21st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Seeing that other go vernments have already been stating their, proposals for a revision or a change of the United Nations Charter, which must come up for consideration this year, will the Ministor for External Affairs inform me whether he or the Government has any proposals which he has approved, or which he has recommended, for consideration at such a conference? If so, will he bring them before the House, and allow the House to express its view upon them at an early date?
– The subject of the possible revision of the Charter of the United Nations has now been under consideration for a very considerable . time, at least for the last twelve months. A. great deal of work has been done on it, both in the Department of External Affairs and outside it. I have my own views about the potentialities that the situation holds, butI have not yet considered, nor have I discussed with the Prime Minister or the Government, any proposals that I would be confident to put forward publicly at this stage. However, I shall consider the matter, and advise theright honorable- gentleman.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, but I shall be most grateful if the Postmaster-General will give some attention, to it. Last night, during the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s 7 p.m. news service over national stations, impassioned references were made to an alleged bumper wheat harvest in the United States of America and to wheat of superlative quality pouring into the terminals of the country. Those are not the precise terms used, but they are the substance of the news item. SinceI have no knowledge of any wheat harvest being brought in in the United States, or anywhere else, in the month of April, and since the spring crop has just been sown in America - and my information is that the conditions are not favorable to a good harvest - will the Minister make some inquiries as to the source and accuracy of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s information ?
– The reply which the honorable memberhas incorporated in his question is correct. The North American spring planting of wheat will just have been completed by now, so J can imagine only that the news item is either six mon ths late or six months early.
-Will the Prime Minis ter say whether the Government has given instructions for the holding of a meeting of all departmental heads of the Commonwealth Public Service, to be presided over by a member of the Public Service Board, to consider what retrenchments could be made to offset any increase of expenditure resulting from marginal increases granted to public servants by the Public Service Arbitrator? Will the right honorable gentleman make sure that no harsh treatment is meted out to Commonwealth public servants merely because they are to receive wage justice that is long overdue?
-I have never heard of this. I shall be very surprised indeed to find that any such meeting has been called. The policy of the Government, like the policy of any other government, is to treat the Public Service with complete equity and fairness.
– Can the Minister for Territories inform me how much public money is expended a head a year on our aboriginal population? I ask this question because I have heard a report that, while we expend some hundreds of pounds a head a year in bringing immigrants to this country, we expend only 2½d. a head a year on aborigines?
– If any statement has been made that Australia is expending only 2½d. a head a year on our aborigines and on native welfare, that statement is not merely untrue but is also completely ridiculous. I cannot give the figure for the whole of Australia, but speaking of the Northern Territory, which isunder Commonwealth administration, the figure of direct expenditure on aborigines would bemuch nearer about £100 a head a year. I think the House will realize that it is extremely difficult to assess what is expended for native welfare, because native people participate in the benefits which arise from expenditure on behalf of the community generally. However, as a’ general indication, in the Northern Territory in the current year our estimates provide for an expenditure of about £550,000 on what, we term the “ maintenance of aborigines “. That refers to amounts distributed by the Government, given in aid to the missions and in payment of the salaries of people whose work is to look after the aborigines. In addition to that, there is a works expenditure, both on. maintenance and capital works, of about £450,000, making a total of direct expenditure for the benefit solely of aborigines of something in the neighbourhood of £1,000,000 a year in the Northern Territory this year. In addition to that, we have expenditure roughly totalling about. £750,000 a year on health and education in the Northern Territory, a very substantial proportion if which is for the benefit of aborigines, particularly on the side of health. If we add to the total of direct expenditure on the aborigines the proportion expended in health and education which is for their direct benefit, we get something in the neighbourhood of possibly £1,500,000 for the benefit of 13,000 aborigines, which certainly does not give the result of 2-Jd. a head.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Does the right honorable gentleman, in considering Australia’s constitutional problems, intend to confine his investigations and consideration merely to the problem of overcoming Senate deadlocks, or does he intend to broaden his examination to include matters such as health, education, and transport, and their relationship to this National Parliament?
– I do not want anything to be said by myself that would amount to the approval of the transferring to the Commonwealth of powers in the matters that have been mentioned. However, in considering possible changes in the Constitution or possible subjectmatters for investigation, Ave do not propose to confine ourselves merely to the relationships between the two Houses of the Parliament.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. Following the return from the United States of America of a well known Australian, will the Minister give the House an indication of the progress that has been made in the manufacture of Salk vaccine to be used in inoculations against poliomyelitis?
- Dr. Bazeley returned from the United States of America last Monday and since then he has really been working night and day in an effort to ensure that the poliomyelitis vaccine shall be produced and made available at the earliest possible time. Dr. Bazeley’* first task on his return was to examine the building that I mentioned in my statement last week. Honorable members will recall that I then stated that a building might be made available immediately to obviate delay. Dr. Bazeley’s examination has revealed that the structure can be used for the production of the vaccine, and this will enable us probably to reduce by three months the time that it would otherwise have taken to produce the vaccine. Most of the necessary machinery is either on the way to Australia or has been ordered. Monkeys also have been ordered. I should say that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories should be producing the vaccine in either September or October. In the meantime, we have been in active communication both with the United States Government, through our ambassador, and with the great American manufacturing companies that are producing the vaccine, in an attempt to obtain ample supplies. The position in the United States has been made much more difficult by the tragic occurrences that have been associated with certain vaccinations in the western part of that country. A. committee of eleven scientists has been examining the position, and has decided that vaccine prepared by the Cutter laboratories, a very large company that is supplying about one-fifth of the total requirements in the United States, should not be used at the present, time. This decision, of course, has thrown a. very much greater load on the other manufacturing companies. I had a talk yesterday with the Australian representative of the Eli Lilly Company, which is one of the largest manufacturers of the vaccine. The representative informed me that that company had already produced and had certified by the United States Government its share of the vaccine supplies for the second vaccination programme that is to be undertaken in the United States during the present year. He stated also that because of this the company would probably be able to obtain export licences for the export of the vaccine at an early date. Both the Eli Lilly Company and Parke Davis and Company Limited consider that they will be able to make supplies of the vaccine available in Australia by July of this year.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question. In view of a situation which might arise in some part of the Commonwealth and which, in fact, has arisen in the Bankstown district in my electorate, where the local law enforcement officers are unable, or unwilling, to cope with lawless characters, 15 there any means by which the Commonwealth can intervene or by which it can assist the State authorities in upholding the law and protecting the lives and property of citizens in such instances? F.u particular, in view of Australia’s rapidly increasing population and the introduction of lawless methods foreign to our way of life, will the Prime Minister consider the establishment of a body, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America, of highly trained and skilled law enforcement officers who would be free of local influences and other pressure that might interfere with their efficiency and integrity, and who could cope also with matters such as the misuse of Commonwealth security files, which I have brought to the right honorable gentleman’s notice, and other matters that are definitely of Commonwealth concern?
– I see no reason to alter the present arrangements.
– Has the Minister for the Interior read the criticism recently offered by a Justice of the Supreme Court of New South “Wales of what he described as “the high-handed action” of an official of the Department of the “Interior when terminating grazing rights on the aerodrome at Armidale in New South “Wales? Does the Minister know that the judge described the language of the official’s letter as “well calculated to get anyone’s back up “ ? Will the Minister bear in mind one of the lessons learned by the British civil service in the Crichel Downs affair, that the function of a public service is to serve and assist the people, not to adopt an impatient and dictatorial attitude towards them?
– If I remember rightly, it was about three months ago, in February, when those remarks were made by His Honour. At that time, I had already taken action in regard to the letter and had instructed all members of the department to watch the verbiage of letters of that nature. To be perfectly honest, I must say that the letter in question was written as the result , of legal advice on how to deal with the particular licensee. A letter had been sent to him very much earlier in which the department had said that, because the Department of Civil Aviation wanted to push ahead with the Armidale aerodrome earlier than had previously been thought desirable and necessary, it was regretted - the letter was phrased in that way - that the licensee would not be able to carry on under the grazing licence for the full term of five years. I think the action proposed would have eliminated, the last year of the licence. Since then, the affair has been satisfactorily settled. I understand that the licensee has agreed to an exchange of land and that the Commonwealth has done certain work on. fences in order to make good any damage the licensee may have suffered as a result of his expenditure on pasture improvement, of which he thought he would have the benefit for five years. Although the letter-
– Read it to us.
– I have not got it with me. Although the letter was perhaps a bit crude, it was in legal language and gave definite notice of the intention to terminate the licence.
– -I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government has fixed a date for the Senate election that is due to be held some time in the comparatively near future. If not, in view of the necessity for action to synchronise the dates of elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives, and in view also of the necessity to give the Australian people a chance to decide the issues that are confronting the Parliament at the present time, will the right honorable gentleman give consideration to the fixation of a date for early elections for both the Senate and the House of Representatives ?
– I have not as yet given consideration to the fixation of thedate. The suggestion that the honorable member makes about taking advantage of this opportunity to synchronise the elections for the Upper and Lower House is, asheknows, in close agreement with the proposal made in 1953 by the Leader of the Opposition. I shall give respectful consideration to all these points.
Mr.CRAMER.- Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that there is a serious shortage of building tradesmen in this country, particularly of bricklayers, plasterers and plumbers, and also that, because of the condition of, overfull employment, not enough apprentices are heing trained for those trades? Will the Minister make a survey of this matter and inform the House of any action proposed to be taken by the Government to rectify the position?
– There is a shortage of skilled tradesmen in this country. Some 3.000 vacancies in this group of trades are recorded in the Department of Labour and National Service. It is also true that there is a shortage of apprentices, as suggested by the honorable member, which is partly due to the condition of overfull employment with high wages offering for relatively unskilled work, and partly due to the comparatively low birth-rates during the depression years. Despite those factors, their are more apprentices working at trades to-day than there were during the pre-war years. The honorable member asked whether a survey of this matter would be made. A survey was made some time ago. The position, is being kept constantly under review, and we are taking action in certain directions. As the honorable member will be aware, the apprenticeship inquiry concluded its examination of the apprenticeship problem some time ago. Its report was sent to the State governments because of matters in it -that concerned their jurisdiction, and is currently under examination by them. “We are trying to supplement the building trades force through immigration, and in this current immigration year about 2,000 or 2,500 building tradesmen will come into Australia. Nest Monday the Ministry of Labour Advisory Council will have this matter as one of the items on the agenda for consideration.
– I ask the Minister for Supply whether reports are current which indicate that the price that the Australian Government is receiving from the Combined Development Agency is £25 a ton for ore containing 0.25 per cent, of uranium oxide. If those reports are correct, will the Minister inform the House how that return compares with the prices being obtained by Canada and other countries for a similar grade of ore? As the price still represents a margin of approximately £15 over and above the price being paid by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission to Australian producers, will the Minister review treatment and handling costs in order to enahle a greater return to be made to Australian producers?
– The prices paid to the Commonwealth by the Combined Development Agency have never been published. I have not seen the report and cannot publish it. All I know is that the price that Australia is receiving is fair and proper. It is, indeed, considerably in excess of what is now stated to be the current world price. I understand that the honorable member spoke about the prices of ore. We do not sell ore to the Combined Development Agency; we sell only oxide.
– Can the Minister for Supply inform the House whether the Australian Atomic Energy Commission is aware of the presence of radio-active materials in the Carcoar district of New South Wales? Have any investigations, including scintillometer surveys, been made hy the New South Wales Government or the Australian Government, and if so, with what result ? What encouragement has been given to prospectors who are seeking deposits of those important materials ?
– The honorable member has mentioned this matter to me on more than one occasion. Since about 1894 it has been known that there are radioactive minerals in the Garcoar district of New South Wales. Several surveys have been made, especially recently, sinee uranium became of international . importance. The New iSouth Wales Mines Department has made some surveys on its own initiative and some at the instance of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Although isolated pieces of mineral with a high uranium content have been found, nothing has been found which would indicate the presence of ore in any quantity. The Government is continuing its investigations, and so also is the New South “Wales Mines Department.
– I direct a question to the honorable member for Macarthur in his capacity as Commonwealth representative on the Commonwealth-State Flood Relief Committee. Is the honorable gentleman aware of the damage that was caused in the Hawkesbury district as a result of the Hawkesbury River breaking its banks during last week-end? Is he able to say whether the CommonwealthState Flood Relief Committee has taken any action to afford assistance to farmers, primary producers and other persons who have suffered severe losses in this flood?
– The committee upon which I have the privilege to act as Commonwealth representative has sent officers to the district, and they have formed local flood relief committees in the Windsor and Colah areas. On this occasion, the damage has been restricted to primary producing areas. Usually when there is a substantial flood in the Hawkesbury district I think the committee helps approximately over 100 farm or household units. It must be borne in mind that, when there are frequent floods, the people who suffer bear a tremendous financial burden because they cannot stand the recurring loss of their crops. On Saturday next, probably, T shall accompany the honorable member for Mitchell on an inspection of the area, and I know that the Government will help to the utmost limit of its capacity as it has in the past.
Report op Public Accounts Committee.
– As Chairman, I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee: -
Nineteenth Report - Treasury Minute and Comments of Postmaster-General’s Depart- ment on 12th Report of the 1952-54 Joint Committee on Public Accounts - PostmasterGeneral’s Department.
May I say in explanation that the committee brought down the report on the. Postmaster-General’s Department last April, and that in the sixteenth report, which was presented in December last, the committee collated all of the minutes of the Treasury in relation to the various reports except that for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, which was not received until February of this year. The committee has published the recommendation that it made last April, as well as the Treasury minute and the comments of the Postmaster-General’s Department on the committee’s recommendations in this report. I move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.
- (Hon. Archie Cameron). I have received from the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) an intimation that he desires to submit a definite matter of urgent public importance to the House for discussion, namely: -
The inadequate amount being paid for each child under the Child Endowment Act and the necessity for urgent consideration by the Government of increasing the amount to meet adequately the increased cost of providing for children by their parents or guardians.
Is the proposal supported?
Eight honorable members having risen in support of. the proposal,
– In submitting this proposal to the House, I am sure that all honorable members will be very much in sympathy with it. It is the duty of members of the Opposition, when they believe that any section of the community is not being treated as well as it should be treated, to bring the matter before the Parliament. I have no intention of making any attack upon the Minister for Social Services (Mr. McMahon) or upon the Government in relation to this subject. I shall endeavour to convince honorable members of the necessity for some action being taken in respect of it. I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Social Services give notice earlier to-day of the introduction of a bill to amend the Social Services Act. I do not know whether that measure will affect child endowment.
– The bill relates to rehabilitation.
– In those circumstances, honorable members will welcome this opportunity to express their opinions on the subject that I am now raising. Provision for child endowment was first made by this Parliament in 1941. Under that legislation, child endowment was paid at the rate of 5s. a week for each child other than the first child in a family. One must appreciate the circumstances that existed at that time in order to understand fully the reason for the introduction of child endowment. As long ago as 1925, the New South Wales Government, which at that time was led by Mr. Lang, introduced child endowment in that State and provided for a payment of 5s. a week in respect of each child in a family, including the first. Thus, the first provision for child endowment that was made by this Parliament was a step behind the legislation that was passed in New South Wales sixteen years previously. The rate of 5s. for each child, excluding the first, was continued until 1945 when, during the regime of the Chifley Government, it was increased to 7s. 6d. a week for each child, the first child in a family still being excluded. That new rate was continued for the following three years until November, 1948. Then the Chifley Government, having regard to the increased cost of living and the greater difficulties confronting parents in caring for their children, increased the endowment to 10s. a. week for each child other than the first child. That rate has not since been increased. If the cost of living had notrisen so steeply in the last few years, we might have been prepared to agree that child endowment at the present rates was adequate. However, the fact remains that the cost of living has risen steeply during the term of office of this Government and, in addition, other factors have occurred since the end of 1949 which make an increase of child endowment imperative.
During World War II. many married women obtained employment in industry. That led’ to an unusual and, indeed, disturbing economic change. Mrs. Jones, who lived at No. 10 in the street and had no dependent children, could go to work without much disturbance to the domestic life. She had the choice of many positions, and she earned an excellent salary. But Mrs. Brown, who lived next door, had young children, and was not able to seek employment. The standard of living of her family depended upon the earnings of her husband. The economic position of Mr. and Mrs. Jones, as the result of their combined earnings, improved greatly, and the economic position of Mr. and Mrs. Brown remained unchanged. Such a condition of affairs led. to some disturbing results.
Doubtless, honorable members have read the comments of magistrates in recent years on problems of juvenile delinquency arising from the behaviour of the widgies, as the girls are called, and the bodgies, as the boys are called in some States. Magistrates have often observed that juvenile delinquency is due, to a considerable degree, to inadequate parental control. If time permitted, I could cite instances of mothers who feel that, in order to give their children a semblance of the standard of living enjoyed by the childless couples in more affluent circumstances, must go to work. Children who are npt enough to attend school are left to the tender mercies of the nextdoor neighbour or somebody else during the absence of the mother. If the children are old enough to go to school, neither the father nor the mother is at home when the youngsters return, and the children run wild until 5.30 p.m. or 6 p.m. That is another problem which has arisen in the last few years. Members of the Labour party claim - and Government supporters may assert that the claim is unjust - that generally, speaking, we come into closer personal contact than they do with the ordinary people of the community.
– That is not true.
– Many honorable members opposite may have a similarly close contact, but I am speaking in general terms when I say that members of the Labour party come into closer personal contact with the ordinary people than do Government supporters. I have a close personal association with the people who are on the bottom rung of the ladder.. They should receive more conr sideration than has been extended to them, by this Government.
The Menzies Government claims credit for having introduced child endowment early in World War II. At that time, the payment was 5s. a week for each child of a family, other than the first, under, the age of sixteen years. The Chifley Labour Government considered in 1948 that 7s. 6d. a week was inadequate and that the amount should be 10s. How does the Minister for Social Services justify the pegging of child endowment at the 194S rate when Government supporters claim that the Government has found it necessary, during its term of office, to increase age and invalid pensions from £2 2s. 6d. to £3 10s. a week? I mention, in passing, that we assert that the present rate of pension of £3- 10s. a week is not sufficient to provide adequately for the needs of the recipients. I have no doubt that the Minister, in his reply, will cite the amount of money which is being paid in child endowment. Admittedly, that sum is formidable.
– By how much does the honorable member suggest child endowment should be increased?
– According to figures prepared by the Treasurer (Sir ArthurFadden) last year, expenditure on child endowment in the previous financial year amounted to £50,760,000, and the estimated expenditure for the current financial year is £52,500,000. If the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce) is prepared to advocate an increase of child endowment proportionate to the increase of age and invalid pensions, since 1949, mothers would feel that they had something to thank the Government for. An increase of child endowment by 50 per cent, would not be adequate to meet the position, but if I were to suggest such an increase, the Minister would point out that, on the basis of the estimated expenditure for the current financial year, the additional expenditure would’ be’ £26,000,000. But what mem bers of the community are more worthy to receive an additional £26,000,000 than the mothers of young children? The financial position of the parents does not enter into the consideration. Irrespective of the salary, the marginal rate has been increased two and a half times the margin in 1937. The Government has seen fit to increase the salaries payable to the leading employees of the Crown. Should not similar consideration be given to child endowment ?
The price of a house, which a family man requires, is now almost prohibitive. Wives are sometimes compelled to seek employment as the result of the tremendous increases in rents or the purchase prices of dwellings. I was speaking to a public servant yesterday, and when he learnt that I was to submit this matter to the House to-day for consideration, he said, “My word, I hope you can gel something for us. I have three children and a fourth is coming. We must have an additional room built on to our house, but the cost is so great that it will mean a terrific struggle for us “.. That man is in receipt of a salary exceeding the basic wage, and he finds that the expenscof housing is formidable. A. family man directly needs more rooms than does the man without a family. Yet, ironically, the man without a family can afford to pay for more rooms than he needs, and the man with children has the greatest difficulty in purchasing or renting a house of the kind required by his family. Eeference is frequently made to the pegging of the basic wage. Various authorities on economics considered that such a decision would prevent an increase of costs. They thought that if wages were regularly increased by cost of living, adjustments, the cost of goods would also continue to rise, and inflation would grow. An increase of child endowment will not produce that effect.
It is not a direct way of increasing the cost of production. I quite understand that it will certainly mean more expenditure from revenue, but it will also mean that people who require that assistance to enable them to provide for their families, will get it. It will enable them to improve’ their standard of living more than would an increase of the basic wage or wages generally. 1 consider that this i? onn method: of raising the standard of living: If it is good enough to increase margins, and age and invalid pensions*- and 1 personally am keon to increase pensions even further - then it is good enough for this Parliament and the Government to give earnest consideration to increasing the rate of child endowment so as to citable parents to meet the needs of their families. I have a large family, all married and with children of their own who are going to school. The cost of boots, shoes and other clothing for those children is two or three times what it used to be. It costs £2 5s. or £2 10s. for a new pair of shoes for a school girl. If a school girl is big for her age it is necessary to buy her, not a school girl’s dress, but a woman’s fitting, at a much higher price than would have to be paid for a girl’s dress. I urge the Minister to accept my suggestions.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired. .1. call the Minister for Social Services.
– I rise to order, Mr. Speaker. My point of order is that, 1 understand, your practice in choosing each succeeding speaker in debates in the House is to follow lists that have been provided to you by either the Whips or the leaders of the respective parties. 1 have examined the Standing Orders and I! can find in them no provision whereby you should, take notice of lists that have been supplied to you by the Whips or leaders of parties. Indeed, I think that the Standing Orders impose on you the obligation to call a member in the House, who has been in the House, and. rises in. his seat. I wish to raise the point of order that your practice in calling, from a list supplied to you is contrary to the Standing Orders, and indeed has led to the fact that honorable members who are outside of the chamber for a great part of the day come in here and, immediately they take their seats are called to speak, In effect, the following of the practice by you means that members are not required to attend to their duties in the House. They can stay outside the House most of- the day and simply come in, rise in their places, and be called by you, becausetheir turn on the list has come. In addition to that, the practice provides the leaders of the respective- parties- with an opportunity to prevent members of their own parties who may wish to express a view that is contrary to the view of the leader of a party, or of the Minister concerned.,, from expressing that view. That is also contrary to the spirit in which you should act in relation to those matters, and contrary to- the spirit of the Parliament. As far as I can see, the Standing Orders contain no provision that you should take any congnizance of any list provided by a Whip or a party leader. There should be fail- debate, so that every point of view can be expressed, and not just thu points of view of leaders of parties or of Ministers. The alteration of the practice would not only ensure that that would be the case, but would also ensure adequate attendance in this chamber of honorable members. I ask you in future, therefore, not to call honorable members from lists supplied by the Whips, or anybody else, but to make your selection from, the honorable members who rise in their seats- as soon as an honorable member has finished his speech.
– I wish to speak to the point of order. The honorable member for Tarra (Mr. Keon) has really raised a general question rather than a point of order. That is to say, it is not a question of order, but a question of what should be the appropriate practice in conducting the business of the House, and is incidental to the proper conduct of a party’s case. As far as I know, under previous Speakers, as well as under you. Mr. Speaker, what has been done is that a particular party submits a list of honorable members to put its case on matters, which are usually party matters in some form or another, largely for the convenience of debate. In that respect, we follow the practice of the House of Commons. In the House of Commons speakers are arranged in that way. I do not say that that arrangement reaches right down to every speaker. I am quite prepared, to have this matter discussed as a general question, but not as a point of order. It is clearly not a true point of order. The practice that you follow has grown up through the years. It is usually very convenient, but it is . sometimes inconvenient. The real point behind the honorable member’s raising of this matter is the position of his own group. He need not speak about the leader of the party selecting speakers. That is, at any rate, quite irrelevant to this matter. The Whips of the two sides are key persons in assisting the organization of the House, and they have their own views. They consult with the leader or the deputy leader of the party for the purpose of having a debate in which the views of members of the party can be put fairly. I think that the matter is important, and I am prepared to have it discussed by the representatives of all the parties in this House, including the group of which the honorable member for Yarra is deputy leader. That is to say, I think such a discussion might lead to an acceptable arrangement. I repeat, however, that, strictly speaking, the honorable gentleman has not raised a point of order. You, Mr. Speaker, have had to face difficulties because of the presence of the party, or group, to which the honorable member is attached. Its existence raises new problems, I admit, but we stand firmly on our rights as an Opposition, and we are not going to be told by the deputy leader of the new group how to conduct our business as an Opposition. However, I am perfectly prepared to assist you to have this matter discussed with the representatives of all concerned to see whether any change is desirable. I a in sure that my colleague, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is Deputy Leader of the Opposition in this House, will be able to contribute to a solution. It is wrong for the honorable member for Yarra to suggest that there is some unfairness to members in the House because members who have been awaiting the call at a particular time receive it at that time. Such a criticism will not bear analysis. No honorable member has had such a high percentage of absences from the House as the honorable member for Yarra had when he was a member of this party. He came into the chamber on most occasions only when he was listed to speak. I do not say that that it not a human failing, but I do say that it is one which the honorable member for Yarra shares with other honorable members. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to obtain the views of all concerned, includ- ing the views of the Government. Such an examination of the matter might be of some value by leading to a clarification of the existing practice, which might be amended. That is all I can say at this stage.
– The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon), who is the deputy leader of the AntiCommunist Labour party, has raised a matter of first-class importance. It is perfectly true that the Standing Orders do not provide for the provision of any lists for the guidance of the Speaker. The Standing Orders say clearly, and without equivocation, that the Speaker shall call the member who in his opinion, rises first in his place. That is the position. It is perfectly true that, since 1 took the Chair, I have followed the practice to which the honorable member for Yarra has referred, and I am quite sure that predecessors of mine worked on that system. Unless it is the desire of the House that that practice be continued, I shall simply discontinue it. It. will impose no burden on me to comply with the standing order. The Leader of the Opposition put his finger on the real point at issue: Whether the standing order should be complied with, or whether the case for the various parties - and I have four of them to look to now - should be put according to the way in which the parties want it. put and by the persons whom they select to put it. It is perfectly true that from time to time I receive complaints from honorable members, whose names I shall not even hint at, that they are unable to get on party lists because of certain difficulties within their parties. I do not want to have anything to do with that question. It is entirely outside the scope of my functions. Either we shall have a list system or we shall not have a list, system. I should like the House to come to a decision on the matter next Tuesday.
– Further to the point of order, may I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider the fact that the Standing Orders provide that the Speaker shall call the member who rises first in his place. Under the party system, which is the basis of the parliamentary system in Great Britain and in Australia, if no list is in the
Speaker’s hands, the honorable member who is selected by the party to speak in order, if that order is decided upon, will be the member who rises. The list is merely a convenience for the Speaker in that it informs him of the arrangements that have already been made. However, I suggest that a decision on the matter should be made, and that it would not be wrong, in cases of doubt, for the Speaker of this House to be guided by the practice of previous Speakers and not to disturb the existing practice unless its disturbance is proved necessary. I am prepared, to make available from our side of the House, perhaps to the Standing Orders Committee, proposals for approaching this problem after the parties have had an opportunity to consider it.
– I shall leave it to the parties to come to a decision. I omitted previously to deal with the Leader of the Opposition’s reference to the practice in the House of Commons. I am sure that there is not, and never has been, a list in the House of Commons, and that the Speaker of the House of Commons is not guided by the Whips or by anybody else in relation to whom he should call in debate. The call is absolutely within his discretion.
– With respect, Mr. Speaker, you are wrong. I know that you are partially wrong at least.
– The parties should discuss the matter and consider the many questions on which the Standing Orders are silent. For example, there is no reference in them to a party leader, nol. even to the Leader of the Opposition. According to the Standing Orders, party leaders do not exist. That may be an oversight.
– There is no reference in the Constitution to parties.
– There is not.
– There is a standing order-
– There is a standing order which requires that the Speaker shall be heard in silence, and I think that the right honorable gentleman might have heard of it at some time.
– I have, and so have others.
– If we want to put in black and white in the Standing Orders everything in relation to the manner in which this House shall function, we shall never make it work.
– Briefly, on the point of order, the remark made by you, Mr. Speaker, to the effect that no list exists in the House of Commons of the Mother Parliament is correct, but the control exercised over members by the parties there has exactly the same result as the list system achieves here. In the United Kingdom Parliament, the parties are disciplined, and no member dare rise in his place, if the party has decided upon the order in which its members shall speak, except in conformity with that order. We in this Parliament are not so well disciplined. In the House of Commons, party control achieves exactly the same result as has been achieved here in the past by the parties permitting the Speaker to exercise control by allocating the call according to the list. The Government parties will consider the matter at the usual party meeting next Wednesday morning, and will come to a decision on it.
– On the point of order, having in mind the procedure in the House of Commons in relation to the matter that has been raised, will you. Mr. Speaker, when considering it, at the same time give thought to the House of Commons procedure in relation to the Whips calling “ Division “ at the appropriate times so that honorable members might be warned - a procedure that you, sir, stated should not be followed in this House ? I suggest that that matter should be considered in order to bring the practice in this House into conformity with that in the Mother of Parliaments.
-The matters that have been mentioned can be handled by the parties. I do not attend party meetings, and have never attended one since I took this chair. The decisions of the parties, therefore, are of no interest to me. I shall amend my previous decision, and I expect the House to let me know its views on Thursday next. I shall then make up my mind.
.- This is the third occasion within the last four or five sitting days on which problems relating to social services have been debated in this House. It would have been a perfectly simple matter for most of the arguments of honorable members opposite - and they were able to advance very few arguments - to be emphasized on the first occasion on which this matter was discussed. Members of -the Opposition, ‘with two notable exceptions, have made no effort to support by reference to recent cases an argument that there is any real reason for an increase in pensions or in child endowment. To that extent, I and other Government supporters are forced to the conclusion that Opposition members have not bothered to analyse the facts and are not able to advance on behalf of pensioners a case based on recent circumstances. Instead, they have endeavoured merely to make political capital out, of the attitude of those whom they believe and hope might be a little discontented. The honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) adequately told .the history of child endowment, and he referred also to juvenile delinquency. I point out to him that most of the problems relating to child, welfare and child care are within the competence of the State governments. If we believe that those administrations have some ability and some competence, we should welcome their co-operation with the Commonwealth, because we can hope that children and the families to which those children belong will benefit from that co-operation. This Government and its supporters would not make a political issue of :this momentous and important problem.
This Government believes, as it has always believed, that the interests of the family are the most important in the community. “We who support the Govern.ment believe in home life and in giving children and the family the opportunity for full and quick development. For that reason, ‘.the Government has always been willing to consider proposals in relation to child “Welfare and child endowment. 1 do not want to be provoked into saying in this House anything that might be construed as being -hostile to the interests of children, and therefore I wish to state immediately that the present is not the proper time for the consideration of these problems. The budget session -would be the appropriate time. Up to the present, no decisions on this matter as it concerns the budget have been taken, and there is no reason for any one to feel discontented or to feel that his problems will ‘not be adequately considered.
As three proposals for the discussion of social services have been submitted to the House, I think it wise to clarify the attitude of this Government. I think it wise at least to state some facts that will establish a basis upon which the discussion might proceed. Tt might interest the House to learn that there arc 1,307,552 first children who receive child endowment at the present rate of 5s. a week. An increase of ls. a week in the amount of endowment paid for the first child, therefore, would cost approximately £3,400,000 per annum. Including children in institutions, there are 1,480,663 second and subsequent children who receive endowment at the rate of 10s. a week, and an increase of ls. a week in the payments in respect of them would cost an additional sum of approximately £3,S50,000. The total increased cost of an increase of ls. a week in the rates of child endowment, therefore, would be about £7,250,000. This should be mentioned because it gives us a basis of fact for subsequent discussion and a basis of argument on which the Opposition can work. I want to mention, too, that this payment is made to parents or persons with the custody and control of infants, and that no means test is imposed.
The -Opposition, perhaps politically, never chooses to mention other benefits given to families. In other words, it chooses to isolate one small item and focus attention on that “item, without mentioning other things being done in the interests of children. That practice was adopted .in the recent debate on pensions. Let me mention two outstanding reforms that have been made since this Government took office. “The first reform is the provision of free milk for school children. The nutrition tff children in schools now costs the Commonwealth £2;325;000 a -year. Perhaps [ should not say that it’ is a cost. It is, after all, only a cost to the Treasury, ft is something of enormous benefit to the country and the children. It is, so to .speak, an ingredient of the cost of production of the mental and physical resources of the future citizens of Australia. The second reform is the provision of free life-saving drugs and the establishment of the medical and hospital benefits insurance scheme. In the face of those facts, you will be one of the first to say, Mr. .Speaker, that you are compelled “to .admit that this Government has “taken a notable step forward in the provision of benefits for families and has shown its real interest in their welfare. I mention one other fact. Child endowment is paid to aboriginal natives, provided they are not nomadic and provided they are not being looked after wholly or partly by a State government or by the Commonwealth.
Now let me pass to what may be regarded as a debating point. It will be remembered that, during the 1949 general election campaign, .the Labour party strenuously argued that child endowment for the first child should not bc paid. That was one of the real bones of contention during that campaign. I have a statement on the matter made by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), published in a Sydney newspaper of the 13th November,’ 1949. I have many other statements made by Labour members in this House and the Senate about the payment of child endowment. The -simple fact is that in 1949 the Labour party argued strenuously against the introduction of child endowment for the first child, on the ground, first, that it could not be afforded, and secondly, that.if .it were introduced, it would lead to a new method of calculating the basie wage and, consequently, to its reduction. That point of view was put forward strenuously in the other chamber. During the course of the election campaign, on public platforms throughout Australia, the provision of child endowment for the .first child was bitterly resisted by the Labour party. The Labour party is prepared to suggest now that child endowment be increased, but when ..it went to .’the people in 1949 it argued that no increase of child endowment should be made, and that child endowment.f or the .first child should not be paid.
I mention one other matter to test the sincerity of the Labour party on this issue. During the last election campaign, it made promises to increase social services benefits. The cost of the increases has been estimated at between £200,000,000 and £300,000,000. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has put the figure at £200,000,000, but other and keener experts with a mind for these things have put it much higher. During the course of the campaign, the Leader of the Opposition did not mention the amount by which he proposed to increase child endowment. The amounts of other payments were mentioned, but there was no reference to the children. In other words, they were to come last. They were put right at the bottom of the list, and the amount to he provided for them was not mentioned in the right honorable gentleman’s policy speech. I mention those points because I think they go to the very roots of this problem and provide a means of testing the sincerity of the Labour party in relation to the matter now before the House.
Some honorable members have attempted to show that there should be a relationship between the basic wage and many family payments. T want to mention one fact in that connexion which I think is important and deserves to be placed upon the record. Although the Opposition says now that there should be a relationship between the basic wage and various kinds of family payments, in the past, when there was a connexion between social services payments and either the basic wage or the O series index, the Labour party took action to terminate it. I think it acted logically in doing so. because, quite frankly, I do not think there should .be an automatic connexion between not distinctly related matters. 1 want to . refer to the benefits that are received by a. family unit of three persons. It is well known that the .basic wage in New South -Wales at present .is £11 16s. .a week. It is made up of -a needs allowance of £9 6s. a week-only recently the .Commonwealth Arbitration
Court stated that ‘ the needs allowance had kept up its purchasing power - and a prosperity loading of £2 10s. a week. If we take a family unit of three persons, that is a family with one child, we find, dealing only with New South Wales, that the family receives a child endowment payment of 5s. a week and a child welfare payment of 7s. 6d. a week. So, in New South Wales the prosperity loading for a family unit of three persons is £3 2s. 6d. per week. I do not say at all that that is over-generous. I merely make the point that in New South Wales to-day a family unit of three persons has a prosperity loading of £3 2s. 6d. a week and, in addition, receives the other benefits that I have mentioned. We on this side of the House are glad to know that families are receiving those benefits. We are glad to know that whatever can be done is being done to keep families together and to give greater opportunities for the education of children and the development of their intelligence, so that they will be able to live their own lives in their own way in what we hope will remain an Australian community. The real point I want to make is that if we make a comparison between 1949 and to-day, we are compelled to the conclusion that what I may describe as a basic wage family is infinitely better off now than it was in 1949.
I want to mention only one other matter. The stage has been reached when the States and the Commonwealth must co-operate much more closely to ensure that family life will be made better and that opportunities for families will be continually increased. This i3 a joint responsibility, and we all hope that in the discharge of that responsibility wo shall keep in mind, not political considerations, but the interests of the family and, what is of paramount importance, the interests of Australian children.
.- I support the motion, and I express my great disappointment at the statement made to the House by the Minister for Social Services (Mr. McMahon). He held out not one ray of hope for those parents who are in need of increased child endowment. All that he could tell us was that a budget will be presented later in the year, and that in that budget some consideration might be given to increasing the rates of child endowment.
When we examine the history of child endowment in this country we find that this Government has much to answer for. Child endowment legislation was introduced into this Parliament in 1941, and the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) introduced it. The measure received the support of all sections of the House on that occasion. However, the reason that child endowment was introduced at all indicates thai non-Labour governments have failed lamentably in their responsibilities to the children of Australia.
We all remember that, in 1941, the Australian Council of Trades Unions appeared before the Commonwealth Court, of Conciliation and Arbitration with an application for an increase of the basic wage. During the hearing of that case the judges of the court expressed rather definite opinions in regard to the family unit upon which the basic wage should be fixed. Because of the comments of those judges, the Government of the day considered the matter and then introduced child endowment for the second and successive children of families. As a result of the child endowment legislation of that time, the Commonwealth Arbitration Court fixed the basic wage on a family unit of a man, wife and one child, and that system is in operation even to-day. When introducing that legislation into the Parliament, the Minister for Labour and National Service said -
After a thorough examination of all thu factors affecting us, at this time, the Government has formed the definite view that thi; circumstances of war make the measure I introduce to-day even more necessary and appropriate, than in time of peace . . . Honorable members are asked, therefore, to look at this measure as a means of providing that, no matter how the war pinches our incomes, the basie needs of the family will still be satisfied . . . Honorable members are asked to accept it also as one of the few measures of social progress that it is possible to introduce in time of war and to regard it as a foretaste and pledge of the full reconstruction that will be possible when we can again turn our surplus productive forces to the purposes of peace. Child endowment can hu rightly considered as a profitable national investment.
Of course they are very fine words, with which I hope all honorable members will agree to-day. Child endowment of 5s. a week was then paid in respect of the second and succeeding children in families. In 1945, because of increased living costs, the then Labour Government increased the 5s. endowment to 7s. 6d. In 1948 the then Labour Government again considered the value of the money that was being paid as child endowment, and increased the weekly payment to 10s. a week in respect of the second child and each succeeding child. At the time that increase was brought into effect, the basic wage was about £6 a week. To-day the basic wage is almost £12 a week, but child endowment is still only 10s. a week. Therefore, honorable members will perceive clearly that the value of child endowment has been reduced by almost 50 per cent, since 1948, when the endowment was made 10s. a week by the then Labour Government. When we come to ascertain the reasons why an anti-Labour government introduced child endowment legislation in 1941, we can come to only one conclusion, which is that that Government is now completely shirking its responsibilities.
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -
That the business of the day be called on.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Question so resolvedin the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Wentworth) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to establish a Council of Civil Defence.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Mr. WENTWORTH (Mackellar)
I’ll . 57]. -by leave - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
I think the House will agree with me that the development of atomic weapons has brought new circumstances into our whole defence plan. Perhaps I should read to the House a passage from the British White Paper, which was presented to the House of Commons last February. It states -
The new form of this threat to our security cilia for a complete overhaul of our home defence plans. These must be conceived not in terms of our experience in the last war nor evenof the threat posed by the atomic bomb. The advent of the hydrogen bomb calls for an entirely new approach.
I do not intend to traverse- again the arguments that I have brought before the House in earlier days. In those earlier days, I tried to explain what I believed would happen at a certain time. I believe that that thing has happened, and that the time that X predicted has arrived. I shall not outline- the details of the threat., because I do not think honorable me]n: bers are eager to hear them. It is a threat: of an entirely new magnitude, because onebomb could wipe out a city, and there would be no. reasonable chance of our preventing: the delivery of such a bomb by the Russian enemy if he should decide to deliver it. .
The danger is here, but I do not believe that the disaster is inevitable. I believe that, if Ave were- to prepare to meet that disaster, it would be the less likely to come. At all events; an insurance policy is well worth while: I again quote from the British “White Paper to which I referred. It states further - . . we must also in common prudence continue to provide- financial and other resources for a. measure of insurance in. case we should fail in our main aim of averting war.
The insurance policy is one that we should take out. The fact that a man takes out an insurance policy does not necessarily mean that he thinks his house will be burnt down. Let us act in this matter, not as children, but as men.
In a way, the advent of the atomic bomb has taken geography out of history. “We, in Australia, are no longer- isolated, because we may be standing in the main stream at a time which is not of our choosing, and we may be the- victims- of events that we cannot:control. No longer can we say that Sydney or Melbourne; or the other capital cities, are certainly safe. That time has passed,, and”, until there is. world-wide control of atomic weapons, i: will not return. Australia, in. common with the rest of the free world, stands in danger, but its preparations to meetthat danger lag far behind those- thai have been made in other parts of the free world. Honorable members will remember, that the Parliament approved an allocation of £90,000 for this- financial year as our total commitment for: civil defence: I do- not know whether the Government will expend the whole of that sum, but let us assume that it will. That sum represents an expenditure of 23-d. a head of the Australian- people. Let me contrast that effort with what is beingdone in Great’ Britain in the- currentyear. Great Britain’s expenditure this year, apart from its- expenditure on the- special- mobile permanent defence force of 30j000 men- which it proposes to raise., will be- £A<8-5,000,000. Apart from the expenditure involved in the raising of that force, Great Britain is now spending, on- civil, defence, approximately 160 times as .rauch per head of the population, as we are spending in Australia. I regret tha.t I am not in a position to cite the current figures for the United States of America, because, as honorable members know; the expenditure in that, country is divided between the federal and the State governments-. However, I am able to cite last year’s- figures, which, show, that approximately £A42,000,000 was expended. That is not as much as is being.- spent in Great Britain, but it represents 25 times as much- a- head of the population as. is being spent in Australia. I emphasize that those figures relate, to last year. The - United States has since stepped up its- expenditure, and it proposes to step it up still further. In fact, all over the world, civil defence plans are in. a. state of. expansion and flux.
Perhaps honorable members would be interested in seeing some of- the daily news digests that are published by the American civil defence authorities; and which come to rae by air mail. T hn.vp those digests- up -to the 29th April. They give a perspective of the- kind of thing that is being done there, and of America’s appreciation of- the danger that exists. 1 do not think that our danger is as great as that- of the United States, but it is not much smaller. During the last few months, I have had an opportunity of seeing some of the preparations that are being made overseas, and I am quite certain of my facts: Nobody would think that civil defence- should be allowed to usurp the whole field. It is only part of the field. “We- need a balanced defence effort. Let us examine the views of Field Marshal Montgomery, who scarcely can be accused, of veering unreasonably towards the side of civil defence, and of the manner in which he appreciates- civil defence in relation to the overall defence effort. In October last, ha made, the following statement” -
Since nuclear1 attack- is now a possibility, a nation must bc. able to absorb a surprise1 attack, and survive- to continue- the.- struggle-. Therefore the- whole, framework of. the. civil defence organization must exist in peace; with a chief of ‘civ.il -defence mid the essential menus 10 implement the plan.
Unless the framework of some sound civil defence organization is set up ‘in peace, a nation will face.disaster in a world war: since the .home front will collapse.
Unless we ‘have this link in the- chain, all of our other defence preparations may be of nugatory value. The forging of this link requires an effort of quite different magnitude from any effort that -has been envisaged in the past. I know thai; we have a token civil defence organization, but it is entirely and completely inadequate for meeting the present situation, ft is not making anything like adequate plans to meet the situation. It must be revitalized, and given public status so that the security of our people may be preserved. We must make these dry hones li re
This bill, which I hope the Parliament “ill pas?, is meant to set up live and effective civil defence plans, on a proper scale. In civil defence plans, one should look for three principles. The first of them is that in Australia there must be a marriage between the State and federal authorities. There is not only division of power between those authorities; but, in addition, many State instrumentalities, such as health, police, transport and so on, would have to be intergrated into the overall plan. Under the Constitution this is not a matter for the States alone or for the Australian Government alone, but is u matter for cooperation and partnership. The -second principle is that any effort will have to be an all-party effort. The life and survival of the Australian people ure at stake, and I believe “that the threat can only be met if we are prepared to sink party differences and to look at this as a non-party matter. The third principle is that any plan should reach down to the people and integrate into itself the lower organizations which are set up under State law, so that the people themselves who, unhappily, will be the active participants if there should be any nuclear trouble, shall be trained, ready and willing to co-operate “in meeting that threat. The three principles I have indicated are State and federal ‘co-operation, non-party cooperation and reaching down to the people, f believe that it is possible to interweave these three principles.
I do not pretend that the bill which I have .introduced is ‘the -final solution of our civil defence ‘problems. -It falls very far short of that. It is only the essential first step. There are, of course, three reasons ‘why this bill must be inadequate. The first is the restriction imposed by section 56 of the Constitution under which no private member can introduce a bill involving the appropriation of .money. The second is that -planning is the first requirement and must precede other activities. The third is that it is essential that we do not confuse the people by putting forward official plans which have to be scrapped at a later date. It is important that we approach this matter with authority and not simply by adopting a number of ill-digested and ad hoc experiments which must be scrapped as the full plan is developed.
That brings me to the terms of the bill. It seeks to set up a civil defence council. Honorable members will note that under clause 4. the proposed council will consist of 26 persons of whom eighteen will come from the States and the remainder from the Australian -Government. I have suggested three representatives from each State of whom one should be a technical officer and the others members of Parliament. It is proposed, of course, that the members of Parliament should represent opposite sides. I have not thought it desirable to put that provision in the bill, but if the House thinks that such a provision could be incorporated in the measure I shall be quite happy, because that is my intention. The representatives of the Australian Government on the proposed council will .’be the Minister and three experts to be appointed by the Minister, two members of this House and two members of .the Senate, the intention again being that both political sides should be represented in the organization. It is impossible to have a smaller council that -would be representative of the six States.; but I would -agree that for many purposes 26 members is too numerous to constitute such a council. Consequently, under clause 11 of the bill the council will be empowered to set up a smaller committee.; and my -intention is that the .permanent expert members of the council should comprise that committee and should use parliamentary representatives as means of contact with the various parliaments and the organizations which political parties are able to command. It is obvious also that a central committee cannot do everything for a State. Therefore, clause 15 of the bill provides for co-operation with State committees that may be set up by the various State Premiers, not necessarily uniformly but in co-operation with the main committee, and utilizing the resources of the States as the Premiers think they can best be utilized. I noticed that only during the last few days the Premier of New South Wales made some very commendable moves in this direction. One would hope that that kind of move could be utilized in the framework which this bill seeks to set up. The functions of the proposed council are set out in clause 14. The two main functions are defined as follows : -
The functions of the Gnu neil arc -
to inquire into and examine passible measures for the. protection of the civilian population of Australia against the consequences of armed attack by an enemy of the Commonwealth or the agents of such an enemy ;
to devise plans for ensuring the maximum survival of the people of Australia in the event of such an attack and for maintaining the existence of organized government and society in Australia in that event;
The fact that it is necessary to provide against this kind of contingency is a measure of the seriousness of the threat with which -we are faced. The proposed council will make reports as provided for in clause 16, both open reports to be made to the Parliament and confidential reports to be made to the Commonwealth and State Cabinets. The council will have powers to examine witnesses, subject to certain reasonable safeguards, and it will be able to sit in either open or closed session. When it sits in closed session the protection of secrecy for its proceedings is provided for it. A number of machinery provisions, which are ancillary to the scheme, are also contained in the bill. I do not propose to go through them now. When the bill lies on the table I trust that, honorable members will take the opportunity of studying it and that they will have full opportunity to discuss its provisions in detail at the committee stage.
That brings me to the question of procedure. Owing to the operation of section 56 of the Austraiian Constitution, this bill may bc thought to fall short of the requirements, although I, for myself, do not think that it falls so short as a preliminary measure, because whatever is done, there is a lot of leeway and planning to catch up, and some preliminary planning is necessary before any executive action is possible. But if the Government, in its wisdom, sees fit to introduce its own bill to cover these matters more satisfactorily, I shall have the utmost pleasure in moving for the withdrawal of the measure in my name, in favour of the government legislation.
I admit that the bill does not do everything. We are in. bad circumstances. The whole free world is in bad circumstances, but they are not reasons for despair. Indeed, despair has it dangers, because it is only those people who despair that are without hope. Here and elsewhere in the free world, a feeling of paralysis is being fostered that nothing can be done. T believe that this feeling is being deliberately fostered by our enemies, and that it does not, accord with the physical facts. It may be that things are bad. On the atomic front, they are bad for us, and they are bad for our enemies ; but it does not follow that the situation is without hope. We have, indeed, no choice but to go forward with survival plans, and I point out once again to the House that those survival plans are, in themselves, one deterrent against war. If the enemy feels that he can win by a knockout blow, he will be the more tempted to strike; whereas if he feels that we are tough, there is a far greater chance of maintaining peace. This is not only an insurance should disaster come; it is also, in some measure, an insurance against disaster ever coming.
We have drifted into a bad situation, lt is a situation foreseen and foreseeable. I have spoken about it to the House in the past, but this is no time for recrimination. This is a time for resolution; it is a time to go forward ; it is a time to sink party differences because this is something on which the life of the Australian people may well depend.
Finally, I do not believe that either this or any other plan is the permanent solution of the atomic impasse into which the world appears to be drifting. “We must find some means of effective control, or we shall die. That goes for both sides or, shall I say, for all sides, because the power of the bomb, now bilateral, will in a few years be multilateral, and what does one do when many countries have conflicting interests and each one has the power to wreak total destruction, and no one has the power of defence? It may be that we can teeter precariously towards safety while this power is bilateral, but when it becomes multilateral, the problem of equilibrium becomes far more difficult.
I do not believe that this bill provides for a permanent solution. I believe that it is a measure to give us time, and a breathing space, and that Australia, with other countries in the free world, must play its part in this plan and complete its defences by integrating into them a proper scheme of civil defence. This bill, in my opinion, is an urgent matter, and whatever is done towards a civil defence plan, the first and urgent thing is to get that plan ready, intelligible and confirmed.
Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.
.–! move -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Matrimonial Causes Act 1945.
I desire to explain to the House the objects of this bill, which seeks to amend the earlier act passed by this Parliament. In order to understand the effect of the bill, one must have regard to the background, so I shall deal first with the power of the Parliament to pass legislation of this nature. I mention that matter, because there appears to be great confusion about whether the Parliament has power to deal with matrimonial causes, or whether such power remains only with tb» States. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Australian Constitution clearly contains power to permit this Parliament to pass laws with regard to matrimonial causes, and indeed, the original act, which this bill seeks to amend, has been duly passed under that power, and the validity of the provisions of that act has, 1 understand, recently been upheld by the High Court of Australia.
The subject of matrimonial causes includes dissolution, of marriage, nullity of marriage, judicial separation, and restitution of conjugal rights. I emphasize those matters, because very often the term “ matrimonial causes “ is used in the sense of what is called a suit for divorce or in other words, merely rights to dissolution of marriage. Matrimonial causes is a term of a wider nature than that. The original Divorce Act was passed in England in 1S57, approximately 100 years ago, and almost immediately afterwards, the legislatures of the then, colonies of Australia passed similar acts Those acts still remain the basis of matrimonial causes jurisdiction in the various States of Australia.
That point is important because the amending legislation seeks to confer, as docs the original act, federal jurisdiction on the State courts which operate under the acts of the legislatures of the various States. But the legislation does not seek in any way to extend the grounds of divorce which are included in the various
State acts. The bill deals with the problem of. those “women who have been abandoned by their husbands, very often, for years, and who, because of the absence, of their husbands from the place of the home, have been unable to obtain relief, and who, by reason of the great expense of endeavouring, to follow the defaulting husbands, or to locate them, find themselves left in this country in the position of being neither wives nor widows, and of being both married and unmarried. That is a situation which loudly cries out for relief.
In order to explain clearly to the House ho.w that position comes about, I. shall have to refer to what is known, as the “ law of domicile “. It is a somewhat technical matter, but I shall attempt to explain it clearly. The basis of jurisdiction in divorce is that the parties shall be domiciled within that jurisdiction. In other words, if a. case is brought in the courts, of a State, the parties must show that they have been domiciled within that State. Without- going into undue technicalities”, domicile may be taken to mean the permanent’ place: of residence of the parties. That is to say; if the persons are settled in a particular State, they may take proceedings in the- courts of that State. That, seems to be clear enoughs but there is. a difficulty with” regard to the domicile’ of parties. The effect, of marriage.’ is that. a. wife, loses’ her preexisting domicile, and. acquires- the domicile of her husband. . That is- based, on. the old common, law rule that husband- and wife, are- one- person in. law and, as honorable members know, that rule-, has been to a great degree removed by statute. For example, at one time the-, property: of. a wife became- the. property of her husband on marriage. At one time,, also, the husband, as-the father’ of his children, had practically the sole right to their custody. In various other ways, very definite and strong rights were, given, to the. husband, the wife being merely regarded as one with him, and as being, merely a shadow or a: cipher with none of” those rights. Legislation has removed the predominance of the’ husband in most respects but one relic of the past remains. The domicile of” the- wife, is still’ the domicile of her husband, and: she can therefore take divorce proceedings only in the country where her permanent homeis held to be-. Consequently, if her husband deserts her and goes elsewhere to livej she can take proceedingsagainsthim only in the State or country in which he has made his new home, and only under the laws of that country. That is- the position, as it stands to-day.. Some” relief has been granted under” the laws of: the States-. A provision was introduced into State laws that if” a wife wer.e domiciled within the jurisdiction of: the State, courts at the time of the desertion, proceedings could be taken by her in those courts notwithstanding the. fact that her husband had. changed his domicile. Heability to do so, however, depended, upon her ability to prove desertion, which, is very technical ih law. It also meant tha; if her husband originally left her with her consent and only later, after he had changed’ his domicile, desertedv her, shf was” deprived” of her- right to sue him under that provision.
– As it is now tw.. hours since the House met; the time for the debate on the motion, has expired’.
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) agr.eed to -
That the time, for consideration of the motion be extended to 12.45’ p.m.
– It. also; meant that if the- husband had never, been domiciled, in the- place where, they: were- living,., it was quite possible, because of the technicalities of the law of” domicile, that’ she would also be unable to take advantage of? that provision. Under the 1945’ act, which this bill seeks to amend, an. endeavour was made” to reform that particular provision. It “was a- war-time” measure and’ the degree of reform made was limited.
– The first part was a wartime measure, with limitations,, but the second, part was general.
– I stand corxected. The pant with. whichIam dealing- was a wartime measure-, and the nature of. the limitation contained in it was that it enabled a: wif e who had. been married between, the outbreak of war in September, 1939, and a date to be. fixed - it was later, fixed as the 1st June, 1950’ - to take proceedings for matrimonial relief provided that, immediately prior to the marriage, she had been domiciled in Australia, provided’ also that she had never lived with her husband in the country of his domicile, and provided that proceedings were taken, before the 1st June, 1955, which is a date to which we are now very close, on which date the effect of this provision will expire, and she will no longer be able to take such proceedings. It is proposed in the present bill to provide that a wife who is living in a State or Territory of the Commonwealth, and has lived there for a. period of three years immediately prior to the taking of proceedings,” may take proceedings in that State or Territory, lt also provides that she may take those proceedings in accordance with the law of that State or Territory, and in the courts of the State or Territory, which will be, under this bill invested with federal jurisdiction.
The House will appreciate that this provision is not limited in the way in which the 1945’ provision was limited. The reason why. the- 1945 provision was limited, was. that, it was of a- new nature aud. was intended originally to apply to war-time; marriages. No doubt, also, it was to some degree experimental. But there is no- provision in the present bill that the wife must have been domiciled in Australia before the marriage. There is also no provision that the marriage must have taken place between certain dates. The new provision applies to marriages at whatever date they might have been contracted, and applies to wives wherever they may have been domiciled before the marriage. There is also no limitation that if the parties have lived together in the country of the husband’s domicile, the provision shall not operate. Whether they have lived there together or not is immaterial. Similarly, there is nolimitation of time as in the original act. It may be asked why it is so provided that the wife must have lived for a period of three years in the particular State or Territory before she may take proceedings. The answer is twofold. First, there are precedents for this provision. There is a precedent in England, where this very valuable jurisdiction now exists. There is a precedent also in Western Australia, where- the State courts are open to wives resident in that State.
The other point of view is that, in effect, this bill’ will give a wife a separate domicile. Under the laws of some of the States a husband, though domiciled within those States, cannot take proceedings unless he has been domiciled there for a certain length of time, which, in some instances, is three years. In any event, if a man has lived in a State for three years and apparently intends to live there permanently, a court would hold that he is domiciled there and would enable him to take proceedings there. This measure, in effect, will enable a wife to take proceedings where she lives in the manner in which, under the existing law, a husband may take those proceedings where he lives. The point is that a wife will no longer be compelled to follow a husband wherever he may go. Tt will be noticed that the bill makes no restriction in relation to domicile. It is purely a matter of the residential qualification for the required period of time. There is no provision that, in any way, will alter the State laws, by adding to the grounds for divorce.. Some honorable members might say that the laws of the various States in respect to the grounds for divorce differ, and they might ask why this Parliament does not do something about that problem. They may know that the question has Been studied, very intensively and- that there is a difference of opinion in relation to whether a uniform divorce- should be granted on the narrow grounds allowed in one State or on- the wider grounds permissible in another State. It is very difficult to get agreement on this question, and it has proved impossible- up to the present to get it.
The bill will afford a measure of social relief that should be of great value. One could give many examples of cases in which. it might apply. One example- would bc the case of: a wife who married an American, serviceman, travelled to the United States of America and lived with her huband there, and who was told by her husband to come home to her parents in Australia and that the husband would follow. Having brought herself and her children back to Australia, she finds that he will not follow and that he will: send her- nothing for her support, but leaves her here to fend for herself as best she can. As- the law stands, she has no means of obtaining relief in any part of Australia, except in Western Australia where the salutary provision that I have nientioued is available. Broadly speaking, there are many similar examples, which are not necessarily restricted to women married to Americans. They include women who have married men from other parts of the world, and also women immigrants in this country whose husbands are domiciled in Europe. Under the existing law such women are unable to obtain relief in Australia. As I have stated, the bill will afford a measure of social relief, and I present it to the House purely as social and humanitarian legislation. It endeavours to put women on the same basis as men in relation to their rights before the law. Therefore, the bill is in essence a measure of justice, and I trust that it will have the support of the House.
I could cite many examples of the manner in which the existing law is weighted heavily against women. There is the case of the man who goes to the United States, who desires to become an actor there, who has some success, who, while there, decides that he will rid himself of his Australian wife, who obtains an American divorce on easy grounds, and who remarries. The wife that he has left in Australia does not know whether or not she is married. She does not know the effect of the American divorce. To some honorable members that example might seem far-fetched, but, unfortunately, it is amazing how extraordinary arc the situations that can and do occur in matrimonial matters.
– Has the honorable member considered the recognition of a decree under private international law? Will he say something about that question?
– The effect of the rules of private international law is that domicile is the governing factor. A very high court of appeal in England has recently decided that where one country has certain grounds for divorce and another country has similar grounds, there may be reciprocal recognition of the decrees of those countries. Consequently, the effect of this measure will be not merely that it will operate throughout Australia, but also that it will have effect in England and in other countries which have similar legislation, and that a divorce granted under the terms of this bill will be recognized in those countries.
.- The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske) was good enough to let me have an advance copy of the bill. The executive of the Parliamentary Labour party has considered, the measure, and has still to endorse it, although it is strictly a nonparty bill. We of the Australian Labour party regard its provisions as being just and humane and as affording some additional recognition of the status of women. This measure largely applies the principles that were embodied in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1945, which was introduced by the former Labour Government, not merely in relation to women married to servicemen, but also in relation to the subsequent provisions of that act, which to some extent mitigate the difficulties to which the honorable member has referred. The honorable member’s initiative is to be commended. Members of the Australian Labour party support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Sitting suspended from12.44 to 2.15 p.m.
Debate resumed from the 4th May (vide page 422), on motion by Mr.
That thp following paper be printed: -
Upon which Mr. Haylen had moved, by way of amendment -
That, all words after “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “this House rejects the Government’s proposals to despatch Australian armed forces to Malaya as sot out in the paper read by the Prime Minister.”.
.- I regard this debate as a good opportunity to refer to the unfair and untruthful attacks which have been made on the Australian Labour party and its leader, whose record as an opponent of communism over the years is outstanding.
Honorable members will no doubt agree that the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) made a notable contribution to the peace of the world by his outstanding work in the foundation of the United Nations. He has a distinguished record in that organization, and was at one time the President of its General Assembly. When communism reared its ugly head in this country in 1949, and almost brought the country to its knees, it was the right honorable gentleman who, as AttorneyGeneral in the Labour government of that day, framed the legislation which was enacted by this Parliament and which brought about the defeat of the Communist organization in Australia. So, I 3ay that his record is outstanding, and that it ill-behoves any honorable member to accuse him of doing all things that are vile and of being disloyal to the nation. His loyalty is unquestionable, and he has the complete confidence of all those who sit behind him.
The principal matter to which the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) relates is the proposal to send Australian troops to Malaya. That is a most important matter to the general public of Australia. We regard the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) as being extremely provocative and of a warmongering nature. He has said in the speech that it is necessary for Australia to send troops to Malaya. Presumably, although the matter has not been made clear, he entered into commitments to that effect when he was in London, and now it is necessary for Australia to honour the promises he made. We have been asked by the authorities who advise the Government to believe that the danger of communism in Malaya is extremely great, but people from Asiatic countries who are competent to express opinions on that subject suggest that the discontent in Far Eastern countries has not, in fact, been aroused by Communist organizations. I propose to quote an authority in support of that contention. He is a gentleman well known to students of international affairs, Mr. C. P. Romulo, former Foreign Secretary of the Philippines and delegate of that country at the United Nations. I think he is, or was, the President of the General Assembly of that organization. He suggests that the movements we are witnessing in Asia are actually movements caused by the desire in the heart of the Asiatics to achieve self-government. He says that an extreme nationalistic spirit is evident in them, as it was in Australians 100 years ago. Let me quote this gentleman to support, my argument. He has said -
Asia to-day is a study of contradiction.-. Amid the conflicts that divide it, we find .it work a powerful impulse toward integration aud unity. With no military power to speak of, it is gradually assuming the role of a third force interposed between the two great powers, thu United States and the Soviet Union. Ruined by the war, betrayed after the victory, disillusioned by its friends, menaced by new .-inclines, Asia has emerged from her travail as the most dynamic region in the world to-day. Strong winds are blowing across the ravaged face of Asia, sowing seeds of great social and political changes that may alter the course of history and transform the very texture of our society for a long time to com.e. It is a historical misfortune that the renaissance of Asia should coincide with the ruthless struggle among the great powers for the mastery of the world. In an era of real peace and a just order among nations the immense creative energy generated by Asia’s awakening might have been channelled into constructive enterprises, to the lasting benefit of mankind. There are three main drives behind the revolutionary changes sweeping across Asia. They are nationalism, communism, and regionalism. Of these, nationalism is the oldest and still the most powerful.
Mr. Romulo, who is competent to express an opinion on this matter - more competent than honorable members opposite - has suggested that nationalism is the principal cause of discontent among the Asiatic peoples, who have experienced imperial colonialism for over 200 years. They are awakening and are trying to shake off the fetters of colonialism. Mr. Romulo has said also -
It was only after the war that some of thinationalist movements in Asia begun to be suffused with Communist influence and to be described to the Western World as Communistinspired. To be sure, these nationalist movements developed strong leftist strains, reflecting the universal trend. In Indo-China, the leadership fell into Communist hands, not so much on account of the intrinsic appeal of communism as because the Communist party was identified with the nationalist struggle, first against the Japanese and later against the French, who made the grievous miscalculation of trying to reinstate their pre-war control of the country through violent means.
He goes on to develop the theme that the desire for self-government of the Asiatic nations is causing them to develop a nationalistic ‘Spirit but, as is so frequently the ease when those in power cannot see or are unwilling to admit the justice of the claims of people for self -government, other organizations have come along and allied themselves with the nationalistic movements. We are told that those movements are Communist .movements.
The world owes a debt to the Attlee Labour Government, which made the greatest possible contribution to peace in the post-war period by granting to India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon complete self-government and, where they required it, Dominion status. Those countries were ripe ‘for Communists to take control of them. Sir Winston Churchill, Mr. Attlee’s predecessor in office, had made bis position quite clear when he said that he had not become the King’s first Minister only to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire. It was quite clear that the Conservative party of Great Britain was not prepared to grant independence to those nations. So it was left to the Attlee Labour Government, much to the disgust of the conservative’s in Great Britain, to grant independence to the countries I have mentioned. That action saved those heavily populated and highly important nations of Asia from falling to the Communists. At present it is noticeable in india. and particularly in Pakistan, that there is no evidence of a Communist drive for power. I suggest that communism could be virtually eliminated in a similar way from the other countries of Asia.
Most of the Asian countries that do not now ‘govern themselves h’aVe demanded self-government, and have been denied it. Unfortunately, by force ‘of arms and by alliances with the Communist nations, some of them are gradually achieving self-government, although the achievement -has entailed bloodshed. However, it is possible to avoid much of the bloodshed, po ver ty and suffering -of Asia. There is a demand in Malaya ‘for selfgovernment. Quite recently, elections were held in Singapore ‘to .enable the peo,p k to select ‘a number of “representatives for the ‘legislative coun’cil, under ‘the restricted form - of self-government now operating in that place. After the politi- cai party which “the governor did not favour had obtained a majority of seats in the legislative council, the governor was reluctant to make the appointments that the people of Singapore had evidently thought were desirable.
The proposal now be’fore honorable members is that the Government should send troops from Australia to Malaya. Any such troops would be, in effect, occupation troops, and no other action would incur the hatred of people more quickly than the act of sending troops to occupy their country. We desire to foster friendship with Asian countries, which are our nearest neighbours. But I suggest that the troops that will be sent to occupy Malaya, excellent Australian young mel though they may be, will not be good ambassadors for Australia, but will, quite against their will, incur the disfavour of the population of Singapore and Malaya.
Recently a statement appeared in the press to the effect that by sending troops to Malaya, Australia was running a grave fisk of losing £20,000,000 worth of trade each year with that country. That is quite a large volume of trade, and if we become parties to the occupation of Malaya we shall run a very grave risk of losing that very important trade. We know that colonialism has been rampant in the South-East Asian countries, and that at long last the people are beginning to show resentment against the Western nations which govern them. The cry in those countries now is, “ Good government is no substitute for self-government “. They want to govern themselves just as we want to govern ourselves. An important statement which ‘originated in Singapore was published on the 3rd May, in the Courier Mail which is Brisbane’s leading morning newspaper. It was the ‘statement of one of the leading Ministers of the Singapore Government, who made it quite clear that Australian troops will not be welcome in Malaya. We, ‘as representatives in ‘a democratically elected parliament, should take -notice o? a leader ‘of another democratically elected parliament such as this ‘gentleman is. The statement concludes with “the following words: -
The Australian defence .plans ‘are ‘essentially lort Tangle ‘and. ‘barring ian early -‘“V«ia war. her troops would need to remain here for several years even after both Malaya and Singapore have achieved full independence.
The Afro-Asian conference lias so changed the -South-East Asia.ii situation in favour of the .Powers that oppose defensive alliances like Seato, that the need has become increasingly urgent to clarify “thu Australian position.
We have been told by LieutenantGeneral Sir Horace Robertson that our first line of defence lies in Malaya. In World War II. we believed that our first line of defence was in Malaya, and we sent one of our best divisions to that country. We had the unfortunate experience of seeing that division absolutely cut off from this country, and captured. Lieu tenant-General Sir Horace Robertson, the -same distinguished military gentleman, suggested that air bases on land would prevent a recurrence of what happened to the 8 th Division, but we know that the most thickly populated island between Malaya and Australia is Java, which is a doubtful quantity. There is no guarantee that Java would be available for. the development of airfields foi- the Royal Australian Air .Force or the Royal Air Force if those airfields were needed. Therefore, I believe that we are making a very very grave and foolish move .in sending troops to Malaya. It has been said that it is desirable to send them there for training. That .has .been suggested by various responsible people in Australia. .1 believe that-. that suggestion is nf no consequence, because we have perhaps the best training ground for jungle fighting .that we could get, at Canungra in south-eastern Queensland. I have tried to .find -excuses for what the Government proposes to do, and I can :find -none. The sending of troops to Malaya will do incalculable harm to the relations .that exist between Australia and Malaya, and I say that we should be better advised further to develop the Colombo .plan, because that plan is doing much to break down the influence of communism and raise the standards of Jiving in Asia.
– This Government originated the Colombo plan.
– Yes, and it was .an excellent proposition. I suggest that we should attempt to abolish hunger and oppression throughout Asia, and that by so doing we shall make a contribution to the interests of humanity and the cause of peace.
.- 1 am afraid that .the honorable member for Griffith (.Mr. Coutts) is under a complete misapprehension about .the sending of troops to Malaya. His ideas seem to be the same as those of most of -the Opposition members. They have the idea that the sending of troops to Malaya means the sending of white troops into a coloured area. What the Government proposes to do is to replace existing British units with Australian units.
– That is the first time that we have heard that suggestion.
– If the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) looked at the figures, he would see that already there are 23 brigades of British troops in Malaya and Singapore. Of “those 23 brigades, seven are comprised of Malayans, so it is quite stupid for .anybody to .suggest, as did the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson), last night, -that .the Malayans are not helping us. .They are helping us to .the hilt. It is not a question of our sending troops to .Malaya, .and of their not being welcome. .They will . not be going as a completely new body of :tr.oops, but for .the purpose of replacing British units, because Great Britain lias enormous .commitments throughout .the -world. Tie United States of America has similar commitment?, dan the. honorable iii ember for Griffith tell me why Australia, as a. British dominion, should not play a small part in assisting Great Britain and America in the quest for peace? Let us examine the contribution that is being made by the British army throughout the world. Great Britain has four divisions of troops tied up in Western Germany, 40,000 troops in the Middle East, three brigades in Kenya, and 12,000 men in Hong Kong and Korea. Its total annual defence expenditure is £1,500,000,000. Great Britain and the United States are fighting our battle, but honorable members opposite, like emus in the desert, put their heads in the sand and say, “We are going to stay inside Australia. We are not going to allow any troops to go outside Australia “. But I suggest that, if Australia were attacked, they would be the first to scream for help.
The attitude that has been adopted by the Opposition represents a curious reversal of policy. I, and many other honorable gentlemen, were members of the Parliament when war broke out in Korea, and when the then Leader of the Opposition, the Right Honorable J. B. Chifley, supported the Government’s proposals to the hilt. Now the Opposition, like a bird which has changed its plumage in mid-air, says, “We will not agree to the use of troops outside Australia “. Are we to infer from the attitude of honorable members opposite that the air squadron that is operating against the bandits in Malaya would be withdrawn if they were elected to the Treasury bench ?
– The battle in Korea was a United Nations show.
– Am I to understand that the honorable member for Wilmot would be prepared to support a United Nations show, but that he would not be prepared to support a British show? There are three self-governing British colonies in Malaya, and there are other Malayan States that have asked the British to come in and help them. The honorable member for Griffith made great play of the claim that the Malayan nationalists are struggling for self-government, and that the present unrest is the result of an upsurge by people who are completely frustrated and who, in desperation, because they have not been able to obtain self-government, are committing atrocities. If the honorable member were to study the position, he would learn that already in Malaya there is quite a large measure of self-government. Malaya has not complete self-government, but the process of attaining it is moving on the lines along which every other British colony and dominion has worked. Elections are held in the colony of Singapore, and any person who is a British subject and who is over 21 years of age is entitled to n vote. There is no property disqualification. The Singapore Legislative Council is composed of members, some of whom are nominated and some of whom are elected. The same position obtains in the Federated States of Malaya. Each of the States has its own council. Penang, Kuala Lumpur and, I think, Malacca, have free elections. For one to suggest that the people in those places are frustrated because they cannot obtain selfgovernment means that he is not facing up to the facts.
What has happened in Malaya is that small bands of terrorists have attempted to seize power by force, and they, in effect, are the people whom honorable members opposite desire to help. Let me refer to a few incidents that have been reported by British security troops so that we may ascertain whether the terrorists are just nationalists who are merely seeking selfgovernment. In Johore, an elderly married couple were attacked by the terrorists. Both of them were shot, their house was set on fire, and their eight-year old daughter was thrown into the flames. There was another incident in which two young Chinese boys were attacked by the terrorists, their wrists were bound behind them and they were told to kneel down and were battered over the head with spades until they were dead. There have been countless villages that have been completely razed to the ground by terrorists. Does the Opposition think that we should not have troops in Malaya to deal with those men? The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) who, I think, was only indulging in wishful thinking, has stated that vrc have had troops there for years, but that there are as many terrorists there now as there were when the troops went in. That statement was completely incorrect. When the emergency legislation was introduced in 1948, there were approximately 14,000 terrorists in Malaya. It is very difficult to assess the actual number there now, but it is believed that there are certainly no more than approximately 5,000. Only two days after the right honorable gentleman participated in this debate, an announcement was made in Singapore that two large areas of Malaya had been declared “ white “. That meant that, they had been completely cleared of terrorists.
– Does not that fact lessen the need for sending troops to Malaya?
– On the contrary, it means that we should not relax our efforts to rid the country of terrorists. The press report of the announcement to which I referred states as follows : -
Two large areas of Malaya were to-day officially declared “white” - free of Communist terrorists. The areas cover 7,300 square miles and have a population of about 100,000.
The two areas are EastPa hang and South Trengganu.
Honorable members will remember that South Trengganu lies on the eastern side of the Malayan Peninsula and extends to within approximately 50 miles of the Thai border. It will be seen that there has been a tremendous increase of the area that has been ridded of Communist bandits since the emergency arose. In the early days of the state of emergency, it was almost impossible to travel anywhere in Malaya without an escort. It will be remembered that the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, was ambushed and assassinated when only a few miles from Kuala Lumpur. When I was there two years ago, very much larger areas had been cleared of terrorist’s, and about half of the Malayan Peninsula, was reasonably free of them. They are moving to the north. If, with the support of Australian troops, the authorities arc able to annihilate the terrorists completely, a magnificent job will have been done. The report continues -
A Federal Government Press statement said thai: 10 days ago the director of operations,
Sir Geoffrey Bourne, appealed for co operation from village officials in the Pahang area.
He promised that it three or four terrorists known to be in the area, were eliminated, he would declare the area “white”1.
The four terrorists surrendered four days ago.
Both the East l-‘ahang and South Trengganu areas had had terrorist records up to 1952, but the incident rate has since gone down. Residents of the area will now be allowed to buy stores and move foodstuffs freely.
That indicates the continued success of the campaign against the terrorists. It has been a slow process, but any one who knows the nature of the land will realize that it must be a slow process. Vast areas are mountainous and covered by tropical forest which is practically impenetrable. The bandits need only enter the forest and come out occasionally and attack isolated villages, where they get their food supplies, and go back into the forest. The problem for the British forces has been, first, to prevent these terrorists from getting food. In order to do this, complete villages in outlying areas have been transplanted into large village units which are surrounded by barbed wire and are always guarded. During the first six months of this programme, 250 villages have been transplanted in that way. As a result, the bandits have no alternative but to grow their own food. In order to do that, they must clear areas in the jungle and these areas are spotted by the Royal Air Force, using helicopters, and later are bombed. If the bandits grow vegetables, the Royal Air Force sprays the area with hormones which destroy the plants. But that is a slow process, and no one can expect the bandits to be completely eliminated within a short period.
The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Coutts) quoted a distinguished military man as saying that troops were not required in Malaya. I shall quote another military authority who says that troops are required there. I refer to Lieutenant-General Sir Horace Robertson, who was commander of the British Commonwealth forces in Japan and Korea. In an article published in the press this week, he said -
We now face these questions. Should we keep our troops in our own country in a futile attempt to stay the flood when it is already breaking over us? Or should we adopt the sound strategy, courage and clear insight of Britain and send- our troops to hold’ the vital strategical areas of Malaya and Singapore and so dam the flood in a. narrow defile far from our shores? There can be only one answer if we wish to survive.
The suggestion made by honorable members opposite that these Malayan bandits, these murderers, a.re merely pining away because they cannot get self government is ridiculous.
-. - -Who said that?
– That is the impression that has been created by the speeches of honorable members opposite. The Leader of the Opposition said that we should adopt an attitude of sweet reasonableness towards these bandits, that we should not intimidate them or do anything that would upset them. I point out that the great majority of these bandits are Chinese Communists. One could almost say that they are- not Malays at all> and that there is practically no association between, the terrorists’ and the Malayan people: Figures- issued: recently by the security authorities in Malaya reveal that during the last three years, of the bandits killed, 2;354’ were Chinese and only 9.4 were Malays. Those figures reveal the proportion of Malays among the terrorists, who are being fostered from China and Russia. The honorable member for Griffith said that force, of” arms will’ not, stop them. Such* action is stopping them;, and! it will continue to stop them.. -
What is: the alternative-: to sending, troops, to- Malaya? We can leave, the British to fight, the. fight there on. their own;, and- if they are: not prepared, to do. that, we shall reach the stage at which Malaya, will be. completely at the mercy of international Communist agencies. That would bring the Communists a step, closer to Australia.. The honorable member for Griffith also said that the Leader of the- Opposition had. an outstanding, record. In ray view the only outstanding; record that can be. claimed for the right honorable gentleman is that when he was Minister for External. Affairs in the Chifley Government he made the greatest military mistake that has been made during the last 25 years in the Pacificarea when he forced the Americans out of Manns. I speak with some heat on thi’s- subject, because foi- eighteen’ months 1 had experience as a pilot in that area. Manus Island is of the greatest strategic importance. It has a harbour with the greatest deep-water anchorage available in the Pacific. I saw over 1,000 vessels anchored there when the Americans were preparing their assault on Truk. At Manus, there were four magnificent airstrips at Momote> Mokerang, Ponam. and. Pityilu Island, each of which was capable of taking the’ largest aircraft. To-day, all one sees at Manus1 is- jungle, because when the Leader’ of the Opposition was approached by the Americans- to be permitted to use the island as; a base he insisted on one condition, after another until, eventually, the Americans said. “ Well, hell, we will get out “. And they got out.
I am glad.- that the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) is in the chamber because I wish to raise some matters that concern his department. We are talking about raising troops,, and. all of us hope that wc shall be able, to get, voluntarily, the number of troops that we require: There is- considerable concern in the Air Forces - I presume a similar situation exists in the Army and in tin.Navy - among the higher-ups about the number of serving officers who request a discharge on compassionate grounds. The grounds submitted are- practically the same in’ every instance’. These men say, in1 effect, “ We are married’ men with families. We get moved! around, and every time that we are moved, there is never- accommodation- for us. The only thing- for- us- to do- is- to- leave the wife in Sydney, if we can get a> house there; and to see her when we go on leave: Of- course, she does not like that- arrangement. Or, we try- to get accommodation and’ by the time we get- it we are moved somewhere else1”. Every effort- should1 be made to provide married’ accommodation for men. in the services. Take- the case of a flight lieutenant- who on- very good grounds asks for- a discharge:. The cost’ involved in training that officer would’ be as high as £10,000,. that is to make him a first-class aviator ready to attack. In order to replace such- officers; the Government must engage in a costly recruitingcampaign and, agains when other officers are trained up to the required1 standard it is prepared, apparently, to risk losing their services and, in effect; -wasting that expenditure, because it fails’ to provide married accommodation for serving, personnel. At the same time, the Government does not hesitate to expend £500;000 on the construction of- one aerodrome: Gould not some of that’ expenditure Be devoted to the provision of accommodation of the. kind’ to which I have referred in- order to- ensure that these- men shall be; happy in the service and. will thus be- induced to remain in.it? The Prime- Minister. (Mr. Menzies:): in his. speech said- that the Government was looking’- into the» proposal that serving personnel, should’ be permitted to take their wives’ with’ them when they are posted’- overseas; I? support that suggestion. When’I was’ in Japan- two years ago considerable’ discontent- existed among service personnel because, some senior Australian- officers, and practically all American- officers, were allowed tb have their.- wives-‘ with them whilst junior Australian officers’ and’ other ranks were not allowed? to do: so. Pf- American service personnel11 can take- their wives- and families1 with them- when they are posted overseas^ we should wort on. the same principle. I repeat that I wholeheartedly support the Prime- Minister’s statement and that-I entirely reject- the- amend! ment that Kas- been moved by the honorable member for- Parkes;
– I have listened most attentively to this, debate. I” am opposed’ to- the statement- that has been made By the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). He has definitely proposed to send- troops’ to Malaya up to a strength, ultimately, of two divisions:. Some monfehs- ago, I was a member of. a parliamentary delegation which- visited Africa-. While T was there, I’ saw the bitter fruits of what may be termed the Boer “War. I refer to the hostility- of many people in. Africa, towards Australia and Great Britain, which sent troops to fight- the Boers. A magnificent monument has been erected to the African veterans of that war of” oppression. I was quite young when, the Boer- War was fought; butI have read- a good’ deal about its history, andIknow that many people regard our participation in thatcommitee??????? big mistakes. It was a war, practically, to enable the diamond mines to be seized, and the result of the struggle is hostility against Britain and Australia: becausitheir troops fought the Boers. ‘
When. I was in Africa, I met some people from. Malaya, and we discussed the. guerrillas, who are: fighting, the jungle war. there. During World’ WarII., the guerrillas were encouraged, very greatlv by the Allies, including. Great Britain and. America, to fight the Japanese, and. indeed, they rendered splendid service. It is now claimed’ that they should exist no longer. But they exist because of the promise of self -government that was made to them,, and. has. not yet been, fulfilled. Tie British possessions in Malaya, were doing, well until’ the Japanese, occupation, which, lasted; for four, years. The honorable member, for Farrer (Mr.. Fairbairn.) considers that the guerrillas should be suppressed,, and even murdered’. I. am not one who is p-^ppared. to. send Australian troops to fight those people who were encouraged’ by the Allies- to resist thf Japanese.
I consider the matter from many viewpoints. I’ have Been, a member of- this Parliament for more than, 2’5: years-, and P recall perfectly clearly- the: outbreak of- World War II. The present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies)’, who was the Prime- Minister at that time,, sent, all our troops overseas, and denuded’ this- country of its defence forces.. The right honorable gentleman proposes t’o take similar action again. A few weeks before Japan struck against the Allies: late in 1941, some members of the: right honorable gentleman’s own party demonstrated’ their dissatisfaefcibn with his leadership by helping to put him out of office. Two Independents; who- had. hitherto supported him, voted against Kim on the floor of the House and’ transferred their- support to- Mr. Curtin.
The Curtin; Labour Government; which had’ succeeded the anti-Labour Government, was obliged; to seek- the recall of Australian troops from the Middle East to defend our homeland. Churchill- wa? approached by Mr. Curtin. I may be permitted: to refer, to a radio conversation which took place on that occasion between Mr. Curtin and Mr.. Churchill’. The conversation was secret at the- time; but is a secret no longer. Mr. Curtin asked Mr. Churchill to make arrangements for the return of the Australian troops from the Middle East to this country. _ Mr. Churchill replied, “I have no ships to living food to Britain, let alone ships to take troops back to Australia”. Mr. Curtin said, “ I shall go elsewhere “. Mr. Churchill asked Mr. Curtin where he proposed to go for assistance, and Mr. Curtin replied, “I will go to America”. I say with a deep feeling of reverence, “ Thank God, President Roosevelt answered John Curtin’s call “. The Australian diplomat who was sent to the United States on that mission was the- present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). We have had that experience once; we do not want a repetition of it. For many years, our isolated position in the Pacific was a source of strength to us. Now, modern aircraft has annihilated distance. The world, in the sense of travelling time, has become small, and that could be to the advantage of an aggressor.
Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Curtin were casualties of World War II. Mr. Curtin died after the surrender of Germany and shortly before the surrender of Japan. At the time Japan began its southward march, Australia had no arms and no aircraft in this country. We had virtually nothing here with which to defend ourselves. Our defenceless condition was due to the decision of the present Prime Minister to send our arms and troops to other countries. Now, he proposes to send Australian forces to Malaya. This will be the first time in our history that we have sent troops from our shores in peace-time. He is only looking for war. I know ! I have gone looking for “stoush”, and I have got it on many occasions. Nations are no different from human beings. When we look for war, we present a challenge to them.
The people of Malaya will resent the entry of Australian troops into their country. They can look after their own business. Britain has granted selfgovernment to India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, and it is time that the same privilege was granted to Malaya. That is the objective of the guerrillas who are carrying out the jungle warfare in their country. Australia is a member of the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization, but I do not believe that our obligations under that agreement require us to send troops to Malaya in peace-time or to take part in civil strife of a domestic nature. I tell the people of Australia that we have no right, in view of the world situation to-day, to send our troops abroad in peace-time, because we really do not know when an attempt may be made to invade this country.
This month, we are celebrating the anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea. It was not by the efforts of Australian forces alone that the Japanese invaders were turned back, and this country was spared the horrors of invasion. Admittedly, we had only a mosquito fleet, but, thank God, the Americans had their fleet here for the action, and the combined forces were able to save Australia. The Leader of the Opposition has been maligned a great deal during this debate. Yet I do not know of any man who has done as much for Australia as he has done. During World War II. he resigned, for the sake of his country, from the High Court bench, where he was in receipt of a salary of more than £2,500, in order to become a member of this House at a salary that was then £750. That was a sacrifice that he was prepared to make in the interests of this country. Nobody gives him credit for that, and he has received no reward for that sacrifice. I hope that he will be rewarded after the next general election by becoming Prime Minister of Australia.
.- First, I should like to point out to some of the honorable gentlemen on the other side of the House that the leaders of a Communist movement in Malaya, which is the basis of the bandit forces there, are mainly Chinese. I should also like to point out to them that the Communist party in Malaya was founded in 1921 or 1922, and that the reasons for its formation sprang from the selfsame conference that gave honorable gentlemen opposite the socialistic sections of the Labour party’s platform. That is an undoubted fact. I do not propose to traverse that ground, but I wished to point to the fact that both of those, I think, evil things came from that Shanghai conference in the early 1920’s.
In a debate of this nature it is extremely difficult for anybody in this House, including, I think, the Ministers themselves, to speak with any great degree of authority, because of the fact that the world situation to-day is so terribly mixed up. I doubt very much whether the information that even the highest government advisers can get is up to date and sufficiently accurate in detail to enable a government, and, much less, a member of Parliament, to form a firm opinion, tn these circumstances, an honorable member who speaks in such a debate as this is expressing his own personal opinion. I made particular mention of the Government’s advisers, because they cannot possibly be in possession of the information that would be essential before the Government could make a dead accurate summing-up of the international situation. That is my belief.
The necessity for adequate defences in these modern times must be obvious to everybody. I should like to read to the House a short extract from an article that was written by a very famous man, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, lord Tedder, under the title of The Shape of War ho Come. He wrote -
It has been said before again and again, and it cannot be said too often and emphasized too strongly, that the military strength which the free world has felt it necessary to build up has one prime objective - to prevent another war. tt is questionable whether the two world wars or indeed the Korean war would ever have happened had it not been for political and military weakness which misled the aggressor into thinking he could get away with aggression without any serious fighting.
There must lie no room for doubt in the future. Tt must lie made clear to all that the free nations have the will and the strength - the military strength - to resist aggression, and that strength must be such that it will be clear without a shadow of doubt that aggression will not pay. The would-be aggressor may well try to bluff - that has been the usual technique - but there must be no bluff about the defence: . . .
I think that honorable members appreciate that in some Asian countries there are people who genuinely believe that a country cannot prevent war by arming. I believe that their assumptions are quite wrong. I refer particularly to Mr. Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, who seems to have the idea that we can combat the evils of communism in the world to-day by peaceful methods. I should like to read to the House the opinion of Lord Tedder on this particular matter. At the beginning of the article that I have mentioned he makes a reference to Oliver Cromwell, in which he says that he knows that even in his own family circle there are differing views regarding Cromwell and his activities. He wrote- -
Nevertheless, .1 imagine that most people will agree that his instructions as to putting your trust in God and keeping your powder dry were good morally, politically shrewd, and from a military point of view wise. . .
There are, of course, some people who hold that trust is all that is needed and that to have any powder at all is unnecessary and indeed wrong. The trouble about such a policy is that in actual practice it would mean trust, not in God, not even in other nations, but. trust, unsupported trust, in the individual politicians who happened to be in power in various countries. I’m afraid that in this world of ours such a proposition needs no comment.
Indeed, in this world of ours, and this Parliament of ours, with such honorable members as the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) in it, that is a most pertinent statement.
I was very pleased that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in the course of his statement, said that Australia’s forces would need to be overhauled and. to a. certain extent, re-organized. I have felt for some time that, purely on the basis of a comparison of the international situation of 1939 with the international situation in 1955, our defence forces in Australia are not as effective, in view of the development of the international situation, as they were in 1939. I know that the Government has had the best of intentions, and that we have expended a considerable amount of money on defence. But I believe that a lot of that money has been misspent. I should prefer to have seen it expended on other forms of defence than those on which it has been expended. For instance, I do not like to see money wasted on the purchase of large aircraft carriers. As an ex-air force man I may be slightly prejudiced in relation to that matter, but I believe that the whole trend of world events and world thought on military lines at present tends to indicate more and more that the large aircraft carrier is at prseent, to say the best of it, obsolescent, and in .the :course of a “very few years will be obsolete. -I think .the main Junctions ‘of. a large aircraft carrier can adequately be carried out by -land based ‘.aircraft. I believe that the main necessity for carrier-borne aircraft, especially on small carriers, is convoy protection in limited numbers, but I do not believe in large craft, which cost a vast amount of money, and which are so terribly vulnerable.
I have mentioned in this House before that I do not believe that we are wise in expending money in building aircraft in Australia. I repeat that statement now. [ think that the money would be more wisely expended in the purchase of aircraft abroad. 1 agree with the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Bostock) that we should have more American aircraft. We should have those aircraft if we can get them, and our own aircraft factories should be devoted immediately to the production of the spare parts that are most likely to be needed. Our factories should not be completely closed, but they should be devoted to the .production of spare parts rather than of complete aircraft.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement; that Australia is to send strategic forces to “Malaya, but I hope that they will be actively engaged and will not be left sitting there .as a strategic reserve in the form of .garrison troops. 1 do not think that it would be good for the .morale of the .troops themselves, and I think that it might do some small harm to -their .good name, if a number .of fairly lively Australian soldiers were kept hanging about in Malaya and were not fully occupied. T.he honorable member for Earrer (Mr. Fairbairn) mentioned the important point that, if it is at all possible, the troops should be allowed to take their families to .Malaya with them. I -envisage the difficulties that might be entailed in respect of the families of .troops who will be used more or less permanently on .anti-bandit operations. The .term of duty of the servicemen, and particularly of airmen, should he extended. I recall my own experience .as a member, for a very .short time, of No. 1 .Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force in Malaya, and
Our national strength depends not only on defence forces. It depends alsoon -things economic, political and moral,, and in their own contexts some of thosefactors are equally as important as are defence forces. I agree that, economically,, the argument advanced by the honorable member for Indi is sound, and that it is difficult to see how Australia could support two divisions of troops in Malaya. I would go even further than did the honorable member, who proposed an Air Force .group of four medium bomber squadrons. I suggest that the force sent to Malaya should .perhaps consist of a slightly larger -formation, equipped with both .-fighter and bomber aircraft, and supported ‘by paratrooper* and an Air Force .ground defence regiment, completely equipped as ..a selfcontained mobile unit. “It is essential in modern warfare that our forces should have great mobility. If one judges by our paper defence strength -at present, I do not know where *we should get two divisions of soldiers to send to “Malaya, if a war were to break out within the next six or nine months.
The moral aspects of defence .enter into the question in two ways. One of our greatest problems in relation to -the defence of the north is the task of increasing the population there as -quickly as we can. An increase of the population of the north would in .fact be a moral defence. I do not believe .that we shall achieve .development of the Northern Territory and of New .Guinea at the rate at which it should he. achieved “while that development is .ham-strung by inefficient, departments .such as the Department of Works. Fantastic .slowness .on the part of the department and incredible .red tape delay the work of private contractors and, in some .instances, .have .driven ‘them out; of the;, north because they willi notsubmit to’ the delays’ that are.- caused., by the department. It’ is essential to: Australia’s defence- that’ wee give- attention: to problems: such as that.
I’ turn now to the question of morale. I had intended mentioning the need “for civil’ defence, but” following- the introduction earlier to-day of the Civil Defence Council’ Bill 1955, it’is’ unnecessary for me. to deal with that subject;. One of the greatest strengths of: any- country is the- morale of~ its- people. At present- the morale’ of the Australian, people is being gravely undermined:. This process has been in train for: the last two months. Not only as a. member: of this- House, but also as a Presbyterian- and. a Freemason,. I conr sider that- tremendous damage is being done - and. done deliberately - by theeffort that is being- made to impress on the minds of Australians the idea, that Roman Catholicism is more dangerous than is communism. This campaign is nothing but sabotage of. Australia’s morale. It is being pursued with the greatest of viciousness. It tells the Communist story. I do not blame honorable members of the Opposition entirely for the spreading of this propaganda, because I” have heard a similar story spread in Liberal. circles, and that is what makes me so much afraid. No thinking- man or woman who uses his common sense in thinking about this subject could possibly conceive that in this modern age any form of Christianity is more dangerous than is the evil of communism:
.- Ihave just returned from a trip to Manila, Japan and Singapore, and’ I should like to put. before the House certain impressions that I received during the three weeks that I was away, and to state the significance of those impressions in this important debate.I might say at the outset that the. Malayan people accept the armed forces that are already in their country, and” United Kingdom rule for Malaya, as being as permanent as is the jungle; One might say that the British have been the prima- donna colonists of the world, and that Britain has been the prima donna colonial* power for 300 years. Therefore,1 the Malayan people accept the British’- almost as naturally as they accept the jungle- of their own country.
Into, this- atmosphere: of: colonialism had come. the. promisa- ofl self ^government for Malaya, and. Singapore;. The process- is already- partly completed;. and. it requires perhaps, another, four, years: for. selfgovernment to become.- a. complete reality; in. Singapore. The promise, of selfgovernment injected a breath of fresh air into the colonial imperialistic situation.
When I was- in Singapore, I talked with the leader of the- Government, Chinese and English leaders, militarymen, members of the judiciary, parliamentarians, union leaderSj and others. The- general - feeling among them, all was that the sooner they received the- same treatment as had been accorded to India. Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, the better it would be. They considered that the longer- foreign troops, as- they call them, remain in the country, the longer is going to be the- struggle to attain their great ideal of self-government: Those are natural feelings. The move to send Austral iamtroops to Malaya has brought from the Malayan people an. immediate reaction of disappointment, which Gould turn to hostility. Australia’s prestige in. Malaya and Singapore has never been. higher than it is at: present. Australia has never been even dimly seen as a colonial power or as a nation concerned with, imperialism. However, immediately we send- Australian troops to Malaya we shall, in Malayan eyes, be linked with colonialism and imperialism. The people of Malaya have grimly tolerated colonialism through the centuries; and, recently, have- believed that it would end with the advent of self-government. But they feel, quite naturally, that the more foreign troops go into their country, the longer they will have to -wait for self-government. What is more, we- have not been invited to Malaya, and we have- not been invited to Singapore. Malaya was– not approached in respect of Seato. So our troops will go there uninvited by- the local people^ which will be a further ca-use of- resentment. If we had.’ asked the opinion of the- Malayans- on the matter, perhaps it- would’ have been, a different story; but they have been completely ignored; These thoughts- are not the- thoughts of Communists; They- are the: thoughts- of pro-British and antiCommunist leaders in Malaya-, and
Singapore. There are 32 members of the new legislature in Singapore. Mr. David Marshall, the Labour Front leader, is the Chief Minister, as he is called. The Communist party is represented by four members of the Opposition, who belong to what is called the People’s Action party.
Communism is being spread in Singapore, as in most Eastern countries, through students. The Chinese-speaking students in the schools of Singapore have become almost entirely a force battling for the Communist ideology. I am not referring to the English-speaking Chinese students, who have not succumbed to this pressure. The Communists are working on the Chinese-speaking students. They helped them in a campaign recently by distributing literature and canvassing from door to door. The Communists are retaining control of those schools by making sure that their agents in the schools fail to pass their examinations. There are. in the schools in Singapore, Chinese students of 23 years of age. They are there only for the purposes of becoming the leaders of the various organizations in the schools and acting as Communist agents. They remain in the schools by the simple method of il ing in their examinations year by year. How can armed forces deal with that sort of thing? What is the answer to that- type of infiltration?
– What is it?
– I shall tell the House soon. What will our troops do in Malaya ? So far, the Australian Government has not decided whether they will fight the bandits, act as a garrison force or stay in Malaya only for the good of their health. Five years ago, there were 5,000 bandits in Malaya. To-day there are still 5,000, although 5,000 have been killed. As the honorable member for Farrar (Mr. Fairbairn) said, 90 per cent, of them are Chinese. Many of them are top Communists, well trained in jungle warfare. The armed land and air forces opposing the bandits in Malaya to-day total 80,000-30,000 British and 50.000 Malayans. The cost to the United Kingdom alone of maintaining that colossal force in Malaya is approximately £3.000,000 a week. It is all so futile, bloodthirsty and costly. There are 80,000 armed men trying to kill 5,000 armed bandits. When Australia goes into that poisonous atmosphere, it will go in with no better solution than to add 1,000 armed men to the 80,000 armed men already there.
What will this force achieve? Surely that is a question that we should ask. It will contribute nothing effective to the fight against communism, and will make only a negligible contribution to the winning of the bandit war, if it is used for that purpose. The presence of Australian troops in Malaya could well lead to more Malayans turning Communist, through sheer resentment at our interference in their internal affairs. It will certainly provoke a hostile reaction in people who not only hate Communists, but also hate further foreign interference in their country, as is only natural.
How then are we to deal with tha Communist menace in Asia? There are three well tried weapons - the political weapon, the economic weapon and the military weapon. We have been using the political weapon and the economic weapon to a considerable degree since the war ended, but the Australian Government is obsessed with the idea that we can change people’s mind by armed force. We need a fourth weapon in the fight, against communism, which is one of the most well organized forces in the world. It is a global force. It is an ideological force. In this ideological age, therefore, the ideological weapon must he the fourth weapon to use in trying to stem the onrush of communism, which wins men’s minds before it does anything else. While we are proposing to send armed forces to Malaya, the Communists are waging a relentless ideological war in South Viet Nam, Thailand and elsewhere. They say, “ Why should we go to war when the minds of nations can be captured on the ideological battle front? “ They say that ideas are more powerful than bullets. Since 1945, Russia has captured eleven countries without firing a shot. Twenty years ago, China sent. 250 students to Moscow for ideological training in Communist imperialism. To-day, those 250 students ave running a country of 500,000,000 people.
I believe that red China’s intensified threat to invade Formosa is merely a smoke screen to cover up its plans to infiltrate, indoctrinate and capture South Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand by ideological warfare. I have seen a report from a correspondent on the spot to the effect that Russia has told Chou En-lai, the red Chinese leader, that if he becomes involved in a shooting war over Formosa, he can expect no support and no military aid from Russia. Two years ago, Moscow persuaded ChouEnLai to agree to a plan for intense ideological warfare against South-East Asian countries, while maintaining a threat to attack Formosa. Ideologically, therefore, we fiddle while Asia burns. We ignore the ideological weapon and we waste time and money on military weapons, thus playing into the Communists’ hands, on their own admission.
This, in my opinion, is Australia’s chance to take the ideological initiative in Asia. On this point, I should like to quote from page IS of Peter Howard’s book The World Rebuilt. He quotes a former Communist of 25 years’ standing, Max Bladek from the Ruhr, as having said -
The unity of the West would be more powerful than an atom bomb on the Kremlin. Communists do not mind however much the West rattles the sabre. They know that the Western world can bristle with arms, but without an ideology it will go under.
All the time the Communists battle on the ideological front, we waste time, men and money on military weapons. On the economic side, our answer to Communist infiltration of Asia is the Colombo plan, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest plans ever conceived. Through that plan, we are helping Asia to raise its economic standards. We know that communism in Asia springs largely from the poor, backward economy of the Asians. We are inviting Asian students here to undergo training and we are giving Asian countries technical assistance, but without ideological training to win the minds of the Asian people for democracy, material aid could be merely a soup kitchen philosophy. We shall not beat the Communists with a soupkitchen philosophy, because they are pastmasters of the art of ideological warfare.
What is the method used by President Magsaysay of the Philippines to handle the Communists there? Surely we can learn something from him. I had, with others, a 25-minute interview with President Magsaysay in Manila. He told us the story of how he dealt with the Communist Huks in the Philippines. After the Japanese occupation ended, about 8,000 armed Huks went into the hills, jungles and mountains. He decided that he would tackle them in an entirely new way, by offering them land, homes and security - the very things for which they were crying out. President Magsaysay was himself a guerrilla leader during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. He helped, by the way. 90 Australian soldiers whose prison ship had been sunk off the east coast of the Philippines by American submarines. Magsaysay became a member of the Philippines Parliament after the war, and about four years ago was elected President of the Philippines. He was the most able, capable man that I met during the three weeks of my Asian journey. He is an outstanding leader, and by the judicious use of force and friendship, on a basis of absolute honesty towards the Huks, he has won a signal victory.
He put his army into the villages around the mountains where the Huks were raiding. In fact, they raided right down to Manila. By allowing the army to live with the people of the villages for a. year or so he enabled the people in the villages to come to trust the army. That led to Magsaysay receiving valuable information about how to contact the leaders of the Huks. He let the leaders know that he would give the rebels homes and farms if they would surrender. In tens and twenties they came down to surrender, and he redeemed his promises and gave them land. Now, within four years he has put more than 6,000 of the Huks on farms of their own. Indeed, he has enlisted those men in the work of rebuilding the Philippines. He is a big man in every way, although he is humble and honest. He knows where he is going and has a spiritual and ideological outlook. He is a lover of the common people, and is steadfastly against the exploitation of the people . by . the landlords. He goes himself . to wherever . there is trouble, and makes himself available to the people at every opportunity. -He . sees about 9.00 people a day for . five days every week. His -main objectives . are educating the people and developing the rural areas.
If “this statesmanlike approach to communism has brought such -excellent results in the Philippines, why should it not do the same in . Malaya? Is it that Malaya lacks -such a statesman, or is it that overseas interests want to have . a huge army of occupation in Malaya in order to protect their interests, while sidetracking their real motives under the cloak of war against banditry and Communist terrorism? Two men in Malaya have put forward . a revolutionary but logical solution. One is Tunku . Abdul Rahman, of the United Malay National Organization, and the other is Dator Sir Cheng Lock Tan, the president of the Malayan Chinese Association. Rahman proposes a general amnesty for the terrorists in Malaya, while Cheng Lock Tan has made the courageous offer to go out into . the jungle to discuss an amnesty with them. The Malayan Government has refused . him permission to go.
There is no end in sight to the war in Malaya. It is costing Malaya about £20,000,0.00 a . year and the United Kingdom about £150,000,000 a year to carry on the war against the terrorists. Honorable members will perceive that the total cost of the war is . about £170,000,000 a year, which vast sum of money is being, poured out in an attempt to crush about 5.000 bandits. Surely no honorable . member has heard of such an unequal, fantastic struggle as is now going on . in Malaya. I suggest that it is high time that we thought of some way of stopping that struggle. Five thousand English airmen . and soldiers of the Malayan . armed forces have died during the fighting, : and the government handling of the villages during the years of emergency . has built up -resentment towards it . in many villages, and sympathy . for the terrorists -has often increased as a result of ; the ..government’s curfews andresettlements. . The government’ cut off the bandits’ food ^supplies, but that . has : not stopped them . because they are nowgrow- ing ‘their own -food. . Everything . possible has ‘been done to capture the terrorists, but.they cannot . be stopped in . that fashion.
I believe that . the way -to -stop the fighting is to . get the terrorists out of . the jungle in order to try ‘to rationalize their grievances and then answer them as Magsaysay answered the . Hults in the Philippines. In that country, the . diplomatic . use of force and . much use of friendship and . honesty, has afforded a unique . and historic solution of a similar most difficult situation. . I -suggest that a man cannot be changed at the end of a rifle, but we have a chance to change . him through constructive, honest and courageous . friendship. We cannot change a man with bullets or imprisonment, but we can change him with ideas. No authoritative person has yet talked to the leaders of the terrorists, and I suggest that Dator Sir Chen Look Tan should be allowed to contact those leaders with the constructive offer of a settlement. Australia’s greatest contribution to the welfare of Malaya and the ending of the war against the terrorists would be . to give ideological training to the Malayan students ‘who come here for technical training.
– Order ! The honorable member’s timehas expired.
Mr.ROBERT0N (Riverina) [3.42].- This debate can be described, in part, ‘as a wretched affair. On one hand, . there are the resounding harmonies of the members on this side and the mild refrains from, the Anti-Communist Labour . party, and on the other hand the raucous disharmonies from the members of the Australian Labour . party. After . all, “this debate is to resolve the matter of our f oreign policy, and the Government !has decided unanimously to adopt a foreign policy that will demonstrate to the whale world our national . self -respect as . a free and independent people. It is a policy that is designed to . hold the confidence . o’f our . ‘friends, . and dissipate . the contempt of our enemies.
I w.as proud to . listen to the Prime Minister (Mr. . Menzies) introducing this debate on foreign, affairs. Our . policy has no purpose other than to . restore the self-jespect of this . nation among the peoples of the -.earth. We harce no . territorial ambitions and . never . have “had . -any.
We ‘have no aggressive ‘intentions and
Merer .have had any. We have mo longing for .other -parts of the world, and no longing to possess more favoured localities in other parts of the world. We have no bitternesses and no international prejudices. The one increasing _ purpose of the Government’s foreign policy is to maintain peace; and our foreign policy has no other purpose. This policy can he described as a manifestation of our national maturity, and IT. remind honorable members that nations are just like people. They have periods of infancy, periods of adolesence, and, almost invariably, periods of maturity.
Nations are exactly the same as people. There is a period in infancy when a nation is dependent on the mother coun try. I suggest that we have passed through that period, when we were tuned in to the mother country and when, in relation to international affairs, we took our policy from that of the mother country. Then came our period of national adolescence, that ‘turbulent period when we wanted to sever our political connexions with the mother country and reach our own decisions in our own political way. That period may be described, quite rightly, as ;i period of adolescence. Now we have reached our maturity when, not only have we to reach our own decisions in our own political way, but we have also to stand up to the responsibilities of those decisions irrespective of what they are, and no .matter where they lead us. Just as there .are people who never grow up, who never leave infancy, or who never leave adolescence, so there are nations that never grow up, and there are segments or .sections oi nations that never grow up. Sometimes there are nations, and segments .of nations, that grow down. .That is my description of the policy of the Australian .Labour .party on foreign affairs. I listened -with a .great deal of interest for an hour and 25 minutes to .all that the Leader of the Opposition (‘Dr. Evatt) had to ‘say on this question. To me, it was an indication that’.the Labour party, and .that section of the community which .the Labour party iia alleged :to represent, are going ‘down from ‘‘maturity .back into adolescence. It can be described more accurately, perhaps, as .a descent.
The Leader of the Opposition, ‘regardless of the salutary lessons .of our own history, has stated that our only hope is in the United Nations. Between World War 1. and World “War TI., the League of Nations was designed for precisely the same purpose as was the United Nations organization after World War ‘IX, that is, to .maintain the peace throughout the world. Australia was a subscriber to the League of Nations prior to the outbreak of World “War “.II. That organization did not stem, even to the degree of a single .hair’s ‘ breath, the rising tide of fascism, the rising tide of naz’ism, and, ultimately, the disaster of World War XI. Yet the right honorable gentleman has stated that we should pin our faith to the United Nations, and that the United Nations will solve all of our problems. There are parts of the world that have already tested the United Nations organization, but, wherever the test has been applied, the organization has failed. Does the right honorable gentleman want another Korea in this country ? Does “he suggest that, if we were to be attacked as Korea was attacked, not only by enemies within but also by enemies from without, we should go through the same travail as that through which the people of Korea went ? Does he suggest that tha United Nations would save us in the same way as it saved Korea - by partitioning the country .and leaving an everlasting scar across it, and in a condition where peace would be utterly impossible? Until the partition in Korea is obliterated, there will be no ‘hope for that country. Does he also .suggest that, as was done in Indo-Ohina, we should wait until the actual attack occurs .and then .frantically appeal to our friends :f or assistance? Does he suggest that wo should .fight it out in .our own country, and then .be faced with the .intolerable situation of .having the country partitioned.? Does he suggest that the United Nations organization would save us -in the .same w.ay .as it has saved, or, ..rather, failed to save, -Malaya, where guerrilla warfare .has continued year after year? Does the:right honorable .gentleman want all that to .happen here ?
The right honorable gentleman has suggested in precise terms that we ought to ignore our friends in New Zealand, for instance. He has suggested that we should say to New Zealand, “ The Anzus Pact is a hollow sham. It has no significance “. He has suggested that we should ignore the people of the United Kingdom who have been trying to restore peace wherever they have gone, that we should ignore Canada, that we should ignore South, East and Central Africa, that we should ignore the United States of America and Europe, and that we should even ignore Asia, where there are countless millions of people who are trying to struggle out from the darkness of their past. He has suggested that we should ignore all of those nations. He suggests that we should say to South-East Asia that the Manila treaty has no significance whatever, that it is just a political sham, and that we should pin our faith exclusively to the United Nations organization, leave ourselves defenceless and take whatever comes to us. He has also stated that we should appease and propitiate our enemies. He assures us that we may pick up other friends in the streets of the world and march down through history with those new and illicit friendships. Who are these people who can be picked up on the streets of the world? Where are they, and what are they? These arc questions that he ought to answer. If we ignore our friends, and if we ignore all of the people with whom we have been associated throughout our history, quite obviously the only other people left on the face of God’s earth with whom we could make any sort of arrangement would be the Communist countries, not only of South-East Asia, but the whole world.
In my humble opinion, the time has arrived when there should be a simple restatement of the national aspirations of our country. I believe that is what the statement of the Prime Minister has done. It has provided the Parliament and the people with a restatement of our national aspirations. We are predominantly a Christian community, and, because of that, our first duty, quite obviously, is to God and to the rest of mankind. Is that in dispute, Mr.
Speaker? Is it suggested by the Opposition that we should ignore our faith and the responsibilities that are inseparable from it?
– Nobody has made that, suggestion.
– I suggest that that is what the Leader of the Opposition meant when he stated that we should move closer to South-East Asia, and, in fact, become a South-East Asian country. After all, there are 600,000,000 Christians in the world who are devoted to a duty to God and to the rest of mankind. Are they to be ignored ? Have they no rights ? Do they not deserve some semblance of support from a Christian community such as ours? Our first duty is to defend our faith, and that is the first objective of the Government’s foreign policy. Wc are, predominantly, a British community, in spite of all the calumnies that have been uttered by honorable members opposite, particularly the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) who, I am pleased to see, is now in the chamber, because I entertain the pious hope that he will learn a lesson from his own folly in the course of this debate. Because we are, predominantly, a British community, our second duty is to other British communities throughout the world, without prejudice to other peoples. Is that in dispute among intelligent men or free people - that this British community should ignore all other British communities and find complete affinity with Communist countries in South-East Asia? The Government’s foreign policy demonstrates that we shall defend our heritage as a British community. We are, predominantly, a nation nurtured in the freedom and human dignity of Western civilization and because of that, fact our third duty is to defend that freedom and to cherish that conception of human dignity without prejudice to any other nation. Is that in dispute? Is it suggested that we should abandon Western civilization for some other civilization ?
I listened to the vituperous attack which the honorable member for Hindmarsh made against the British because of that fact that we are a component part of Western civilization. The British race throughout the world lias always desired to belong to that civilization. Western civilization has never been a fixed and irrevocable system. It was conceived and fostered in the minds of ordinary people like ourselves for the purpose of serving ordinary people. It was evolved to serve mankind, and as it revealed any fault or fracture it has been the manifest duty of those upholding it to take appropriate steps to correct the faults and mend the fractures and to make necessary alterations in it so that Western civilization could continue as an everlasting and progressive movement. But the honorable member for Hindmarsh spoke in derogatory terms of Western civilization and of the British section of it generally. He attacked the British in Malaya, India, South Africa and right throughout the world.
Reasonable people should ask themselves h simple question. India had thousands of years of history before the British went to that country. What good did India do during that period? When the British went to India, it was one of the most backward countries in the world. The British took to India, trade, commerce, navigation, health, hygiene, education and local government, and they built roads and railways and made India what it is to-day. In that process the British people lost countless thousands of their finest men and women who died in the service of India, as others died in the service of what used to be called our colonial countries. Yet, the honorable member for Hindmarsh devoted all his time to a condemnation of British foreign policy. I say to him that the British people have done more for mankind in the last 400 years than any other race has done since the dawn of human history. The honorable member for Hindmarsh remembers only the imperfections; but the imperfections measured against the great good that Britain has done are of no importance at all. The real test can be applied in respect of what is happening in all our colonies to-day, including Malaya. The honorable member for Hindmarsh was not the only member of the Opposition who indulged in violent criticism of what is now called colonialism. I say to him, and to those who might have been excited by such violent criticism of colonialism, that we in this country are not in a position to talk in such terms. A careful examination of our history in the immediate past will reveal that we ourselves are a colonial people. But for the colonial policy of the British there would be no Australia to-day and there would be no honorable member for Hindmarsh, which, perhaps, might have been a very good thing.
The study of foreign affairs is not easy, and such a study could do immense harm to traditional Labour policy. That is the simple explanation of the consistent refusal of the Leader of the Opposition to allow members of his party to take part in the deliberations of the first Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament, of which I am proud to be a member. The right honorable gentleman and his colleagues know that if they attended meetings of that committee and took part in its deliberations, no matter how dumb, stupid or prejudiced they might be, they must sooner or later learn something of the international situation as it affects Australia to-day. The right honorable gentleman is so terrified of such information being disseminated among members of his party that he has prohibited them from participating in that committee’s deliberations. That is a shameful thing. To my certain knowledge some honorable members opposite would do anything, short of expelling themselves from the Australian Labour party, to become members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. They want to inform themselves on foreign affairs, but their leader expressly forbids them to do so. If I had sufficient time, I should like to draw an analogy on this point, but, from your movements, Mr. Speaker, I see that I have about exhausted my time. So, the analogy I have in mind will have to wait.
-Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I wholeheartedly support the foreign policy of the Australian Labour party. The despatch of Australian troops to Malaya to act as an army of occupation will not contribute in any way to the maintenance of world peace. The experience of history warns.usthat the presence- of foreigntroops in- a< country will not help to establish, peace in that country: Ifr we: are noi’ prepared to maintain world! peace- and understanding- between the nations- the alternative, obviously, must be war. It is- a pity that, honorable members like the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton) should advocate that- a country with Australia’s limited, population and with a coastline that is particularly vulnerable should have its troops strutting about in other countries. Instead, such honorable, members should be advocating a. policy, designed to - secure peace. Members of the Australian Labour party are not- antirBritish or anti-American. They are ever-mindful of the assistance that the Americans and. the British forces gave to us when we were in difficultyduring: World. “War LT. Labour will be ever-mindful of that co-operation, and assistance from those forces in the hour of our- greatest need. It was left to a. Labour government to obtain American, assistance for this country during that conflict.
It is quite easy foi- Government supporters, by innuendo and by levelling: all sorts of charges, to misrepresent. Labour’s, foreign policy. Anti-Labour parties- have: adopted such, tactics ever since the- Labour- party was1 formed, but Labour has.- successfully withstood such attacks. It has not- been affected by the filthy innuendoeSj directed against it by honorable, members opposite; Last evening the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Makin) reminded the House of the great work: that has been done- on behalf of thiscountry in the international sphere> notonly by the Leader of the Opposition. (Dr. Evatt), but also by the great- leaders of the Labour movement in the past. “None of those leaders has ever been. antiBritish, or- anti- American. I recall the appeal that the late John Curtin made to America to come to- Australia’s assistance during World War II., and also the invaluable work that was performed By the present Leader of the Opposition in so ably pressing home- that- appeal in thecrisis that then confronted this country. Honorable gentlemen- opposite may malign-, if’ they will, bis- name, and smear- his character, but we on this side of the- House, the working- class- move ment;, and the Labour, movement, throughout tha world,, know- of his; great achievements on behalf of this nation in the greatest crisis in- its- history:
Only shortly before Japan struck at Australia, the previous government had’ walked out and” left this country defenceless: I’ well recall the events of 1’9’40. The right honorable member- for Barton stepped, down from the High Court Bench, brought the two divisions of Labour in “New South- Wales together, and was responsible to- a large degree for the great Labour- era of government in Australia in the 1940’s. Under Labour rule, Australia was ‘held safe and free for our own people. Because I know all those things, it makes me quite ill’ when I” hear members on the other side of : the- House, and members of the centre party, make charges against him. Speaking- in a political, sense, I believe, that they are not fit to wipe his boots.
Labour has always opposed the foreign ideology of communism: The truth of that statement is demonstrated by the fact that Labour- men are among the first people to be dealt with when Communists gain control of a- country. In this- debate, honorable members shouldconsider the causes of the1 disunity and tension that exist throughout the world. Why are some- nations embracing communism? It is due to the bitter pangs of hunger and the prevalence of disease- in those countries. I endorse the appeal of the previous speaker for the exercise of a semblance of Christian duty in these matters. Conservative and Tory governments have not worried, about theliving conditions of. the peoples- of Asian countries. In years gone by, those governments have found it a- simple matter to send aircraft to drop- incendiary bombs, and frighten the natives, into some semblance; of submission. That cannot happen to-day, and the people who have secured their wealth from the exploitation of. the. native peoples^ are becoming worried. We- of the Labour movement, not only in Australia, but also throughout other countries, will continue, to fight for a fair deal for those people: We believe that, the best method, of fighting- communism is explained in the: words- of the British- Special Commissioner for- SouthE’asfcAsia, Mr: Malcolm MacDonald, when lie was in Washington in October of last year. A newspaper report of his statement, reads as follows : -
The British Commissioner-General for SouthEast Asia, Mr.. Malcolm MacDonald, has said at Washington that the most potent weapons for fighting communism in Asia are good wages, adequate food, social security and personal liberty.
Mr. MacDonald said that these essentials were more effective than guns and planes.
He added (.hat the Communists could be stopped in South-East Asia if the United States and Britain gave Asian Governments firm and sympathetic support in resisting either economic, political or military aggression.
He pointed out that Asian Communists were preparing for intensive political warfare which could he extremely dangerous to the security of the democratic nations.
Mr. MacDonald added that the struggle between the Communist and anti-Communist forces in the area might alternate between armed hostilities and a bitter struggle on the economic and political fronts.
The Labour party shares that view. Some people are only now beginning to worry because the peoples of South-East Asia, as the result of their economic plight, are turning to communism. The United Nations Pood and Agricultural organization issued a pamphlet in 1949 to explain its activities. One passage in that pamphlet reads as follows : -
Two-thirds of the world’s people are undernourished;
Their health could be vastly improved if they were able to get enough of the right kind of food;
The farmers of the world - two-thirds of its population - could produce enough if they used the best agricultural methods.
Full-time work for all could be provided by increased production and efficient distribution;
The nations must act together to attain these ends.
We insist that action be taken to give those people their rightful place in the world. A pamphlet issued by the Department of Education and Research in Washington, entitled “ CIO says : The Odds Are Up To You “, reads, in part, as follows : -
To-day - ae you read this booklet . . . 2:30,000 babies will be horn into the world . . what are their chances for pe-ce: for freedom, and for a, decent standard of living? . . The plain fact is that at this moment most of to-day’s 250,000 babies face a life of disease, hunger, poverty, illiteracy. . . .
In India, 25% of all babies die before they are a year old. Those who survive babyhood have only a 50-50 chance of reaching their 20th birthday, in a country of 12 million people like Afghanistan there are only 100 doctors. Every year 300 million people have malaria. Every year 5 million people die of tuberculosis. Millions die every year of leprosy, typhus, cholera and sleeping sickness.
This pamphlet is not Communist literature. Let us exercise a semblance of Christian duty, and give those people a fair deal. The Labour party, in this debate,, makes that request.
Australia should not send troops to Malaya. If more foreign troops set foot on the soil of Malaya, we are accentuating the danger of a third world Avar. A Liberal party senator from Queensland,, who spoke in a debate on foreign affairs last year, said that a third world war was inevitable if one white soldier set foot on Chinese soil. We are talking as if Australia has a population of hundreds of millions of people. Asia has millions to our hundreds of people, and we evidently are not prepared to extend a hand of friendship to them. The Leader of the Opposition, and indeed leaders of the Labour movement throughout the world, have appealed for the promotion of friendly relations between the peoples of the free world and the peoples of South-East Asia.
The Australian Government proposes to send troops to Malaya. A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Marshall, expressed his view on the matter in unequivocal language. A newspaper report on the matter reads as follows : -
The Labour party of Malaya yesterday protested against the sending of Australian arid New Zealand troops to Malaya. It said in a statement : “ We hope it was not the intention of the Australian and New Zealand Governments ;<> help prolong colonial rule in this country or take over the mantle of imperialism “’. The party’s National Council adopted a resolution expressing concern over the sending of troops to Malaya “ at a time when Malaya is supposed to be proceeding towards independence “.
The Labour party issues a 3tern warning to the Government that its policy, if not reviewed, may plunge this nation into war. The pamphlet issued by the Department of Education and Research in Washington, also contains the following information : -
Throughout the world six out of ten people work on land that usually belongs to others.
Often up to 95% of the land’s yield goes to the landlord for rent. In under-developed parts of the world the average yearly income would equal SO American dollars. In Indonesia, it is 25 dollars per year; in China, 27 dollars per year.
A Government member has asked us to exercise a semblance of Christian duty. I wonder whether the House realizes the extent of poverty in the world.
The Labour party realizes that we must he prepared for any eventuality because of the hate that has been engendered in those countries by the people who have exploited them. We must be prepared to defend our homeland, but we shall not be defending it by sending two divisions, or any other force of troops, to the Asian world. We have a vast coastline of our own which it is essential for us to defend. We agree with the statements church leaders have made recently. Not long ago, the Dean of Newcastle, the Very Rev. W. A. Hardie, said -
Unit he, and many other people, felt with apprehension that the entire emphasis of Australia’s foreign policy was on readiness for war. “ There is no positive and constructive effort to produce those conditions in which peace wm flourish,” he said. ‘ The day of white domination of Asians lui s gone and all our armed forces cannot bring it back again,” he said. “ We can, possibly, make Asian countries partners in the world of democracy and humanity, hut it will need something more than and something different from two divisions of troops in Malaya.” “ There is no other alternative.” “ We either make them our partners with all that it entails, or we make them what they nearly are already, our bitter enemies.”
These are the thoughts and feelings that motivate us in this debate. Our aim is to save humanity from destruction. I support the appeal that was expressed by Rabbi Falk, when giving the commemoration address at the service in Hyde Park, Sydney, last Anzac Day. His remarks are something of which we could well take cognizance. He said, according to a newspaper report -
The spirit of Anzac demanded from the nations of the world that they adjust their differences through peaceful negotiation . . . Australia should fearlessly proclaim this spirit ti. the world.
According to the same newspaper, in which these remarks were reported,
Major-General the Rev. C. A. Osborne said -
On Anzac Day . . . we know that remembrance alone is not enough. We should be doing something to try and ensure it does not happen again . . . True peace is a matter of preparing. Peace does not happen; it is caused.
We all know of the horrors of war. We listened to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who told the House to-day about the horrors of atomic bombs. These bombs could destroy civilization. Our appeal is that atomic power should be used to make this a better world, and we are. asking the Government to do what it can to achieve that end. We appeal for the use of atomic power for peace and not for war. I should like honorable members to read and digest a pamphlet called Atomic Power for Peace, that was published in America recently. It deals with the great benefits that can be secured from the use of atomic power. It says -
Tlie atom is tiny, but its potency U enormous. It takes many billions of atoms grouped together to be visible to the human eye. But it takes only 15 pounds of concentrated atomic fuel, for example, to produce as much power as 40’ million pounds of coal.
Atomic power opens up the prospect of a new life for the Asian world. It can give Asians freedom from want, and the rights and powers and privileges which we ourselves demand. Those people are now demanding those rights from the war lords and others who now control them. If the policy of exploitation by the West is continued without the Asian people being given their rightful place in the world, this nation, as well as the world, is doomed to destruction. We support the policy of having a White Australia and, as a corollary to that, a policy of giving to the Asian people a rightful place in the countries in which they live.
The pamphlet to which I have already referred says of atomic power -
This power can turn fields into a wasteland . . .
Or it can be used to grow new or better foods for those who hunger.
It can turn a city into a smoking, twisted ruin . . .
Or it can supply it with light and warmth and energy.
It can turn a child into a hopeless invalid . . .
Or it oan show a way to cure disease, and give him new life.
There is a new hope for the world. Let us accept it, and use atomic energy in the interests and for the well-being of the peoples of the world.
Let us, as I have said earlier and as the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton) said, show a semblance of Christian duty. That is the plea that is made by the Labour party because we recognize that the people of Asia are untitled to a better lot in life than they have had so far. I ask the Government to consider the amendment moved on behalf of the Labour party that we should send no troops to Malaya. I urge that the cost that would be involved in sending troops there should be used to help to provide atomic energy to be used for the wellbeing of backward countries.
If time permitted I could tell honorable members about the revolutionary changes, as set out in this pamphlet, that could follow the peaceful use of atomic energy. It could be used to promote agriculture and vast changes and improvements in industry. A new life could be made available to all the peoples of the world, and the fear of illiteracy, hunger, poverty and starvation, which is responsible for communism, throughout the world, could be swept aside. We ask members of the Government to do their rightful job as Christians, on behalf of the people. We shall then not be faced with the dangers that confront the world at the moment.
.- The old colonialism story, and the old exploitation story, that have come from the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Fitzgerald) simply add to the mass of illinformed comment that has come from the Labour party during this debate, much of which has been anti-British iu tone, and is bound up in isolationism of the worst type which bodes the gravest possible ill for this country if we should have the misfortune to have a Labour government in office in an international crisis. These stories have come from honorable members opposite because of their very great need to hide their complete lack of a coherent foreign .policy. The honorable mem ber for Phillip and his confreres, who have spoken in the debate, have indicated plainly to us that the party opposite believes in peace at any price. We, however, say that in this modern world we have learned that there is no peace at any price, and that what looks like it is peace at the dearest price of all. lt is a temporary thing, and the cost of it is no less than subjugation.
The Opposition would have us believe that the terrorists in Malaya are merely a down-trodden group of nationalists. To find the truth about Asian nationalism it is only necessary to look at the nationalist movements which have cropped up all over South-East Asia in recent years. In not one case has it been necessary for the nationalists to skulk into the jungle and carry on the campaign of murder and arson to which the honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn) referred, in order to achieve their objective. Only in Malaya has it been necessary for the so-called nationalists to turn guerrillas. The plain fact is that the terrorists are there only for the purpose of disorganizing, weakening and destroying the continuity of administration, thus paving the way for the control of that strategically vital country by communism. The delegates who attended the recent Afro-Asian conference at Bandung had no misconceptions about the position in South-East Asia. One of the most significant things that caine out of that conference was the fact that part of the results of the conference was excised from the final communique. The part which was deleted read -
Freedom and independence were endangered by international doctrines seeking to dominate, exploit and subjugate peoples through force, infiltration and subversion.
If Ave accept the fact that that statement was taken out of that communique, we have to accept the fact that it was in the communique in the first place, and represented the considered opinion of most of the delegates to the conference. Surely no one would ask us to believe, when they talked about subversion and international doctrines seeking to dominate, exploit and subjugate, that they were talking about those influences which are now withdrawing from the South-East Asia scene. If one has any doubt about that matter, one has only to read the comment of the Philippines delegate, General Carlos P. Romulo, who warned that South-East Asia should not surrender blindly to a new super-barbarism, a new super-imperialism, and a new superpower. He was referring not to the old order, which is passing away, but to the new order, to which the terrorists of Malaya are lending very great assistance. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Mohammed Ali, also commented upon the matter, when he adjured his fellow Asians not to open the door to new and more insidious forms of imperialism that masquerade in the guise of liberation. The word “ communism “ was not mentioned in these comments but do any of us need Mr. Mohammed Ali to draw a diagram so that we may understand what he meant? We can at once see his meaning for ourselves.
We need not be surprised at the Opposition’s a ttitude in this debate. The Australian Labour party’s prc-occupation throughout its history has been with domestic policy, socialist theories, and the like. It has neither the time to appreciate nor the capacity to understand that pre-occupation with these matters in Australia has been possible only because t he great net of British power throughout South-East Asia and the Pacific area guarded us while we engaged in that preoccupation. But the fact is that that power no longer exists. Labour must bring its thinking up to date. The Australian Labour party to-day stands in very much the same position as doe? the housewife who, for too long, has been concerned wholly and solely with her own kitchen, and who now finds herself quite unable to understand and participate in those wider fields of social activity that make up the full life. Labour will have to reconstruct its policy on every count, and having achieved a very great measure of success, it must itself growas Australia grows.
The honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Makin) last evening folded his hands and gave us a dissertation on the great harm that would result to the Australian economy if we were to withdraw from industry and commerce the number of men who are needed to guard Australia’s security. What sort of an economy should we have if we failed to protect this country? It would be an economy quite foreign to us and one in which we should have no interest because we should have no control over it. All this could come about if we were too foolish to recognize danger in the making and to take in time adequate measures to protect ourselves. Safety is not to bc bought on the cheap. The .time might come, as perhaps it has come already, when we shall have to limit our present en joyment of something that we commonly enjoy in this grand country for the sake of the continued enjoyment of it. Therefore, perhaps we should take in our belts now and toe the line of duty.
The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Webb) last evening directed attention to the fact that the standard of living in the United States of America is 32 time.higher than is that of the average A.sia.n. I cannot check the honorable member’s figures, but I would not argue about them. They seem reasonable. The fact is thai Asia is poor because it is inefficient. It is no good for the honorable member for Phillip to quote from documents which are published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and which describe the lamentable situation of many of the world’s people. The plain fact is that in South-East Asia there is more than enough land to feed all the people of that part of the world. Unfortunately, much of it is lying idle and unproductive. The people of Asia need most of all the sort of economic and technical aid and advice that is being given to them in bountiful measure, not only by means of the magnificent programme in which Australia is participating under the Colombo plan, but also by means of a continual outpouring of American money and of United Nations special agency funds by bodies most of which are financed with British and American capital.
In this debate we have heard much condemnation of colonialism. If history shows anything, it shows that colonialism has flowered in recent years in the preparation of under-developed countries for self-government. To understand the great benefits that have been brought to Asian countries that recently were under colonial administration, we have only to consider the position in some of the blighted areas of the world where there are sub-standard countries that have never enjoyed the so-called baneful influence of colonialism. The honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton) detailed in the most forthright terms the advantages that have flowed from colonialism. Many of us are inclined to think that self-government has come a little too early to some countries iu South-East Asia, but we are not in a position to quarrel with history. We have to live with it and learn to make good its deficiencies.
As you, Mr. Speaker, are aware, I recently had the very great pleasure and privilege to represent Australia in the councils of the United “Nations. For long weeks I participated in the debate on the establishment of a special United “Nations fund for the economic development of under-developed countries. The campaign finally evolved into a scheme under which Uncle Sam was required to spend more of his money for the benefit of underdeveloped countries. The United States does not need any prompting to do this. Many billions of dollars of American capital are being poured out in one of the most worth-while and most dramatic efforts that has ever been made to raise the standards of the world’s benighted peoples. In the few words that I was able to address to the delegates, I reminded them that a good deal more of self-help is a pre-requisite to a demand for help from overseas.
I gained some very interesting impressions from the ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly. My principal impression was that there was a good deal of antipathy among the newly freed countries against what we are pleased to call the colonial powers, but I can assure the House that that apparent antipathy was very much something only for the record. When one talked to the delegates individually, one could discern that beneath the surface there was a deep appreciation of the benefits that the newly independent countries have received at the hands of the so-called coloni.il powers. There was also n deep appreciation of the need for such help to be continued. There, I think, is the strength of the Government’s policy as announced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). We propose to continue the good-neighbour policy that has characterized this Government’s foreign policy.
I gained other impressions from my visit to the ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly. Not the least of them was the feeling that we need to re-assess the position of Australia in a changing world. In the debates that occurred we found that Great Britain was concerned about the Greek claim to control over the island of Cyprus. We Australians were concerned about the claim of Indonesia to control over western New Guinea. It became clear that Great Britain no longer has the capacity to undertake the sort of unlimited commitments in SouthEast Asia and the Pacific area tha.t, hitherto has guaranteed Australia’s security. The immediate result is that we must do more for ourselves. In attempting to do more for ourselves, we are not receiving much aid from the Opposition’s miserable suggestion that we should pathetically rely upon good luck, or that we should have a sort of na’ive faith in the United Nations and a firm belief that our membership of that body, valuable though it is, is all-powerful to keep us out of trouble. All too plainly, the United Nations is partly split, with the west on one side and communism on the other. We must maintain our membership of the United Nations, but we must remember that whatever we do for ourselves will not be enough. We need powerful friends. We live in momentous times. The power of a great empire is waning, and new powers such as the United States and Soviet Russia, which vie for the control of great areas of the world, are extending their influence. All of the Pacific area and South-East Asia, of which Australia is geographically a part, is in the melting pot, and there will come a new alinement of nations, of national associations and of national understandings. If we surrender ourselves to the policy of the Opposition, Australia will undoubtedly become the plaything of fate, and we shall be allowed to take no hand in the control of its destiny. Rather would I back the Government’s policy, which is- at least, dynamic. We will back the United
Nations. We will develop the greatest measure of self-help that we can. We will cultivate the goodwill of Asia in the most powerful way. We will cooperate with the United Kingdom, as we always have done and always will do. We will seek greater friendship with the United States,
On that note I will close. Unhappily, in this world of ours there have grown up some misunderstandings between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. One probes very carefully into such matters, because misunderstandings of that sort could have a vital bearing on the future of the free world. The Americans are a direct and independent people. I speak of the people, not so much of their government. They admit to a great inexperience. They admit to a great impatience with the sort of old-world diplomacy that was good enough in times gone by. As the character of the times has changed, so there has arisen a great need to speed up diplomatic procedure. The Americans take the view that if there is a job to be done, you sail in and do it. I am happy to say that it appears to me, from the most widespread inquiries I have been able to make and from information from well-informed sources, that any differences there may be between the United Kingdom and the United States are merely differences due to misunderstandings. They are nothing more than that, and in the course of time they will be cleared up. I believe that we in this country bave a very special role to play. We are of British stock. We have indissoluble ties with the great British Empire and, because those ties are indissoluble, we shall remain in that great empire. But at the same time we are a Pacific power. We are developing new interests and new responsibilities, many of them mutually with the United States. It may well be that we are cast in the historic role of a catalyst to produce the great union of the English-speaking peoples of the world which I believe is necessary and which alone can check and balance the upsurge of communism. We cannot sit by with folded arms, with the Labour party, and let what will happen. Rather, we have to go forward to meet the great destiny which will be ours only if we prove ourselves worthy of it and work to deserve it.
.- The honorable member for Paterson (Mr. Fairhall) has made the mistake, a mistake made by many honorable members on the Government side of the House, of completely misinterpreting the policy of the Australian Labour party in respect of foreign affairs, a policy which was very clearly expressed by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), but which throughout the debate has been consistently misrepresented. The honorable member for Paterson has, for instance, described the policy of the Labour party as being anti-British, whilst other Government speakers have described it as being in conformity with Communist policy. I shall outline one or two of the planks of the policy adopted by the Australian Labour party in Hobart, and then I shall ask honorable members, through you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, to say whether that policy is anti-British and pro-Communist. With regard to the very matter dealt with by the honorable member for Paterson, the decision of the Labour party was -
Australia is, and must always remain, an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations as well as of the United Nations organization.
Is that anti-British and pro-Communist? The second paragraph of the statement of the foreign policy of the Labour party is -
Co-operation with the U.S. in the Pacini.is of crucial importance, and must be maintained in accordance with the spirit of this declaration.
Constantly in this debate I have heard statements that we are antiBritish, anti- American and proCommunist. But if one goes through the whole of the statement drawn up in Hobart last month, one finds nothing in it that can be regarded as contrary to the best interests of Australia. The statement enunciates a policy that is in accord with our interests. It is in conformity with the policy that has always been enunciated by the Australian Labour party.’
I want to address myself particularly to the amendment now before the House.
In my view, the policy of the Government in respect of Malaya is bound to bring Australia into disrepute and discredit, with African nations, Asian nations and nations in the south-east Pacific. I have heard it said in this chamber on more than one occasion that it is essential for Australia to build up goodwill and friendship with the nations that surround us, but the policy suggested by this Government, a policy of sending Australian troops to Malaya, instead of building up such, friendship and goodwill, is bound to cause hostility and antagonism. Like my good friend, the honorable member for Paterson, I had the honour and privilege of attending meetings of the United Nations. He sat as Australia’s representative on the Economic Committee, and I think he did a very good job for Australia. I sat on the Trusteeship Committee, where I was able to get some idea of the thoughts and aspirations of the countries to the north of Australia. Sitting alongside representatives of India, Burma, Thailand and other countries in Asia and Africa, I found that their opinions of Australia and other countries were dominated by two factors. All those representatives were extremely nationalistic in their outlook. In addition, they had a hatred of what they termed colonialism. Throughout the discussions of the committee, I found that nationalism and anticolonialism were uppermost in their thoughts, particularly when they were criticizing the trusteeship work done by the seven nations holding trusteeship commissions from the United Nations. I believe we onn build up goodwill and friendship with the nations that are so close to us only by trying to understand the thoughts and aspirations which dominate their national life and their outlook on international problems. 1 think we have gained a better idea of their outlook as a result of the conference held recently at Bandung between African and Asian countries. I ask Government members to bear in mind the people who were asked to come to that conference, which was called to discuss matters affecting Asian and African peoples. Because the nations of Africa and Asia considered that the western mind could not understand their problems and viewpoints, important nations which might well have been asked to the conference, such as Israel, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and countries with trusteeship duties in the Asian areas, were nOt invited. One can well understand those countries not being invited, because the whole tenor of the remarks that I heard at the United Nations indicated that there .was mistrust and suspicion of the western countries among the Asian and African nations. The Asian peoples regarded Israel, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa as being western in thought and character, and, that being so. those nations were not invited to the Afro- Asian conference. It was believed, that their presence at the conference, would not help in the solution of problems which were essentially Asian and African in character.
In view of those circumstances, and in view of the feeling of the people in Africa and Asia, will our policy of sending troops to Malaya build up between Australia and South-East Asia that feeling of friendship and goodwill which we all desire to achieve in the geographical areas surrounding Australia ? Already we have endeavoured to build up that friendship by means of the Colombo plan. Many millions of pounds worth of capital goods have already been sent to Asian countries, and we have also brought many Asian students to Australia to give them the advantage of a higher education and to enable them to obtain some idea of Australian technical ability. We have hoped that those students would be able to take back that knowledge to their own people, and, indirectly, help in the enlightenment of the people of Asia. Having done all that. I suggest that the worst possible decision that we could have taken - one that will arouse suspicion and hostility against us - was the unprecedented decision to send Australian troops to Malaya.
When the troops go to Malaya they will cause hostility and suspicion to be born in the African and Asian countries, and there will arise a general belief that Australia, by its action, is joining the western countries in exercising influence by armed force. The people of Asia will believe that the intentions of Australia are more aggressive than friendly. I have heard it said that the .people of Malaya will welcome Australian troops to their country. I do not accept that statement, ‘because, so far, nobody in Malaya who can be regarded as representative of Malayans, has expressed any such opinion. Furthermore, there does not exist, at the present time, a sufficiently representative body in Malaya to be able to express the opinions of the Malayan people on this particular matter. Not only is Malaya concerned in this important matter; the whole of Asia and Africa will also be watching this development and placing its own construction on Australia’s action. Our action will be used for propaganda purposes, and there is no doubt that it will assist the Communists who are attempting to build up feeling in the East against Australia.
– “Would not the opinions of the acting secretary of the Seato council be a valuable guide to the opinions of the Malayan people?
– In my opinion, no. Seato does not include ali the countries of Asia or Africa., or even all the countries of South-East Asia. We must bear in mind that there are many countries which are not associated with Seato, but which are striving for selfgovernment. There are other countries which have already secured selfgovernment, but which are still suspicious of the West because they are never sure whether the West will or will not use its power to frustrate their own development. I suggest that the sending of troops to a country like Malaya, where the struggle for complete selfgovernment is still proceeding, will cause the greatest resentment among the people.
Everybody knows’ that Malaya has been s British dependency for many years. The Malayans have accepted the presence of British troops as part of that dependency, but they are longing for the day when the British troops will depart, and when they will he in the same position as India and enjoy self-government. I know that where selfgovernment has been achieved in the East without internal struggle and without the use of the force of arms; friendship has been built up between the countries which have sought selfgovernment and the countries which have helped them to secure it I remember one occasion, ‘during a meeting of the Trusteeship Committee of the United Nations, when the representative of India praised, in the highest terms, the actions of Great Britain in helping that country to secure self-government. He said that Great Britain had enabled India to build up an efficient public service before self-government was secured-. I also heard the representatives of the Philippines praise the United ‘States for first building up an efficient public service in the Philippines and then giving .tha t country self-government. On the other hand, I have found that where selfgovernment and self-determination have been hindered, frustrated or delayed through the use of armed force, hostility and antagonism to a high degree have existed between the countries directly involved. For example, there was a strong feeling of hostility between Indonesia and the Netherlands, and between Lido-China and France.
We must carefully consider all such - reactions here in Australia, because, unless we can understand the minds of our neighbours and appreciate their viewpoints we shall delay the building up of the international friendship which wc all desire. I firmly believe that as a consequence of the decision of the Government to send troops to Malaya, the goodwill .and understanding which we have achieved as a result of the Colombo plan will be dissipated, and instead of us being regarded with friendliness, we shall find that the nations of the East and of Africa will be asking themselves what is behind our actions. The Malayan people have almost achieved independence, and are on the verge of becoming a selfgoverning nation. Now, for some reason or other, the Australian Government decides to send troops to Malaya. What for? Is there any suggestion that Great Britain is unable to maintain civil order with the forces that are already stationed in Malaya?
It is true that there is terrorism in Malaya, but will the presence of Australian troops make that terrorism any less real? To suggest, as has been suggested, that Malaya is Australia’s first line of defence is to display u total misconception of what is taking place in the East. Not many years have passed since Australia sent a division of troops to Malaya which, at that time also, was regarded as our first line of defence. We all know what happened to that unfortunate division. Singapore capitulated and many hundreds of Australians, amongst whom were some friends of mine, lost their lives in the construction of the Burma railway. Yet honorable members opposite state that the sending of two battalions of Australian troops to Malaya will protect, and will preserve, our interests, and that it will make our relations with the other South-East Asian countries better than they are at present. I believe that the Government’s proposal will have tragic results for Australia. It indicates a total misconception, of the thoughts of the Asian and African people. It will do absolutely nothing to establish good relations between ourselves and the people of the East, because countries other than Malaya are affected. The people of Ceylon, India, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, and the Middle East are all concerned in the matters with which Australia itself is concerned. As soon as we commence to act as a policeman in the Pacific by sending troops to Malaya, we shall find that the hostility that is now being shown to Western influence by the South-East Asian countries will be directed against Australia itself.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- All the honeyed persuasiveness of the much respected honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) has not been able to make out a good or convincing case for the Australian Labour party’s curious attitude towards the all-important questions that have been raised in this debate. It is possible, of course, to find faults in, and omissions from, the statement that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made approximately ten days ago, but surely there will be very little dissent, if not by honorable members opposite, by the vast majority of Australian public opinion, from the main policy that was outlined by the right honorable gentleman.
It has been axiomatic for the last twenty years that Malaya has been a country of primary concern to Australia. To use an old-fashioned term, one might almost say that it has been, and will continue to he, a sphere of influence for us. The Eighth Division, to which the honorable member for Bendigo referred, was sent to Malaya in 1941, and thousands of Australians lie buried in war cemeteries throughout the peninsula and on Singapore Island. Nor is Malaya the only object of our attention. The fate of the whole of South-East Asia is bound up with our safety and well-being. That fact was implicitly recognized last year when the House ratified the Manila treaty. As we all remember, although the Opposition pitt forward two amendments to the ratifying legislation, which were rejected, it accepted the principles upon which the treaty was founded. Now, when the Prime Minister proposes to enable us better to implement the treaty in the military sense, what do we find? The most extraordinary reaction, led by the Leader of the Opposition, and supported just now by the honorable member for Bendigo, denouncing vehemently the despatch of a token force to Malaya. Such an attitude is pusillanimous, short-sighted and foolish. It will cause astonishment and dismay to our allies - to the United States of America which, more than any other power, through its generosity and unselfishness, has stopped the spread of Russian communism in Europe and has introduced stabilizing elements in East Asia; to Great Britain, which, almost single-handed, has fought Communist guerrillas in Malaya since we recovered the country from, the Japanese-, and to our three Asian partners in. the Seato treaty who, of course, are in the front line of attack.
In criticizing the despatch of troops to Malaya, the Opposition is denying the spirit of the Anzus and Manila treaties unanimously endorsed by the Parliament. What confidence can Australia’s friends place in the Leader of the Opposition’s acceptance of treaties when the first step to implement them is strongly denounced ? Labour’s attitude, I. am sorry to say, is redolent of the Little Australianism that characterized its policy, and which kept it in opposition, for all but two years during the 1920’s and the 1930’s. One had hoped that honorable members opposite had outgrown this curious complex, but to-day, despite the overt dangers with which Australia is threatened, we see them producing the same old-fashioned, unworldly, unco-operative and restrictive ideas. Opposition members have devoted considerable time during this debate to suggesting that the despatch of troops to Malaya will impair good relations between Asian countries and ourselves. That, of course, was the theme of the speech of the honorable member for Bendigo. It is unwise to be dogmatic on so difficult a question, but as one who, in common with three other honorable members, spent over four years in Malaya on active service during the last war, I should say that the attitude of the Labour party on this question is completely wrong. I believe that Australian troops will be warmly welcomed in Malaya. Both Malays and Chinese have very agreeable me7n0.ri.es of the 8th Division during those critical years between 194.1 and 1945 and, in addition, of the units of the Royal Australian Air Force that have been stationed in Malaya since. Of all European peoples, we are probably the ones that they trust most. They will remember that, during those fateful war years, and especially during the three and a half years of the Japanese occupation, we jointly participated in many clandestine acts against the common enemy. I believe that the return of our men will be hailed with delight. No sinister motives will be ascribed to their arrival. Australia has never been, after all, a colonial power in the East. Nor are our troops, in my experience, tainted in their demeanour by any suggestion of racial arrogance or condescension. They possess an innate capacity for making friends quickly. Just as ten years ago Malaya echoed to the friendly cries of “Hullo, Joe”, so, unless I am very much mistaken, our troops when they are travelling about, will experience the same reactions in 1955 and in the years to come. The Malays in particular will know that we return to defend their country and their growing independence against a vicious, ruthless, imperialism from the north, which, as any intelligent person knows, is far more absolute than any form of nineteenth century colonialism.
If the Government’s policy can be criticized, it should be not for what it. proposes, but for not promising to do more. It is proposed to send to Malaya one battalion, three air squadrons, and a few ships and to arrange for an annual visit by an aircraft carrier. Those forces, surely, are not enough. We could hardly tlo less. Should the position deteriorate, our contribution will have to be much greater. Noi- should we think in terms of Malaya alone. No one can accurately predict what may be required under Seato or Anzus, or in the course of a future war. It may be necessary for the Government to send troops to other countries in the treaty area, foi- example to Siam or North .Borneo. It may be necessary to send troops outside the treaty area, for example to Dutch New Guinea. I do not say that these possibilities are imminent, but we should bear them in mind. We shall be wise to envisage the deployment of our forces not in any static sense as being merely confined to the Malay Peninsula.
Apparently, no decision has yet been reached as to the use of Australian troops in anti-terrorist operations. I ‘do not see how we can keep Australians in barracks while British troops in the same country are engaged in eliminating the common enemy. Nobody with any knowledge of
The situation, or with their heads rightly screwed on their shoulders, believes that this is a nationalist movement of resurgent. Malays. I was sorry to hear the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. lames) utter such a fallacy this afternoon. The guerrillas are Chinese bandits, not, as the Leader of the Opposition said, descendants of colonists settled there longer than, the early colonists of Australia, and arc continually reinforced from China. And there is a constant interchange between the Chinese population in Malaya and continental China. The whole object of our despatching forces to Malaya is to withstand a southward push of communism. Therefore. I cannot see the logic of refusing to participate in the re-establishment of internal law and security in that country. Moreover, from the purely military angle, there could surely be no better experience of jungle warfare than operations in this difficult terrain. However unpalatable the fact may be, there is no substitute for action in the acquisition of military proficiency.
I hope the Government will not make the mistake of posting units to Malaya and, perhaps, other vital territories, for too long. Every one who has lived in these countries and has a knowledge of equatorial conditions is aware of their debilitating effect on people from temperate climes. Before 1939, the British War Office fell into this error with the result that in some cases the strength and efficiency of formations posted there for years became vitiated. This means, of course, the creation of a reservoir of trained man-power at home for overseas service ; but in view of the Prime Minister’s statement that we must be prepared to send two divisions to Malaya should war occur, widespread preparations must be made speedily in any case.
All these plans are being made on the assumption of substantial contributions from, our friends. The Prime Minister’s declaration of America’s attitude seems to be tremendously important. I am surprised that so few speakers in the course of this debate have alluded to it and that it has not been emphasized more in the press. Looked at within the limitations of the United States Constitution, it would be difficult for the Americans to say more than they did ; but the spirit behind the declaration seems to be quite clear - that should we become involved in general hostilities in South-East Asia, which, of course, includes Malaya, the United States will be at our side. If this deduction is correct, the Prime Minister’s visit, to America will rank not only as one of the outstanding achievements of his career, but also as a pinnacle in Australian diplomacy. Nor must we overlook the manner in which our British kinsfolk have defended Malaya, at very considerable cost, since its recovery from the Japanese. In keeping the Chinese Communists at bay, they have, in truth, been fighting for the cause of the entire free world, Western as well as Asian. But, having acknowledged this indebtedness, I trust I shall not be misunderstood if I say that millions of Australians would welcome a more active interest in East Asia by English statesmen. No one with an appreciation of the significance of these areas could have read the reports of Mr. Attlee’s speech at Ottawa on the 13th April last on the Formosa question without feelings of profound disquiet. He was reported as saying -
The defence of Formosa is not Britain’s pigeon at all.
He went on -
I am not in favour of defending Formosa. It is not even a United Nations enow. It is purely an American venture.
Later, he remarked -
The current United States China policy is a mistake.
It is reasonably clear that if the Chinese Communists persist in their uncompromising attitude over Formosa and attack the island, America appears certain to assist in its defence. It is hard to visualize that in a war of the magnitude that must result, Australia would not be involved especially when wo consider our obligations under Seato and Anzus. Naturally, we would look for British support in a theatre vital to our existence as a Pacific power. It would be a dreadful thing for the future of the British Commonwealth if Mr. Attlee’s view represented majority British opinion. I do not believe it does, any more than the views of the Leader of the Opposition reflect the opinion of the majority of Australians. The British countries, particularly the hard core - the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - must stand and act as one on this and other grave issues, otherwise the whole British Commonwealth will be imperilled. From our point of view, we should remember that three times in this century we have rallied spontaneously to the defence of British interests whenever they have been militarily challenged. Now, our own hemisphere, our own security, is directly involved. Of course, Britain’s reluctance to undertake new commitments is understandable. Its burdens since 1949 have been terrific, and its courage matchless. A third world war, waged with atomic weapons, would annihilate its cities within a few hours. To-day Britain’s strategic vulnerability is alarming. But it still retains glittering interests in Malaya, North Borneo and Hong Kong ; and it may well be that the catastrophe we all dread is just as likely to commence in the .Straits of Formosa as in Eastern Europe. Therefore, insofar as all of us are prepared to resi°t - to act in unison - the danger of the holocaust may be diminished.
Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes which are left to me, I should like to say something about the relations between ourselves and China. I believe that it is imperative for Australia’s foreign policy to be directed, in conjunction with that of our friends, to eradicating those sources of friction with China that could so easily lead to a world war. This will entail courage, firmness, preparedness, and readiness to take risks. Of course, we must never be hoodwinked by the well-known Communist technique of soft words and polite phrases while our potential adversary may be reaching for a bomb. By now, there is ample evidence tha) the Communist powers respect force and determination more than any other factor in international relations. No better example of that could be found than what has been happening in Europe within the last month, and what is true of Europe may be truer of Asia in an even greater degree. Asians respect force more than do Europeans, and, moreover, they have a more than average share of the common human failing of liking to be on the winning side.
Furthermore, we must consider the position of the overseas Chinese. They now number approximately 12,500,000. and are dispersed throughout Siam, Borneo, Malaya and Indonesia. Emotionally and spiritually, they feel themselves a part of China, irrespective of the political ideology of the Peking Government. I believe that unless the conduct of the democratic powers is unwavering, we may well forfeit their sympathy. Their defection could be fatal to our cause. Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, it is urgent that we set as one of our immediate objectives the creation of an understanding with China. It is just futile and dangerous to dismiss the Peking Government as Communists, and therefore beyond the pale. We must try to appreciate their point of view1-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I always listen to the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), as I listen to the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), with pleasure, because their speeches are invariably couched in moderate terms; but I disagree entirely with the remarks of the honorable member for Angas in this debate, and I agree practically in its entirety with what has been said by the honorable member for Bendigo. The’ lastnamed honorable gentleman has shown that the policy of the Australian Labour party, as set forth by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), has been misrepresented and misinterpreted, particularly by the leaders on the other side of the House, and those honorable member? who were recently our comrades.
I feel that I should make my position clear. I support the action of the Leader of the Opposition in this debate in every particular. That statement, of course, does not commit me to be a supporter in every respect; there is room for differences of opinion on details. But I say, quite frankly, that any former member of this party who points the finger of scorn at us, and says that we are allied with the Com.munists, or are communistically inclined is doing what lie knows to be an unchristian act. I have heard what have practically been sermons from the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Roberton) upon the Christian outlook. I feel that anybody, who reads the policy of the Labour party must recognize in it an ideal form of practical Christianity, and be prepared to acknowledge that wc forbid the Communists to be either members or friends of the party.
Some honorable members have decided to call themselves the Anti-Communist Labour party, the inference being that those of us who have not joined them must be communistically-inclined. 1 shall speak for myself. I have been a member of many Federal conferences of the Australian Labour party; I was a member of the executive; but I have never known at any period anybody with Communist ideas who could claim to have been elected a delegate to a conference, or a member of the executive. I am not suggesting that people possessing those ideas have not wormed their way into this party and other parties, but then, we hear from time to time fascist-like ideas propounded by some honorable members on the other side of the House. We are not blaming Government supporters as a. whole for that. They are not able to exclude fascistminded persons from membership of the parties to which they belong, and some ure consistently fascist in their tendencies.
I deplore the growing practice of Hinging across the floor of this chamber charges of fascism and communism. T. believe we can debate this subject very much better without such charges and counter-charges. I have been as regular in my attendance in tha chamber during this debate as any honorable member, and I have listened attentively to speeches of some government supporters in an endeavour to obtain enlightenment. The only enlightenment I have gained from the other side of the House came from the speech of a responsible Minister, who suggested that members of the Parliament should be sent to the area to which the Government proposes to despatch Australian troops.
I had the good fortune to be in Malaya for seven weeks last year, and I mixed with people from all walks of life, who were quite uninhibited in the expression of their opinions. I learnt, as I think members of the Parliament would undoubtedly learn if they went to Malaya, that the people are opposed to the intrusion of any foreign elements into the country. During my visit, they were asking to be granted selfgovernment. Since that time, they have been given the opportunity to govern themselves. Singapore then had a population of fewer than 1,250,000 persons, 887,000 of whom were Chinese, 137,000 were Malays, and 16,000 were members of the white race. I met Chinese, Malays and white people in various walks of life, and I heard no encouragement whatever for the idea that the sending of troops would be of any assistance to them.
Perhaps the Prime Minister has heard all sorts of arguments, but my memory of his record leads me to believe that he would be inclined to listen to argument in favour of the despatch of troops more than to that propounded by men like the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). Nations have tried for too long to settle their disputes by resort to arms and so much has been lost by that process that we could well resort to new ideas. It cannot be again said that countries have been won over to communism as the result of the preaching of an ideology. I do not say that it is the right ideology. I think it is the wrong ideology. But I point out that we are not opposing it with any ideology. All we do is to say in effect, “ Well, Australia has certain responsibilities in the Pacific region, Malaya is embraced in it, and we should send troops there “.
I throw no doubt whatever on the courage of the men who served there. I visited the places where they were imprisoned, and saw for myself what they must have undergone. I should not like the honorable member for Angas or any other honorable member to think that any one on this side of the House doubted, whether they did the job that they were sent to Malaya to do. Now, another job has to be done, and members of the Parliament should be chosen to do it. In my opinion, some members are talking in complete ignorance of the real situation. “When I returned to Australia, I talked to members on both sides of the House about my visit to Malaya. I did not try to keep my ideas to myself. I advocated them, and I advocate them now. I agree with the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) that- one of our first moves should be to send a parliamentary delegation to the area to which the Government proposes to despatch Australian troops. I do not agree with the suggestion made by the honorable member for Riverina that the Labour party should nominate members for appointment to the Foreign Affairs Committee. We would report to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), and he could put a report in a pigeon-hole, and forget all about it if lie did not like our ideas. But if members from both sides of the House were sent to Malaya, they would be able to report on what they actually saw there aud the people whom they met. They would not need to rely for information on newspapers and books, as many honorable members are doing at the present time. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, the British Commissioner General for South-East Asia, whose territory embraces all the countries in South-East Asia. The meeting was enlightening to me. I do not wish to quote him as having said this or that, because our discussion lasted only half-an-hour after dinner one day, but the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Fitzgerald) has quoted some of his statements which have been placed on record. They were made as recently as the 9th October, 1954. I wish to emphasize one statement of Mr. MacDonald, which was reported as follows : -
The British Commissioner General for South east Asia, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, said at Washington that the most potent weapons for fighting communism in Asia arc good wages, adequate food, social security and personal liberty.
I agree entirely with that statement. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has forcibly presented to us to-day a method of combating com- munism. We as a people have ideas on that, but under this Government we are tied to the instruments of war. Apparently we must resort to weapons and the loss of life and blood. I say that we can accomplish more by presenting to the Asian people the sort of ideas that the honorable member for Wilmot has mentioned, and in the way that he has suggested. This could be done by a moral force such as that to which he referred. T do not necessarily embrace the same ideas as the honorable member for Wilmot, but I believe that if we were to send representative men, chosen wisely, to that area, Australia would reap a great benefit. We should not choose prejudiced people to go there. I went to that area at my own expense, and with no prejudice in my mind, and while I was there I learned a great deal. I think there are a few honorable members present to whom I said, on my return, that we should try to overcome our ignorance of South-East Asia. I do not say that there was enmity towards us in the places I visited, but there was antipathy towards our sending people into their communities either for exploitation or protection. They can look after themselves, if they ur p given the opportunity to do it.
I admit that I did not get into Indonesia, because that country has an antipathy towards Australians and Europeans generally, and it is very difficult to get a passport to visit it. As the ship on which I was returning sailed one day ahead of the advertised schedule, I was unable to get a passport for Indonesia. I should like to have gone there, because, although I would not have been there long enough to have gained a very deep impression of conditions in that country,. I should have gained at least some idea of them. Since the Dutch left Indonesia the Indonesians have forgotten many things that we consider essential, such as sanitation, or so I was told by people on the passenger vessel on which I sailed.
I am in deadly earnest when I say that, I consider that the willingness of honorable members ‘ on the other side of the House to send Australian troops abroad springs from a completely outmoded idea. The Labour party feels differently on that matter. Nobody can deny whether he regards our arguments as right or wrong, that the Labour party polled at least 50 per cent. of the votes at the last general election. In Victoria last year it polled 51 per cent. of the votes but gained only thirteen seats out of 33. It is ridiculous that parties which get less than their quota of popular votes should be given the power to govern. I shall not pursue that matter further except to say, as was stated by Mr. Clarey, that the conference of the Australian Labour party at Hobart declared - Australia is, and must always remain, an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations as well as of the United Nations organization.
That cannot be emphasized too often, any more than can the idea we have that Communists cannot become members of this party. Honorable members opposite talk of using force, but they did not use much judgment when they failed early in the last war to provide Australia with the kind of defences it should have had. I was a member of the War Cabinet, in which I was associated with the right honorable member for Barton and many others, and I know how short we were of things of which we should have had plenty, and of which we would have had plenty had the right policy been followed by the Menzies Government. We had not many aeroplanes worthy of the name. The Labour party is always called upon by the people when Australia is in distress, and it became the business of a Labour government to undo the negligence of the first Menzies Government. I want to say, on behalf of Dr. Evatt, that he was not only given permission, but was also given a commission to get more aeroplanes for Australia. He got from Mr. Churchill the first Spitfires that came to this country. I went to Richmond, in my capacity as Minister for Air, when they arrived there. They were a great asset to Australia at that time, when we needed a great deal more combat aircraft than we already had.
I do not often agree with honorable members opposite, but I consider that the suggestion made by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Bostock) is well worth consideration. If this Government finally, by using its majority and ignoring the reasoned arguments advanced on this side of the House, without enmity and without calling Government supporters fascists in the way that they call us Communists, sends a force to Malaya, I consider it should not be two divisions of ground forces. It should bo, as the honorable member for Indi has suggested, out of the wisdom and long experience he gained in the Air Force, an Air Force group. That would be a much more useful force to send to Malaya, and it would extract far less from our industrial capacity than would a military force, which would require reserve troops. Australia cannot afford to act unwisely just because somebody thinks that we have now reached a state of imminent danger. I can remember, as no doubt the members of the corner party, of the Australian Country party and of the Liberal party can remember, the occasion when the Prime Minister said that war would be upon us within three years. Five years have passed since he made that prognostication. I believe that if we were to heed the arguments used by our highly respected leader, and Mr. Duthie, with whom I agree-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman has three times used the personal names of honorable members. He should refer to them by the names of the divisions that they represent in this Parliament.
– I do not remember their electorates as well as I perhaps should. I apologize if I have transgressed, but it seems to me that these are days when apologies are expected for almost anything. I wish to return to the quotation made by the honorable member for Phillip. He stated that Mr. MacDonald had said at Washington that there were essential things that were more effective than guns or planes. The essential things to which he was referring were good wages, adequate food, social security and personal liberty. There is no necessity to send men or guns or planes to Malaya, and I think it would be wrong of Australia to do so. I am quite sure that the antipathy which exists in South-East Asia against the western people would not be abated by such means. Admittedly there are some people who follow military careers, who would welcome foreign forces at any time, because the .presence of foreign troops would enhance their importance, enlarge their commands and inflate their ego. Men who have military training and are still military-minded, are arguing all the time for the despatch of foreign forces. It is time we got away from that idea. The honorable member for Wilmot has propounded to-day an ideological method of opposing communism which we might try. A suggestion which was made by an honorable member opposite, and with which I agree, is that we should select nien from each party in the Parliament, and send them to South-East Asia with (he authority of this Parliament behind them, so that they could discover what the real feeling towards us is in those countries, because it is impossible to find it out from the incomplete accounts that appear in the newspapers. I do know that when I was in Singapore there was talk of an election, and the opinion that I was given was that the people who represented the Labour view would be completely routed. But when the people had a chance to express their views, they took the opposite view and put the people with Labour ideals into office. Labour is now allied with another small party and will form the government in Singapore. The ideas propounded by these people to whom I have referred are entirely wrong.
The opinions voiced in this Parliament are given a great deal of prominence in Singapore. I remember reading in the Straits Times a report of the speech made by the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mullens) on the occasion of the visit to this country of Mr. Attlee, the Leader of the Opposition in the .United Kingdom Parliament. I do not know whether that report expanded the remarks of the honorable member, because I was not present to hear his speech.
– The honorable member did -not miss much.
– That may be so. I was .shocked when I .read at Singapore the report of the speech of the honorable member for Gellibrand, to think that one of the men who led the United Kingdom through the stress .of the .dark days ‘.of war, and who is highly respected by everybody, should ‘be belittled by a man -who relies -more on dramatic utterances than on a regard for the truth. A report of the honorable member’s remarks appeased also in the Tiger Star. I am not familiar with the views .of that newspaper, but -I understand that it its supposed to represent left-wing opinion. Evan in the newspapers that do not represent the views of the Malays and the Chinese, statements that are made in this House receive a lot of prominence. I suggest that ,we should not rely on the reports that .appear in the Malayan newspapers, but that we should send to Malaya a delegation with the authority of this Parliament behind it to gather information and to report, not to the Minister for External Affairs (Mi. Casey), but to this Parliament.
– Order ! The honorable member has exhausted his time.
.- The remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) perpetuate a type of thinking that has existed in the Australian Labour party for 50 years or more. Labour, in a spirit that was fostered in the early years of the Commonwealth of Australia when this country was protected by the British Navy and Australians were not asked to do anything in their own defence. has adopted a policy of maintaining an interest only in domestic affairs. The curious lack of modern thinking in the Australian Labour party appears to me to have continued through all the pronouncements that have been made by the party since I began to study politics. Labour members do not appear to want to think of a changing world. They imagine that they will be protected ‘by some one else and that they may pass pious resolutions about the need to assist people whose conditions of living are not as high as they should be. They will do that with great goodwill under the protection of some other power. I do not propose to devote much time to -the curious arguments that were advanced by the honorable member for Maribyrnong. ‘He appeared to suggest that Australia .’should try a completely new line of -business; that we should stop’.talking about. organizing and ‘arming .ourselves ; and that w;e should repeat the fatal experiment that was tried by the British people, and ourselves ‘.before I’91i4 and before d.939, when we gradually disarmed in the hope that possible opponents would do likewise. Of course, our possible opponents have never acted similarly. They have not the faintest intention of disarming now, and the only thing that we can do is to get on with the job of protecting Australia.
Fundamentally, the Government’s foreign policy is directed to the maintenance of Australia’s security and integrity. The few points in the Government’s policy that have been singled out for attack by members of the Australian Labour party are a clear indication that members of that party fail to look at the problem as a whole. The policy statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) dealt with many more matters than the one about which we have heard most; - the sending of a token force to Malaya to relieve a British force that is already serving there. The Prime Minister’s statement dealt with the implications of our membership of the Anzus pact and the Seato pact, under which we are obliged to take part in the defence of South-East Asia against the aggression of imperialist communism. Tlie Government’s statement, made by the Prime Minister, dealt throughout with the wide implications of our responsibilities under those treaties. It is curious and typical of Labour thinking that honorable members opposite have chosen to attack only one small item of the Government’s policy in an effort to make the whole of that policy unpopular among the Australian people. Members of the Labour party have not declared, “ We shall do our share with the other free nations of the world to defend SouthEast Asia “. On the contrary, Labour supporters have stated that they do not like the idea of sending troops to Malaya.
We witnessed a dreary performance, which lasted an hour and a half, by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), who scolded various world leaders. He stated that it was disgraceful that the leaders of Great. Britain, the United States, of America, Russia and China had not met, when it had not been possible for- them to meet. Nevertheless, he seemed to think it fitting that a prominent Australian, who on behalf of his party, disclaimed any ‘responsibility to assist in the preservation of world peace, should give the Big Four leaders a scolding and tell them what they should have done. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) made a fine, pious statement of the foreign policy that was adopted recently in Hobart by the Australian Labour party. He stated not that we must do our share as a member of the British Commonwealth and empire, the huge and beneficent organization that seeks to defend the freedom of the world, but that we are part of the great British Commonwealth and that we must always remain part of it. It seemed to be his view that the British must bear the whole burden of preserving peace, and that the Australian Labour party should do nothing to assist. He stated that Labour proposed to preserve the most friendly relations with the United States of America. On the only recent occasion on which Labour has had the opportunity to foster good relations with the United States, it told that country to get out of Manus Island and go back to the bush. That sort of talking does not receive a good reception from the American people, nor does a statement that they should bear the burden of defending South-East Asia.
Honorable members opposite have had a great deal to say about two very interesting points. In respect of one of those points, they have quoted the British High Commissioner in Malaya, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, as having stated that the most potent weapons for fighting communism in Asia are good wages, adequate food, social security and personal liberty. I do not understand how the passing of resolutions in Australia can provide high wages, good living conditions and social security for the people of South-East Asia who are in danger of attack from the imperialist regime to the north. In my time, I have been in most of the countries of Asia. I have seen those countries which have been subjected to colonial exploitation, and I have seen those interesting countries which have never been subjected to it. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that it is only in those countries where the western ideas of democracy, freedom and the dignity of the individual have been spread by western people that, so to speak, any standard of living at all exists. It would be invidious to compare conditions in various foreign countries. We have no desire to offend foreign countries in any way, but I suggest that the people who talk about the dreadful conditions in Malaya, about which I shall have something more to say in a minute, should have a look at the conditions which exist in Persia and in the Arab States along the Persian Gulf in order to see whether this dreadful colonial exploitation has really done quite so much harm as is suggested.
As a matter of fact, Malaya has the highest standard of living of all the countries of Asia. That is shown by the enormous amount of immigration there by people from India and China. They go to Malaya to get the advantage of the comparatively high standard of living there. I do not suggest that it compares favorably with ours, but it compares more than favorably with those in other Asiatic countries. Although it is perfectly true to say that we can combat this horrible Communist ideology by raising the standards of living of Asiatic nations and giving their peoples security, we cannot do that, as I said a minute or two ago, by staying in Canberra and passing resolutions.
The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), who announced his policy, and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who moved an amendment covering a very small part of that policy, have suggested that this Government has not done anything about building up goodwill for Australia in Asia, and has not taken the interest in our Asiatic neighbours that it should take. Let us have a look at those statements. Between 1946 and 1950, did the Labour Government establish a single diplomatic post anywhere in Asia? Did it make the slightest attempt to find out anything about conditions in Asia? Did it conceive any idea like the Colombo plan? Did it do anything at all to show the people of Asia that we had friendly feelings towards thera? It did not. It did establish diplomatic posts in South America., but we are not likely to be embroiled in any serious trouble with the republics of South America. It might have been worth while to fish for the support of the South American people in the General Assembly of the United Nations by establishing diplomatic posts in South America, but I do not think those posts are of any real value to the people of Australia or the peace of the world. This Government has nothing whatever to fear from any examination of its policy in Asia. Asia is the part of the world immediately contiguous to us. It is the area in which we must make our greatest efforts, and it is the area in which we are making our greatest efforts. We have established diplomatic posts there, so that we have an efficient intelligence service which tells us about the conditions existing there. We are in close touch with the peoples of South-East Asia through our diplomatic representatives.
We are trying to make a success of the Colombo plan. It has been said that the plan should go much further than it does, and perhaps it should. But the Colombo plan cannot be successful if we are working the whole time under the threat of attack and assault from the north. Our activities to defend the area so that peaceful development can take place are just as important to the welfare of the Asian peoples as is the provision of tractors, earth moving equipment and technical assistance through the Colombo plan. If we want to raise standards of living in Asia through the Colombo plan, the first requirement is that we should be able to defend the area. The provisions of the Colombo plan by which we take Asiatic students into our universities and train Asiatic technicians is a magnificent one, because it means that going back from Australia to SouthEast Asia are people who know Australians and the Australian way of life. We are conceited enough to believe that if people get to know us, they will be pretty friendly towards us. That is perfectly true. When they come to know us, they are friendly. These young men and women who are going back to work in their own countries will play an immensely important part in the operation of the foreign policy of Australia. They will spread the idea that Australians take a friendly interest in Asia. I suggest that every move that has been made to implement the foreign policy of this
Government since 1950, such as the establishment of diplomatic posts throughout South-East Asia and our activities under tlie Colombo plan, is helping to achieve a revolution in the outlook of Asian peoples towards Australia and, I really believe, also a revolution in the outlook of Australian people towards the nations just to the north of them.
I shall devote a little of my time to this business of sending a battalion of Australian troops to Malaya. A great deal of nonsense has been talked about it, so much so that anybody would think we were sending practically a half of the Australian people to die somewhere in the “wastes of the Antarctic. The British people maintain 23 battalions of troops in Malaya. The honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn) enumerated the enormous responsibilities which Great Britain has accepted in the defence of the free world. “We are one of the partners in the British Empire. “We have the word of the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) and the word of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for that. We have it from both sides of the House, yet apparently we shrink in horror from taking any part of Britain’s hurden on our own shoulders. By sending Australian troops to Malaya, we shall help the British Government, which will then be able to withdraw some British troops for return to England or for use somewhere else. The total number of troops there will not be larger than it is now.
Che argument has been put forward - if it had not been put forward so persistently, I should have regarded it as being so fatuous as not to be worth answering - that by sending Australian troops to Malaya we are delaying the grant of self-government to the Malayans. I do not believe that any sincere person on the other side of the House believes that for a moment. A long time ago, it was my good fortune to serve in the British colonial service. I did not serve in :ia. I carved in Africa, where I watched the development of a selfgoverning community, the community of Nigeria. If I were to look back on my career in the colonial service through the .eyes of honorable members opposite,
I should believe that I and those with me were a lot of exploiting, blood-sucking scoundrels who went there in order to take everything away from the people of Africa, build up for ourselves an immense fortune - which, unfortunately, I appear to have missed - and then retire, leaving the country sucked dry of everything. “When I went to Nigeria, it was a very unhealthy country. The service which I joined enabled a man to draw the maximum pension at the end of fifteen years sei’ vice. That sounds very generous. But let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the records of the Colonial Office show that, on the average, the pension was drawn for only one year and five months. Most of the men who served there were dead before they reached the age of 39 years. That does not sound like exploitation. It sounds - I suppose we were silly enough to believe such things in those days - like people going out with the idea in their heads that they would try to do something for the less fortunate peoples of the world. I make no apology for having served in the British colonial service, or for the record of British colonialism. “We have never failed to keep our word, and to give complete self-government to countries when they have developed sufficiently to be able to govern themselves. It was easy to give self-government to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Self-government came to South Africa in 1909, seven years after a bitter war. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) spoke about the bitterness left in South Africa after the South African “War, but many of us remember that South Africa fought beside us in 1914 and again in 1939 in North Africa. Self-government has now been given to India.
It is curious to me that it should have been claimed by honorable members oppo-. site that Mr. Attlee alone was responsible for giving self-government to India. From 1935 onwards, the whole effort of the British Government was directed towards preparing the way to grant selfgovernment to India. The solution of the Indian problem by dividing the land into two areas, one called Pakistan and the other called India, was no doubt due to Mr. A.ttlee but it was never questioned policy of the Conservative party, the Liberal party and the Labour party in Britain was to give self-government to India. Self-government was also given to Burma and Ceylon, to the two Rhodesias and to Nyasaland. Moreover, practically complete self-government has been given to Nigeria, fie Gold Coast and Sierra Leone. The British people have never failed to give self-government to their colonies when the colonies were ready for it.
It has been the ambition of the British Empire or the British Commonwealth, or whatever it may be called, to spread the idea of democracy throughout the world and then make democracy possible. It is the easiest thing in the world to say that the British have kept the colonies waiting for self-government, but a very wise man - perhaps even a statesman - Mr. Herbert Morrison, said : -
To give native people self-government before they axe ready for it is like giving a child a pen and a cheque book.
That puts my argument very concisely, and that has been my own experience during my service in the colonies. Indeed, I have seen a country develop until it became ready for selfgovernment. To argue that because, in concert with our closest allies, the British, and in agreement with America, we are sending troops to a strategic outpost of defence in South-East Asia, in order to stop self-governmen.t being granted to Malaya, is merely purile By so doing we shall accelerate the granting of selfgovernment to Malaya. Again I remind honorable members that we have, never failed to grant self-government wherever it has been possible to do so.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
Mr ALLAN FRASER (Eden Monaro) fS.O] . - This debate has produced, in the House, the sharpest clash on foreign policy since the conscription debate of 1916. The Government’s enthusiasm for sending troops to Malaya is as strong as the Australian Labour party’s objection to that course. But it seems to me that the debate has also revealed the fact that all honorable members are fully in agreement on the aims of Australia’s foreign policy. If we were asked what was the common aim of Australia’s foreign policy, the obvious answer would be that it is to maintain peace. But, of course, that is an over-simplification. The policy of maintaining peace at any price, involving unconditional surrender to an invader, is unthinkable. The debate has made it clear that all of us are agreed that the aim of our foreign policy is the maintenance of peace on. certain conditions, which I would enumerate as being the maintenance of our independence, the honouring of our obligations to our friends, and the safeguarding of our future security. It can then truly be said that Australia’s foreign, policy is pure. We have not any ambitious ruler who is seeking to extend his domain; we have no large foreign investments in rubber, oil, or anything else, that we need to defend ; and we have no wish to appropriate land belonging to any one else, because we have a whole continent of our own with too few people yet to develop it.
It may be that other nations cannot make the same claim to disinterestedness in foreign policy that Australia can make. The policies of other countries may he due, to some degree, to a mixture of motives, but, generally speaking, it is true that the aim of the Western nations as a whole is simply to maintain peace with honour and security, and without any aggressive intent towards any one else in the world. If the peoples of Africa and Asia do not readily believe that this is true of Western foreign policy, they can scarcely be blamed, because this re-birth of European foreign policy is very recent indeed. The days of secret alliances to overthrow neighbouring powers, of territorial aggression, and of reckless colonialism are just behind us. A mighty effort might be needed to convince all Asian and African peoples of the purity of Western motives, but of the purity of Australian motives there ought to be no doubt, for the reasons that I have stated. We know that, not only Australia, but also the whole of the Western world has been compelled to revise its ideas on foreign policy because of the changed nature of war itself. Various other factors, doubtless, have contributed to our enlightenment, but the driving force that has compelled us to change our aim. and our ideas, of foreign policy has been the invention of terrifying nuclear weapons, the explosion of one of which could kill 1,000,000 human beings. As we know, and as we have been warned, it is possible that nuclear weapons might destroy even the world itself, or at the least that an end could be put to modern civilization as we know it, and that, for uncounted generations to come, they may be responsible for the birth of misshapen bodies and idiot minds.
Only the word “ war “ remains the same; the thing itself has changed entirely. Whereas, yesterday, war, although it might have meant death or wounds, meant also glory, comradeship, heroism, sacrifice, martial music and rows of decorations, to-day it means only blind insensate horror. It is that realization that has changed almost overnight the thinking of the ordinary people on the subject of war, even if it has not brought about a corresponding change of the thinking of those who lead the governments of the Western countries, or of all countries. The glory and adventure of war have gone, and with them have gone forever, except perhaps from the back benches of the Parliament, the narrow patriotism which counted one Englishman as being superior to three foreigners, and which expressed itself in such vainglorious songs as those that roused the rafters in the music halls. To-day, there is such horror and such dread of war among the ordinary people of this country as leads to the often heard opinion that now anything is better than war, that peace at any price is justified.
– Does the honorable member think that?
– I do not think that, but I do say that, assuredly, that viewpoint has a validity to-day that it did not possess in the past. Arguments may be presented for that point of view to-day which never could have been presented previously. Until now, war certainly could always be justified, despite its tragedy and suffering, by the argument that it was the only way in which to defend human values, to maintain individual freedom, and to preserve the human spirit. Thus, during World War L, it was possible to say with truth that the war was being fought to make the world safe for democracy, and to make it fit for heroes to live in. Despite the tremendous advance in weapons of destruction, it was still possible to say exactly the same thing during World War LI. We believe, indeed, that as a result of the sacrifices of World War II.. the world was saved from an exceedingly vile form of tyranny which was the enemy of all human values. With the advent of nuclear weapons, it is no longer possible to make that claim in justification of war. To-day, there is no assurance that even human decency would still exist on the earth after a fullscale hydrogen bomb war. The terrifying power and destructiveness of such weapons are being developed almost daily, and the point has been reached at which the scientists have told us to expect, within a handful of years, an aeroplane travelling at 10,000 miles an hour, guided automatically, and carrying to a certain target a bomb which could destroy every human being in the area in which it landed. That being so, it is no longer possible to make the claim that war may successfully be fought for the preservation of human values.
In this dread situation, it is not strangethat a large number of men and women should be turning to pacifism. That tendency has been intensified by the new view of scientists, which has been made public recently, that atomic radiation may either bring a lingering death to the human race, or turn it into a race of monsters deformed alike in body and mind. If pacifism could ensure the preservation of those values which distinguish man from the animals, the dread nature of Avar to-day would make an extraordinarily strong case for it.
– Is the honorable member a pacifist?
– But the Australian aborigines learned long ago that to stand helpless before an invading force gives no protection, and affords no safety, but that it may be the prelude to degradation and extermination. That is the answer I give to that interjection. I cannot be a pacifist in that sense, for the reasons that I have tried to outline to the House. We may long for peace Avith a deep passion, and we may abhor war utterly, but, while the peoples behind the iron curtain stand armed, and while their intentions are unknown to us, we have no alternative but to maintain our defences while we seek with them the agreement that will lead to disarmament and eventual brotherhood. No one in the House can say with certainty whether the Soviet, leaders have a deliberate intention to unleash a third world war. The public opinions of the leading statesmen, diplomats and generals differ upon that point. We know that we want peace, but do they? We simply do not know. Are they implacably committed to the doctrine chat they can only maintain their own totalitarian system by destroying the capitalist powers? We do not know. We do know the written argument of their prophets of former years which might lead us to the belief that war is their intention. But to what extent have their views been changed, as ours have, by the new knowledge that war oan no longer bring victory but only death? When rulers have driven their people for 40 years, as the Soviet’ rulers Iia ve done, to build a vast new social and economic structure it is difficult to believe that they would now deliberately take the step of war which must, overnight, lay in waste everything their people have striven to achieve. To do that the Soviet leaders would need to be not only the vilest criminals but also criminal lunatics.
There is abundant evidence that the Communist leaders are determined to spread their doctrine throughout the world and to bring ever new lands under the Communist sway. There can be no doubt about that. But there is insufficient evidence that they intend to do so by deliberately launching war on the nonCommunist countries. There is, indeed, some evidence - certainly it is of doubtful value - in the reports of continuous peace campaigns and peace demonstrations inside the Communist countries, and in the reports that the Soviet Government continues to build great skyscrapers in its principal cities. That does not appear to be the behaviour of men who intend to bring about an atomic holocaust. Though we cannot say with certainty whether the Communist leaders plan to unleash war on the world, we can say with certainty what should be our attitude towards the Communist peoples and their leaders. At least, I can be certain myself on that point. Here, indeed, our choice appears to be fairly simple and obvious. If we act on the assumption that the Communist leaders are determined to launch a war, then all negotiation with them is useless. If they are, indeed, such criminal lunatics as to bring such mass destruction upon the world, we cannot prevent them from doing so. If we were certain that such was their intention then there would be logic in the view attributed to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) that we should strike first. But as each side already has a stockpile of weapons sufficient to put civilization in ruins there would, to-day, be no hope n von in that course.
The only hope therefore seems to repose in the possibility that the Soviet leaders either do not plan a third world war or may be deterred from proceeding with such a plan. The method open to us for such purpose appears to be, while maintaining our formidable defences, to demonstrate by every means our goodwill and peaceful intentions, to be ready to take every opportunity for negotiation and to bring our adversaries to the conference table with us and keep them there so long as any way remains open for co-existence with progress towards disarmament. All this seems to lead to a point the importance of which is not sufficiently recognized. Let it be agreed that if a third world war came all the human values which we cherish might perish for a thousand years in that struggle. But let it also be recognized that if a permanent peace settlement with the Communist countries could be made to-morrow, the struggle with communism for the preservation of those values would still go on. It would have nothing to do with the effecting of a military peace settlement with them. The Communist battle to subject and imprison the minds of men is ceaseless and never ending. It is inevitable. That is the real struggle in which we are engaged. It is. a struggle in which bombs and swords are not the weapons; but it is one in which we are engaging only half-heartedly. It is in this respect that this debate has revealed the great difference between the outlook of Government supporters and that of members of the Labour party. The viewpoint of Government supporters appears to be, almost solely, reliance upon massive armaments and upon the use of the language of hatred and hostility towards the Communist countries. Labour members, while recognizing the necessity in the present situation for armaments, place far more reliance than do Government supporters upon the avoidance of war by the display of peaceful intentions, the cultivation of peaceful relations and the promotion of good understanding which is essential for co-existence in one world.
The number of terrorists in the jungle of Malaya is 5,000. The number of men already in uniform in Malaya arrayed against them runs into hundreds of thousands. Two things are clear. The addition of 1,000 Australian troops will not turn the scale in that struggle. The 5,000 terrorists could not continue to exist without substantial support from the people of Malaya. Some days ago a Malayan planter arrived in Australia. He was a brave man who had withstood the terrorists, whilst he had seen heavy casualties amongst his fellow planters. He applauded the decision to send Australian troops to Malaya. He declared that they would be feted and welcomed as no other troops had been welcomed in that country, and that they would be given terrific hospitality by Malayan planters. Then he said - I thought that this was significant - that while the ranks of the terrorists were being reduced in the jungles the numbers of Communists were being daily reinforced in the cities, towns and villages of Malaya by the constant conversion of new recruits to communism.. So, while the military struggle against the terrorists proceeds in the jungle and the Communists are defeated there, their numbers grow behind the lines in the towns and villages where the Communist agitators are successful. While the arrival of Australian troops in Malaya may delight the hearts of a few thousand European planters, will it be welcomed by the native population? Will such a move be welcomed by the Malayan people?
– The other day a Malayan student in a letter that was published in the Sydney Morning Herald also said “ Yes “ to that question. He said that it was quite untrue to say that the Malayan people would not welcome Australian troops and he gave reasons for making that statement. However, two days later a letter was published in the same newspaper signed by 26 Malayan students in this country, who understand our way of life, in which they, warned us most emphatically that the people of Malaya would most bitterly resent the arrival of Australian troops in that country. If we propose to send Australian troops to Malaya, let us realize that we have not the consent of the Malayan people to do so but by such action will arouse their bitter resentment. Let us be clear that the sending of 1,000 Australian troops to Malaya will not mean for us success in the battle against the 5,000 terrorists in that country but will, indeed, be a signal defeat for us in the battle for the minds of the Malayan people. If we are to send two divisions which, with ancillary personnel, will involve 70,000 troops, let us realize that implicit in that proposal is conscription for military service overseas, which is repugnant to the Australian tradition. We must realize that if we send troops to Malaya it is possible that they could he by-passed. Indonesia, for instance, could turn Communist without a blow being struck. Let us realize also that an atom bomb or a hydrogen bomb could be transported above the heads of those troops, and flown to Australia to destroy their families while the troops stood helpless in Malaya.
.- The speech of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) was, on the whole, moderate, and by no means typified many of the speeches that have been made in this long debate. We are now considering an amendment to the motion that the paper be printed, submitted by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) on behalf of the Opposition. The general effect of the amendment is that we should not send Australian forces to Malaya.
The debate, I think, has been notable for the display of a lack of realism on the part of most members of the Opposition, which extends to what has been happening in Malaya and what has been happening in Asia generally, and in respect of the whole defence problem.
I like to believe that I adopt a modest attitude towards the things which I might be expected to know a little about, and I do not think I break that reputation when I say that I believe I know, and have had personal experience of Asian peoples, possibly to an extent greater than at least most members of the Opposition. I spent two years living and working on the Asian mainland in a position of some little responsibility. I have been to Singapore and Malaya at least twenty times, and I have been a great many times to every other part of free Asia. So I think that unless I am peculiarly stupid, I should at least be able to claim that I know a little bit about Asia, and how the Asian mind works.
With that modest beginning, let me ask the House a question. What is the situation in the area to our north? We. have seen in recent years Communist aggression, first in Korea, and then in Indo-China, and now aggression, in words at any rate, in respect of Formosa and the Formosan Straits. Always one at a time! The history of the past 30 years - the last generation - in respect of communism generally has been a continuous one of two steps forward by the Communists, and one step back. The one step back is a notable part of the technique of communism in world affairs. In other words, smooth your potential opponent with soft words, and when he is smoothed, strike. This, I believe, is one of the periods of smooth words. But I suggest that we should not by any means ignore the proven history of the last 30 years, and the 600,000,000 people who have been ensnared by communism during that time. If we did so, we should be foolish indeed.
What is the position in Malaya? There are, roughly speaking, 35,000 British troops, 75,000 police - largely Malays - and something like 100.000 part-time police and home-guard. What are they doing? What are they there for? One does not have a force of 250,000 men unless some very real reason exists for itThe real reason for it is that the Communists have conducted in Malaya in the last six, seven or eight years one of the most abnormally successful pieces of cold war that the world has ever known. As honorable members know, and have said repeatedly, there are only approximately 5,000 Chinese Communist bandits, or terrorists, in the jungle. Do honorable members have to stop to think that if 5,000 men can hold up, roughly speaking, 250,000 men - not all of them are engaged full time, but the force is very, very large - is it not possible to double, treble or even quadruple the jungle terrorist menace? It is perfectly simple ! Anybody who has flown over the Malayan jungle knows that it is a very, very big place. At the right time, and probably timed so as to be in line with aggressive operations elsewhere, the Malayan terrorist jungle problem could he stepped up, I suggest without exaggeration, ten times with, I believe, success equivalent to that which the Communists have had in the past - that is to say, an equivalent degree of increased menace.
The British do not keep 35,000 troops aud large numbers of full-time police, part-time police and home guard sitting about just for nothing. Such forces are not maintained solely by reason of those 5,000 men in the jungle. There is a little conscious and common-sense precaution against the future.
What else is happening in the area, to our north? We know that there are approximately 1,000,000 Americans in the three fighting forces, mostly not on the Asian mainland, but in the islands, to the east of the mainland, and something like 50,000 French troops. The American troops and the British troops are what members, of the Opposition would call conscripts. They are men who are enlisted for a short period of years. They have to serve. . They have been taken from industry and from the universities and have been sent 5,000 or 10,000 miles from their homes. What to do? To protect themselves? No! They are to protect democracy in this part of the world.
– Is the Australian Government going to do that?
– I am just telling the House what other people are doing, and I am about to tell the honorable gentleman about the reaction on the minds of the Americans and the British when they read the reports of the speeches that have been made by Opposition members who, if they had the power, would refuse to send a single Australian beyond our shores. Does the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) know what is being said in private in the United States and Britain to-day? I shall tell him. It is said that we are perfectly ‘willing - or at least the Opposition in this country is perfectly willing - to let Australia be defended by the young men of America and Britain who have been conscripted and sent up to 10,000 miles from their homes, while we sit at home and, practically speaking, not an Australian is beyond our shores. Those things are being said to-day. They have been said in the past, and they will be said again, very properly, with greater force, when the reports of this debate reach the United States and Great Britain. They will not be said of this Government, because we have said the very reverse.
We have to ask ourselves this question : Is Australia more safe or less safe by reason of the fact that there are 1,000,000 Americans, 35,000 British troops, probably 150,000 Malays and 50,000 French troops away to our north helping to cope with the Chinese Communist terrorist menace in the jungle? Are we more safe or are we less safe? Of course, we are more safe, and it will be a matter of shame if Australia does not play its reasonable and proper part with its democratic friends in providing some bulwark between Australia and the millions of mobilized Communist Chinese if and when they decide to march south.
– If the Minister believes that, why do we not land in China?
– Because we are not fools. There are many other reasons, hut that is the main reason.
– It is not a reason. It is an assertion.
– Yes, indeed ! It is not an admission, either. The Leader of the
Opposition and some of his friends haw said that the despatch of Australian troops to Malaya would cause resentment there. They go by the say-so of a few immature Malay or Chinese boys in some Sydney place of education. I have: been to Malaya and .Singapore and have talked to all and sundry. A few months ago all the newspapers there bore streamer headlines across their pages announcing that Australian forces were to come in the next week or the next few months. It was taken for granted at that time that Australian forces were coming to Malaya. It so happened that no positive decision had actually been made, but any reasonable person reading Malay or Singapore newspapers at that period would have thought that a decision had been made and that the troops were practically on the way. That went on for months and months. During all that period there was not a single word of resentment or remonstrance in Malaya or Singapore. Since then, of course, there has been an election in Singapore and since everybody knew for certain during the election campaign that Australian forces were to come to Malaya, that position could very well have been made an election gambit, if there had been any resentment on the part of any responsible or large section of the Malayan community. It was not mentioned in the election campaign. I have talked with, not only the British authorities in Singapore and in Kuala Lumpur, but also representative Chinese. I have talked, I suppose, with at least twenty people of different occupations and status in life about this matter, and I did not get from any one of them expressions of anything other than relief that the forces coping with the Communist Chinese menace in the jungle were to be reinforced. The right honorable gentleman says, with his forensic tongue on his forensic cheek, that the sending of a few thousand Australians to Malaya will delay Malayan independence. What complete nonsense! The only thing that stands in the way of Malayan independence, and menaces it, is communism. If the emergency in Malaya were declared to have ended,, which it has not been, even by the incoming Labour government in Singapore, and if by some miracle the British troops were to be withdrawn from Malaya, that would be the end of any possibility of independence for Malaya, because then there would be nobody to keep the Communists in check. The Malayan people themselves have not thu forces to replace the British troops. If the British troops withdrew, the whole of Malaya would be laid open and bare to the savage ravages of the Chinese Communist bandits from the jungle, and that would be the end of any hope of Malayan independence. The right honorable gentleman implies that that is not really so, and that the Chinese Communist bandit menace in the jungle consists of what he euphemistically calls “guerrillas”. Guerrillas? Nonsense! They are terrorists and bandits by any proper description. The right honorable gentleman tries to lead the Australian public to believe that the rebels in Malaya are a nationalist movement. He did not use that specific term, but with all the forensic ability at his command he has attempted to lead the public to believe it. They are no more of a nationalist movement than my foot! They are regarded as a national menace in Malaya despite what is said by a few disgruntled honorable members opposite. When politics come into the picture, men express opinions that are not necessarily their ren.1 opinions.
There will be nothing but satisfaction over the arrival of Australian troops in Malaya. The Leader of the Opposition says that the sending of our troops to Malaya will be a provocation to Communist China. A couple of thousand Australians, added to 35,000 British troops already in Malaya, are going to provoke the millions of China into fear that we are going to attack them! All the claims that the sending of our troops to Malaya will be unpopular in that country are a farrago of nonsense. All the talk about resentment against our troops, and about the presence of our troops there being a menace to Malayan independence, is so much complete balderdash, spoken for party political purposes here in Australia, and I hope that the Australian public will not be fooled by it. In this debate the Labour Opposition - I. speak of the Opposition immediately to the south of me, and not to the southwest
-That gallant band !
– Yes, that gallant band of men who have the courage of their convictions, and are not going to be intimidated and made to say things that they do not believe in their hearts. In this debate the right honorable gentleman, and a number of his friends who sit immediately to the south of him, have gone to some trouble to defend themselves against the charge of isolationism on the one hand, and communism on the other hand. Isolationism is a. rather difficult charge to rebut for any one who has the record of the right, honorable gentleman and those honorable members who sit behind him. We have only to think back to 1940 when there was not an Australian serviceman beyond the shores of Australia. Wc have only to think of the attitude of the right honorable gentleman to Nato and Seato, and in this present situation, when, he objects to one fighting man being sent beyond the shores of Australia. In those circumstances, isolationism is a charge that is rather difficult for him to combat. As far as the charge of communism is concerned, I do not suppose that honorable members of any importance among those who sit behind the Leader of the Opposition, or any of the sane honorable members among them, are Communists in the technical sense of being members of the Communist party.
– That is very generous of you.
– Generous, perhaps. Generosity and modesty are qualities that I claim. I do not think, however, that anybody means that they are actually Communists. I think, however, that people believe that there is a certain softness and tolerance shown towards communism, in the record of things written down and engraved in people’s memories, on the part of the Opposition, perhaps on the part of the Leader of the Opposition in particular, whose record in this regard was outlined by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) a few nights ago. Those are facts that cannot be got over, and they must create at least a grave suspicion in the minds of the public that there is a little bit too much tolerance and sympathy towards communism on the part of the Opposition. 1 believe myself that the simple fact is that the right honorable gentleman and a proportion, if not all, of those honorable members who sit behind him, can never quite rid their minds of the fact, - and it is a fact - that after all, when everything has been said and done and washed up, communism is the only ideology that has disposed finally and completely of private enterprise, the only ideology that has, in fact, achieved socialism. I think there is a great deal of evidence that these considerations are right at the back of the right honorable gentleman’s mind, and blunt his teeth and his tongue when he acts or speaks against those people.
I think that the things I have said can be said justly. I have used the language of moderation in speaking about them. J. think that people are impressed by what has been said in this debate. As the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce) has pointed out, the statements made in this debate by honorable members opposite bear the closest possible resemblance to the authorized Communist slogans circulated here and in other countries. Indeed, they show a remarkable resemblance to the things painted upon walls in the capital cities, surreptitiously in the dead of night by men with handkerchiefs tied round their faces. The Communist slogans painted on walls, and the things said by many honorable members opposite to-night, are much the same. There are many honorable gentlemen opposite who do not believe the things said on their behalf, but who have not the resolution to join this courageous band to the south-west.
I do not suppose that the Leader of the Opposition has been to Laos, Cambodia, Burma, or Thailand, and may not even have been to Malaya for that matter. I suggest that he go to these places and talk to the people in authority there, as well as to the ordinary people. Let him wave before them the United Nations Charter, and tell them that that is their defence. He will see then what sort of sympathetic reception he will get. People who feel the hot breath of communism on the backs of their necks are not the people to talk to about the United Nations Charter. Of course the United Nations Charter is all right, and many good things can be said about the United Nations, but a charter is not something that can be invoked in order to stop a rapacious invader. People talk about peace. What is the use of merely talking about peace? Do not all people want peace for themselves and their children? But what is the good of talking about it only? We have to do something about it. We, as a government, will go into every form of peaceful negotiation that is humanly possible, and thai shows the slightest chance of being fruitful, but at the same time we are going to make allies of our principal and strong friends, and maintain our defences in the strongest possible form, so that if thi picture of the past projects itself into the future, and aggression does come, we shall have some means of combating it like men. At the moment, if any one were to believe that the Opposition spoke for any responsible number of Australians, I should feel very ashamed indeed. In fact. T. will say this, that if wo do not play our part in the situation ahead of us, we can forget once and for all the proud boast that many of us have made in the past, that Australia is never a liability in peace or war to its friends. We can forget that, and turn our faces to the wall.
-Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
– I should not have spoken a second time in this debate had it not been for the example of the Minister for External Affairs (Air. Casey), who spoke, once on the general question and who now has spoken to th, amendment, to the limits of which, oi’ course, I am restricted. The Minister did not limit himself very much. He dealt with themes such as communism and isolationism. Therefore, I crave the indulgence of the House to answer his arguments. The Minister will not faceup to the real question. He knows perfectly well that the authorities on Malaya are persons such as Purcell, Bartlett and Mr. Justice Douglas, of the United States Supreme Court. Opposition members have quoted from the experiences and opinions of those experienced observers time and again. The opinions about Malaya expressed by those authorities are a thousand times more important than are those of the Minister. The
Minister talked of isolationism. He has never been prepared to rid himself of the ideology of 50 years ago. It is perfectly true that during the last days of the old British Government in India he occupied a position in that country. But his experience in that post does not help him in his approach to Asian questions. The position is rather the contrary. It was people such as the Minister who resisted the claims of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Indonesia to selfgovernment.
– I rise to order. The right honorable gentleman has made statements that are completely contrary to the facts.
– That is not a point of order.
– The Minister may make a personal explanation at the appropriate time if he has been misrepresented.
– The tone of the Minister’s remarks accorded with the description that I have given. He is steeped in the old colonialism, and holds the same point of view as was expressed by Sir Winston Churchill, who, until recently, was the leader of the Conservative Government in the United Kingdom. Sir Winston, on one occasion, stated that he did not become Prime Minister during the war to preside at the liquidation of the British Empire. He referred to selfgovernment and independence for India when he uttered those words. One cannot blame that great war-time leader for his romantic approach to these questions, for he looked back to the old days when lie served as a subaltern in India, to the days when tribesmen from time to time interfered with the authority of government in the Khyber Pass. Indeed, Sir Winston looked back to the beginnings of his own distinguished war record. He simply could not face up to the fact that a new spirit had entered into the world. That spirit firmly abides in the world to-day.
Let me say what that spirit was, because it is the essence of the problem of Malaya. The spirit to which I refer is embodied in the demands of Asian peoples^ - indeed, of people all over the world, whatever their colour or creed - for complete self-government. But the question does not begin and end with their demand. It embraces also our promise. The Minister for External Affairs, on behalf of the Curtin Government, on the 1st January, 1942, signed in the United States of America the document that is known as the Atlantic Charter. That charter pledged all the signatories, including Australia, to move towards self-government and. independence for undeveloped countries throughout the world. It was the Atlantic Charter in name, but it applied to all nations. However, the promise did not end there. When the United Nations organization was formed in 1945, that approach was debated by 45 nations, all of which had signed tie charter. Self-government and independence were not merely privileges to be granted to the peoples of Asia, and of other parts of the world. They were rights that the peoples of the world could claim. The promise was subject to this qualification: Self-government must be granted at the proper time. The proper time is not the time at which, in the opinion of the external governing authority, the right of self-government should be given. The proper time is the time at which the people who are to have selfgovernment are fit to administer their own government. That is the position in Malaya. Can any one doubt it?
Can the Minister seriously claim that, he knows more about Malaya than do people, such as Purcell, who have lived there? Purcell was director of information for Malaya during World War II., and was responsible for broadcasts to all the countries of South-East Asia that were occupied by the Japanese. He pronounced to the peoples of that area the promise that was embodied in the Atlantic Charter. He said, in effect, “ Do not take any notice of the Japanese. They promise you self-government and they talk of a co-prosperity sphere. Churchill and Roosevelt have promised self-government to you, and you will get it “. That is pointed out by Purcell in his book on Malaya. Government supporters have not attempted to demolish the simple, plain fact that those promises were made. I admit that there is a steady approach towards self-government in Malaya, but the Malayan people are the ones who should judge whether the rate of progress is satisfactory.
What are the facts about the internal situation in Malaya? There is some dispute about the number of guerrillas and of troops there, but there is no real dispute about the facts. No one suggests that the guerrillas or bandits number more than 5,000 persons. The Minister stated the other day that a limited percentage of them were not of the Chinese nice. He did not mean that the Chinese had been brought from red China to serve in the guerrilla forces. They must have local support in Malaya. The honorable member for “Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) stated that there are 5,000 guerrillas still fighting. A. number of them are young people, and, according to reports in the London Times, the bandit forces occasionally include women and girls who give active help in the fighting. The organized military forces that are opposed to the bandits are, according to my figures, more than 350,000 strong. The Minister put the number at approximately 200,000. l.t is true- that the addition of a mere 1,000 Australian troops will not aggravate that situation, but that is not the point. “When the Malayan people witness the arrival of overseas forces on their soil they will either welcome the incursion or they will oppose it. “Why can their attitude not be determined? The Minister for External Affairs suggests that the people of Malaya will welcome the sending of Australian troops to their country, but in another place a distinguished senator stated that the Minister had told him–
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman may not refer to proceedings in another place.
– Let mc say that it was stated that the Minister-
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman may not get out of it in that fashion.
– Then I shall not get into it. Let nae put the matter positively. The Minister has produced no evidence that the Government’s proposals have been approved by representative bodies in Malaya. He evidently can forget about a few Malayan students in Australia. One of those students wrote a letter to a newspaper stating that the sending of Australian troops to Malaya would be a good thing. The following day about 25 Malayan students wrote to the newspaper to express the opposite view. I do not suppose that that is a decisive determination, but it has not been contradicted. In general, the Malayan students of whom the Minister, in continuance of a. policy that the former Labour Government enunciated, approves and whom he welcomes to study in Australia, oppose the proposal, but that is not the test. I am sure that the ordinary people of Malaya and of Singapore would come to the same conclusion and would oppose the Government’s plan.
The Minister for External Affairs stated that he has been twenty times to Singapore. I have no doubt that that is so. But what happens when he goes there ? He, like other official visitors, is whisked away from the airport to meet the governing men, who are all very able in their way. He does not meet the ordinary people of Malaya and Singapore. He cannot speak their language, and he does not pretend that he can speak it. The ordinary people of the country to which the troops are to be sent should determine whether they are welcome. In these days the minimum requirement for the sending of Australian forces to another land is the express invitation of the people of that country to us to send troops there. Has there been any such invitation in this instance? Of course not. It has not even been suggested. Then how did the proposal come to be made? What is the arrangement for the despatch of troops to Malaya ? When was it made ? It had nothing to do with Seato. That is perfectly plain from the Prime Minister’s speech. Seato was not approached until after the arrangement had been made. The Government said, “We had better let Seato know what we are doing “.
– That is not true at all.
– Please do not interrupt me. I shall have to raise a point of order if the interruptions continue.
Mr. Casey interjecting.
– -Order! I ask the Minister for External Affairs to maintain order.
– I say that Seato was informed as an afterthought. It is quite clear from a fair reading of the Prime Minister’s speech that the letter to Seato was sent after the Prime Minister had made his announcement in this country on the 1st April. On the 7th April, a letter was sent to Seato, to which the reply was, “This is all right; wo do not object to it “. That is all that Seato did say. Similarly, there was no prior arrangement with the United States. That also is perfectly plain from the Prime Minister’s speech. What the Americans have said, in effect, is, “ If yon are going on with this business in Malaya, we think it is all right. We shall try to provide modern equipment - equipment which you should have anyhow if you have spent your hundreds of millions of pounds properly”. That is all the Americans have said. I am quite certain, that the policy of the United States is that not a single American serviceman will be sent to Malaya. That is not denied. We remember that President. Eisenhower said that not a single American soldier would be sent to IndoOhina after the Viet Nam. settlement.
I believe that the speeches made by honorable members on this side of the House in connexion with the despatch of Australian troops to Malaya, have impressed the public of Australia, and they should have impressed honorable members opposite. Those speeches have not been replied to. The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr, Drakeford), a former Minister for Air, and the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), to refer to only two of the honorable members on this side of the House who have spoken, have explained the proper approach to this problem. Although the guerrilla warfare in Malaya has gone on for five or six years, we are in exactly the same position now as we were at the beginning. There were 5,000 bandits then, and there are 5,000 now. Is it going on until every one of them has been killed? I say there must be an amnesty. When a distinguished Malayan offered to negotiate an amnesty with these people on terms satisfactory to the military authorities, he was refused permission to do so. I say that ought to be attempted. Until it is attempted, a lot will remain to be done.
That is not disputed. My colleague the honorable member for Wilmot referred to a similar problem that arose in the Philippines, when guerrilla warfare was waged by forces which originally had been resistance forces in the struggle against Japan. The Communists got control of them.
It is correct to say that the choice for the Malayans is complete self-government within the British Commonwealth or a Communist regime. The Labour party pledges itself to support complete selfgovernment for- them, as it supported self-government for the Indians. Some authors say that the chief psychological, ideological and military bastions against, the advance of communism in SouthEast Asia are the self-governing countries, India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon a and Indonesia. Those countries have achieved complete self-government, and T believe they are the main bulwarks against communism in Asia. Malaya, also, must he made into a bastion, but. it seems to me that it would be provocative to send Australian troops there, especially under a plan to increase the force in war-time to two divisions, with, I presume, supporting troops. I do not say that the number is important. What is important is Australia’s approach to Asia, and I say that that is the wrong approach.
The honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Brown) said that the Labour Government did not appoint diplomatic representatives in Asia. What nonsense! We had diplomatic representatives in every country with which we had diplomatic relations. We sent an Australian High Commissioner to England, which a Liberal party government did not do. We had representatives in Japan. We established bodies such as the South Pacific Commission.
Mr. Casey interjecting,
– The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) showed that the statement to the contrary was completely incorrect and false. When the Menzies Government left office in 1940. and the Curtin Government succeeded it, the strength of the Australian diplomatic corps was about 40 people. When we had finished the job of appointing Australian diplomatic representatives all over the world, the strength was about 600 people. It has been increased since then by only a comparatively few men. So much for that argument. However, that matter is only incidental to the real issue.
I should have thought that the events of World War II. showed that it would be madness to station our forces so far away from Australia. Armies are far more mobile to-day than they were in the past. Australian troops in Australia could be sent to any part of the Pacific within a day. Our forces in Singapore were lost because a Liberal party government wanted to send the returning divisions of the Australian Imperial Force to Surma, instead of bringing them back to Australia, as the Labour party demanded. That is one illustration of the danger of working on the theory that if we send our forces 2,000 miles away from Australia, a war will be kept away from our shores. We have seen how unsound that theory is. During the last war, Australian troops were sent to places thousands of miles away from this country, and while they were engaged there, the enemy came to the very gates of Australia. Our efforts to resist the enemy were not helped by the Curtin Government’s predecessor, which had left Australia in a condition of shocking unpreparedness.
Mr. Casey interjecting ,
– The Minister can say what he likes. He contradicted a statement to the effect-
– He cannot help it; he is full of grog.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman will resume his seat. I heard a statement that a certain person was full of grog. I want to know who made it.
– I did.
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) will withdraw and apologize to the House.
– I do so.
– I was referring to the Minister’s denial of the fact that the shortage of aeroplanes in this country was so shocking in early 1942 that the Curtin Government sent me on a special mission overseas to get the necesary aircraft. That is a matter of record. Everybody knows it. If the Minister denies that, he will deny anything. I say that the policy we should adopt is one of selfgovernment for Malaya. We have got to establish peaceful relations with the Asians, but that does not mean that we must abandon our defences. It is nonsense to suggest that it does. Fancy this Government talking about the defence of Australia! A previous Liberal party government left us practically undefended.
– I rise to order. An honorable member made a remark about another honorable member, to which you gave some publicity, Mr. Speaker, by repeating the remark. I consider, and so, I assure you, do the majority of Government members, that a withdrawal was inadequate. Will you name the honorable member?
– No. The honorable member for East Sydney withdrew the remark and apologized to the House.
– I rise to order. Is it a fact that on a previous occasion when a similar accusation was made in this House, you said, Mr. Speaker, that if such an accusation were made again, it would not be sufficient for the honorable member concerned to withdraw it? Is that so?
– That was a long time ago, and in another Parliament. This is the first occasion on which the matter has arisen for some time. The House can take note of it if it likes, but I have accepted the apology.
– Unfortunately the time taken up by these points of order cannot be added to the time at my disposal. I ask the House and the country to support the point of view that our approach to Asia should be on the lines suggested in the speeches delivered by honorable members on this side of the House. That does not imply appeasement. To say that it implies sympathy with the Communists is a slander. Nor does our suggestion involve isolationism. Our opponents said in World War II. that we were isolationists. It was the com- age of the Curtin Government in bringing the’ Australian Imperial Force back to Australia’ that saved New Guinea and Australia. Was that isolationism? No. It was patriotism. It preserved Australia as a bastion from which the allied forces could go north to attack Japan.
– Order ! The right honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– We have heard, a pitiful speech from the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), who has endeavoured to confuse the honorable members of this House as well as the people outside the House. He referred, in no uncertain terms, to what he considered should be the policy of Australia, in regard to the present situation in Asia, and in the world generally. He tried to imply that the present policy of the Opposition is in line with Labour policy over past years. If any statement that he has made can be accepted by us, I suggest that that statement should be accepted, because only a very cursory examination of the record of the Australian Labour party during the last twenty years will show that it is Labour policy to defend Australia within Australia.
On a great number of occasions the Leader of the Opposition and the people he is supposed to lead, although I do not know how many he actually leads, have taken great credit for the performance of Australia and the Australian forces in World War II. I remind the House that the record of Labour in opposition in this Parliament, just prior to the last war, does not bear out the contention of the Leader of the Opposition. Let u3 remember that the Leader of the Opposition and his followers are great protagonists of the policy of defending Australia in Australia. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, because you were in the House at the time, that just prior to the last war the Menzies government of the day, recognizing the international tension, and that war was possible, attempted to increase the tempo of our defence programme. The then Leader of the Labour party-
– Who was he?
– He was John Curtin. I did not want to name him because he redeemed the position later, hut he was then the Leader of the Labour party and he opposed the spending of more money on defence. At that time about £9,000,000 a year was being expended on defence, and he opposed an increase to £16,000,000 a year. The Australian Labour party said at that time that the then government was war-mongering. I also remind the House that in the light of the miserable forces available to us on the outbreak of war, when the then Menzies government took steps to organize troops to assist in the defence of Australia in other parts of the world, the Labour party opposed, sending those troops abroad.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the anti-Labour parties opposed the withdrawal of troops from the Middle East, during the last wai-. I remind him that we were not then a government at all. We were in opposition. The fact is that, when the threat of invasion came to this country those people who wanted to defend Australia in Australia had no hesitation in calling for assistance to a country which had already engaged in warfare, and which had conscripted its people to fight. The then Labour government called upon the United States of America to assist us, and that country very willingly did so. In spite of the Labour Government, Australia had played a creditable part in World War II. up to that time, and consequently we did not appeal to America in vain. It is substantially due to the American assistance we received that this country was not, invaded by the enemy.
When the war was over, hopes were expressed that we should have a period of peace. Consultations were held, and the United Nations Charter was formulated and accepted. Then arrangements were made to protect the people of Western Europe from the threat of attack by Communist countries, particularly Soviet Russia. When,, in order to build up strength to resist those threats, we tried to form the North Atlantic Treaty organization, the Leader of the Opposition described Nato as “ provocative “. 1 am pleased to see that the British Labour party took an entirely opposite view, and that there is no question to-day that the organizing of the strength of the Western democracies in Nato has been of vital importance in halting the onrush of communism in Western Europe.
When we attempted to organize a defence treaty, something like Nato, in the Pacific area, the Leader of the Opposition did not oppose the proposal outright - he attempted to kill it with faint praise. Even now he refers to the South-East Asia Treaty organization sneeringly at every opportunity, and to the number of Asian countries which have not joined it. I remind him that many of those nations have expressed complete accord with this arrangement, and have expressed the hope that if they are threatened they will obtain assistance through that organization.
The policy of the Opposition of defending Australia in Australia is rather novel, because the Opposition did not oppose sending troops to Korea. Perhaps that was because the Opposition realized that the Australian people were behind that move. Moreover, when we sent air squadrons to Malaya to engage in combat with the bandits of that area, the Leader of the Opposition did not express any opposition, nor did his party. But now, in order to raise a diversion and to distract the attention of the people from the tumult and chaos in the Labour party, the Leader of the Opposition speaks of the outrage of sending troops away from this country. The real purpose of having strategic forces in Malaya is not specifically to fight the bandits of that area; it is to build up an organization which will deter Communist aggression towards that area. The Leader of the Opposition very cleverly, but rather naively, attempted to distract the attention of the people away from the trouble in his own party, and he would have the country believe that the battalion that is to go to Malaya will be sent to interfere with the rights and independence of the Malayan people. Of course he knows very well that that is not true. He also endeavoured to convince the House, and the country, that the people of Malaya are opposed to Australian.
troops being sent to their country. But he did not produce a tittle of worthwhile evidence to support that contention. He merely made the statement and expected the House and the . people to accept his statement as good evidence. I challenge him to produce any .evidence of substance which would show that the people of Malaya as a people, or those who represent them in the councils of that country, are opposed to the action that the Government proposes to take. They realize that, unless they are preserved from Communist infiltration or domination, there will be no independence for them as they have learned to understand it.
Honorable members will realize’ that the whole of the exercise that is being undertaken by the Leader of the Opposition, and by those honorable members opposite who sit behind him, is a completely diversionary one. I have no doubt that he is prepared to destroy the reputation of Australia, which has been built tip in two world, wars, and to destroy, or possibly destroy, the security of this, country; by isolating it from the only forces which, in the event of a third world war, would be capable of coming to our assistance. The simple fact is that we, in common with other countries of the British Commonwealth, the United States of America, and all of the other free democracies of the world, do not want a third world war, but, as the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) stated, we are perfectly willing to negotiate, on any reasonable basis, to prevent such a war. We believe that the lest way of preventing it is to build up a deterrent strength, but we do not believe that it is fair and right that the whole of the responsibility for the building up and the maintenance of that deterrent force should rest on the shoulders of Great Britain, the United States, or any of the other free democracies. Although the Government has negotiated a pact with our friend and ally, the United States, which nation has accepted certain obligations, we have recognized it as being a two-way agreement. America has undertaken, in case of need, to come to our aid, but it will come very much more willingly, and with greater enthusiasm, if we ourselves are prepared to play our part in the establishment of our own defences and in the building up of a general deterrent strength against any onrush of communism.
I am sure that the people of Australia, as well as the majority of honorable members, realize that the policy that has been advocated by the Leader of the Opposition, and which has been supported very reluctantly by many honorable members behind him, will do much to discredit Australia, not only in the eyes of the free democracies, but also in the eyes of the Asian people, in whose interests we are very much concerned. I have no doubt at all that the right honorable gentleman is trying very hard to convince the people of this country that the line that he is taking is in the best interests, not only of the people of South-East Asia, but also of the people of Australia. He has stated that we should direct our attention to negotiating with these people, to assisting them to improve their position, and to giving them economic, and technical aid. I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that, although he holds that view very strongly now, he did very little, or nothing, about it while he was a member of a Labour government. I remind you also, Mr. Speaker, that the party that he represents occupied the treasury-bench in time of war and also, unfortunately, for four years after “World “War II. During that time, the Government of which he was a member did a lot of talking and a lot of flag-waving, and it gave a great deal of support to the United Nations, but it did nothing to assist these very people in the way in which he now claims they should be assisted.
I remind the House, and the country generally, that the first real concerted effort for the provision of economic aid to these countries was sponsored and supported very largely by’ a former Minister for External Affairs in the Menzies Government. As a result of the efforts of the Government, and of the support that was received from the United Kingdom, the other British Commonwealth countries, and the United States, there. eventually came into existence the Colombo plan. The Government has shown, in addition to sympathy, practical assistance in that form. It is futile for the Leader of the Opposition now to flag-wave, and to speak in that strain, in an attempt to mislead the people into thinking thai the attitude of the Government towards the people of South-East Asia is callous. I am satisfied that the people of Asia, whether they be in Malaya, Thailand, Burma, or even Indonesia, have no doubt about the sincerity of the people of Australia in their efforts to assist them to achieve the independence that they desire, the attainment of which the Government support to the nth degree. Let me cite an example of the misleading statements that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition in times gone by, and during this debate. He has suggested that the anti-Labour parties in Britain were opposed to the giving of independence to Asian countries. He knows perfectly well that that suggestion was completely untrue. A progressive programme for the eventual granting of independence to Asian countries was instituted long before the Labour party assumed office in Great Britain.
– It was a programme for eventual independence.
– The antiLabour parties in Great Britain were doing more than that. They were implementing that plan, and they were educating those people and training them so that they would be in a position, when the appropriate time arrived, to take over the control of their countries. I admit quite frankly that the Attlee Government expedited the transfer of control, but. although the Leader of the Opposition displayed a great deal of satisfaction in relation to that early transfer of control, I am perfectly satisfied that it was as a result of that early transfer that thousands of people in Asia were massacred. I am quite satisfied, also, that persons who were dependent upon those who were massacred will not show the same enthusiasm. Since that time, Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, and the United States, have joined in assisting the governments of the Asian countries in organizing their civil administration, and in educating people who are capable of controlling their affairs. They have assisted the Asian governments in improving the standard of living of their people in the way in which they desire, and in the way in which I am sure the people of Australia desire. The whole of the effort of the Leader of the Opposition has been directed towards diverting attention. At the risk of endangering the future security of this country, he has attempted to gain political advantage.
– Order ! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- I propose, to examine this particular problem on the basis that was suggested by the Minister for Defence (Sir Phillip McBride), who, so he said, set out to examine it on the basis of what was right and best for the Australian nation. There can be no doubt in the mind of any thinking Australian that the proposal to send substantial forces to Malaya is not in the best interests of Australia from the point of view of either our international relationships or our own security. It is very important that we ask ourselves whether, as Government supporters have suggested, these Australian forces will be welcomed by the Malayan people. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has said that he discussed this proposal with twenty leading citizens in Malaya. I understand that those twenty comprised nineteen sultans and a Chinese millionaire. Five of them are worth £25,000,000, and, beside them, the members of the Melbourne Club would look like paupers. Those were the persons with whom the Minister conferred and on whose views he based his own opinion that Australian troops are required in Malaya and would be welcomed in that country. What are the facts ? According to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), it is important that we should not do anything against the wishes of the Asian people. He said -
We are not forcing ourselves upon Malaya.
Let us examine the facts. The Labour party of Malaya, which speaks for a considerable section of the people of that country, who are the real producers, has declared -
We hope it is not the intention of the Australian and New Zealand Governments to help prolong colonial rules in this country or take over the mantle of imperialism.
This action (the sending of ground forces) is being taken - at a time when Malaya is supposed to be proceeding towards independence.
So, there can be no doubt in the world that the Malayan people, regardless of what may be said in this Parliament by any honorable member, do not want Australian forces in their country because they believe - and this is most important - that these troops are being sent, there to bolster colonialism. Recently, the first freely elected Legislative Council took office in Singapore. It will be said, of course, that Mr. Marshall, the leader of the Labour Front Government who is the Chief Minister in the Council, has never made tiny declaration in that assembly with regard to this proposal to send Australian troops to Malaya. The reason why Mr. Marshall, or the council, has not made such a declaration is because the council has only limited powers. Its powers do not extend to defence or financial matters. But Mr. Marshall has had something to pay upon the matter outside the council. He said -
The politically minded people in Singapore do not support the use of Dominion troops in this country.
I cannot understand why we should have Dominion troops here. They may he creating a. beach-head for a new phase of colonialism.
Surely, Mr. Marshall is not regarded by this Government or its supporters as being a Communist, or even a fellow traveller. Indeed, he has been represented in the press as being very much pro-British. Yet he said that the Malayan people do not want Australian troops sent to their country. Up to date, in Malaya, free elections have been held only in Singapore, and the Government that was elected is pledged to gain independence. Free elections are to take place in the other Federated States of Malaya in July next. What will be the position if they result in the election of a government that is pledged to non-intervention by dominion troops and the attainment of independence? Let us see what the Prime Minister has to say on this matter. He is a great word-spinner; he is all words, but nothing else. He said -
We must not only defend our rights but also the rights of others. This is the golden rule, and the golden rule operates both ways.
What do Government supporters actually mean by that statement? Have not the Malayan people rights in this matter?
What .action has the Government taken to ascertain the opinion of the Malayan people? Time will not permit me to quote many authoritative statements that have been made on this aspect. On this point, the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) read a letter that was signed by 25 Malayan students, who are studying in this country, having been brought here under the Colombo plan whereby they are being assisted to advance their own education in order to assist in raising the standard of living in their own country, and those students declared that the Malayan people would resent the arrival of Australian troops in their country.
Let us examine what other forces arc now in Malaya. I am not suggesting for one moment that in that country there are not organizations, or persons, who would welcome the arrival of additional troops from the dominions. But the result of the recent election for the Singapore Legislative Council was a great shock to the conservative element in Malaya. The conservative element in that country, of course, is no different from the conservative element in this country. It adopts the same tactics as the conservative element adopts here. Dr. Russo, a special feature writer on the Melbourne Argus, recently stated in an article in that newspaper -
The Progressives represented the biggest business interests and the Banking Houses, and it was common talk around Singapore that Progressive Brokers were making generous offers for votes, singly, or in bulk lots.
The term “ progressives “ is a misnomer as is the term “ liberals “ applied to supporters qf this. Government. Those “ progressives “ hoped to mislead the Malayan community which, however, showed it would not be misled and returned a Labour, government in Singapore.
For what purpose are the Australian troops to be used ? According to Government supporters, they are not to be used in the defence of investments in Malaya; those honorable members would have us believe that they are not concerned about investments in tin, rubber and other sources of wealth in Malaya. The viewpoint expressed by the Australian Labour party” on this matter is confirmed by that expressed by the New Zealand Labour party because, recently, the leader of that party, Mr. Walter Nash, stated -
A better distribution of riches in Malaya should supplement any military action to defend the area.
New Zealand should not be supporting conditions under which Malayan or Chinese rubber tappers earned only lj dollars a day.
It is no wonder that the Malayan people are striving for independence when, of every six dollars earned in that country five dollars go out of it. That is why they are struggling for independence. The Minister for Defence tried to belittle the action of the British Labour Government in giving independence to India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. He said t] at the conservatives had already laid the groundwork for such action. That is always the attitude of conservative governments. They are always proceeding towards giving peoples independence, but the peoples concerned never actually attain that goal except as the result of action taken by Labour governments, such as that which the Attlee British Government took. What is the position in Malaya to-day? Is it not correct to say that a police state now exists in that country. Dr. Russo, writing in the Melbourne Argus recently, stated -
Thousands of Malayans have been imprisoned for dangerous thoughts.
I would say that five more years of military emergency in Malaya, with no concrete plans for independence, will be enough to allow the West to chalk up another donation to communism.
This is the Government that talks about sending Australian troops to Malaya in order to combat communism: The establishment and maintenance of a police state in Malaya will aid the Communist cause more than: anything else possibly could. What are the conditions that exist in Malaya at present? There is arrest without warrant, searches and seizures without warrant, and persons are deported or detained without trial. Yet, honorable members opposite talk about liberty and democracy. We find that people can be detained up to a period not exceeding two years without charge and without trial, and that at the end of two years, the period of detention may be extended for a further two years. 1 shall now examine the situation in respect of trade unionism in that country.
– This sounds like the conference.
– I shall answer the interjections of the groupers in a few moments. Trade unionism is largely unknown in the tin-mining industry. The wages of the workers are, in fact, set by the Malayan Mining Employers Association. What are the wages? The latest figures I have been able to obtain are for the year 1952, and disclose that the average daily wage of a worker in a European-owned mine was 80 cents in United States currency, and 2.35 Malayan dollars. Wages paid to employees in Chinese-owned mines were even lower. In 1941, the government declared all strikes illegal. The government of the day used troops and armoured cars to defeat the trade unionists who were merely fighting for a decent standard of living. Members of the Battery Workers Union in 1952, which is not so very long ago, struck against the laying-off of 200 employees, and the union leaders were immediately placed in detention without charge and without trial. There is no doubt that some managers of such activities as tin mines and rubber plantations have used the law as an instrument of terror against trade unionists. It has, in fact, sobered the activities of labour leaders and, as one British observer has noted, has made workers hesitate to strike, even to remedy justifiable grievances. I ask the members in the corner who to-day support the Government, to consider these matters if they still claim to have some semblance of Labour about them.
Let us now examine Malayan business interests. They are highly vocal against the trade union movement. They denounce trade union leaders as Communists. Considerable numbers of Indians live in Malaya, and armed guards are placed on the Indian labour lines with instructions not to admit any union organizers. I wonder whether Australian workers, who are to comprise the forces to go to Malaya, will be very enthusiastic about maintaining such a system.
It has been said that the people of Malaya want their independence. The Labour Front Government in Singapore was elected on a policy which advocated the achievement of immediate independence. The leader of the Labour Front, Mr. Marshall, has now amended that, and has said that the party aims to achieve independence within four years, that is to say, within the life of the Assembly. I think it will be readily agreed that much effort must be exerted by the people of Malaya and those who are friendly to them, to see that the necessary reforms are rapidly introduced, and that the people progress towards independence. I believe that unless those reforms are rapidly introduced, it will mean increasing support for those people who have been referred to as the 5,000 terrorists in the jungle.
Let us be frank about it. I am not so satisfied that at least some of those men, rightly or wrongly, do not believe that they have some cause worth fighting for. I think it behoves the British and Malayan authorities to try to ascertain the grievances that the terrorists consider require rectification. There were 5,000 terrorists when the campaign against them was commenced in 1948, and there are still 5,000 terrorists, although they have suffered, according to the latest official reports, 9,438 killed, wounded and captured. Is it not a fact that intensive campaigns are now in progress to try to induce the terrorists to surrender? The authorities are dropping leaflets which offer the terrorists an amnesty if only they will surrender. Searchlights are used at night to direct the terrorists to the surrender points. But, despite all those activities, only 210 persons surrendered in twelve months. Does not that indicate that the men who are termed terrorists and bandits consider that they have a cause worth fighting for, or. grievances that should be rectified?
Is it not also a fact that General Templar, who was in charge of operations in the area until recently, said that the bandits could not last for twelve months unless they could obtain supplies of food? What has the Government of Malaya done to endeavour to prevent them from obtaining food ? The authorities have erected barbed wire around villages, and imposed a curfew so that the natives cannot go out between sunset and dawn. Despite all those restrictions and prohibitions, the bandits are still managing to carry on, and to obtain ample supplies of food.
The Australian Government has not been frank with this Parliament or with the people about the situation in Malaya. The Government desires to make the people believe that only a token force of between 1,000 and 2,000 volunteers will be sent to Malaya, merely as a gesture to indicate to the other nations that we are prepared to play our part in the general defence scheme in this area. The troops are not needed in Malaya. Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, who is the United Kingdom Commissioner-General for South-East Asia, made the following statement only a few months ago: -
Wu have all we need, both troops and armed police, to tackle the Communists.
Statements have been repeatedly published in the press to the effect that the position is now under control. If that is so, why are Australian forces required iu Malaya? President Eisenhower has stated that world tension has recently eased. What will be the effect on Australian defences if these forces are sent overseas? When I ask that question, I am not referring to the preliminary force of 2,000 men, who are to be despatched ahead of the two divisions that will be provided later by the Australian Government. I have no reason to doubt the figures that have been given by the Leader of the Opposition relative to this matter. He has said that the auxiliary force and the persons needed in supply activities, &c, will mean the provision of approximately 100,000 men. While those 100,000 men are in Singapore, Australia, we are told, will be secure. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) who is the Deputy Leader of the breakaway group in the corner, has said that the only way in which the Chinese can advance south and, therefore, threaten Australia, is through Malaya. Let me tell the honorable gentleman that if he cares to examine the reports of discussions at the Afro-Asian conference, he will learn that the representatives of the nations assembled there made a declaration in favour of Indonesia’s claim to
Dutch West New Guinea. In the event of a third world war, if our allies, the United States and the United Kingdom, are heavily engaged elsewhere, there will be 80,000,000 Indonesians, not thousands of miles away from Australia, but at the nearest point only 300 miles from the Australian coast, who may be very hostile towards our nation.
What defences have we against them? We know that the only defences along the 5,000 mile coastline are at Darwin. What have we at Darwin ? There are two 40-year-old 6 inch guns; two 9.2 inch guns, which are not yet mounted, one naval launch; one naval tug; and about 100 army personnel. We have no floating docks, no radar equipment to detect approaching aircraft, and no depot for the complete overhaul of aircraft nearer than Townsville. All the Army has done around Darwin since the termination of the last war has been to build one swimming pool. There are no auxiliary services inland in the event of Darwin being attacked and put out of action.
Surely we remember what happened during World War II. under an antiLabour government here. Only the country south of a line running diagonally from Brisbane to just north of Adelaide was to be defended. A scorched earth policy was to be adopted. Evidently, if we are involved in hostilities again, it is to be not a Brisbane line, but a Singapore line. Everything south of Singapore is to be undefended. So that if Singapore falls, there is to be no Australian defence at all. There can be no denying that, although it was denied at the time, there was a Brisbane line.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has been true to his form and to all the things that he has been saying in this chamber since he became a member of it. Before the last war he said that the people of New Guinea could look after themselves, and that he would not spend 3d. on their defence. To judge by his arguments to-night he is still prepared to do nothing. He ridicules the principle of defending Australia to our north, and there is a glee about his statements which indicates that he does not care. It is beyond me how members of the Opposition who, after all, have a stake in this country, because they have wives and children as other people have, and some regard for their own safety, after having had the opportunity to assess the results of the trips overseas made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), can produce the arguments we ‘ have heard to-night. The Prime Minister went from country to country, seeking the best information that could be got in high-level talks, and studying those countries in order to get uptodate information, and it is incredible how honorable members opposite could support the foreign policy of a leader who, on his own showing in Australia, cannot even lead his own party. The Opposition, including the honorable member for East Sydney, is completely out of step with the people of this country. That is shown by the result of the last gallup poll that was taken on the question of whether our troops should be sent to Malaya. Of the cross-section of the people to whom the question was put, 60 per cent, were in favour of the sending of the troops, 22 per cent, were against, and 18 per cent, were undecided, which means that at least 70 per cent, would be in favour of it. The policy of the Opposition, as displayed in this debate, is to drag in all the old bogeys and red herrings that it can lay its hands on. Honorable members opposite carried out such tactics successfully some years ago, on behalf of the Communists, when they swung an almost80per- cent, . gallup poll vote, in favour of the banning of the Communist party, down to an adverse vote.
The Opposition is always endeavouring to create a feeling of complacency in this country, to make people believe that danger will not come here, and that there is no need to go out and meet it. It is easy to get that feeling of complacency when one stays in this country, but a visit to other parts of the world soon jerks one back to reality. It has been said against the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) to-night that he does not talk to the people. I can assure the House that I have spoken to people in the streets of foreign countries. I was in France when the Indo-China peace settlement was reached, and the only place in France which flew flags to hail that peace was the office of the Communist newspaper in Paris. Only the Communists in France hail the Indo-China peace settlement as a French victory. I got some indication of the Communist danger when I spoke to business people in Italy, who told me that thoy had alternative homes in Switzerland, so that if the Communists took over legislative control of their country, which would immediately cause civil war, business people could flee the country to Switzerland. One could have no complacency after a visit to Germany, where the people say, “ We have had two wars and do not want another one, because, irrespective of who is right and who is wrong, we comeout on the wrong end, but wc must have arms to fight the Communists “. One comes back from those countries in a different frame of mind from that in which one left Australia. When one visits Singapore, where the fighting is only a few hours away, one also comes back with a different idea about our securitly.
Communism is an ideology which is not satisfied to administer the affairs of the country in which it originated, but interferes in the affairs of other countries. We have heard to-night the suggestion that. we should try co-existence with the Communists. We know how democracy in other countries has fallen before the onslaught of communism. We know that Czechoslovakia, where the people enjoyed and appreciated freedom jnst as much as we do, but allowed the Communists to be a political entity and to be elected to Parliament, has been swallowed by the Communists. There were only 10 per cen t of Communists in the parliament of ‘Czechoslovakia, but they interfered with the business and administration of the country and eventually took it over entirely. Czechoslovakia is one of the eleven countries to which the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) referred as having been taken over by the Communist ideology. It was not the Communist ideology that took . them over. It was the fact that the Communists infiltrated into those countries, and in Czechoslovakia they took the country over although they were only10 per cent, of the population. Throughout this debate there has been. on the part of the Opposition, an implication that the Western world is the aggressor, and that it wants to provoke a war. I say that if the Western world had not developed a civilized conscience, Britain and America could have unleashed tremendous atomic attacks against the Communist countries after the bombing of Hiroshima, had they been purely materialistic. They could have done so because at that stage America and Britain held the balance of atomic power. But they had a spiritual outlook, the very spiritual outlook that honorable members opposite have been urging on us to-night. We would have had to go on living with our conscience and so we had to take the chance of communism growing ever more powerful, and becoming a mighty danger to us. It was a, gamble we had to take, because we are a civilized people. It is entirely because we are a civilized people, who are not utterly materialistic, that we have been forced into the position of making our plans in accordance with situations which develop beyond our control.
The Opposition has referred frequently to colonialism during this debate. They have used the word “ colonialism “ as a term of reproach, and have implied that the British system of government, when it has been taken to other countries, has been detrimental to those countries. Perhaps people who have not been abroad and have not seen the benefits that the British form of government, and British principles have brought to overseas countries, can sincerely hold such opinions. But if they could visit other countries, and see the retrograde influence that communism has had in comparison with the beneficial influence that Britain has had, they would change their minds. Parochially minded honorable members who think no further than the boundaries of their electorates grasp the word “colonialism” and apply it as a reproachful term directed against the British Commonwealth and Empire. I went abroad last year with such ideas in my mind, and visited colonies such as Uganda in Africa. It would do the honorable member for East Sydney good to go to Uganda. I found there that the British administration in Uganda has encouraged stabilization schemes and is marketing the coffee and cotton for the native growers. It is a civil administration of integrity and honour, and it is doing so well for the people of Uganda that in some cases there are Africans who earn £10,000 a year sterling and pay no income tax. All they pay is a poll tax of 25s. a year. But the civil servants who are administering the country are being taxed. That is British colonialism in operation.
Britain is striving desperately to do everything in its power to bring colonialism to a stage at which it will be for the sole benefit of the people, of the colonies. I say, without any thought of jingoism, that a knowledge of the benefits in housing, medical services, education, roads, hygiene, electric power, soil conservation, and all those things that Britain has given to its colonies, whatever their defects due to the frailties of human nature, will show that on balance Britain has worked for the benefit of everybody in every country over which the British flag has flown. We see proof of this fact in Tanganyika, where, in an administration under a protectorate, nine Africans, nine Indians and nine Europeans work in harmony to bring the best of conditions to the country.
For the benefit of my socialist friends opposite, let me say that perhaps the worst thing done to Tanganyika was the promotion by the former Engish socialist government, with all the promises in the world, of the famous groundnuts scheme, which cost approximately £50,000,000 and did not produce one groundnut. Whatever the Attlee Government might have to its credit, it also has its debits. The benefits of colonialism are to be seen also in the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. This colonialism that is sneered at by honorable members opposite has always been of benefit to the countries over which it has reigned. We see evidence of its benefits also in Kenya, where, unfortunately, out of a revenue of £19,000,000, defence expenditure totals £12,000,000. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) referred to defence expenditure: in Malaya, which costs the United Kingdom £.150,000,000 and the Malayan people £20,000,000 a year. There is a parallel between the two countries. Both are held to ransom by comparatively small forces which have been infiltrated by the Communists, although perhaps this is not so evident in respect of the Mau Mau. A South African member of the United African party named Durrant, who worked in the South African intelligence forces after the war, stated in the South African Parliament that although there was no direct evidence of Communist activity in Kenya, research showed that the Mau Mau, to a degree, was sponsored by the Communists.
It has been stated that there are about 5,000 bandits, as they have been called, in Malaya. If the Communists, irrespective of their number, can introduce a condition of affairs in which it is necessary for the authorities to spend a total of £170,000,000 on defence, they suit their purposes admirably. In addition, they disturb the economy of the country and retard its progress. Undoubtedly, the bandits in Malaya are Communists. The reason why they do not accept the terms of an amnesty is that they are Communist soldiers and they will not desert their masters. Evidence in relation to the Mau Mau in Kenya points to the same thing. No matter how generous may be the terms of an amnesty and how liberal might be the pardons offered, the solid core continues to fight, and so imposes a heavy overhead of defence costs on the country’s economy, to its great detriment.
In relation to Britain and her colonialism, it is interesting to note what other countries think of us. We have heard this evening a suggestion that the Indians resented the British administration. Whether or not the British authorities were unduly slow in handing India over to its own administration, any nation would hesitate again to take the risk of plunging a country into a bloodhath of the type that occurred in India when that country received selfgovernment. What do the people of other countries think of Britain and of the colonialism about which we have heard so much ? India, Pakistan and Ceylon were all granted self-government when they were thought to be ready for it. As a delegate to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference to Kenya, I recall the attitude of one of the Pakistani delegates, the
Minister of Industries, Food and Agriculture in the Pakistani Government, who said -
As one who started his political career in the Indian National Congress which was violently opposed to British domination of India, and as one who fought the British domination for years on end, I hasten to pay my tributes to the great achievement of the British race. I and several others of my colleagues - we opposed them, first in the Indian National Congress, then when we realized that the change over of power from the British to the Indian National Congress would mean the end of freedom for the 100,000,000 Moslems of the Indian subcontinent . . .
It is worth noting that they were afraid that British domination would be replaced by something much worse. They were afraid of domination, not only by the British, but also by a force in their own country. This gentleman continued his remarks about the British as follows : -
Even when I opposed them I was very conscious of the great virtues which they possessed - the spirit of give and take - the capacity to get on and work together.
As I have stated, the borders of Pakistan meet those of menacing China, of red Russia, and of another unfriendly country, but despite that fact the Pakistanis will always fight for the Western democratic way of life.
Malaya will receive self-government at the proper time. It would be disastrous for it to be granted too early. If it were granted immediately on demand by the people of Malaya, the penalties would far more than outweigh the alleged freedom that they would win. There is a law of compensation that operates between nations as it does between individuals. Australia is so situated geographically as to be the spoilt child of the free world. We have never had war on our own shores, and we want to keep it far away from them. In Singapore and Kenya, British lads aged about eighteen and a half, who, six months ago, were safely at home, are fighting in the jungles and taking their part in the defence against communism. When one thinks of this fact, one realizes that Australia will not pay a very great price, compared with the efforts that are being made by other nations, by sending a mere 2,000 men to Malaya in a volunteer force to take over the task from some of the British troops who have been in that country for so long. We in Australia cannot be completely parochial and neglect to play our part in the defence of the free world against communism. We must accept what is, in effect, an extension of our frontiers in the spirit in which the United States of America pours out so many billions of dollars in the struggle to defend the free world. If we do not do this we shall be failing to knuckle down and accept our responsibilities as the nation which we claim to be and which we have in the past proved to be. Any hostility that might be whipped up in Singapore by pressure groups - and this is a possibility - will be amply outweighed by the respect that will be accorded to Australia as a nation that is ready to stand by its principles and fight for freedom.
One of the Singapore delegates to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference that I attended was a regular firebrand, if ever there was one. He stated that he called a spade a spade and got into trouble for it, but he concluded his address to the conference by stating -
Although we in Singapore are not directly affected, we do share with our friends in the Federation of Malaya the danger and fears of Communist domination. In collaboration with my friend Datoh Panglima, I would like to place on record our deep and sincere appreciation of the sacrifices, not only in men, but also in money and materials, that have been placed at our disposal by the Mother country, Great Britain. I would also mention the part played by Australia and New Zealand, particularly in the service rendered to us in the air. Also Nepal and Fiji for their fighting men, and last, birt not least, Sit, this Colony of Kenya for her contribution of a contingent of the King’s African Rifles who are fighting with us, side by side, in the sweltering jungles of Malaya.
Do those sound like the words of a representative of a country that will resent the arrival of 2,000 Australian troops? The Opposition, by its approach to this debate and by its support of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), has done a great disservice to Australia and has given this country the wrong type of publicity in Malaya, where Australian troops will be sent.
.- I have listened to the whole of the debate so far on foreign affairs, and I have been greatly disappointed at the failure of the honorable members who follow the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) to explain away one solid fact in the welter of facts that have been paraded to the House. The fact that cannot be explained away by the apologists in the party led by the right honorable member for Barton is the fact of our geographical position - our isolation, our vulnerability and our pledge to honour the debt of gratitude that we owe to those with whom we were allied in the last war and to whom we must look for assistance, co-operation and support in any future conflict. Whilst I agree that some constructive speeches have been delivered from this side of the House - I include that delivered by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser) tonight - I wholeheartedly subscribe to the principle implicit in the remarks of the leader, of the party to which I have the honour to belong when he posed the question: What will happen to Australia if Ave retain our forces in Australia? He went on to deal with the position in Asia. Let me quote from the report of a statement by LieutenantGeneral Sir Horace Robertson, published in the Melbourne Herald of the 5th April, because the facts that he stated are pertinent to this discussion. He said -
Being a land power, China’s only road south must be by land and must traverse this narrow isthmus where she would be unable to deploy her vast numbers and she could be stopped. It can therefore be said that strategically the best, most concentrated and most economical defences of all free territory in South-East Asia, of Australia and New Zealand, and indeed of Indonesia, against the only forseeable local threat to their security are Singapore and Malaya.
What is the alternative? If Malaya is not held in strength, it must inevitably fall to Communist China, so opening the land route, to Singapore, which in turn must fall if isolated. This brings them right down to Timor, from which the journey is so easy that it has been made in reverse by a man on a raft of petrol tins. Australia by this time would have, facing her northern shores on a wide front, the armies and air forces of the most populous country in the world and no place in it would be safe.
That statement of the position has not been contradicted by the apologists who follow the right honorable member for Barton. In the hope that their policy will be accepted by the people of Australia, what have they done? In reply to every statement made by the party to which I belong and by the Government parties, we have been described as warmongers, plunging Australia into war. We have been subjected to epithets of that kind. But I know that the great majority of the members of this House are true Australians and that the principle governing their public utterances is that this country shall be safe. Therefore, for us to be subjected to a barrage of verbal larrikinism by some of the honorable members who support the right honorable member for Barton is surely a corruption of the principles of democratic discussion.
Let me remind the House of a statement made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). The political consequences of that statement will fall on his head, but the physical consequences may fall on the gallant men who will go to Malaya. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said -
Wo shall bc doing 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.
Does any responsible member on either side of the House subscribe to that statement? It is a matter of some gratification to me that the statement made by the honorable member has been repudiated even by those who sit on the same side of the House as he does.
I listened with interest to the remarks made by the Leader of the Barton Labour party in justification of his attitude. By a coincidence, I have with me a brochure on Malaya prepared by a celebrated doctor, Dr. John Burton, in September, 1954. The right honorable member for Barton followed faithfully, almost word for word, what was written by Dr. John Burton. So we see that sometimes great minds think alike! When those two great minds think alike, it is a bad day for Australia. I heard the right honorable member for Barton proclaim his intense desire that no Australian troops shall leave Australia, and that there shall be a consolidation of all our forces on the mainland of Australia. But that was not always his opinion. Let me read to the House an extract from the Hansard report of a debate on international affairs in this House on the 11th December, 1952. I shall read it very carefully, because it is a most important statement. It is as follows : -
The Labour party has always approved of the principle of compulsion in order to save Australia and its territories from physical assaults and occupation. How should that objective he applied? The development of aerial warfare has made it perfectly obvious that the three-mile limit of Australia and its territories cannot be possibly regarded as confining or bounding what may be called the Australian defence zone. … It seems plain that the airmen defending our territories would have to operate many hundreds of miles outside territorial limits for the purpose of attacking our enemies and defending Australia.
The man who made that statement was the right honorable member for Barton. The effluxion of time and the influence of certain forces have caused him to change his opinion. To-day we witness the spectacle of the Labour party having its foreign policy made for it by thirteen men meeting in conclave in Hobart - a minority foreign policy.
– There were nineteen men.
– I say that thirteen men met in conclave in Hobart to determine the foreign policy of the group of individuals who call themselves the Labour party. I suggest that they have apparently forgotten that not so long ago a proposal was put forward to send air squadrons to Malaya, and at that time not one voice was raised among the Opposition against the proposal. Are those airmen to be left unsupported? There is nothing wrong in the proposition that the Government has now outlined to the House. I respectfully suggest that those who support the right honorable member for Barton should remember the words of a member of their party which are reported in volume 169 of Hansard at page 977. That gentleman said -
Australia has a supreme and special interest in preventing forcible aggression in the Pacific. . . . Experience shows that the Commonwealth has a great and increasing interest in that organization (at Singapore) and that it is entitled to join, on a footing of equality, with the United Kingdom in any body which is constituted to deal with political matters of Pacific concern.
Now I inform honorable members that the gentleman who made that statement was the right honorable member for Barton, but time has seen the opinions formerly held by that gentleman completely reversed. I now refer honorable members to a cartoon and caption which appears in this week’s copy of the Tribune. That cartoon illustrates the danger that we members of the AntiCommunist Labour party see in the present position in Malaya, and the countries adjacent to Malaya. The caption reads “ Peace and socialism “, and the cartoon shows a picture of the world with the sun rising in the north, and the beams from the sun spreading across the country to which we belong. I suggest to honorable members that that is a very ominous picture, and it shows that the statements of the members of the Australian Labour party to the effect that the sending of troops to Malaya would constitute a threat to genuine national aspirations, are pure nonsense. A report from the English Tablet of the 16th December, 1950, further reveals that the Chinese Communists are actively engaged in furthering the anti-British campaign in Malaya. That newspaper reported -
The Chinese guerrillas who continually make their way into Malaya to wage this war of attrition against one of the key economic strongholds of Britain, arc spoken or in Peiping in language all too reminiscent of Hitler’s language about the Sudeten Germans, ‘ these tortured people ‘, when he was preparing to attack the Czechs.
Earlier this month the Director of the Commission of Overseas Chinese, Ho Hsiangning, welcomed ii party of deported Chinese from Malaya, who then held a rally organized by the Chinese Communists. The general theme was that Malaya, was developed by tha Chinese but that now the cruel imperialists arc imprisoning, torturing, and flogging them; and that these crimes must stop.
If the ‘ American aggressors ‘ come in for the major share of abuse, the ‘ British Imperialists ‘ are not far behind. This December 4th rally was held in Peking, and several hundred returned Overseas Chinese protested against the British persecution of Chinese citizens in Malaya.
The inference in that article is that the Communists are working from the Kremlin through China and down through the Asian mainland. Consequently, the menace in the Pacific is not so much from the Malayans as from the
Communists who support the Malayan guerrilla forces. All those happenings are part of the Communist plan which resulted from a conference of Asian people held under the influence of the Cominform in 1952. Section 2 of the plan was of major importance. It contained the objectives of the plan, which were to divide the countries of East Asia into three classes in the order of their proposed liberation. In their order, the countries to be liberated were North Korea, South Korea, Indo-China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaya, the Philippines, India, Burma, Ceylon and Pakistan. Honorable members will notice that the plan is now in the process of fulfilment. In view of all those matters which I have put to the House, I submit that the sending of forces to Malaya is completely justified. But, in order that there should not be any doubt on where the Anti-Communist Labour party stands, I desire to foreshadow a further amendment. At a later stage I shall move -
That this House believes that the paramount consideration in the disposition of Australian forces should be the security and safety of Australia, and that this can best be achieved by disposing our available forces in full co-operation with our allies in the most suitable position to keep the enemy from the shores of Australia. This House further believes that any necessary increase of the personnel of the armed forces should bc effected by voluntary enlistment.
I consider, as do the members of my party, that all the arguments that have been advanced by the Government to support the sending of troops to Malaya, have been justified. I consider that the woolley-headed thinking that has characterized the opposition to the Government’s proposal, springs from a variety of causes, not the least of them being the lack of ability of those who support the right honorable member for Barton in his desire to have this country as a sort of appendage to the ideologies that the Australian people never will accept.
.- Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Mr. Allan FRASER) put -
That the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. K. Fraser) be now heard.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Apparently I have the distinction-
– I rise to order. I should like a ruling from you, Mr. Speaker, on the procedure that will be followed in the future. “Will the procedure be that a. Government speaker will be followed by an anti-Labour speaker, who in turn will he followed by a Labour speaker and then by another Government speaker, thus making three anti-Labour speakers to one Labour speaker?
– You are all Communists.
– The Chair does not deal with the future; it deals with the present.
– I rise to order. 1 ask for a withdrawal of the remark of the honorable member for Lilley. He said that all members of the official Opposition were Communists.
– Order ! The Communist party is a perfectly legal institution, and I do not propose to order a withdrawal of the remark.
– I rise to a further point of order. I appeal, Mr. Speaker, to your sense of honour. You have ruled that the word “ treachery “ is unparliamentary. When the honorable member for Lilley refers to all honorable members of the Opposition as being Communists, you should, in all decency, take action. If you do not, you are completely biased.
– Order ! The honorable member for Parkes will withdraw that statement. He will withdraw any imputation of bias against the Chair.
– I withdraw.
– I rise to another point of order. In view of a ruling that you, Mr. Speaker, have given, and which is on record in the department of which you arc in control, that to call an honorable member a Communist is to use an unparliamentary expression, and in the light of the request of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), I ask you to reconsider your ruling, and to call upon the honorable member for Lilley to withdraw a remark which was insulting to every member of the Opposition. Any remark that is insulting to a member of the Opposition should, in the light of the Standing Orders, and of your own ruling, be withdrawn.
– Therewas an occasion during my occupancy of the Chair when the Parliament passed legislation which declared the Communist party to be an illegal organization. I say without any hesitation that, if one honorable member were to impute to another honorable member membership of an illegal organization, I would order a withdrawal of the imputation, but, according to the courts of the country, the legislation to which I have referred was not valid. The Communist party is a legal organization, and it is for honorable members themselves to explain to the House whether they are or are not associated with it.
– The honorable member for Lilley is a fascist.
– The honorable member for Parkes will withdraw that statement.
– I said the honorable member for Lilley is a fascist.
– If that’s what you said, all right.
– Mr. Speaker-
– Is the honorable member raising a point of order?
– No, sir; I claim that I have been misrepresented, and I wish to make a personal explanation.
– The honorable gentleman cannot make a personal explanation after I have called another honorable member and that honorable member has the floor.
– Have I no rights in this Parliament at all?
– The honorable member will resume his seat. Every honorable member in this House has rights according to the Standing Orders and parliamentary useage, which clearly provide that once an honorable member is in possession of the House no honorable member may make a personal explanation. A personal explanation may be made at any time when no honorable member is in possession of the floor.
– The honorable member for Lilley - I, myself, thought that it was the honorable member for Wide Bay - did not imply membership of the Communist party in the remark to which exception is taken, but referred to members of the Opposition as Communists. I find that term offensive and ask that it’ be withdrawn.
– Order ! I am not going to deal with any remark that is related to communism.
Opposition members interjecting,
– Order ! Interjections are disorderly. The Standing Orders clearly state that an honorable member shall address the House without interruption. I have called the honorable member for Evans. If interruption occurs, I shall know how to deal with it.
– That is the sort of ruling a fascist Speaker would give.
– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that remark and apologize to the Chair.
– I withdraw that remark and apologize. I now say that it is the kind of action that a Communist Speaker would take.
– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that remark and apologize. He is only aggravating his offence.
– I withdraw it. I understood from you, Mr. Speaker, that “ Communist “ was a parliamentary term; but I defer to your request.
– If any further statements are made about my political affiliations while I am in the chair, I shall name the honorable member who offends. I call the honorable member for Evans.
– I rise to order. You have just said, Mr. Speaker, that after you give the call to an honorable member, interjections are- out of order. Does that ruling apply to honorable members on the Opposition side only? Does it not apply also to Government supporters ?
– It applies to all honorable members.
– Well, why does not the Chair-
– Order ! The honorable member is deliberately out of order in interrupting me while I am on my feet. It is time that the House took a grip of itself. If we are going to have tension in this place, honorable gentlemen must comply with the rulings of the Chair.
– The statement which the House has been debating for the last few days will, in the course of time, be seen in its true perspective. If this country, with the democracies of the free world, survives the threats and dangers that now surround it, this statement will be seen as a corner stone of a foreign policy under which Australia is contributing its true share towards its own defence. If we fail - our success or failure will remain in doubt for many yen rs - this statement will be seen as having been part of a serious attempt to divert disaster. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) enunciated the five broad principles of our foreign policy. He then indicated their application in the years that lie immediately ahead and the defence commitments which this country proposes to assume. The course of this debate has shown more clearly than ever tho need for a common foreign policy suited to the requirements of the country and the true aspirations of our people and above the level of party politics. This debate has also shown how far a certain irresponsible section of honorable members-
– I rise to order. I object to the honorable member’s statements that some members of this Parliament are irresponsible.
– Order ! There is no point of order.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), if time permits, will receive due attention. The Government has done its utmost to induce the Opposition to play its part in implementing a serious foreign policy in the interests of this country. All of us recall the attempts that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has made to induce members of the Opposition to join the Foreign Affairs Committee. But what is the melancholy fact? Those honorable members deliberately turned their back on those attempts and made of the future defence of this country and the safety of our children and grandchildren a party political matter. That is not surprising. Until recently, some members of the Opposition showed an inclination to treat our external policy as being above the party politics of the moment. But, recently, a conference was held in Hobart and the rump of the Aus tralian Labour party, which the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) now leads, emerged from it. That party has adopted a policy which is suited to its immediate needs because, to-day, it finds itself in a desperate position. I shall n-it weary the House by dealing with the melancholy changes in the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition. The country is well aware of them.
I ask the House to look at the background against which the Prime Minister made his statement on foreign policy. Only the Communist imperialists threaten our security and safety. The aim of the Communists is to dominate the whole world. It is nothing short of that. Communism’s methods are aggression on scales large and small, pursuasion and intimidation, fear and subversion. Singly and collectively, they ring the changes as circumstances require. And how these methods have succeeded in the world today, particularly in Asia ! The whole of China is now Communist; Tibet is Communist and so is north Korea and much of Indo-China. Now, Thailand and Malaya are under constant threat. Against this background, how does the pusillaninous policy of appeasement of the rump of the Labour party show up ? Our generation has no excuse for failing to recognize the dangers of appeasement or for failing to face up to totalitarian threats. We recall the activities of the fascists in Europe and of the Japanese in Manchuria before World War II. Have we forgotten Hitler striding across Europe with no more territorial demands to make? We remember Danzig and Munich. What excuse shall we have if we fail to face up to the dangers of communism to-day?
During tho latter part of this debate, the Opposition has deliberately directed the whole of its attention to the Government’s proposals to send Australian troops to Malaya as a small part of our obligation to assume some of the burden that Great Britain is now carrying in South-East Asia. In that respect, honorable members opposite have taken two main lines. They make the vague suggestion that the decision to send our troops to Malaya - a decision made at the request of the Government of Malaya that Australia should relieve it of some of the burden it is now carrying in that country - they suggest that this is a re-awakening of colonialism. Nothing could be more fallacious. In the first place, our troops will go there at the request of the Government of Malaya, in defence of the people of Malaya and the cause of democracy and freedom, against Communist Chineseinspired subversive revolt. The revolt is almost completely Chinese. It is not Malayan. Ninety per cent, of the members of the rebel guerrilla bands are imported Chinese. The Malayan element is practically nil. The Malayan-born Chinese element is not more than 10 per cent.
Malaya is destined for self-government, if peace prevails in that country, within a very few years. Only one thing can prevent it, and that is the continuance of this Chinese-Communist rebellion. If that rebellion succeeds, and if the people of Malaya are left to their own devices, as the Leader of the Opposition would have them left, there can be only one result. The people of Malaya will have no self-government. They will have a Communist totalitarian government for ever. If we fail to accept our obligations for their defence, their hopes of freedom, independence and self-government will be permanently doomed.
The Opposition also objects to the despatch of Australian troops to Malaya on the ground that the forces should he retained at home. That policy has been characterized in the debate as isolationism of the worst type. I have heard a good deal of nonsense spoken in the five years I have been a member of this House about a Brisbane line. If ever there was a Brisbane line psychology, it is demonstrated in the attitude of the Opposition, which says that all our defences should be concentrated on the Australian coastline. Has the Opposition not learnt anything about the need for mobility in defence? Have honorable members opposite not heard of the Maginot line and the Siegfried line? Are they unaware of the techniques of movement in modern war? Yet they would have us, as the Prime Minister has said, build Martello Towers round the north of Australia.
There is no excuse for misleading the people of this country in the way the Opposition has sought to mislead them. Communist aggression is undivided. It moves on a single front, and makes its thrusts when and where its central office thinks fit. We have an obligation for the defence of this country to employ our resources where they can be used to the best advantage. It is clear enough that we must apply them to prevent the spread of Communist imperialism in South-East Asia, and particularly in Malaya, any nearer to our shores.
We have a strong personal interest in the defence of Malaya. The statesmen of the free world - those in whose hands lies the safety, not only of this generation but also of generations to come, and high among whom is to be numbered our own Prime Minister - face a task of almost incredible difficulty in the years ahead, because peace and freedom will only be preserved in our time if those statesmen succeed in purposes which are seemingly incompatible with each other at the present time. The statesmen must provide the means of resisting totalitarian aggression. They must show resolution and strength. Every forward thrust of the Communists must be repelled and con- tained. There is no time left for further retreat in Asia or anywhere else.
So resistance to aggression, and resolution in the face of it, are the first requirements. But together with them goes the need to convince our Communist enemies, not to-day or to-morrow but over the years, that we desire peace, and that we are ready to negotiate with them whenever true negotiation is possible. The third purpose which our statesmen must achieve, if peace and freedom are to be preserved in our time, is to satisfy the neutral nations that more is to be gained on our side than on the Communist side. Some of those neutral nations are not clearly aware of that truth. In particular, those which have only recently emerged, or are now emerging, from periods of colonial tutelage, do not see the situation with the same clarity as we do. They do not realize how dangerous to them is the threat of Communist imperialism.
There are encouraging signs that a clear realization of that danger was expressed at the Afro-Asian Conference held at Bandung recently. But the growth among the Asian neutrals of an understanding of the danger of the Communist threat to freedom is slow and delicate, and must at all times be nurtured. That is why I say that the task of statesmen of the free world is of such extreme difficulty. We have to resist aggression, and at the same time, convince the potential aggressor that we want peace and will engage at any time in true negotiation to achieve it. But the emphasis on these different aspects of our future will shift from time to time. Undoubtedly, at present, the emphasis lies on the need for resolution.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question put -
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Haylen’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Mr.Curtin. - I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it would be in order for you to rule that the Anti-Communist Labour party is voting-
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
.- I desire to move the amendment that I foreshadowed in the course of my remarks.
– Move it from the other side of the chamber.
– Order !
– I move accordingly.
– Is the amendment seconded?
– I second it.
– The question that you put to the House, Mr. Speaker, was “ That the question be now put”. Which question was that?
– The question before the Chair was the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen).
– I realize that, but I wish to be advised of your previous ruling.
– It covered the original motion as well. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment.
– I rise to order. The amendment-
– Order ! The question now must be . “ That the paper be printed “.
– I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker, on your ruling that the amendment is out of order. The original motion was “ That the paper be printed “. which had been moved by the Prime Minister. An amendment was then moved that certain words be omitted in order to permit other words to be inserted. That amendment was moved by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). Then there came a foreshadowed amendment by the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean). My point of order is that once the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes was defeated, it was competent for the honorable member for Hoddle to move his foreshadowed amendment that the words he proposed be added to the Government’s motion. I submit that that is in order under the Standing Orders. The amendment of the honorable member for Parkes that certain words be omitted having been defeated, it was competent for us to move to add to the motion “ That the paper be printed” the terms of the amendment which the honorable member for Hoddle had foreshadowed and now wishes to move.
– Standing Order 94 deals with the matter. It is as follows : - 94. (a) After any question has been proposed, cither in the House or in Committee, a Mot ion may be made by any Member, rising in his place, and without notice, and whether any other Member is addret-siug the Chair or not ‘‘That the question be now put”, and such Motion shall beput~ forthwith and decided without amendment or debate.
It is perfectly true that while the honorable member for Hoddle was addressing the House there was an amendment to the original motion before the Chair, and he was precluded, at that stage, from moving any further amendment. He foreshadowed his intended amendment, but it appears that the Standing Orders do not allow him to move it at this stage. Does the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) move a motion of dissent from my ruling?
– No, but on the point of order, the motion moved by the honorable member for Parkes was decided by the House. Therefore, the Standing Order you have quoted is not applicable to the situation. The resolution of the House was not “ That the paper be printed “. The House voted only on the amendment of the honorable member for Parkes to the effect that certain words be omitted from the Government’s motion and defeated it. Therefore, it is competent for us now to move a further amendment. That view, I submit, is supported by the standing order you have quoted. The amendment is an addition to the Government motion, which has not been decided.
– I suggest that the interpretation of the Standing Order given by the honorable member for Yarra is not according to practice. Standing Order 94 (b) states-
When the Motion, “ That the question he now put “ has been carried, and the question consequent thereon has been decided, any fi’ifhi’r Motion may be at once made without debate which may be requisite to bring to a decision any question already proposed from the Chai r. ‘
Two questions stated from the Chair were the motion of the Prime Minister, “ That the paper be printed “, and the duly moved amendment of the honorable member for Parkes. That amendment was put. Therefore, I submit that the decision. “That the question be now put”, referred to the questions then before the House, and your authority to put a further amendment has been made inoperative. Your only remaining authority is to put the question already proposed to the Chair, which is, “ That the wiper be printed “. I submit that that is in accordance with the practice of the House.
– Order ! That is the view that I take myself on examining the standing order, but it leaves us in the peculiar position that an honorable member who has a seconder and desires to bring before the House a certain point of view for the consideration of honorable members, is precluded by this standing order from doing so. It seems that he cannot obtain the views of the House upon the matter that he desires to put before it. I think that it would be advisable for the Standing Orders Committee to look at that position with a view to ensuring that it does not occur in future.
Opposition members interjecting,
– Order ! I ask for order on my left.
– When the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) rose to speak on a point of order, Mr. Speaker, you were about to put a motion to the House. I take it that the motion that you Avere about to put was a motion that had not been decided upon. If there has been no decision by the House on a motion it is logical that an amendment to that motion can be submitted. The Standing Orders cover the position up to the point of the amendment that; was moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) ; but then the House reverted to the original motion to which a further amendment was proposed before it was put to the House.
– The standing order is perfectly clear and I am precluded from accepting the motion for an amendment.
Original question resolved in the negative.
Honorable members interjecting,
-Order! As there seems to be some misunderstanding, I had better explain that the motion, “ That the paper be printed “, is only a formal method of securing debate. We fought that out on one other famous occasion since I have been in the chair when the matter was decided by 99 votes to 5. So that the House could get itself out of the position in which it put. itself, I referred the matter to the printing committee which recommended that the paper be not printed.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Bill received from the Senate and (on motion by Sir Eric Harrison) read a first time.
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) pro posed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- During the past couple of weeks the seven members who constitute the AntiCommunist Labour party have been subjected to a great deal of criticism by those who follow the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). They have been subjected to a great deal of personal backbiting and petty indignities by men who should know better. The members of this party have long and honorable records in the Australian Labour party. They have done what they have done because of a principle that is dearer to them than place or preferment. Yet, they have been subject to a barrage by a member of this House who has had a long and remunerative association with it.
– Order ! Is the honorable member referring to something that took place in the debate last night? If he is, he may not proceed along those lines.
– Very well, Mr. Speaker. In the course of remarks that have been made during the past week, it has been frequently said against the Anti-Communist Labour party that we are disloyal to the traditions and the principles of the Australian Labour party. Whilst one does not object to the criticism, having regard to the source from which it came, we take it rather hardly that those who frequently level criticism at us should not have had their own private characters and records submitted to the searchlight of public scrutiny. If the records of some of those who are very keen to impute ulterior motives to the seven members of this partywere closely examined, it would be found that they are not particularly glorious but, on the contrary, are somewhat odorous.
In past weeks the right honorable member who leads the Australian Labour party has said that the members of the Anti-Communist Labour party have violated the principles to which we were pledged. But let his record be examined so that the people of Australia may obtain an idea of his loyalty to the Australian Labour party. The right honorable gentleman was, at one stage, a member of a State Parliament. He was the State member for Balmain in 1925 and 1927, and also from 1927 to 1930. He was defeated in the pre-selection ballot of the Sth August, 1927, in the Balmain electorate. Ten days later the Labor Daily reported that a fresh ballot had been ordered by the executive of the Labour party in the State of New South Wales. A public declaration was made by the right honorable gentleman that if he were defeated in this latter ballot he would not be a candidate in the open election. In the Labor Daily of the 25th August, 1927, it was announced that the right honorable gentleman, who was described as the former Member of the Legislative Assembly for Balmain, had been beaten at a pre-selection ballot. Three days later, although he had intimated his intention of accepting the decision of the pre-selection ballot, he announced his decision to contest Balmain as an independent candidate. On the 31st August, 1927., the right honorable gentleman was expelled from the Parliamentary Labour party in New South Wales. It was announced in the Labor Daily of the Sth September, 1927, that he had been expelled by the central executive of the Australian Labour party. The New South Wales parliamentary record shows that he was re-elected to the State Parliament on the Sth October, 1927. To the great joy of those in New South Wales politics, he retired from the State sphere on the 18th September, 1930. Now, he has stated that we are disloyal to the Labour movement because we will not accept certain decisions which have been made by a minority junta in Hobart.
The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has been very vociferous in the last couple of weeks in calling us Labour rats and members of the Liberal party.
– Order ! I must ask that the term “rat” shall not be used in this House.
– Let us take the record of the honorable member for East Sydney. He was elected to represent the East Sydney constituency on the 7th March, 1931. The Scullin Government had then been in office for seventeen months, having been returned on the 22nd October, 1929. The honorable member for East Sydney signified his loyalty to the Labour government of the clay by voting against it on the 26th March, 1931, nineteen days after he had been elected to this honorable House.
– That is all news.
– That is news, and the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Edmonds) might not like it. The honorable member for East Sydney, throughout his career up to the time at which the Scullin Government was defeated, voted against the Seullin Labour Administration 31 times. The present honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Makin) may derive some satisfaction from the fact that he was Speaker and was present in the House on the night on which a couple of votes of the Lang Labour party defeated the Scullin Government on an adjournment motion then before the House, which had been moved by the late Mr. J. A. Beasley and had been seconded by the honorable member for East Sydney, the subject-matter of which was the unemployment relief grant. The votes of the late Mr. Beasley and the honorable member for East Sydney, with the assistance of- others, defeated the Scullin Government, in which served the man whose name the honorable member for East Sydney, the honorable member for Sturt and I hold so high - the late Mr. J. B. Chifley. How do the honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable member for Sturt, in the light of their records, reconcile their professed loyalty to the name of Chifley with their latter-day advocacy of loyalty to the Labour movement as followers of the right honorable member for Barton? During my political life I have had the very great honour to be a friend, confidant and secretary of the late Mr. James Scullin, and also a friend of the late Mr. John Curtin, who was secretary of the Timber Workers Union at the time at which my father occupied the position of assistant secretary of that union.
– They are both dead.
– I do not want to say anything about the honorable member for Watson.
– I am not dead.
– The honorable member does not think that he is dead, but he is dead. I have only my word to give in relation to a statement made by two men who are now dead, and the fact cannot be proved, but I swear that before the death of the late John Curtin I was present at a discussion between him and the late Jim Scullin. John Curtin at that time showed the first signs of his approaching unfortunate demise. When James Scullin asked him, “ Can you not do anything about the member for East Sydney ? “, he replied, “ He is a cannibal “.
– Order! The honorable gentleman should refrain from making statements of that description. The term that he has used in relation to another member of the House is unparliamentary. The honorable member should withdraw it and should not proceed on the line that he has taken.
– I do not ask for a withdrawal.
– All right. I shall not continue on that line, but the statement is true.
– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw the word “ cannibal “.
– Very well, I withdraw it.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
.- I am very pleased that the honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean) has given me the opportunity to return to my allegation of disloyalty against this “ rump “ that sits in the corner of the chamber. I am prepared to use the words of members of that group, which were uttered within the last few days, to prove that they are disloyal. I do not mind the honorable member for Hoddle delivering his swan-song in this Parliament. I am happy to be reminded by him that not only was I elected to this House in 1931, but also that I have retained the confidence of the Labour movement ever since. The honorable member entered this Parliament in comparatively recent years - in 1949 - and he has already lost the confidence - and deservedly so - of the Labour movement because he has betrayed his pledge. Let us consider what has happened. I wish to deal only briefly with the ancient history to which the honorable member has referred this evening. If the honorable member had stated to the House the motion on which I voted against the Scullin Government in 1931, the House would have seen that my vote was recorded against a proposal under the Premiers’ plan to reduce pensions. The honorable member time and again in this House has proposed for discussion as a matter of urgent public importance the position of the pensioners. He cries over them and their sufferings, but at the same time he objects to my recording a vote against a plan that was designed to reduce pensions. The honorable member is not sincere. When he cries about the plight of the pensioners he merely seeks votes in the effort to save his political skin.
I should like to remind the honorable gentleman of one other matter. He has tried to make me out to be a scoundrel, and I ask him whether it is a fact that when the officers of the parliamentary Labour party were being elected after the last general election he was the director of my campaign for election to the executive of the parliamentary party. The honorable gentleman on that occasion canvassed for votes for me whom he has denounced this evening.
– That is a lie, and the honorable member knows it.
– Order ! The honorable member for Hoddle has already spoken.
– Actions like that demonstrate the manner in which the members of this group are willing to betray their pledges. Only a day or so ago the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) said - and I took a note of his words at the time -
I only regret tliat at the time at which the Government parties have been converted to the traditional policy of the Australian Labour party the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) has been leading the Opposition away from that policy.
– Order ! If the honorable gentleman is quoting from current debates of the House, he is out of order.
– I have finished - the quotation. This group, who are still parading themselves as Labour men. have, in effect, stated that the Menzies Administration is giving effect to Labour’s policy. If that is their understanding of Labour’s policy, why do they not take their places with those honorable members who support the Government, instead of representing themselves to the workers of Australia as Labour men? Only a few moments ago, they tried to save face by attempting to have a motion submitted toa vote providing for voluntary enlistment for service in Malaya when, immediately preceding this action, they had supported a proposal that meant conscription for Australian manhood.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman may not refer to the previous debate or reflect upon a vote of the House.
– The action of these members demonstrates their hypocrisy in challenging the loyalty of members of the Australian Labour party. I would welcome an opportunity for the workers of this country to decide between the honorable member for Hoddle and myself on this issue. He has often twitted members of the Australian Labour party and stated that there are some with us who would like to be with his group. However, he is one of the breakaways who would, like to be with us. One can see how worried and sick the honorable member has looked in the last few days. His conscience troubles him because in the past he has paraded himself as a good
Labour man. He knows now that he is acting disloyally.
– To whom?
– To the party whose pledge he signed. I ask the honorable gentleman two questions : When he entered this Parliament as a. pledged Labour supporter, was he not pledged to oppose the present Government? Will he tell the workers of Australia how many times in tha last few days he has voted with the traditional enemies of Labour? I daresay that the vote that he recorded this evening will not be the last. Therefore, I suggest to the honorable member for Hoddle that he should get a stronger case before he comes into this Parliament to impugn the reputation and the honour of good, decent Labour men, not men who are betraying their party, and not men who are betraying the policy upon which they were elected and lining up with a government which wants to conscript Australian manhood. The honorable member tried to save face by putting forward an amendment upon which he said the party which he supports wanted a vote, so that they could try to represent themselves as Labour men to the people who sent them here. All I hope is that the honorable gentleman will have the opportunity, at an early date, not in this Parliament but in his own State of Victoria, to prove his case. Nothing would suit me better.
– I hope that the honorable member for East Sydney is coming to Victoria.
– As a matter of fact, I am going to Victoria. Let me tell the honorable member, and also the honorable member for Yarra. (Mr. Keon), that nothing would sii.it me better than to be sent into their electorates to expose them to the workers whom they were sent here to represent.
I entirely disregard this piffle concerning something that happened 24 or 25 years ago. I am concerned with what is happening at the moment in this Parliament. There is no doubt that the members of this nondescript group which sits in the corner have sold out their principles and have failed the people who sent them here.
.- I do not desire to traverse the long record of disloyalty to the Australian Labour party of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). I do not wish to remind the Western Australian members, who know only too well, that when John Curtin was dying, these members of his own party did the very best they could to destroy him and take every advantage of his ill health. The honorable members who come from Western Australia know that what I am saying is true. I will accept the invitation of the honorable member for East Sydney to deal with up-to-date history. We will go back only as far as yesterday. What happened yesterday? There was no “ spill “ of the positions in the Australian Labour party, because those occupying the positions at present said, “ If you put us out we will vote to pu t Eddie ‘ Ward in “.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must not refer to another honorable member by name.
– That, Mr. Speaker, is the opinion of the followers of the right honorable member for Barton regarding the honorable member for East Sydney.
Need I say more? The greatest threat that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) could level, in order to ensure that they did not push him out of his job as deputy leader of the Australian Labour party, was to say, “Push me out and you will get the honorable member for East Sydney “.
When these people attempt to accuse the members in this corner of disloyalty to the Labour party, let me say that the principles and the pledges to which we appended our signatures many years ago, long before we came to this Parliament - I put my signature to a Labour party pledge when I was twelve years old, and I think that that is true of the majority of the members on this side of the House - have not been forgotten. We put our signatures to a pledge which included proper co-operation in the defence of this country, re-emphasized in tho terms of a letter which I read here recently. That policy, which supported the defending of Australia at the best strategic point for that defence, was altered, not at a properly constituted conference of the Australian Labour party, but at a meeting of a junta of thirteen who had no constitutional right whatever to make any decisions on behalf of the Australian Labour party.
– Our friend says there were nineteen present at Hobart, but of course he knows where the other six came from. The federal executive, at the behest of the right honorable member for Barton, because he was beginning to feel the criticism of those members of the party who were prepared to fight communism, decided, after all this farce about smearing to which we were subjected week after week and month after month, to hold a conference of the party in Victoria. These people who talk about loyalty to the rules of the Australian Labour party and all the rest of it - what did they do in relation to the rules of the party? They said, “ We cannot eliminate the honorable member for Yarra, the honorable member for Hoddle, and the honorable member for Darebin under the rules of the party. If we call a conference and have all the branches of the party there, we cannot do anything about it, because they have the overwhelming support of the rank and file in Victoria “. So they simply tore up the rules and said, “ We will have a conference to which we will admit persons who are not members of the Labour party”. So all the ragtag and bobtail, every “ Com.” and fellow traveller, and every one with a grievance in Melbourne were ordered to attend the conference. The only claim to distinction of most of them was their opposition to the Labour party, both inside and out. They were rounded up in order to pass judgment on our position in the party.
– Rubbish !
– The honorable member knows perfectly well what the decision was. As a result of that conference, which was attended by people who were not members of the Australian Labour party, six new” delegates were elected to the federal conference of the Australian Labour party to make decisions on policy. Little wonder, therefore, that the delegates from Queensland, New South
Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania, when they got to Hobart, refused to sit with those six delegates who were unconstitutionally elected from Victoria.
– And they then accepted the decisions.
– I agree that they did, and the honorable member knows on what basis they were forced to do that. The simple fact remains that those decisions were made by thirteen of ail eligible 36 delegates to the conference of the party, plus six delegates who went there and demanded to sit. That is the kind of justice we get from the right honorable member for Barton.
These six Victorian delegates, whose credentials were in dispute, insisted in going into the conference and voting on whether they should be allowed into the conference, so that they represented judge, jury, prosecutor and executioner all in one. That is another example of the kind of justice we get from the right honorable member for Barton. It was because of that completely unconstitutional position, because every rule of the Australian Labour party was violated and every principle of decency and solidarity turned down, and because the Burton policy was fastened on to the Australian Labour party that we took the stand we did. If the honorable member for East Sydney says he is proud of his record as a wrecker and as a voter with the Liberal party to throw Labour governments out of office, all I can say is that I would not be proud of such a record. I am proud of the stand that we have taken, and I have not the slightest doubt that the great mass of people in Australia, given the opportunity - and I hope they will get it soon - will support us.
Dealing with the subject of conscription, the followers of the right honorable member for Barton had an opportunity a moment ago to vote on an amendment-
– Order ! The honorable member cannot refer to that matter.
– We know what happened in relation to that proposal, but let us return to the attitude of the honorable member for East Sydney to conscription. He put his hand over his heart and said that that was a matter of vital principle on which he was prepared to die. In no circumstances would he subscribe to conscription. But everybody knows that, when it came to putting his hand out to take a ministerial salary, when he was conscripting women and children in Australia asMinister for Habour and National Service, somehow or other his objections to conscription silently faded away. So we reach the very astonishing position that it is a matter of principle with the honorable member for East Sydney to take a stand against conscription. In no circumstances will he tolerate conscription until some one offers him a Cabinet post, the main job of which is to conscript Australians for labouring work and service in the forces. So long as the honorable member was allowed to continue, with his old friend Jock Garden, to occupy the position of Minister for Labour and National Service, and to conscript everybody except Jock Garden’s friends, he had no objection whatever to conscription.
When a man with a record like that talks of hypocrisy, and so on, in this House, he makes no impression in this quarter of the House. As far as we are concerned, we will welcome the honorable member for East Sydney in “Victoria. I hope that, despite the objections of the Premier of Victoria to the honorable member for East Sydney going down to Victoria to help him, the honorable member will be given the fullest leave of absence from this House in order to go to Victoria. I do not know what illusions he has about his popularity elsewhere, but I can assure him that he and his record are well known in Victoria. The members of his own party yesterday used the possibility of his occupancy of the post of deputy leader of the party as a threat in order to retain their own positions, because they knew what effect that appointment would have upon their prospects at the next general election. Let me assure him that poor old Jack Cain, down in Victoria, trembles at the thought of Eddie appearing on the scene.
We have taken our stand on the principles to which we first put our signatures. We shall continue to take our stand on those principles, come what may.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Almost every evening the group of which the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) is the deputy leader, uses the forms of the House to make personal attacks on me. To-night, I want to say a few words about two matters. The honorable member for Hoddle (Mr. Cremean) has stated something that is perfectly well known to the Labour party and the people of New South Wales. I did stand as an independent Labour candidate. I put my case to the people, and I was elected. Later on, under somewhat different circumstances, Mr. Chifley did the same thing,
– Not at all, he never did.
– Of course he did. It is perfectly well known to the Labour movement in New South Wales that, after a bitter dispute, I submitted myself to the people as an independent Labour candidate and that I was elected. I say this in answer to the honorable member for Hoddle. In what I did, I acted honorably. I did not act dishonorably. I did not break any pledge. It is perfectly true, as the honorable member for Hoddle has said, that the official Labour paper attacked me. But what of it? I put my case to the people and I was elected.
– That redeemed the pledge!
– Not at all. The executive then in power was overthrown later on, so I say that, in substance, my action was vindicated. So much for the honorable member for Hoddle.
Now I want to deal with the very important point about the Hobart conference raised by the honorable member for Yarra. I do not think his account of that conference is accurate. It is certainly untrue to suggest that there was any unfair organizing. The honorable member asserts that there was, but the truth of the matter is that there, was an attempt by those associated with him to break up the Hobart conference. Eirst, there was an attempt to prevent it meeting by physical force. The next day, there was an attempt by a minority to dictate to the majority how the conference should he conducted. Then the honorable member, instead of accepting the decisions of the conference, formed a new organization in order to destroy those decisions. I say in answer to the honorable member for Yarra that the truth of the matter is that he was defeated on that occasion, but would not accept his defeat. Subsequently, those associated with him threw out of office a Labour government, the Cain Government of Victoria, which they were pledged to support.
– The right honorable gentleman overthrew it when he demanded the dismissal of the four best Ministers in it.
– “Which Ministers? It is completely untrue to say that I demanded the dismissal of Ministers. I never made any such demand. I stated the facts as I believed them, and they were found to be true by the appropriate authority of the Labour movement. That is the position. I submit that the conduct in Victoria of those associated with the honorable member for Yarra is inexcusable, because it has put a Labour government out of office.
– Is the right honorable gentleman going to Victoria ?
– I am going to Victoria. I have been there before, and I shall go there again. The honorable member did not mind me going there during the last general election. He did not mind me supporting him then, but subsequently he engaged in attacks upon me. What upset him was that I put to the Labour movement the case against him as I believed it, and he did not think I would do so. T put the case that an outside influence was controlling a certain element in the Labour party. I put what I believed to be the facts, and what I still believe to be the facts, before the appropriate authority. That is the real grievance that the honorable member has against me.
– I have no grievance against you except that you are a danger to the country,
– Apparently I am a danger to the country because I am opposed to you.
– Almost every night, when the motion for the adjournment of the House i3 moved, these people denounce me. The leader of their party has denounced me as the No. 1 Communist. That is a deliberate and wicked untruth. They know it is untrue, but they think that if they go on smearing me for long enough they will get the people to believe them. The honorable member for Yarra knows it is not true to say that I am a Communist or a Communist associate.
– I would not guarantee that you were not a “ Com “.
– He says he would not. guarantee that I am not a Communist. I say that I am not, and he knows in his heart that I am not, but he has to keep up the pretence of believing that I am in order to attack me. Why not be manly about it and cease making personal smears of that character?
– Fancy the right honorable member for Barton talking about personal smears!
– I have not made any smearing attacks on him. I have objected to his methods, because I think they are wrong. I thought he held views inconsistent with the platform of the Labour party and I put that case to the proper authority. That authority gave its decision, and I have accepted it. I cannot understand the attitude of the honorable member to the Hobart conference. I wonder what would have happened at the conference if the voting strength had been nineteen to seventeen the other way.
– Does the right honorable gentleman believe that the accuser should be allowed to sit in judgment on the accused ?
– That was done in the federal executive. Two representatives of the Victorian executive, Mr. Lovegrove and Mr. Horan, sat on the tribunal. They were also members of the administrative tribunal which decided against the Victorian executive. The honorable member says it is good to have that at the executive level, but it is not good to have it at the conference level. They are both administrative bodies, and they acted correctly and honestly. That is the position with regard to those matters.
– Did the light honorable member support the honorable member for East Sydney yesterday?
– Well I With regard to our party and its affairs, I do not think the honorable member’s belief is correct. I think he has been completely misinformed about what happened yesterday, but the humour of his remarks on that matter afforded a little relief. He gave a most distorted account of the Hobart conference. Anyhow, these matters will be decided by the electors of Victoria in the near future.
– Mr. Speaker-
Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)
Majority . . . . 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented: -
Defence (Transition Residual Provisions) Act - National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations-Orders - Inventions and Designs (4).
International Monetary Agreements Act - Annual Report on operations of the Art, and . insofar as they relate to Australia, of the International Monetary fund Agreement and the International Bank Agreement, for year 1953-54.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Postal purposes - North Bondi, New South Wales.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Depart-‘ meat- -
Defence Production - J. Comery, R. Hopkins, R. Roberts, G. A. Still, L. Wraczynski.
National Development - B. G. Cook, A.M. Copeland, W. C. Gerula.
Repatriation - W. S. Adeney, R. H. D. Bean, W. R. C. Bennett, W. A.
McKay, W. C. P. R. O’Hair, N. B. Pinkus, S. J. Wright.
Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations - 1955 -
No. 13 - Association of Officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
No. 14 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Engineinen and Operative Painters and Decorators’ Union of Australia.
Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Australian Capital Territory - Soil Conservation Council -
Seventh Annual Report and Statement of Receipts and Payments, for year 1953-54.
House adjourned at 11.55 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
t asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers’ to the honorable member’s questions are- as follows : - 1 and 2. War pensions and other amounts paid under the Repatriation Act are expressly exempt from income tax in the hands of the recipient and, as such, are not subject to tax. However, the question whether the allowance received by the wife of a war pensioner and which contributes’ towards the cost of her maintenance should not be taken into account in ascertaining the concessional deduction allowable to the war pensioner in respect of his wife is still under consideration. The honorable member will appreciate that the question of excluding a war pension received, by a taxpayer’s wife, for the purpose of determining the. concessional deduction allowable to the husband on her account, cannot be considered alone but must be considered in conjunction with the question of other types of exempt income which may be received by other dependants of a taxpayer as well as his wife, for example, income from scholarships or bursaries received by a dependent child. The matter raised by the honorable member will receive consideration prior to the introduction of the next budget.
i asked the Minister for Defence Production, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 May 1955, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1955/19550505_reps_21_hor6/>.