21st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 10.30a.m, and read prayers’.
– I rise, under the provisions of Standing Order 138, to deal with Notice of Motion No. 2 standing on the notice-paper inmy name. The motion of which I have given notice is -
That the report of the recent Select Committee on Hansard be adopted by this House.
In view of Mr. Speaker’s statement yesterday, that action on this matter is already in train, and that, in point of fact, the report is in the process of implementation, I ask for leave to withdraw the motion.
Notice of motion - by leave - withdrawn.
– I have received a letter from the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mullens) and the honor able member for Yarra (Mr. Keon.). It is dated this day and readsas follows: -
Dear Mr. Speaker,
Out of respect for the Chair and your office, we apologise for our transgressions oflast night andseek admittance to the Houseat its opening this morning.
John Mullens. stan Keon.
– I ask for leave of the House to move that the Standing Orders be suspended in order that the honorable member for Yarra andthe honorable member for Gellibrandbe admitted to the service of the House.
– The honorable member may move for the suspension of the Standing Orders without leave. Is there any objection?
– We have no objection.
– You say, Mr. Speaker, that there is no need toseek leave to move such a motion, but you ask if there is any objection to the motion being proposed. If an objection can be raised, I shall raise it.
– The suspension of the Standing Orders may be moved without leave.
.- I move-
Clint so uracil of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honorable members for Yarra (Mr. Keon) and Gellibrand I Mr. Mullens) being re-admitted to the House this morning.
The honorable members have written to you, Mr. Speaker, and apologized for their conduct. Their action is perfectly sincere. They did not wish to offend the Chair. Sow they have done what they can do to make amends.
– Is the motion seconded ?
– 1 second the motion.
– T request leave to move subsequently a motion of a similar kind in regard to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen).
– They have not apologized.
– Of course they have not. They could not have been aware of the procedure that must have occurred before Mr. Speaker’s announcement this morning. The Standing Orders do not lay down that the procedure adopted this morning can be adopted. The procedure is quite new and quite good. Our view last night was that none of the four members named should have been named.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman must not canvass decisions of the House.
-. - j am not canvassing them. I am just dealing with them as a matter of history. Whatever was said m the debate last night-
-Order! The right honorable gentleman must not refer to the proceedings of last night.
– Then I shall have to do so on another occasion hy way of a substantive motion, because we cannot have that kind of thing repeated. The
Opposition supports the motion, but after it has been dealt with I shall immediately seek to move a similar motion in respect of the two honorable members of the Opposition to whom J previously referred.
Question put -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honorable members for Yarra (Mr. Keon) and Gellibrand (Mr. Mullens) being re-admitted to the Housethis morning.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - -]TON. Asa tas Cameron.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Dr. Evatt) proposed -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honorable members for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and Parkes (Mr. Haylen) being re-admitted to the House this morning, on the condition that they make an apology to the House at the time of their re-admission.
The House divided. ( Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– -Not having been aware that this matter would come up, I have no form of motion in my mind, but I am quite prepared, to improvise one. As you have just said, Mr. Speaker, we nad a discussion on this matter at a meeting of the Standing Orders Committee and the general view expressed there, which I share was that suspension from the service of the House should not involve deprivation of the amenities, such as the dining-room, in the building. I move -
That, in the view nf this House, suspension from the service of the House involves exclusion from the chamber and its immediate surroundings but does not involve deprivation of the other amenities of the building.
– It is not necessary to second a motion which is submitted by a Minister.
– I will second the motion all the same.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer a question regarding finance provided by the banking institutions for the building of homes. I have received many representations complaining of the restrictions which have been placed in the last ten or twelve months on finance provided by banks for that purpose. I ask the Treasurer, who has the general right of supervision, or, at any rate, of intervention, in these matters, whether he will consider calling together in conference the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank - the central bank - and the representatives of the trading banks to ascertain whether that position can he reviewed as a matter of general credit policy, because the present restrictions are putting such a tremendous burden on the various housing commissions of the .States. I merely ask the Treasurer now whether he will consider the proposition that the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank and the representatives of the private trading banks confer on the matter with a view to ascertaining whether the position can be remedied, or at least mitigated.
– Conferences are continually taking place between the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank and the general managers of the trading banks, and the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition is one which comes up for consideration periodically. There are no restrictions, within the real definition of “ restrictions “, on the trading banks. There is a natural restriction, which is governed by the liquidity of the funds of the trading banks, but the portfolios which they carry concerning their advances policy are ti. matter for themselves. It is quite within their own jurisdiction, and their own. administration, to advance money for buildings or for any other activity, and the amount of money that they advance for building naturally is conditioned by the advances they make in other directions. “When the money is being made available a balance must be preserved between the various factors. The trading banks have not unlimited resources, and, consequently, their policies are carried out in conformity with the liquidity of their own funds and the nature of their advances in various directions.
– Can the Minister for Social Services inform me whether the programme regarding Avar service homes, as outlined in the last budget, will be completed in the current year? Will ample money be available, and will the estimated number of houses be completed ?
Mr. McMAHON The full programme, as announced in this House for war service homes, will be completed, and the total amount of money allotted in the budget will be expended. I. cannot remember the exact figure, but I think
That well over 12,000 homes will be provided this year from war service homes finance.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs whether the Seato treaty has been registered with the United Nations, and, if so, under what article of the United Nations Charter.
– Speaking from memory, the Manila Treaty was registered about a fortnight ago. It has not yet been allocated a number. I think it is usual to allocate a number at the end of the month in which a treaty is registered with the United Nations. The article of the charter concerning registrations is Article LI. and not Article LUI. as is sometimes thought.
– Article LII. is the other article.
– LII. and LUI. are the others, but the treaty is registered under Article LI.
– Will the Minister foi’ Immigration say whether it is a fact that deportation orders have been made against Malays employed, by master pearlers in Darwin because they refused to sign on for wages of from £26 to £33 a month ? Is it also a fact that the master pearlers are now threatening to use in their place Japanese crews as well as divers? If that is so, will the Minister take steps to see that all labour employed in the pearling industry is employed subject to the award rates of pay and conditions that -prevail in the Northern Territory ?
– I have no knowledge of any deportation orders such as the honorable gentleman has mentioned and I should be astonished to learn that any such reason as he has mentioned had been given for action of that character. I am glad that the honorable member has raised this matter, because I have read in the press some most misleading and incorrect statements, attributed to officials of trade unions in the area, regarding the wages that were to have been paid to Japanese divers to be brought to this country. Far from this Government condoning the payment of wages below the level prescribed by the award, all the information in our possession indicates that not only have those already employed in this industry been able to receive a considerable amount above award rates of pay, but also that the divers coming here have every prospect of earning greatly in excess of the minimum wage rates prescribed. I shall try to obtain precise particulars for the honorable gentleman, but I can assure him that the policy of the Government throughout, in relation to all types of labour coming to this country, is to ensure that there is no reduction of standards that will affect the persons concerned. The people employing such labour are required to pay Australian award rates of pay, and to provide Australian conditions of employment.
– I direct to the Prime Minister a question which refers to the comprehensive water scheme in Western Australia, in respect of which the latest survey discloses that costs will be greatly increased over those arrived at before the original agreement. Has the right honorable gentleman received any communication from any source in Western Australia requesting the Commonwealth to meet 50 per cent, of the increase of costs? If so, can he inform the House what consideration has been given to any such request?
– In the last few weeks we have twice received a request fromthe Premier of Western Australia in connexion with that matter. The present Commonwealth contribution is £2,150,000. of which about £800,000 is as yet unexpended. Requests have been made for an addition of about £3,000,000 to that contribution which would raise the total Commonwealth contribution to about £5,000,000. That is obviously a large matter, which involves a number of questions concerning Commonwealth and State financial relations, and it is therefore engaging the consideration of the Government as a matter of policy at this time.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture been drawn to statements made by responsible members of the poultry- farming industry and responsible pigmeatproducers that it is highly desirable that wheat should be graded and that the lower grades should be made available to stock-feed consumers at concessional prices? Has the Minister considered those proposals?
– I am aware that the proposition that wheat should be graded and appropriate discounts fixed for under-grade wheat made available for stock-feeding purposes was canvassed over a period and has been revived recently. In. New South “Wales, and I think in all of the wheat-growing States, State legislation prescribes that State instrumentalities, or instrumentalities identified in State legislation, shall be the monopoly receivers and handlers of wheat. In New South Wales, the Silo Board is prescribed by State legislation as the monopoly receiver and handler. So it is beyond the competence of the Australian Wheat Board or of federal authorities to deal directly with this matter. It is not to be thought that it would be easy to establish a system for grading all wheat, because the physical requirements of handling a crop amounting to millions of tons are not easily arranged. But the Australian Wheat Board, as a matter of practice, does sell under-grade wheat to stock-feeders at a discount. At present it has some millions of bushels which are being offered to stock-feeders at a discount of 6d. a bushel. It would be within the power of the States to fix the amount of the discount if they elected to do that.
– Is the Minister for Supply aware that the United States Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy recently set up an eightman panel of eminent civic leaders and scientists to - I quote from the report of the committee - “ speed the nation’s development of the peaceful use of the atom “, with particular emphasis on the development of electrical power and medi cal research? Is any action being taken on those lines by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission ?
– I am aware that some pronouncement on that subject has been made by the American Congressional Committee referred to by the honorable member. At the end of Question Time, I shall table a report by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and make a statement on it. I think the honorable member will find that the matter he has raised will be dealt with in that statement.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, concerns a recent survey of the egg industry made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Has the survey been completed? If so, has the Minister any information about when the report will be published?
– The survey has been completed, and I think the report consequent upon it has been completed also. It has not reached me yet, butI expect it almost immediately. It will be made available to the public as quickly as possible, which will be in the very near future.
– Will the Minister for Civil Aviation say whether the recent flooding of the Lower Hunter River Valley has affected in any way the proposal to build an airport for Newcastle at Hexham? If it has not. will the Minister say when the Department of Civil Aviation will acquire the land for this project, and explain the reason for the hold-up? Does the Minister subscribe to the view that, if filling were placed on the land by the Newcastle City Council, assisted by local industries, great expense would be saved by the Commonwealth? If he does subscribe to that view, will he say why the department continues to adopt a policy of procrastination with regard to an airport for Newcastle?
– The Newcastle aerodrome project has been under discussion for a good many years.
Recently, the Department of Civil Aviation acquired land for the purposes of the airport, but it was made perfectly clear at the time to the authorities in Newcastle that we had no intention to build the airport in the foreseeable future. We suggested to the Newcastle City Council that, if filling were available, it would be desirable to put it on the site as soon as possible because that would expedite the construction of the airport when the day for construction came. At present Newcastle is served by Williamtown aerodrome, which is a perfectly good airport. It may be that in years to come Newcastle will have an airport much closer to the city, but I suggest that in the meantime the authorities there should give some thought to providing a municipal airport on their own if they think it is required urgently. We have already acquired the land for the airport, so it cannot be used for any other purpose.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture when he expects to be able to make a statement to the House about Australia’s position under the revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
– The Government wishes the House and the public to be fully informed of the nature of the revised agreement. At present, a committee of departmental officers is compiling what will be a white paper for presentation to the Parliament. That paper will set out the details of the old agreement, and also the details of the amendments made and their implications for Australian business and trade. The paper will be made available as soon as the departmental officers have completed the work of compilation. Concurrently with the presentation of the paper, I shall make a statement to the House, explaining the matter in general terms.
– I address my question to the Treasurer because he has made several statements in the House about the matter to which it relates. Has the Treasurer received the report of the committee appointed seven months ago, under the chairmanship of the honorable member for Dawson, to inquire into the merits of an air beef lift scheme in north-west Queensland? If so, when will the report be made available to honorable members ? If the report has not been received, when does the right honorable gentleman expect that it will be received?
– The report, has not been received, but the investigation is proceeding. As soon as the report, has been received, it will be made public.
– Has the Prime Minister received communications from a number of shire and municipal councils in the Riverina, asking him to set up a committee of Federal and State representatives to inquire into university accommodation in Australia, with particular reference to the desirability or otherwise of establishing a rural university in the Riverina plain? If so, is he in a position to accede to the request ?
– I am not aware that I have received such a request since my return from abroad, but it may well be that one has come in and is under consideration. I shall find out what thu facts are and advise the honorable member.
– During the absence of the Treasurer from Australia, I wrote to him upon a certain matter. I received from his secretary a reply to the effect that the matter would be submitted to the right honorable gentleman on his return to this country. The matter related to taxation exemptions for people in the Hunter River Valley who had had the whole of their goods destroyed in the recent disastrous floods there. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he will consider exempting from taxation goods used as replacements in the flooded areas.
– I have not yet had time to look through the correspondence that accumulated during my absence, and no doubt that correspondence includes the letter mentioned by the honorable member. I shall investigate this matter, and give the honorable member a considered reply to his question.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that the Sister Kenny Foundation .in the United States of America has decided to keep its clinics in operation until such time as the Salk anti-polio vaccine is proved to be fully effective? In view of the fact that these clinics have continued to function since Sister Kenny’s death, will the Minister revise his own previously expressed views that her personal supervision of them was necessary, and will he take steps to ensure that her methods will be adopted here for the benefit of those who may still be stricken with poliomyelitis?
– The honorable gentleman may have noticed that the Salk vaccine is successful in only 80 per cent, of cases, so there is no doubt that there will be a need for care. I shall give consideration to the honorable gentleman’s question regarding the Sister Kenny method of treatment of poliomyelitis.
– Can the Minister for Health say whether it is a fact that the Salk vaccine must be administered prior to, not during, a poliomyelitis epidemic? If that is so, is the Minister endeavouring to secure an immediate supply of the vaccine for Australia, and will the vaccine be issued to State health authorities for re-distribution to the public free of cost? Further, will the vaccine be made available to the State authorities on a population basis?
– I said yesterday that I proposed to make a statement on this matter to-day. I shall do so later in the. proceedings.
– by leave - I desire to put before honorable members a statement regarding the Salk vaccine, which is used to prevent poliomyelitis. The best way in which I can deal with the matter in order tn make it as clear as possible to honorable members, is to deal first with what has been done with regard to local production, then with what has been done about importing the vaccine from overseas, and finally to detail the manner in which we propose to handle the vaccine when it is available to us. Ever since the remarkable advances in virus culture, made by Sir Macfarlane Burnet some five years ago, the Government has been trying to discover some means of producing a vaccine to counter the dire effects of poliomyelitis. Therefore, in November, 1952, arrangements were made for Dr. Bazeley, an officer of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, to join Dr. Salk at the University of Pittsburgh with the express object of working on a poliomyelitis vaccine.
At that time the firm arrangement was made that when such a vaccine was successfully developed, Dr. Bazeley would return to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories and make all his experience and knowledge available at the serum laboratories to produce a vaccine in Australia. The work at Pittsburgh has been closely followed by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. In fact, the know-how has been followed in experimental processes at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, which have actually produced small batches of the Salk vaccine on an experimental basis. “When the work began to show promise, all the initial steps were taken to plan the supply of the necessary monkeys, chemicals, plant, laboratory and other facilities in Australia, so that if the large-scale trials being carried out in America were successful, production could be put in hand in Australia as quickly as possible.
When the final results of its success were announced by Dr. Francis, at Ann Arbor, on the 12th April, the Government authorized the implementation of the plans which had been prepared for mass producing the vaccine. Already Dr. Bazeley had drawn up a full list of laboratory equipment and supplies, and this list has been authorized for procurement in the United States for immediate despatch to Australia. Sufficient monkeys to initiate the work are actually in Australia or on the water. When Dr. Bazeley arrives here next week we shall have adequate supplies of monkeys for him to commence work. The major buildings to house the plant and equipment are being provided on a priority basis. Dr. Bazeley will examine, immediately on his return, existing buildings to see if an earlier start can be made.
With all these arrangements well in ha.nd, the production of the vaccine on a fairly large scale at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories is assured, not only with the minimum delay but under the expert and experienced direction of an officer of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories who has been intimately associated with all Dr. Salk’s work. In the meantime, efforts have also been made to obtain some supplies of the vaccine from those United States manufacturers concerned in the great experiment that bad been made with Dr. Salk’s vaccine in the United States. This experiment was sponsored by the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis, and was wholly a private, philanthropic venture.
In this experiment some 2,000,000 children were voluntarily engaged. Of these, almost 500,000 were vaccinated with Dr. Salk’s vaccine three times within six weeks. Another 500,000 were injected with a fluid of similar colour, but without the vaccine in it, while the third group of children of the same age was used for observation purposes.
The vaccine for this huge undertaking Lad been provided by six large manufacturing firms in the United States and Canada for the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis which operated under special licence. The experiment was conducted in such a way that no one could tell, during the progress of the experiment, which child was getting which injection. When the experiment was concluded it was arranged that a doctor of very high, standing, Dr. Francis., secretary-general of the American College of Physicians, should make a determination as to the value of the vaccine by contrasting all the various results which had been carefully tabulated. That took several months.
Until Dr. Francis’s determination was made, there was a halt in the manufacture of the vaccine. On the 12th April last, Dr. Francis gave his determination which Sir Earle Pape. showed that 80 per cent, protection was given against the infection of paralytic poliomyelitis, and 60 per cent, against the other types. A couple of firms had gambled on the success of the experiment to the extent of making up their special tissue fluid into vaccine, as otherwise it would spoil. However, these were quite ready to go ahead very quickly, but. were waiting for a licence.
Their first objective is to find vaccine for some 9,000,000 immunizations foi the repetition of the poliomyelitis fund experiment of last year on those patient* who had been given inert doses. Thisurplus would be available for commercial sale in the United States and. forexport, if export permits were given. Parke, Davis and Company Limited could supply to Australia small quantities in June and July, and substantial quantities in August. If given an export licence, the Eli Lilly International Corporation could do the same. Some other chemica l firms have also offered to assist in a smaller degree.
Representatives of those firms were all brought together by me at a meeting Or Friday, the 22nd April. Mr. Mallinson president of the Eli Lilly International Corporation, who had left Washington only on 18th April, attended this meeting, together with representatives of the other firms. All expressed their readiness to help Australia. They suggested that the Australian Government should make a request for a substantial amount of vaccine, as it might be reduced by the United States Government in its export licensing. The United States Government indicated to the Australian. Government that firm arrangements with the American makerswere necessary to secure the export licence
A telegram that we received this morning disclosed that the American Government had not yet determined when export licences would be issued by the United States Department of Commerce. A.soon as we had the information to which I have referred earlier, the matter was taken to the Epidemiological Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council for its advice. The council is composed of representatives of the State and Commonwealth Health Departments, with various research experts. This committee suggested that we should make a request for 100,000 courses monthly for the next six months. There are three injections in each course, which means a total of 300,000 injections monthly for that period. By that time, Australian production should be rolling out, and we should be able to see more clearly what we would have to import.
The amount suggested is sufficient to handle only a couple of grades of children. The committee recommends that fiveyear old children should have preference in the first batch of vaccinations, as they go out to school and submit themselves to possible infection for the first time at that age. At the same time, nurses in fever hospitals, and physiotherapists who see the patients quite closely, will be given protective vaccine as well, together with pregnant women during their first three months of pregnancy. It is found that, when pregnant women become infected with the disease, nearly always the woman and the child die. When these demands have been fulfilled, the idea is to vaccinate children of the age immediately above and below that of the first group, that is to say, children of four years and six yeai’3 of age, though it may be that the difficulties of vaccinating the under five-year-old children may make it preferable to do the seven-year-old group next. Seventy per cent, of the total number of poliomyelitis cases in Australia occur in children between the ages “f one and ten years.
This vaccine, because of its shortsupply in the whole world, must be under control as regards priority. The National Health Act empowers the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to declare the vaccine, or any other drug, of restricted application and to define the limits of its use. Also, under the Quarantine Act, the federal Minister for Health may issue certain types of drugs free of charge under such conditions as he sees fit. Existing legislation, therefore, gives the Australian Government automatic control of the rationing and distribution of the vaccine. Now that we have some certainty of supplies ahead, the State governments will be called together. The question of administration will be discussed on the lines of the States taking over the vaccine imported by the Australian Government and handling it just as they are doing for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus toxoids. The whole position oi the ultimate real value of the vaccine, and of the most effective way in which to handle it, is in the experimental stage. It is necessary, therefore, to keep exact records of every case. We received new.from America this morning that, unfortunately, in California several children have died, apparently as a result of inoculation, and I am sure the House would like to express its deep sympathy with those who have lost their children The particular firm that supplied the substance has been precluded from making further sales. The vaccination of school children will enable the vaccine to he more easily handled, and as fairly large numbers of patients will be given injections in groups the danger of deterioration of the vaccine will be lessened. The vaccine is being provided in ampules of three doses and of nine doses. Consequently, if a number of children could be treated together, all of the vaccine could be used at once, and there would not be the slightest danger of its deteriorating as a result of being kept overnight. To keep vaccine overnight is a very dangerous practice. Honorable members will probably remember that at Bundaberg about 30 years ago there were quite a number of deaths from diphtheria because the serum had been kept overnight. The children will, be, more or less, under constant observation by their teachers.
Dr. Salk, in his experiment, was giving all three injections within a month or six weeks, but now both Dr. Salk and Dr. Bazeley agree that the third injection should be given six or seven month? after the first, as that procedure very greatly boosts the protective factors in the body, or the anti-bodies as they ar,called. and lengthens the time of protection. I have just received a letter from London which states that the authorities there have been carrying out certain experiments as a result of which they believe that, if the third injection is given seven months late. than the first, instead of six or seven weeks later, the person receiving the injection may be protected for more than h year. By the time the third injection becomes necessary here, it is hoped that Australia will be producing the vaccine. The makers have assured me that there is :io difference at all in the composition of the vaccine prepared by different manufacturers. They all work to a definite standard which is laid down by the American Department of Health, and that department would give a certificate for all vaccine sent here. They would not allow any vaccine to be exported which had not received that certificate.
Early talks will take place with representatives of the State governments, especially on the technical level, [f satisfactory supplies are approved by the United States Government, and if the necessary export licences are issued by the 1st May, we ought to be able to start injections in June or July at the latest. It may even be August, depending upon when export licences are available. The manufacturers have informed me that they think they can commence manufacture by the end of May. This whole matter is such high policy that the Prime Minister will communicate with the Premiers of the States and suggest that their professional and technical men should meet their opposite numbers in the Commonwealth sphere to work out the details of the method of administration. Then the governments themselves will be able r,o deal with the matter. It is suggested that the States should carry the whole administration of the injection of the vaccine, as they do at present with diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus serums, through their Education Departments, hospitals, pre-natal clinics, shire and local councils. The Commonwealth would import the vaccine and hand it over in bulk to the States on a per capita basis according to the number of persons in each State and the group immediately being treated.
Limited supplies in the initial stages make necessary the determination of the proper use of whatever vaccine is available, and the establishment of firm Sir Earle Page. priorities in its use. The advice of the Epidemiological Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council is being followed. We will still press, on a government-to-government level, in Washington, for the maximum quantity of vaccine to be made available to Australia. We have secured the active support of the United States manufacturing firms by giving a firm order, which course the United States Government has recommended. That course will strengthen its hand in the issue of export licences. It will be seen, therefore, that all initial steps necessary to obtain whatever quantities are available from the United States have been taken and that they were, in fact, technically discussed before the final determination of the value of the vaccine on the 12th April. These supplies will enable valuable experience in Australian methods of organization and distribution to be gained before mass production of the poliomyelitis vaccine at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories will enable us to protect our young people from the effect of this dreaded disease.
– by leave - I thank the Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) for having made a statement on this matter. There are two suggestions that I wish to make. The first is in relation to the production of the vaccine at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Apparently, the intention still is that major buildings should be erected. The Minister has stated that that work would be done on a priority basis. However, it would still mean considerable delay.
– We have been informed that they would be completely finished within six months.
– The suggestion about the use of existing buildings should be pursued. I feel confident that existing buildings could be found, because the matter is so important that it deserves a high priority. The other matter to which I refer is the leaving of the administration of the injection of the vaccine exclusively to the States. I take it the suggestion means that the Commonwealth Department of Health will be in day-by-day communication with the States so that the administration of the injections will not simply be handed over to the States, and there may be real co-operation with, and leadership by, the Commonwealth, which, finally, is responsible.
– The giving of that co-operation is indispensable to the success of the scheme.
– The Minister states that such co-operation is indispensable to the success of the scheme. I think everybody will agree that that is so.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Atomic Energy Act - Australian Atomic Energy Commission - Second Annual Report and financial accounts, together with the Auditor-General’s Report, for the period ended 30th June, 1954. and move- -
That the paper be printed.
In presenting this report, I wish to amplify some of the matters referred to in it, and to indicate developments which have taken place since the close of the statutory period. In the establishment of the uranium-mining industry in Australia there have been several notable developments since the 30th June, 1954. An example is the bringing into production of the u raniium deposits at Rum Jungle, in the Northern Territory, where a large and complex treatment plant constructed by Consolidated Zinc Proprietary Limited, as agent for the Commonwealth, was formally opened by the Prime Minister on the 17 th September, 1954. This plant is now successfully producing uranium oxide, two substantial shipments of which have already left Darwin for delivery to the Combined Development Agency. Further shipments are expected to be made henceforward at regular intervals. This very considerable undertaking, which was completed in the remarkably short time of twenty months, represents, not only a punctual fulfilment of commitments entered into by Australia for the defence of the free world, hut also a contribution of great significance towards the development of the Northern
Territory. Another encouraging aspect of the position is that ore is beginning to come forward from privately-operated mines outside the project area. By arrangement with the Combined Development Agency, this ore is being accepted for treatment at the Rum Jungle plant. In the sphere of arrangements with the Combined Development Agency, I must mention also that the South Australian Government has likewise made gratifying progress with its uranium project at Radium Hill. The mining operations and concentration plant there were formally opened by the Governor-General on the 10th November, 1954, and the associated treatment plant at Port Pirie is expected to come into operation shortly. Like the Rum Jungle project, the Radium Hill undertaking is committed primarily to the production of uranium oxide for the Combined Development Agency, but it has established the uranium-mining industry in South Australia, and there are good hopes that the industry in that State will eventually produce oxide in excess of the committed output. Honorable members will be interested to know that the Rum Jungle and Radium Hill projects were inspected by the Raw Materials Sub-committee of the United States Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, which visited this country in November, 1954. In a report issued by the committee on its return to the United States, the projects are referred to in the following terms: -
The Committee came away with the strong conviction that the money which the United States had advanced on loans to the Government of the Commonwealth and of South Australia had been prudently and efficiently expended and that Australia now has two large producing uranium properties which are daily adding to our uranium supply.
The policy of seeking to interest private capital in the development of uranium mining in Australia has had encouraging and important results. Promising discoveries were made by private companies in the South Alligator River area, in the Northern Territory, and early this year the companies concerned had discussions with a major United Kingdom mining company on proposals for the development of this field. Although these discussions did not result in agreement with this British company, they brought the Australian companies together, and some of them are now consulting with one another and with a large Australian mining company in an endeavour to work out a joint development plan. If agreement is reached, as [ hope it will be reached, a basis will have been established for what may prove to be most important operations in the area, involving, ultimately, the erection of a treatment plant and the production of substantial quantities of uranium oxide. One of the major companies operating in the area, the North Australian Uranium Corporation, has also just concluded an agreement, which was announced yesterday, with a large American company, under which the American company will contribute capital, on a £l-for-£l basis, equal to the present subscribed capital of the North Australian Uranium Corporation, for surveying and prospecting work, to be followed by the erection of a treatment plant if this is justified by the results of the survey. All this is a hopeful augury for the uranium mining industry in the Northern Territory, and for the development of the Territory itself.
In the Mount Isa-Cloncurry district in Queensland, a number of deposits of uranium-bearing ore have been, located, although their full value has not yet been assessed. Development rights to what appear to be the two most interesting deposits were acquired from the discoverers by an Australian company, the Australasian Oil Exploration Company, which has now transferred a controlling interest to the Rio Tinto Company Limited, a large United Kingdom mining organization. Under these arrangements, the Rio Tinto company will provide finance and technical skill for the thorough examination of the leases. If the results of the investigations warrant it, the Rio Tinto company will establish, at a cost of several million pounds, a treatment plant, the output of which will, in normal circumstances, he purchased by the Commonwealth. I do not need to enlarge on the great interest and importance of these possibilities. These encouraging developments did not take place of themselves. I do believe that the Rio Tinto company, for instance, would not have undertaken operations in Australia but for the very active encouragement that was given to it by the Australian. Atomic Energy Commission with my authority. I believe, also, that other developments have been brought forward more rapidly by the knowledge of th, work that the commission, has undertaken.
Comment has been, made in certain quarters concerning the policy of the Australian Government in relation to the purchase of uranium ores, and the attitude of this Government has been contrasted with that of the United State? Government, which purchases such ores much more freely than we do at this stage. So far, this Government has offered to purchase uranium ores of a certain, minimum grade delivered at Rum Jungle. This offer was made because, at Rum Jungle, we have a plant capable of treating such ores. “We have had in mind the prospect that at some stage it may be necessary to establish buying stations elsewhere. When discoveries of uranium ore were reported in the Mount Isa-Cloncurry district of Queensland, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and, a little later, I, myself, had discussions with Mount Isa Mines Limited. As a result, that company offered to co-operate with the Government in the purchase and treatment of uranium ores in that district, provided, of course, that satisfactory terms could be arranged, and, above all, that there was a sufficient quantity of ore of a commercial grade in the district to ensure the operation of a treatment plant for a period sufficient to enable a reasonable return to be received on the substantial capital outlay involved.
So far, except at the Mary Kathleen lease, no appreciable tonnage of ore has been proved in the Mount Isa area, although radio-active minerals have been located in many parts of the district. In respect of the Mary Kathleen deposit, the Rio Tinto company has, as I have indicated, now acquired a majority interest in the Australian company which holds the lease, and has, I understand, taken charge of the exploration work going on there. If this exploration shows successful results, the owners of the deposit will erect a treatment plant primarily to treat the ore won from their own deposit. I have already had discussions with representatives of the Bio Tinto company and. have received their assurance that, so far as is practicable, having regard to the varying characteristics of the ores, the company will co-operate with the Government in connexion with the treatment of ores produced from other deposits in the district. It is too early yet to do more than this.
In relation to treatment of uranium ores, it must he remembered that the characteristics of the ores vary considerably and that all ores are not amenable to the same extraction processes. For instance, the processes employed at Rum Jungle and at Radium Hill to extract the uranium from the local ores differ quite substantially. In the Mount IsaCloncurry district, there are varying types of ores and, in order to ascertain what sort of extraction process is necessary, extensive tests are currently in progress, not only in Australia, but also in the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Arrangements for most of these tests were made by the Australian AtomicEnergy Commission in order to assist producers.
The establishment of plants for the extraction of uranium from ores is not a simple or inexpensive process. Three factors, in particular, have a primary significance in determining the policy to be pursued. They are (a) the amount of ore reasonably proved in any one area; (6) the amenability of such ore to treatment and the sort of treatment necessary; and (c) the grade of the ore, that is, the amount of uranium contained in the ore. When these three factors are known, it can be determined whether there is justification for expending the quite substantial amount involved in erecting a treatment plant. As a rough guide, it can be accepted that the exploration and development of a deposit of commercial grade ore to the production stage, and the erection of a treatment plant, would involve a capital outlay of between £3,000,000 and £5,000,000. In the United States, the
Government, because of its enormous atomic weapons programme, has for a good many years been encouraging the search for and the production of uranium on a scale which this country could not face. It has been deliberately seeking a substantial self-sufficiency in uranium, realizing that a war would undoubtedly render importations somewhat uncertain. It has, of course, made contracts with other countries such as Canada, Belgium, South Africa and Australia for the supply of uranium., and in all. or most of these contracts the United Kingdom has participated. Recent information, however, indicates that the United States Government is moving away from a policy of ore buying toward one of buying oxide from producers with their own plants. This has for some time also been the policy in Canada. I was so informed by Mr. Howe when he was in Australia a few days ago. The Australian Government has not, on the advice of its experts, felt able, as yet, to adopt as generous a policy for the purchase of uranium ore. Merely to buy uranium ores of commercial grade? wherever they may be found in Australia could well involve the outlay of many millions of pounds of public money with the very definite risk that, for many years, little or no return would be received. Clearly, it is impossible to establish costly treatment plants in every area in Australia where uranium ore is found and, equally clearly, the cost of transporting ore to the areas selected for treatment plants on the basis of the ore reserves in those areas might well make the operation completely uneconomical. Contrary to what many people think, uranium does not bring a fabulous price. As a guide to the sort of price Australia might expect for any exportable surplus it had in the future, the director of the Raw Materials Division of the United States Atomic Energy Commission recently gave it as his opinion that the world price for oxide produced from this mineral might settle down at about 10 dollars per lb. or about. 90s. Australian.
– That would be considerably under the figure which we receive for uranium in Australia at the moment ?
– Yes; the price under the Combined Development Agency agreement is higher than the figure I have just quoted. The. Australian Government, so far, has pursued a policy of encouraging private enterprise to search for and produce uranium by the gi ant of rights to mine and sell the product; by substantial tax-free rewards for discoveries; and by the guarantee of a market at a specified price and for a specified period. Only in the case of the Rum Jungle project has it taken a direct hand. This policy is not inflexible and has already been modified in the light of current happenings. It will no doubt be modified again as and when circumstances warrant; indeed, some aspects of i. ure before a committee of Cabinet at the present time. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission is already buying ore at Rum Jungle from producers in the adjacent territory. It will consider purchases elsewhere if and when sufficient ore reserves are proved and a treatment plant appears justified, or if other special circumstances appear to make it desirable. The supply and demand position is constantly under review. It is, however, extremely difficult, in the absence of freely disclosed facts as to production throughout the world to form any infallible judgment as to what the future holds. The military demand is, at present, the dominant factor, but the United Kingdom’s requirement for its recently announced programme of nearly £200,000,000 for the generation of power from nuclear sources is also now an important factor. We are negotiating now with the United Kingdom about the fulfilment of part of its requirement from Australian sources.
The Australian Government is very conscious of the importance of uranium, to meet, first, its own future industrial needs; secondly, the requirements of the free world for atomic weapons; and thirdly, the industrial needs of other countries of the free world. It believes that the production of uranium is best left in the hands of private enterprise. It has, and it will, give encouragement to private enterprise in this field, but in so doing, it must have due regard to the risks involved to public funds. In short, it has to determine the risk which it, ascustodian of the public purse, is justified in taking to assist in establishing a uranium-mining industry. Its policy must be, and is, flexible and capable of adjustment to changing circumstances. It is constantly in touch with governments overseas and is advised here by practical experts drawn from the mining industry.
Turning now to action directed toward? the development of the peaceful uses of atomic energy in this country, I must mention first the completion of arrangements under which Australia will collaborate with, and receive full assistance from, the United Kingdom in a coordinated research and development programme. Discussions on this matter were proceeding at the close of the period reviewed in the commission’s report, in the relevant sections of which the scope and objects of the arrangements then under consideration are outlined. This is, undoubtedly, the greatest single measure which could be taken to hasten atomic energy research and development in this country. As is said in the report, it has at one step given Australia access to the results of the immense amount of work on the industrial applications of atomic energy which has been done in the United Kingdom over the past fourteen years, and has placed us in a position which, if we had had to rely only on our own unaided efforts and resources, would have taken us, at prohibitive cost, many years to reach. In addition, the United Kingdom has made available facilities for the training of the scientific staff of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission both in research and in reactor technology and engineering. At present, the commission has fifteen officers at the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, some of whom are engaged in the final design of the reactor to be built in Australia, and some in research work, while others are attending the Nuclear Reactor Technology School there. The Government recognizes with gratitude the generosity and breadth of vision shown by the United Kingdom Government in the discussions on these matters.
To make the collaboration on Australia’s side as prompt and effective as possible, action is proceeding energetically for the implementation of a full-scale research and development effort in this country. To this end, the Government in September last, authorized the Australian Atomic Energy Commission to proceed with the construction of laboratories . and a research reactor on. the outskirts of Sydney, and to recruit sufficient numbers of highly qualified scientists for the research programme. Several distinguished scientists have now joined the commission. In particular, I mention two’ names. Our chief scientist is Professor C. N. WatsonMunro, O.B.E., M.G., A.M.I.E.E., who prior to his appointment was professor of physics at the Victoria University College in New Zealand. He earlier worked in Canada on the Canadian atomic energy programme, and from 1945-1948, at Harwell, handled the design and construction of the first atomic pile built in the United Kingdom. Our Chief Engineer and Deputy Chief Scientist is Dr. G. C. J. Dalton, B.Sc, B.E., D.Phil., who was previously professor of engineering at Auckland University College, New Zealand, and from 1947-1949 was head of the East Reactor Group at Harwell. The fact that these and other outstanding scientists have joined the commission is fortunate for Australia, and a high compliment to the status and quality of the research and development programme which the Government has put in hand. This programme, which will be carried out in close co-ordination with the development programme in the United Kingdom, will be directed primarily towards the use of mi-clear fuels for the production of electric power, but will provide also research in other and related fields of atomic energy technology.
In addition to the co-operation now arranged with the United Kingdom, closer relations in this field are being established with the United States and Canada. Two officers of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission’s staff are at present attending a school of nuclear science and engineering conducted by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. Interesting and useful discussion concerning co-operation with Canada also took place with the Right Honorable C. D.
Howe, the Canadian. Minister for Trade and Commerce, and Defence Production, who controls the Canadian atomic energy programme, when he was in Australia recently. Australia is moreover to be strongly represented at the “Atoms for Peace “ international conference to be held in Geneva in August of this year, where developments in the peaceful uses of atomic energy will be discussed.
I would emphasize that the decision to establish the commission’s research installation near Sydney in no way prejudices the position as regards the siting of any future projects for the production of nuclear power for industry. The laboratories and research reactor will be used for research purposes only, and are being built near Sydney because, in that situation, the research workers will have easy access to important light and heavy industries and to the facilities of other research organizations. If and when il is decided to establish installations for the production of industrial power, their siting will be determined by quite different considerations. I shall not attempt to traverse in detail the other steps which are being taken under the research and development programme; these matters will be dealt with fully in the commission’s next report. I may say. however, that scientists have already been recruited and sent to the United Kingdom to prepare designs for the Australian reactor, and are now engaged on thi? work, which they hope to complete within the next twelve months. Preliminary civil engineering work on the foundations of the reactor will be begun while these studies are proceeding. Plans for the laboratories to be built by the commission are well advanced, and tenders will be called later this year. The clearing of the site and other preparatory work will begin shortly. The site is at Lucas Heights, near Menai, in an unoccupied area about 20 miles from the centre of Sydney. The land which it comprises has been made available by the Australian and New South Wales governments. In the operation of the reactor on this site, complete precautions will be taken against ill effects from atomic waste matter. Some months ago, Mr. Stevens and Professor Baxter, at my request, attended a special meeting of the Sutherland Shire Council and discussed this matter fully with the council, which passed a unanimous resolution as follows : -
That this Council alter hearing the full and comprehensive explanations by General Stevens, Professor Baxter and Mr. E. G. Whitlam, M.H.E., regarding the safety of the reactor at Menai unanimously consider that no objection should be raised by this Council to its establishment.
There is, indeed, a great deal of illinformed talk about the dangers from atomic waste material. Suitably treated there is no danger, as may be gathered from the fact that the wastes from Harwell, after treatment, flow into the Thames, which is the drinking water of London. Besides preparing for the research programme to be carried out at Lucas Heights, the commission has been expanding the general basis for atomic energy research in Australia. Postgraduate studentships have been established in six of the Australian universities to help towards providing trained scientists for future needs, and undergraduate scholarships have been established in several universities for the same purpose. In addition, research contracts have been placed with some of the universities for the investigation of specified problems connected with the research programme. The commission’s desire to promote suitable research activities within our university seats of learning and other institutions may be gauged from the fact that already the commission has established sixteen postgraduate studentships and 22 undergraduate scholarships for the promotion of research and the encouragement of degree studies in fields in which it is interested, and has placed research contracts with four of the universities for the investigation of designated problems connected with the general research programme. In addition, more recently, the commission wrote to the Australian universities inviting co-operation in the general research effort, and offering assistance. I can do no better than quote the following words from this letter : -
The Commission, therefore, makes the following proposals: -
that each Australian University should supply reasonably detailed proposals of research related to atomic energy which it would wish to carry out and which would require special facilities at the Commission’s research establishment, together with the space which might be required and the University staff that would be involved;
that, in a similar manner, each University should indicate any facilities it expects to require in relation to post-graduate training courses in the atomic energy field, which ft may be planning and in which the Commission’s facilities would assist.
In addition, Commonwealth funds have been provided for the carrying on of very valuable work, at the Australian National University in fundamental research and at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in the field of industrial chemistry.
From all that I have said, it will be clear that, in taking energetic measures towards the establishment of atomic energy research and development on a substantial scale in Australia, the Government has planned its programme on a wide basis and with a view to the fullest possible participation therein by the universities and related institutions. I emphasize this point, because there has been some misunderstanding in certain quarters about the matter.
As I have mentioned, the United Kingdom Government has announced a comprehensive long-term programme for the production of electric power from nuclear fuels, and proposes to spend some hundreds of millions of pounds on the construction of plants for this purpose. This programme implies that atomic power is regarded in that country as having a practical economic significance. Here in Australia, preparations are being made to take full advantage of the progress made overseas, and we ourselves shall be contributing significantly to the common endeavour. There is no reason to doubt that, at the appropriate and not far distant stage, we shall be ready to avail ourselves of the beneficient uses of this new and miraculous source of energy in the service of our country and its citizens.
– I do not wish to complete now all the remarks that I should like to make on this matter, but there are two points which I desire to raise at this stage-
– No, the Leader of the Opposition must proceed now, unless he asks for leave to make a statement.
– I will proceed.
– Order ! It is not necessary for the Leader of the Opposition to ask for leave to make a statement. He may speak to the motion that the paper be printed.
– I shall ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
– No, the Leader of the Opposition cannot have it both ways.
– I am trying to say something that should be said now. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) should not try these strong-arm tactics. If he does, he will see what happens. I should like to ask the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale), before the debate proceeds, and I presume that he wants a debate on this subject-
– The debate is now in progress.
– It will come on again. Lt will not be completed now. I ask the Minister to give the House, by way of a supplementary statement, additional information on two points. The first point deals with the price obtained overseas for Australian supplies of uranium. Previously, the Minister refused to give that information to the House. He claimed that security considerations prevented the disclosure of the price. I submit it is perfectly obvious from the report of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, which deals with overseas supplies, that such considerations, whatever force they might have had then, have no further force, and that we are entitled to know the price paid for Australian supplies compared with the price paid for supplies of uranium from other countries. There is no reason why we should not have that information now. The whole question of divulging information which should not be given has now been resolved. Therefore, I ask the Minister to give that information to the
House by way of a supplementary statement.
The second point is in relation to the atomic waste from the laboratory and the research reactor at Menai, near Sydney. It is perfectly correct that the matter has received some consideration. Apparently, the technical advice is that of Professor Baxter, but I understand that views opposing that advice are entertained by some nuclear scientists-
– Not on this matter.
– Tes, on the effect of the waste which will come right down through the waters of Botany Bay. Fs that not correct?
– I am not aware of it.
– I understand that the fishing fleet, which is quite considerable in that district, is concerned about this matter. I should like the Minister to have that checked by some independent experts, such as the professor of nuclear physics at the Sydney University. 1 suppose that he and Professor Baxter do not always disagree. At any rate, his view should be obtained. This may well be quite a different proposition from the method of treatment at Harwell. It may not have the same result. The Minister cannot shelter behind the decision of the Sutherland Shire Council-
– I am not sheltering behind the decision of the Sutherland Shire Council.
– Why did the Minister quote the resolution of that council?
– Because I thought it was of interest to the House and country. The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), who is a supporter of the Leader of the Opposition, was present when the decision was made.
– Order ! A dialogue is out of order.
– The honorable member for Werriwa told me that, naturally, he could not venture any opinion of a scientific character on that matter, yet his name is included in the resolution of the council. That is one of the reasons which have induced me to make my request.
– I did not write that resolution.
– I do not suppose that the Minister wrote the resolution or the speech, but I submit that the course of action I have suggested should be followed. Some independent view of the position should be obtained, because there is grave concern indeed, and it cannot be airily dismissed in the way the Minister has suggested. I ask for leave to continue my speech at a later stage.
– Is leave granted ?
Leave not granted.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Wentworth) adjourned.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have received from the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) an intimation that he desires to submit a definite matter of urgent public importance to the House for discussion, namely -
The clanger that the recommendations of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board on the allocation of Television Licences, if carried out, could create a communications monopoly, and that the introduction of foreign capital into the television industry is against the declaration of both Houses of this Parliament. in the proposal supported?
Eight honorable members having risen in support of the proposal,
.- I have adopted the time-honoured procedure of submitting a definite matter of urgent public importance to the House for discussion because on Monday night of last week the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) announced the names of the four successful applicants for television licences under the Television Act 1953. Honorable members will recollect that under section 4 of that act, the Minister is the person who may grant a licence after he has considered the recommendations made by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. It is his decision. It is not the decision of the Executive Council. It is not the decision of the Parliament. Accordingly, the only way in. which we can discuss the PostmasterGeneral’s exercise of his discretion is by placing before the House such a submission as I have placed before it. There can be no doubt that the matter is of urgent public importance. Television is the most potent and pervasive of the means of communication, and the character of television in this country will be determined, to a very great degree, by the way in which the four successful applicants operate under their licences.
The submission refers to two matters. The first is the aggregation of monopoly brought about by the action of the PostmasterGeneral in acceding to the granting of the four licences concerned. The other is the fact that the acceptance of those applications appears to run completely counter to a resolution that was passed by this House on the 28th November, 1951. I shall refer first to the aggregation of monopoly.
The four successful applicants were a,follows : Amalgamated Television Services Proprietary Limited and Television Corporation Limited, both in Sydney : and General Television Corporation Proprietary Limited and the Herald and Weekly Times Limited, both in Melbourne. Their names, of course, appear to be completely general and technical. But the import of the granting of the licences will he more readily understood when it is pointed out that Amalgamated Television Services Proprietary Limited is only another name for the interests that already control the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald and the Sun. in New South Wales, as well as the Macquarie broadcasting network and stations 2UE and 2UW in that State. Television Corporation Limited is the alias of the Packer newspaper interests in New South Wales. In Melbourne. General Television Corporation Proprietary Limited is the alias of the Argus and Australasian newspapers of the Age newspaper and of Hoyts Theatres Limited and Greater Union Theatres Proprietary Limited. The Herald and Weekly Times Limited in Melbourne is the holding company for all the Murdoch interests in that State.
– The ex-Murdoch interests.
– Yes, for the exMurdoch interests, as my leader reminds me. It is quite plain, therefore, that during the five years’ currency of those licences - the Royal Commission on Television recommended a three-year term, if I recollect aright, but the Minister has granted a. five-year term - the same interests which have a monopoly of the daily newspapers in Victoria, and of all the daily newspapers, except one, in New South Wales, which are the same interests that control the wealthiest broadcasting stations in Sydney and Melbourne, and the States of which they are the capitals, will also control the only commercial television stations in those two States. It is the policy of the Government that there shall be a dual system of television, public and private. The Government realized quite well, when it decided to permit private television, that there were very few companies already in existence which could operate private television. It knew that private television could be operated only by the companies that already dominated the commercial broadcasting field, which were owned by the monopolists of the newspaper field. It had every self-interest in propounding the principle of private television, because the newspapers to which . have referred, without exception, support the political point of view propounded by the Government coalition. The commercial broadcasting stations, insofar as their listeners will tolerate propaganda of a political character, also state the same point of view. It is plain, therefore, that in the two principal States of Australia, in which commercial television is to be instituted, the same point of view will be put on television as is put by the press and the commercial broadcasting stations, and that point of view alone will be put. Here we have, immediately, the makings of a monopoly in all three fields of mass communication.
We are often told that public control of the means of communication would result in thought control. It is clear that, with private control of all three means of mass communication in Australia, we shall have thought control by the people who control those three means. Those means of communication will be controlled by people who are politically sympathetic to the parties now in office, and to those parties alone. Applications for television licences were made on behalf of the people who hold the contrary point of view, by the general secretary of the largest trade union in Australia and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) as leader of the Australian Labour party. They made these applications as Labour party trustees. The trade unions, and last month at Hobart, the federal conference of the Labour party, ratified the applications. But the Australian Broadcasting Control Board rejected the applications, and the PostmasterGeneral, of course with alacrity, endorsed the rejection. Therefore, the only means of presenting a point of view that is alternative to the point of view held by the people who control the four companies that have been granted licences in this latest, most pervasive and most potent form of mass communication in Australia, has been lost. It has been lost not for three years, but for five years. That position will lead to thought control.
One can at least say of public television that it will in all probability proceed on the lines on which public broadcasting in Australia has proceeded. That is, it will prove to be the only form of mass communication in which not only the majority, but also any substantia] minority, can have its point of view expressed freely, without favour, and with equal prominence. Everybody gets a hearing on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s stations, and everybody will get a hearing on public television. But only one point of view will be propounded on the television stations to be operated by the four successful applicants. It. will be the same point of view as is propounded over the commercial broadcasting stations and by the newspaper interests which own those stations. The public will be very satisfactorily conditioned in that regard, by the interlocking interests.
The other matter to which I have referred in my submission is the breach of the resolution that was passed by this House on the 28th November, 1951, and also passed in another place, in the following terms : - lt i« undesirable that any person not an Australian should have any substantial measure of ownership or control over any Australian commercial1 broadcasting station, whether such ownership- or control be exercisable directly or indirectly.
Gil that occasion the honorable members who sit. on this side of the House, both the members of the Australian Labour party and the members who are now members of the un- Australian Labour party–
– Order 1
– Well, all honorable members’ who sit on this side of the centre aisle voted against that resolution, ft is true that the honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews), the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mullens), the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. W. M. Bourke), and the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon), were absent during the division on the resolution, as they were absent from the rest of the proceedings of the day. But those honorable members on this side of the centre aisle who were in the chamber on. the occasion of that division voted against it. I was not here at the time, but I know that the honorable members who voted against the resolution did so because they doubted the bona fides of it. You will recollect, Mr. Speaker, that the Daily Mirror interests in London had at that time just bought the controlling interest in the Melbourne Argus, and the broadcasting stations owned by the Argus. Honorable members on the Government side would never have persisted with that motion if the other branch of the Harmsworth family, which controls the conservative Daily Mail, had bought the Argus and its broadcasting stations. They persisted with it, however, because the radical Daily Mirror interests had bought them. They resented the fact that the Argus, under its new control, had already changed its political tone. They feared the possibility that the broadcasting stations formerly owned by the Argus would also change their political tone. We objected to the timing and the sheer vindictiveness of the motion. The general principle that Australian means of mass communication should be owned and controlled by Australians is surely endorsed by all members of the four parties in this House - the two principal parties and the’ two rump parties. It is true that the applications made to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board were severely modified by the board, but in the result it is possible for 20 per cent, of the- shares in each of the four successful applicant companies to be owned overseas, and for any shareholder in one of those companies to live overseas and own 15 per cent, of its shares. The line-up is that a 20 per cent, interest in Amalgamated Television Services Proprietary Limited, the SunHeraldMacquarie station will be held by the Daily Mirror, of London; 20 per cent, of the shares of the General Television Corporation Proprietary Limited, in Melbourne, the Argus-Age-Hoyts station, will be held also by the Daily Mirror, of London; 20 per cent, of the shares of Television Corporation Limited, the Packer station, in Sydney, will be held by the Daily Mail; and 20 per cent, of the shares of the Herald and Weekly Times station in. Melbourne will be held also by the Daily Mail. No shares are at present held by the Daily Mail, although the evidence given before the board was that the Herald and Weekly Times wished to include 30 per cent, of the capital investment from Associated Newspapers Limited, which owns the Daily Mail. The real significance of that shareholding appears from a fact acknowledged by the board on page 21 of its report. The board stated -
It is. a generally accepted principle that u shareholder with a comparatively small percentage of shares can, in certain circumstances, exercise effective control of a company, and, indeed, apart from that consideration, we feel that the influence of any individual overseas shareholder should, as a matter of principle, he restricted.
The board considers any company to be controlled overseas if one-half of its shares is held overseas, or if the overseas shareholders can control the company. But you will appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that it is very easy for any company, in fact it is normal for it to be controlled by an interest owning a minority of the shares. A £1,000,000 company is easily controlled by some big interest which has a £250,000 shareholding. It is not. very difficult for such an interest to get the concurrence of a sufficient number of other shareholders and so get a half of the shares, so to speak voting it’s way. Whatever may be said about the ownership of the various broadcasting stations, in each of these cases the principal shareholder is a. newspaper company, and the shareholdings of newspaper companies are not controlled or supervised by the board. It may be said that overseas interests will not buy into newspaper companies. But they have already done so in Australia. Argus and Australasian Limited is already controlled by the Harmsworth Daily Mirror interest. What has happened once, can happen again.
I shall refer briefly to the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror interests in London. They are both arms of the Harmsworth newspaper empire, the Northcliffe branch owning-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time is expired.
Motion (by Mr. Chambers) put -
That the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) be granted an extension of time.
The House divided. (Mb. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I shall preface my remarks by repeating a phrase that was used by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) when he spoke in 1951 in the. debate initiated by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), seeking to curb the extent of overseas ownership of radio interests in Australia. On that occasion the Leader of the Opposition opened his remarks with these words -
This is one of the most extraordinary motions ever to be put before the Parliament.
I say that the action of the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) is most extraordinary, in view of the performance by the Opposition when the motion I have referred to was put in 1951. On that occasion, every member of the Opposition, at any rate every member of the Opposition who voted, recorded his vote against the motion proposed by the honorable member for Mackellar.
Not only did every member of the Opposition who voted then vote against the motion, but the Leader of the Opposition himself was in the forefront of the battle to reject it. To-day the honorable member for Werriwa says that we should not have overseas capital in our television companies, but in 1951 the Leader of the Opposition said -
This motion is anti-British and directed against the investment of British capital in Australia.
He was most indignant on that occasion. It is quite possible that, but for the motion proposed by the honorable member for Mackellar, there would be a very much larger percentage of overseas capital in television in Australia to-day.
The Australian Broadcasting Control Board in its report, which is available to all honorable members, had indicated that it took cognizance of the resolution of November, 1951, and that it gave very careful consideration to the wishes of the Parliament as expressed in that resolution. I think, therefore, that the House owes a debt of gratitude to the honorable member for Mackellar for having directed attention to the matter at that time. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board recommended .that a certain limit be placed upon the extent of overseas ownership of television stations in this country.
The honorable member for Werriwa pointed out that the granting of television licences is in the hands of the PostmasterGeneral. That is perfectly correct, but the power to grant television licenses is a very wide power indeed. It is a power that I considered was far too great for me to exercise single-handed, and so I obtained the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The procedure adopted was for the board to conduct investigations and public hearings in connexion with those who desired television licences. Any one who wanted to obtain a licence was given the liberty to apply for one, but he was also required to state his case at a public hearing. Applicants had to indicate the capital that they proposed to use in the establishment of a station, and also the source from which it was to be obtained. They also had to indicate the nature of the participating parties, their experience in mass communication media such as radio, the theatre, television, picture shows or the like, and to give a very full description of their ability to make a success of television in this country.
The Australian Broadcasting Control Board conducted hearings of that nature for several months last year, and, as a consequence of those hearings, made certain recommendations to me. I conveyed those recommendations to the Cabinet, which endorsed, in general, practically all the recommendations of the board. There were, however, one or two minor alterations of those recommendations. The honorable member for Werriwa pointed out that the term of the licence is to be five years instead of three years as recommended by the board. It may not be plain in the board’s report, but the board recommended a period of three years as currency for the licences, and indicated that the three years was to commence from the time programmes were actually televised Therefore, the Government considered that five years from the time of granting the licence is roughly equivalent to the period recommended by the board. Consequently, honorable members will perceive that the Government’s action is not much different from the board’s recommendation.
This Government did not propose that television in Australia should be the property of any particular party or of any government for the time being in power. I shall read some of the conditions of the television licences that are to be granted. Primarily, we endeavoured to ensure that television should be under the control of Australians, and directed principally by Australians. Therefore, we decided that there should be a limit placed on the degree of overseas control and overseas capital invested in television in this country. We have decided that the degree of overseas ownership shall be not more than 20 per cent, of the value of the ownership in any station. In an investment of about £3,500,000 for four television stations in Australia, not more than £700,000 may come from overseas.
It is rather important that permission should be given for some overseas capital participation, because many overseas companies are already established in Australia where they are at present operating wireless or picture show interests. For example, Paramount Film Service Proprietary Limited has a small interest in one of the Sydney television companies, and Hoyts Theatres Limited has a small interest in a Melbourne station. Philips Electrical Industries Proprietary Limited is a huge Dutch enterprise which is already established in Australia and is employing 2,000 or 3,000 people in Adelaide. That concern also has a small interest in one of the Sydney licences. Therefore, honorable members will see that overseas interests are represented in a small degree, but nevertheless such interests are already established in Australia and should be encouraged in their enterprise.
The conditions of the licences specify that not more than 15 per cent, of overseas ownership shall be in the hands of any one particular person. For example, in one Sydney station, Philips Electrical Industries Proprietary Limited, the Daily Mail, London, and Paramount Film Service Proprietary Limited of America are all represented, and those concerns originated in three different countries. Those overseas interests cannot own more than 20 per cent, of the capital in that particular television concern, and no one of them can hold more than 15 per cent. Consequently, it is quite plain that very little control will be exercised by any one of those organizations in an Australian television station.
Another condition of the issue of licences is that each licensee shall, each half-year, make a declaration that there has been no change in the amount of overseas capital invested in the relevant concern. The honorable member for Werriwa expressed some fear that these private television stations would be used to obtain party political advantage, and I have no doubt that that might have been so if a government of the political complexion of the honorable member had been in power. I say that, because broadcasting stations that are at present controlled by the Australian Labour party most unashamedly use their media to broadcast Labour propaganda, sometimes to the exclusion of propaganda for which payment is offered by their opponents. Almost every broadcasting station in Australia will at present accept advertising matter from any political party or any religious organization, except some of the Labour-controlled broadcasting stations which refuse to accept material for broadcasting from the political opponents of Labour. The allocation of time for the televising of political and controversial matter shall he strictly on the basis of equal treatment for all parties in the manner recommended by the Royal Commission on Television.
– That may be all right, as long as it can be paid for.
– That condition attaching to the issue of television licences will provide for equal treatment for all political parties. Honorable members should note that the allocation of time for the televising of religious matter shall he arranged on the same basis as that’ which governs the broadcasting of religious matter from commercial broadcasting stations. Therefore, not only are political parties to be treated on equal terms, but also religious denominations are to have equal opportunities to use the television services. Insofar as that, arrangement relates to broadcasting, it has proved very satisfactory in this country, and as long as I have been Postmaster-General - which has been for a good number of years - I have not heard of a single objection from a religious organization that that organization was not getting fair treatment by the broadcasting stations.
– Will the Government have any control over television programmes ?
– Yes, control will be exercised by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Another condition of the licence is that the licensee shall provide programmes and shall supervise the televising of programmes from his station in such manner and in all respects as to comply with such standards as the Australian Broadcasting Control Board determines. Therefore, the board will exercise supervision all the time, in the interests of the public and this Parliament, over the programmes of the television stations.
All advertising matter televised by a licence shall be in accordance with such standard? as the Australian Broadcasting Control Board determines. I have outlined the main conditions that will attach to the issue of licences. Of course, as the honorable member for Werriwa, pointed out, one of the difficulties in granting private or commercial licences is to determine who shall get them. Accordingly, we have made what we consider to be a very good arrangement for television in Australia. In Sydney and in Melbourne, with the exception of the Herald and Weekly Times Limited - a single concern which will get a licence - the television organizations are all composed of groups of the most important commercial and business interests in Australia. For the .Sydney area there shall be two television licensees, Amalgamated Television Services Proprietary Limited and Television Corporation Limited. The former will be formed from Associated Newspapers Limited - Sydney Sun ; John Fairfax and Sons Proprietary Limited - Sydney Morning Herald; Radio 2TJE .Sydney Proprietary Limited, Broadcasting Station 2GB Proprietary Limited, Macquarie Broadcasting Service Proprietary Limited, Artransa Proprietary Limited, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, Australian Broadcasting Company Proprietary Limited - 2UW Sydney. I suggest that the organizations that comprise Amalgamated Television Services Proprietary Limited are among the most important which could be combined to operate a successful television station. Television Corporation Limited is a company to be formed by what is known as the Packer group. The shareholders in that company will be Consolidated Press Limited, Associated Newspapers Limited - Daily Mail, London)-
– That .brings in the Northcliffe family.
– Lord Northcliffe has been dead for 40 years. The remaining .shareholders in Television Corporation Limited will be Philips Electrical Industries Proprietary Limited, Broadcasting Station 2SM Proprietary Limited, 2KY Broadcasting Station, Tivoli Circuit (Australia) Proprietary Limited,
Paramount Film Service Proprietary Limited.
-Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
Mr. CALWELL (Melbourne) [12.42 J. - The Government is guilty of great inconsistency in. this matter. The Daily Mirror, of London, will be allowed to have an interest in a television station, even though it was not allowed to retain the full interest which it purchased in those radio stations owned by Broadcasting Station 2GB Proprietary Limited and the Macquarie Broadcasting Service Proprietary Limited. The stations in the Macquarie network at present have directors who are appointed by an English company that has about .» 44 per cent, interest in the organization controlling them. Therefore, this effective control has put at nought a resolution of this House.
The Government has stated that it ha.given effect to a motion of .the House by insisting that the Macquarie network should not serve .substantial British interests. The Government’s actions in this matter are like its actions in connexion with the stevedoring industry. It. passed a stevedoring industry measure, but did not give effect to it and the position which the measure was designed to remedy remained as it was. Now we find overseas capital is to be strongly represented in the companies that have been given licences to operate television stations. Indeed, only one organization, the Herald and Weekly Times Limited of Melbourne, has stated that it will operate with local capital. I suggest that this Parliament should ensure that there shall not be any overseas capital in any of our media of communication of ideas or entertainment.
A very bad situation has arisen -when people can invest money from overseas in these various propaganda-creating instruments. It is the view of ‘the Australian Labour party that those instruments should be completely owned by Australians. We opposed the resolution -of 1952, but if that was the ‘expression -of the will of this ‘House, it principles should have been applied. If it was good ‘enough to deal with radio. sta tions on the lines <o’f that resolution, then ;surely it is good enough, to ‘deal with television stations on the same lines.
Sitting suspended from 12.U5 to 2.15 p.m.
– I rise to order. I have been informed that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is addressing himself to the subject of television, is a director of the Industrial Printing and Publishing Company, which i3 the holder of a licence for Station 3KZ, and that he has a personal pecuniary interest in this matter. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it is proper for him to address himself to this subject?
– If the honorable member for Melbourne has any pecuniary interest whatever in any television company, he should declare his interest. If he has such :an interest, he is not entitled to speak about, or to vote on, any matter arising out of it.
– I have no -pecuniary interest in any company whatever.
– Is the honorable member a director?
– I am a director of the Industrial Printing and Publishing Company, which has not made an application for .a television licence. I have much less interest, if that is possible, in a radio station than has the honorable member for Fisher (Mr. Adermann), who is a director of a radio .station at Kingaroy. I give you, Mr. Speaker, my assurance .that I have no interest whatever. I have a. great interest, however, in protecting the public against the decision of the Government to hand over four television licences to two of the greatest monopolies in existence.
– Order ! Is the honorable member attempting to continue his speech on the subject before the House ?
– Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am continuing my speech.
– Very well, I shall note the time.
– :If that is so, I shall start now. The four companies to which the Government .has given licences represent every daily ;newspaper and every leading radio station in Australia, with the exception of 3KZ of Melbourne although 2KY of Sydney, which is also a Labour-owned station is tied up with one of the successful Sydney applicants. The Government represents big interests generally, very big interests, big electronic manufacturing interests and the like, and these four television stations are to be placed in the hands of one huge monopoly or cartel. That, in my view, is all wrong. I. believe in the platform of the Australian Labour party and in the nationalization of .radio services. I .believe in every plank of the Labour party’s platform. But, if we are to have commercial television, let ali of those interests who applied for licences have them. Why not give one to the Labour group, on behalf of whom the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) submitted an application, both for Sydney and Melbourne? Why not give one to the Mirror group in Sydney also, because it can be stated that that group and the Labour group are Australianowned and Australian-controlled. None of the other groups to which licences have been granted can make that claim. They are all tied up with foreign interests.
If foreign capital is to be invested in Australia, surely we ought to encourage its investment in heavy industry and in the establishment of industries which do not exist in this country. If we were to have investment of that kind, we would have, not only machinery, but also the knowhow that is so essential to our defence and development. The introduction of foreign capital for television services is intended to benefit only those people who happen to live in two capital cities. The remainder of the people of Australia will not benefit. We should not divert labour and materials for the construction of television stations at this stage, anyhow. If our danger is as great as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies1) and other Ministers have stated it to be from time to time, we should use all of our available resources for the defence of Australia. It would be far better to build a northsouth railway, harbours and civil airports than to waste our money on the establishment of television services. It has been alleged that a most important has been alleged that a most important organization like Trans- Australia Airlinesand, perhaps, Australian .National
Airways Proprietary Limited - cannot obtain dollars from the Government for the purchase of aircraft which are essential to the convenience of the Australian people, and which can be used in wartime, but it is proposed that dollars shall be made available for the importation of equipment for television stations, and all for the benefit of the few people who will sit at the pyramid of this set of organizations combined into one. That is all wrong.
The Royal Commission on Television recommended, in paragraph 23, that licences should be granted only for a three-year period, and that they should be renewed for a period not exceeding one year. But the Government goes beyond the terms of the recommendation of the royal commission. It proposes to grant licences for five years so that the organizations that are affected may establish their equity, and so that everybody else may be kept out for that period. The Government has given the advantage to certain big financial interests in a manner that goes far beyond the recommendations of the royal commission. The Director of Airways and Civil Aviation, Mr. R. M. Badenach, has stated that the introduction of television may be delayed, because Australia is lagging far behind in electronics. If there is a country that needs all the advantages that electronic science can give it, Australia is that country. To say that newspaper organizations abroad and in Australia must have advantages in the matter of provision of television services is to neglect the public interest.
We know the organizations that are interested in the various companies to which licences will be granted. There is the Daily Mirror in London, about which the Government waxed so eloquent in 1951 when it secured agreement to a resolution which denied the right of foreign capital to have substantial investments in broadcasting stations. The Daily Mirror is interested, I think, in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun and the Macquarie network. The Daily Mail of London, which is run by Lord Rothermere, is interested in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The Daily Mirror in London is run by Lord Northcliffe’s family. It is not an organ of the Labour group, but it has Labour leanings. It prints a newspaper with a daily circulation of 4,000,000 copies. But the Government thinks that the Daily Mirror should not be allowed to have substantial interests in the Macquarie network of radio broadcasting stations.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I think it is a terrible pity.
.- We have been asked to-day to believe that the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Television in relation to the issue of television licences might create a monopoly. No matter how we look at the applicants, and particularly successful applicants, for licences, we find ample evidence of competition between the various groups, regardless of the fact that the Australian Labour party continues to raise and to support the fiction that there is unity between the great press and radio interests in this country. This morning, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam ) tried to tell us that we had an aggregation of monopolies developing a new super-monopoly over television services. When we consider the applicants - and after all, the board can grant licences only to applicants - the plain fact that emerges is that each of them represents an aggregation of capital. Without the backing of that aggregation of capital, how in the name of goodness could they withstand the long period of high capital cost and high expenditure on operations without earning a profit? I suggest that, if we were to grant licences to applicants with a lesser financial background, there would be grave danger of default, and the listeners would be badly off indeed.
Two remarkable claims have been made in the House to-day, one of them by the honorable member for Werriwa who tried to suggest that the commercial broadcasting stations, in some strange way, are sympathetic to the Government. I well remember what happened a couple of years ago when there was a crisis in Australia over the balance of overseas payments. The time came for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to make a national broadcast. Being quite unwilling to use the power that is conferred upon the Government by the Australian Broadcasting Act to commandeer time from the commercial network, he sought a hearing on the commercial broadcasting stations. They advanced all sorts of reasons why time could not be provided, even for the Prime Minister in relation to a matter of grave national importance. The reason behind that, of course, is that the commercial interests feel that they are under a threat from a Labour or a potential Labour government, particularly when they hear statements like those that have been made by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who wants to nationalize broadcasting stations. On that particular occasion, the Prime Minister was given time by a very restricted group of stations indeed, who were awa.ro of their national responsibility.
The point to be kept in mind is that, although in Australia there is not any interest which can conceivably he linked with the Government, there are five Labour-controlled stations in the capital cities which are pouring out a steady stream of Labour propaganda, and to which licences were granted when the party which they represent was in office. The broadcasting act provides that commercial stations shall make their facilities available without discrimination yet, as the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) pointed out this morning, the Labourowned stations refuse to accept advertising or broadcast programmes from antiLabour sources. Perhaps the time has arrived when we should look at that aspect of the matter. It is true that there are five Labour-owned stations. It is rather intriguing, therefore, to note that, when the Leader of the Opposition was in Newcastle recently, the Labour station in that area denied its facilities to him. Apparently he did not belong to the right Labour party. In other words, tho station gave him the air, but not in the manner in which he wanted it. The honorable member for Melbourne accuses the Government of inconsistency. There is no greater expert on inconsistency in the House than the honorable member himself. He has turned a complete somersault since 1951 when, in association with his leader, he fought very hard for the right of overseas interests to have unlimited participation in commercial broadcasting concerns.
The 1951 resolution, to which reference has been made, did not arise because overseas capital sought to dominate one particular station. The fact Ls that in 1951 overseas interests tried to dominate the entire broadcasting picture in Australia, and it was quite right and proper for the Government to support the limitations to which the House agreed at that time. I remember, too, that it was the honorable member for Melbourne who had something more than a passing interest in the picture at that time, and no doubt he felt keen disappointment But it is very refreshing indeed to note that he is prepared to sink his disappointment, and that he is now quite prepared to accept very graciously the decision of the House at that time and say, “ Yes, I believed that in 1951, but to-day I am prepared to accept the decision of the House and change my views completely I do not think we have ever before seen in this chamber such an exhibition of “ seeing the light “. Having agreed to accept the decision of the House, he now argues that overseas capital ought not to be given access to the television field. I suggest that there is a mine of inconsistency in that particular situation.
The fact is that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, in its recommendations to the Government, which the Government ‘ has accepted, has interpreted the spirit of the resolution to which the House agreed in 1951. The board fact is, as the honorable member for Werriwa himself so forcefully stated this morning, that there is no influence which is more powerful in affecting public thinking, and the development of the national spirit, than is television. Australia is suffering enough already from its insularity. There is a very great heed in this country for overseas experience and f kill, particularly in the new field of television, which is well, developed overseas. If we were to debar ourselves from the benefits of overseas resources of skill and experience, Australia and the television industry would be very much the poorer.
Therehave been many suggestions that Overseas financial interests will be allowed to dominatethefieldoftelevisionin Australia. Because my time is limited, I shall mention only Philips Electrical Industries Proprietary. Limited, which will haveaminorholdinginoneoftheSydney commercial television stations. This holding will represent only a very small part of the great investment of capital in Philips Electrical Industries Proprietary Limited. If we accept the benefits of the know-how and techniques of big overseas companies we must at the same time give them some interest, very much short of control, in television in this country. It is difficult to argue that an aggregate holding by overseas companies of 20 per cent. of the capital invested in a television station will give the overseas company a substantial measure of control. The limit imposedon overseascapital conforms with the practice in the United States of America. No one will deny that the Americans are very careful about the development of new industries. Under the Communications Act of the United States Congress, foreign holdings in American radio and television undertakings are limited to 20 per cent.
Radio and its kindred spirit, television, operate in the public domain, and it is right and proper that the Government should exercise its peculiar responsibility inthe field of television and that it should protect the industry in this country from control by overseas interests. As I have already stated, any one will be hard put to it to maintain that a 20 per cent. interest, which, incidentally, may not be held by one person, represents substantial control. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has done a very good job. The people who are now to be given a measure of control in the television industry have already rendered splendid service to this country in allied fields. We shouldbe content with that knowledge.
Mr.BRYSON (Wills) [2.33].-Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -
That the business of the day be called on.
The House divided. (Mr. Speakers- Hon. Archiecameron. )
Question so resolved intheaffirmative.
SUPPLY (“ Grievance Bay “).
– I move-
That Mr. Speaker’s action, relating to the allotment of rooms to the Australian Labour party (Anti-Communist), he approved. ft grieves mc very sorely to have to. propose this motion, which is aimed at depriving my opposite number in the Opposition of his palatial suite of rooms, which adjoin those of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). In contrast to the luxurious suite of the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), my own office assumes an air. of spartan coldness. From his rooms the honorable member looks out upon the courtyard, and no doubt communes with nature and contemplates the vileness of man. I grieve because I shall have no opportunity in the future to accept hospitality in the luxurious surroundings of that suite. However, I am comforted by the knowledge that the honorable member’s leader thinks so much of the comfort of his deputy leader that he does not want him removed into outer darkness, but wants him to he as close as possible - indeed, closer than a brother. However, I warn the right honorable gentleman not to allow his deputy leader to get too close to him.
There arose in the midst of the Opposition one by the name of Joshua, the honorable member for Ballarat. I can understand why the Leader of the Opposition does not want anywhere near to himself the leader of the Anti-Communist Labour party, because anything associated -with anti-communism has a. tremendous affect upon the Leader of the Opposition. As I have pointed out, the Leader of the Opposition seems to have no .desire to be closely associated with the Anti-Communist Labour party, although history has it that on occasion he has sought the friendship of a certain gentleman ‘with a saintly name. -Other days, other ways! It reminds me of the old saw -
When Che devil was sick, the devil a saint would be;
When the devil was well, the devil a -saint was he.
The Leader of the Opposition has circulated an amendment to the motion, which is interesting, because it seeks ‘to have a committee appointed to consider this matter. The committee members proposed by the right honorable gentleman are : Mr. Speaker ; the Prime Minister; the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who is myself; the Leader of the Australian Country party; the honorable member for Melbourne ; the Leader of the Anti-Communist Labour party; and the honorable member for Herbert. What has the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) to dc with the matter? The inclusion of the honorable member reminds me of the old story about the negro who proposed the puzzle: What is it that runs, jumps, lays eggs, and barks like a dog? No one could give him the answer. He thereupon said, “It is a chicken “. Those to whom he put the puzzle pointed out that a chicken does not bark. The negro replied, “No. I put that in to make it more difficult.” I strongly suspect that the honorable member for Herbert has been included for a similar purpose.
Before I deal, Mr. Speaker, with the letter which you have tabled, and the thoughts that arise in my mind as a result of it, may I direct attention to the fact - it is worth while for me to do so - that the Leader of the Opposition has made a great name for himself throughout the world as the champion of minorities. I recall that he made a name for himself in respect of the smaller nations in the United Nations. I also remember that he has obtained his reward for championing minorities. This great leader of democracy! But -what about the minorities in this Parliament House ? He cannot expect any reward for championing them and, therefore, he does not do so. He would say, in effect, “Away with them, I have nothing to gain from supporting them “. In those circumstances, democracy flies out the window because, .forsooth, the right ‘honora”ble gentleman can gain nothing by championing their cause.
I turn now, Mr. Speaker, to the letter which -you .have tabled.
– Will the right honorable gentleman read it?
– I shall, if honorable members wish me to do so, because I propose to comment upon several paragraphs in it. It is an interesting document because you, Mr. Speaker, adopted the right action in seeking a direction in this matter from the House. An examination of all the authorities, including the procedure followed in the Mother of Parliaments and decisions made by preceding Speakers in this House, indicates clearly that you have the power to allot rooms within the building as you deem fit. Therefore, you followed the right course when you received the letter from the Leader of the Opposition “which, I may say without straining my imagination, was couched in terms that were slightly discourteous to you.
– Chair !
– As the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is Deputy Leader of the Opposition, objects to my comment on that matter, I shall read the letter and let the country interpret it and say whether my observation is justified. The letter which the Leader of the Opposition wrote to the Speaker reads -
Replying to your letter of the 19th April and confirming my conversation with you after last week’s meeting of the Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, I now inform you, with the unanimous support of the Party, that wc raise the strongest objection to the proposals set out in paragraphs (1) and (2) of your letter.
In the first place it was your duty to consult me in the matter. You completely failed to do 60
I just want to say again that every authority, including the Mother of Parliaments, indicates clearly that it is not the duty of the Speaker to consult the Leader of the Opposition or anybody else about the allocation of rooms to the parties recognized in this House. In that matter the Speaker is the mouthpiece of the House. The right honorable gentleman’s letter continued -
In our judgment your action in interfering with the official accommodation both of the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader is both arbitrary and unjust.
I also consider your action is calculated to hinder and obstruct the performance of the duties of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Oppo sition. The Opposition (I respectfully remind you) has rights and responsibilities within Parliament House co-equal with those of the Parliamentary parties supporting Her Majesty’s Government.
I do not desire to break the continuity of this letter, but I shall deal with that point when I complete reading it. It continues-: -
I quote, as follows, from the report of Mr. Justice Nicholas in reference to the duties of Opposition Leaders: -
Then, the Leader of the Opposition made irrelevant extracts which honorable members may peruse in the letter thathas been tabled.
– Read my letter.
– I shall do so. The quotation which the right honorable gentleman made in his letter was as follows : -
A Leader of the Opposition is an essential figure in parliamentary government. . . His duties are arduous, for he has to be prepared to discuss every Bill introduced by the Government, subject to his right of delegation, and to do this he has not the power to call oil departmental officers for information or assistance. His responsibility is not equal to that of the Prime Minister but it is a responsibility to his Party, to the country which he informs a.nd which he aspires to lead.
With regard to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition . . . The special responsibility for the policy of the Opposition lies with the Leader. The special responsibility of the Deputy is of taking charge of such measures as may be delegated to him.
That is the ‘ end of the extract. The Leader of the Opposition then continued -
The plain fact is that the allocation to the new group - which you so eagerly “ recognised” as a party - in rooms adjacent to those of the official Opposition Leader - is quite unnecessary. There are other rooms in the extended Parliament House buildin” which would he far more suitable and appropriate. As to this a conference is obviously desirable.
I am just, wondering what that means -
It is quite clear that you have not fully considered the question of alternative accommodation. For instance, there are rooms on the Senate side, Nos. 31.48 (a) and M.48 (6). occupied by the Government Public Relations Officers.
In my submission your action should be reviewed. In this connection I am sending a copy of this letter to the President of the Senate, to the Prime Minister, to the Leader of the Country Party and to Mr. Joshua, M.H.E., the leader of the new group.
With regard to my own rooms as official Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, accommodation will have to be sufficient for a Press Secretary and a Personal Secretary whose appointments are pending.
I’ shall deal with, that point as well within a few minutes. The right honorable gentleman’s letter continued - lt is obviously impossible for the work of my office to be done efficiently if you curtail the accommodation allocated to the Opposition Leader.
What is worse is this. You are proposing, in effect, to hinder the efficient organization of my office while at the same time your method of doing so is to reduce the accommodation necessary to the fulfilment of the office of Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Action such as you propose would be regarded as so highly improper as to be unthinkable in the Mother of Parliaments, the House of Commons.
I need only add that some Ministers of -State have offices available in their own Departments at Canberra whereas in the case - of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition all their Canberra work has to be performed within the confines of Parliament House itself.
As accommodation principles are involved I respectfully request that you and Mr. President call a conference and invite the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Country Party, Mr. Joshua, Mr. Calwell and myself to attend it.
Honorable members may note that in that instance the Leader of the Opposition did not mention the honorable member for Herbert. The right honorable gentleman’s letter is interesting because investigations that I have made into accommodation that has been availed of by a number of Leaders of the Opposition and a number of leaders of parties in this House lead me to one conclusion. “When the Leader of the Opposition says that he wants co-equal rights with the Government, he means that he wants just double the accommodation that is at present used by the Prime Minister and double the present staff of the Prime Minister, and, indeed, double the staff and the accommodation which the Prime Minister had when he was Leader of the Opposition. In this respect I merely wish to say that I do not know what the staff of the Leader of the Opposition does, whether it is concerned with purely parliamentary matters or whether, in their spare time, the members of that staff take the greatest delight in compiling dossiers, because it seems that they do classes of business other than parliamentary business. The Leader- of the Opposition has on his establishment two private secretaries. One of those positions, which is in Canberra, is vacant and the right honorable gentleman has advised the Speaker that he proposes to fill it. The other position of private secretary, which is in Sydney, is occupied by Mr. Dalziel. He has two assistant private secretaries, one in Canberra, a Miss Bell, and one in Sydney, a Mr. Grundeman. In addition, he has a press secretary, which position at present is vacant and he proposes to fill it. He has one typist, grade 3, in Sydney, a Miss Carroll, a typist, grade 2, in Canberra, a Miss MacDonald, and an assistant grade typist in Canberra, a Miss Spence, making a staff of five in Canberra and three in Sydney. Yet the right honorable gentleman tells the House that the only accommodation he has for carrying on his duties is in Canberra. What is his Sydney office being used for? I understand that he has two offices in Sydney where, also, he has a staff of three, the members of which seldom come to Canberra. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has one private secretary, a Miss O’Donnell, and two typists, a Miss 0’Donohoe and a Miss Grome whilst a third position on his establishment is vacant.
When the Prime Minister was Leader of the Opposition he had one private secretary, two typists and a press secretary, that is, a staff exactly half the size of the present staff of the Leader of the Opposition. Might I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that, with half his present staff, his predecessor, as Leader of the Opposition, became Prime Minister of this country When I was Deputy Leader of the Opposition I had a staff of two, a secretary and a typist. But that does not satisfy the Leader of of the Opposition or his deputy to-day. These great champions of democracy want to double everything that has been done by any of their predecessors. I repeal that I cannot understand what a staff of the dimensions of that of the Leader of the Opposition can be required to do in carrying out the parliamentary duties of the right honorable gentleman. His staff is so entirely different from that of the average Minister or that of. the. Leader of! the Opposition in other, days. Oft course, the staff of the right honorable member’s’ predecessors remained in the background whereas’ his staff seems: to delight in making headlines in various ways, which, as I have pointed! out, and as recent: inquiry has revealed are not in line with parliamentary duties.
I turn now to the allocation of rooms. At present- the Leader of the Opposition Kas four rooms at his disposal whereas the Prime Minister; when he was Leader of the Opposition, had three rooms. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has three rooms whereas when I was Deputy Leader1 of the Opposition’ I had one room at my disposal, whilst the Leader of the Australian- Country party, which was1 then the second ‘party in Opposition, and the parties in those days closely approximated the parties now in Opposition, had’ a corner room which the Deputy Leader of the- Opposition- now occupies. So, the Prime Minister, when he was Leader of the Opposition, Had three rooms, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, had one room1 and’ the Leader’ of the Australian Country party had three rooms. All that’ the Speaker now proposes to do is’ simply to make - provision similar for the new party that Kas been recognized by this House; the Anti-Communist’ Labour party, similar to that which was made’ for the Leader- of: the Australian .Country party when he- was in Opposition. The Speaker has decided that the leader of’ the new party shall occupy the: room which is- now occupied by the Deputy. Leader of the Opposition and’ that the Leader- of the Opposition shall forgo one of the four rooms he now occupies in favour of his1 deputy. But, of’ course, that does not conform to the grandiose ideas of the Leader’ of the Opposition. This: man,, who seizes power’ just as he drinks his morning milk, is not satisfied to take what, satisfies: other people. He wants to do something much better than that, and. he; does not mind’ whom he tramples’ upon, in the process. The members of the Anti:Communist Labour party gave him cold support up till a little while ago.. Now, because they dare to disagree -with him, he would prevent them from having any facilities other than the most meagre facilities, or facilities that’ would be of no advantage or benefit to them. That is. not my idea, and it is not the Government’s idea of what should happen here, and we commend you, Mr. Speaker, for the action you have: taken. “We say that your action, to place the various parties in a position that *i** closely commensurate with, the conditions that formerly obtained in this- Parliamen i is in keeping’ with the principles of this House, and it is because of that fact that we support you.
’.- The letter that 1 wrote to Mr. Speaker has been read to the House, certainly not with great enthusiasm or even with correct pronunciation, by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison). He has tried to avoid the: meaning’ of the letter which, I think, is- quite plain, and which makes a clear and. convincing case to show that nothing, should- have been done in respect of the accommodation of the Leader of the* Opposition, before he” had been consulted’ on. the matter. I did not believe that the Speaker, of this House would, in relation to any honorable member, alter his position in his room without, prior consultation* with him.
Government-‘ Members; - Yes, he’ has !
– He deliberately refrained from discussing the matter, with me, and all I asked in the letter was tha t the question of accommodation be discussed and dealt’ with on. the same basis of principle. Instead of doing’ that, this gentleman here - the Vice-President’ of the Executive Council - rises in his place and makes a systematic and long-prepared personal attack’ upon me. I have never heard anything more disgraceful. Such conduct on the part of the right honorable gentleman is a complete disgrace. He. now praises Mr.. Speaker. Why does he not tell the House frankly what he thinks about Mr. Speaker’s exercise of his power ?
– I. supported Mr. Speaker last night. That’ is what I think about him.
– The Minister’ does so for a little while. He has’- been one of the chief critics of Mr. Speaker; and’ of his arbitrary conduct, but for the moment lie forms an alliance with Mr. Speaker, because he gets the pleasure-
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that remark. I have no- alliance with any member of this House.
-. - Hear, hear !
– Mr. Speaker, I did. not suggest that you had an alliance-
– Order !
– Let mc finish my sentence: I did not suggest that you had an alliance with the Minister, but I suggested that the Minister had an alliance with you.
– Order !. The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw the statement.
– I withdraw it. Just look at- the facts of the. case. The accommodation I have. had -is exactly the accommodation that my predecessor, Mr. Chifley, had. The staff is exactly the same as Mr. Chifley had.. I inherited that accommodation. The rooms I have occupied, are all being used, even with the reduced staff. Meetings of the executive of the. Parliamentary Labour party take place in one of the rooms. I remind the House that there are four rooms, and that there-. are, four positions on the staff. One of them. is. temporarily vacant. I do not. dispute that there is an inherent right to. change the arrangement,, but we should ensure that the change is made justly. That is all right so far as I am concerned What I wanted, was for some regard to be paid by Mr. Speaker for the position I occupy. Mr. Speaker made the decision, on the allocation without any reference to me. And! here is this Minister who says-
– Order !
– With his tongue in his 1] ee K. he says, “Mr: Speaker, I am in favour of your action in referring this matter to the Parliament”. The fact is that- Mr. Speaker never referred this matter- to the Parliament. He took the notion- on his own account. It was only after I protested that he referred it to The Parliament. Why did he not do so in the first place-?’ Either the Parliament lias jurisdiction or it has not. Mr.
Speaker claims- jurisdiction to. make, the decision,, and, at any rate, we have done one. thing. We have established the principle that this Parliament, has a right to review the decision of Mr. Speaker. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in moving that the action of Mr. Speaker be endorsed, has at least claimed the right of this Parliament to deal with matters of this kind: and that is- the right I want exercised. Honorable members opposite agree with Mr. Speaker on this occasion. I want a decision. Is not that reasonable? I suggested in my letter that’ a conference should be held1 between Mr. Speaker and’ the President of the Senate. Would Mr. Speaker object to the President having some voice in the matter? After all, the President controls accommodation in the Senate section, of this building, and some members of tin’s House, including some members, of the party led. by the. honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua)-, arn accommodated in. that part of Parliament House. Is not. my suggestion, reasonable? The President should he invited:-
– The Leader of the Opposition has not- asked, for the President, in his circulated amendment.
– I cannot do so in this House; my proposal relates- to. a committee of this House. But 1 made the suggestion in my letter, and it was- rejected. I suggested that: the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the Leader- of the Australian Country party (Sir Arthur Fadden), and the Leader of the party led by the honorable member for Ballarat and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) should be invited to attend the. conference. Was it unreasonable to ask that such a> conferenceshould be held so as to work out n solution ?
I deny what the Minister has said about accommodation. The Prime Minister has certainly got his own rooms. The- members- of his staff are. accommodated* in various parts- of the building: Some of them are: in the corridor leading from the; Prime Minister’s, suite to Mr. Speaker’s rooms. I think that three, rooms, one. of them a very large room, are: occupied by the Prime* Minister’s staff in that part of the building, and that two officers of the Government are accommodated at the Senate end of the building. One of those officers is called the press officer of the Government, and the other-
– The Prime Minister has four rooms all told.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has not told all. There are more. Then again, the Prime Minister has a great Department of State, where his business can be done and where, like many other Ministers, he has accommodation. All I wanted was a fair decision on this matter. I cannot resist the decision of Mr. Speaker, but, at any rate, he has been forced on this occasion to submit his decision to this House for its endorsement. Whether this House has the jurisdiction, or whether it must be joint jurisdiction exercised by the President of the Senate and Mr. Speaker, need not be determined now.
I consider that the speech of the VicePresident of the Executive Council was one of the most contemptible I have ever listened to, and when all is said and done, in that area, he is a master. Indeed, he is a past master. Of course, he has rivals. I am used to these personal attacks on me. They do not worry me any longer. When the Minister began his speech, I thought he was the great Demosthenes. He began on a note of wit. The first few sentences must have taken a lot of preparation. The duties of the Leader of the Opposition are numerous. Suppose a group of twenty members were to break away from the Labour party in the House of Commons. Does any honorable member think that the Speaker of the House of Commons would separate the accommodation of the Leader of the Opposition or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition so as to put the leader of the new group in some of that accommodation? Of course he would not! It would be unthinkable. But it is not unthinkable here. Anything is possible under the jurisdiction which is exercised here. That is the true position.
I propose to move an amendment to the motion submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, because I want this to be decided as a matter of prin ciple. I have to accept the decision that has been reached, but I ask honorable members, before they vote, to consider a few points. Did the Minister consult his own party before he submitted the motion ? No ! He said, “ Here is a good chance to have a crack at the Leader of the Opposition “. Such is the man, such is the motive. That is perfectly plain. I do not think that I need to elaborate.I move -
That all words after “That” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - (1.) The subject-matter of the letters of -
the Speaker to the Leader of the Opposition, dated 19th April, 1955;
the Leader of the Opposition to the Speaker, dated26th April, 1955, be referred to a Special Committee of the House for inquiry and report. (2.) The Special Committee shall consist of Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the VicePresident of the Executive Council, the Leader of the Australian Country party, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Australian Labour party (Anti-Communist), the honorable member for Herbert and the mover, and (3.) The report of the committeeshallbe made to the House within seven days.
As to sub-paragraph (1.) of the amendment, Mr. Speaker wrote to me. He made his decision arbitrarily. That is what he did. The letter of the Leader of the Opposition to Mr. Speaker, dated the 26th April, 1955, is the letter which Mr. Speaker has been forced to read to the House. In suggesting the personnel of the special committee, I even include the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I also include the Leader of the Australian Labour party (anti-Communist). I believe that is the correct name of that party. The Minister has commented even on the inclusion of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds). I have not even discussed the matter with the honorable member. I am prepared to add other names, because I can trust the judgment of such a committee. Is not my amendment a reasonable approach to the matter? The House itself cannot ascertain the facts from ex parte statements made across the table. It has no means of determinating the accuracy of statements made by the Minister. Let the committee meet, and reach a just conclusion.
I admit that, in one way, this is a trivial matter. It is nothing to the Minister. He supports Mr. Speaker on this occasion, but if any one were to ask him to say on his honour whether he thought that Mr. Speaker had acted arbitrarily and improperly on this occasion, he would probably say, “ Yes, hut I have to come into the House and support him, unfortunately, on this occasion “. That is the kind of approach we get from people who make attacks of this sort.
I have already assured the Leader of the fourth party that if this decision regarding accommodation is endorsed, not only will it he obeyed, but also he will get every courtesy and facility to which he is entitled. I think that he is entitled to them. But I do not like the way that this was done. I do not think any Australian likes the way it was done. It was done in a way which does not reflect any credit upon the person responsible for doing it. I have a right, surely, to come to the House and say, “ Have a look at the matter and do what is right”. That is all I have done. Just imagine, this Minister has taken this occasion to abuse me, incidentally, because of my record in the United Nations. My word, some parties have to carry a great handicap and, in this case, the handicap is carried by the Government parties.
I wish that the heat which has been engendered in this debate, largely by the remarks of the Minister, could be removed entirely from the discussion, and that the matter could be considered calmly and dispassionately. Cannot honorable members say, “ Here is the Leader of the Opposition. He has certain duties to perform. Ee has no government offices and practically no staff “. A. proposal was made to me over and over again by a responsible officer of the Prime Minister’s Department that the Leader of the Opposition should be entitled to something in the nature of a departmental organization, because of the increase in the amount of work appertaining to that office. The burden of the. office of Leader of the Opposition is great. There is a tremendous lot to bc done. The Minister just brushes all that aside. It is important, if the work is to be done efficiently, that the accommodation for the staff shall be satis factory. What has been done is to take away the accommodation of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and some of my accommodation. -Surely that cannot be the true solution! If accommodation on the Senate side of the building were examined, a more satisfactory solution could be found in the interests of all concerned.
That is the only purpose I have in bringing the matter to the House. Had the consultation taken place. I believe I could have satisfied people who would look reasonably and fairly at this matter. I regret having to take this course. I have been compelled to do so. At any rate, one principle has been ‘ established, which is that this House has jurisdiction over accommodation. The House can consider the matter, and exercise its will over Mr. Speaker. That is very important, because a decision of Mr. Speaker is now to be subject to appeal. I ask the House on this occasion to appoint the special committee to determine whether the decision is right. If it is right, it will be confirmed. If it is wrong, it should be modified. Accommodation should be considered as a matter of principle. This proposition should appeal to all honorable members irrespective of party political considerations.
– Is the motion seconded ?
– I second the motion. I must say that I am amazed at the way in which the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) has treated the whole question. He is a past master at the art of suppressing what is true and suggesting what is false. He told the House that the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) had four rooms and that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had three rooms. After an interjection by a member of the Australian Country party the Minister admitted that the room I have is one room subdivided by partitions into three. It is the room that, the Australian Country party had in other days. It is the room which the Lang Labour party had at an earlier period. What he did not tell the House is that, although certain meagre facilities -are provided for the Opposition in the Parliament House of the nation, fifteen Ministers on the House of Representatives side of this building have 47 rooms. At the most, seven rooms for the Opposition, and 47 rooms for fifteen Ministers! I suggest that most of those Ministers - and I do not think you will interrupt me by disagreeing with me, Mr. Speaker - ought not to be in this place at all, any more than war-time facilities should have been in this place. They should be accommodated where their main offices are. There may have been justification for having ministerial suites established in the Parliament building in war-time, but the trend should be the other way now. Ministers should retire from this building, but, instead of that, they are increasing their demands on Mr. Speaker for additional accommodation. Ministers to-day have much more accommodation than they had in the days of the Curtin and Chifley governments. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has three rooms and the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) has two. The VicePresident of the Executive Council and Minister for Defence Production, whose principal occupation in this House is moving the gag, needs three rooms in which to soliloquize and contemplate the next move that he will make against the rights of members of this House. The Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt) has four rooms. The Minister for ‘Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) has five rooms, and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has three rooms. The Minister for Defence (Sir Phillip McBride) has three rooms, and the Minister for Health (Sir Earle Page) has four. The PostmasterGeneral .(Mr. Anthony) has three rooms and the Minister for the Navy and Minister for the Army (Mr. Francis), the Minister for Supply (Mr. Beale), the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), the Minister for Social Services .(Mr. McMahon and the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) have .three rooms each. The Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Townley), who, at least, has two most important portfolios, is asked to do with two rooms. In addition, there are five Ministers on the Senate side of the building who have those palatial suites of which the Vice-President of the Executive Council spoke.
The Vice-President of the Executive Council indulged in a great deal of pompous persiflage. He thought up -some well rounded phrases, and even suggested that I could contemplate the glories of nature from the back window of the so-called third room of the so-called three rooms which I occupy. The right honorable gentleman himself has a wide vista of the surrounding hills on which to gaze.
– He has nothing else to do.
– He certainly has not much to do other than what he does here in the Parliament, and generally he does that pretty badly. However, he can look out of his window at the surrounding hills, his mind attuned to the words of the poet -
Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.
The action taken in respect of the allotment of rooms is wrongful, and if I uttered my views on it here my words would be regarded as being completely unparliamentary. In 1940, when I first came to this Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition was Mr. Curtin. He had a staff of two, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in those days had a staff of one. But the work of the Parliament has increased as a result of the war and also because of the changes in our habits and the greater concentration of powers in the Commonwealth Parliament which resulted from the decision of the High Court in the uniform taxation case, the alteration of the Constitution placing social services under Commonwealth power, and other developments. Not only has the work of the Parliament increased enormously, but in addition, the membership of the Parliament itself has increased by two-thirds. The truth is that this chamber is very overcrowded. We need to extend the chamber itself. The accommodation for all honorable members in Parliament House is totally inadequate. The work .of the Leader of the Opposition - and he certainly devotes ‘himself assiduously -to it - increases .with the passing of the days, and instead ‘of losing a room he ought to be given greater facilities. It is said ito him that if I am to be evicted I can occupy one of his rooms. To offer the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, in those -days, one room in which to work, would be -completely unfair and, I suggest, improper. But to deprive the Leader of the -Opposition of one of his rooms is grossly improper. Like everybody with Scottish or Irish blood I have a racial objection to evictions, and I certainly protest against this one. It is .not fair. The Government itself ought to think of extending the building on the Opposition side, even, if it means going into the courtyard to do it. Something has to be done in regard to the present inadequate facilities provided for all honorable members.
I have been courteously supplied with information showing that 27 members of the Liberal party in this House are provided with private room accommodation, but that five .members of it have to find accommodation in the party room itself. In the Australian Country party there are seven members who are so situated. In the Labour party, however, we have to provide for eleven of our members who have no private accommodation, and we then provide, them only with a table in “the party room, where they are expected to discharge their obligations to those whom they represent. The position is not going to be helped by what will happen should this motion be carried. All we want, if I may borrow a phrase from the foreign ‘ affairs debate, is peaceful coexistence. We want to be able to do our work effectively and. efficiently, because the Opposition is an integral part of our parliamentary system. Perhaps the VicePresident of the Executive Council does not wan’t -an Opposition to exist.
– Hear, hear!
– Perhaps he would be satisfied if .there were no room for anybody [to (represent the Opposition. I know that that is ‘how he feels, because he has never recovered from his twelve months in .London, when he was the lion of Mayfair -during hi3 term as our resident Minister in the United Kingdom. He came hack with ideas .that the
Government side ‘should have .everything and the Opposition side should .have nothing.
Why does not the Government make rooms available to .the new group from among the rooms occupied by Ministers? Why does not the Minister for External Affairs move out from his suite on the lower floor? Why does not the Vice-President of the Executive Council himself move out from his room, because it cannot be said that he is overworked or is capable of putting any great thought into anything except the hurling of diatribes at the Leader of the Opposition? His remarks were unworthy of him, and were the sort of thing which should not be said in a debate that is concerned with the rights of the Opposition. The Opposition has rights to staff and to accommodation. I am told I have three girls and a vacant office. The office has always been vacant. I have never tried to fill it. I, at least, try to economize when it is a matter of expending publicmoney. The Leader of the Opposition has not been extravagant, when one looks at some of the ministerial staffs. Some Ministers have a private secretary for each of their portfolios, and an assistant private secretary. I do not doubt that they are trying to create deputy assistant secretaryships for others. When general elections are approaching this building is filled with people who are working on propaganda for the Government, and not on official matters. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has been most unfair to the Leader of the ‘Opposition in his remarks, and is quite unfair in what he proposes to do now to force the Leader of -the Opposition out of one of his rooms and force me out of the suite I occupy. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, when Mr. Chifley was alive he had four rooms, and the present Leader of the Opposition, as his deputy, had the suite that I have.
– But there was not a second party in opposition a’t that time.
– If another party comes into being, it is the duty of the Government to .find .that party accommodation somewhere in the building without depriving the .official Opposition -of some of its accommodation. That is our contention, and it is a perfectly reasonable one. I am sure that if the position were reversed, and we were in office and the parties now in office were in opposition, and asked us for a fair deal, they would get it from us.
– All we are asking you to do is to take the same rooms as we had when we were in opposition.
– But without regard to the fact that since 1949 the work of the Parliament has greatly increased, and the membership of the Parliament itself has increased by two-thirds.
– -It is an undeniable fact that 123 members, two without voting rights, were elected to the Parliament in 1949. In the previous Parliament only 76 members, including one without voting rights, were elected.
– That makes the work of the Leader of the Opposition easier.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council dismisses my remark airily with the inane remark that because the Parliament has been almost doubled in size, and has greater powers and responsibilities, the work of the Leader of the Opposition is easier. If that is the level of his intelligence, and that is his contribution to this matter, it is quite worthless. We protest, in equity, that we are entitled to a fair deal, and that we are not getting one, and that so long as we are deprived of reasonable facilities, as the official leaders of the Opposition in this Parliament, we will be denied the opportunity to discharge the duties which at least nearly half of the electors of Australia expect us to discharge on their behalf in this Parliament. Every member of the Opposition who wants to see the Leader of the Opposition on some business will now be unable to find even sitting room. The room given to me will hold three girls and myself. Nobody, apart from the staff, will be able to interview me. That may sound all right to honorable members opposite who never really have to interview anybody except the bank managers who supply them with their election funds, or representatives of the big business interests whose cause they so sedulously foster and so continuously serve. But most members of this Parliament who have any sense of responsibility welcome people who come to see them on official business. The Government’s action is completely wrong, and is unworthy of it. Members of the Government may do this to-day, because they have the numbers to impose their will, but the time may come when they will regret the occasion when they denied simple, ordinary justice to the Leader of the Opposition in this Parliament and his deputy.
– I dissociate myself from the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), and support your action, Mr. Speaker. It is a matter of great distaste to me that the inception of our party, and its recognition in this Parliament, should .be accompanied by this unseemly brawl over the allotment of the minimum of accommodation. I think the whole attitude, bearing and standing of the Leader of the Opposition is quite unworthy. He appears to me to have put himself in a most undignified position as a result of the action he has taken. Everybody knows that in this House there has been, for a considerable time, a shortage of accommodation. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has been more aware of it than has the Leader of the Opposition, who has lived in his rooms without any regard to what has gone on in the rest of the building. For a considerable time the deputy leader of my party, the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) and I, have used tables in the Labour party room. We have been happy to do so, in view of the shortage of accommodation in the building. Mr. Speaker has on a number of occasions called honorable members, who lacked proper accommodation, into conference with the “ Whip “ to consider the position, and to ensure that the best use would be made of the accommodation available. He has always done his best, and I have trusted him. I have kept out of the way of other honorable members by using the party room, so that they could do their work properly, because I considered that honorable members from electorates in places as far away as Western Australia and elsewhere required an office here in which to work, more than I did. I am a Victorian, and in any event I liked using the party room. We are a party. That must be remembered. We represent the voice of a section of the people. It is the voice of the Victorian people at present, but it is also the voice of people all over Australia, and it is the voice of many men who sit on the benches behind the Leader of the Opposition. As a party, we requested that we be given sufficient room to enable us to do our work. You, Mr, Speaker, proposed to allot to us a room at present occupied by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I am. npt very familiar with that room, because I have been in it only a few times, but I know enough about it to realize that it represents absolutely the minimum of the accommodation that we require. The room that we are allotted will have to accommodate a lot of people. I’t will have to accommodate myself, my deputy leader, the whip, and also a staff of at least two. It will have to serve also as a party room for the seven of us, and possibly for many more before very long.
If the Leader of the Opposition is really concerned to save space in this building, he should do something about uniting the Labour party. Then it might bc possible to save a good deal of space. We of the Anti-Communist Labour party are prepared to go to any room in the House that is allotted to us. We appreciate your difficulties, Mr. Speaker, in finding accommodation. There has been a shortage of accommodation in this building for a long time. This is a matter of importance, but I think it should have been raised in a proper and dignified way at the proper time, and not made to serve as an excuse for trying to make my party appear small. However, I am sure that it will not appear small. On the contrary, it will increase in stature as a result of the work of the Leader of the Opposition.
To me, it is a matter for regret and unhappiness that the personal comfort of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition should be disturbed, hut by taking a certain course he could avoid disturbance and retain his present quarters. All that I want to say in conclusion is that we do not desire to make any one uncomfortable, but we do require suitable accommodation so that we can do the job for which we were elected.
.- 1 listened with growing impatience to the long and loud moans from the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and the Deputy Leader, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell). As this debate unfolded, I was astonished to hear about honorable members who apparently occupied mansions in this building, because when I was elected to the Parliament a short time ago and went to the federal members’ rooms in Sydney, I was politely informed that, unfortunately, there was no room for me there. I remarked then that it was fortunate for me that my constituents had reserved a seat for me in this House. When ,1 came to the Parliament, I found that, the accommodation allotted to me was a desk in a room used by between half a dozen and a dozen other honorable members - I do not know the exact number, because it seemed to fluctuate - in a room used also as a common room. No member who is allotted accommodation like that could prepare a speech any better in this building than he could if he were in the middle of Wirth’s circus.
Opposition members interjecting,
-Order! I ask the House to come to order. There is a spirit of levity about, as well as a spirit of another kind. Neither of them is any good to the House.
– I do not want to occupy the time of the House further, except to point out that those who inhabit rooms might sometimes give some thought to those who have only a desk in a common room. I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition has done one good thing to-day by drawing attention to the inequitable allocation of accommodation in this building, a matter which I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, will receive further consideration by you.
.- Normally, I should not enter into a debate such as this, but I do so now because I feel that, in view of the disgusting approach to the matter by the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison), the situation should be clarified. The approach made to the matter by the honorable member for Ballarat. (Mr. Joshua), the Leader of the Anti-Communist Labour party, was by an attack on the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). What is the position? A letter was written by the Leader of the Opposition asking for a conference to be arranged to discuss accommodation. I claim that this matter should never have come before the House. I say that the time wasted on this debate to-day is a disgrace. I take strong exception to the manner in which the matter was introduced by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. The question at issue is an allocation of accommodation to the new party which would involve that party taking over a part of the accommodation at present occupied by the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. But the greater part of the speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council was devoted, not to the question of accommodaton, but to a personal attack on the Leader of the Opposition. He dragged in matters that were completely irrelevant to the conference requested by thatright honorable gentleman.
There is another remarkable feature of the debate. If the honorable member for Ballarat, the leader of the new party, had attacked the Vice-President of the Executive Council for his very mean approach to the request made by the Leader of the Opposition, I should have understood his action in doing so. But it appears that there is a pact between the new party and the Government parties to make personal attacks on the Leader of the Opposition and his deputy. It is time that we brought a little common sense to bear on this matter. The Leader of the Opposition asked for a conference to discuss this matter outside the House. The honorable member for Ballarat and some of his colleagues made an approach to Mr. Speaker on an earlier occasion. When they asked for accommodation tobe allotted to them, I understand that Mr. Speaker made a survey of the building and endeavoured to find accommodation. The Government parties are, so to speak lapping up the new party today, but I warn the Vice-President of the Executive Council to be very careful lest a similar situation arise in his own party.That could quite easily happen.
Motion (by Mr. Davidson) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archiecameron.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Dr. Evatt’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. ( Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Question so resolved inthe affirmative.
Question put -
That Mr. Speaker’s action, relating to the allotment of rooms to the Australian Labour party (Anti-Communist), he approved.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker. - Hon. Archie Cameron. )
Majority … 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 27th April (vide page 216), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the following paper be printed: -
.- The statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on foreign affairs contained some concepts of which all Australians can well be very proud. It contained the concepts of constantly seeking peace by every possible means, of defending not only our rights but also the rights of others, and of improving our living conditions and the living conditions of our neighbours. It is a policy on international relations with which all political parties must agree in principle. The only divergence of opinion by any political party in Australia, except, perhaps, the Communist party, can be in regard to methods and priorities. There are a few people who believe that we should constantly seek peace by means of appeasement. We know that, unfortunately, appeasement is the surest road to disaster, particularly when dealing with a potential enemy who is both ruthless and without moral standards of any kind. The Communist doctrine itself postulates that might is right. It subscribes to the idea that the end justifies the means, and it openly advocates deceit, lies, and the breaking of agreements, as legitimate instruments of international diplomacy. Unfortunately, there is also a small group of people who believe that we can defend our rights, and presumably the rights of others, by keeping our defence forces at home. Any one who has any knowledge of the horrors of war would resist to the utmost, and at almost any cost, any suggestion that, if a war were forced upon us, we should fight it on our own territory.
Everybody appreciates that low standards of living cause discontent, that they form a breeding ground for the Communist doctrine, and that they make people susceptible to Communist propaganda. Those people who think that the standard of living can be raised and maintained by a system of indefinite credit are doomed, of course, to the most dismal awakening. Fortunately, the majority of people in Australia are more realistic. They agree with the Government in the belief that we must seek peace with honour, that to defend our rights means that we must have defence in depth, and that to improve our standards of living means that we must increase the real wealth of this country and seek to expand overseas markets. If we are to defend ourselves in depth, we must have some sort of outpost for our defences. Probably the most controversial portion of the statement by the Prime Minister was his reference to the sending of a small force to Malaya. It is, relatively, a small force. It is proposed that it shall consist of one battalion, two fighter squadrons, a light bomber squadron, and a couple of small ships which will be either destroyers or frigates. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) gave the impression that that was to be Australia’s contribution to a central reserve for a possible war in the Pacific. That is not the case.
This relatively small force is a contribution from Australia to the British Commonwealth’s effort in South-East Asia under cold war conditions. I think it is a very good plan. It will encourage the people of Malaya to make every possible effort to regain peace in their own country and so advance their aims of self-government, because no responsible national in Malaya, whether he comes from China or any other eastern or western country, believes that, in the present disordered state of that country, he could survive if British forces were withdrawn and he were thrown back on his own resources for self-government. As the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) pointed out, without doubt these people will welcome any forces from a friendly nation which will enable them to terminate, in the shortest possible time, the present turmoil, and so bring closer the day when they may take over the direction of their own affairs. The plan to which I have referred does not represent the full extent of the Government’s proposals for defence. It is a plan to meet a particular situation in South-East Asia under the existing cold war conditions. I believe that the fact that this small force will be stationed in Malaya does not mean that it cannot be used in any other trouble area in South-East Asia under cold war conditions, such as in Thailand, the associated states of Indo-China or Burma. I hope that, in addition to providing this acceptable help to Malaya, thus giving to the peoples of the states which border Malaya some small additional sense of security, we ourselves will take the opportunity of obtaining some practical training in actual active operations and, particularly, that we shall be able to arrange with the British Government for some responsible appointments to staff and command positions.
Wo have been told by the Prime Minister that, to meet a possible hot war situation, the Government proposes to establish now, or as soon as is practicable, a force of approximately two divisions. That is the force that the Government proposes to raise as a ma jor contribution towards meeting its commitments under the Anzus pact and the Manila treaty. For a country of Australia’s population and resources to establish and equip a force of two divisions is quite a formidable task. To that degree. I welcome it. It is however, such a task of difficulty that I wonder whether we could not make an equal, or possibly better, contribution to our common cause in the event of a major war in the Pacific by means that are more suited to our circumstances. The raising of two divisions will require the utilization of a great deal of man-power. Two divisions constitute an army corps. The raising and equipping of two divisions, or an army corps, would absorb approximately 70,000 or 80,000 men. because such a force comprises in addition to divisional troops, corps troops, ancillary and other services. History has shown that, in Australia in peace-time, we have not a great rush of volunteers, and the voluntary method is the traditional method by which Australia raises its forces in peacetime. Indeed, it is the law of the country that in peace-time forces must be raised by voluntary means. In addition to the difficulty of persuading approximately 80,000 men to volunteer under peace-time conditions, the withdrawal of such numbers of men from Australian industry at a time when we hope to develop our natural resources, when labour is so short, and when we have full employment, would he an extremely difficult task.
I suggest as an alternative that, by the utilization of air power, we could achieve the same or better results with the ‘expenditure of approximately one tenth of the man-power. If our contribution to the common defence of this area, and the discharge of our obligations under the Anzus pact and the Manila treaty, were to take the form of a group of highly mobile medium bombers of the V class, the group to consist of two wings each of two squadrons, the man-power necessary, even allowing for all of the ancillary services that would be required, would be less than 7,000 men. Such a group should be established on a mobile basis. It should be equipped, preferably, with American-type aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons. I suggest American-type aircraft, not because I think they are better than British aircraft, but because it is obvious that, if we must go to war in this area, our major ally will be the United States. To have in the field the same type of equipment as our major ally would simplify our supply and equipment problem very greatly. If this group of medium bomber aircraft were established on a mobile basis, and if preparations and arrangements were made with our allies for forward operational aerodromes, the striking force, relatively, would be significant. In addition, we should not be obliged to call upon our own resources, or those of our allies, to anything like the same degree in order to move such a contribution to the common defence in the event of emergency. I point out in passing, that, even if we had this army corps fully established and fully trained before we were faced with the catastrophe of war. we should be immediately faced with the major problem of moving it to where it was required, hecause God forbid that it should be required in Australia. If it were required in Australia, the war would be already lost.
We must remember that our contribution to the defence of the Pacific area must be of such a kind as to enable us to get our forces into position to .fight where they axe most needed and as far from Australia as possible. At present it is beyond the ability of this country to move an army corps in the short time that will be available if it is to be employed effectively. As a result, we automatically present to our allies a difficult problem in assisting us to move these troops at the very time when our allies are fully occupied with their own concerns and the movement of their own strategic forces. The same argument does not apply to a highly mobile group of hard-hitting air bombers, which could make an initial attack within an hour or two. If such a group were to go forward to operational bases outside Australia, air transport within our awn ability could sustain it until further provision for continuous operations could be organized. Such a plan is much more feasible and much more within our resources than would be the raising, training and, if necessary, moving of an army corps, and it would enable us to make a much more effective contribution to the common defence of the South-East Asian :i rea.
The Prime Minister pointed out in his statement that if we are to put these defence plans into operation a very considerable recasting of the training and provision of defence forces will be necessary. I hope that this process will include the recasting and revision .of the organization of our forces. The present higher organizational arrangements are cumbersome and out of date. We should not load so much on to our Defence Department. We have in existence, though, so far as I am aware, it has not met for a number of years, a Council of Defence. It is a comprehensive body which -is capable of dealing with the military aspects of our defence problems. The purely military aspects of our defence ‘problems should be taken out of the hands of the Defence Department. The operational ^aspects of defence should be considered by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, from which recommendations could be sent direct to the Council of Defence, which then would consider -all military aspects as factors of the :entire problem and in conjunction with all other aspects of defence - economic considerations, international relations, national resources and development. The .Council of Defence, constituted as it is to-day,, would then be in a much better position than is the Defence Department to forward to Cabinet considered recommendations, having regard to all the circumstances and conditions relative to the problem. At present, we have one huge organization in the Defence Department, which is overloaded and overworked in the attempt to deal with all aspects of defence. It is too big and unwieldly to achieve efficiency.
– Order! The honorablemember’s time has expired.
– I realize that this Parliament and, essentially, the Australian people are nowadays taking a greater interest in the problems of foreign relations and defence than hitherto. Two world wars, the employment of the powers of nuclear fission, the development of the atomic bomb, the rapidity of transport from one continent, to another, and the utilization of radio and associated services and of all the other great scientific inventions that have burst upon mankind in the last two decades, means that we now tend to consider our relationships with people in ether parts of the world to a greater extent than formerly was necessary. It is probably true to say, also, that another cause of a profound interest on the part of thoughtful men and women .is that it is realized that, although World War I. and World Wai’ II. were fought to .end wars and although it was thought in 1945 that the United Nations perhaps would solve all our international problems, great tension between people of different nationalities and ideologies remains.
As a member of the Australian Labour party, I believe in defence. This -country must be defended. It. has been thrown up at me from time to time in this House that .on one occasion in 1938 I declared that I would not spend 3d. on defence. The .people who throw that utterance in my face clip it from its context and do -not reveal that it,was:made under certain circumstances and with certain qualifications. The people who bandy that remark about and attempt to use it: to; discredit; me ignore their own weaknesses and the. position in which they stood in. 1938. Although they claim that they, believe most strongly in defence and in all practical defensive measures, they did not act before World War LT. As a result of their neglect, on the OUt, break of World War II. in 1939, Australia was almost defenceless. In fact, an eminent gentleman who was a member of this. Parliament - I shall not name him, but. if any honorable member approaches me privately I shall tell him the name - remarked to me on the Canberra railway station early in the last war, “ We are so ill-equipped that we have not one bomb rack, for any of the aircraft in Australia “. It. is true that at that time the aircraft available in Australia were very few. The antiLabour parties professed to believe in compulsory military training, but because they feared’ that the electorate would not support them if they advocated compulsory military training, they refused to introduce it although they believe in it. If I was. wrong in 1938, they were- as bad as, or worse than, I was. These remarks should dispose of that charge that is thrown up against me.
Let us now turn to the present defence situation. During- the war and in the post-war years until 1949, the Curtin and the Chifley Administrations were fully seised of the importance of international relationships and of the im? portance of making the best possible use of the machinery of the United Nations in order to engender a more peaceful state of affairs in. the world. Since 1949, a number of Ministers, especially the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), who has travelled thoughout Australia, Europe and America, and traversed, the entire globe, have travelled extensively at great personal discomfort. [ do not object to Ministers travelling: But the Government; though it is interested in world peace and though Ministers have travelled so much, has not made any profound statement,, such as those that were1 made by the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) when he was Minister.- for External Affairs, in the- Labour: Government, and such as might be’ calculated *to** influence the nations of the world” to adopt more peaceful policies.
– Ministers in this Government travelled with closed minds.
– As the honorable member has. observed, they travelled with closed minds. It is said that, Australia is a small Power.. It. is. But small nations and individuals in their individual capacities have, in all.- manner- of things in this old world of ours, profoundly influenced the welfare of mankind. It might be said that the Saviour was only an individual; but He profoundly influenced the welfare of mankind, and we hope that His teachings will continue to exercise a deep influence on all men, not only in Australia, but also in other countries.
I hold the Government blameworthy because, at the various times: since 1949 at which international tensions have troubled us, it did not throw its. weight into the task of achieving peace and did not make the voice of the Australian nation, which is and should be. respected, heard per medium of an expression of opinion about Australia’s views.1 Since the forces of Chiang Kai-shek in China collapsed through their own corruption and incompetency and the virile effort? of the people in China who defeated him, tension has existed in relation to the islands off the coast of China, and the island of Formosa. Individuals, members of Congress and officers of the State Department in the United States have expressed- opinions about this situation. I believe that a very large section of American opinion endangers the peace of the world. On the other hand, a very large section of responsible opinion in the United States, which I respect, has striven to preserve peace in the world, and I hope that that body of opinion in America will prevail. But what pronouncements have been made by the Prime- Minister and the Minister for External Affairs in Australia about’ the views of the Australian Government and the people of Australia?’ Apparently this- Government has adopted! &< policy of jumping last and supporting- others only when they have taken the lead?
Canada is a fellow member with Australia of the British Commonwealth of Nations. As far back as 1952, when an anti-Labour government was in office in Australia, the Minister for External Affairs in the Conservative Government in Canada, Mr. Lester Pearson, who is chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Council, said that the West should be careful not to reject any new Communist, proposal for easing international tensions. He stated -
There is a great temptation in many quarters to throw everything aside and arm tu the greatest extent and then say to Moscow, “ Come and get us “. This must be resisted vigorously. If we are not careful we will fall under control of the military, and in the name of security they might do many things which arc unnecessary. The most important feature nf the Lisbon decisions and agreement was the fact that these were made by civilians and not by the military.
Anyone who has read in the newspapers the articles prepared by the military advisers of the Australian Government must conclude, as I do, that this Government is led by these military men. Mr. Pearson has been consistent in his views. The Australian Government has been silent on international problems and on approaches whether from Moscow, red China, American leaders of political thought or any other source. Earlier this year. Mr. Pearson warned the United States that even limited intervention might have a chain reaction and might cause the conflict over the Chinese offshore islands to spread across oceans. At that time, the Prime Minister, who was in Washington, had given no policy indication about where Australia stood. He had stated in London that the islands off the Chinese coast were “ not worth a war “, but when he was asked later whether he still held that view he refused to reply. He expressed no opinions and made no decisions because he had no courage. Mr. Pearson diverged sharply from the American view that the offshore islands are necessary to the defence of Formosa. He stated bluntly that they were, in effect, part of the Chinese mainland and that their strategic role “ would seem to be more important in the defence of that mainland against attack than in offensive action against Formosa “. He also reminded the United States that its treaty with Chiang Kai-shek gave it theright to restrain aggressive nationalistaction from Formosa.
Mr. Pearson added that he was shocked, by the views that were being expressed., by some sections of Americans. It ison these things that the Opposition join.issue with the Government. The Prime Minister’s speech, stripped of surplus verbiage, was an announcement to the world that, on the one hand, we are committed to send approximately 1,000- men to Malaya and, on the other hand,, wo are committed in certain circumstances to send two divisions to that’ country. The Australian Labour party does not approve of the Government’sintention to send 1,000 men to Malaya. Already, there are available in Malayaapproximately 300,000 troops whoare drawn from the native population or from British and Indian sources.. Yet, we propose to send a force of 1,000 men. By doing so we shall deplete our industrial capacity to that degree. Arethese men to be thrown into warfare against the guerrillas in Malaya when already there are available in that country hundreds of thousands of troops and the authorities do not know what to dowith them ?
The honorable member for Ballarat, who is a gallant soldier with a gallant war record, commanded a battalion ii North Africa during World War II., and because Australia was likely to be cut off from sources of assistance, the force.’ with which he was serving were brought back by a Labour government to thi* country. Last night, he announced that he believed Australia should be defended in other countries, apparently without consideration for the rights of the people in those countries. He went so far as to commend the Government’s intention to: send these forces to Malaya where, hi expressed the hope, they would be retained in garrison. On this point there is conflict of opinion. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. Bostock), who was a very distinguished air marshal in World War II. and is nearer to Government opinion than is the honorable member for Ballarat, said a few moments ago that he hoped that the members of the force sent to Malaya would be blooded and that they would he thrown into action against the guerrillas in order to gain experience in warfare. The honorable member for Ballarat is more modest. He does not want this force to be used. He wants it to be in Malaya; whether as a police force or to be allowed to deteriorate from sheer inaction, I do not know. But the honorable member for Indi, who has the inside oil, wants this force to be thrown into action against the guerrillas, although thousands of Malayan troops already available cannot get a “ go “ against the guerrillas and thousands of Chinese in Malaya cannot get a “go” against the Communists.
The honorable member for Indi said that any force that is sent’ to Malaya should he given an opportunity to train in warfare and he suggested that it could be used not only in Malaya but also in China and Thailand. Let no Australian mother or father whose sons happen to he in any force that is sent to Malaya be under any delusion that such troops will not be put into action, that once they are put into action they will not incur the hatred of Asiatic Communists and that eventually the call for war will not come from this tory Government with the result that our m;111-power will be drained.
Some notice must be taken of the honorable member for Indi. He said that the raising of two divisions with ancillary forces would involve 70,000 troops and that this would place too great a strain upon our industrial capacity. He also said, and I agree with him, that it would be more practicable to rely upon an advanced air force group than upon an advanced army corps. In the event of a hot war, an advanced air force group would be more effective in defending Australia than the sending of two divisions of troops to Malaya. The honorable member for Ballarat, who, of course, is a very strange individual, believes in defending Australia in other countries. He believes in garrisoning Australian troops in. other countries before war breaks out. He is oblivious to developments that have occurred since World War II., particularly the fact that countries which then agreed that British troops should be stationed within their borders, establishing air and submarine bases, have changed their outlook in that respect. For instance, the ‘United Kingdom has withdrawn troops which it previously stationed in India for the defence not only of India but also of other parts of the British Commonwealth, and it has withdrawn troops from Pakistan and from Egypt. Some people will say that Britain was obliged to withdraw its troops from those countries. In my view, Britain withdrew those troops for two reasons; first, on grounds of common decency, and, secondly, because the British people have come to realize that, British armed forces have no right to remain on the soil of other nationals against the will of those nationals. Does the honorable member for Ballarat suggest that it would have been impossible for Britain, assisted by the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, to retain in the Suez Canal and Egypt, the troops which it previously had stationed in those areas? Some of those troops are now stationed at Cyprus and some may be stationed in the British African colonies. The point I make is that British troops were withdrawn from Egypt because the constitutional government of that country objected to their presence and the sentiment of the Egyptian people demanded such action.
– Do the Malays object to the sending of these troops to their country ?
– They do. In any event, they have not been properly consulted on the matter. It might interest the honorable member to know that in Kuala Lumpur of a population of 300,000, only 7,000 are on the council roll. That fact indicates the opportunity which the Malayan people have been given to express their views. The honorable member for Ballarat-
– Is very sensible.
– The Minister would think so. He would almost be prepared to kiss the honorable member for Ballarat, but not long ago he was laughing at him. Last night, the honorable member for Ballarat had much to say about smears. He referred to Dr. Burton, who is a distinguished Australian. He is the son of a Presbyterian clergyman. His views may differ from mine or from those of the Minister, .but at least he has the courage to express them. Dr. Burton’s character or loyalty has never been impugned. But the honorable member for Ballarat, who talked about smears, referred to Dr. Burton as the “deputy Communist assistant to the Leader of the .Opposition
-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I have listened with great interest to this debate as I did to the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on foreign affairs and defence. I do not propose to deal in detail with the right honorable gentleman’s speech, but I refer to the very first point that he made because the Leader of the ‘Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) have throughout their speeches said that Australia and the countries which would unite with us against a common enemy should strive in every way ‘through the United Nations to bring about peace by negotiations. Of course, we all agree with that view. No honorable member has objected to itAs a matter of fact, the first point that the Prime Minister made in the great speech that he delivered last Wednesday week was -
First, we must constantly seek for peace provided ‘.that peace can be had with justice.
That is of paramount importance. Although that statement does not consist of many words it is full of meaning. What is the use of peace to anybody if it is not just, or if our freedom is not retained? Down through the years, the British people have had to fight to maintain peace. Coming fresh from three Anzac Day services to this House, the speeches ‘of the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Lalor had a hollow Ting in my ears. At those Anzac Day services one heard on every hand about .Hie deeds of the men who have insured for us the continuance of liberty, honour .and British justice. We must uphold the [principles for which the British people .stand. We have a flag, but that flag will ‘be honoured abroad and in this country only -so long as we stand .four square for the principles that have made
Britain great. But in this debate I have heard from members of the Opposition remarks of that kind .expressed only by the anti-Communist section of .the Opposition. I thoroughly agree with the speech that the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua) made in rebutting the arguments that were advanced by the Leader of the Opposition last night. The fifth point that the Prime Minister made was -
We must live and let live.
I do not think that he went far enough in making that point. I believe that he should have said that we must live and help live. Through the Colombo plan, Australia is giving effect to the slogan, “ We must live and help live “. Under that plan and under Seato we are helping other nations to live. We are not doing anything to deny self-government to other countries but, on the contrary, by giving assistance through education - the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has just announced the .provision of more scholarships for that purpose - by giving them tractors and foodstuffs we are doing everything with the object of putting them in a position in which they can be given self-government with confidence. Every Australian .realizes that fact. The Prime Minister’s speech gave’ Australians fresh heart that at last something practical was being done to stem the surge of communism in South-East. Asia and to prevent that area from being used as a jumping off point to this country.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister had not given even a hint that the Government intended to act in a .peaceful way .to .overcome disputes. The fact is ‘that the Prime Minister based :his whole speech on the need to maintain peace by negotiation. Then, the Leader of the Opposition said that, under the United Nations Charter military forces must be used only as a last resort. I agree with that statement. But what happens after all peaceful means have been exhausted and the Communists continue to push on.? A good illustration of the attitude :of the . Australian Labour party in this matter was provided by the conflict in .Korea. At that time, the Leader of the .Opposition -pleaded foi negotiation all the time but -when negotiation broke down and the United Nations was obliged to resort to the use of armed forces, what did the right honorable gentleman do? I can tell honorable members. He did absolutely nothing. The Leader of the Opposition and the people behind him, as soon as they are called upon to stand up for their principles, as the British people always have done when negotiations have proved inadequate, disappear from the scene. They have no plan.
The Leader of the Opposition also said -
Force should not be undertaken rashly.
Of course we know that force should not be undertaken rashly, but the Leader of the Opposition did not say one -word to condemn <the Communists for their -rash way of using force to enable them to walk over the peoples of parts of Europe and other -countries to -gain power and hold it. I shall not accuse the Leader of “the Opposition to-day of having Communist sympathies, but I believe ‘that any person -who listened to his speech last night -would .not have known which side he was on. He ‘did not make a definite statement. The whole speech was a negation. It appeared that there was one rule for the free world and another rule for the Communists. The Communists could march rough-shod over any country and use their forces rashly. He said nothing against that. As a British people, we know that we shall not .use our forces rashly. Nor will our allies in the freeliving and free-thinking world use their forces rashly.
The .Leader of the Opposition als-> stated -
Australia should take the initiative f»r peace.
Have we not always, by the greatest example possible, illustrated our peaceful intentions by living in peace? We have no idea of invading other countries and trying to get more land. We are a peaceful people. We live in peace. Everybody in Australia knows the truth of that statement, and it does not require any emphasis -by me. The Leader of the Opposition said -
Under the Charter, all nations have equal rights. Each nation should determine for itself its form of government.
What chance have people under the Communist yoke to determine for themselves their form of government? They have no chance at all, but the Leader of the Opposition did not condemn such a state of affairs. Because we propose to send a few troops to help the Malays, the right honorable gentleman created an uproar, but he did not say one word of condemnation against the Communists who have marched rough-shod over the peoples of some countries, and do not allow .them to determine their own way of government. He referred to “ Chinese “ Morrison, the son of a late Dr. Morrison, who was the Principal of Geelong College, and also to Mr. Donald, who had done great work in China 40 or 50 -years ago. He said -
If only these relations could he reestablished . . .
Only re-established! What ridiculous talk! Re-establish what “Chinese” Morrison .had done with the Communists in China ! Why, if such a man as he went into China for that purpose, he would be picked up as a. spy and executed. The ‘^Communists would shoot him on sight. Yet the Leader of the Opposition expresses such a hope in a speech that was completely lacking in common sense. He also said -
Our mode of thinking must keep pace with scientific discovery.
Just prior to that, he had said that we must re-establish with China relations that existed in the days of Morrison and Donald. The right honorable gentleman did not appear to be aware of the contradiction. He compared promises made by Roosevelt and Churchill to Malaya with the Japanese promises of the South-East Asian co-prosperity sphere. I could not tell whether he favoured the Japanese promise or the Churchill-Roosevelt promise. He admitted that he was not sure which of the two promises was the better. When all is said and done, a promise made by the British or the American people will be fulfilled at the right time.
The classic utterance of the Leader of the Opposition, to which I. desire to direct most attention in the brief time available to me this afternoon, is as follows : -
The sending of Australian troops to Malaya would gravely injure our relationship with that country.
Those words have been repeated, in substance, by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), and the opinion is shared by many members of the Labour party. When the Leader of the Opposition made that statement, he must have been ignorant of the fact that our troops, wherever they have been sent, have been our greatest ambassadors. He could not have known anything about the people of Malaya. I speak of those people with the knowledge gained from the period of four years and four months I spent in that country. I know of the friendships that the Australian Imperial Force established with the Chinese in Malaya and with the Malays themselves. There is a world of difference between what one knows, and what one thinks. I am not merely thinking when I make these statements. I know the truth from personal experience. I could bring battalions of men from all parts of Australia who have had experience of the Chinese in Malaya, and the Malay people, to confirm my statements. The Leader of the Oppo sition should talk with some of those men, and ascertain the facts.
The Australian Imperial Force, when it landed in Malaya in World War II.. was sent, among other places, to Malacca, which is a big place and one of the oldest cities on the peninsula. As soon as the children saw the Australians come along in their uniforms, they disappeared into the houses like wild animals scurrying into the jungle. They remained out of sight for the first few days, but after a while we could not get rid of them. Photographs in the possession of ex-servicemen bear evidence of the great friendliness displayed by the children towards our troops. As a matter of fact, I think that some Australians got too friendly-
– Oh, no!
– That is for anyone to decide.
– The honorable member has no right to make such a statement.
– The friendliness that existed between the Chinese, the Malays and ourselves was outstanding. When I say that some of the relations may have become too friendly, I am not speaking in reference to the children. I will not allow the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) to misinterpret my statement. I believe that the Malays and Chinese will welcome the Australian troops when they go to Malaya, because they will know that we are sending those troops not only to stop the march of communism in our own interests, but also to set up a. bulwark against communism in their own country.
The honorable member for Lalor has pointed out that troops of other countries are already in Malaya. We know that to be true, so I cannot see any great objection if Australia is represented there; but I can foresee that a lot of good will result from the despatch of Australian troops to Malaya, because such an act will show that we are prepared to act in a practical manner with our allies - the United States of America, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The despatch of Australian troops to Malaya will demonstrate that weare prepared not to sit back all the time while communism marches on.
The Leader of the Opposition made another classic remark when he said that Australia was saved in World War II. by Australian Labour party . leadership. I have not heard a more ridiculous statement.
Opposition members. - It is true.
– I have said before, but I have to drum it into the ears of Opposition members, that bad not the Eighth Division held up the Japanese on the Malayan peninsula for five or six weeks, there would not have been a battle of the Coral Sea. Surely to goodness Opposition members can understand that! The Japanese tried to fight the Australians first on the Malayan peninsula and that campaign gave the Labour government, if there was any Labour party leadership, an opportunity to get the American fleet to come southwards and engage in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Had it not been for the foresight of the preceding anti-Labour government, the Eighth Division would not have been sent to Malaya, and the Japanese would have come straight to Australia. Make no mistake about that ! Anybody who has a knowledge of naval and military tactics must agree with me. It is the only logical conclusion that any man or woman can reach. Yet all the time we hear about the great Labour party winning the war. Not a word is said about the great Empire air training scheme in Canada, which helped to enable Australia and the other democratic nations to retain the freedoms that they cherish so dearly.
I now desire to ask a few questions about Malaya, and in doing so, I paraphrase a passage from a statement made years ago by Sir George Reid. Are we on a quest in search of gain, such as led our forefathers to the Australian shore? Are we preparing, when we send our troops to Malaya, to invade and outrage the nationals of that part of the world in lawless rage of conquest? I hope that our troops will go forward as soon as possible, and when they do so, their mission will” lie as pure and as noble as that which any soldiers undertook to stem the onward march of would-be tyrants. So far as I can understand the position, the Opposition does not regard communism as a threat at all. If members of the Opposition regard communism as a threat, let one of them rise in his place and say so. That is the point. Two prominent members of the Labour party - the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Lalor, have taken part in this debate to date. I have not heard any statement from them that convinces me that they are opposed to communism in any way. Let them declare their views. Australians are a freedom-loving people. Australians have died in the defence of freedom. Honorable gentlemen opposite speak of “ Her Majesty’s Opposition “. Let them say clearly what they mean by their statements on foreign policy, instead of making speeches that no one can understand. Let them declare where they stand. Until they do so we must regard with suspicion any idea of nonparticipation in Malaya, as advocated by the Opposition.
The suggestion has been made that our troops should be trained in Australia, and kept here, and should be flown to a place where they are required. The Leader of the Anti-Communist Labour party (Mr. Joshua) knocked that suggestion very quickly. He said that the troops would need to be landed by parachute, and that they would not have any supply lines, so complete chaos would result.
- (Hon. Archie Cameron). Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- After having toured the world for several weeks, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) returned to Australia, and one of his first acts was to inform the Australian community that he had committed this country to send troops to Malaya. I read the report of the Prime Minister’s speech and I found, as with most of his speeches, that I had to sort and sift it. After I had sifted all his customary eloquence from the matter, I had a big heap of eloquence and very little matter. The main matter in his speech related to the decision of the Government to send troops to Malaya. I have re-read the report of the speech, and the Labour party agrees with the: greater part’ of : it: He quoted a number of golden rules to which the- honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) referred. “We- do not disagree- with those sentiments. Nor do we disagree with his statement that we support the-Charter of the United Nations and the structure and procedure of that body: We1 should^ however, like to see the Government make more use of them. We also support the statement that we co-operate closely with the British Commonwealth of Nations. That is our policy. We are not in disagreement with the general statements in the- Prime Minister’s speech. The major difference between the- Prime Minister’s statement and the Labour party’s policy is that our policy is opposed to the sending of Australian troops to Malaya. We- regard that as an offensive action and not a defensive action.
– Offensive to whom?
– History may repeat itself. Even if we had the permission of the Malayan people to send troops there I still think it would be unwise to do so. The honorable member for. Mallee claims that we have the permission of the Malays to send troops to Malaya. We have not. The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) pointed out that, as the people of Malaya do not enjoy self-government, they are not in a position to express objections to the proposal. I repeat, however, that even if we had permission to send troops to Malaya, it could be wrong strategy to do so. Such a step might lead to a repetition of the tragic experience that we had. in World War II., when, our large forces in Malaya were simply by-passed. We do not want that to happen again.
We have history to guide us in these matters. England once sent troops to the American colonies to oppose the popular demand for’ self-government. That war ended with loyalists and rebels joining forces, with the result that England lost a dominion. Thank goodness that we have a great deal in common with that former dominion now. We enjoy its friendship, and I hope that we keep it. During the French Revolution a number of allied powers sent troops to Europe to support the ruling classes in France, and the results of that’- intervention! were1 tinrise of Napoleon and his near-conquest-, of Europe; During the revolution! agains1, the tyranny and terror of the czarist regime in Russia-, allied.- forces were, sen: to Russia to support the White Russian forces. Almost the whole: population of Russia resented the presence of foreign troops in Russia, and joined forces with the revolutionaries. We saw, as a result, the establishment of Lenin and’ Trotsky in power, and of communism over a sixth of the earth’s surface. Wo do not want” history to- repeat such mistakes by sending- troops, to Malaya. It is dangerous for Australia to act in any way that- will1 create bad feeling against us in Malaya and* Asia. I f troops have to be sent to: Malaya, let troops be sent from some distant’ country. Do not let the nearest important neighbour of Malaya, which is also the smallest nation, in respect of population, in this part of the world, be the guinea Pig-
– In other words, let somebody else defend us.
– We have other means of meeting aggression than sending troops to Malaya. It would be. as- well for honorable members to know- something of the facta about Malaya. Its population numbers just: over 6,000^000 people, including- 3,000,000 Malays, 2,500,0.00 Chinese and 750,000 Indians. The remainder are mainly British civil servants. Production in Malaya is important. It produces half of the world’s rubber. Its production of tin and many other commodities is vital to the Australian economy, among others. There is apparent, however, a lack of development in Malaya. The Malayan people are not pleased about that. They believe that they should have other industries as alternates in case- of slumps in. their main primary industries, which are concerned with the production of tin and other important commodities. They believe, they should, have secondary industries for the manufacture: of goods from their own-raw materials; including rubber;, that they should have motor factories and assembly factories, which would: help- in. the development! of their country. The Malayan people believe that; given the opportunity of self-government, they could not only develop further their primary industries and their natural resources, but also considerably improve their economic position in the field of secondary industry.
The standard of living in Malaya, because of that country’s natural rich resources, is higher than the standard elsewhere in South-East Asia. Better standards of living have possibly had a disturbing effect on the political thinking of the Malayan people. There is an undercurrent of thought in Malaya that Britain’s old promise of self-government should be fulfilled. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned the Atlantic Charter, which was later incorporated into the United Nations Charter. It holds that every nation should have its own nationality and should have selfgovernment. It was meant for all nations, and it was a clarion call for all nations. The Malayan people responded to it, but they are disappointed that its promise has not been fulfilled. The urge to self-government has become stronger in Malaya since ‘World “War II.- The fact that the Japanese overran Malaya so easily aroused a feeling of insecurity and loss of faith in British protection among the Malayan people. Because of the quick success of the Japanese in the early stages of World War II. there has developed among their fellow Asians in Malaya a feeling of confidence in their own capacity to manage their own affairs, which has given them a fresh urge to self-government.
Economically Malaya is very significant to Britain and the sterling area. Its dollar earnings each year are 250,000,000 dollars, which are the highest dollar earnings of any country in the sterling area. Without Malaya the sterling area would be in an impossible position financially. That is the measure of Britain’s interest in Malaya. Of course, Britain’s interest in Malaya is not the interest of the British people as a whole. It is the interest of a few wealthy investors. That may be what we are sending troops to Malaya to protect. It is vital to the British Commonwealth that Malaya should want to lead an independent life as a member of the British
Commonwealth. It is important for the rest of the Commonwealth that Malaya should incline towards a democratic government. If the Communists, to whom I am 100 per cent, opposed, I may say, in answer to the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), were in control of Malaya, they would command a prime strategic area and great resources of tin and rubber without which the west could not easily live. I think, however, that the sending of troops to Malaya by this Government will not secure those resources, or keep the Communists out of Malaya. I believe the granting of self-government, the extension of the hand of friendship to the Malays, and the provision of aid to them would do more for our cause than anything else would do. We have the example of India, Burma, Pakistan, and Ceylon, which enjoy self-government, which are friendly members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and which are all anti-Communist. Indonesia is a similar example. Whatever Malaya was in the past, it certainly is not to-day a mere colony. Malays are conscious of the fact that they are governed from the Colonial Office in Whitehall, and resent it. I believe that some status superior to colonial status should be granted to Malaya now. Every citizen likes to have a say in shaping his own destiny, and the Malays also have that desire.
In Malaya about 10 per cent, of the Chinese population are Communists. The entire Communist force in Malaya is reckoned at about 8,000 out of a total population of 6,000,000 people. Ten per cent, of the people are proBritish and anti-Communist, and a big percentage are indifferent, as were the people in Indo-China in the face of the Communist danger. There is an analogy there. I believe that those people would go the way that the battle went. Only a handful of Malays and Indians believe in the Communist party, and I believe they could be turned on to the right path if we allowed them to have their own party, and worked in with them. There is now a genuine national movement in Malaya. It is a labour party, which seeks independence for
Malaya. It has a comprehensive programme of reforms which is attractive to all sections of the Malayan community. That programme includes an insistence on self-government, and a willingness to stay in the British Commonwealth of Nations. That is their aspiration, and we should not lose the opportunity to encourage it. I. believe that such plans as the Malayan Communists may have in mind would immediately lose ground if Britain set a time-limit on the British stay in Malaya, as it did in India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon.
A total amount of £1,200,000,000 is invested in Malaya, and most of the proceeds of that investment goes out of the country. The Malays should have those profits to improve their own country, and to help them to achieve some of the standards in social security, good wages, good hours of work, workmen’s compensation, and so on, which we enjoy in Australia and which they could enjoy if they were also given the right of selfgovernment. The target for selfgovernment should be set up before the eyes of the Malayan people, not only as something to which they can look forward, but also as something for which they should prepare. There should be established in Malaya training schemes such as were established by Britain in India. When India was given the right of selfgovernment, the Indian people had a civil service in existence to carry on the administration after the British had left. That has been denied to the Malayan people, and they resent it.
Malaya can be best managed by Malays, just as the economic and defence problems of this country should be left in the hands of Australians. Military intervention is dangerous. That view was supported by the recent elections in Singapore, in which military intervention was an issue. For the first time in history the people of Singapore had an opportunity to cast free votes, and they showed that they did not favour the sending of troops to Malaya. I believe that the correct answer to our defence problem lies in adequate defences in our own territory. We should strengthen our northern defences, and concentrate our forces in our north and not in Malaya, where the sending of troops by us could be considered offensive, and could lead to tragedy similar to that which occurred in Malaya in World War II. Our national defences should be prepared in the right place, which is in our north, and should be developed side by side with the general development of our northern areas. It would encourage the growth of population there and we should be offending no one by preparing our defences in their proper place, Australia.
– The members of the Opposition disagree with the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on foreign policy and defence. If they disagree with it, surely it is up to them to provide an alternative. But so far we have heard no alternative except that suggested in the most vague and nebulous terms by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) himself. His first attack on the Prime Minister’s statement was a declaration that what Australia needed was a positive foreign policy. Let me put to the House what the Government has actually done with regard to defence and foreign policy. We have improved our defence immeasurably, both at home and abroad. We have alliances with powerful friends. I refer to the Anzus pact and to Seato. We have pursued vigorous economic policies. We were originally responsible for the Colombo plan, and the other treaties that we have entered into, such as Seato, also have economic aspects. We have established diplomatic posts all over South-East Asia and numerous visits to that area have been paid by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). We have encouraged understanding with Asian countries by the arrangements we have made for giving them technical assistance and bringing their students to Australia. We have supported the work of the United Nations amongst Asian countries by our contributions to Unicef, and we have taken all sorts of other steps to expand our understanding of the peoples of Asia and to improve our relations with them. If that is not a positive foreign policy, I do not know what is.
In addition, the Government has afforded active support to the United Nations. Of course we support the
United Nations. Last night in this debate the Leader of the Opposition produced a great list of countries which he said should be admitted to the United Nations. Perhaps they should. But the fact of the matter is that we have an immediate, pressing and urgent problem on our doorstep, about which, I suggest to the House, the United Nations is unable to do very much. What can the United Nations do about the emergency in Malaya? The conflict in Indo-China, T remind the House, was settled, not by the United Nations, but by a conference of the great powers. What was the United Nations able to do in Korea, the only instance in which it did intervene? Everyone agrees with the Leader of the Opposition that disputes and international differences should be settled by peaceful means. Only a madman would want to settle them by war. In that regard, we have acted in concert with the other nations of the British Commonwealth with our allies in America and in pressing upon the world plans for disarmament.
The Leader of the Opposition informed the House last night that the great powers had not met for ten years, but in fact it must have been barely ten months ago that the leaders of the great powers, by meeting together in Geneva, were able to settle the conflict in Indo-China. But it is useless for the leaders of countries to meet together, inside or outside the United Nations, and attempt to produce a settlement of international disputes unless they .have behind them the strength which gives them authority to speak. What can little countries do unless they are united ? What can even great countries do unless they are united? So I say that in our foreign policy, unity is the first requirement. The Government has vigorously pursued it in the treaties it has made with other nations, both great and small.
What does unity involve? In the first place, it involves a contribution from us. We can never expect help and assistance from other nations with which we have relations and common ideals unless we are prepared to make a contribution ourselves. I. hope this country realizes that the defence of Australia, not only is essential to such a contribution, but also is a matter to be considered in not isolation, but as a part of the defence of the free world. What are we going to defend Australia against? There is only one force, only one power, against which we have to defend Australia to-day. Every one knows it, and to pretend otherwise is idle. What we have to defend Australia against is communism, with its declared objectives and its proselytizing activities in every part of the world. The Prime Minister’s statement on foreign policy contemplates that state of affairs. So I say that the second element in the achievement of unity is the effective defence of Australia, in combination with our allies.
There is a third requirement for the achievement of unity. It is readiness to use deterrents against war. There is one which I may call the ultimate deterrent, nuclear power. The position as I see it is that our opponents know quite well that we are not aggressive and that we should use nuclear weapons only in an extremity. Therefore, while it is essential for us to make all preparations for such an extremity and to be ready and prepared to use those weapons, it is also essential for us to be ready to use what are called conventional armaments, not by ourselves but as an integral part of the defence plans of our allies. What twaddle it is for people like the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa) to say that the defence of Australia can be conducted by ourselves alone, in Australia ! Every one knows that if there is to he any defence at all, it must be defence by combined powers, and even then we may well expect severe blows in carrying it out. One objective of our defence plans must be to maintain forces armed with conventional weapons. Whether we agree completely with what is said in the Prime Minister’s statement in this regard, or whether we listen, as of course we do, with great respect to the suggestions made by my colleague, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Bostock), is only a detail of the main principles of the case I am putting to the House. Whatever we do, we must have some reserve of forces armed with conventional armaments. There is another reason for this. It is only natural to suppose that the Communist powers will follow a policy of piecemeal wars. They know that we are not going to be the first to use atomic weapons. Therefore, they are prepared to use the advantages that they have in man-power and conventional armaments in .order to create more emergencies such as those in Korea, IndoChina and Malaya.
Those are general words. There are two things which, I think, stand out against that sombre background. The first is the problem of Formosa, which was referred to by the Leader of the Opposition last night, but again in general terms. I want to say at once that I have no intention of being specific on this matter, because it is one of such gravity that I believe a responsibility rests on all of us in public life and in this Parliament to treat it with the greatest restraint. The negotiations which are going on about it should, I believe, properly be carried on behind closed doors, so that those conducting them will not be embarrassed by statements trumpeted abroad. Every one should realize the awful responsibility that rests upon those who are handling this difficult situation. But let no one doubt that it is being handled and that the Australian Government is playing a noteworthy part in its handling. I only want to say one more thing about Formosa. I hope that, whatever settlement is made, the people concerned will be given some chance to express their own desires, hopes and wishes, and that they will not find the doors of liberty, freedom and human happiness closed for ever against them.
The other matter that stands out against this background is the specific matter of Australian troops in Malaya. I shall deal with that in some detail, but first of all I want to refer to what wa3 said about it by the honorable member for Banks. I presume that he spoke for the Labour party. In fact, he declared that he did so. He said that the presence of Australian troops there would be offensive, not defensive. I ask him and I ask the Labour party generally: Offensive to whom ? To the Communists ? Do they object to that? He went on to say that it was against Labour policy to send troops overseas, and he recapitulated the various countries to which British troops had been sent in the past. I ask him and the Labour party: Was it against Labour policy to send Australian troops to Korea? There was a time not long ago when it was not against Labour policy.
The suggestion that the presence of Australian troops in Malaya would be resented is not a very difficult one to deal with. There has been an Australian bomber wing there for quite a long time, taking an active part in operations against terrorists. Has any resentment, been expressed at the presence of those Australians? If so, nobody has heard it. Has any resentment been expressed at the presence of British troops in Malaya ? Does any one really believe that they were sent there to crush Malayan independence ? Of course not. The trend of British policy in Malaya has been in the direction of an orderly programme for elective self-government. But the first necessity is to ensure that, when Malaya secures its independence, it is not immediately destroyed by the forces of Communism, now actively engaged against it. No proper comparison can be made between the grant of independence and selfgovernment to Malaya and India. It is misleading for the Leader of the Opposition to attempt to make us believe that any such comparison can be made, because the countries are quite different. In India, there was no active subversive fighting going on, as there is in Malaya. Australia, Malaya and the British Commonwealth generally have a common interest in the security of Malaya, in the establishment of an independent government there, and in seeing that the destructive forces of communism are prevented from strangling independence at its birth.
But, more than that, many statements have been made by leading Malayan statesmen, not only welcoming the actions of the British in India, but also announcing that they believe it would be a mistake for independence to be given too quickly to Malaya. In at least one case a reference was made in specific terms to the presence of British troops there. Those leaders include such men as
Sir Cheng.lok.Tan, the leader of the MalayanChinese Association, and Mr. Abdul Rahman, the leader of the United Malayan organization, who, when he spoke of continuing links with Britain, said -
Independent Malaya will remain in the British Commonwealth and will want the British Army to stay.
A part of the British Army, in its wider sense, is the Australian force which will be there. I could quote many other prominent Malayan leaders who have spoken in the same way.
I have dealt with the two main matters which stand out against the general background. I reiterate that I do not believe for one moment that the presence of Australian troops in Malaya will arouse resentment amongst the Malays or amongst the people of neighbouring countries, any more than the presence of British troops has done. In fact, I believe it will bring aid and comfort to many of our Allies in neighbouring States. And I ask why is it always wrong for us to make military preparations against our enemies, and always right for other people to make military preparations against us?
I desire now to say a few words about co-existence, because the Prime Minister also referred to that matter in his speech on foreign affairs. It is a matter that we cannot avoid, because we have to live in the same world as the Communist powers. However, co-existence aust work both ways. We must ensure that if we have to tolerate the Communist view-point, the Communists have to tolerate our viewpoint. We can do that only if we are strong. If we can speak from strength, we can command respect ; but not otherwise. We, in Australia, will he able to participate in world events only if we are willing to give and not just receive. If we are willing to integrate ourselves with the statesmanship and defensive measures of other and more powerful countries, and if we are willing to take our stand with and among’ the free nations of the world. We cannot stand back in the belief that other men. will fight for our freedom overseas, and we cannot hold back from stepping out as free Australians and members of the
British Commonwealth to wherever in the world we have to go. I have no doubt that such a policy will demand great exertions and great sacrifices, but there is no other course open to us if we are going to live in Australia in safety and in honour.
– A great deal, has been said during this debate about the need for peace in the world. I am sure that all honorable members of this House, and the great majority of people throughout the world, want peace. I except, of course, munition manufacturers and others who make a profit out of war. Nevertheless, while we continue to hope for, and seek, peace, by some asinine policies we seem to be continually involving ourselves in war. Very little progress has been made towards world peace for many many years. It seems to have been assumed by many honorable members on the Government side that the English-speaking people should set out for other countries, lay clown policies for them and tell them the way that, they should run their affairs. I suggest that the Englishspeaking people would greatly resent it if other peoples came to their countries and attempted to do just what we are attempting to do.
At present the issue seems to be whether troops shall be sent to Malaya, but it is obvious that the Formosa question will also have to be dealt with later on. It is my opinion that Australian troops will be sent to Formosa if war breaks out in that area. If we are sincere in our desire for peace could we not allow the people of Formosa a certain time within which to decide by vote whether they will come under the control of the de .facto government of China or remain under the control Nationalist China? I remind honorable members that a very similar democratic procedure has been adopted in respect of disputes between India and Pakistan, and I have no doubt that a vote could be taken in Formosa. But, apparently, certain people have decided that there is to be a war over Formosa.
I now desire to detail some of the events in which Australia has been involved, and the damage that we have suffered in the past through following policies similar to the present Government’s policy. This Government, like the French kings, can never learn by its mistakes. That trait of the French kings resulted in a revolution in France, which ultimately did not alter its status in the world, but such a tendency on the part of this Government will probably destroy Australia and bring us under the power of a foreign nation. Let us consider Australia’s part in World War I. I believe that, not by the greatest stretch of imagination could it he considered that World War I. was fought in any way for the defence of Australia. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of Australians were taken to the Middle East and Europe and used as shock troops. Many of them never returned to Australia. Had World War I. not occurred I have no doubt that our population would have been greater than it is to-day - in fact it wouk number about 20,000,000 people - and our wealth, and consequently our power, would have also been much greater than it is.
If we had not been drained of our manpower and resources in World War I., we should have had a larger population and more wealth, and we could have manufactured greater quantities of war’ material and prepared our defences on a greater scale than is possible at present. I have no doubt that’ had we not participated in World War I. we should have been able to develop our industries and ultimately have become the centre of the British Commonwealth. Weight is added to that argument when we consider the articles and warnings that we read about atomic warfare, and the possibility that the British people might have to find a refuge somewhere away from the British Isles. If we had not lost great numbers of our young men of marriageable age in World War I., I have no doubt that our population would have increased to a number far greater than it is to-day.
At the beginning of World War II. the Australian Government was led by the leaders of the present Government. That government followed the same policy as is being followed to-day - that is, the policy of sending men away from Aus- tralia to fight. After World War II. broke out the then government sent men to Africa, but apparently overlooked the real enemy that threatened Australia from the north. If a Labour government had not superseded the Menzies Government of that time, the Australian soldiers in Africa would not have been able to come back to an Australia governed by. Australians.
Australia had hardly any defences at the time the anti-Labour government sent our men to Africa. In the north of Queensland there were a few troops, but they did not even have rifles; and, later, even those men were moved south. After Japan entered the war events occurred very rapidly. After the Curtin Government came to power, the Japanese reached New Guinea and a few Militia boys stopped them at Kokoda and at Milne Bay. At this stage I suggest that the proper credit has never been given to the valour of the Militia Forces in the great job they did in holding up the Japanese at Kokoda and Milne Bay. Soon after that, John Curtin brought back the 6th and the 7th divisions, and, later, the 9th division from Africa. For doing that he was condemned by the leaders of the present Government and also condemned by Great Britain whose then Prime Minister wanted to send Australian troops to Burma. Sir Winston Churchill stated in his biography quite definetly that the Australian troops should have been sent to Burma.
The idea actuating the minds of the leaders of the British government of the day was that Australia did not matter two hoots. Those leaders considered that even if the Japanese had occupied Australia., they could have been pushed out later. Nothing was more ridiculous than that idea, because it is quite plain that the Japanese could have allowed millions of coloured people to flow into Australia, and even if they had no arms at all we could never have got them out of the country. Later the Australian Government, under John Curtin, appealed to the United States of America and that country sent men and materials to assist us. To make a long story short, as a result of American and Australian armies fighting together we were able to defend Australia. The fine work that was done at that time has enabled us to be here to-day carrying out the government of the country. However, if we had continued to adopt the policies of the then Menzies Government, and of the present-day Government, we should not have been here to-day.
Tn 1910, when the Australian population was about 5,000,000 people, the Australian Government arranged for Lord Kitchener to make a survey of the defence capacity of this country. Because of our small population, and the fact that most of our people were in the southern part of the continent, Lord Kitchener evolved a defence plan which was based upon the evacuation of the northern part of Australia beyond the border of New South Wales, in the event of an enemy landing in the north. I suggest that such a plan was quite sound in 1910 when our population was very small, but during World War II. when our population had almost doubled and our industrial power had increased enormously, both in the south and in the north, that policy was simply crazy. Despite that, and despite all the denials we have heard over the years, the non-Labour government of the day adopted Lord Kitchener’s plan which then became known as the “ Brisbane l ine “ plan.
I was a Minister in the Queensland Government when the present Governor of New South Wales, Sir John Northcott, was in charge of the Australian Army in Queensland. He said to Mr. Forgan Smith, who was then Premier of Queensland, “ When are you going to send your Government to the northern rivers of New South Wales ? “. There is no doubt at all that that request was made, and Sir John Northcott practically suggested that he would force the Queensland Government to leave Queensland. However, Mr. Forgan Smith was a very tough Scotsman, stud he replied, “ This is a. sovereign State, :ill:1 we are not shifting the Government until the Japanese are a bloody sight closer than they are to-day “.
– Order! The adjective that the honorable member used is completely out of order.
– I am merely repeating exactly what was said at that time. Pearl Harbour had been attacked, and the
Japanese had advanced to the very shores of Australia. After General MacArthur arrived, there was some talk of him remaining in Melbourne. But he said that he might as well be in New York as Melbourne, and he advanced to meet the Japanese on their own ground. Through its actions, the Labour Government of the day saved Australia for the Australian people. However, if we send Australian soldiers to Malaya, and they get embroiled in fighting over Formosa, we should be embarking on one of the silliest campaigns in history, because we cannot beat China. The population of China is so enormous that unless atomic bombs are used - and no doubt China and other countries have atomic bombs also - any war with China, would end in defeat or stalemate. American material and equipment will be required in China if America is fighting against that country and, if Australian troops are over there assisting American forces, there will be a wide open track to Australia along which the Japanese may travel as they went before. Australia, with its supplies of uranium and such commodities, is probably the richest prize for which any nation could look. The Japanese are again going about taking photographs, and they know better than ever the wealth that is in this country. Whether the Japanese be Communists or imperialists, they will, when they are strong enough, move south with the object of conquering Australia. The startling fact is that America is presenting to the Japanese huge quantities of armaments such as jet aeroplanes and other modern equipment. The whole picture is such that I suggest that any man of common sense would recommend to the people of Australia that they should establish their own defences right here in this country.
We have heard many statements about experiments with various kinds of atomic weapons in Australia. Is it proposed that the uranium that is required for the manufacture of atom bombs shall be exported from this country? Is Australia to be left naked as a result of the sending of men and materials overseas? Australia would be the final area in which a war would be fought, yet it is proposed to send overseas men and large supplies of armaments, and leave Australia with almost no defence at all. Some people call that sanity! Tie logical thing :to do would be to take the men and the materials that were required, and to manufacture the atom bomb. If other people have the atom bomb, and if they say that they can fire it from a certain place to Australia, why should we not be able to fire it from Australia to such a point? “We have the basic material, uranium. Moreover, we have the technicians who understand the processes that are involved in the manufacture of atomic weapons. I see no reason why they should not be able to establish an organization for the manufacture of such weapons. We established a huge organization on the Snowy River, and we got technicians from all over the world because we put money into the scheme. Could not a project for the protection of Australia be established in rauch the same way ?
A few days ago, the people of Australia celebrated Anzac Day, and in doing so they celebrated a day of wonderful courage and fortitude by Australian and New Zealand soldiers. We celebrated also the greatest military blunder that has ever occurred in the history of war, as a result of which our boys faced machine guns that had been manufactured by the armament manufacturers of Great Britain. Everybody, quite rightly, admires the incredible things that were done by those men, and which they did without proper support and even without proper hospital facilities. But it must be remembered also that it was a sacrifice that need not necessarily have been made. We know that during World War I. Australian soldiers were used as shock troops in every theatre of operations in Europe. They went for months and months without any leave. We know that ultimately the then Prime Minister, Mr. William Morris Hughes, insisted that they should be given some relief, and that they should not be used continuously as shock troops. I believe that, in reponse to that demand, he was told that he would have to introduce conscription for the purpose of providing troops to fill the depleted ranks. I now wish to stress the necessity of seeking peace. I have pointed out a few of the things that have happened to the people of Australia, but let me impress upon every honorable member the absolute necessity of doing everything possible to bring about peace.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I must admit that, during the course of this debate, we have had evidence of a large amount of woolly-headed thinking by honorable members on the other side of the House. Much has been said about Malayan independence. Reference has been made to the fact that India, Burma, Pakistan and other countries have been given their independence, and honorable members have been invited to look at the result. The honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) pointed out that the granting of independence to Burma, Pakistan and India could not be compared with the granting of independence to Malaya. The Government does not propose to send Australian troops to Malaya to prevent that country from obtaining its independence. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) failed to make that point in his speech.
– The right honorable gentleman did not make any point.
– That might be right, too. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), during his speech, said that, first, we must constantly seek peace, provided that peace can be had with’ justice. I ask honorable members opposite whether they desire a peace that has no justice. The free countries of the world could have peace to-morrow if they were prepared to accept it at the dictation of Communist Russia. All of our troops could be brought home if we were prepared to accept the terms offered by this enemy. We are engaged in a cold war, and I believe that it is a cold war only because of some of the things to which Sir Winston Churchill referred in a statement that he made and in which he also said, “At the moment, thank God that the United States of America has domination in the field of nuclear weapons of war “. We can well appreciate why Soviet Russia, with ite vast resources of man-power and material, should constantly be mouthing the thought that the production of nuclear weapons should be stopped. The main reason for Russia’s doing so would be that, immediately the production of such weapons had ceased, and immediately existing stock-pile3 were destroyed, it would have a preponderance of power in any military offensive.
One of the most disgraceful incidents in the parliamentary history of Australia was concurrence in the giving of independence to Indonesia at the time at which it was given. That country was unprepared for independence. One would not take a child that could not walk, put it in a main street in front of traffic, and say to it, “ Go for your life. If you are knocked over by a motor car, it will teach you that you should not go in front of cars “. All of the reliable reports that have been received from Indonesia show that economic conditions in that country now are far worse than they were when the Dutch people were in control. “We may admit that there were some failures under Dutch rule, but it is now acknowledged that the present Government of Indonesia has made a complete mess of governing that country. I arn amazed that intelligent people should advocate the giving of immediate independence to such countries as Malaya. Has anybody stated that we will not give Ma laya its independence, that we will not grant to it the right of selfgovernment? Malaya will be given the right of self-government when it is ready to receive it. Take the case of India. The Indians themselves have acknowledged that one of the main reasons why that country was able to make such progress after receiving independence was the foundation that was laid, and the assistance that was given, by the British. Similar preparatory steps are being taken in Malaya. Progress is being made every day towards the attainment of independence.
– And very rapid steps, too.
– And rapid steps, too, us the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughe’s) has just stated. If we were to walk out of Malaya, we know who would walk in. It would not be a country or a people that was friendly towards the Western powers. We would be handing over to a potential enemy a vital and strategic point in South-East Asia. To those who oppose the sending of troops to Malaya, and who say that such action is offensive to the people of South-East Asia, I direct this question : Are we going to Malaya to defend the people of that country against the terrorists, or are we going to attack the the people of Malaya themselves? It is obvious that these troops will be sent so that independence may eventually be given to Malaya, and so that the terrorists who are endeavouring to disrupt the economy and the political life of that country may be completely destroyed. While the terrorists remain in that area, Malaya cannot become an independent nation. We have had statements from leading authorities in Australia, from members of the returned soldiers’ league, and from citizens who are conscious of the responsibility of this country, which support the Government in an action that will contribute towards peace through strength.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to S p.m.
– The observation of the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) that the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) showed that we are doing something practical to stem the forward surge of communism by the means proposed in the Prime Minister’s speech, must be replied to at once. I disagree entirely with that view. We shall do nothing practical to meet the onward surge of communism by merely sending troops to South-East Asia to slaughter native peoples in order to force them to see the virtues of Western capitalism. The Government proposes to use force of arms to convince the people of Asia that Western imperialism is preferable to Communist imperialism. Such a proposition will cut little ice with the Asian people. They want to know when the Western powers will act to give them self-government and when they will bo allowed to free themselves from the exploitation that has marked Western interference in .South-East Asia.
I propose to state to the House the views of an authority who has first-hand knowledge of events in Asia. That authority is none other than Mr. Justice William O. Douglas, of the United States Supreme Court. I am sure that no honorable member will say that that gentleman is a Communist, a Communist sympathizer, or a person who is not completely responsible. His views demonstrate clearly to me why the position in Asia is as bad as it appears at present. Mr. Justice Douglas stated -
Arrests without warrants ure liberally allowed. Searches and seizures w it li,,ut warrants are also freely permitted. Where a business is being run to aid the guerrillas, it can be made subject to a sort of receivership or wound up and dissolved.
Persons (not citizens)-
There is a big difference between citizens and persons in Malaya. A large percentage of the people who live in Malaya have no citizenship rights. I continue with the views of Mr. Justice Douglas - who in the opinion of the High Commissioner have aided and abetted or consorted with persons who they know or had reasonable cause -to believe were acting “ in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order “ can lie deported or detained.
Any one whom the High Commissioner thinks has aided and. abetted the guerrilla forces may be deported or detained. Mr. Justice Douglas continued -
They are deported or detained without trial.
This is the wonderful system that the Government intends to defend with Australian troops. This is the system for which the Government wants to sacrifice valuable Australian lives. The views of Mr. Justice Douglas continued -
Detention is for a period not exceeding two years-
They are fairly liberal ; they will keep a person in gaol, without a trial, for no more than two years - though it may bc extended for another two years.
Habeas corpus is suspended. After eighteen months, however-
And here we see a semblance of grand British justice - a person detained can get n review of his «asc by a civil authority. But the detention remains largely a discretionary matter. As a practical matter detention is used to confine people against whom a criminal case cannot
De made out.
What a wonderful situation exists in Malaya, this great citadel of British justice! That is tyranny of the type thai, the Government wishes to defend with Australian troops. Is it any wonder that the Asian people can see no difference between Communist imperialism and Western . imperialism? Mr. Justice Douglas stated also -
One tried and acquitted often is sent to a detention camp if lie is deemed dangerous in the nation. . . . Mohammed Ysoff head of the Government Workers Union- whom Mr. Justice Douglas met at Penang - thinks the detention law is sometimes used unfairly. He pointed to the case of the Battery Workers Union that was headed by three Chinese. This union struck against the layoff of 200 men. This was in the spring of 1952. The union officials were arrested and put in protective custody on a charge that they were either Communists or Communist sympathizers. In August 1952 the union officials were still in jail.
No charge had been preferred against them, nothing had been proved against them, and there was no proof that they were Communists or Communist sympathizers. They were gaoled simply because they, as trade unionists, had the decency to stand up for the rights of the members of the unions that they represented. Mr. Justice Douglas continued -
I do not know mure about the merits of the episode than what union men and a few American observers told mc. But it is clear that the detention law is viewed in the ranks of labor with fear and suspicion. There is no doubt that some managers have used it as an instrument of terror against trade unionists. It has in fact sobered the activities of labour leaders, and, as one British observer noted, made workers hesitate to strike even to remedy justifiable grievances.
It is about time that we stopped talking all this balderdash about the great British justice that is exercised in Malaya. In Malaya to-day there is a form of tyranny that is almost indistinguishable from that of a Communist dictatorship. All the rights and benefits that have been taken from, the Malayan people are, in the view of Mr. Justice Douglas, the things of which one would expect a people under a Communist regime to be deprived.
– Why does the honorable member hate the. British so ?
– In spite of of the facts that I have enumerated, Government supporters tell us that we should send Australian troops to Malaya to sacrifice their lives in defence of the corruption that now exists in that country. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) asks why I hate the British. I do not hate them.
– It sounds very much as if the honorable member does hate them.
– I have a great admiration for the British people. If the Minister implies that the people who exploit the native people of Malaya are typical of the British race, they- must be a different type from the British people with whom I have associated. Those whom I like to think as British are people who believe in fair play, and in preventing the exploitation of native people as the Malayan people are exploited. The views of Mr. Justice Douglas continued -
The accused does not have the benefit of a jury trial.
Trial by jury has been abandoned in Malaya. If anything that I have said this evening is untrue, let any Government supporter say so.
– Everything that the honorable member has said is untrue.
– One expects that sort of remark from the honorable member for Henty, who contradicts everything. He cannot prove that what I have said is untrue. In effect, he states that Mr. Justice Douglas is a liar. Not one of these charges that I have enumerated has been contradicted by a responsible person. Mr. Justice Douglas continued -
The Chinese coolies who worked in the tin mines came to Malaya under conditions as unconscionable as those which originally enslaved the Indian rubber tapper. The Chinese coolies were ruthlessly exploited under a contract labour system, described in Purcell, The Chinese in Malaya.
From which the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) quoted last evening -
The coolie “worked out” not only the expenses of his recruitment and the cost of his transportation from China, but the profit of the broker as well. It was therefore common for the coolie to receive only food and clothing for the first six months and only nominal wages for the next six months.
– That is better than he gets in China.
– Honorable members opposite laugh at these conditions. They would introduce similar conditions into Australia if they could do so.
– Ha! ha!
– The hollow cackle of the honorable member indicates that he would be happy to see similar conditions existing in Australia. I do not hesitate to say that I am not prepared to see Australian men slaughtered in the defence of “Western investments in tin and rubber in Malaya. If we wish to stop the forward surge of communism, we must give the people of Malaya and of other areas of Asia an alternative to the sort of capitalism under which they suffered in the past. Their only knowledge of the white races has been gained from the exploitation that has marked the influence of imperialist interests in South-East Asia. The people of Asia claim the right to live as decent human beings, free from exploitation, and they have a perfect right to expect us to help them towards that sort of life. We have no right to allow Western investors to enter into Asian countries and exploit the native peoples as the Asian people have been exploited in the past. We shall never find an answer to communism while one section of a community has a free rein to exploit the great masses of the people who, in any country, produce its wealth. Communism will never be destroyed by force of arms. It is an idea, and an idea can be overthrown only by a better idea. Until we can take to the Asian people a better idea than the Communists are taking to them, the people of Asia will not be much impressed by what we attempt to do to prevent communism from marching forward. It has been stated in this House that the people of Malaya have no objection to the sending of Australian troops to Malaya.
– Not all the people of Malaya have no objection.
– The honorable member for Wilmot, who has just returned from a visit to Malaya, and who talked with the Chief Minister of the new Labour administration in the Singapore Legislative Assembly, is a hie to state with authority that Mr. Marshall, the present Premier - if he may be so called - of Singapore, has told him that the people there do not want Australian troops to be sent to Malaya.
– The people in Singapore probably thought that the honorable member for Wilmot was disarming.
– The honorable member for Henty is so irresponsible that he says he supposes that the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) is a “ commo “. The position in Malaya is serious. If the Singapore Legislative Council, which is now controlled by a Labour administration, were free to act in this matter they would refuse to allow Australian troops to go there. But the point is that the people of the Federated States of Malaya have no say. Even when the elected government at Singapore takes over, it will be free to do only those things which Whitehall allows it to do.
– The honorable member says that he likes the British. What is wrong with that ?
– I like the British but not the exploiters whom the honorable member supports. The people of Malaya do not want foreign troops on their soil.
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! I am going to insist on. order being maintained during this debate on foreign affairs. This is not a joking matter. We are dealing with serious affairs that affect the future of this country and I ask the House to become serious.
– The people of Malaya do not want foreign troops on their soil, but they are not free to say so. It is suggested that they do not object. This Government does not know what the Malayan people want, because they have not an elected government. Except in Singapore, they are ruled by a High Commissioner. Even in Singapore tie elected government can do only what the High Commissioner permits it to do. There must be some thing wrong in Malaya when we realize that when this trouble started in 194S there were only about 6,000 bandits and that, although there have been employed continually since then as many as 300,000 men, including special police and the like, in trying to combat them, there are still just as many bandits operating there to-day as there were eight years ago when operations against them were commenced. If it is true that everything is in perfect order in Malaya as the Government would lead us to believe, why are these people continuing to get such strong support from the indigenous population as to enable them to- continue just as strongly after eight years of operations against them? We should give these people the right of selfgovernment as the Attlee British Government gave that right to India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. There is no Communist threat in those countries, and there would be no Communists- in Malaya or Indo-China to-day if the people of those countries were allowed to govern themselves. They have as much right to govern themselves and to determine their future as we have. They are human beings, and the fact that .they are coloured does not lessen their right to enjoy everything that we enjoy.
That is the solution of this problem. Those people should be given the right of self-determination and be freed from exploitation by western investors. We should remove poverty, misery and uncertainty which are the breeding grounds of communism. If that were done, communism would disappear in those countries. The Chinese people did not embrace communism because they believed in the principle of surplus value, or in dialectical materialism, or because they understood every word of Das Kapital They accepted communism out of utter desperation. They were prepared to do anything rather than put up with the rotten and corrupt tyranny that existed in their country. The 400,000,000 Chinese coolies accepted communism not because they understood it, but because they believed, that that system could not be worse than the conditions under which they were living. That is the explanation of the onward rush of communism and its acceptance by the Asian people. The
Government’s proposals can mean nothing but conscription. We are already 5,000 under strength in our ordinary military forces. What will happen if the Government is committed to a hot war in Malaya?
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I shall skip the speech of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) which was based on ignorance and on emnity towards the British race. E have had talks with many Chinese and Malays and I know that the one reason why terror cannot be completely eradicated in Malaya is weakness in the free world induced by the woolley-headed, muddled thinking of people like the honorable member for Hindmarsh and his colleagues who advocate appeasement policies in our dealings with the Communists.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in his speech on foreign, affairs and defence set out in clear and unmistakable language the five principles on which this Government and, I believe, the vast majority of the people of Australia, wish our foreign policy to be based. I shall not enumerate those principles, but the last of them was “the will to live and let live “. I am surprised to find that that policy does not exist in the Australian Labour party to-day. The honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Bruce) spat bitterness across the chamber against the Japanese. Other honorable members have feelings locked up in their breasts far more poignant than the feelings of that honorable member. But I ask the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), who visited Japan recently, what good can be achieved by bitterness. When I stood on a hill overlooking the city of Tokio and saw the devastation caused when 65 per cent, of the area was practically razed to the ground, and when I realized that from 30,000 to 60,000 people were fried in the holocaust of fire that followed the bomb.ing I thought, in spite of the feelings I previously had towards the Japanese, that one could, perhaps, believe that the
Japanese had paid dearly for the atrocities which they committed and of which some of us have close knowledge. Bitterness only creates more bitterness. Tokyo was not the only city to be thus devastated. Yokohama and every city nf any size right down to Osaka, in the 1 Inland Sea, was similarly destroyed. The honorable member for Wilmot said that the Japanese were always taking photographs and the honorable member for Hindmarsh repeated that statement. I have never seen a people more camerahappy, than when I was last in Japan. Everybody was taking photographs of everything, everywhere at every time. But if they wanted to hide their intentions in taking photographs they would not take them openly in Australia or elsewhere.
The principle of live and let live is not entertained by members of the Australian Labour party in their foreign policy. The Prime Minister elaborated the means by which this Government is carrying out Australia’s foreign policy, through support for the United Nations Charter - even though its administration is weak we support the United Nations mid hope that it will grow strong and through co-operation with other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and our great cousin, the United States of America, and with all nations of the free world. The right honorable gentleman’s speech showed breadth of vision and perspective. It was based on knowledge, experience, sympathy and understanding and should command the respect of every honorable member. It gave evidence of the qualities which have led Australia through a difficult period and established abroad for this country prestige and friendliness which was non-existent in 1949 because of the foreign policy that was adopted by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. .Evatt) when he was Minister for External Affairs. The Prime Minister’s speech revealed the characteristics which have made him one of the outstanding statesmen in the world to-day. On the other hand, the Leader of the Opposition delivered a speech which, at best, was a dreary dish of dreamy idealism, unspiced with the ingredients of realism. He then indulged in an hour and a half of appeasement towards the Communists. At its worst, it was a speech that will do more to cause war in the Ear East than anything I have heard for a long time, because it will strike fear and dismay in the heart of every small nation and in the heart and mind of every overseas Chinese and joy in the heart of every Communist. I know that the right honorable member did not mean his speech to have that effect. But that is what it will do.
When I left Darwin, I did not go straight to Singapore and on to England. I went to Indonesia, up the Chinese coast to north of the 38th parallel to the Injim River in Korea. Australians stationed there are almost a lost legion, forgotten by the vast majority of people in this country. Those troops are carrying the traditions of the Australian Imperial Forces and the Anzac spirit in the interests of the free world. All the way up the east coast of Asia, I met people who are living day by day, and almost hour by hour, in fear of the spectre of the red shadow. We in this country do not realize that fact. My contacts with Malays, Tamils, Sikhs and Chinese have given me a first-hand appreciation of the difficulties in Malaya. Honorable members opposite do not seem to realize that a programme of selfgovernment for these people has already been laid down.
– It has been laid down for years.
– The elections in Malaya are to take place later this year. These people came to me and asked, “ Are the British going to leave us to ourselves after we get self-government? If that is so, there will be chaos.” Honorable members opposite do not seem to realize the difference between security and self-government. I remind them that Australia once had colonial status, and that we grew step by step to become a self-governing dominion under the protection of the British Navy. In a similar way, the maintenance of Malaya’s security is costing the British Government far more than it derives from that country. We must continue to guarantee Malaya’s security and play our part in that task until the people of that coun try are strong enough to hold their own. Eighty-five per cent, of the internal security forces and 89 per cent, of the police force are Malays. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition was also completely illogical. He raised no opposition to the despatch of the Australian troops who are now in Korea, which is nearly 6,000 miles away, but, to-day’ he says that we should not send troops 2,000 miles away to Malaya. He has never, as far as I know, raised any objection to Nato, through which Canadian and American troops in Europe are 6,000 miles from their home base. The right honorable gentleman’s speech was not only illogical but also dangerous. If the honorable member for Hindmarsh is not convinced on this matter, I shall inform him of what Mr. Marshall, the Premier of the new Government at Singapore, said yesterday -
It conies ill from us to question the good faith of a nation that now holds out its hand to help us to our feet.
– Read on.
– The honorable member can have the lot. Certainly. Mr. Marshall admitted that there are in Malaya some people of the type to which the honorable member has referred, but they are not in anything like a majority. The Leader of the Opposition also said that the Government had not made any positive approach to Asian problems. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) gave a complete answer to that statement. Nobody has been more assiduous or diligent, and nobody has achieved greater success in spreading friendship and co-operation and in aiding security among the Asian people than has the Minister for External Affairs. The Minister quoted the Anzus Pact and the Seato Treaty as concrete evidence of actions taken by this Government to provide security for ourselves and our neighbours and in order to. ensure that these Asian countries are not overrun by Communists. He also quoted the Colombo plan. Whilst that plan is not his brain child, he has done a tremendous lot in implementing it. Once again, I would emphasize the importance of bringing Asian students to this country. The younger generation of Australians at our universities and their friendships with Asian students are doing more to break down the barriers of race and creed than anything else is. That is one way of establishing a breadth of understanding and a warmth of friendship which, I believe, will have a great impact upon the nations which are our neighhours in this part of the world and react to the benefit of mankind in general.
What is the position we find to-day? What is this accusation of colonialism? Many countries in Europe hoped to find themselves free after World War IT. What has happened ? The great nations - Britain and America in particular - have been accused only recently in certain quarters of colonialism. What are the facts? I shall not go back to the period when we got our freedom, but I point out that since World War I., the following countries have been granted their independence by Great Britain and the United States of America, France and the Netherlands : - The Republic of Ireland, Egypt, Irak, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Israel, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nearly 600,000,000 people, and, indeed, more than that number if we include the populations of South Korea and South Viet Nam, are involved. During the same time, the peoples of the following countries have lost their freedom, and have been enslaved behind the iron curtain or the bamboo curtain: - Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Germany, Hungary, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, and China - also North Korea and North Viet Nam, if we like to add them. About 620,000,000 persons have lost their freedom as the result; of Communist imperialism, which is more than the number of persons who have gained their freedom as the result of the actions of the four great nations of the free world.
The history of the twentieth century shows two diametrically opposite movements affecting the spiritual and moral welfare of nearly half the peoples of the world. One movement prompted by the great democratic nations has achieved independence and full self-government for more than 600.000,000 peoples. Other peoples numbering slightly more, have been denied their sovereign rights and freedom by Communist regimes led by Russia.
As I have said, all up and down the coasts from Darwin to Tokio one finds this spectre of fear with people living under the red shadow. The further one went, the more convinced one became that it was not a question of the people of China wanting to accept communism. It was because Russia armed Chinese Communist forces, and had two Chinese divisions trained, which were formed from refugees from the Japanese who had fled north of the Amur River and put them in at a critical period. But we shall leave that. It is a matter of history. At the moment, there are 2,000,000 refugees or more in Hong Kong who have fled from the red fear. I was present on the day when the evacuation of the Tachen Islands started. I was told it was expected that half the 15,000 civilians would come with the troops to Formosa, and that the other half would say that they wished to stay. That was not mere talk, because the Americans were with them when the offer was made, and they had very great difficulty in providing for evacuees. Three days later, the Nationalists learnt that of the 15,000 persons on the Tachen Islands, nine only asked to stay because they were too old to move. One man’s family said that they would stay and look after the old man who was too old to be moved. The old man committed suicide that night so that his family would not have to remain and come under the Communist regime. Such instances cannot just be brushed aside, the same as one cannot brush aside what happened after the armistice in Korea, over the return of prisoners, and the numbers who did not wish to go back under the Communist regime.
All this leads up to two main points. One of them is that the Communists start one war at a- time. They fight a cold war at all times and in all places, but they fight a hot war at one time in one place. In Europe, they went as far as they could until they were met by a show of strength. They then switched to Asia, and following the Stalin policy, they have been fighting one war at one time in one place, going as far as they could, go. Korea was in the first line. The Communists nearly overran it, but they were eventually stopped, and thrown back to the 38th Parallel. They were bogged down economically and strategically. They wanted an armistice, and they bargained for eighteen months to get the best terms they could. They had no intention of keeping the armistice, and they set off to hot-up another cold or tepid war in their own time in another place. They have not kept the armistice in North Viet Nam or Laos, and as soon as they signed it they started tension in the Straits of Formosa. That is why I hope that in any talks which take place, the scene will be treated as one picture, because up to the present time the strategy of the Communists has been to endeavour to conquer Asia, or as much of it as they can, before they return to put the pressure on Europe.
It is all very well to start to give away other people’s property, but let me remind the House that the one ray of light in the darkness for the 12,500,000 overseas Chinese I mentioned is the Nationalist Government in Formosa. Those Chinese are dispersed as follows : 2,000,000 in Indonesia, half the population of Malaya, nine-tenths of the population of Singapore, 2,500,000 in Siam, and others in Indo-China and Hong Kong as well as 300,000 or 400,000 in the Philippines. Opposition members, who interject at my reference to the Nationalist Government, can say what they like about it, but the total number of Chinese affected is 21,000,000 persons, which is double the population of Australia. Yet you sneer, and hold up your hands in mock horror, and play the smear game-
– Order ! I ask the Minister to address me.
– It does not help, Mr. Speaker, to say that this regime is corrupt, or that ruler is corrupt. Democracy is a very tender plant, and it flourishes differently in different countries. We cannot expect it. to grow in four months or four years to what it is in other countries which have had it for 400 years. But if the morale of those overseas Chinese is lost, we shall have very great difficulty in stopping the Communists from coming right down to Darwin. For this reason, certain places have a psycho logical value which far transcends their strategic value. The United Nations promised 250,000,000 dollars for the reconstruction of Korea after it had been a battleground for the free world. Approximately 127,000,000 dollars have been found, and now many nations are thinking that the I.O.U.’s can be paid at any time. What psychological effect will that have on other countries which get into a position similar to Korea? Those people on the periphery have just as much right to expect full justice as we ourselves have in the South Pacific.
At Bandung recently, there have been many talks, the outcome of which we do not know. We have read certain reports in the newspapers. We all hope that the result will be to relieve the tension. But I should like to say a word of warning. I hope that in any talks, when we smoke the pipe of peace, we shall be quite sure that we are smoking tobacco and not opium. Up to date, the actions of the Communists have been very different, from their words. They try to frighten you if you go to Formosa. Peking radio honoured me with a. blast for about half an hour the night before I left Hong Kong. I had every right to go to a. free country where I had been for two years as a prisoner of war. But all those things add up to this: I hope one matter mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition will come about, and that is that there will be more visits between Australia and its neighbours, so that more people can learn, and will not talk in such abyssmal ignorance as I have heard in this chamber to-day.
Finally, there is no need for pessimism, because the Communists are just as bomb happy as a lot of people in the free world; but unfortunately, the Communists are trigger happy and the free world is not. There is no need for pessimism, but we must marshal our strength, because the Communists understand strength. They also understand weakness. They have been able to gain great dividends by bluff and bluster, because of indecision. No member of this House has a greater desire for peace than I have. We all have a very great desire- for peace, but that desire has been traded on by the Communists. If there were no Communist aggression, there would be no need for anybody in this world to provide arms to-day. I hope it will not he long before that stage is reached in the world, but in the meantime, we have to maintain strength in order to command respect.
.- The statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on foreign affairs and defence has produced contributions from the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), the Leader of the Australian AntiCommunist Labour party (Mr. Joshua), two Liberal party Ministers, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) and the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes), and, on behalf of the Australian Country party, by the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) and the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock). I shall deal with their remarks in an ascending order; I shall climb the ladder.
The honorable member for Lyne is the representative in this chamber of the Church militant. His idea of peace passeth all understanding. However, he has made comments about our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, in terms which he has used on several previous occasions in this House. To hear him, one would think that he was advocating that Australian troops should go to Indonesia, to teach the Indonesians how to ensure security and good government. The only trouble about independence for Indonesia was that it came in 1950, instead of in 1945, 1946 or 1947. The proof of that can be shown by the fact that Communist influence is in the discount and is diminishing in India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, to which the United Kingdom has given selfgovernment. Communism has been largely eliminated in the Philippines, to which the United States has given selfgovernment. The only countries in our area in which communism is still noticeably menacing are Indonesia and Viet Nam, where independence was too long delayed mid the population were not trained for it.
The honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Joshua) expressed the opinion that the views which the Leader of the Opposition put forward were his own and not those of the party which sits behind him. I give the lie to that statement instantly. They are the views which were ennunciated by the supreme body of the Australian Labour party - the last federal conference of the party sitting a couple of months ago. Those views have since been endorsed by the governing body of the Australian Labour party in the six Australian States and the Australian Capital Territory. They are concurred in by the New Zealand Labour party. But quite apart from his statement on that matter, the honorable member did sayand this is a more formidable charge - that the Government’s ideas on sending troops to Malaya were obvious, logical and sensible, and those of the Leader of the Opposition were thoroughly impracticable. It is with that statement that I wish to deal.
The views of the honorable member for Ballarat, when he speaks as a private person, are worthy of respect, because he is the only one of the four party leaders in this House who has seen war service. It was most distinguished service, too. But when he speaks as the leader of his party, his views can be largely discounted, for he is the only one of the party leaders behind whom there sits not one man who has seen war service. His followers were not even camp followers. In the last war, they were not in the forces or in essential callings. They were no comfort in war-time to our American allies or to our British ones. I do not mean, by that statement, that they have not shown their potentialities in recent weeks as mercenaries.
I pass now to the remarks of the two Ministers. The Minister for the Interior speaks more outside this country on external affairs than does the Minister for External Affairs himself. The remarks of the Minister for the Interior to-night were a piece of those which he expressed when lie was in Taipeh. Formosa, a few weeks ago. I have received from the Formosan Government a document in which his remarks are reproduced in this form -
He stressed that the friendly relations between Free China and Australia should be further promoted as the two countries are next-door neighbours in the Pacific, fighting for the same principle against the common enemies.
That is the sort of irresponsible statement which makes for 113 innumerable enemies in Asia because the Chiang KaiShek Government has not one friend in Asia. .
The Minister for External Affairs was at some disadvantage in that he followed the Leader of the Opposition. He was floundering at first when he made the extraordinary statement that the Labour Government had ignored Asia and had had no Australian representatives in Asia in 1949, when the present Government came into office.
– I said “ In South-East Asia “.
– I accept the correction, and I hope that the Minister will accept the correction that I will now proceed to detail to him. It is useful to recollect the history of the Department of External Affairs in Australia. It was the first Commonwealth Department created when the Commonwealth was formed in 1901. At the outbreak of World War II. there were 30 members on the staff of the department. When the Labour Government came into office in 1941 the staff numbered 40. When the Labour Government went out of office at the end’ of 1949, there were 642 persons on the staff, an increase of about 600. At present there are about 741 members on the staff, an addition of another 100. The recruiting for the department is declining. When the cadet scheme was started during the Leader of the Opposition’s term as Minister for External Affairs, the intake in the first year was twelve, and it continued to rise. In recent years it has dropped. Last year it was merely four.
– We have the numbers we need.
– I take it that the Minister’s idea of our need is that it is a diminishing need.
– Certainly. I take it that our post-war needs are completed now.
– In 1941 we had representatives overseas in the United
Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Japan. During the eight years in which the Leader of the Opposition was Minister for External Affairs we established relations with every one of the “ Big Five”, and with every self-governing member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, including the countries of India, Pakistan and Ceylon and with Eire. The Minister himself claimed that there were no Australian representatives in the countries of ,South-East Asia when the present Government took office. I point out that we had already representatives in India and Pakistan and Ceylon, and those countries had representatives here. We could not have had representatives in Indonesia, because that country did not achieve sovereignty until the 27th December, 1949. The Minister’s predecessor arranged for diplomatic representatives to be exchanged between Australia and Indonesia. The announcement was made in March, 1950. We sent a representative there in June, 1950, and he left there in November, 1951. .Since then we have not had a Minister or ambassador in Indonesia until this very month. That is to say, for three and a half years our nearest neighbour, which is the sixth or seventh most populous country in the world, was without any Australian representative on a ministerial or ambassadorial level.
– That is not true.
– I shall give the Minister the facts. The only Minister we had in Indonesia was Mr. Hood. He left Australia for Indonesia in April, 1950. According to Current Notes he visited Australia in May, 1950. After his return he remained in Indonesia until November, 1951. He then represented Australia at the General Assembly of the United Nations, and returned to Australia without revisiting Indonesia, and no further Minister was appointed. It was only at the beginning of this year that Mr. Crocker’s appointment as ambassador was announced, and he arrived in Indonesia at the beginning of this month. I repeat that for three and a half years our nearest neighbour was, left without Australian ambassadorial or ministerial representation.
– That is not true.
– I shall not accept the Minister’s denial, however floridly and cholerically he expresses it. I will take the facts as they are expressed in Current Notes. The other countries of South-East Asia with which we have established representation are the Philippines and Burma. Admittedly Ave could have established representation with them before this Government came into office, but we did not do so. The three associated States of Indo-China were not granted recognition as States within the French Union until February, 1950. Until then, they were not eligible to receive or accredit representatives.
I shall refer now to the remarks in which the Minister for External Affairs compared Seato with Nato. Of course, the comparison is not valid. Nato includes every country on the North Atlantic seaboard, with the exception of Spain and Eire, whose contributions, with all respect, were not very significant during the last assault on freedom in Europe. It also embraces the maritime powers in the Mediterranean. Every country in that area belongs to the organization. The position in regard to Seato is completely different. There are only two Asian powers, the Philippines and Thailand, in Seato. The Philippines is not on the Asian continent, and Thailand has the weakest of Asian regimes.
– Seato also includes Pakistan.
– That is true. Pakistan is in it too. Those countries are the three Asian members of Seato. They are outnumbered by the Western countries that have interests in this area. Seato is not in any form a regional pact in the sense that the United Nations Charter envisaged.
I am now coming to the summit, to the statement made by the oracle himself, the Prime Minister. That statement was more notable for what it did not say, than for what it did say. It is amazing that the Prime Minister of this country could make a statement last week which made no reference to the conference then proceeding in Bandung which was attended by 29 free nations whose representatives were the representatives of three-fifths of the world’s population, and which was being held in the country nearest to us. Not only was no reference made to the conference in the Prime Minister’s statement, but no regard was paid to the people represented at it. Could any unreality be greater?
The Prime Minister made no reference to our relationship with Malaya. This was the great occasion, the well-publicized occasion, when the Prime Minister of Australia should have made some statement concerning the attitude of the Australian Government towards the Malayan people themselves. It is true that those people have not yet got self-government, but before the end of the year they will have representative government, even if not responsible, government. The island of Singapore, which has a majority of Chinese people in its population, already has representative government, and it is not hostile to the British point of view The sensible thing, surely, before sending Australian troops to Singapore or Malaya, is to consult with the people there about it. That was not done. We are repeating the same performance that we had in 1950, when an Australian heavy bomber squadron was sent to Malaya and Singapore without consultation with the people there. Of course, on that occasion, no reference was even made in this Parliament to the move. The occasion of the Prime Minister’s statement was one on which he should have said, in no uncertain terms, that we believe that the people of Malaya are entitled not only to political selfdetermination, but also to economic selfdetermination. Such a statement would have removed the last vestiges of indifference in Malaya, because the best way to remove indifference in that country is to assure the people there that we are not helping them in order to preserve their exploitation by one power alone, but are helping them inorder to preserve them from exploitation by any power, whether China or the United Kingdom., and that they will have real self-determination in the political and economic sense, and will have our assistance when they ask for it, and in the terms in which they ask for it. it is all right to talk about these people not being fit for self-government. The point is that that statement has been made by no one more often than by the members of the present Government, about every country that has achieved self-government since the end of the war. According to these gentlemen none of the countries represented at the Bandung conference would be fit for selfgovernment. According to them we alone are wise. Yet, one can see what a shambles our politics are. The great trouble about promises of self-government to countries that are waiting to achieve it is that we never say when it is to take place, and who is to make the decision. The people who are to have self-government are the only people who are consistently ignored in connexion with the proposals to establish it.
Another omission from the Prime Minister’s statement is a clear statement of the use that is to be made of our troops in Malaya. Are they to be garrison forces, or a mobile reserve, or guerrillas? The Royal Australian Air Force squadron has been used in Malaya for the last four years against the guerrillas. Are our troops to be sent to Malaya as if to a bigger and better Canungra jungle training camp? No pronouncement about it lias been made in the Prime Minister’s statement, which makes it plain that their role has not yet been determined. We are going to send them to Malaya without having determined what their role is to be, and without stating who is to be in command of them. It is not stated that Australian generals will command them - or colonels, with all deference to the Ministor for the Interior and the blimp from Ballarat. It is not stated whether there is to be a United Nations command, such as proved so successful in the first few months of the Korean war.
The Prime Minister’s statement makes no reference to admissions to the United Nations. There are a great number of countries among our neighbours which have not yet been admitted to the United Nations, as a result of the use of the veto by Soviet Russia, and by ourselves. The balance of power in the General Assembly of the United Nations would not be altered as a result of their admission. We aru faced with the absurd position, with continental China excluded from the United Nations, that in any matter concerning China we have to by-pass the United Nations. We know what happened in Korea and Viet Nam, and what could happen in Formosa. It is better to discuss these things in the United Nations than to discuss them with a de facto regime outside the United Nations.
The Canadian Minister for External Affairs has stated that Canada would not go to war over the off-shore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. The same has been 3aid by Adlai Stevenson, the democratic leader in the United States. One view on the question ha3 been well expressed by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, and 60 other members of Christian Action, in the United States of America. He said -
The more reasonable place to draw the line of the defence perimeter of the free world is around Formosa and the Pescadores. We recognize that there may be an intentional ambiguity in United States policy with respect to these islands. The argument is that it is politically advantageous to keep Peiping guessing and politically necessary to maintain the morale of the Chinese Nationalists and to placate their extreme American supporters. We believe, nevertheless, that keeping our allies and worldwide public opinion guessing and fearful of our intentions is too great a price to pay for this doubtful political advantage. The strength of the free world is based upon genuine co-operation and mutual trust among the free nations, not upon our ability to confuse and frighten the Communist bloc or to bolster the illusions of the Chinese Nationalist Government.
Surely the proper thing for the Government to say was that we believed the people in Formosa should decide what sort of ‘Government they wanted themselves. Are they the only people in all Asia who are not fit to go to the ballot box? If they want to govern themselves - and that is what Lord Lindsay thinks is most likely their view - then they should be allowed to do it. The United Nations should sponsor the election, as in Viet Nam, and we should instigate it in the United Nations ourselves.
Another shortcoming of the Prime Minister’s statement is that there is no reference to consultations that we had with Britain, New Zealand, or Canada on this point. There is no record that we had negotiated before the United States statement, which goes no further than the Anzus pact, and which commits them and us. I have already pointed out that there has been no consultation with any of our neighbours. The Prime Minister has to do two things. He has, first, to persuade Australians of the necessity to send Australian troops to Malaya, and secondly, to reassure the Malayans and all of our neighbours about the purpose for which they are going. The deterrent effect of sending our troops there is negligible. The provocative effect is immense. The Prime Minister has not made out a case for the course of action proposed by the Government.
-Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I want to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) twice said that I had made statements about the church militant. I remind honorable members that, when I speak from the floor of this chamber, I speak as a member of this honorable House. Although I remain a minister of the Presbyterian Church, a position of which I have never been ashamed, the statements that I make here are my personal statements. I would rather be a member of the church militant, with courage and faith in that in which it believes, than crawl in front nf any enemy.
.- As I listened to the speech of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), I wondered what he would say about a man who was kept in gaol for fourteen weeks without trial. Recently, the Cain Labour Government kept a man in. gaol in Victoria for fourteen weeks without trial. Doubtless, he would have been there for very much longer had he not escaped from Pentridge Gaol. They have not caught up with him yet. That is an example of the sort of thing that can happen in this country under a Labour government.
The honorable member read a long passage from an article written by Mr. Justice Douglas. I have often thought during the course of my legal career that it would be a fine thing if I could crossexamine a judge. But in this case there is no need to cross-examine the judge, because it appears on the face of the judge’s statement that if that material had been put before Mr. Justice Douglas or any other judge in his own court, he would have said, “ That is hearsay evidence, and I must disregard it completely”. It is absurd for the honorable member for Hindmarsh to rely upon material of such a scrappy and worthless character. I do not hesitate to say that, and I do not withdraw one word of it.
The Leader of the Opposition, in the course of his speech last night, referred to bringing parties to international disputes to a conference table for the purpose of conciliation. During his scintillations, which went on for so long, I was reminded of another judge, Mr. J Justice Darling, the judicial wit. In his Scintilla Juris he told the story of a breach of warranty case. A horse was sold with a warranty that it was peaceable between shafts. In the action for breach of this warranty, evidence was given that the horse pranced, galloped, bolted and eventually broke the shafts. The plaintiff thought he was on a certain winner, but at the conclusion of his case his claim was dismissed because, lo and behold, he had never proved that it was not peaceable between shafts. All he had proved was that he could never get it between shafts. Let the Leader of the Opposition get these people to a peace conference. Is he a man who can get people to a peace conference ? Is he a man of conciliation ? I address those questions particularly to some honorable members of this House. I am reminded of the Shakespearean character who said, “ I can call spirits from the vasty deep “. The instant retort whs “Yes, so can I, and so can any of us. but will they come ? “
I turn to a more serious matter. I refer to the constant besmirching by Communists of the great United States of America and the allegation that that nation is an aggressive nation. That lie should be nailed. One has only to look at the record of the United States to realize that the allegation is a lie. For many .years, the Americans adopted the Monroe doctrine. They maintained themselves in what they regarded as a proud isolation. They would have nothing to do with war or warlike operations. They carried that doctrine so far that it was only the tide of events that forced them to enter World War I. They did not enter World War II. until the attack on I ‘earl Harbour forced them to do so. They have at all times been a peaceloving nation. They have no- desire for war. Look at the way in which they helped to establish the United Nations. Look at the money they have poured into the United Nations. The United States is the chief supporter of the United Nations, a. body which should be, and in the main is, a body of peace-loving nations. There is no colonialism and no imperialism about the Americans. That is shown by their grant of self-government to the Philippines and by the way in which they got rid of the extraterritorial rights in China. They have given, and are continuing to give, enormous sums of money to the communities of Asia so that the people of those communities can raise their standards of living. When the Communists say that the United States is an -aggressive nation, they do so with a view to dividing us from a natural ally and great friend. It is an instance of the truth of what the Prime Minister said in his speech on foreign affairs last week and has said on other occasions, namely, that the Communist doctrine is the doctrine of divide and conquer
What is the record of the Communists in regard to aggression? Once there were many proud, peaceful and freedom-loving States in eastern Europe. I refer, for instance, to Czechoslovakia and Poland. Now those States lie enslaved under the Communist regime. That is the modern imperialism. That is the modern colonialism. Those in this House who talk about colonialism should realize that the wickedest form of colonialism that exists in the world to-day is that imposed on the magnificient countries of eastern Europe which now lie prostrate at the foot of a conqueror.
Look at the kind of aggression that one gets from Communist Russia even over the radio. One reads, for instance, that the Government of Iraq is complaining that Radio Moscow and other Russian stations are con.stantly inviting the people of Iraq to rise and overthrow their government. They are being told that the useful schools and hospitals being built in Iraq are being built only to house British and American soldiers. They are being told that the roads which are being built in Iraq are only military roads. That is the kind of aggression that we get from Russian radio stations. That is another example of Russian aggression. If we turn to the United Nations, we see that Russia has time and again declined to agree to universal disarmament except on terms that would leave it with such strength that it could overrun the rest of the world and reduce it to a state of enslavement. The Soviet has refused to agree to any effective form of control of nuclear weapons. Which is the aggressive nation - the United States, with its magnificent record, or the Soviet?
If we turn to Communist China, we see that the war in Korea, the war in Indo-China and the disturbances in the Formosa Strait are examples of Chinese Communist aggression. Even now there is no final settlement in Korea. The eleven American airmen captured by the Chinese Communists are still being detained, and detained on the basis of the myth that China is not bound by the Korean armistice agreement because it was not a belligerent in the Korean war. That is the kind of propaganda that we get from Communist China. The voice of the world, the United Nations, has declared that the detention and imprisonment of those airmen, as well as the detention of other command personnel who wish to be repatriated, is a definite violation of the Korean armistice agreement. Notwithstand that that has been said by the voice of the world, the United Nations to which Communist China says it is so eager to belong, those people are still being detained. The honorable member for Hindmarsh referred to something which, according to hearsay evidence, happened in Malaya. What does the honorable member say about the detention of those men, especially in view of the fact that the United Nations says they should be released ?
In Europe, the Paris agreements were ratified recently. The result of that ratification is that the tension in Europe has been greatly reduced. The European defence organization has been immeasurably strengthened. Consequently, it may be said, and said rightly, that the danger of further Russian aggression in Europe no longer exists. In other words, such aggression is no longer practicable. But the position is different in SouthEast Asia, and it is different only for the reason that, so far, the Communists have believed that Seato is only a paper organization. They believe that the treaty will never be carried into effect and, therefore, that they can go ahead with their aggression without fear. In that, they make a very serious error. That treaty represents a real alliance made by determined men, on behalf of determined nations, to preserve liberty and resist aggression. Positive measures are being undertaken to ensure that this alliance will be able to protect liberty and resist aggression. The defenceless countries of Asia look to the members of Seato to carry out their obligations under the treaty. The people of this country and the people of other countries which are parties to the treaty look forward to the provisions of the treaty being carried into effect, so that they will be able to defend themselves.
It is a twofold act. It will operate as a defence, not only for the members who have signed it, but also for those defenceless nations who look to the powerful nations of the world to ensure that they themselves may be able to retain their independence, preserve their liberties and retain the religions that are very clear indeed to the Asian people. They are rightly looking to those ideals, and they shall not look in vain.
It has been shown by the speeches of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that this treaty will be carried into effect, and that there will then be strength where strength should be. It is not going to be left open for this country to be invaded, and for our wives and children to find there is a war on their doorsteps. If there is to be a war, it will be far away from the shores of this country. The fact that this treaty organization will be made strong by what has been done, will have the same effect as was recently displayed in Europe. It will make Communist China realize that it will no longer be able to attain its desire to dominate Asia. After Communist China realizes what it is up against, and what will happen if it attempts further aggression, then will be the time to talk about going to peace conferences. In Europe, since the Paris agreements have been ratified, Russia has sought to make a peace treaty for illfated Austria. That shows what happens when the free nations of the world are strong. A similar thing will happen in South-East Asia when the Communists realize that they are up against the real strength of the free world.
.- The conference which recently took place at Bandung was called the Afro-Asian conference, and although that name appears to be regional, the intention seems to have been not to give a regional meaning to the name of the conference, but to emphasize that here was a greatworld conference from which, for the first time, European powers were excluded.
Another matter that I should like to note concerning the conference, is the interesting fact that although Chou En-lai had not spoken for a number of days, Mahomet Ali, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sir John Kotelawala, the. Prime Minister of Ceylon, and a number of other Asian leaders had spoken very strongly against communism. Chou En-lai, in effect, said, “ I am not here to discuss ideologies. If you wish to discuss ideologies come outside “. That statement concealed the fact that whether Chou En-lai had spoken of his ideology, or whether he had been absent altogether from the conference, the fact of his ideology operating throughout Asia and within countries such as Pakistan and Ceylon, had made it one of the great issues of the conference.
It seems to me that in the world to-day we have the Western powers operating with three arms - the diplomatic, the military and the commercial, and that government-to-government relationships are conducted with those arms. The Communist bloc operates with four arms - the military, the diplomatic, the commercial and the ideological. The Soviet
U 1110n is the first power in history to have made the selling of a set of ideas, or values, a dominant arm in its policy. I might define an ideology as a philosophy, a passion, and a plan, and disciplined force of people to bring it into effect. It is a new weapon of people with a set line, clear ideas and explanations - very often gross falsifications, but explanations - of everything happening in the world, and is a major weapon in Soviet diplomacy to-day. A Communist can go to an Indian village and state his ideology, and he will win the consent of some of the people to whom he has spoken, because his ideology of class war will seem to some of the people as valid for their own nation as it is for the Soviet Union. But it is not possible for any member of any party in this House, in whose political platform appears the White Australia policy, to go to an Indian village and preach his policy and expect any person to accept his ideas. So, if it comes to winning the world of Asia with ideas, we have abdicated, and our opponents, the Communist powers, have not.
Lenin said that it was necessary for the Communist party to take up every colonial cause ever to arise in the world. Not, of course, that the Communists regarded colonial independence as an end in itself - they did not. But colonial independence, as an aspiration of the people, was to be used as a means to an end. Of course the Communists have sometimes come across a more powerful set of ideas than their own. In 1945, Muso, the Indonesian Communist who had been trained in Moscow since 1923, was landed, together with 70 nien, in Indonesia. His mission was to turn a nationalist revolt into a Communist revolution. At that stage he encountered an ideology, a set of powerful ideas, in Dahr lslam. Ultimately, he was arrested and put to death, and so were his followers. Therefore, it may be said that at that point the Communist ideology was defeated through running up against an ideology locally stronger than itself.
When I was in Burma I could see that the Government of Burma, with its strong emphasis on Buddhism and its suggestion through peace pagodas and so on. that peace conies from following the lord Buddha, also repelled, for the time being, the ideology of communism that was being presented in that country. The authority of the Burmese Government, which once did not extend very far from Rangoon, is now real. But the immediate tactic of the Communist party in both Indonesia and Burma isto change from a direct frontal assault on Dah r Islam and Buddhism, which had been its policy until late last year, to an attempted penetration by a strategy of indirect approach. It is the Communist belief that public opinion in any colonial territory can be mobilized by a small number of people with clear ideas, with a philosophy, a passion, a plan and a discipline. I have only to mention one name to make that clear. There was an American nurse named Rosenberg, who married an Indian dentist named Jagan. That man became the Prime Minister of British Guiana, a British colony in. Latin America. His wife went there in 1945, and by 1.953 the British were forced to despatch to the colony two cruisers, a number of regiments of troops and some units of the Royal Air Force. Moreover, one of the great political parties in England was experiencing something approaching a political crisis, because of one woman and her husband coming into a situation where there were certain grievances, which they knew how to exploit. That case was a. striking example of the power of the ideological weapon in the world to-day.
Vishinsky said to the leaders of the East German Communist party in 1950, “ Wc will win the world ; not with atom bombs, but with something that the Americans cannot produce - our brains, our ideas and our doctrines “. I believe that it is necessary to recognize in the world to-day, that although Marx was absurdly wrong in most of his forecasts and that it was necessary for Lenin to restate the Marx philosophy in order to try to conceal the obvious errors that time had brought to light in Marxism, he had one point which had nothing to do with his materialist philosophy, in which he was completely correct. After all his material explanations of human behaviour, one striking quality he emphasized - the passion for equality.
Last year I visited India, and I was very courteously received by trade union leaders of the Congress group of Indian trade unions, of the socialist trade unions of India and of the independent trade unions of India. I was asked to address the members of the trade unions in a suburb of Calcutta. The questions that my audience asked me were almost all concerned with the White Australia policy, and. with race relations in South Africa. One should have expected, from one’s own knowledge of trade union leaders in this country, that such a group of people would be busy discussing terms and conditions of labour and so on, but that was not so. The very matters that one would have regarded as remote from the experience of those people, were the matters that they discussed. That is, sensitivity to discrimination and what they regard as injustice. That is one of the hig factors in the world to-day, and something that we shall ignore at our peril.
It has been well said that Asia wants freedom from the white man’s colonial control, freedom from the white man’s economic control, but above all freedom from the white man’s contempt. If we are to be gratified about that, I would say that as far as I could see in Malaya, Burma and India, if the people thought of the white man’s contempt, they thought of the White Australia policy. They knew that that policy was the policy of both the left and the right in this country, and they were critical of what they regarded as a socialist party having a racial policy. As against that, while I was abroad I met Indian students who had studied in Australian universities. Some of those people told me that there was no White Australia policy. When I asked them where they had got that strange idea, they said, “ Our friends have been students in your country, and we find that Asians are permitted in your restaurants, and are permitted to travel in trains, buses and trams, to sit in the same academic classes as Australians, and to work during the Christmas holidays and receive the same wages as Europeans. Therefore there is no discrimination in Australia, and no White Australia policy.”
It would be interesting for honorable members, because we are frequently called upon to point out that there is a critical attitude throughout the world towards the United States, to reflect that just as there is a systematic and deliberate campaign throughout the world to discredit America because it is the only great power that can prevent Russian world domination, so there is a similar campaign, although on a smaller scale because we do not matter so much, to defame this country. If we are to be too ready to be critical of the United States, because of the view being sold throughout the world, it should be remembered that this country also is regarded critically. Those students to whom I referred were surprised at the lack of discrimination in this country, because the White Australia policy has been represented in propaganda throughout Asia as being not an immigration policy but a kind of Jim Crow social discrimination. That was why they were surprised at their reception in Australia.
A good deal of nonsense is spoken about imperialism. There is a very fine article by Dr. A. J. .P. Taylor in the last issue of the New Statesman and Nation, which has come into the parliamentary library, in which he revalues the whole question of imperialism. He points out that the thesis that was propounded by a number of the early thinkers on the subject was that the basis of imperialism was a drive for profits, whereas he establishes fairly clearly that the basis of imperialism is a drive for power. He goes on to state that that is exactly the analysis of imperialism that the Communists will never make, because they are practitioners par excellence of this drive for power, and every crisis in their political structure resolves itself finally into a struggle between the leaders of the two supreme points of power, at one stage the army and Beria. and earlier the army and the secret police in the persons of leaders of the various Soviet secret police systems. Exactly the same thing was true of Nazi Germany, where the possible crises, and the one that did develop in 1944, were crises between the two power points - the leaders of the military and the inner party forces around Hitler. That is why we ought to recognize that in the world to-day there is an older form of imperialis tit which may very well be a softer form nf imperialism. After all, the motives in my mind are much more basic to my i lii thinking than the money in my pocket. I !’ the purpose of a drive for money is the attainment of power, the basic thing under imperialism is not money but power, and. if there is a state of affairs such as exists in the Soviet Union, there will still be a violent drive for power.
Tn the Soviet Shorter Philosophical Dictionary, which was produced in 1941, there appears the following remarkable statement, which is attributed to Lenin, and which is commented upon as being
M supreme statement in political thinking -
The dictatorship of the proletariat is power, power gained and maintained by violence, power unlimited by any laws.
That is a vital statement of the position in the world to-day, because the Soviet Union and the bloc that is lead by the Soviet Union were rightly characterized by Mr. Mahomet Ali and Sir John Kotelawala as being the practitioners of a new imperialism, an imperialism of the mind, an ideological imperialism which denies people the right of any other sort of thinking, and which claims to control the mind. I am not standing as an apologist for the history of the West in relation to India or any other country. All of the Western Powers brought to the countries that they dominated political principles which destroyed their own rule. That is to say, they brought into societies, many of which, such as the Mogul empire in India, had had no democratic principles at all, democratic ideas which ultimately militated against the continuance of the rule of imperial power. But in the new form of imperialism there is a total and systematic perversion of education, and even a perversion of science, to rivet permanently on the dominated area the values of the ideology of the conqueror. I quoted the words “ the dictatorship of the proletariat”. What on earth does the term mean? How do the proletariats go around dictating? They do so by means of a clique governing in their name. The dictatorship of the proletariat is power.
The governing clique has “ power, power gained and maintained by violence, powerunlimited by any laws “.
I think that Asia is extremely interested not so much in us as in our motives. I have never heard anything so profoundly unrealistic as the speech of thehonorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), during which he spoke as though all Asia was grateful for the Colombo* plan and for the things that have been done. I think the people of Asia know how to interpret goodwill. I am not deriding the Colombo plan, but I should say that they are interested basically in our motives. What are our motives? ls- our motive an attempt to use South-East Asia as a counterpoise to Communist, power, a South-East Asia under ourleadership, with, us taking the diplomaticinitiative? We may regard that a.? supremely necessary, but Asia, regardssuch a motive with the gravest suspicion.. The people of Asia may be right or they may be wrong. At the moment, I am only trying to speak of facts. The thing, that those people fear is a polarization of the world into a Communist and an anti-Communist bloc that would lead to an atomic war. I do not think they are at all realistic in their thinking about the Soviet Union or its intentions. They have had a series of shocks in relation to what Communist China has done to its border states, what it has done with Tibet, what it has done with Korea, and’ what it has done with Indo-China. I know that in Burma there is a very real fear that China intends to raise the question of the frontier of Burma and
China, which was delineated by the British in 1911, but which has never been accepted by any Chinese government, since that time. If the people of Asia think that our only interest is to weld them into our bloc, our diplomacy, in my opinion, has no hope of success. Asia would value an attitude that led them to believe that we accorded them real equality, real care, a willingness to share the good things of our civilization and, above all, human respect. It is not a question of diplomacy ; it is a question of the values that we transmit.
– -Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- I am sorry that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) did not give us some of his ideas about the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on foreign affairs. The line that he adopted was scarcely that which was followed by bis leader last night. I doubt whether the Blouse has ever waited with greater eagerness than when it waited last night to hear the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). We. have heard for some time what the Australian Labour party has thought, about foreign affairs. We had been led to believe that that party had reached some final conclusion, on this question, particularly in relation to South-East Asia. Supporters of the Government had high hopes that last night some constructive and practical suggestion would be placed before the House and the people of Australia in relation to this very difficult problem which could have such disastrous effects on Australia. If communism is to pursue its course of invasion of free countries, as it has in other parts of Asia, it is only a question of time before Australia will come within the ambit of hostilities. Unfortunately, the House and the people of Australia were badly let down by the Leader of the Opposition. The only suggestion that he made, and which he repeated ad infinitum, was that we must have a new approach in world affairs, based on the true spirit of the United Nations Charter. The question that follows naturally is this : How is that to be done? Everybody knows that there is an instrument of veto which has been used very often at meetings of the United Nations organization. It is easy to express points of view in terms that are vague. I suggest that the speech of the right honorable gentleman was quite illogical from beginning to end. The words that were used by the Leader of the Opposition bear a similarity to that very delightfully coined phrase which has been used so frequently at international conferences - peaceful coexistence. All of the Russian leaders since the days of Lenin have had a firm belief in the peaceful co-existence of nations, and only recently at Bandung was the phrase bandied around again.
– Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden have used it.
– Yes, those gentlemen also have used that remarkable phrase. One would think, from the continuous use of it, that we are getting closer to finding a basis for world peace. I am of the opinion that the use of the phrase is so wide only because the formula itself is so vague. It is similar to the expression that was used so frequently last night by the Leader of the Opposition when he spoke about a new approach. 1 believe that the phrase means nothing at all, but, if it does mean something, it has an entirely different meaning to each person who uses it.
In my opinion, the Prime Minister has at least stated the principles upon which co-existence may be established. He has also set out very clearly the objectives of the Government’s foreign policy. He referred to two very important principles. The first, to which I shall refer very briefly, was expressed in the following words : -
We support the Charter of the United Nations, its structure and its procedures.
One would think, after listening to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition, that there was no reference to that principle by the Prime Minister. The other principle to which I refer, and which I consider to be very important, was stated as follows: -
We will justify the co-operation of other nations by ourselves accepting obligations, and doing what is necessary at home to make those obligations performable
I shall refer to that statement again later. May I refer again to that thing which I have heard referred to so often as peaceful co-existence. From the point of view of the Communist ideology, the term is sufficiently non-commital as not to oppose the doctrine of increasing hostility to any country that is not Communist. In other words, the Communists, in agreeing to peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world, are not obliged, apparently, to refrain from any subversive tactics that’ are calculated to weaken democracy or the rest of the free world. They may carry on, openly or secretly, until the stage is reached at which peaceful co-existence is no longer possible or necessary. They are not prepared to leave the world to peaceful coexistence. It is because of that fact that we in Australia find ourselves, as do other great powers, taking stock, as it were, of our defence policy, and at the’ same time examining all of those principles that might be useful in bringing about peaceful relations with Communist countries. We are not prepared to give up hope of finding a formula that will be acceptable, lt can be said that this Government, by a simple statement of its principles in foreign policy and by pledging Australian aid for the purpose of raising the living standards of those nations that are struggling towards a better way of life, has demonstrated the sincerity of its approach to the cause of world peace. This is one of the greatest of the principles of the Government’s foreign policy, and I shall refer to it again later.
The ‘Colombo plan, to which reference lias been made this evening, is designed to assist the nations of South-East Asia towards better standards of living. This objective has been pursued by private bodies in many of the other free nations of the world as well as in Australia. I refer particularly to the very fine work that is now done by organizations such as Rotary International which work for the common good in an endeavour to engender peaceful relations between the countries of the world.
In pursuing the objectives of our foreign policy, we do not mean to sit back and allow the Communists to push further ahead under cover of the convenient and vague formula of peaceful co-existence. The foreign policy of the Australian Labour party, as it has been enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition, in relation to South-East Asia, with particular reference to Australia’s role in that area, can be summed up very well in the phrase, “ Peace at any price “. The free people of the world, and I think particularly of the people of the British Commonwealth of Nations and of the United States, have made great sacrifices in the cause of world peace, to say nothing of the selfrestraint that they have exercised during- the last four or five years. I believe that those sacrifices and that self-restraint will continue* particularly in Australia, because we Australians know very well what it is like to be at war and we ‘ know the results of war. I am satisfied that the remaining free countries of South-East Asia will quickly lose their freedom when the Communists believe that the accepted joint policy of the British Commonwealth and the United States is “ peace at any price “, irrespective of what they might do and say to the contrary. I am confident that, great as may be the love for peace among the great democratic nations, they will never support peace at any price. They declared as much when they signed the Manila pact, out of which have come constructive suggestions for the attainment of world peace.
We must repeatedly remind the Communists where we in Australia stand. We must make it clear to them that the policy of peace at any price is not supported by the Australian people, although the Opposition members last evening argued that Australians support it. We must remind the Communists that we, like the people of the other free countries of the world, are absolutely opposed to those who believe in the power of intimidation by violence ; that we are prepared to stand firm, and if necessary, meet hostile forces with all the might that we possess; and that we will ally ourselves with those countries that pursue the same objectives. To-day, Australia is virtually a part of South-East Asia. Modern science has shrunk the distance between geographical frontiers. It is on these frontiers that the issues of Avar and peace, and of freedom and slavery, hang in a precarious balance. We in Australia are fortunate that there are still independent and free people who stand between us and the Communist-dominated Chinese. Every effort is being made by the Communists to terrorize the small countries that stand in their way. The Communists suggest that Australia will not stand united with the other democratic countries that are signatories of the Manila pact. The statement of the Prime Minister should assure the Communists that that is not the case. The history of Australia during the last five years also should strengthen this thought.
The basic principles underlying the Manila pact, which was signed recently by twelve South-East Asian countries, are based not only on self-interest hut nl so on high ideals. In short, these principles are (1) defence against open armed aggression; (2) defence against subversion; and (3) improvement of economic and social conditions. It is imperative that we help the people of South-East Asia to solve their economic problems. Australia, as a Christian country, has great obligations in that matter. We must help to raise the standards of living of the countries of Asia to the level that exists in Australia. Independence will, never survive in any South-East Asian country that has not a sound economy. We have a responsibility to ensure that the signatories of the Manila pact and the other countries of South-East Asia are insulated against communism, that their independence is safeguarded, and that their economies are bolstered so that they may withstand, the pressure that will be exerted on them by the cold war tactics of the Communists. Unless we are prepared to give this assistance, we shall merely waste our time if we talk about coexistence.
The signatories of the Manila pact, under which the stronger nation is prepared to help the weaker countries, have a responsibility to ensure that subversive elements do not prevail during the period of economic rehabilitation in the countries of South-East Asia. Those nations should be our special concern, because they are our neighbours. The people of South-East Asia are likely to suffer first in any further Communist expansion towards Australia. Therefore they need all of our help and consideration. It is just as important that these countries should have national forces capable of supporting government authority throughout their territory, and it is our duty to ensure that they receive our support. The last place in which we want to defend Australia is Australia itself. We must pull our weight as signatories of the Seato treaty. The sending of troops to Malaya is only one of Australia’s obligations under that treaty. In addition, we must provide economic assistance for South-East Asian countries. I believe that, in the main, the people of Malaya will welcome this sort of help.
The Leader of the Opposition suggested that we should encourage talks with Russia and other members of the great United Nations organization. 1 am sure that every honorable member supports the right honorable gentleman’s suggestion. No one wants war. No right-thinking person would disagree with the remarks made recently by Sir Winston Churchill, who outlined the fate that would befall the world if an atomic war should occur, and who expressed his great concern for world peace. We must constantly strive for a plan acceptable to all the nations. It must utilize in the cause of peace the resources that are now devoted to the production of atomic weapons. We have an obligation in this matter, as in the field of medical research, in which it is our duty to find the causes of cancer and a cure for that disease. One of the greatest obligations of Australia and the other free nations of the world is to improve the way of life of the two-thirds of the world’s population whose living standards are lower than our own.
The basis of any international talks must be a search, for a means by which the stronger nations can help the weaker ones, not only in matters of defence, but also in social and economic development. Unfortunately, in the past, international conferences, particularly in South-East Asia, have failed to find a common formula for a new approach that will enable the free countries of the world to live in peace and harmony. Taken by and large, conferences in relation to Korea, and more recently in relation to Indo-China, have resulted in defeat for the forces of democracy. This is nowhere more notable than in recent events in Indo-China. I wish I could believe that the Geneva conference was a success for the democracies. Every conference between the Communist nations and the democracies in the last few years has resulted in the free nations being very much worse off than they were beforehand.
We must not be misled into believing that peace can be achieved at the conference table, and consequently into allowing our defence organizations to decline, as we might well be influenced to do by arguments such as those that have been advanced by members of the Opposition in this debate. It is important that all the free countries of South-East Asia strengthen their defences so that they may be safe from aggression. Bargaining can succeed only if we are strong. If, in future, bargaining must be our modus operandi, it is our duty in our own interests to assist the South-East Asian countries to attain strength to defend themselves. Pakistan, which is one of the signatories of the Manila pact, is currently spending SO per cent, of its budget on defence. Obviously this is clone at the expense of urgently-needed development schemes. As one member of the Pakistani Government observed recently, so much of the Pakistani budget is devoted to defence because danger stares Pakistan in the face.
The Australian Labour party and its leader have- done a great disservice to Australia by trumpeting Labour’s foreign policy, as they have done in the last two days. I can imagine that the agents provocateurs of communism-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- This debate must be regarded as of great importance to Australia as a nation on account of the issues that it raises. These issues are Australia’s future relations with the East and with the United States of America, and the adoption of a policy by means of which we shall be able to maintain our present position and survive as a nation in the- Pacific area. The tragedy is that few Australians realize Australia’s proximity to the East, and the danger of absorption by a new form of colonialism which is ever moving southward. The danger to Australia is considerably accentuated by a real internal fifth-column activity, which should not be overlooked in a debate such as this. I believe that this point was thoroughly outlined by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). His speech is important, because in it he outlined the real reason for the present break-up of the Australian Labour party. The policy that he enunciated last night has been made possible only by the use of bogus .conferences and by the generous use of the bludgeon. The great Labour movement has had no say in that policy. Chance provided him with the opportunity to present it to an unauthorized conference and to have it pushed through without any genuine section of the Labour party being given an opportunity to play a part in that, conference. His speech last night was dangerous, and, in my view, it represented fifth column activity at its worst. It did not represent Australian sentiment. Neither did it represent the voice of the masses who comprise the’ trade unions of this country, or of the masses of those who comprise the Australian Labour party.
The right honorable gentleman, obviously, has hypnotized his followers to a diabolical degree. This House could hardly have failed to note the sneers that went up on this side of the chamber when the Leader of the Opposition referred last night to the United States of America. It was a most extraordinary thing that any body of persons claiming to form a part of the Labour movement should feel justified in sneering at mention of the great United States. Those sneers were not repeated when reference was made to red China. Such references were accepted with the greatest degree of acquiescence and, to my way of thinking, as one honorable member has just commented, that was a most disgraceful exhibition. Does anybody believe that the great mass of Australians would dare to sneer and jeer at the United States which, undoubtedly, has been, and is, a bulwark of our security and is one of the great co-operators for peace to-day? Does anybody believe that any great number of Australians would prefer red China, to the United States ? Yet, that was a strong inference to he drawn when the recognition of red China was propagated in this chamber last evening. Does anybody believe that recognition of red China is necessary, or that advocacy of such action has merit except as a psychological persuasion that, after all, communism is not so bad? I know of no phrase that can be more dangerous than the phrase, “ Recognition of red China “. Is it part of Labour’s policy to sneer at mention of the United States and to show marked preference for red China? That is a dreadful thought; and it is something upon which the people will be called upon to show where they stand. All the indebtedness that we incurred and the gratitude that we owed to the United State,? under John Curtin’s leadership and premiership seem to have just gone by the board.
The Leader of the Opposition, in proceeding with his criticism of the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), very carefully outlined all those things that were required to be done under the United Nations Charter for the achievement of peace. In fact, he outlined so many of those things that I have no intention of referring to all of them. But one of those requirements which he mentioned was that we should seek a solution to any action that tended to break the peace by negotiating, by relying upon inquiry and by the use of arbitration. He referred also to a number of other courses of that nature, which he quoted from the charter. All of those things were approved by those honorable members who purport to follow him. It is most significant that none of them has thought it proper that those rules might have been applied to the dispute which the right honorable gentleman has caused in the Labour party. Neither he nor his followers seem to know anything about those principles at all where that dispute is concerned. Undoubtedly the bludgeon was used ; constituted authority was overthrown and rules of the party, which have been evolved at conference after conference, were simply scattered to the four winds. After intrigue and after threats, the minority of members of the party, who now comprise either the federal executive, or the federal conference of the movement, met and imposed their will on the weaklings in the movement. I say that without reservation. Now, fearful of further defections, they have, in a cowardly way, determined to defer taking similar action in New South Wales and Queensland until the first trench in Victoria has been consolidated. Although the offence committed in New South Wales was even greater than that which was committed in Victoria, none of the rules which the right honorable gentle man stated so majestically last night has been, applied to the dispute with which he has been intimately associated. Nor has any attempt been made at conciliation in the matter. Inquiry was refused, negotiation rejected, and dictation took the place of arbitration.
When we hear so much about these principles from the right honorable gentleman in a debate in this House on foreign affairs, it is relevant to examine the character of the individual who expounds them in this House in order to test the validity of his statements. Sanctions and penalties were inflicted willy nilly. One of his loyal lieutenants, the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) has repeatedly stated at places at which I have been present, “ Although I do not agree with your point of view, I shall fight for your right to express it “. Although he made that statement profoundly, he always made it on occasions when the Communists were affected. But, lately, he has not been prepared to apply that principle in respect of ordinary members of the Labour party. Followers of the Leader of the Opposition, who make so much of those principles, do not seem to be prepared to apply them except to the advantage of Communists hi this country. Why were all these things done? The answer is simple. The chief stooge of the Leader of the Opposition, who is a gentleman by the name of Chamberlain, from Western Australia, decided that there was an unacceptable state of mind in Victoria. That was the offence committed by those who differed from the Leader of the Opposition. What was that unacceptable state of mind ?
All that I am saying is relevant to a discussion of the foreign policy that has been enunciated by the Government. The Australian Labour party groups were eliminating communism and freeing the Australian economy of them and were thus helping in the defence of this country. That was precisely the offence that was committed by the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour party Members of that branch were determined that the Communists should be removed from key positions in the trade unions. Therefore, in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition, it was essential that the
Australian Labour party groups should be suppressed. That is a pattern of what is taking place in the Labour movement in this country to-day. Yet, the Leader of the Opposition has the temerity to expound the principles of the United Nations to which I have referred, while he is still engaged in carrying out the executions that he designed. He will do anything to remove legitimate opposition to the views he holds in order to graft them on to the Labour party at all costs. His statements do not represent the mind of the masses of Labour people in Australia. There can be no resurgence of the Labour movement until the Asian position ultimately reveals itself. At that stage, the Labour party will realize what it has now let itself in for. Ultimately, that day must come. When it does, the position in Asia will alert the Australian people to the dangers that, undoubtedly, are being aggravated by a number of followers of the Leader of the Opposition. I have only pity for his weak camp followers who desire to be loyal to Australia, but have fallen for his bluff and bludgeoning and have been influenced by fear which has turned them into political termites. Let us look at the man who has enunciated this policy. When he stepped down from the High Court- ‘-
- (Hon. Archie Cameron). - Order! I remind the honorable member that we are dealing with the subject of foreign affairs.
– I shall relate my remarks to that subject. I submit that there are two sides to foreign affairs policy. There is the internal side as well as the external side. I am relating my remarks to the internal side. I am dealing with fifth column activity in this country through which support is being given to external influences- which are to-day a grave worry to Australia. When the Leader of the Opposition stepped down from the High Court to participate in politics, many people asked wiry he did so. There are not many persons who now ask for an explanation of that fact, because the explanation seems to be perfectly obvious. In my view, he has revealed his reason for taking such action. Whilst the right honorable gentleman has always claimed to be the champion of civil rights, he has acted in that role only in instances in which the Communists have been concerned. I refer to the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, his defence of Communists in the trade unions, the breaking up of the Australian Labour party industrial groups, and his participation in the Petrov affair in which his object was simply to discredit Petrov. When members of his own party expressed different points of view he indulged in foul propaganda with the object of representing patriotism as sectarianism. He has condoned execution without trial, or arbitration, or the holding of conferences to consider the views of those who disagreed with him. Now, we come to his pet baby, the subject of foreign affairs. On this issue he has wrecked the Labour party. In doing so, he has disregarded all history. He advocates settlement of disputes by peaceful means, by negotiation, inquiry or arbitration. In my estimation he desires to arbitrate between the robber and the robbed after the victim has been robbed. He would leave the small nations in Asia to their fate. He would wait until they have been raped and then negotiate for peace. The ancients had a sound saying - “ They make a desert and call it peace “. Without doubt, that process is approved by the right honorable gentleman.
– Order ! The honorable member should refer to the right honorable member for Barton.
– Yes, sir. He would make a desert, and call it peace. The kind of desert he desires to establish i? undoubtedly a spiritual desert, because that is the very basis of communism itself. How some of his supporters can sit with him, and justify their position, completely mystifies me. Surely this spiritual side of life, that which is the antithesis of communism, means much more than a political seat, even if that was to be endangered by their action.
I ask the House to consider how subtle the right honorable member for Barton was in the course of his remark.?. He did not say one word about colonialism, or imperialism, which was a common expression at one time in a debate of this kind. It is true that European colosialism in respect of Asia is dead. The attempt of the French to preserve their place in Indo-China was simply an anachronism. The Geneva conference indicated that Northern Indo-China was the victim of international communism, the new colonialism, the new imperialism, which takes the place of the old colonialism and imperialism. So the learned right honorable member for .Barton says nothing about colonialism. He very conveniently drops colonialism from his speech. Instead, he prefers to refer derogatorily to America, and disregards the natural attraction of Australia to this new colonialism. The right honorable member does not point out to the House that Australia sells to Asia about £ 60,000,000 worth of wool annually, which is of considerable importance to a new colonialism. He has nothing to say about uranium finds in Australia in their relation to an Asian power. He does not speak of Australia as a potential base for America, or point out that if Australia is eliminated, America could be pushed back to Pearl Harbour. None of those matters has engaged his attention at all, because he does not look at the new colonialism, thnew imperialism, on the continent of Asia. So Australia is something which is to be completely brushed aside in his consideration of this important subject. Instead, he speaks of a good neighbour policy when, quite positively, neither Australia nor America has any designs in Asia whatsoever. But he would leave the small nationals to an obvious fate-
-Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- As not infrequently happens in this House, the “ whips “ find themselves getting to their feet when nobody else has a particular desire to do so. That is the role which, frankly, I am fulfilling at the present time. I have some apologies to make about it, too, because my views on foreign affairs are very simple, and I am afraid that I have expounded them to the House, for what they are worth, on previous occasions.
Though I am interested in, and have a certain affection for, some of our Asian neighbours, more particularly those who stood by us loyally and sent troops to help us in our time <of /trouble, .1 frankly admit that my main concern is not the welfare or otherwise of the people of Asia but tho welfare of this country. It is against that background that I always see the problems that confront us, and the policies which we have to .undertake.
I suppose that no country finds itself in greater peril than we in Australia find ourselves at the present time. Reference has been .made to Asia and China., and I should like to enlarge briefly on that subject for a few minutes. The Communist Chinese army to-day is in the vicinity of 1,500,000 trained frontline men, nearly all of whom have had battle experience. The Communists are inducting men into the army, and discharging them at the rate of approximately 100,000 men a month. Therefore, it is quite obvious, as all honorable members must agree, that in less than eighteen months from now, the Chinese Communists will have an army of approximately 3,000,000 men. It will be one of the greatest armies that the world bas seen, and certainly the most numerous of modern “times.
I ask myself why does any country commit itself to a programme of that sort. I put that question to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). Such a force is clearly a part of a pattern of world conquest. We have seen, in the post-war years, this mighty force come down into South-East Asia, through Indo-China, menacing Malaya, which some honorable members opposite would cheerfully give up, menacing Siam and Burma, and already exceedingly active in Indonesia. ; so much so that it is very doubtful whether the Government of the last-named country is in a position to resist the white-anting process which the Chinese Communists have developed there. That, surely, is the crux of the position confronting this country. We are menaced by a very great force of arms, and steps must be taken by those responsible for the policies of this country to meet that situation.
I have heard two methods of approach to this matter in “the debate this evening. On both sides of the House, I have heard most sincere, earnest and honest attempts to meet this problem, to explain it to the people of Australia, and to prepare them for what they might very well have to face in the protection of their own country. We have also heard some honorable members who, I can only say, have put the Communist point of view in this chamber. I make no apology for using that harsh phrase, and I refer particularly to the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), and the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The argument which has been used by Communists has been advanced by those three honorable members. I can forgive the honorable member for Hindmarsh much, because clearly he knows little. He suffers from a complete ignorance of any understanding of the affairs of Asia. I have never in all my life heard such utter tripe as the honorable member has spoken to-night.
As for the right honorable member for Barton, one expects no better. One of his erstwhile followers has clearly pointed out that the whole of his history as Minister for External Affairs and subsequently has been one of championship and apology for Communist forces which threaten us. He has never failed to advance the Communist party line. He has never failed to attack what he calls British imperialism, American colonialism, and the like. I merely want to draw attention to that, because it is to me a terrible thing that a political party which represents, or once represented, so large a proportion of the Australian people and which ought, above all, to have the welfare of this country at heart, can express views of that sort. I do not believe that they are sincere for one moment.
I find it dreadful to hear the honorable member for Lalor, himself a man who knows something of war and the demands of defence, speak of sending Australian troops to be slaughtered in defence of British imperialism in Malaya. I do not think the honorable member himself believes that to be true for one moment. There is not one word of truth in it. I do not pose as an authority on the subject of Asia, but I have spent some years of my life in Asian countries, not as a dele- gate of governments or as a very privileged person, but as a very underprivileged person, if you like, because I was a soldier, and one does see, from that more lowly vantage point, things which more important people do not see. I believe that the Asian people - I except only the Russians and the Japanese from this category - can thank western civilization for nearly everything which they enjoy to-day, which they value, and which is worth while. Any pretence to democracy which they have has come from Britain largely, from Holland in no small part, from France to a lesser degree, and from the United States in respect of the Philippines. Those are the facts, yet some honorable members have so little knowledge of the matter, and such lack of principle, that they will mouth the falsehoods to which we have listened.
Who are the imperialists in the world to-day? Who have overrun countries? Who exploit coolie labour in the most scandalous way to carry packs for their armies? The honorable member for Hindmarsh knows the answer as well as I do. It is the imperialist Chinese forces. Millions of coolies are carrying stuff for the Chinese armies. There is a pattern of world conquest in that part of the world to-day which is as great and as terrible as . was that of Genghis Khan and Temujin in the past.
I should have liked to hear from the Government a little about the way in which this very considerable force will be raised, if, indeed, it has to be raised. Two divisions, I think, were mentioned. I must say that it gave me great pleasure to hear the speech of the honorable member for Ballarat. I have many differences politically with him, but still I have a great deal of respect for him. He has risen in his place -and in forthright language has given the House and the nation, as he should, the fruits of his convictions and experiences, instead of repeating some of the twaddle with which fellow travellers like Dr. Burton have filled those who still sit behind the Leader of the Opposition.
The honorable member for Ballarat did draw attention to one matter, and quite rightly so. He considered that not enough has been done to condition the people of this country to the gravity of their danger, and to the necessity possibly for them to make very great efforts for their own salvation. I always consider foreign affairs in relation to national self-interest, and I make no apology whatsoever for doing so. It is bound up with defence, and I say now, as I have said before, that the Government, if it believes that great defence efforts may.be needed, and I gather from the statement by tho Prime Minister that such is his opinion, should also have been expounding to the people the peril in which we lie, and the necessity for taking positive steps for our own defence.
When I speak of defence, I immediately realize the impracticability and the undesirability of defending Australia on our own shores. The policy, of England, to which we look for so much, has always been wherever possible,- to fight its wars on foreign soil. England has not been defended in England except when it has been defeated, as you, Mr. Speaker, know. England has defended itself on tho continent of Europe, and we shall have to defend ourselves, if necessary, probably on the continent of Asia. Therefore, the government, wisely and courageously, is committing Australia, in our own defence and in certain circumstances, to provide a force bearing some relation to the threat to us and to our capacity to exert ourselves. I know perfectly well that there are honorable members opposite who are completely opposed to any form of defence, so responsive are they to red ideas I know that other honorable members honestly confuse communism, the rise of radical nationalism in Asia, with .perfectly legitimate socialist ideals such as many hold in this country. There is no connection whatever between those rabid nationalist movements and what, some honorable gentlemen understand to be legitimate political aims in this country.
I rose, Mr. Speaker, to address the House until 10.30 o’clock. It is now 10.30 o’clock, and. so I shall weary the House no longer.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Webb) adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Seventh Annual Report by the Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Concilation and Arbitration, for year ended 30th September, 1954.
Norfolk Island Act - Ordinance -IOCS - No. 1 - Bean Seeds and Bean Plants.
Public Service Act - Appointment - Department of Trade and Customs - Vt!. -I. Schopfhauser
Superannuation Act - Superannuation Board - Twenty-ninth Annual Report, for year 1950-51.
Tho following answers lo questions were circulated: -
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows’: -
House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 April 1955, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1955/19550428_reps_21_hor6/>.