accelerated and that our activities must be diversified.. If we hope eventually to establish a defensive outpost for ourselves in New Guinea and to cultivate the friendship of the fine type of natives who inhabit that island we must formulate and implement a progressive policy. In order to carry out proper development of New Guinea much of the wealth of that country must be ploughed back. That, too, is essential to our defence.
I conclude upon this note. I believe that the Prime Minister has done a great public service by endeavouring to convey to the Australian people, without a great deal of emotionalism and without being in any way a demagogue, the fact that Australia, like all other democracies today, stands in deadly danger. I believe that the right honorable gentleman has tried to convey to the Australian people the urgent necessity for pulling together both to develop and to defend our country. The proper defence of this country requires that there should be the fullest co-operation and understanding between the political parties which support the Government and the Australian Labour party. Let members of the Opposition attack the Government on any matter they choose, just as the British Labour Government is attacked by the NonLabour Opposition in the British House of Commons; but, for the sake of all that we hold dear, let us try to achieve a common front and understanding on foreign policy. Let U8 forget the shibboleths of the past and face up to the realities of the present. And above all, let us ensure that we hold this country inviolate both for ourselves and for our children.
– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) spoke with considerable feeling and much sincerity, and, at times, with great eloquence. His tribute to, and his comments upon, the dead of two world wars were most touching. The honorable gentleman pleaded with sincerity for a common foreign policy in this country. However, had be been a member of the. last Parliament and of the preceding Parliament he would have realized that it was impossible for either the Curtin or the Chifley Administrations to get the support of the nonLabour political parties on any question of foreign policy. As a matter of fact, honorable members opposite are only very recent converts to the cause of the United Nations. Indeed, I am not satisfied that the conversion is yet complete. As the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) reminded us to-night, on the very day that North Korea was attacking South Korea the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered a lecture in Adelaide to an institute of advertising executives in the course of which he criticized the United Nations in a most trenchant fashion. Furthermore, all through the years that he sat in the Parliament as Leader of the Opposition his support of the United Nations was at the very best a qualified support, whilst most of his political followers indulged in all sorts of jeers, gibes and cheap criticisms of that organization. For instance, on the Sth April, 1948, the present Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) said -
If the United Nations has any teeth at all they must be made of putty, because they never seem to bc able to grip or hold anything.
– The United Nations has a new denture nowadays.
– I hope that the Minister’s denture is a little better than the type of denture which he accused the United Nations of possessing.
– Which Minister?
– The Minister for Health (.Sir Earle Page), whom I once called the “Minister for disease”. The truth is that the United Nations is no different now from what it was when it was first established. The only change is that the political parties which are now in office are supporting that organization whereas formerly they attacked it. I shall give another instance of the attitude of the anti-Labour parties when they were in opposition. In the course of a speech which the present Prime Minister delivered on the 15th February, 1949, he referred to “ the lack of power and significance of the United Nations “. The policy of the Liberal party and of the Australian Country party, a3 we interpreted it, and as members of those parties expressed it on various occasions, was : “ The United Nations can do no good. It will fail just as the League of Nations failed ; .and it is far better for Australia to back the Atlantic Pact and other power pacts, and far better for us to put our weight behind the Western Union Defence “. Honorable members opposite, who support the idea of global strategy, believe that Australia’s cause could better be defended in Africa or Europe than in the Pacific. Whatever validity there might have been in that argument at one time, it is undoubtedly true that the world situation has changed dramatically since the end of World War II. The emergence of Asiatic communism because of the exploitation of the native peoples by their own capitalists and, worse still, by European capitalists, has endangered our existence in this part of the world, which, geographically, is part of Asia. Again, the emergence of Asiatic nationalism, in conjunction with communism, has made the task of people who occupy this country, EuroAustralians more difficult than it was in other days. At one time we could depend largely upon the British navy for support, but that defence no longer exists, and, unfortunately for Great Britain and for ourselves we are almost entirely dependent for 6ur survival now, and in the future, on whatever protection we can get from the United States of America. Members of the present Government parties view the world situation to-day in the light of conditions that existed in World War I. and World War IT. I have spoken of what the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said when he was a private member of the Parliament, and I have told the House what he said a few days ago. The right honorable gentleman, in an article in the magazine section of the New York ‘Times, published eight days after he had become Prime Minister of Australia for the second time, said -
I believe that, though it is easy to suggest that the Atlantic Pact is a. “ regional scheme within the structure of the Charter “, it is much more accurate to recognize it as a most realistic recognition of the impotence of the Security Council, and of the importance of confronting the aggressor with more than debates and resolutions.
That might be called defeatist propaganda of the worst type. We are members of the United Nations, and have been from the very beginning. We played a part in bringing that body into existence. We sent an all-party committee of the Parliament to San Francisco to help in the creation of the United Nations organization. Perhaps it would be well to send all-party committees of this Parliament to some of the portions of our continent and territories to which the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) has made reference so that the members of the committee; may see their comparative defencelessness. I am not a candidate for any of those missions, but I believe that it would be a good thing if honorable members could be advised of the position that confronts our country in the near north. If we were to- divide Australia into two parts by drawing i» line through Australia from Carnarvon in the west to Bundaberg in the east, we should find that 300,000 people live north of the line’ and that nearly 8,000,000 people live south of it. Almost all of the 300,000 people north of the line live in Queensland. Only 3,000 people of our blood live in the portion of Western Australia north of the line - the most vulnerable portion of Australia. Three thousand people occupy 500,000 square miles of that State, and 10,000 only live in the Northern Territory.
This situation is so dangerous that the Opposition feels that the Government is placing too much emphasis upon its proposals to send armies to be used in the interests of global strategy. The Opposition believes that too much emphasis is being placed upon what the Government is pleased to call the defence question, when questions of development and migration, to which honorable gentlemen opposite have referred in their speeches, are equally vital and important.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Spender) is not here to-night, and he has not been in Australia for a considerable time. I mention that fact because the honorable gentleman was one of the most strident critics of his predecessor in office for being absent from Australia on the business of the United Nations.
– He is gaining on him now.
– He is certainly trying to gain on him in mileage travelled, even if he is not gaining on him in any other way. The Minister for External Affairs has been gyrating round the globe so often and so fast that I believe the mighty Stalin now fears him even more than he fears the atom bomb. The other day, the Minister made a speech against a proposal for the admission of “ Bed “ China to the Security Council. Personally, I have no objection to that attitude, but I point out that the Minister cast his vote in opposition to the vote cast by Great Britain. I do so in order to emphasize to the honorable member for New England that this Government has not yet been able to reach unanimity with the Government of Great Britain upon how votes should be cast in the Security Council by members of the British Commonwealth. One of the criticisms of the Chifley Government by members of the present Government parties was that on occasions Australian representatives abroad cast votes against those cast by the British Government. On the 15th April, 1948, the present Minister for the Army (Mr. Francis) criticized the Chifley Government in the following words : -
The British Commonwealth of Nations should, at least, speak with one voice in the deliberations of the United Nations . . . We should not try to curry favour by joining up with third-rate South American republics in opposition to Great Britain.
That is- precisely what the present Minister for External Affairs did the other day in relation to the question of placing “ Red “ China on the Security Council. He joined with third-rate South American republics in opposition to Great Britain.
– He joined with many other countries.
– The predecessor of the present Minister also joined with many other countries when he considered that the interests of Australia demanded that we should take a separate course. I think that situation will continue to exist. We can never have on every issue a. policy identical with that of Great Britain or Canada.
The whole world is changing. Capitalism is more or less dead. The sooner it is pushed over the precipice, the better it will be, and I shall do all that I can to help in that task. The world is moving towards one form of socialism or another. All the European nations that are containing Russia now are governed by social democrat governments, socialist governments or governments in which socialists take part. The only answer to communism is . some form or other of socialism. That is the truth.
– The decadent form of capitalism supported by the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) will not last much longer. It created communism and the evils from which humanity has suffered since the industrial revolution.
That is the truth, and anybody who will not recognize that truth is a modern Bourbon.
When the socialist Government oi Great Britain - long may it reign; it is still surviving divisions - decided to give India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon their right to independence if they wanted it, the present Prime Minister, the present Minister for External Affairs and other honorable gentlemen opposite rose in their places in this chamber and protested vigorously, but they became strangely silent the next day when they found that Mr. Churchill had said that what Mr. Attlee had done was almost the acme of statesmanship. As a matter of fact, it saved the East for Australia. It might not be a bad thing if, ultimately, the British Government recognized the truth of Sir Henry CampbellBannerman’s statement that self-government is better than good government, and eventually said to the people of Malaya, “ You can have a government of your own instead of a colonial government. You can remain inside the British Commonwealth or go out of it, as you wish, but we want you to be our friends.” If that situation were created, and created soon, it would help the security of this country, especially that portion- of it which is near to Singapore. I believe in the principle of self-determination. I think that those of us who are of European origin or descent would be much safer in this Asiatic sea if the irritants of colonialism - and it has considerable benefits too - were removed. I think that the advice of the strategists who say that the Suez Canal area’ must be defended and that an army of occupation must remain there under a treaty made many years ago is not good advice. I believe that, after all, strategy has got to be the expression of political policy. Our disagreements with the present Government parties when they were in Opposition very often centered upon the question of whether notice should be taken of the strategists rather than of the political leaders of this country. Political leaders make mistakes. Hitler destroyed a country and a magnificent array. In World War I., Churchill made a grave mistake when he used troops on Gallipoli against the advice of
Lord Fisher and others who were in a position to advise him properly. Ourdivisions through the war years related to the “Beat Hitler first policy”. The Opposition of those days believed that that was the real policy. The Curtin Government believed that the defence of the Pacific was equally as important as the defence of the Atlantic, and that Australia’s salvation was as important to Australians as was Europe’s salvation to the Europeans. But we are not Europeans, although we may be of European origin. We are Australians, and our salvation was as important to us as the salvation of England was to. Englishmen. When the 7th Division was brought back by the Curtin Government the then Opposition protested that we should have allowed Churchill to send it to Burma to save India from invasion. If that had happened possibly the Japanese would have landed here, and that vulnerability of the northern portion of Australia, to which the honorable member for New England has referred, would have been brought home to Australians much more graphically than it was. Whatever bombing took place here during World War II. took place above the “Brisbane line “. I say this with apologies to. the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). Townsville was bombed. Broome was bombed, and Darwin was wiped out. There were submarines in Sydney harbour ; but the Australian people never had it brought home to them just how subject they were to attack. But I think they realize that it is a wrong thing to talk about sending conscript armies out of Australia at this particular time to be used in the defence of Europe, or in pursuance of a Pacific pact or any other pact. They would not agree with it at all, but if it were a matter of defending a certain area affecting the security of Australia they might be persuaded, as they were in the days of the Curtin Government, to agree to service in certain defined areas.
– Only the best are persuaded.
– Whatever may have been said about sending the best and leaving the worst is perfectly true. Whatever armies are to go must be balanced armies.
I heard the Minister for National Development (Mr. Casey) say that Australia should be the base in the event of another Pacific war. I think that was a more realistic approach to the problem than the other contributions from the Government side of the House. I do not think that the United States of America could wage a very successful Pacific war without being able to use Australia as a base. If we denude this country of man-power, which is what we fear in the schemes that have been propounded by the Government, moving step by step to the establishment of great numbers of divisions that we can ill afford, the result would be disastrous to. the economic life of this country.
I referred a little while ago to the fact that there is diversion not only inside the British Commonweals, but even between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, about what they should do on many questions. There is the question of Formosa. Great Britain, having recognized “ Bed “ China, wants the United States of America not to defend Formosa. General MacArthur, as a military man - and I pay my respects to him for what he did to help save this country, and what he has done in recent times - says that Formosa should be held because of its great strategic importance in the defence- of toe Philippines and other places in the Pacific. The United Kingdom wants to allow Formosa to go to Mao-tse-tung, the Communist leader of China. But General MacArthur wants the United States to hold Formosa, so that if the Chinese Communists come down into Korea after the North Koreans are forced back over the 38th parallel, Chiang Kaishek will have a jumping-off ground for the invasion of the mainland of China. I am advised by Chinese diplomats here that both of those things are distinct possibilities. It is therefore not easy to get a unified foreign policy.
.- There is a continuing worry in everyone’s mind to-day. It overshadows all the other concerns of ordinary people. It is the growing threat of war. There is no parent in Australia to-day who does not worry about the future that lies ahead for his children. There is no person planning any long-term scheme of development who does not wonder how far it will get before war begins. There is no thinking person in our midst who does not wonder how long we in Australia may be allowed to enjoy the fruits of this bounteous land free from interference from abroad. What are the causes of this situation, and how does it arise ? The truth is that there is only one source of danger to the peace of the world - Soviet Russia and its satellite States. The choice of peace or war does not rest with us, but with a small group of men in Russia. From this threat only one thing can save the Western democracies and our way of life, that is the readiness to defend ourselves with sufficient strength to make it obvious from the outset that aggression cannot succeed and will not pay. In this respect the United Nations is proving a potent force in the security and future safety of the world by mobilizing world opinion, and much more importantly, by mobilizing armed strength to deal with aggression. In this way it has given renewed hope to the world.
In the course of the debate to-night, we on this side of the House have been criticized for the fact that in the past some of us have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the United Nations. It is true that many of us, with the experience and knowledge of what happened to the League of Nations before, and seeing the apparent lack of success of the United Nations during its first few years, have had very grave doubts whether the United Nations could prove effective as a means of securing peace. But the recent happenings in Korea have had a tremendous influence in restoring confidence in the United Nations, and in restoring the hope of the world that it may prove our salvation. But the United Nations has become effective only because it has been able to mobilize and bring to bear forces against aggression. For those reasons hopes have been renewed, and those hopes can be maintained only if the member States of the United Nations are prepared and ready to bring forward their share of the required forces. It is for that purpose that the Government has introduced its defence plans.
If war comes the future of Australia will not be determined on our own shores, but where aggression breaks out. If that aggression is not dealt with, and communism is allowed a free run in any part of the world, it is there that Australia’s future will be determined, and that is where Australia’s defence must start. What will happen to us in’ Australia if communism prevails throughout the rest of the world? If the western democracies lose the struggle against communism what use will home defence be to us here? When members of the Opposition talk about the necessity for retaining forces at home for home defence they show that they fail to recognize the salient fact that our defence will stand or fall outside Australia.
In pursuance of Australia’s determination to do its share of the work that United Nations may require of it the Government has produced a very effective defence plan, and. has began a recruiting campaign for the services that must commend itself to every thinking Australian. The Labour party has spragged the recruiting campaign at the outset by refusing to take part in it. I consider that that refusal stems from the Labour party’s adherence to an outmoded and now meaningless idea. I believe that in the past the idea that no Australian should be required to serve outside Australia sprang, during World War I, from a belief, mistaken though it was, held by the Labour party at that time, that Australia was being used as an instrument of British imperialism. In my opinion that theory had no basis, but it had an effect upon Australian politics. If it ever did have any basis, it has none to-day. So we see again this phenomenon of extreme conservatism in the Labour party, which professes to be progressive and forward-thinking, a conservatism which prevents it from tackling in a common-sence manner the issues of the day as they arise. So now the Opposition finds itself in a ludicrous position. It has consistently expressed its belief in the United Nations and in the principle of collective security. If collective security means anything at all, it means that all member States of the United Nations must put their share into the collection.
The Leader of the Opposition has said, in an attempted defence of his party’s attitude, that “ the Labour party does not believe in the Government sending men all around the world into any row that starts “. The Korean affair is “ any row that started “, and if communism had been allowed to prevail in Korea, consider for a moment the enormous strength that the Communists would have gained throughout the world. The plain fact is that what the Opposition wants is collective security, with somebody else doing Australia’s share of the fighting. If that were practical politics it might be an understandable viewpoint. This is a hard and selfish world, and in the past nations have succeeded in getting other nations to do their fighting; but that is no longer practical politics. Considering the present state of development of the United Nations, if any single thing could effectively spell an end to collective security, it would be the knowledge throughout the world that Australia, which during the early years of the United Nations, particularly under the guidance of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) played such an effective part in its councils, were now to make it plain that we do not intend to do our share of any fighting required in the future by the United Nations. I repeat that what the Opposition desires is collective security with somebody else doing the work.
Apart from being morally indefensible, that attitude is quite impracticable, and if it is persisted in and this country is ever foolish enough to give it practical effect, it will go a long way to put an end to collective security. It is plain that the Opposition sees the inconsistency of its own attitude, because it has fallen back on the argument that Australia is too small and insignificant in world affairs to make an effective contribution to collective security. Honorable members opposite are always ready to beat the Australian drum loudly enough when it suits them to do so, but when it comes to a question of fighting they always say that Australia’s effort should be in the industrial field. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) in the course of his speech earlier to-day, said that it was not possible for a nation to make an effective contribution by way of a fighting force and at the same time to make an effective contribution industrially. The honorable member should remember the enormous contribution that was made in both the military and the industrial fields by Great Britain (hiring the last war. Although Britain is a great nation, its population is only between six and eight times that of Australia, and if we can produce in this country one-tenth of the effective forces that Britain threw into the field in the last war, and at the same time attain one-tenth of Britain’s industrial production during the war, we shall be making a tremendous contribution to the security of the world.
I ask the honorable member for Parkes to consider the contribution inu.de to world defence by a little nation like Greece in the last war. Both in the actual fighting against Germany and Italy, and later in its incomparable resistance to the occupation forces of the Axis, that country, which has a population, considerably smaller than Australia’s, did some magnificent work. It is time that the Opposition gave up its “ small boy “ attitude and stopped saying, “ We are only little fellows and cannot do anything “. That attitude is no longer defensible in this country, which is very wealthy in relation to its population. We must accept our responsibilities if we are to make our own future secure.
The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) embarked upon a characteristic attempt to besmirch and belittle the Government’s defence plan, and treated us to one of his usual oratorical efforts. In order to besmirch the Government’s defence plan, he had to attempt to minimize the reality of the threat under which we now live, and to convince us that the Korean affair did not contain a threat. With that purpose in mind he also had to belittle the part that Australia, is playing in the Korean incident, so he described the war in Korea as “ a Korean show “. He concentrated his attention on the deficiencies of the South Korean Government and said, among other things, that the South Koreans would have been just as capable of aggression as the North Koreans proved to be. That is a matter which does not concern the realities of the present situation. Had South Korea any Russian tanks or any Russian aircraft? Was it the aggressor? In any event, in view of all the talk that we have heard about the deficiencies of the South Korean Government it is very interesting to reflect that it was the Chifley Government which in 1946, gave formal recognition to the administration headed by Syngman Rhee. However, I do not believe that a. discussion of the virtues or lack of virtues of the South Korean Government has any real bearing on the question that we are debating. If the honorable member for East Sydney desires to make a real contribution to the security of Australia he should cease giving to the Communists in our midst the tacit support that he gives them in every public utterance he makes. I do not. believe that his attitude is shared by all members of his party.
I have been appalled since coming into this House to realize that there is no issue, however serious, which can be brought above the level of party politics. I had hoped that this question of defence would be treated on a national basis without regard to .political rivalry, but it has been apparent from speeches made by honorable members of the Opposition to-night that that is not the case. However, it is still possible for the Opposition to throw its weight behind the recruiting campaign, and I appeal to it to do so. If the Opposition will not do that as a party I hope that individual members of the Opposition will give recruiting their individual support.
It is an absurd idea that we can defend Australia from our own shores. Nobody has ever suggested that a navy need not go outside the territorial limits of its country or that an aircraft should stop 3 miles from the coast. What is wrong in applying the same principal to the Army? If the Army is to be an effective instrument of defence, it must go where defence begins. Australia urgently needs recruits for the defence forces to-day. It is in need of men for its ships. We are not able to-day to man the ships we have. Our Air Force is seriously undermanned, and needs both air crews and technicians. The Citizen Army has fallen far short of the very modest target set. In these circumstances it is imperative that every right-thinking person should put himself behind the recruiting campaign. Yet the Opposition has decided, on the basis of its old and out-worn political beliefs, not to support this campaign. If honorable members of the Opposition would put “party politics aside and look at the urgency of the position of the western democracies and of Australia they would see the necessity for taking a wider and more national attitude in this matter.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Daly) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. White) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 2.30 p.m.
Motion (by Mr. White) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I wish to place a matter before the House which affects the administration of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. I shall read a copy of a circular which has been issued by the Assistant Superintending Engineer for External Plant, PostmasterGeneral’s Department, Melbourne. It is as follows: -
Applications are invited from members of the permanent lines staff desirous of accepting the position of Officer-in-Charge of the Merlynston Community Centre for New Australian employees, 4 Sheppard-street, Merlynston.
The position involves acceptance of responsibility for the control of the centre between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day and on Saturdays and Sundays. Remuneration will be at the rate of £3 10s. per week. Accommodation will be provided at the centre for the successful applicant (not including meals). He will be provided with bed and bedding, wardrobe and dressing table.
Applications should reach this office not later than 22nd September, 1950.
If this advertisement had been circulated among employees 50 or 60 years ago I should not take so much notice of it, but it calls upon employees of the engineering branch who work a 40-hour week to accept a position in which they will work another 84 hours per week. They might even work more than that because the advertisement says, “ Seven p.m. to seven a.m. each day”, which means five days at twelve hours and on Saturdays and Sundays. That may mean twelve hours on those days or the full 24.
– £3 10s. per week.
– For adults?
– Yes. Applications are invited from members of the permanent line staff, who, I think, are almost entirely adult employees. It pre-supposes that a lineman will do his 40 hours a week and this duty as well. It means that for five days of the week the man will be called upon to be on duty for twenty hours. During the other four hours he will have to obtain meals, travel to and from his ordinary daily work, and attend to any private business and recreation. This is a relic of the dark ages. It requires investigation. It is an advertisement which, in my opinion, needs to be withdrawn immediately.
Approximately 25 years ago I fought a case before the Public Service Arbitrator to prevent telegraph messengers from being asked to work seventeen hours a day, and the Arbitrator agreed with my contention and prevented the department from keeping boys on for that length of time. This, coming 25 years later, is something which is definitely worse than the seventeen hours a day of 25 years ago. I ask the Postmaster-General, if he is not aware of what is being done immediately to investigate the position and order that employees, after working their full ordinary hour9 of duty should not be permitted, let alone invited, to accept positions of this nature where they will be on duty over the whole night.
This is possibly a job for a whatchman or caretaker who should be paid the rates provided in arbitration awards and given the conditions appropriate to the job. I ask the Postmaster-General to take immediate action to have ths advertisement withdrawn and issue instructions that conditions of this kind must not apply to any position in the Postal Department.
– in, reply - I shall put this matter before the Postmaster-General. I do not understand what it involves. Generally speaking, I think that awards are adhered to in government departments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
International Civil Aviation Organization - Fourth Assembly, Montreal, June, 1950 - Report of the Australian Delegation.
National Debt Sinking Fund Act - National Debt Commission - Twenty-seventh Annual Report, for year 1949-50.
Ordered to be printed.
Apple and Pear Organization Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 35.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations - 1950 -
No. 31 - Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks’ Union; and others.
No. 32 - Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.
No. 33 - Australian Journalists’ Association.
No. 34 - Amalgamated Engineering Union.
No. 35 - Commonwealth Telephone Officers’ Association.
No. 30 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 37 - Sheet Metal Working Agricultural Implement and Stovemaking Industrial Union of Australia.
No. 38 - Fourth Division Postmasters, Postal Clerks and Telegraphists’ Union.
No. 39 - Postal Telecommunication Technicians’ Association (Australia).
No. 4.0 - Fourth Division Officers’ Association of the Trade and Customs Department of Australia; and Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 41 - Australian Workers’ Union and others.
No. 42 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 43 - Australian Journalists’ Association.
No. 44 - Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association and others.
Banking Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 40.
Census and Statistics Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 43.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Appointmerits - Department -
Army - A. H. Corbett.
Attorney-General - W. S. Flynn.
Civil Aviation - N. L. Keys.
Commerce and Agriculture - K. L. Gunn, W. B. C. Mackie, J. P. Wilson.
Defence - E. R. Knowles, J. F. K. McCarthy.
Health- K. H. Clarke, M. N. McLeod.
Interior- G. C. Bond. T. B. Halbert, F. A. Powell, W. Steele, C. G. van Senden, R. A. Wyatt.
Labour and National Service - J.E. Excell, P. McDonnell.
National Development - D. L. Beattie, R. Green, I. R. McLeod. W. Roberts, T. H. Rodger, K. R. Walker.
Postmaster-General - J. M. Dixon.
Prime Minister - H. G. Shaw.
Repatriation - A. H. G. Mclntyre, B. McLean.
Social Services - N. J. Cameron.
Supply - W. A. S. Butement, B. G. Gates, A. J. H. Oxford.
Treasury - A. M. Kerr.
Works and Housing - D. W. E. Beverley, W. J. Bundrock, R. D. Cooper, G. A. Finlay, M. K. Finlayson, R. Fox, D. O. Gale, A. D. Greenhough, E. D. Greenman, J. M. Larsen. N. W. Ludbrook, N. E. Marchant, I. H. Miller, G. C. F. Millhouse, A. T. O’Meara, G. E. K. Pitt, A. J. Purcell, W. L. ReeveSmith, E. J. Scollay, F. G. Sharkey, R. G. West, D. W. E. White.
Customs Act - Customs Proclamations - Nos. 766, 767.
Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, Nos. 36-41, 53, 54.
Defence Act -
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, Nos. 29, 47.
Royal Military College - Annual Report for 1949.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act -
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and Designs (12).
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 52.
Egg Export Charges Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 31.
High Commissioner Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 45.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land, &c, acquired for-
Australian Aluminium Production Commission purposes - St. Leonards, Tasmania.
Commonwealth office accommodation purposes - Perth, Western Australia.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organization purposes - Kelmscott, Western Australia.
Defence purposes -
Bogan Gate, New South Wales.
Gladstone, South Australia.
Newnes Junction, New South Wales.
Nowra, New South Wales.
Queanbeyan. New South Wales.
Rathmines, New South Wales.
Red Hill South. Victoria.
Salisbury, South Australia.
Department of Civil Aviation purposes - Eagle Farm, Queensland.
Meekatharra, Western Australia.
Narrandera, New South Wales.
Renmark, South Australia.
Department of Works and Housing purposes - Burwood, Now South Wales.
Postal purposes -
Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.
Baulkham Hills, New South Wales.
Chatswood, New South Wales.
Corowa, New South Wales.
Dalwallinu, Western Australia.
Dumbleyung, Western Australia.
Dungog, New South Wales.
Lithgow, New South Wales.
Narrandera, New South Wales.
New Norfolk, Tasmania.
Sandy Bay, Tasmania.
Sydney, New South Wales.
Woodside, South Australia.
Repatriation Commission purposes - Greenslopes, Queensland.
National Health Service Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 50.
Nationality and Citizenship Act - Return for year 1949-50.
Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Crown Lands Ordinance - Reasons for resumption of reserve at Elliott.
Ordinance - 1 950 - No. 1 - Workmen’s Compensation.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 34.
Northern Territory - Report on Administration for year 1948-49.
Papua and New Guinea Act - Ordinances - 1950-
No. 3 - Supply (No. 1) 1950-51.
No. 4 - Customs Tariff (Papua).
No. 5 - Customs Tariff (New Guinea).
No.6 - Land (New Guinea).
No. 7 - Forestry (Papua).
No. 8 - Justices (Attestation of Instruments ) .
No. 9 - Expulsion of Undesirables.
No. 10 - Seamen (Unemployment Indemnity) (Papua).
No. 11 - Shipping (Maritime Convenvention) (New Guinea).
No. 12 - Arms, Liquor and Opium Prohibition (New Guinea).
No. 13 - Arms, Liquor and Opium Prohibition ( Papua ) .
No. 14 - Printers and Newspapers (Papua).
No. 15- Statistics.
No. 16 - Lost Registers.
No. 17 - Co-operative Societies.
Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 30.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, Nos. 48, 51.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 49.
Quarantine Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 42.
Raw Cotton Bounty Act - Return for 1949. Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances - 1950 -
No. 4 - Medical Practitioners Registration.
No. 5 - Rates.
No. 6 - Tuberculosis.
Regulations - 1950 -
Nos. 2 and 3 (Court of Petty Sessions Ordinance) .
No. 4 (Cemeteries Ordinance).
Sulphur Bounty Act - Return for year 1949-50.
Tractor Bounty Act - Return for year 1949-50.
Trade Marks Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 44.
War Service Homes Act - Land acquired at - Deloraine, Tasmania.
Wine Overseas Marketing Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 28.
Wool (Contributory Charge) Act (No. 1) - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 32.
Wool (Contributory Charge) Act (No. 2) - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1950, No. 33.
House adjourned at 11.9 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Information as to the number of permanent and temporary employees respectively is not available for employees of other Commonwealth instrumentalities.
es. - On the 22nd June last, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) asked me questions upon notice, concerning amongst other things, the payments made into, and withdrawals from, the International Monetary Fund by Australia. la reply to the honorable member, I undertook to consult my colleague, the Treasurer, in the matter.
The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to such of the honorable member’s questions as do not concern matters of policy: -
Answer. - Loans raised in the United States ip the late ‘twenties carried high rates of interest, but high rates at that time were not confined to loans raised in that country. Loans raised in the United States in 1945 and 1 947 to refinance loans falling due were issued at rates nf interest not unfavorable to Australia.
Answer. - The following amounts have been paid by Australia to the International Monetary Fund: -
Answer. - On the 24th October, 1949, the sum of United States 20,000,000 dollars was purchased by Australia from the fund. This is the only purchase which Australia has yet i:ade.
Answer. - Approval by the board of directors of an application to purchase currency is governed by the articles of agreement of the fund in the light of the circumstances prevailing from tune to tune and the facts of individual cases. Subject to the approval of the board of executive directors of the fund and compliance with certain requirements arising out of the articles, a member may purchase the currency of other members up to the equivalent of 25 per cent, of its quota in any one year so long as the fund’s holdings of the member’s currency docs not exceed 200 per cent, of its quota. Australia’s quota is 200,000.000 dollars, which means that sums up to 60,000,000 dollars may be purchased in any one year until the fund’s holding of Australian currency paid in exchange for the foreign currency concerned reaches the equivalent of 400,000,000 dollars; provided the board of executive directors were agreeable.
z asked the Minister foi Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The Minister acting for the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has supplied the following information : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 September 1950, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1950/19500927_reps_19_209/>.