23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. J. R. FRASER presented petitions
Petitions received and read.
– In asking the Treasurer a question I refer to his statement yesterday that there would be a relaxation of credit restrictions as applied to building. Is this to apply in a sectionalized way, or will it apply over the whole country to all organizations that provide credit? In view of the continued closing down of sawmills in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and, I understand, Western Australia, with resultant unemployment of men in small country towns and isolated districts, is the Treasurer prepared to have his instructions applied so that the home building requirements of the people will be met in all these districts? Is the Treasurer aware that the only sources of employment in many country districts in Australia are sawmills, many of which have been closed down as a result of the credit restriction policy of the Government and that all talk-
– Order! I think the honorable member should ask his question.
– Has the Treasurer given his instructions on a wide basis or only on a sectional basis?
– The honorable member for Wilmot began his question by referring to restrictions of credit for housing. I thought I had made it clear yesterday that the directive from the Reserve Bank of Australia to the trading banks, far from recommending any restrictions on housing loans, stressed that social purposes such as housing should not be regarded as coming within any general directive for particular restrictions to be applied in bank lending. Indeed, the Reserve Bank has since reminded the trading banks of this particular element in the general directive. As a result of the action to which I referred yesterday, further provision has been made by State savings banks and by the Commonwealth Savings Bank of funds for housing purposes, the rate of lending having been stepped up after consultation with the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The extent to which this will occur will vary from State to State and according to the resources available to the institutions concerned. That is a matter over which the Commonwealth has no direct control. However, I am quite confident that the various State savings institutions and the governments of the States concerned are anxious to see some increase in the rate of lending for home building purposes.
The Government is aware that timber mills throughout Australia have been affected by a decline from what was a boom level of home building last year. Again, the situation varies from State to State, but it is not contemplated that we should return to the level of home building activity which was producing pressures of demand, forcing up costs, and leading to scarcities of materials. The Tariff Board has reported in some detail on the timber industry. Those members who are interested in this matter and who have not yet studied the board’s findings are recommended to examine its document.
– In view of the fact that the Minister for Territories has just returned from a visit to West New Guinea, can he clarify the confusion which seems to exist as to alleged statements made by the Dutch Secretary of State for New
Guinea, Dr. Bot, on the question of armed intervention in that Territory?
– I would not attempt to clarify the question of how these reports arose because I have no first-hand knowledge of them. I understand from the statements made to me by Dr. Bot himself that he gave no press interview and made no statement at all in Hollandia on this subject up to the time that the first stories appeared. After the stories had appeared - as I say, I make no comment on their origin - in order to make his position and the position of his Minister quite clear, he did issue a press statement in Hollandia. He was good enough to show me a copy of it when he issued it. 1 have not that statement before me, but it said something to this effect: The Netherlands Government did not expect a large-scale attack on West New Guinea; its own forces in West New Guinea were sufficient only to deal with limited raids and infiltrations; and if anything other than a limited raid or an infiltration occurred, the Netherlands Government would regard that as being a matter of concern to the United Nations and a matter for handling through the United Nations. As Dr. Bot explained quite carefully, that was the position regarding any use of force in West New Guinea. Then he added that he would assume that in the case of an attack and a reference to the United Nations, other Pacific powers such as the United States of America and Australia could not - I think “ could not “ was the phrase - remain indifferent.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. In view of the recent political developments in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and iia West New Guinea where a partly elected and partly nominated Legislative Council has come into being for the first time, will the Minister take steps to see that an invitation is extended to representatives of the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea, the West New Guinea Council, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate and Samoa to visit this country and see at first hand the operation of a vigorous democracy and its parliamentary system?
– I am sure that we all thank the honorable member for Macquarie for his generosity to this Parliament in holding up our conduct as a model for other parliaments to follow. With respect to our own Territory of Papua and New Guinea, I can inform the honorable member that, as a result of recent discussions with the Administrator, I have in mind that in due course we shall establish in the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea a system of training officers of the council. They will begin as messengers and be trained so that they can fill the highest offices in the service of the council. We shall approach Mr. Speaker and the President of the Senate in order to see whether we can bring those officers down here for training and familiarization in legislative procedures as part of their instruction. We shall certainly be making frequent opportunities for members of the Legislative Council for the Territory to come and see us at work here. The honorable member will realize that they enjoy membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as members of a subbranch of the Australian Commonwealth Branch of the parent association. If any of the members of the Legislative Council for the Territory come here, they will, as our guests and as our fellow members of that association, be entitled to the privileges of the House. The honorable member suggested that something similar be done for representatives from other territories. I regard that as a matter involving relationships between the respective governments and think it to be a matter within the province of the Minister for External Affairs.
– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. In view of the fact that a company is shortly to be formed in Australia for the manufacture of new forms of hovercraft in this country, and in view of the fact that presently there exists no constituted authority in Australia to authorize, license or otherwise control the operation of such craft, will the right honorable gentleman have the matter considered immediately, as the lack of proper constituted authority is preventing the development of this kind of craft?
– -1 am not as well informed on .this matter as my .friend from Queensland is, but -I will be very .glad to have investigated anything that .he cares to put to me in .relation to the matter.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I preface it ‘by referring to a statement made ‘by the right honorable gentleman to the effect that the drift in home-building activities must continue “until homebuilding operations have descended to a certa’in level before the Government will take any action to arrest that drift. ‘Will the Treasurer tell me to what level homebuilding activities must descend before any action is taken to remedy the position that this Government has created -in .the .homebuilding industry? Will the Treasurer also say whether money will be made available for the many additional housing co-operative societies that the Premier of Victoria has said will be formed in that State in July? Will the forming of further co-operatives mean that less money will be .available for the housing .commissions of the various States?
Mr. -HAROLD HOLT. -The honorable gentleman has attributed some words to me which I am quite certain I have never used, il can also say that any words I have used could not possibly ‘have been interpreted reasonably -in the way the honorable member suggests. What I have ;sa’id, in substance, is that the housing position should be considered, not ‘in terms of levels of housing activity at the present ‘time, but rather on the basis of the availability of resources and the -existing need for housing. “No spokesman for ‘this Government has ever claimed that it was the responsibility or the ‘purpose of the Government, as a government, to supply the housing needs of this country. What we are doing is making -a very substantial contribution, as a government, to the ‘housing needs of the country. We are providing finance for the schemes ‘that the States are implementing for State housing, and we are also providing finance for the war service homes scheme. In addition, we are providing a certain amount of finance for housing through the :agency of ‘various instrumentalities which ‘come -under ‘our general jurisdiction. A total amount of :the ‘Of der of -£80.;0O0_,0Q0 *& :year is, .by tone or more £>f -these .-means, being provided .by the ‘Government for housing purposes.
I nave already indicated to the “House ‘the action that ‘has “been ‘taken in certain directions .to assist ‘in increasing housing activity at the present ‘time. ‘This action will, no doubt, be supplemented ‘by the activities of private interests in the housing field, particularly as demand asserts itself, and the availability df ‘finance increases, in one State or another.
I have not had brought “to my ‘notice officially la statement -.which I have seen attributed ?to the Premier df ‘Victoria, that a very considerable number of housing societies will come into existence between now and 1st July. ‘I shall see what further information I can secure on ‘this point, and shall see also what funds are likely to be available for -the purposes of these societies.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. I preface it by directing attention to the January issue of the “Treasury Information Bulletin, which ;shows, on page 13 under “Bank Lending”, an increase of £65,300^000 under ,this heading for the period June-December, I960, -.as compared with an (increase of £25s 800,000 for the ^corresponding .period <of 1959. ‘Will -the :right ^honorable gentleman /investigate ‘this /increase, with a .view to ascertaining what sections of ‘the .community ‘were benefited /thereby? Will he also tell us the amounts /made available .by way of loans ito ^primary (producers .during the last financial -year, as compared with ‘the .amounts :for preceding >years? ,Further, .will the .Treasurer ‘ascertain .the number of definite applications for Joans made to >th£ ‘Commonwealth (Deve’lopment Bank since fits inception, <the number of these that have -been refused .and the number granted?
– it is fairly obvious that I cannot answer this question in all its detail at the present time. I can -assure the honorable gentleman (that matters -such as the /extent <of bank advances and ,the .areas /in which these /advances fare *made have .been ‘very -much in the mind :of the Government. Indeed, we have sought to improve arrangements for compiling statistics, so that we may have a clearer picture from time to time of movements in this section of the economy. I am not sure whether the honorable member has had the latest publication setting out these matters in rather more detail than I can give. If not, I shall see that he gets it. I cannot give him offhand the figures for a series of years showing the movements in advances to primary industries, but my recollection is that in the calendar year 1960 there was an overall increase of advances of £6,000,000 against a decline of £9,000,000 in the previous year. That aspect of the question which deals with advances by the Commonwealth Development Bank calls for some consultation with the Treasury. I shall see that the honorable member is supplied with as much detail as I can give him.
– May I have a copy, too?
– Yes, if you wish it.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it a fact that the present lease drawn up between the Government and the management of the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Proprietary Limited is about to expire? Is it a fact that this Government does not intend to place any further orders at present with this dockyard after the launching of the frigate “Stuart” on Saturday last? Can the Minister tell me whether negotiations are proceeding for the sale of the dockyard and workshops to the present management, which is the subsidiary of a large British concern? Does the Minister realize that if this sale is effected more than 1,000 skilled shipbuilders and their assistants will be retrenched immediately?
– Yesterday the honorable member for Dalley asked me a question similar to this question and I said that I would at a later date make a statement of the position. The series of questions asked by the honorable member for KingsfordSmith clearly should be placed on the notice-paper, and I suggest that he place them there.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Trade, concerns a statement issued by him on 4th April regarding the importation to Australia from Japan of acrylic yarn. The Minister announced that Japan had agreed to limit its exports of the yarn to a monthly average of 45,000 lb. and that imports in January and February had averaged 56,000 lb. Is it a fact that in the first week of March imports of acrylic yarn from Japan totalled nearly 115,000 lb.? If so, will this be set off by the Japanese against future exports from that country to Australia so that the monthly average of 45,000 lb. will be maintained as from the beginning of March?
– When representations were made to me through the department that, in the view of the spinning industry, it was necessary to have a quick look at the position of the industry, which was said to be worsening, and on a prima facie case being made, I referred the matter to the Deputy Chairman of the Tariff Board. After a preliminary examination, he reported that the problems of the industry related to the importation of acrylic yarn from Japan and that in his opinion the best protection for the industry would be secured by an arrangement with the Japanese, either voluntarily or by reference to the appropriate clause of the trade treaty, which would in any event reduce the importation of the yarn from Japan to a level of 45,000 lb. a month. The point was immediately put by officers of the Department of Trade to the Japanese authorities, who, I must say, within a matter of several days, notwithstanding the shortness of the notice, indicated agreement. Imports did rise to more than 100,000 lb. in March, I think, and the Japanese agree that this shall be offset against future imports to give a monthly average of 45,000 lb. as from 1st March, in accordance with the recommendation of the Tariff Board.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I preface it by directing the Minister’s thought to the current publicized claims that during the next few months meat prices are expected to rise considerably and to an extent that, for most family wage-earners, will make meat a luxury; in short, that it will cost more to eat meat this winter. Is it a fact that lamb prices will rise to a peak in midwinter and that beef prices will tend to rise because of a fall-off in production coupled with the continued high rate of export? I next ask the Minister whether much of the already high price of meat and the forecast increase in the price of meat to the public are due to the marketing charges and the high cost of machinery and equipment, including the interest rates charged for essential borrowings by primary producers from banks and finance companies?
– I do not think that the latter part of the honorable member’s statement has much relevance to the price of beef. I am interested in his statement, which he has taken from the press and which I saw of my own accord, to the effect that somebody in New South Wales - I do not know who the authority was - estimated that beef prices would rise. That report appeared only a day or so after I returned from Queensland where I had seen that some authority had stated that the price of beef would decline this year. So these so-called authorities are not necessarily correct. All I can say is that American prices are fairly stable, but the export prices are at a lower level than the home consumption prices; and I think we can guess from that situation that the price depends to a degree on the quantity of beef available for killing. So far there is no tendency for prices to rise in Queensland and they will not necessarily rise immediately in New South Wales as killing increases in Queensland.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. I refer to suggestions recently made by big financial sources in England that international trade can be hampered by gold and foreign exchange shortages. Are those suggestions true? Is Australia’s overseas trade now being, or is it in the near future likely to be, hampered by the present price of gold? If the suggestions are true, what steps are being taken by Australia to obtain a higher price for gold and to change the manner in which the price of gold is now fixed?
– Undoubtedly, an increase in the price of gold would benefit trade for Australia and we believe it would benefit world trade generally. We have taken steps from time to time in appropriate quarters, and particularly at meetings of the International Monetary Fund, to make that point of view known and to give support to others who have also pressed this line of argument. But no change in the price of gold can be effectively made without the concurrence of the United States Administration and already the new Administration has made it evident that on this matter it is adhering to the policy that the former Administration consistently sustained.
Various suggestions have been made to the effect that gold might be supplemented in some way for international trade purposes by other measures. There are, currently, interesting proposals whereby an institution such as the International Monetary Fund might operate as an international reserve bank, servicing the member governments of the world much as a reserve bank would service its own country. We are watching all these proposals and developments very closely, but I do not think there is anything more of a concrete kind that I can put before the honorable gentleman to-day.
– My question also is directed to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that since the commencement of the Government’s credit squeeze more than two bankruptcies a week are being notified in New South Wales? Is the Treasurer aware that more than 100 cases are at present awaiting examination? Does the same position apply in other States? Is it a fact that the majority of these cases involve companies associated with the building industry? Is it correct that building contractors in particular have been sought out by the Government for special attention by means of instructions that their overdrafts must be reduced substantially? Will the Minister restore, the borrowing: level of builders to the limit that existed prior to the commencement of the credit restrictions?
– I do not have in my mind the statistics to which the honorablegentleman has referred but I am willing, to study them and, at the same time, so that we shall have some useful basis of comparison, ascertain the level of bankruptcies, which occurred during the period when, honorable- gentlemen opposite, were in office in the. earlier years of. real, depression, in. thiscountry. Sometimes it is. puzzling, to discover whether honorable gentlemen opposite, are. anxious to see some improvement in. Australia’s economic, situation or are trying to promote some depressive effects, in industry generally.
From, time to time I have stated our policies; in this: matter. L have not denied that in taking measures designed to bring, a boom under control there must be some discomfort and even hardship in certain sections. We regret that as much as does any honorable gentleman opposite, But’ this Government Has had- the- courage” to’ hazard5 its political1 future in doing what’ it’ believes to- De- right in- the interests of the- Australian people. We- shall: continue to do so.
– I address my question to. the Minister for Trade. Prior to the Easter, recess a panel of representatives of the sawmilling industry from all States met officers of the Department of Trade and submitted certain evidence designed to have an emergency duty placed on imported timber. What has been the outcome of the meeting? What has been- the trend of imports of timber?’
– A panel from the timber industry, andi separately.; I understand1, a> panel from, the plywood industry, have been conferring with officers of the; Department of Trade on- this issue. Apparently it has emerged that there: are problems in; the timber- industry that are not confined to thelevel of imports of timber.. The8 facts indicate- that over the last four months- there has been a quite important fall in the level of these imports. The: question, of referring the timber industry to< the deputy- chairman of the Tariff Board, is under active discussion with the industry at present, and I expect that a final decision-, about a reference will be. taken, in the very near future.
Mf. WHITLAM’. - Yesterday, in reply to my question’ the Minister for- External Affairs- suggested that I- should defer it until after I had’ heard his statement last night. As the statement’, did not deal with the question that- H had asked I now repeat it: As; Australia has now voted in the United Nations for the resolution requesting all States to consider taking such separate and collective action as is: open to them- to bring about the abandonment of South Africa’s apartheid policies, what does the Government propose to do to carry out this request?- When tha resolution censuring South- Africa for its: policies in south-west Africa, comes’ before, the General Assembly, will- Australia abstain’ from voting beside the United Kingdom, as it did in the Political Committee;, or will- it now vote for the resolution beside- the United: States of: America and all. other- members of the Commonwealth?-
– The honorable, member will not.be surprised to know. that, since this vote took, place yesterday we, as. a Government, have, had no. opportunity’ to, considerwhat particular action, we. might think fit to take.. All L say is, that the matter is left quite at. large-under paragraph- 3 of- Hie resolution because, it is action, within the Charter-: It is a< recommendation by the. General Assembly. I have already, made it: quite clean that we do. not propose to. engage- in sanctions of. the kind- referred to in the 25-power. resolution., to respect of Southwest Africa,, the? position is: that a* resolution was adopted on 7tfr April, by” the General Assembly, and there were nine abstentions, including Australia and the United Kingdom. The reasons’ for- the Australian vote were stated, by the Australian’ delegation, and. T shall be- very happy to provide the honorable member with a- copy of them.
– L direct a question to the Minister, for Immigration. I’m view-‘ of the- fact that three at the. top West Indian1 cricketers - Sobers, Hall” and-‘ Kanhai - who’ did much to revive the game in the last test series, are reported to be coming to Australia to play cricket in South Australia and Western Australia, will the Minister inform the House whether there is any substance in a report that the Department of Immigration might raise some obstacle to their- coming?
– Mr. Speaker, the answer is, “ No “. I know the honorable gentleman, who is a sporty kind of person, has an interest in these matters; but I think I can allay his fears.
– Sobers is going to South Australia.
Mb. DOWNER.- I am glad- that my leader, who is a cricket enthusiast, approves.
– South Australia needs him-, tool
– The Prime Minister has said that South Australia needs Sobers. I can assure him, my honorable friend from Perth, and the House that we will receive Sobers, warmly. The honorable member, for Perth- need have no qualms at all about the attitude of the Department of Immigration in this connexion. Indeed, it has been long-standing policy on the part of the Government and of the Department of Immigration that sportsmen of distinction, members of theatrical companies and the like, if they are invited here, or sponsored by. approved sporting bodies or by entrepreneurs, are admitted to Australia on a visitor basis. As a. rule, they are given a permit for admission to Australia for aperiod, of twelve months. If special circumstances arise which indicate that it would be desirable to extend the period of the permit, then in those special circumstances an extension will be given. But in this particular case that the honorable member for Perth- has mentioned”,, there is no exception to general policy at all. In fact, it is an example of the way. in which the Government - I hope I am not claiming too much - humanely and sympathetically tries to apply its general immigration- policy.
– I. direct, a question to the Treasurer. In view of the recent action of the Commonwealth Superannuation Board in making £1,000,000 available to David Jones Limited, will the Treasurer request the board to consider making loans available for home purchase or construction to employees of the Commonwealth Public Service similar to the manner in which State superannuation funds make loans directly to persons who desire finance for housing purposes?
– I shall not try to give a detailed reply to the honorable gentleman regarding investment by the Commonwealth Superannuation Board. I have previously explained the relationship which exists between the Commonwealth Government and the board so far as investments, are concerned. From the last time I looked at this matter, my impression remains that the overwhelming majority of funds, available to the board go into investment, in. Commonwealth, State, and local, government securities. I should think,, speaking from, memory, that, this is well in excess of 95 per cent. of. the total, funds available. However, I will get such details as I can in order to satisfy the curiosity of the honorable member.
– I ask the Treasurer whether, in view of the Government’s expressed, wish to increase export earnings, he will have- examined the practicability of boosting gold production by increasing the subsidy on gold. In this respect, would he- also have examined the relative merits of paying- a service charge of; say, £2,000,000- for a £10,000,000 overseas loan - that is, over, say, four years - involving also the repayment of capital, and of using the same £2.000,000 to- subsidize the production of gold to the value of £10;000,000 or so? In examining this, will the Treasurer take into account the continuing production of gold as well as the increased production?
-Th.e question raised by the. honorable gentleman covers some important tass of policy. The Government, as is known, pays a- subsidy on gold production. The purpose of that subsidy is not to increase our export earnings but to sustain activity in gold production, particularly among producers who do not operate on a highly profitable basis. The aim is to enable the carrying on of community life in the areas where the subsidy principally applies. The honorable gentleman appears to be suggesting that some policy line might be worked out whereby, as a result of a process of subsidizing gold for the earning of export income, we would be able to reduce the volume of loan moneys raised overseas, with the equivalent of interest payable on the loan moneys which would otherwise be raised overseas being considered as available for payment as a subsidy on gold production. Whilst I admire the honorable gentleman’s ingenuity and his devotion to the electorate which he represents so faithfully in this Parliament, there is a very important issue of principle involved. My colleague, the Minister for Trade, would be more sensitive and perhaps better informed than I am on how far Australia could subsidize an item for export purposes without committing a breach of our international obligations. However, I undertake to give some study to the suggestion made by the honorable gentleman.I am unable at this point, however, to raise his hopes very high in regard to it.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is it correct that the Government has abandoned or shelved proposals to build what is known as the Pioneer Highway from Bourke to the Northern Territory? As this highway would serve the Channel country of Queensland, would add millions of pounds to the finances of the beef industry, would save millions of pounds by preventing drought losses and would also open up the back country of New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory for settlement and development, will the Prime Minister give an assurance that the undertakings given in the Administrator’s Speech at the opening of this Parliament, and in the statement of the Minister for National Development that this work would be carried out, will be honoured?
– I am not completely au fait with this matter, but I shall be very glad to look into what the honorable member has put and as soon as possible give him a statement regarding the position.
– I desire to ask thePrime Minister: Is it a fact that during a previous parliament a petition was presented on behalf of the New England New State Movement praying that the Parliament would take action to enable the people of New England to secure self-government?’ Has the right honorable gentleman’s attention been directed to a recent statement in the press that within the last two months the people of northern New South Wales have decided to raise a fighting fund of £100,000 to finance their campaign for selfgovernment, and that within a few weeks they have raised half of that sum? As the people of northern New South Wales are predominantly of English, Irish and Scottish descent, and the English have an implacable, cold determination, the Scots a dour determination and the Irish great fighting qualities, will the right honorable gentleman have regard to the fact that all these characteristics are being brought to bear on the effort to enable another State to enter the Australian Commonwealth in the same way as, recently, two new States were admitted’ to the American federation, bringing the number of American States from 48 to 50?
– I regret to say that, no doubt due to my absence from the country, I was not aware of the matters referred to by the honorable member. I can say, however, that I am not surprised by them, but I am surprised that the honorable gentleman left out the Welsh, who might have put all the rest of it to music. I know the honorable member’s views on this question of a new State in the north of New South Wales - I imagine that sitting next to him is another member of the House who has some strong views on the matter also - and I will be very happy to look into whatever information the honorable member can give me about this point.
Debate resumed from 11th April (vide page 675), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the following paper: -
Overseas Visit by Prime Minister - Ministerial Statement - be printed.
Upon which Mr. Calwell had moved, by way of amendment -
That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “in the opinion of this House, the speeches and statements made by the Prime Minister on the question of South Africa, following the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, have done great harm to Australia’s relations with other member States of the Commonwealth, and with the nations of South-East Asia; have aggravated the position he created at the United Nations meeting in October last year; and do not represent the views of the Australian people.
The House resolves, therefore, that the right honorable gentleman should be censured and removed from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs “.
.- I support the sentiments expressed last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), which were also supported later last night by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). I am sure that my colleagues who will speak in this debate to-day will similarly support what has already been said on behalf of the Labour Party.
The concluding words of the Opposition’s amendment axe an expression of our belief that the Prime Minister should relinquish the office of Minister for External Affairs and so save this country from the increasing embarrassment that arises from his statements overseas. Such a motion for the removal of a Minister from office has never before been submitted to this Parliament. The motion is the Opposition’s protest against the retention by the Prime Minister of the External Affairs portfolio nearly a year after the resignation of the former Minister for External Affairs - Mr. R. G. Casey, as he then was - on his elevation to the peerage. The period of ten or twelve months during which the Prime Minister has held this important portfolio has been a tragic time for Australia. I do not think that there is any other country whose Prime Minister takes unto himself the additional position of Minister for External Affairs. The Prime Minister must surely treat the position of Minister for External Affairs very lightly if he thinks that he can administer that portfolio adequately as well as the portfolio of Prime Minister. When the right honorable gentleman is overseas he is not handling the Prime Ministership as it should be handled, and when he is here he is not handling the Ministry of External Affairs at it should be handled.
In his speech last night, in which he tried to justify his somersault on the
South African issue, the Prime Minister said one or two interesting things. It seems quite clear, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister has a very old-fashioned, out-dated attitude to the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. He still thinks of it in terms of 50 years ago when it was a cosy little society comprising the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and Australia - the big four - meeting in secret behind closed doors and having a good old chin-wag and chit-chat together about the state of the world in general. Rarely did anything happen in those conferences. But in latter years, since the war, this conference has become a far bigger organization. It is a multi-racial organization now. It has within it some of the new nations of the world which have only recently had their independence granted to them.
The Prime Minister just will not grow up at the same rate as this organization is growing up. He is completely out-dated in his views about it. The Opposition is quite convinced that the Commonwealth has outgrown the Prime Minister. I cannot put it any more clearly than that. Until he is prepared to accept the fact that it is a multi-racial organization he will always be out of date; he will always be 3 miles behind; he will always be making statements that would have fitted in to the pattern of twenty or thirty years ago but which are quite ridiculous within the present framework of the Commonwealth. His attitude to the question of Africa is that the internal operations of Commonwealth countries must not be discussed in London at the Prime Ministers’ Conference. All such dirty work should be left to the United Nations. That was the burden of his argument last night in trying to extricate himself from the most difficult situation that an Australian Prime Minister has ever been in. He seems to think that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference is just an informal gathering of good friends, and that you must not discuss any nasty bit of policy or legislation within any of these nations. Leave that to the United Nations!
I cannot possibly understand his attitude on this point and neither can any member of the Opposition. An evil policy is made no different just because the nation carrying it out happens to be’ a member of the Commonwealth. There is, as the Leader of the Opposition said last night, a Savoy Australian Club atmosphere. I feel that if the conference of Prime Ministers is to have any meaning at all it cannot side-track or get around the type of policy that is being carried out in Africa at the present time. The Prime Minister was caught up in this strange situation and was unable to face present world realities. All his subsequent statements, in my opinion, arose from the fact that he has not grown up with the British Commonwealth and is still living in the atmosphere of the 1930’s and even the 1920’s. He thinks of the old Commonwealth - a cosy gentlemen’s club where every one is a jolly good sport with superior indifference to present social, political or racial problems.
He cannot grasp the concept of a multiracial society within the Commonwealth. He was born in the nineteenth century and does not seem to have got out of it. If my memory serves me rightly, he once recommended that there should be an inner cabinet of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, consisting, I assume, entirely of white men. To-day, the coloured races are rising from the colonialism of the past and claiming a rightful place and voice in the affairs of nations. The Prime Minister does not seem to grasp this fact.
In the course of his speech at the Savoy Hotel in London, the Prime Minister raised the white Australia issue. Why he wanted to drag this issue into that atmosphere we cannot understand. I have before me a newspaper article by Denis Warner in which he says -
The New York Times last week, published a prediction by the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Edgar Whitehead, that Australia would be out of the Commonwealth next year “ on her White Australia policy “. Mr. Menzies has already stated firmly that he would not have stayed in the Commonwealth longer than the South Africans if he had come under similar attack. He has also expressed the view that such attacks are likely. And at the week-end Communist China and Indonesia signed a treaty of friendship and called for an early Afro-Asian conference. Taken separately these predictions, trends and events are disturbing enough. But they should not be taken separately. Communist China’s intention to-day, stated over and over again in the bluntest of terms by its leaders, is to isolate the West from the’ under-developed world of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
That is quite obvious to most of us who study Asian affairs. Denis Warner continued -
It has set about achieving this objective in various ways . . .
Nothing would suit China’s purpose better than to see Australia walk out of the Commonwealth. And nothing, I believe, is more vital to our interests to-day than that we should remain a part of it.
I am sure I am right when 1 say that most Australians strongly approved the policy Lord Casey pursued in the External Affairs Department of establishing a good-neighbour policy with Asia, and especially with our Commonwealth Asian neighbours. It is no secret now that Lord Casey left Australia last week concerned that what he had worked for - and largely achieved - ever a period of 10 years had been largely undone by Mr. Menzies in London.
It is tragic enough that the White Australia policy and apartheid should be discussed in the same breath. It would be disastrous for the Western cause - and for us - if we were to break our one intimate link with Asia by walking out of the Commonwealth, unfairly branded for ever as white racialists.
If Mr. Menzies is still Prime Minister of Australia when the Prime Ministers’ Conference is held next year, he will again represent this country. He must grasp the essential difference between the White Australia policy, with which many of us disagree, and the abomination of apartheid, which almost all of us loathe.
If, as he expects, he is attacked on White Australia, he must be instructed that the decision whether to stay in the Commonwealth, or to leave it, is not a matter for his personal, unilateral choice. He has no mandate now to get out of the Commonwealth if he does not like what others say to him. And it is a national duty that we should make this clear to him in the months ahead.
This article by Denis Warner shows the type of situation into which the Prime Minister has got us by making the kind of speech which he made at the dinner at the Savoy. According to the Melbourne “ Herald “ of 3rd April, Lord Casey, speaking of the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth, said -
Personally, I think it has strengthened the Commonwealth. I have always thought it would be rather embarrassing if South Africa had remained in the Commonwealth.
To have said a thing like that Lord Casey obviously must have had some real conception of what apartheid meant in South Africa. We could not live in the Commonwealth with a nation that continued such oppressive racial policies. In that respect,
Lord Casey differs substantially from the Prime Minister despite the statement that the right honorable gentleman made last night. It is a pity that Lord Casey is not still Minister for External Affairs.
In my remaining time, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I want to give to the House a few facts about apartheid in South Africa as it is to-day, in order that the House may have a better understanding of the reasons why we loathe apartheid so much and why South Africa, more or less of its own choice, withdrew from the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and from the Commonwealth of Nations. In the beginning, the Nationalist Party’s philosophers of apartheid saw that the South African society was based on cheap land and on cheap labour which was supplied by a subjugated native population. Africans are declared to be separate socially, culturally and politically.
– What is the honorable member reading now?
– This is a prepared speech.
The Calvinism of the Dutch Reformed Church gave a religious justification to apartheid. It preaches that God has chosen the Afrikaander as His people - distinct, masterful and separate - the native people being an inferior race that has no divine right to equal status with whites, to equal liberties, to equal privileges, to equal economic advantages or to equal opportunities. Calvinism, as preached in South Africa, actually declares that the grace and favour of God are withheld from the native people - that they are predestined to live in the land that God gave to Cain. That is the philosophy of Calvinism. The Africans are religious outcasts, just as the lepers walking the streets of the towns by the Sea of Galilee in the days of Christ himself were outcasts.
The Nationalist Party in South Africa, founded in 1912 by General James Hertzog set out, as a matter of deliberate policy, to achieve the complete separation of races, languages and cultures. Field Marshal Smuts set the ball rolling in this policy of segregation, and he was followed by Dr. Malan in 1948. This was a deliberate policy of white supremacy. The native people were to be kept apart in schools, towns and occupations. Resistance to apartheid was treason by law, declared Malan’s lieutenant, Johannes Strijdom, who later succeeded Malan as Prime Minister of South Africa.
In 1949 began the work of erecting the legal edifice of apartheid - this dreadful philosophy. First, entry into 21 cities and towns for the purpose of seeking work was forbidden to all Africans. Secondly, in 1950, the Mixed Marriages Act and the immorality amendment forbade marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans. Thirdly, in order to buttress and entrench this legislation, the Population Registration Act was passed in order to classify the whole population by racial groups. One fantastic method adopted was to run a comb through a person’s hair in order to determine whether he fell into the coloured or negro category. Fourthly, the Separate Amenities Act was passed in order to segregate the native people in trains, buses and public places. Fifthly, the Minister of Labour was empowered to decide the occupations of any race in order to deal with employment. Skilled jobs were reserved for whites, thus making sure that the main impact of unemployment was directed at the Africans. Men with black skins were not permitted to operate elevators, to lay bricks or to drive any vehicle larger than a threeton truck. Sixthly, there was passed the Group Areas Act, which cut up the country into racial areas. Whites, coloureds and Africans had to live in separate areas. This is one of the great citadels of apartheid, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Seventhly, the Industrial Conciliation Act forbids the formation of multi-racial trade unions and puts the African outside the limits of union representation. Though Africans may have unions, those unions are not recognized by the Government and they are forbidden to carry out collective bargaining. Native workers in the gold-mines receive about one penny an hour, although some of the mines make profits as high as £1,400,000 a month. Eighthly, there came the Bantu Education Act - the brain child of Dr. Verwoerd, the present Prime Minister. This act puts complete control of education in the Government’s hands. The Africans cannot rise above a deliberately fixed low standard of education in the schools. The Bantu language is taught, and only enough English and Afrikaans to enable the Africans to obey orders is taught. About £9,000,000 is spent on Bantu education annually, but this is- only 5s. a head of the African population. Dr. Verwoerd has said that the Government hopes within five or ten years to put an end to “that class of native who wants to become part of the European community “. Dr. Hertzog once said that the native should receive only four years’ education and should be taught only hygiene, soil conservation and the care of cattle.
Ninthly, the Nursing Act ordered separate racial registers and placed the profession under a council all the members of which were white. This is designed to prevent the tragedy of an African nurse giving orders to a trained or untrained European. Tenthly, the Public Safety Act gives the Government the power to proclaim emergency regulations under which the Minister of Justice, a magistrate or a commissioned police officer can order the detention of any one without a warrant or a charge and can put that person in gaol. Thousands of people have been arrested and hundreds languish in gaol, including all the leaders of the African people, as a result of this vicious act.
Eleventhly, we come to the notorious pass laws, which go right back to the days of slavery. Under these laws, the police can have a person hauled out of bed at any time of the night with the excuse that they are just checking passes. The pass laws require every African to carry a pass on which are recorded his name, occupation, address and other information. These passes are virtually passports to prison. These laws have created a vast prison out of which an African may not move without incurring arbitrary arrest. Twelfthly, the South African Government introduced the system of urban dwellings outside the towns and cities. The natives are forced to live in these areas entirely separate from white people, and these places are slum-like and disease-infested. Of every 1,000 African babies born, only between 700 and 800 survive to their second year. Only 55 out of every 100 Africans reach the age of sixteen. Malnutrition is rampant.
Vicious laws also govern the employment of Africans on farms. These laws date back to 1913. Africans cannot own or rent land outside the native reserves. The area of these reserves was increased in 1936, but in most instances the land is poor and eroded and farming methods are primitive. The native farmers exist at poverty levels.
All these facts which I have related constitute the reasons why the Opposition presented its amendment.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) made a very great statement in this House last evening. That statement was clear, logical and comprehensive, and it dealt with several quite historic events. One would have expected that the debate which followed it would, in the interests of this country, have bent itself along the lines of a dispassionate and quiet examination of the views which were expressed by the Prime Minister concerning the results which he had achieved in the interests of this country. But, instead of that, we find the Opposition making foreign policy a mere local political football and nothing more. We saw the spectacle of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) rising at one stage to the height of a very silly joke and of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) uttering, as he so often does, smug and self-satisfied invective. At this he is very good. He is not so good at argument, as I propose to show in a few moments.
T think it is a matter for great regret that on the occasion of a debate such as this we cannot come to grips with some of the real problems of the world and consider them dispassionately in the interests of this country. The Prime Minister dealt with disarmament. The two leading speakers on the Opposition side have addressed the House, but I have not heard from the Opposition as yet one word about disarmament, although I have often heard honorable members opposite say that this is the most crucial question in the world to-day. Not a word do we hear about the Prime Minister’s statements on disarmament, either of criticism or, mark you, of commendation, because what he did was both right and great. He spoke of what happened at the Seato conference, where he played a most significant part. Do we hear a word from the Opposition of criticism? Do we hear Opposition members saying, for instance, “ Well, we differ from you, and for this reason “? Or is there any word of commendation for his having been able to bring together the points of view of Great Britain and the United States of America, which at that time were tending to diverge, and to achieve a unanimous resolution in Seato?
The Prime Minister did important work for this country with respect to the “ Six and the Seven”, the operations of which groups are matters that this country should take to heart. Is there a word in the speeches of Opposition members about those things? Is there any commendation? No, there is only an amendment made either to satisfy some personal splenetic feelings towards the Prime Minister or to gain some local political advantage, if that is what the Opposition thinks it can get out of such an amendment. I should have thought, of course, that it showed the poorest political judgment to cast a shaft of that kind at the Prime Minister, having regard to his standing with the Australian public to-day.
– Ha, ha!
– I know that the gentlemen on the other side of the House think that the trade union secretaries with whom they associate represent Australia. They do not, though honorable members of the Opposition have yet to learn it, and at the end of this year they will learn it in no uncertain manner.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister had lost us friends and had caused us to be misunderstood. Who says so? What material evidence is there of this? The self-satisfied assertion from the other side of this table is certainly not evidence, but the claim is made, of course, with great self-satisfaction. Where is the evidence? The truth, of course, is that we have not lost friends; the truth is that we are not misunderstood, and the truth is that never were we held in higher esteem by the Asian and African nations, and those who move amongst them at the United Nations and elsewhere know this only too well.
What kind of concept led the Deputy Leader to make this assertion? It was a somewhat naive idea - a very naive idea, although one hears it expressed quite frequently - that the way to obtain the friendship of these new, emergent nations is to be supine and go with them on every occasion, never standing up for your own country or your own point of view. How silly! The basic desire of these people is to be treated as equals. Where is a man treated with more equality than in a friendly group, in which he can be criticized and differed from? To be admitted as a member of such a group is the greatest mark of the depth and the reality of the friendship of and with the other members of the group; it is the greatest indicator of the full recognition of equality. But the Opposition says, “Oh, you must not disagree. It does not matter what you think; go with them, run along with them. This way you buy their affection.” I am quite sure you do not, and I am quite sure that this country will do much better by standing up for what it believes to be right, trying to find common ground wherever it can and, when its own interests are not prejudiced, going along with these people as far as it possibly can. In this way we will gain their friendship and earn their respect.
Of course the Australian Labour Party claims to be very worried about friendship with the Asians. Its attitude is very amusing. It insists that we recognize red China. The Labour Party knows that such recognition cannot be given with any qualification. It knows that there must be an unqualified recognition. So it stands for an unqualified recognition of red China and for its admission to the Security Council, in which it will have a permanent seat and the right of veto. The Labour Party knows what that means. It knows that it means the sacrifice of 10,000,000 Formosans. The Labour Party’s official spokesman is reported to have said recently that these people are expendable. This is a magnificent way to win the friendship of these South-East Asian people, who live daily under the shadow of an aggressive and expansionist China. What do these people feel about a suggestion for unqualified recognition? Really, it is an amusing suggestion that the Prime Minister has lost friends, and that this group of people on the other side of this House are making friends for Australia.
The Deputy Leader said that we were isolated. To be quite accurate about this I shall quote his words. He said -
Let me further illustrate our isolation by giving details of voting in the first part of the current session.
He was referring to the current session of the United Nations. Honorable members can all read the report of his speech, and I shall not weary the House with all the details. But he said that he had worked out a total of 52 roll calls in that session, and he gave the number of times on which members of the Commonwealth voted with us and the times on which they did not. These figures, he said, indicate isolation. This is a very amusing suggestion. The members of the Commonwealth do not vote as a bloc. This is one of the most distinctive marks of the Commonwealth, and one of the most outstanding ways in which it differs from other groups in the United Nations. It is not a power bloc. The members of the Commonwealth are not tied to certain views in the United Nations, and they vote in various ways. One has only to look at the records to see that this is so.
What is the proposition of the Deputy Leader? If we vote with Burma we are unfriendly towards New Zealand, which does not vote with Burma. How can w satisfy them all if they vote in different ways? In truth, the voting of the various members of the Commonwealth in the United Nations is a convincing indication of the claim that the Commonwealth is a group of independent, autonomous states, which vote in that assembly as they will.
The conclusions arrived at by the Deputy Leader, based on the voting on the 52 roll calls, are quite amusing. We have been able to run through the records since the honorable gentleman made his speech. What he did to get 52 roll calls was to lump together all the roll calls including those on points of order, all the roll calls on dissents from the Chairman’s rulings. and all the roll calls on the many repetitive motions that are sometimes put in the United Nations. There were not 52 substantive issues. I suppose that if there were five or six, that is as many as there were. But of course this show of knowledge on the part of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is as empty as a pricked balloon. So is this argument put before us as an indication of our isolation.
Then the Deputy Leader made a further statement in the same context. This is again most amusing coming from a spokesman for the Opposition. When I first came to this House what impressed me most markedly was the fact that the Opposition never lost an opportunity to insult the United States of America. Yet last night the Deputy Leader said -
The United States voted beside us only 43 times out of 52.
Well, really! We ought to have been with the United States 52 times out of 52! If we had been we would have been stooges of a great imperial power! You cannot win in that sort of argument.
As I say, in the first place we have the assertion that we have lost friends, and in the second place we have this spurious, bogus sort of argument based on voting in the United Nations. If I had a good deal more time I could go into this aspect of the matter even further.
Another statement made by the Deputy Leader - and this again is part of his stockintrade - was that the Prime Minister was guilty of a slick subterfuge. Do the people of Australia believe that? I leave that to the people of Australia. That is the kind of invective of which I spoke at the beginning.
Let me now turn to what has happened in connexion with this South African affair. The Prime Minister - and I want to make this point clearly in the short time that I have - has perceived that which others have perceived, but he has perceived and been persistent about it, that the most important matter for small nations in this world is the maintenance of their sovereignty and the right to decide their own policies for themselves. Small countries more than any others need to preserve this sovereignty, because if they do not they will be subject to pressures from a great power or a group of other powers, perhaps an aggregation of small powers. The Prime Minister said from the very beginning that this was of significance to Australia because we are a small nation, and unless we are able to maintain our sovereignty and our right to decide for ourselves we will be in a parlous position. That was basic to the United Nations and it was basic to the Commonwealth, though the two organizations are very distinct. It is enshrined in an article of the United Nations Charter.
At the same time, there were two other forces, I will call them, or phases to be regarded’ in connexion with South Africa. The first was that the domestic policy of South Africa had caused, was associated with or was instanced by incidents such as that at Sharpeville which came to international attention and there were certain matters of human rights and dignity which, of course, had to be observed. At that point, we get a competition as to which should be the predominant factor for the good of Australia - to harp on the other fellow’s misdoings or to preserve a great principle that could1 save us in another day. The Prime Minister, not unwisely in my view, chose the latter.
There was one other force or phase 10 be kept in mind and it was this: If there was to be any place where South Africa could be wooed away from its determination to follow its policy, it was in this club - the Commonwealth of Nations - which the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) was so ready to spurn a few moments ago. The one chance was to talk around the table in that friendly, frank atmosphere which is possible only in that place. If the Prime Minister in this House or anywhere else before going to the Prime Ministers Conference had1 burned his bridges and had expressed himself concerning these incidents and so on, he would have weakened the chance he had of wooing South Africa’s Government into a more reasonable and a more humane frame of mind. Other Prime Ministers, I regret to say, did not adopt this course; they arrived at the Prime Ministers Conference having shot their bolt and no longer quite as free as they otherwise might have been and as our Prime Minister was to be frank and flexible in finding some common ground. So we begin with a great principle, followed out by the Prime Minister.
When we turn to the United Nations, we see exactly how the change in emphasis can be made and must be made. With South Africa out of the Commonwealth, we turn to a different forum altogether. In that other and very different forum - the United Nations forum - Lord Casey as he now is had maintained from 1952 to 1959 a vote with South Africa. In 1959, there was a move to abstention and, mark you, abstention with a registration that we did not approve of the policy. The abstention was to maintain that the policy was domestic and ought not be the subject of United Nations’ action. This year, a significant change occurred. Great Britain, which had maintained forcibly that the domestic article ought to be observed even to the point in 1959 where it voted with South Africa, changed its view, but in a very modified way. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and others do not say that Great Britain switched; they say only that Australia switched. Great Britain changed from a vote for to a vote against; Australia changed from abstention to a vote against with an explanation that showed we were maintaining our point of view. I shall read quickly a little of what the United Kingdom representative said at the United Nations. He said -
The Committee may recall that my Delegation has always attached the greatest importance to a proper observance of Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the United Nations. It is this Article which in effect guarantees to members of the United Nations and particularly those who may find themselves in a minority a reasonable immunity from interference by the majority in their internal affairs. Without such a safeguard the position of many member states would be intolerable and it is hardly conceivable that without that clause the United Nations could have come into being.
He then said -
While the importance we attach to the proper observance of Article 2 (7) of the Charter remains undiminished, we regard the case of Apartheid in the circumstances which now exist as of such an extraordinary and exceptional nature as to warrant our regarding it and treating it as sui generis.
That is to say, it was presently of such a kind that a vote in a particular way on this occasion would not create a precedent. We adopted that view. We said: “ We can go with this. If this is not to be regarded as a precedent and we have the opportunity to avoid being misrepresented - all the other relevant factors to which I have referred being out of the way, there being no need to refrain from criticism or from talking and there being no need to keep our bridges up but a great need to ensure that we are not misunderstood - we will go along with the resolution. We maintain our view about domestic jurisdiction. We do not agree with the suggestion of sanctions. We do not agree that there is a threat to international peace in the continuance of the policy, but with all those qualifications we will vote as the only means of expressing our point of view finally and clearly.”
That is not a change, but it marks the end of the progression. The Prime Minister has been insistent for Australia’s sake on maintaining that which I am sure every right-thinking Australian would want to maintain and that is the right to look after our own affairs and not to be busybodies in the affairs of others. We have enough to do to look after our own affairs. I know that when the late Leader of the Opposition was here, he was frequently asking that Australia busy itself before the United Nations in this or that matter in other peoples’ affairs. That represents the worst kind of judgment for this country We are now in a position to evaluate the Prime Minister’s effort for this country
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) began his speech with a statement which, if it was not made in error, was truly contemptible. He declared that the president of the Australian Labour Party had said that Formosa was expendable and that the Formosan people should be handed over to Communist China. The Attorney-General should be the first to know that the president of the Australian Labour Party said nothing of the sort and that as soon as the remarks were attributed to him, he issued an immediate denial and correction. This could scarcely have escaped the notice of the Attorney-General and his case is weak indeed when he repeats a false statement and does not even bother to acknowledge the denial and the correction of it made by the man to whom it was attributed.
The Attorney-General went on to make a statement equally untrue. He declared that ever since he came into this Parliament he had observed that the Opposition never lost an opportunity to insult the United States of America. Once again, the Attorney-General must stand on very weak ground when he is prepared to rel, on an assertion as completely untrue as is that one. It is quite true that the Opposition does not always agree, and has not always agreed, with the policies enunciated by the President and the members of the Government of the United States of America. But as for our friendship and admiration for the United States of America, there has never been the least doubt in the expressions of any member of the Australian Labour Party. The AttorneyGeneral must know that to be true.
The Attorney-General then declared that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) had said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was guilty of a slick subterfuge. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition did say that. The Attorney-General made no attempt to defend the Prime Minister from that charge but simply asked the rhetorical question, “Will the people of Australia believe that? “ I think, on all the evidence of the last few days, that a very large section of the Australian people will indeed believe it, and they will certainly do so after comparing the statements made by the Prime Minister to this Parliament last night with the series of statements which he made in London within the last few days.
Then the Attorney-General went on - he is a little bit behind the times and repeating what was the policy of this Government a fortnight ago, but is no longer the Government’s policy because it has been altered by the Prime Minister in the meantime - to make an eloquent and dramatic assertion of the fundamental right of small countries to maintain their policies in the face of all opposition. Of course, he was referring to the right of South Africa to maintain the policy of apartheid, because right up until to-day the leader of the Australian Government has insisted that apartheid is a domestic policy of the South
African Government. The AttorneyGeneral now asserts again the proposition that small countries must have the unfailing right to maintain their policies in all circumstances, at the very time when the Australian delegate to the United Nations has been instructed to vote for a motion condemning the policy of the South African Government on apartheid and calling upon the nations, individually and collectively, to take whatever steps they can to compel the South African Government to alter that policy. The Attorney-General, therefore, is quite behind the times in producing that argument once again in this House.
Then the Attorney-General - I do not think he is quite on his best form to-day - amazingly enough put forward the proposition that, if Australia had switched in its attitude towards South Africa, Great Britain had switched even more. That is a very poor type of argument for an eminent legal man to put before the members of this Parliament. How can he defend the Australian switch by declaring “ If we have switched, at least some one else has switched even more than we have “? But of course it is not true.
– Do you think we should have voted in favour of South Africa?
– The Minister for the Interior is even more childish than the Attorney-General. There was no switch on the part of the United Kingdom. It is true that the United Kingdom voted with South Africa a couple of years ago and voted against it yesterday, but the statement of the United Kingdom delegate to the United Nations made it perfectly plain why the United Kingdom was doing that and emphasized that apartheid could no longer be regarded as a domestic issue. The Australian Government in this extraordinary switch shows that it still contends that apartheid is a domestic issue for South Africa, and yet at the same time it has instructed its delegate at the United Nations to vote for the motion to condemn apartheid and endeavour to bring it to an end.
The Australian Government has switched in a way in which no other government has switched, and the switch has been made more obvious and glaring by the succession of statements made by our Prime Minister in London in the course of the last few days, all of which, as I will show, are in direct contradiction of the instructions issued by the Australian Government to our delegate at the United Nations within the last couple of days. But before dealing with that 1 would like to deal with one other point made by the Attorney-General.
The Attorney-General declared that the matters upon which Australia did not vote with the United States of America in the United Nations related to purely procedural questions. This gentleman is the Acting Minister for External Affairs when the Prime Minister is absent, and yet he declares that the occasions upon which we did not vote with the United States of America were those in which purely procedural matters were involved. They were nothing of the sort, and it betrays only ignorance on the part of the Attorney-General to declare that this is so. Three of the matters upon which Australia did not vote with the United States concerned South- West Africa, one concerned the tremendously controversial question of Algeria, one concerned Ruandi.Urundi. and one concerned racial discrimination in non-self-governing territories. To make nonsense of what the Attorney-General said, this renewed session of the United Nations saw Australia voting with the United States on South- West Africa for the first time.
Australia has abstained from voting on South-West Africa on two occasions this year, with eight others, and on Angola with seven others. The vote in favour of the three resolutions was 74, 79 and 83 and Australia, on each occasion, was in the minority. On colonial issues we have, right up until the last day or so, continued to differ from the United States of America and with all the other Commonwealth countries, and it is a woeful record indeed for the relationships of this country with other Commonwealth nations and, particularly, with the countries of South-East Asia.
Rightly or wrongly, the statements made by the Prime Minister in London, after the Prime Ministers’ Conference, did bring widespread criticism and protest in Australia. That is acknowledged, rightly or wrongly, but when he faced Parliament last night, on his return, only two courses were open to him. One was to repeat the statements he had made in London, to stand up to them and justify them. The only alternative open to him was to run away from the statements that he made in London.
– You are going in for political trickery now.
– 1 ask the honorable member to listen to the record and then compare the statements. My friend from South Africa should listen with particular attention to this debate. Before the Prime Minister spoke it was a matter of fascinating speculation as to which of these two courses he would take, but we were not long left in doubt. The Prime Minister last night retreated as far and as fast as he could from everything he had said in London, and I will prove that up to the hilt. In an hour-long speech last night - he had a whole hour - he did not once say that South Africa had been pushed out of the Commonwealth. He made great play with those words in London and courted applause with them as he thrust out his chin in the mellow atmosphere of the Savoy Hotel dinner. Reporting to his own Parliament last night he did not use those words once. They were unfortunate words, of course, and were calculated to arouse sympathy for Dr. Verwoerd and the South African Government, and to line Australia up as a supporter of that Government. That was far from the truth, as every one of us knows.
Australia has no sympathy with Dr. Verwoerd, his Government or his policy. Our Prime Minister, by this talk - and I have quoted only one sentence from very much that was to the same effect - injured Australia in her relations with other Commonwealth countries, and particularly in her relations with the countries of SouthEast Asia, smashing so much that Lord Casey had striven so patiently to build up over so many years. The truth of his assertion that South Africa has been pushed out of the Commonwealth was contradicted immediately by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Our Prime Minister neither withdrew the statement here nor did he repeat it. He ran away from it, as he ran away from so much else that he said in London. He made statements in London far more provocative and far more injurious to this country than the one to which I have just referred. Last night he did not repeat any of them. Why? Why did he not submit them to the judgment of his own Parliament? Why did he not make his report to this Parliament instead of to dinner clubs in London? They are not statements that can be forgotten.
– He happened to be in England, not in Australia.
– But why did he not repeat to this Parliament the declarations that he made in London after the conference? While those statements remain unjustified - the Prime Minister made no attempt to justify them - and unwith.drawn. they continue to injure Australia, lt was the Prime Minister’s duty last night to do something about them. He did nothing.
– Why did you not listen to him?
– I listened to him and I have read the “ Hansard “ report of his speech. Here is the contradiction: In London he praised Dr. Verwoerd to the sky.
– In what speech?
– In his speech to the Australia Club at the Savoy Hotel dinner. Not one word of a similar kind did he utter in his speech to this Parliament last night. In London, in the days after the conference when he was making so many statements, he alone of all the Commonwealth Prime Ministers said not one word in moral disapproval of apartheid. In fact, he never has until last night. I shall read from the official report of what he said in London. It is in these terms -
I don’t moralize about South African policy because I think moralizing is a pretty cheap thing. All T say is that I don’t think apartheid will work.
Of all the Prime Ministers at the conference he singled out only Dr. Verwoerd for his praise. He said not one word in moral condemnation of apartheid in all the statements that he made in London. He said not one word about it until last night. How then can Australia’s attitude fail to be misunderstood? How can the harm done to Australia by such an attitude be overestimated? He said in London that he had told Dr. Verwoerd that he knew that Dr. Verwoerd believed that apartheid was right, but that he - our Prime Minister - felt that in the long run it would not work. Then he went on with these amazing words, which he did not repeat to this Parliament last night -
But if Dr. Verwoerd goes back to his own country and says that he is unmoved by that, then I want to tell you that I stand for the rights of any Commonwealth country to run its affairs in its own way.
How does that statement square with his instructions to the delegation to the United Nations? How can any one be blamed for construing it to mean that the Prime Minister stands for the right of South Africa to continue its policy of apartheid? What other construction can possibly be placed upon it? What else was the Prime Minister talking about? What limit is there to the harm that this can do in other Commonwealth countries, among all coloured peoples in the world whose friendship is so very important to us in Australia? Is it any wonder that the members of the South African Government and the newspapers supporting Dr. Verwoerd hailed Mr. Menzies as their strongest and sole supporter?
Does the Prime Minister admit or deny that he has somersaulted? If he recognizes his error, why does he not admit it and try to repair the immense damage that has been done? Why try to reconcile the irreconcilable? How can he justify and reconcile now the statement that he made in London that he stands for the right of South Africa to run its affairs in its own way - meaning only apartheid - with the instruction that was issued from Canberra to Australia’s delegate to the United Nations to vote for the motion condemning South Africa’s policy, and so on?
Our Prime Minister made another extraordinary statement in London which he did not repeat last night. He said -
If somebody in a Prime Ministers Conference wants to tell me what the policies of Australia ought to be, I will tell them to go and jump in the Serpentine.
– Would you not do the same?
– It may be right and it may be wrong, but nothing like it was contained in the Prime Minister’s report to this Parliament. In London he was saying that he would not allow in a Prime Ministers conference even what Dr. Verwoerd had willingly agreed to, namely, a full and frank discussion of the policy of his Government. I think that that statement of our Prime Minister was highly provocative, arrogant, high-handed and intended as a challenge to those other Commonwealth leaders who had dared to express their views on the policy of another member country.
If he believes that the attitude he adopted in London was correct, why did he not repeat his statements to the Australian Parliament last night? Why, I ask again, did he run away last night from so many of the things he had said so boldly in London? Why did he run away from the statement -
Don’t you think that it is a monstrous thing for us to be sitting in judgment one on the other?
Why did he fail to repeat this most amazing statement of all -
I am bound to tell you I will have something to say about that, and by the time I have said it, by the time the answers have been made, there won’t be any Commonwealth, because we will all have expelled each other.
Does that represent the considered attitude and determination of the Prime Minister of this country - that unless he can have exactly his own way he will bring about the destruction of the Commonwealth?
What other meaning can be attached to his statement that if he had been in Dr. Verwoerd’s place he would have left two rounds earlier? What does that mean other than that he arrogates to himself the right, if Australia’s policies are criticized in London, to withdraw Australia from the Commonwealth of Nations? The Commonwealth of to-day does not suit the Prime Minister. He is very angry at the change, but he does not realize that the people of Australia are determined to live and to work in the new Commonwealth, just as they lived and worked in the old, long after Mr. Menzies has faded from this political scene.
– I think the House will agree that already this debate has taken a deplorable course that is not to the advantage of the Australian people. For that the blame stands fairly and squarely upon the Opposition. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) opened the debate with a speech that was temperate, informative and constructive. His speech was followed by a diatribe from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who proposed an amendment to the resolution which was wholly out of place and out of keeping with the foreign affairs debate that this should be.
The House had better make some allowance for the Leader of the Opposition. He was speaking while his masters were sitting behind him. Perhaps he was acting under direction; perhaps what he was advancing was something in which he did not quite believe himself because there was a good deal of hesitation, a good deal of looking over the shoulder and a good deal of truckling to the dictators of the Labour Party who control its parliamentary puppets and who happened last night to be sitting in force on the back benches. The amendment was unfitting, and I felt a little regretful that in reply to it, and no doubt in some kind of natural reaction to it, another amendment was foreshadowed.
This is not a debate about the Prime Minister; this is a debate about Australia and Australia’s present and future. The sooner we get back to that, the better. The Opposition is endeavouring very maladroitly and with very little success to make political capital out of this by exploiting personalities. Let members of the Opposition remember that they, as well as we, live in this country and hope to continue to live in it. We are dealing with a matter which is of great consequence, and it rs not right that it should be dealt with in terms of personalities.
Many other questions were raised in the Prime Minister’s speech and, as the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) has pointed out, many of them are of the greatest moment; yet the Opposition has chosen to ignore all those other important issues and has concentrated only on the South African issue. Well, perhaps that is natural. Perhaps, with their desire to score political points, that is what members of the Opposition want to do. Personally, I feel that there were at least two matters in the Prime Minister’s speech which were more important than the things he said about South Africa. For example, there were the references by the right honorable gentleman to disarmament, the conference of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and the developments in Asia.
The Prime Minister said that if disarmament was to be effective and if it was to mean anything, then it must be overall disarmament. He said that nuclear and conventional weapons must be dealt with together, and there must be inspection and control of the disarmament programme. These were statements of very great consequence which contain the seeds of most farreaching effect; but they do not seem to have made any impact on members of the Opposition who are dredging only for cheap political capital. I would have thought that in the present state of the Communist advance in Asia, the Opposition - unless it is so thoroughly infiltrated with communism that it cares nothing for these things - would have at least spared some of its attention for the developments in Laos and the Communist drive southwards towards Australia. But no! The Opposition could think only of the South African issue.
Now. Sir. in that regard I think we all have some regret at what has occurred. All of us, I think, believe that the British Commonwealth of Nations is a little weaker than it was and that we are a little less secure than we were. I think we may, on the other hand, say against this that no better outcome was possible in the circumstances considering South Africa’s present policy. I think that is a tenable viewpoint but it is a viewpoint which, even if it impedes an inevitability, we should recognize with regret. I have not heard any regrets expressed by the Opposition.
There was only one point of fact in the Prime Minister’s speech about which I felt a little confusion. The Prime Minister gave us an account of the events in the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers which led up to the departure of South Africa from the British Commonwealth of Nations. This account might have been published elsewhere but to me it was novel. The right honorable gentleman told us that the British Prime Minister did say that if South Africa had made the smallest move towards understanding - I think those were his exact words - or if it had made any concession, it could have remained in the Commonwealth. This is a matter of interpretation and one which I found a little difficult to follow; but as I have said, this is the first time I have heard a first-hand account of the events.
Let me look for a moment at what has occurred. We may say that this is an internal question so far as South Africa is concerned. For myself, I would Think not, in view of South Africa’s refusal to accept, for example, the high commissioners from other Commonwealth countries. With the violence of world feeling on this issue, our judgment as to what is or is not a domestic issue might perhaps naturally and properly be turned a little. Also, this is a question arising ir.side the British Commonwealth of Nations itself. The Commonwealth is a closer body than, for example, the United Nations. It is tied together much more firmly than is the United Nations Organization, and what is domestic in the Commonwealth is not necessarily domestic in the United Nations. Also, in this new world, we all of us have to brook some interference in affairs which we once considered to be of domestic concern only. In this connexion, I go back to the point I was making first to remark that this is inherent in what the Prime Minister said on the question of disarmament where inspections and controls involving some interference in matters once considered domestic will be an essential feature of any successful world system.
I feel no doubt myself - and I have said this in the House before - that the South African racial policy was and is wron?. On that, I have no qualifications. We can understand the emotional overtones on this matter in the present world situation, but because of that, we do not want to lose entirely our sense of proportion in regard to it. It is wrong and it is bad; but it is not, for example, wrong or bad to the same degree as is China’s policy in relationto Tibet. Tt seems rather strange that, with the Opposition, camels go down so easily and gnats cause fits of coughing. I say this without any desire at all to minimis the statement T have made that, in ny opinion, the South African racial policy is wrong. It was not wrong, I feel, so much because it was an extension of the basic policy of Field Marshal Smuts which the Prime Minister described to us in his speech. It was wrong because of the cloak of separatism which was, in point of fact, the substance of white supremacy, and the separatism was being used as a cloak to hide this real policy. This was true ot South Africa; this is true of South Africa: and when the Prime Minister said that even Dr. Verwoerd did not intend to carry his policy of separatism to the point of territorial division, I think he laid his finger on the point we have in mind.
But let us think of -the other side - the difficulties of a non-homogeneous population - difficulties from which we in Australia are so happily free at this moment. I think that if we are to regard with regret anything in our representation overseas it should be our failure to make clear the difficulties of carrying out a multi-racial policy, and the terrible difficulties which face a country like South Africa. We should do this because this is the justification, not only to ourselves, but to the world, of what we are doing, and will do, here in Australia. We do not want to have a non-homogeneous population in Australia. We are free from those difficulties. They are difficulties which are inherent in any multi-racial society. This can be put in a way which will not be in any degree repugnant to the people of Asia or the people of Africa, because they too are entitled to demand for themselves the same conditions as we demand for ourselves. We are not saying that the white is better than the brown, or that the black is better than the yellow or vice versa. What we are saying is that populations which are homogeneous have a better chance of achieving within their nations the free, happy and prosperous life which we all desire for ourselves. If we want to retain a homogeneous population in Australia, then India or the Congo or wherever it may be is also entitled, if it has a homogeneous population now, to maintain that homogeneity. That is a right - not a right that we simply claim for ourselves, but a right which we think all homo.geneous populations should be able to claim for themselves. This is not a case of white supremacy or white inferiority. Tt is a case of the recognition of differences which are apparent by inspection. Unless it is prepared, as in New Zealand for example, to have inter-marriage between the various sections of the population, a multi-racial society must be beset with tremendous difficulties. Again, I repeat that this is not a matter between white and black, or between white and brown. Look only over the ocean to Fiji and you will know of the very difficult racial situation which is there occurring between the native Fijians and the Indians. Perhaps my friend from Hume (Mr. Anderson) will be able to tell us something of the difficulties, not with whites, but with Indians, on the east coast of Africa.
In Malaya there are differences between the Malays and the Chinese. These are difficulties with which, happily, we are still unacquainted in Australia, and we will get and hold world sympathy if we keep on emphasizing the truth - namely, that a homogeneous society is free from many of the difficulties that must bedevil any multiracial society. And we might spare a little thought for the difficulties which would beset any South African administration, whatever policy it adopted. In saying this, I repeat again that I do not mean to condone or in any sense approve the policy which was adopted. I do, however, suggest that we might have a little more sympathy in respect of some of the difficulties of any government in that particular country.
Now, Sir, it seems to me that the Opposition is very confused in these matters. On the one hand it says - quite rightly - that it supports our homogeneous population policy, which is called the white Australia policy. Yet Opposition speakers like the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), who preceded me, minimize the difficulties of any multi-racial society. They seem to think that the South Africans, if only they had been reasonable, would have had an easy solution. There is no easy solution for the multi-racial difficulties of South Africa. Let us, therefore, in approaching these matters, try to work out some kind of line between ourselves which will be helpful to the Australian people as a whole. Do not let us be betrayed, as the Opposition has betrayed the Parliament last night and to-day. into a political and per sonal attack. Do not .let us be betrayed into trying to snatch a transient political advantage in order to .gratify personal spleen against a man at the price of jeopardizing the real interests -of the Australian people. We have a good case behind our policy. Let both sides of the House help us to make it in the eyes of the world.
– It was quite humorous to hear the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) rush to the defence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). He said, for example, that this debate is not a debate about the Prime Minister but is a debate about Australia’s future. It is because the Australian Labour Party is very concerned about Australia’s future that we are taking the Prime Minister to task in this debate. We consider it to be our duty to let the nations of the world know that we dissociate ourselves from the series of extraordinary statements made by the Prime Minister, which have done Australia irreparable harm throughout the world. Because we do that - because we state what we believe to be the opinion of the majority of the Australian people - the honorable member for Mackellar has accused us of making political capital. Nothing of the kind! All we are concerned about is to make our position clear to other nations that have been, and are, naturally concerned about the Prime Minister’s incredible statements.
Naturally those people would like to know whether such statements receive the support of the major political parties in Australia. We say that they do not receive the support of the major political parties, and we have a perfect right to say so, just as the Opposition in the South African Parliament has a right to say that it thinks that the Prime Minister of that country was entirely wrong in the decision he made at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference in London.
The Prime Minister’s speech last night has been characterized as one of the most important in his career. All sections of the Australian public and the Australian press looked forward to it with great interest because of the Prime Minister’s volte face regarding his attitude to South Africa - a most remarkable somersault. Nothing he said last night gave us reasons for that remarkable somersault. Apparently the Prime Minister was able to convince the Cabinet - or the Cabinet was able to convince him - that Australia’s policy regarding the South African position had to be radically changed. I suspect strongly that when the Prime Minister returned to Australia he was disagreeably surprised at the overwhelming public opinion against him in regard to this matter. We find, for example, that the Melbourne press - the “Herald”, the “Sun” and the “ Age “ - which always champions the Prime Minister at election times, is particularly antagonistic to the Prime Minister’s attitude on this important matter. We find also that television and wireless commentators in Victoria are hostile to the Prime Minister’s attitude. In my own electorate I have found that dozens of people who are my political opponents, and invariably work against me in election campaigns, agree with me that on this occasion the Prime Minister has blotted his copy book.
Because of these things, I strongly suspect that the Prime Minister was told by back-benchers in the Liberal Party and his colleagues in Cabinet that he was barking up the wrong tree. I strongly suspect that because of this and because of the nearness of a general election at the end of the year, he decided that something had to be done to correct the position. Therefore we had the remarkable change of face which occurred last night. We listened in vain for the Prime Minister to explain his change of front. His speech was remarkable for what was left unsaid rather than for what was said to explain the change of face. It is my profound opinion that Australia’s last-minute decision condemning the South African Government’s policy on apartheid was most welcome to the Australian people. Certainly it was most welcome to the Australian Labour Party, but it suffered because of the circumstances under which is was made. It could almost be labelled a death-bed repentance. The Prime Minister, in the course of his speech said -
Under inexorable pressure South Africa is out of the Commonwealth.
All I can say to that extraordinary statement is that a cool and reasoned examination of the events of the conference demonstrate that the attitude of the Com monwealth was the only one that could have been adopted in the circumstances. Instead of saying that pressure had been exercised, I would say it was pure logic that made Or. Verwoerd recognize that he had no sympathy and had to make the decision that he did make.
When we look at the Prime Minister’s emotional views expressed at a couple of London banquets we find that they are entirely at variance with the speech that he made last night. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) clearly and cleverly tore the Prime Minister’s case to ribbons when he pursued this matter. The Prime Minister had very little to say about his London views last night. I suggest that we must recognize, as the Prime Minister must recognize, that, in a changing world, the Commonwealth of Nations must change, too, if it is to survive. To describe the South African racial policies as purely a domestic concern is to be completely unrealistic in this present world in which countries are not now divorced by distance as they were in years gone by. This is a world in which countries are closely linked by business ties and by speedy modes of communication. Because of that, one country cannot remain isolated from the others. We must remember that the Commonwealth is a multi-racial association and that such an issue as South Africa’s discrimination is naturally a matter of prime importance to many Commonwealth countries.
South Africa’s inflexible determination to cling to apartheid as a permanent policy - and it will be permanent if Dr. Verwoerd has bis way - is quite incompatible with the ideals of the Commonwealth. Therefore, it was inevitable that the Commonwealth should take the line that it did. It was the only line h could take. It had no alternative but to pursue it. Any person who believes that this matter should not have been discussed at the Prime Ministers’ Conference must believe in Father Christmas.
The Prime Minister has made it quite plain that he did not take South Africa’s departure from the Commonwealth very kindly. His reference to Australia’s immigration policy and his veiled references to discrimination in other Commonwealth countries showed that he was smarting very much over South Africa’s decision to leave the Commonwealth. Mr. Macmillan has very correctly set forth the real situation.
The Prime Minister, last night, apparently was very annoyed with a lot of Australian people because they were prepared to accept Mr. Macmillan’s point of view rather than his. Over the last year or two there has been no comparison between the utterances of our Prime Minister and those of the British Prime Minister. Mr. Macmillan has shown quite definitely that he realizes that we cannot live in the past. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister has still a nineteenth century outlook on foreign affairs. Mr. Macmillan succinctly summed up the present position when he said -
The fundamental difference between ours and the South African philosophy is that we are trying to escape from these inherited practices.
Mr. Macmillan realized that whilst Commonwealth countries, no doubt, are guilty of certain practices which cannot receive the imprimatur of approval, at least they are endeavouring to modify or delete those practices. South Africa is not prepared to do that. It wants to perpetuate the policy of apartheid, an outdated philosophy to which the Commonwealth does not subscribe. There would be no hope for the future of the Commonwealth if we were to agree with Dr. Verwoerd.
I think that the departure of South Africa from the Commonwealth, at least whilst its present Government is in office, has strengthened the bonds which keep the Commonwealth together. I believe that if the present Government of South Africa were to vacate office and the Opposition were to take over, a new view-point would be expressed and at an early date the new government would request to be returned to the fold of the Commonwealth. But whilst Dr. Verwoerd is in power the Commonwealth suffers nothing by South Africa’s departure. His views are not the views that we want to hear put forward in a Commonwealth with high ideals which are the antithesis of apartheid. The Prime Minister was very pessimistic and gloomy about the future of the Commonwealth because of South Africa’s departure. He sard -
But let us, who are within the covenant of the Commonwealth, make no mistake. The issue con cerns more than South Africa; it concerns the whole character and future of the greatest international partnership the world has yet seen.
In this matter, the Commonwealth took a stand on principle and whilst it stands on principle there is no need for pessimism. Any organization which is prepared to make decisions on principle alone without doubt has a very cheerful future. For the conference to have done other than it did would have been to reduce the status of the Commonwealth to that of a mutual admiration society. The coloured nations within the fabric of the Commonwealth have had their confidence in that body increased as a result of the decision. To have allowed South Africa to emerge unscathed from the Prime Ministers’ meeting would have been to announce to the world that a blind eye had been turned on that country’s detested racial policies in which human rights have been ruthlessly trampled upon.
I regret that since the Prime Minister appointed himself as Minister for External Affairs, the whole foreign policy of the Commonwealth of Australia has been consistently in error. You cannot attack the foreign policy of the Commonwealth without attacking the Prime Minister because he makes foreign policy. He is the man who announces foreign policy without any reference to his party or the Cabinet. He makes the policy and expects the rank and file to follow, willy-nilly, behind him. Whilst, on occasion, the Opposition criticized Lord Casey for his foreign policy, at least I firmly believe that before he made announcements he conferred with the Government parties and the Ministry.
Apparently, the Prime Minister has bee[ unable to see that the whole basis of international relationships has completely changed since the end 01 World War II. He is living in the past when the views of the African and Asian people were ignored or ridiculed. Nobody took any notice of the African and Asian people prior to 1939. They were not noticed. They did not count.
– Who said that?
– That was the whole concept of the thinking of the important nations about the coloured people, whom they regarded as people of no consequence. The coloured nations were treated with no consideration whatever prior to 1939. The war was needed, for example, to bring India and Pakistan their independence, which was given to them by a Labour government in the United Kingdom. Before 1939, the Dutch East Indies were under the heel of Holland, and the whole of their wealth was exploited solely for the gratification of the Dutch people. But the Dutch took an entirely different view after the war, because they realized that they could not live in the past. To say that the whole conception of our attitude towards the coloured races has entirely changed since World War II. is to voice a truism.
Somebody once said - and no truer words have ever been spoken - that events move much faster than do men’s minds. This is especially true of our Prime Minister, because his intemperate and ill-timed statements, made with consistent regularity, have undoubtedly irritated the Afro-Asian nations. From Australia’s stand-point, this is a matter of tremendous concern, because our relationships with Asian countries in recent years have been relatively cordial. Our sponsorship of the Colombo Plan indicated to the Asian people something of our national thinking on the problems of Asia. Lord Casey, by a long-range, premeditated plan, made many friends and contacts among Asians as a result of his many visits to Asian countries as Minister for External Affairs. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister since his advent as our new Minister for External Affairs, has alienated many former friends by his clumsy methods.
I should like to read to the House now a passage from a leading article on the subject of the Prime Minister’s speech of last evening which appeared in to-day’s issue of the Melbourne “ Age “. This newspaper has always been a champion of the Prime Minister. Without fail, at the five elections which T have contested since I have been a member of this Parliament, the “ Age “ has been right behind the Prime Minister and has urged all its readers to support Liberal candidates. But this newspaper has now had enough of the Prime Minister in his role as Minister for External Affairs. This morning, it stated -
Proceedings in Parliament may well prove to the world that Australia is not united behind the Prime Minister’s personal opinion, and in the meantime our record has been put straight by our delayed decision to support the U.N. motion condemning apartheid. The mending of our damaged fences can now begin, and the task will not be quickly accomplished. Our relations with the Afro-Asian world have suffered a severe setback and patient labor will be required to restore our previous good will.
For this task we require a Minister for External Affairs who can be in constant contact with hi* foreign colleagues and has both the time and the opportunity for rethinking his attitudes as the Commonwealth develops. Such a Minister may bc hard to find, but the need is there.
The Melbourne “ Age “ and the Opposition may well think, when they look at the calibre of the members who sit on the Government benches, that such a Minister may indeed be hard to find. But, even among the mediocre talent in the Government’s ranks, there would be, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, 20 or 30 men who could do a better job than the Prime Minister is doing as Minister for External Affairs. Although the “ Age “ has been a consistent supports of this Government in season and out of season, it has had enough of the Prime Minister in his role as Minister for External Affairs. I am strongly of the opinion tha; quite a number of members on the Government side of the House think as this newspaper and I think in this matter and would like to see a change.
The Prime Minister is very much concerned about the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. He has claimed that some Commonwealth Prime Ministers made very pertinent comments about the domestic policy of one of the countries of the Commonwealth, the future is in jeopardy because other countries could come under criticism in the years to come. Therefore, let us have a look at the specia relationship in which Commonwealth countries stand one to another. First, all the members of the Commonwealth, with the exception of the United Kingdom, arc former dependencies of Britain. Because of this, they have been subjected to similar influences with respect to systems of government, habits of thought, the investment of money, use of the English language, systems of education and trade links. As a result, they share a good many common attitudes, particularly at international conferences, and that is all to the good. Those things in themselves mus! make the Commonwealth strong and permanent.
Let us look next at economic relationships between the countries which are members of the Commonwealth. We find that most Commonwealth countries have developed export economies designed to meet the particular needs of the United Kingdom economy. Because of the many trade and investment links between the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries the United Kingdom acts as … banker for all except Canada. There are also certain military ties. Canada, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and Malaya are involved in formal military pacts of one kind or another with each other. In foreign policy, there have been numerous differences, as might be expected in a group of sovereign States. But in overall policy-
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker, once again we have listened to an Opposition member who has made no constructive contribution to the debate. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was living in the past. I should like to know whether the honorable member considers that our white Australia policy is a thing of the past which should be discarded. I am sure that we all were grateful to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) for his contribution this afternoon, and particularly for that part of his speech in which he gave a clear statement of the value of what we call the white Australia policy. He pointed out that, in maintaining this policy, we do not think in terms of the superiority of whites. We regard this policy rather as something which is necessary in order to preserve our racial homogeneity. The problem of disturbance of racial homogeneity is the basis of all the troubles which arise in countries where there is a multi-racial society. So far, no one has found the answer to the problem of enabling the different races to live in harmony.
The Opposition has been particularly bitter about South Africa’s apartheid policy, but it does not suggest an alternative. T think that we have a great degree of sympathy with the people of South Africa. We in Australia have been fortunate in that we had wise legislators in the past. Those legislators formulated the white Australia policy, which has at least kept this country free of groups of other races and permitted us to live in harmony here. However, one of the characteristics of the human family is that all differences of this kind are looked at with a degree of hostility. 1 refer to differences not only of colour but also of race, religion and politics. There are always differences in these matters.
I suggest that in some of our trade unions a policy of apartheid is practised. I am thinking of the Hurseys and their relations with the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia. I believe that a measure of apartheid is practised in that union. But, of course, we do not hear the Opposition express any hostility towards it.
We have to try to understand the position of the South African people and the situation that would exist if the policy of apartheid were abandoned and the Bantu race were allowed to flood the country. We have to realize the circumstances of the original situation. The Bantu was not indigenous to South Africa. He came there at the same time as the white people. He overcame the indigenous people and to-day he has established himself over most of South Africa. What are the South Africans to do if they wish to retain the way of life that they find desirable for themselves? The alternatives would seem rather appalling. We must be realists in regard to this matter. Different races have different attitudes to life. When one considers the history of negro races that have had the opportunity to govern themselves, one finds that the results have not been very heartening. Take the case of Haiti, which was formerly a colony of France, and, in fact, the richest French colony in the West Indies. As the result of a revolt of the negro slaves in 1804, the Haitians achieved selfgovernment. To-day that country has a lower standard of living than any other country in the islands of the West Indies. I think the average income of the people is about £25 a year.
Then there is the case of Liberia, which was settled by some philanthropic groups from America with freed negro slaves in 1822. I think it was made an independent republic in 1847. Advancement in that country has not been very promising. When the Opposition in this House condemns the South Africans for their policy of apartheid, let me remind it that the franchise in Liberia is limited to people of the negro race who own property.
Let us consider a country that has recently acquired its independence. I refer to Ghana, where members of the Opposition in the Parliament of that country have been beaten and gaoled. There is evidence that the judiciary in Ghana is not as independent as we in Australia would consider desirable.
We should also have regard to the recent troubles in Kenya. We have all been appalled at the ferocity and brutality displayed by the Mau Mau, not only towards the white people but also towards their own race. All these things are of very close and real significance to the white people of South Africa.
The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) spoke of many countries that have received their independence. He suggested that the Dutch have had to get out of the East Indies. I would not agree with that view. I think that most of the countries that have recently received their independence were due for it. Britain granted independence to India and Burma after the last war, and also many other countries. When India and Pakistan became independent, I believe that more than 2,000,000 people lost their lives in the resulting troubles. Generally, however, the transition has worked out very satisfactorily in the cases of other countries, from the point of view of the people who have been living there.
In any country in which there is a significant proportion of coloured population, the white races are unable to settle in very significant numbers. If there are white people, they are limited to professional men, traders and the like. Never do you find agriculturalists or pastoralists, because the standard of living of people who follow these activities is quite low. In Australia itself we have had people from Europe coming here as immigrants who have previously enjoyed lower standards of living than obtain in this country. They have gone to some of our farming areas, particularly the vegetable-growing areas, and the com petition of these people, who have brought with them their European standards, has made it practically impossible for Australians to continue to carry on. These new settlers have their wives and families out in the fields working all day and part of the night. It is well nigh impossible for Australians, with their standards of living, to compete with them.
Similar considerations apply in South Africa. If the gates are thrown open and apartheid is abandoned, allowing open competition, then the white people must suffer. Perhaps, as I have said, the professional men, the traders, and even artisans and tradesmen, will not be greatly affected, but unskilled workers will not be able to survive in open competition with black labour. We have seen what has happened in the United States of America. It is only rn recent years that that country has made any determined effort to give complete equality to the black races.
It is most unfortunate for us in Australia that South Africa has left the Commonwealth. The people of that country have been comrades with us in two world wars, and it is not easy to see an old comrade leave the family. I believe, as the Prime Minister has said, that there was no alternative, but let us hope that in the future some means may be found by which South Africa can again join the Commonwealth. We cannot, of course, approve of apartheid, but we cannot condemn the South Africans for apartheid, because there is no alternative, and we have to appreciate their difficulties. It is not only South Africa that is facing these problems. In the Rhodesias, in Nyasaland and in Kenya the white people are facing frightful difficulties, and so far no satisfactory solution has been found that will enable the black and the white to live amicably together, with the whites preserving the way of life which they find particularly desirable.
Having listened to the expressions of opinion of honorable members opposite, I must say that we have been particularly fortunate to have had a man of the statesmanlike capacity of the Prime Minister representing us on this most difficult mission - and undoubtedly it was a most delicate situation that he had to face. He handled it with tremendous skill. I know that our press and members of the Opposition have tried to show that he changed his views, but we have heard his statement. He made very clear the differences between the United Nations, which has a definite code which must be followed, and the Commonwealth of Nations, in which there is no set code and no legalisms to confound matters. As I say, I consider that we have been particularly fortunate in having been represented by the Prime Minister. When we look at the Opposition we can imagine what would have happened if the Labour Party had been in office and we had been represented by one of its members. In view of the ideas that have been expressed by Opposition members during the last two days, one can well imagine the position that Australia might now have been in. We are grateful, I think, to the old Australian Labour Party for our white Australia policy, but of course the old Australian Labour Party had different ideas, in the days when that policy was initiated, from the ideas that are propounded by the Australian Labour Party to-day. In that policy regard was had for a white Australia and for the dignity of the individual. That was particularly so, but of course Labour adopted international socialism in 1921 and has to conform to the Marxist theories. Labour to-day is bound by the Marxist theories.
– Don’t be silly.
– That is undoubtedly so. It is contained in your platform. The chief part of your policy is taken directly from Karl Marx. The honorable members for Hume (Mr. Anderson) and Mackellar have stated that the Opposition has made no serious condemnation of China for tb policies it has pursued in Tibet. The Opposition has condemned South Africa for the Sharpeville incident, which undoubtedly was a very cruel incident resulting from the decision of a police sergeant, but has had little to say about Tibet, which was a deliberately conceived and murderously concluded plan by a great nation. The thinking of Opposition members is clear. Australia must consider the ideas put forward by the Opposition in the debates that have taken place.
The Prime Minister covered many factors including disarmament and Seato. Both these matters are vital to Australia, but except for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who made some comment, no Opposition member has touched on them. I conclude by expressing the hope that the press will give a full report of this debate, particularly of the views put forward by Opposition members. I believe that the Australian people will be caused great concern when they consider the alternative to the present Government.
.- 1 remind the honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes), who has just resumed his seat, that this is the year 1961. We are not living during Queen Victoria’s reign in the 1890’s. This is 1961 and we must bring ourselves up to date. I know that the honorabl member for McPherson is an advocate of the great white father. He adopts the attitude, “ Leave everything to the great white father; he will look after all our cares.” The honorable member has presented an apology for South Africa, but he forgets to say that of the 12,000,000 people in South Africa only 3,000,000 are white and the remaining 9,000,000 are coloured. Yet the white population of South Africa occupies 88 per cent, of select lands in South Africa and the remaining 12 per cent, of inferior lands are handed over to the 9,000,000 coloured persons. This is the policy of apartheid. It is a policy of the racial supremacy of the white people.
The honorable member for McPherson said that the white man cannot live with the black man. I say that that is not right. I say that the white man can live with the black man and that we must live together with our black brothers because we live in the one world. I remind honorable members on the Government side of the House that in the United Nations, the parliament of the world, the Afro-Asian nations - the black and yellow coloured people - have a majority. On the one hand we say to them, “ We want your vote “, and on the other hand we say, “We do not want to associate with you; you cannot live with us, because black and white cannot mix “. I do not accept that philosophy. 1 believe the black man is as good as the white man, and the sooner we realize that this is so the sooner there will be peace in the world. 1 support the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) which seeks to have the Prime Minister resign from the portfolio of External Affairs because he has been a disastrous Minister for External Affairs. The Prime Minister has at long last accepted the view that apartheid is a bad policy. He now says that it is bad, but why has it taken him so long to reach this conclusion? It would have been wonderful if the Australian people could have said, “ Our Prime Minister is a man of courage and a man of principle “. It would have been wonderful if we could have regarded our Prime Minister as the Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker, is regarded. John Diefenbaker knew where he was going. He sent out messages and the Afro-Asian and Latin American countries have rallied round with pride to support him for the leadership he has shown.
I shall quote from the “Sydney Morning Herald” of 2nd March, 1961. The article is headed “ Leading Role for Canada in Talks on Apartheid “ and under the dateline London, March 1st, states -
The Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker, will be the key man when Commonwealth Prime Ministers discuss South Africa’s membership, says the Diplomatic Correspondent of “ The Times “.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Malayan Prime Minister, Tengku Abdul Rahman, said yesterday that Mr. Diefenbaker would set the pace on the question of South African racial discrimination, “ but I shall attack South Africa unreservedly on its policy.”
The Prime Minister of Malaya was prepared to attack the South African policy, but what did our Prime Minister say? He was with Sir Roy Welensky. They formed the Welensky-Menzies colour-hatred clique. That was the real support that our Prime Minister had, because he still believes in the white man’s supremacy. The only reason our Prime Minister changed face was because he knew he would be out on a limb. He knew he would be out on a limb with Portugal, the most backward colonial power to-day. That is why he had a change of face. He did not have a change of heart; he had a change of face.
Our Prime Minister has shown great admiration for Dr. Verwoerd, the Prime Minister of South Africa, and has said he is a most sincere man. He said this only last night. I have been given by the Prime Minister’s Department a copy of the speech made by our Prime Minister at the Savoy Hotel in London. He made this speech on 21st March.
– How do you know he made it?
– All you need do is go round to the Prime Minister’s Department and the Press Secretary will issue you with a copy of the speech made by the Prime Minister at that dinner. If my Kalgoorlie friend would go back to his electorate and do some thinking about the problems of the aborigines in his electorate, he would be facing up to things and doing a little better than he is doing by shouting out stupid interjections that he does not understand. This is what the Prime Minister said -
I don’t moralize about South African policy because I think moralizing is a pretty cheap thing. All I say is that I don’t think apartheid will work. You see, this is the pragmatic British approach. Nothing was more impressive to all of us in this conference than the way in which Dr. Verwoerd with obvious honesty, with great courtesy, with great lucidity explained his policy.
There is evidence of the great admiration which the Prime Minister has for Dr. Verwoerd. Great admiration was also expressed by the Prime Minister for another person, Adolf Hitler - a very similar type to Dr. Verwoerd. The Prime Minister, then the Attorney-General of this country, was addressing the Sydney Constitutional Association on 24th October, 1938, when he frankly declared his admiration for Hitler’s dictatorship) -
If you and I were Germans sitting beside our own fires in Berlin, we would not be critical of the leadership that has produced such results.
That is the statement of the same Prime Minister who admires Dr. Verwoerd. He admired Adolf Hitler in earlier days. Hitler was a great advocate and Verwoerd is a great advocate of racial discrimination. Dr. Verwoerd wishes to persecute the black people. Adolf Hitler was anti-Jew and antiblack man. But our Prime Minister admires Dr. Verwoerd! We know what the South African attitude was during the last war. We know the Afrikaanders’ attitude when our troops were going through South African ports during the last war. We know there were Nazi sympathizers and it is the same element to-day which is keeping the black man in subjection and preaching white supremacy.
There are many subjects I would like to talk about. Unfortunately my time is limited; but 1 wish to say a few words about disarmament. The Leader of the Opposition last night made a great, human call for disarmament and for efforts to make sure that the money spent wastefully on armaments at present is diverted to help the backward nations and to try to rid the world of hunger, disease and poverty. The nations of the world, because of fear - there are certainly plenty of honorable members on the Government side of the House with a fear complex - are spending fifty billion pounds a year on war materials. I say that the sooner we begin disarmament talks and settle these problems, the sooner we will have world peace, which can only be obtained through successful disarmament.
We must face up to the issue of disarmament. The only great power outside the United Nations is People’s China. People’s China must be admitted to the United Nations if we are to have successful disarmament talks. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ and the Melbourne “ Age “ on many occasions have advocated a new line of thought by the Australian Government on this matter. Even “ Muster “, the official organ of the graziers of New South Wales advocates a new line - the admission to the United Nations of People’s China. Last night the Prime Minister, in his usual form, spread the old, familiar smokescreen about the difficulty of admitting People’s China to the United Nations to try to cloud the issue. He is known now as “ Smokescreen Bob “.
The position is quite clear. In 1955 the Australian Labour Party, at an historic conference in Hobart, decided that it would support the policy of Mainland China’s admission to the United Nations. Many people have said, and the story has gone out - this is the scream coming from the opposite side of the House - that the admission of People’s China or Mainland China to the United Nations would mean the selling out of 10,000.000 people on Taiwan. Let me remind honorable members opposite that at the Cairo conference it was decided that there was only one China and that Taiwan was handed to the Chinese Government under Chiang Kai-shek after the war. That was done.
Later, there was a revolution in China, and Chiang Kai-shek withdrew his forces to Taiwan. I believe that Mainland China will not come into the United Nations unless Formosa goes out. Let us say that if Mainland China comes in Formosa goes out, but let me remind honorable members that it does not make any difference. The American forces and fleet are still supporting the Chiang Kai-shek regime on Taiwan. It will have to be a matter of peaceful negotiation between the People’s Government of China and the Chiang Kai-shek regime on Formosa. I wish to remind honorable members opposite, if they will keep quiet, that there have already been 100 meetings between the Chinese authorities representing the Government of People’s China and the American Ambassador to Poland in Warsaw. These meetings will continue and it will be a matter for peaceful negotiation, to decide the position of Taiwan. We have said that we will support People’s China in an application for a seat in the United Nations. That is all Mr. Chamberlain has said. He has never said anything more than that, and yet the smear, the lie and the innuendo would have us believe that he said he would hand over the 10,000,000 people on Taiwan to Communist China.
If honorable members on the Government side of the House want to hear some criticism of their friend Chiang Kai-shek on Taiwan - they are all in the Chiang lobby; the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) and my friend the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) are supporters of the Chiang Kai-shek regime - let me quote from the “ Daily Telegraph “ of 6th October, 1960. An item from Hong Kong headed. “ Chiang Sparks off World Hostility “, reads as follows: -
The uproar caused by the arrest in Taipeh of Mr. Lei Chen, one of the three organizers of an opposition party to the Chinese Nationalist regime in Formosa, has served to reveal incidentally the personal unpopularity of Chiang Kai-shek abroad.
– What are you quoting?
– This is the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “, of 6th October, I960. I seem to upset supporters of the Government with a bit of honest criticism. I wish now to quote from the “Canberra Times” of 21st October, 1960. Under the heading, “ Chiang Kai-shek finds Opposition in Formosa “, we read -
Now, suddenly, political unrest has come to a boil. There is open opposition to Chiang’s party. The items in the opposition leaders’ indictment of the Kuomintang sound distressingly similar to the charges hurled against Syngman Rhee’s government in South Korea last spring: “Rigged elections . . . intimidations at the polls . . . corruptions . . . too much concentration of power … no freedom of the Press”. Among the 55 leaders are Lei Chen, 64, magazine publisher who has been openly critical of the Kuomintang; Li Wan Chu, 60, newspaper publisher, and Henry Kao Yu-Shu, 57, former mayor of Taipei, the capital city.
There is further criticism. May I again remind the honorable member for Lilley that his golden idol, Syngman Rhee - that great Syngman Rhee; the great popular leader of South Korea; the great defender of human rights - was also open to criticism. How often did the honorable member return from South Korea and in this place voice his praise of Syngman Rhee?
We on this side support the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and his condemnation of this Government’s foreign policy. It is a negative policy; it is a Queen Victoria policy; it is a backward policy. We on this side have an aggressive policy, an independent foreign policy and a policy which will give friendship to the Afro-Asian and LatinAmerican countries.
.- It was rather amusing to see the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) suddenly remember at the end of his speech that he was supposed to be directing his remarks to the matter before the chair, namely, the paper dealing with the overseas visit of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). It was only in the last minute of his speech that he made some mention of this subject. For the remainder of the time he dealt with the question of the admission of Communist China to the United Nations, and delivered himself of the same speech that we have heard from him on that subject so often. .. -vj£jl
In a magnificent speech last night the Prime Minister dealt with a number of extremely important subjects. I wish I had the time to discuss the whole question of disarmament, which must be one of the fundamental matters affecting all nations of the world at present, and our attitude to the European Common Market in relation to which the Prime Minister made some extremely important statements and laid down the policy that Australia - in my view rightly - should follow in the coming months. But the Opposition has chosen to concentrate on the subject of South Africa and its policies, and therefore I shall deal with that issue, particularly because I have had the fortune to visit the continent of Africa on three different occasions. I made a long visit last year and, unlike most members of the Opposition, I have actually been on the spot and have some first-hand realization of the problems, not merely a theoretical knowledge such as has been displayed by the honorable member for Reid.
Two matters in the Opposition’s amendment affect us. The first relates to the future of the Commonwealth of Natrons, and the other to our attitude towards the actions of the South African Government. At the outset we should ask ourselves what our objective is in discussing these matters. Is it to endeavour to preserve the structure of and the ties that bind the Commonwealth of Nations? Is it to help the Bantu, the 9,000,000 Africans who live in the Union of South Africa? Is it to promote friendship with the nations of South-East Asia, to which reference is made in the Opposition’s amendment? I believe that each of these matters is extremely important, but to a certain extent there must be a conflict of attitude if we try to deal with all of them in the one motion.
I think that we have to deal first with the most important matter which, to my mind, is the future well-being of the 9,000,000 Bantu in the Union of South Africa. The decisions that were reached at the Prime Ministers’ Conference in London will not help the Bantu. I can cite no better authority for my view on this than Archbishop Dr. Joost de Blank who has said that if we are thinking of trying to help the Bantu in Africa the best thing that we can do is to endeavour to keep the Union of South Africa within the Commonwealth of Nations.
I shall expand upon this aspect later, but I point out that everything I say has behind it concern for the welfare of those people. I do not like any more than does any other honorable member the policy of apartheid, but if we get rid of that policy in South Africa what will we put in its place? As I have said, I have paid three visits to the continent of Africa and on each occasion I have realized that people who go to Africa with preconceived ideas as to how its difficulties can be solved find, within a very short time, that those ideas have to be thrown overboard.
– Were you in the Union of South Africa?
– Yes, and I was in ten other countries on the continent of Africa south of the Sahara. There are four ways in which a system of government can operate in a country such as South Africa. First, there is the system of apartheid which we all abhor. Secondly, there is the multiracial system of government which is the one at which most of us would aim. Then there is the system of a black dictatorship which has occurred in certain countries, and finally there could be partition in which a nation is divided down the centre with white people on one side and black people on the other. No doubt we all desire a multi-racial system of government. Has the adoption of such a system been assisted or the cause of multi-racialism advanced by the policies that have been pursued in the United Nations and by the nations of the world since 1959? The evidence that is available at present indicates that the hope of a multi-racial system of government in every section of Africa has receded in the last two years. One thing that is clear, as those of us who have endeavoured to promote this system of government in New Guinea have found, is that a tremendous amount of political experience by the races who have to operate it is necessary. But we aspire to that system in New Guinea.
The second thing that we have found is that no system of multi-racial government can be brought into operation in a hurry.
As an instance of what happens when one tries to introduce this system in a hurry one has only to consider the events of the last two years. In the Congo we see a picture of complete confusion, tribal warfare and thousands of Africans being killed - very many more deaths than have ever occurred in the Union of South Africa. In Ghana we see a black dictatorship arising with the opposition to that dictatorship locked up in prison. We hear of graft by Cabinet Ministers to the tune of well over £1,000,000, and this has never been denied. We see complete unconcern for minorities. We see a system whereby the people on the coast who supported President Nkrumah get all the pickings and the people in the Ashanti and in the north are being completely downtrodden and neglected and going back to a position much worse than that from which they emerged. We have the expropriation of foreign assets of any persons who tried to invest in that country.
In the Sudan, the picture of slavery once again is emerging. The one great thing of which the white nations can be proud in the history of the past 100 years is that they have abolished slavery throughout the world, but as a result of policies similar to those advocated by the Opposition, slavery is appearing once again in the Sudan. In Uganda, tremendous tribal antagonisms have developed and if we are not careful they will lead to much bloodshed in the near future.
I come now to Kenya. In 1959, I felt that the policy of multi-racialism would work in Kenya if it worked anywhere in the world. I believed that the slow policy of the development of both races towards a coming together with each other was working well; but because the British Government has hurried the transition much more than it should be hurried, all the evidence to-day points to the fact that a multi-racial form of government will not come about. President Nkrumah of Ghana has advocated that Kenyatta be released and made Chief Minister of Kenya. He is a man who has carried out such bestial acts that I doubt whether Mr. Speaker would allow me to speak of them in this chamber. As a result, the white people will leave Kenya rather than stay and be placed under the domination of a man of Kenyatta’s history. As we know, hundreds of them want to come to Australia.
All the evidence points to the fact that the Federation of Rhodesia is likely to come to an end and that, instead of a multi-racial system of government which could have come about if there had been time to develop it, there will be another black dictatorship for certain in Nyasaland and probably one in Northern Rhodesia. What will happen in Southern Rhodesia is difficult to contemplate.
All this, to my mind, points to the fact that multi-racial theories have failed. The point I want to emphasize to the Opposition is that theories such as those propounded by the honorable member for Reid are just not working in practice. We must face up to the practical nature of the situation rather than the theoretical one advocated by members of the Opposition. What has happened is this: The United Kingdom Government has moved far too quickly. Both sides were not properly conditioned to try to carry out their full responsibilities. I sincerely believe that multi-racialism could have been made to work in Kenya and Rhodesia. I think that if South Africa could have been persuaded to stay in the Commonwealth, the forces that were starting to work within the Union of South Africa last year would have begun to work towards the development of South Africa as a multi-racial state. The attitude of the Dutch Reform Church was particularly significant. It has changed its thinking over the past twelve months. The growth of the Progressive Party among the citizens of Johannesburg who are of both Afrikaan and British origin, shows how the change in ideas is working. Even the speeches of certain Afrikaan Cabinet Ministers last year showed that there was a change of thought.
As a result of what has happened in the past month, all that is now gone. We admit that the policy of the South African Government at Sharpeville put back the hopes of people like chief Luthuli and moderate Africans; but at the same time all of us must share the blame for putting back the feelings of the progressive white people in South Africa because of the actions we have taken in the past few weeks. Can any one now believe that our actions, as advocated especially by members of the Opposition, will really help towards the promotion of a multi-racial State in the next few months in the Union of South Africa? I believe that everything that has happened will lead to one answer and one answer only and that is partition with probably a great deal of bloodshed in the Union.
Let us look where the policies of other colonial powers have led. The Belgians have shown that their nationals in the Congo were expendable and that they would get out and get rid of their responsibilities quickly. The United Kingdom is now showing that the white settlers in Kenya and probably those in Rhodesia are expendable; but the 3,000,000 whites in South Africa cannot be treated just like that. We want to stop apartheid. We want to promote multi-racial government. But everything that has been advocated by the Opposition in the past two years has contrived to produce the result opposite to what it intended.
Let us look at this matter in wider perspective. Western culture, whether we like it or not, has exploited Africa for two hundred years, from 1700 to 1900 and we cannot put the clock back. If we try to do so, we will have another situation as it is in the Congo. Nor can we move the hands forward as quickly as advocated by the Opposition. We can see what would happen if we tried to do that in New Guinea.
The immediate actions in Africa are the faults, both past and present, of the colonial powers and especially the United Kingdom. But the basis for this action stems from the effect of world opinion, particularly of the Western world. All of us, therefore, must bear our share of responsibility because the general theme we have adopted is that good government is no substitute for selfgovernment. This has led to a rapid spread of racialism and the abandonment of our responsibilities which, whether we like it or not, we have inherited. Where has this abandonment of responsibility taken us? It has meant that the sins of the Western world have been paraded for all to see, but at the same time, the sins of the African dictators are covered up and ignored. Nowhere is this more evident than in the United Kingdom at present. I believe that the whole strength of the British Commonwealth of Nations was that it provided forum where these things could be said and where all peoples could be helped to shoulder the responsibilities they had inherited, whether they liked it or not, but without the dangers of being misunderstood, as may be the case in the United Nations.
The danger is that all these advantages could be placed in jeopardy by what has happened as a result of the recent conference of British Commonwealth Prime Ministers. I myself believe that our Prime Minister has had the foresight to see this and the strength to say it. If the British Prime Minister has disagreed with him - which I doubt - then in this case I would back the judgment of our Prime Minister even against that of Mr. Macmillan. We have a responsibility that we cannot throw off. We are determined to shoulder thai responsibility, as we are showing by our actions in New Guinea, and we will support every other nation that is prepared to take a policy as enlightened as the policy we are adopting because we know that basically it helps all the people in New Guinea. We believe that the great thing is that not only must we provide self-government but it must be good self-government, whereas the actions of the Opposition would lead to selfgovernment which might not be in the interests of all the people concerned. 1 feel that by following up this enlightened policy, we will find that the newly emerging nations will respect us and, in time, congratulate us upon the action we have taken. By taking this strong line - an enlightened line - I believe that in the long run we shall really gain the friendship of the nations” of South-East Asia. At the same time, we will ensure that the bonds that bind the structure of the British Commonwealth of Nations will be strengthened rather than broken as I think would occur if the policies suggested by the Opposition were put i~to effect.
.- While listening to this debate I was amazed to hear a statement from the normally orderly and kindly member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) that the white man and the black man could not live together. I did not think that in this year of grace 1961 we were going to hear the old moan of the squatter who has attempted to remove the aboriginal from the face of this country by the same sort of methods as are now being practised in South Africa. When one considers the thinking of the Australian Country Party one realizes that it is pretty retrograde, but I did not think it extended to the display of this sort of mentality in this day and age by such a kindly person as the honorable member for Mcpherson.
But what have caused me some concern have been some of the statements made repeatedly by honorable members opposite, mostly by members of the Country Party, like the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson). Others who have made the statements to which I refer are the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), of whose words I made particular note. These honorable gentlemen have made these statements as part of their argument about whether or not we should accept the situation that has come about in South Africa, and the things that have occurred in the life of the Prime Minister of this country in relation to this problem. In an attempt to keep us away from the vital nature of the problem that we must discuss here they keep asking us: “What did you do about Tibet? What did you do about Hungary? “ They are particularly afraid of the word “ red “, but they are very tender towards red herrings, and in this case the worst offender is, of course, the lieutenant-colonel from Hume. If he wants to know something about what happened in Tibet 1 can do no better than read to him what the “ Encyclopaedia Britannica “ says another lieutenant-colonel did to Tibet in the sacred name of the British Raj in 1902. I paraphrase the account given in the “ Britannica” because I have only twenty minutes at my disposal. The “Encyclopaedia Britannica “ says that Sir Francis Younghusband, a lieutenant-colonel like the honorable member for Hume himself, in 1902 led a British mission to Tibet which later became a punitive expedition. A war against the Buddhists of Tibet, against those very fine people whose position brings tears to the eyes of the honorable member for Hume! The object, as stated in the “ Encyclopaedia Britannica “, and not in any propaganda on my part, was to beat the Russian menace in those days. At that time the Czar of AH the Russias, the Great White Father, of whom our own great white father is the lineal descendant, was in possession of the whole of Russia, and the fear in those days was a fear of Russia. So the British sent a punitive expedition to Tibet, led by a lieutenant-colonel. What happened when the members of the expedition got there? Did they do anything better or worse than the Chinese, according to the honorable member’s own evidence? Let us look at the record in the “ Encyclopaedia Britannica “, which says that the result was that Sir Francis Younghusband took Lhasa and occupied the Potala - which is the shrine of shrines, the sacred sanctuary of Buddhism in Asia - with his troops.
– Where did the Dalai Lama flee to?
– He fled to China. I hope that the lieutenant-colonel opposite will remember that. The Dalai Lama has been a man of vast excursions. Sometimes he goes to India, but when he flies to China that is wrong with the lieutenant-colonel. Then, after an occupation of two years or so, what did the tender-hearted militarists of that period do to the Tibetans, whose position now wrings tears from the stonyhearted member for Hume? As stated by the “ Encyclopaedia Britannica “, by the treaty of 1904 the Dalai Lama paid 2,500,000 rupees as reparations. That is a lot of rupees in any man’s language, and it is a lot of wool to China in the language of the honorable member for Hume. Two and a half million rupees as reparation from the poor distressed Tibetan! Two trading posts were established as part of the reparations; both were on the border with India, and both were rigidly controlled so that all the trade went to India. And you gentlemen opposite are talking about trade with red China!
– I wish to take a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is the honorable member in order in giving a lengthy apologia for Chinese atrocities in Tibet, in the course of this debate?
– The honorable member is in order relative to the debate.
– Thank you, Sir. Those two trading posts were for the exclusive use of India. No dues were paid, and customs duties were eliminated between Tibet and China under the treaty. Here is the final thing - and it will kill for all time this hypocritical nonsense of the Country Party and those red-baiters and human-haters who infest this Parliament and are never fair on any issue which has anything to do with anything that is outside their own limited conception of what constitutes the free world. Look at the casualties that occurred in those days. The honorable member for Chisholm is always prating about Communists. He has a line through to Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan. He has to get his propaganda direct from Taiwan, because Chiang Kai-shek has killed off all his journalists. So the honorable member for Chisholm has to get his news direct from the propaganda sources. In the period between 1902 and 1904, according to the “ Encyclopaedia Britannica “. 10,000 Tibetans were either killed or injured or fled the country after this friendly visit from Sir Francis Younghusband. So when you talk about Tibet you want to get some knowledge first of the historical side of things, and not just flaunt this business of, “ Why doesn’t the Opposition say something about poor little Tibet? “ Over there you have not any facts about Tibet. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes), who is interjecting now, has not any facts about anything. I do not think he even knows the facts of life. His vacuous look shows that he has not got much to do with them.
We ought to say in our own defence, and we do say, that there is no basis for all this nonsensical business of, “ Why don’t you weep about Tibet? “ There are no real facts about Tibet except one thing - that what happened was fomented as a plot by the Dalai Lama, and that money, ammunition and propaganda came in from. Taiwan to create a trouble spot in Tibet. There is no question about that. Then honorable members opposite ask, “Why didn’t you weep about the martyrs of Hungary? “ That was properly answered last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). Since I have been chided for taking the analysis too far I permit myself this one remark about Hungary: The leader of our Federal Government - our national leader - gets up and says, in effect at any rate, “There is blood on the lips of the negroes in Sharpeville, but that is a domestic matter for South Africa.” But if one dares to say that the revolution in Hungary was a matter that concerned the Hungarians then, because it was Communists revolting against Communists, oni: is accused of being a proponent of the reds. It is time that this dying Government woke up to the fact that there are opinions outside which completely refute all this silly rabid nonsense that comes from honorable members opposite. They are post-dated back to about 1910.
Therefore I think there is a complete answer to the questions that are asked us: “ Why didn’t you do something about the Tibetans? Why didn’t you do something about the Hungarians? “ Even if you pui us on the spot on this thing, now is your chance, as well as ours, to do something about the South African natives, about the Bantus. But what do we find? We fi l the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson), who has just finished speaking taking a valiant stand for his leader and saying that it is all wrong that these people should be free, that they are not ready for freedom. Away back in the days when Clement Attlee performed the greatest single act of majestic statesmanship when he freed India, it was the present Prime Minister o “ Australia who said: “ They are not read .1 for self-government. It is a terrible thing to give the Indian people self-government.” But Nehru was waiting for his opportunity and in due course, on the floor of the United Nations, he proved not only that he was ready for self-government but that he was the equal and the superior and the conqueror of the right honorable member for Kooyong.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Mr. Speaker, in the ten minutes remaining to me I will try to recover the thread of my speech at the point I had reached before the suspension of the sitting. One has a certain sympathy for steadfast loyalty to a leader, but there is a national ethos, a soul, or a feeling in this country regarding certain unassailable rights of human beings, regardless of their colour. I believe that honorable members on both sides of the House share that feeling. There fore, there cannot be any apology for what has happened in South Africa. There cannot be any full understanding by the Australian people of the way in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) allowed himself to be manoeuvred into a situation which does not reflect any credit on the Australian community. In an attempt to preserve what, in his view, was the unity of the Commonwealth of Nations he forgot that the Commonwealth is built upon steadfast principles and that those principles were not being observed in South Africa.
There are two aspects of this problem in South Africa. There appears to be no awareness of that fact by the Government but South African scholars are concerned very deeply about it. One of them, a Dr. Brookes, has written a book which may be found in the Parliamentary Library. In it he states that the tragedy of Africa is that the battle for the soul of South Africa was lost at the polling booths when Dr. Verwoerd was returned as Prime Minister. I think that that will be the judgment of civilization upon this matter. Temporary advantages taken by the Opposition or the Government have no relevancy in a matter which concerns the humanities of existence. Dr. Verwoerd will not remain for ever. His dogged insistence that South Africa must have apartheid or get out of the community of nations may well mean that very soon the South Africans will change him rather than change their allegiance to the Commonwealth, which has been continuous if not always steadfast. The slogan of civilized people all over the world is, “ United we stand, divided we fall “. In Africa they have changed it to, “ Divided we stand because we stand for apartheid “ The preservation of the whites cannot be the first law in any civilized community. The paramount thing upon which democracy insists is the preservation of the decency of human conduct towards all people, whether white or coloured and regardless of class or creed.
I would have thought that a man of the calibre of our Prime Minister would have realized that no clubmanship or friendship could have any place in the determination of fundamental issues. Surely, in view of his stated friendship with such men as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom he would understand what is meant by the winds of change. Would he not understand that there was a clean breeze blowing through Africa which was elevating the cause of the natives, and that it was only a bit of old colonial hokum to say to them, “ You are not ready “? The justice of the thing is what counts.
The ancient African, the Indian, the Chinese and the coloured man generally was not ready for the colonial conqueror but the colonial conqueror got him. So when we are retreating from a position which we can no longer hold we should say that the present time is the right time to assist colonial peoples to achieve the maturity that they must have in order to govern themselves. We can get a sort of time lag in our minds which becomes ridiculous when read against the acceleration of history. I was pointing out before the suspension of the sitting that the classic example of that was the backward thinking of the Prime Minister in regard to India. When India gained its independence he, as usual, could not see any future for any of the subject races of the world. He said, referring to the people of India -
It may seem to me, as indeed it does, that to abandon control of the people who have not yet shown a real broad capacity for popular selfgovernment is to do a disservice to them. We do not greatly serve a people when we throw them into a state of self-government before the majority of them have become fit to undertake this extraordinary delicate and difficult task.
How crassly and absurdly wrong was the Prime Minister! After years of administration under the British Raj the Indians were ready for self-government, and they have successfully moved into the community of nations. Their conduct within the Commonwealth of Nations has shown the attitude of the Prime Minister to be out of date, absurd and ridiculous. The Prime Minister’s thinking in regard to South Africa is old-fashioned and colonial. In relation to Ghana and the released peoples of other African countries, too, his thinking is backward.
In Australia there is and there will be a national concept of the eternal verities and the eternal decencies. In them there is no place for apartheid. There is no place for hatred of a man’s colour. We have made ourselves reprehensible in the eyes of our friends by allowing ourselves to be dragged at the chariot of this monstrous theme that one man is better than another merely because of his colour and that in this year of grace, 1961, people can be condemned, fired upon and murdered because they are black. Shades of the glorious conquering days of the whites in the 1890’s!
– Tell us about Chou Enlai.
– I have not the time and the honorable member would not understand me if I did tell him. The parties which are being arraigned for their absurdly supine attitude are the Government parties. The man in the dock is the Prime Minister. He scored no points for us overseas. Wherever he appeared for us he fell flat on his face. His resolutions were rejected. I shall conclude by reading a motion which was to have been moved in this House but which was not moved because the man who was to have moved it lost heart and did not go on with it. I refer to a proposed amendment which was labelled -
Amendment to be Moved by Some Government Supporter to Motion for Printing Paper.
The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) was given the accolade. I saw the Prime Minister move towards him. I saw him hold the-
– You are quite wrong.
– A copy of the motion was handed to the Clerk of the House and to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The honorable member for Perth was selected to move this motion because he is the ideal sycophant to do this sort of thing. He was born and bred to do this job for the Prime Minister, but when the document was put into his trembling hands he failed his leader in the last minute. I shall put the proposed amendment on record. It reads -
This House welcomes the cordial relations established by the Prime Minister with President Kennedy and senior members of his Administration. It commends the Prime Minister for his efforts at the conference of Prime Ministers in London, to preserve the unity of the Commonwealth, and for his vigorous expression of Australia’s views on matters of vital concern to Australia at this conference and at the South-East Asia Treaty Organization conference in Bangkok.
This House places on record the appreciation of the Australian Parliament and the people for his distinguished service in these and other important directions. . . .
No wonder the honorable member for Perth quailed, with a general election coming up and the imminent danger of being removed from his place here! The note that I have from my own leader on the subject reads -
The above amendment . . . was indicated, but not submitted, by the honorable member for Perth.
The significant fact is that the amendment was written by the Prime Minister himself in full view of the House and was handed by him to the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) to read when his turn to speak came. The Prime Minister’s draft goes to extraordinary lengths. It asks the House to commend the draftsman for his distinguished services and his other alleged remarkable qualities. This incident proves one thing, and that is that the Leader of the Opposition was right on target when he said -
Unfortunately, the foreign affairs policy of the Menzies Government is the private property of the Prime Minister. He makes it and changes it as he likes. He does so without reference to principles or precedents. It is largely an opportunist policy which varies with his moods. Both he and his Government are deserving of censure for this lamentable state of affairs.
That is the conviction of this party.
Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– No, Sir, I claim to have been grossly misrepresented. The honorable member for Parkes stated that I was handed an amendment by the Prime Minister. In this morning’s Melbourne “ Sun News-Pictorial “ appeared a report that last evening, while the Leader of the Opposition was speaking, I was prompted by the Prime Minister. What actually happened - if the honorable member for Parkes had put on his bi-focal spectacles, he would have seen this - was that the Prime Minister came up to me and said that he had an important meeting in his office, and he asked me whether I would mind if he left the chamber during my speech, which was to follow that of the Leader of the Opposition. My friend, the honorable member for Barker, was sitting beside me here.
– The honorable member was not upset?
– 1 was not upset. I replied, “ Maybe it would be better for you if you left before I started “. I have been misrepresented by the honorable member for Parkes and by the Melbourne “ Sun NewsPictorial “. One is used to being misrepresented by the honorable member for Parkes, at any rate.
– Mr. Speaker, immediately prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) indulged in a defence of the Communists that had to be heard to be believed. I listened to it with growing surprise and with growing disquiet. I believe it is perfectly true to say that the whole of the thesis of the honorable gentleman and the idea that he wanted to leave with the House was: “Whatever the Communists do is right. Whatever the free countries of the world do is wrong. It does not matter that there may be a blood bath in Hungary - an attack by the Communists on the defenceless citizens of Hungary. It does not matter that there may be an attack by the Communists on the defenceless peasants of Tibet. Provided that those military actions are undertaken by Communists, I, as the member for Parkes, will defend them m this House.” I have said that I listened to this with growing disquiet, because, although I do not know very much about the widespread political affiliations of the honorable gentleman, I can be certain that he has now alined himself with the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) as one of the propagandists for communism in this chamber. I should very much like to know whether the honorable member for Parkes is prepared to deny this and what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and, for that matter, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) think of the statements which he made. Slaughter of innocent people, murder or whatever you like to call the disasters that have overtaken the people of Hungary at the hands of Communists, is defended by the honorable member for Parkes. He now nods his head in agreement. He sees nothing wrong with the holocaust that occurred in Hungary. As I have said, the honorable gentleman nods his head in approval. I do not want to waste too much of my time on the honorable member for Parkes, because I had the vague feeling that he knew not what he said and should be forgiven for his foolishness.
What I want to do is to mention briefly three things. First, I want to touch on what the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said about the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London. Secondly, I want to mention the action that the Prime Minister took at the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. Thirdly, I want to mention the action that he took with respect to disarmament, both in the United Kingdom and in his discussions with the President of the United States of America. Although some matters have captured the public imagination and have been highlighted in the press, I believe that the action taken at the Seato conference and the action taken in connexion with disarmament are actions which this House should approve.
As to the events in London and at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, I believe I am right in putting a series of questions. I also believe it to be. perfectly right for the House to place this problem in its proper context. The context is clearly: What was the purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit overseas? These purposes are clear. There were three objectives. The first was to make his contribution to the cause of world peace, whether relating to thermo-nuclear warfare or conventional warfare, or to the reducing of cold war tensions, or to an attempt in some way to reduce subversive activities in this and other countries. That was the first objective that the Prime Minister sought to achieve.
The second great objective was to ensure that South Africa remained within the Commonwealth of Nations or, if you like, the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Prime Minister is a Commonwealth man. He believes in the destiny of the Commonwealth. He believed that he had a responsibility to ensure the integrity, the usefulness and the influence of the Commonwealth countries. That was an objective that was well worth achieving, and the right honorable gentleman did his best to ensure that South Africa remained within the Commonwealth. Thirdly, I believe that wherever he went, he tried - I shall put this point again a little later - to put the view that we do not believe in poking our nose into the business of other people. We believe in the doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of other countries. Those objectives were ones that I believe were worth attempting to achieve, and I consider that the Prime Minister made a real contribution towards achieving them.
May I now come to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference itself. There has been far too much misunderstanding about what occurred. Public imagination has been captured by the disagreements; by the most highly charged emotional episodes. I believe that the press has done less than justice to the real substance of what happened at the London conference and subsequently. The first criticism of the Prime Minister that we heard was that there was a difference of opinion between Mr. Macmillan and himself. I think that there is here too big a play on words and that this is in truth a matter of emphasis. It has been made clear by now that either South Africa had to take the initiative in withdrawing its application for admission to the Commonwealth of Nations or it would have been compelled by the vote of some of its fellow-members to leave the Commonwealth. I have heard it said that Mr. Macmillan has a different opinion from that of the Australian Prime Minister. I do not think that is so. I can say that the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom said that South Africa had to leave. It does not matter in what language you express this - whether in the stronger language of the Australian Prime Minister or in the more mild and indirect language of Mr. Macmillan: The simple fact is that there were only two alternatives - the withdrawal by South Africa of its application for continued membership of the Commonwealth or the expulsion of that country by the vote of at least four of the other members of the Commonwealth. So it was all a matter of emphasis. There was no difference of opinion between these two men.
We must next ask ourselves: Was there a loss to the Commonwealth because of the
South African withdrawal? I believe that there was a loss to the Commonwealth.
I go back now to the initial statement by the Prime Minister in this House on the South African problem of apartheid. I would like to make it perfectly clear that my attitude, and that of the Government, in relation to apartheid as actually practised has been clearly and persistently stated in this House. That attitude can be well expressed in the words of Mr. Hood, who said, when stating the Government’s attitude before the United Nations: -
The Australian Government has stated that it feels a most serious disquiet at the racial policies which have been practised in South Africa, and that it deplores the results of the application of those policies . . .
That has been the policy that has guided the Government since the matter was first raised in this House, and I believe the Prime Minister adopted the proper attitude when he said to the House, “ I do ask that we look at this problem with tolerance. We have not the interests of the South African Government at stake here. We are thinking of the people of South Africa and of their destiny. We are thinking of the Bantus; we are thinking of the coloureds; we are thinking of the Indians, and we are thinking also of the white population of South Africa.” So the Prime Minister urged - and I personally believe that this was the basis of his thinking - that the matter should be considered with tolerance and with moderation, because he felt that if opinion in South Africa became inflamed there could be another Sharpeville, which would be disastrous for the people there.
So I mention those two matters. I mention our stand on apartheid, and I refer particularly to the stand taken by the Prime Minister on this issue right from the beginning. Now I move to another matter that has been raised, the question whether there is some inconsistency as between the attitude of the Government and of the Prime Minister on the question of nonintervention in the domestic affairs of States as expressed by him in London, and the attitude taken up by our representatives at the United Nations. I personally believe that we can distinguish clearly between the two. The distinction is based upon this ground: First, you cannot compare the Commonwealth with the United Nations. The Commonwealth is a gathering of friends of long historical association. They do not pass resolutions; they are there to help one another. Consequently, when they meet it is wise that matters relating to their domestic affairs be not placed on the agenda. The United Nations is a completely different kind of organization. In the United Nations General Assembly there is a power to discuss matters of international concern. It is true that the Assembly itself has no right to take executive action, but it can pass resolutions disapproving of the actions of countries, should it think fit to do so.
This is the difference between the two organizations. I beg to point out to the House that the action that we took at the United Nations was taken against this background: First, we made it perfectly clear that we did not believe in physical intervention in the affairs of South Africa, because we believe that given time and honesty of purpose the problem can be solved by the South African people themselves. Secondly, any action taken has to be taken within the terms of the United Nations Charter. That means that under Article 2,” paragraph 7 of the Charter itself must be observed, that is, the principle of non-intervention in what are essentially domestic matters is preserved. Finally, we voted against that part of the resolution which said that the conditions in South Africa were a cause of international tension which could lead to a breach of the peace.
So there are three vital reservations. We stand by the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, and we stand by that principle because we will not have others interfere in our affairs, and in those circumstances we do not think that outside people should interfere in the affairs of other nations.
I believe that this answers the various arguments that have been put forward in this House relative to what the Prime Minister has said. On the other side the arguments of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) were a farrago of press cuttings lumped together and out of context. The right honorable gentleman did not refer in any material respect to the statement that was before the House. Consequently, I suggest that there are no grounds whatsoever on which to found an objection to the Prime Minister’s statement - and I reach this conclusion without considering in any way the farcical ending of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition.
I wish now to touch on two other very important subjects. I shall refer to the Prime Minister’s activities at the Seato conference and, secondly, his approach to disarmament. I have tried to point out to the House that if we consider what has been said by the Prime Minister, and - and this is much more important - if we consider his actions whilst overseas, we will see a single thread running through all of his words and actions. It was his constant attempt to make some modest contribution towards the cause of peace and to do something to help the less privileged people of the world. Examine his actions in that light and I believe you will then decide that the draft motion read out by the honorable member for Parkes commending the Prime Minister should be unanimously agreed to by this House.
Let us consider, first, the events at the Seato conference. The Prime Minister has made it clear that Seato exists for a dual purpose. Its first purpose is to give the people of South-East Asia heart in believing that they will retain their independence and freedom, and that there will be no interference by Communist countries in their domestic affairs. The Prime Minister made it perfectly clear that while we believe in non-intervention, we have gone a considerable distance towards achieving our goal in this respect, and that it has been achieved because never before has there been such unanimity amongst the Seato powers as there has been on this occasion. Whilst there must be a government commitment before armed force can be used against the Communists, nonetheless, as the Prime Minister made clear, Seato to-day is stronger than it has ever previously been. That is an accomplishment, and our own Prime Minister played a notable part in achieving it.
It is to be deeply regretted that the Russians will not agree to an immediate cease-fire. I think it is bad tactics for them to keep the President of the United States in suspense; it is a display of bad faith and,
I think, must cause considerable uneasiness in the minds of statesmen in the United Nations. I would have thought that there was here a golden opportunity for Russia to show goodwill if it wanted to do so. There is no good reason to build up the military power of the Communists or the Pathet Lao at this time.
I wish also to refer to the related subject of disarmament. Again I mention this against the background of the fact that the Prime Minister’s objective was peace and the growing prosperity of the needy peoples of the world. The whole of what he had to say about disarmament was designed to convince the peoples of the world that if we could disarm, or partially disarm, then the resources now used for military purposes could be devoted to the cause of peace and could be used to raise the living standards of the under-developed countries of the world. The Prime Minister pointed out in clear language that we could not achieve these objectives quickly, and that we did not, above all things, want to create the impression that we can have peace without effort. We do not want to build up false expectations and, therefore, we must be prepared to defend ourselves, and we must recognize the difficulties that will confront us in the future.
I wish, therefore, to put this again to the House, because I frankly do not think it has been emphasized strongly enough: The Prime Minister’s main purpose was peace. His purpose was to help the under-developed countries and to prevent intervention in their affairs. He wants South Africa back in the Commonwealth, and so do I and so does the Leader of the Opposition. Having mentioned these matters, I personally believe that every member of this House and of the community owes a debt to the Prime Minister because he played a very notable part in New York, London and other places, particularly Bangkok, in bringing home the very lively concept of our desire to live at peace and in friendliness with our neighbours and of our desire to help the underdeveloped countries. Consequently, I applaud the actions of the Prime Minister. I think he has been consistently right in his approach to the problem of South Africa. I believe the Government’s statement of principle on apartheid is something that this House should welcome. We all know now that the United Nations with one or two abstentions would approve of it.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, grievously so, Sir. This is the first opportunity I have had to ask for your indulgence in this matter because it was necessary for me to check with “ Hansard “. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) alleged that my statements concerning the amendment that never came to life were quite untruthful and he attempted to explain what happened. I want to defend myself by reading from “ Hansard “ the report of the words he actually used last night. I have delayed making my explanation so that I could obtain the relevant document. The honorable member is reported as having said -
Before I conclude, I shall foreshadow a further amendment which I intend to move later when the one at present before us has been disposed of.
Therefore, on the statement of the honorable member for Perth, there was an amendment in this House. Later that amendment came to this table and eventually came into my possession, and it was the one I read in this House. If the honorable member said that the Prime Minister was paying him a social call and took the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) with him to make it more formal, we could accept that, but the main burden of my complaint about the honorable member for Perth is his sycophancy and his desire to please the Prime Minister.
– Order! I must ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark. It is a reflection on the honorable member for Perth.
– I withdraw it. To keep purely to the factual aspect of the matter, I say the amendment was written and obviously it was written and approved of by the honorable member for Perth. It came to this table. I do not make any comment on the implications there. I say I received a copy of it and I read it to the House. I leave it to the honorable member for Perth to explain the miracle of the written word that is not transmitted by radio, by telegram or by telephone; it just floats around the chamber.
– Order! I think the honorable member is now endeavouring to debate the matter.
– I conclude by reiterating the facts. According to “ Hansard “ he said that he foreshadowed a further amendment. The amendment was drafted and came to this table. 1 say the honorable member foreshadowed an amendment to approve of the actions of the Prime Minister and then did not have the guts to go on with the job.
– Mr. Speaker-
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– No, I claim that the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) has tried to misrepresent me.
– You are not allowed to talk about that, then.
– Just one moment. I did not state anything when I rose on the point of order contrary to what he read as appearing in “ Hansard “. All I said was that he misrepresented me when he stated that the Prime Minister handed me a written amendment, and I denied that that happened. I think the honorable member for Parkes took too great an indulgence in seeking to make an explanation and he abused the privileges granted him by the Chair.
.- This is a most unhappy and melancholy occasion when- honorable members must speak on a motion couched in the terms of that presented by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). It is a deplorable situation that we should be called upon to discuss in this place a proposal presented to the House by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), and the point taken by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) was valid and correct. Every person present in this chamber last night who witnessed the proceedings in this place could not have been mistaken at the action taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in moving from his place to that of the honorable member for Perth.
– That is an absolute lie!
– I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Perth has just accused the honorable member for Macquarie of uttering a deliberate lie. I ask that you call upon him to withdraw that statement.
– I ask the honorable member for Perth to withdraw the comment.
– I withdraw the remark, but I regret that I have to withdraw the truth.
– Order! I must ask the honorable member for Perth unconditionally to withdraw his remark and not to qualify his withdrawal.
– Mr. Speaker, in deference to your request I will withdraw, and all I can say then is that he told a terrible fib.
– Mr. Speaker-
– Order! The honorable member for Scullin will resume his seat. This matter is in the hands of the Chair.
– That is right.
– I hope you recognize that fact. I must ask the honorable member for Perth to withdraw unreservedly the remark he made in reference to the honorable member for Macquarie.
– Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the remark unreservedly and reserve my right to speak at a later date.
– I wish to raise a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we to take it that the honorable gentleman having made what the honorable member for Perth believes to be a completely inaccurate statement is to be allowed to sustain that statement without challenge?
– Order! I think the positron is quite clear. At the first opportunity, if he wishes, the honorable member for Perth has the right to use the forms of the House and to clarify the position.
– I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is the honorable member for Watson in order in directing your attention to the remark of the honorable member for Perth not from his proper place but from the front bench on the Opposition side?
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– If one required any further evidence of the extraordinary situation that prevails in this place with respect to the Government’s foreign policy, it is to be found in the fact that the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who was listed to speak before me in this debate, has been relegated to a position further down in the debating list. He was not permitted, as one would have expected was his right, to enter the debate last evening. What was there to be feared of the honorable member for Chisholm if the Government’s record is clear, if the Goment has nothing to hide and if the Government is prepared to stand up to its responsibilities and face its obligations with respect to foreign affairs? I commenced my speech by saying that this is a sad and tragic situation. Indeed rt is. When it comes to the security of Australia and of our people, we ought to be as one upholding principles which unite the people of Australia and following a policy for their advancement and well-being. But in this situation the Government dare not trust the chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee to speak in his turn and to express himself.
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) spoke at some length and said there is too much misunderstanding. Of course there is too much misunderstanding, but does not that misunderstanding come from the Prime Minister whose policies, actions and attitudes change with the day and with the hour? When the Prime Minister came into the House to discuss a motion of censure on the Government arising from the killings at Sharpeville, he expressed some sympathy for the victims of this affair, but we were not allowed to discuss the killings at very great length. For my part, and I say it for members of the Australian Labour Party, I do not uphold murder as a political weapon anywhere, whether it be hi Sharpeville, in Tibet or anywhere else. We denounce it as an action altogether apart from what we regard as right.
The changed attitude of the Prime Minister raises an astonishing state of affairs. Just as he switched his policy from day to day, so a change of policy and attitude was required and he switched his policy and his delegate - an extraordinary action on the part of the Prime Minister. So we have a changed policy and a changed delegate. If our policy were along lines designed for the advancement of this country and the preservation of the security and well-being of the people of this nation, would not one expect that we would be voting occasionally with New Zealand, Canada, our neighbours Malaya, India, Pakistan and all of these countries which are in proximity to Australia, which are building up their democracies and with whom we are sharing a great and solemn responsiblity in this part of the world? But the Prime Minister and those who sit behind him, especially the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) and those who would seek preferment in a government of this kind, of course will give the O K to the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister on the incident at Sharpeville which resulted in the killing of 67 and the wounding of more than 100 people. What does that matter to some members of the Government side of the House? These happenings must be denounced if we are to uphold the things that are worth while. What is the reason for the change of attitude? In the first instance hardly a tear of regret was shed and hardly a word of sympathy was expressed for those bereaved at Sharpeville. But when the matter was discussed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, the Prime Minister of Australia took his place and said that he was sorely troubled. We were all sorely troubled. We regret anything that breaks the unity of the Commonwealth, because any and every organization that can be built up to give strength to those things for which we stand and which are based on sound moral grounds is deserving of the fullest support and respect.
When it is a matter of morality in international affairs, this Government is not interested. This fact emphasizes, of course, the great difference of opinion which exists in regard to these matters between the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister of Australia. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, declared that the flag of South Africa had been hauled down to half-mast, but the flag of Australia has also been lowered and our reputation in the world has suffered disastrously because of the policies pursued by this Government. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) asks, “ Who has said so? “ Does not the opinion of the United Nations count for anything? Is no heed to be paid to the point of view on this subject which has been expressed by important people throughout the world? Everywhere we go we hear repeated the statement of people such as Mr. Macmillan, who declared that the Commonwealth has to depend not on the old concepts of common allegiance but on a new principle of common idealism. Must there be no morality in the Commonwealth of Nations? Must we change our colours in the United Nations, where we condemned the Government of South Africa? What a variation and what a change!
Mr. Duncan Sandys, the British Commonwealth Relations Minister, said that South Africa was deliberately trying to swim against the whole current of world thought and was trying to put history into reverse. Consider also the points of view expressed by the press of the world. “ The Times” said that if South Africa had not withdrawn from the Commonwealth unity would have been gravely threatened. “ The Guardian” said that a change of policy will result in South Africa being invited to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations. “The Scotsman” said we would be better off without South Africa. The International Commission of Jurists condemned South Africa’s policy on the matter of human rights. Let us consider the point of view expressed by the Church on South Africa’s policy of apartheid, this vicious segregation of black and white, this class consciousness, this attitude which divides colour against colour and relegates a section of the people into camps and compounds. Such a policy must be denounced. Following the scandalous treatment meted out to Dr. Reeves, the Bishop of Johannesburg, he told a press conference in the United Kingdom how the secret service officers in South Africa had kept his home under observation and that attorneys and others who called to see him had subsequently been arrested under this reign of terror and misuse of power. Dr. Reeves, on his return to South Africa drew attention to these matters, and within two days this great Christian gentleman found himself on the plane being deported from South Africa. We lacked the moral courage to condemn South Africa vigorously and openly so that the world might see that we treasured our liberties and our unity with countries such as Malaya, whose Prime Minister. Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed to the world the strength of Australia’s spirit in world affairs and has said that our white Australia policy is not hurtful but strengthening and worthwhile in the councils of the world and that it is a matter for ourselves.
At the conference of the World Council of Churches, which met at Johannesburg from 7th to 14th December last year, ten delegates from each of eight affiliated church bodies - 80 persons in all - denounced what was taking place in South Africa. We are not prepared to stand in our place and declare South Africa’s policy to be obnoxious and abhorrent and against the traditions of Australia.
Let it never be forgotten that Australian representatives in the past stood high in the councils of the world. Our former leader, Dr. Evatt, was able, by marshalling the small nations, to win a position as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations and we were respected throughout the world because we had grown from colonial beginnings and had strengthened our democracy with a secret ballot of one man one vote, and had a social service system and a way of life second to none in the world. Those nations were proud to follow our leadership, but despite all that our Prime Minister, in the course of two or three weeks - a month or two at the most - because he wants to hold the portfolio of External Affairs as well as that of Prime Minister, has thrown overboard all these things and has destroyed our reputation and our position in the affairs of the world. This is to be deplored, but what can be done about it? The Opposition proposes a course which ought to be followed. The Prime Minister ought to accept that course if he knows what is good for himself and for this country. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) no doubt feels that after his effort last night and the strange and extraordinary way in which he came forward with his amendment, he will, in some weird and wonderful way, qualify for advancement in the Government. If he holds that view I think he should take a second look at his position. There are matters close to Australia that need very special attention. Only last week it was my privilege, with the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), to visit the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and Dutch New Guinea and to meet representatives of Samoa, the British Solomons and other places in this part of the world. Are we not obliged to respect the point of view of the coloured people in those countries who are our neighbours and friends, and the people in New Guinea who are gaining strength in democracy under our tutelage, care and guidance? Are we not obliged to give them leadership? If our Prime Minister and our Government are prepared to remain inarticulate, and if those who are afraid to express themselves are not prepared to strike a blow in this troubled world for issues which have a moral foundation, what a shocking state of affairs exists. What hope is there for mankind? What hope is there for humanity?
We heard in an earlier speech that at the Prime Ministers’ Conference nothing must be said against South Africa. But it is all right inferentially to condemn Pakistan, India, Malaya and all the other countries that form part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Apparently it is all right to trade those millions of people living close to the shores of Australia, with whom we have so much in common, for a mess of pottage from Verwoerd and his vicious, class-conscious, punitive government. Is that the degeneracy that has gripped this country to-day? Is that the kind of leadership that this nation can expect when Australia, to quote the words of Henry Lawson, is in this position - “ By our place in the midst of the farthest seas we are fated to stand alone “. Surely, having regard to our geographical position, we should try to appreciate the problems of this day and ag~. But we can hardly expect anything like that. We have moved away from decency and truth. What a shocking state of affairs if this British Commonwealth of Nations, which has existed for mankind’s good and advancement over the years, is to be destroyed because the moral base is out of tune, out of harmony and is unwanted. But when you transfer a question from the Commonwealth into the realm of discussion and debate in the United Nations, with its charter of human rights and the rest, a moral base becomes all-important so far as the great powers of the world are concerned. They have recorded their vote, in no uncertain terms, in denouncing the Government of South Africa.
Surely there ought to arise in this land a spirit which truly represents the Australian point of view. I say to the exservicemen who sit in this place that our name is good because the Diggers made it good. They were mates and cobbers with people, whether they were black, white or brindle. Colour was not taken into consideration. They were not concerned about it. The Australian Diggers have a good name and they are accepted throughout the world. They shared their bully beef with every one, and they were not concerned about the petty issues which now have arisen. But now we are to be dragged along the line of apartheid - a truly vicious policy.
The honorable member referred to the white Australia policy. If he disagrees with our immigration policy, let him and the Prime Minister declare it to the world. But the Tunku Abdul Rahman, a realist and a real friend of Australia, has declared his faith and belief in it because he knows that it is firmly based, that it is not racial, that it is not petty and that it is not offensive. He knows that it is based on the security and well-being of the people in this land. Just as we in this country have supported that one central policy, we ought to continue with decency.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Speaker, I regret that I have to rise again to say that I have been grossly misrepresented. The explanation that I shall give to the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) is the same as the explanation that I gave to the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), but because the honorable member for
Macquarie obviously was not listening to me on that occasion I feel that I must repeat it. He stated that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) left the table, came to me and handed me a proposed amendment. What actually happened was that the Prime Minister came to me while the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) was sitting beside me and said, “ Do you mind if I leave half-way through your speech because I have an appointment in my office? “ I replied, “ If I were you, I would leave now”. That is what happened. In fact, for the benefit of the honorable member for Macquarie, when the Prime Minister was here the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Cash) was making me another copy of the proposed amendment because I wanted one to give to the Clerk.
– Mr. Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented by implication.
– Order! The honorable member for Barker is not in order.
– Mr. Speaker, I heard what was said earlier on this matter and I have been misrepresented. I should like to say something to my friend, the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) who I am sure will accept my word. After having made a very lengthy speech last night and after the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) had made his speech, I went across to the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), with whom at the time was sitting the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) who will confirm this, and I said with, I thought, a certain amount of rudimentary courtesy, “ I am terribly sorry, but I will have to leave the House half-way through your speech “ and then the honorable member for Perth said whimsically what he has just stated - “Perhaps you ought to leave before I start “. I gave him no paper, and I had no discussion with him except the precise words that I have uttered. I invite the honorable member for Macquarie who, in my experience, would accept my word, to believe that that was the entire incident. This has been twisted, not in the first place by honorable members but by a member of the gallery, into some rather sinister move. I had nothing to do with the drafting of any amendment. My entire conversation with the honorable member for Perth was as I have described.
.- Not only has the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) made a damaging statement regarding the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), whom he slandered, but he also made a statement which was of great interest because of the policy of his party. At one stage of his speech he asked, “ Are we not with Malaya? “ I might ask him whether his party is with Malaya particularly as it opposed so severely the sending of Australian soldiers there so that Australia, as well as joining Malaya in friendship, could also join her in opposing our common enemy.
As Opposition members have so twisted our concept of the British Commonwealth, it is only fitting that I should read some precise statements from the proper authority relating to the British Commonwealth. In October, 1923, at the Imperial Conference, Mr. Stanley Baldwin, when welcoming overseas representatives, said among other things -
The British Empire, whose representatives are assembled here to-day, has often been described as the product of accidents. It is, in fact, the natural and spontaneous product not of its own necessities only, but of those of mankind.
At a later stage he said -
Before me I see men who together can speak for a world commonwealth containing one-quarter of mankind. The peoples you represent are drawn from all the continents, from all their races, from every kind of human society. Like a network of steel embedded in concrete this Commonwealth holds more than itself together. It held through the greatest cataclysm that has ever shaken the foundations of the world. Dissolve those ties and civilization itself would collapse.
That statement was made by Mr. Stanley Baldwin. Then we have the words of the great Jan Smuts himself. In making a speech which has been reported as the “South African Spirit”, General Smuts said -
Foreigners as a rule find the British Commonwealth a strange and unintelligible phenomenon. To them it is a political and constitutional enigma.
The speeches of various members of the Opposition who have taken part in this debate have made it clear that, like the foreigners, they find the British Commonwealth a political and constitutional enigma. I shall quote now another authority who would appeal to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). I refer to Sir John Latham, who said this in the
Macrossan lectures entitled “ Australia and the British Commonwealth “ -
What has preserved the British Empire while other Empires have fallen? It is the principle of freedom, which is the principle of the Commonwealth - freedom realized in self-government. The modern British Empire is the greatest political endeavour that has ever been made to reconcile liberty with authority ‘by interpreting liberty as autonomy and achieving unity of action in essentials by mutual assent to comment policy. . . .
The British Empire is a world Empire comprehending nearly all the races of the world, illustrating nearly every stage of human development and civilization. In every continent, in every ocean, there is some part of the British Empire. It contains representatives of every religion and of nearly every race.
Then, in the appendix to Sir John Latham’s book, there is part of the report of the Imperial Conference of 1926 which I think we would do well to regard. The statement made in a summary of the proceedings of that conference reads in part as follows: - . . we refer to the group of self-governing communities composed of Great Britain and the Dominions. Their position and mutual relation may be readily defined. They are autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. . . .
Every self-governing member of the Empire is now the master of its destiny. In fact, if not always in form, it is subject to no compulsion whatever.
That was said in 1926.
– What has that to do with the Prime Minister’s speech?
– Perhaps the honorable member who has interjected would like to know what General Hertzog said about the British Commonwealth. He said at the Imperial Conference in 1926 -
The Empire, may be said to consist in the sum total of relations uniting so many associated States under the Crown. Those relations are of many and various kinds. We have the relations of blood, of friendship, of common interests and ideals, and of allegiance to a common Crown. The strength, therefore, of the ties that bind us as a Commonwealth will depend at any given time upon the ties, upon the relations, binding us at that particular moment, and especially upon the kind and quality of those relations. . . If I may state in a few words the principle which should guide us in matters of general Imperial interest, I would say: In principle, unrestrained freedom of action to each individual member of the Commonwealth; in practice, consultation with a view to co-operative action wherever possible.
I have quoted these statements from speeches and proceedings of conferences to show, first, that the British Commonwealth is an entity with a history. It is an association of which we might well be proud. It is an association which our Prime Minister has done his best to preserve. If I may say so with respect, he has tried to preserve our Empire; he has tried hard and with great distinction. I should like to tell the House now what Mr. Mackenzie King, who was then Prime Minister of Canada, said at the Imperial Conference in 1926. We have been told what Mr. Diefenbaker has said since then, and I invite both the honorable member who quoted Mr. Diefenbaker and Mr. Diefenbaker himself to read the words of Mr. Mackenzie King. He said at that conference -
The task of an Imperial Conference has been well defined as that of considering whether the several Governments represented, while preserving their individual rights of decision and action, can co-ordinate their various policies in such a way as to assist one another to help forward the common cause of peace. Its function is not 10 formulate or declare policy. The value of an Imperial Conference lies mainly in the free exchange of information and opinion. . . .
Now, let us consider the hope of General Smuts. He expressed this hope in a speech at Aliwal North in 1937. and I invite honorable members to listen to his words. Members of the Opposition who are interjecting may regard this debate as a joke, but those of us who have some regard for this great British Commonwealth of Nations regard this debate seriously. This is what General Smuts said -
The old days of arguments and strife are over for me. I have fought my battle and I have made peace. We shall build up a new South Africa on the basis of peace between the races, which is absolutely essential for the future progress of the country. We shall establish the co-operation and peace that previous generations longed for and which have only to-day been made possible. We have a country which has sovereign independence, and we must now form a united people, for :i nation divided against itself cannot continue to exist. We must maintain the peace among ourselves and co-operate with all sections of the people.
To-day, those hopes of the great statesman Smuts have gone by the board because of the abrogation by members of the British Commonwealth of Nations of a principle that the domestic policies of every member country of that Commonwealth were a matter for their own concern. Because our Prime Minister, well knowing the rules - those loose yet strong rules that bind our Commonwealth - tried to keep the Commonwealth together, he is now abused and pilloried both by members of the Opposition and by people who have no knowledge of the British Commonwealth. I say, without any disrespect to the leaders of the newer members of the British Commonwealth, that because of their lack of experience they could not be expected to have a deep-rooted knowledge of the principles underlying the British Commonwealth. They could not be expected to hold back when it would have been wise to be silent. Instead, as was perhaps only natural with young nations, they allowed their feelings to get the better of them. I think that the Prime Minister should be applauded for taking the stand that he has taken, and that we should feel, with him, great regret that a member of the British Commonwealth has, in effect, been pushed out of it. I feel, therefore, that the amendment moved by the Opposition is not only harmful to Australia’s interests, but also shows a lack of knowledge of all those things that go to make up our British Commonwealth.
– With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I accept the assurance given by the Prime Minister that he did not hand the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) the amendment that has been referred to during this debate. I believe, however, that the amendment was known to the Prime Minister and the Government.
.- To my mind, consistency and adherence to principles should be basic behaviour in international affairs and in the conduct of Australia’s external policy. On the few occasions when our Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has taken a predominant part in international incidents the only consistency shown in the attitudes that the right honorable gentleman has adopted on behalf of all members of the Government has been a desire to support the opinions of the betterdeveloped countries as against the opinions of the lesser-developed and newly independent nations. I refer particularly to the
Suez Canal incident and to the October meeting of the United Nations, as well as to the situation which developed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference and thereafter in relation to the South African Government’s policy. I intend later in my speech, Mr. Speaker, to point out the grave inconsistency between the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister on the Suez Canal incident and the attitude he adopted in regard to the South African situation.
The Prime Minister’s speech last night was not truthful insofar as many of the things he had said during the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference and since were not repeated by him in this House. His actions and speeches overseas gave the opposite impression from that which he endeavoured to create here last night. His speech last night was an earnest and skilful endeavour to extricate himself and the Government from a very difficult position .. lt was quite apparent that he had hat! second thoughts about the statements he made in Great Britain during the Comm .-.’ wealth Prime Ministers’ Conference and since. He gave the impression that he WaI trying to say, “ This is what 1 should have done. This is the attitude I should have adopted and the impression I should have created but, unfortunately, 1 made a few bad mistakes, and I should like you u believe that what I am telling you now i . the absolute truth, as absolute statement of facts, and that those things which I said previously, I did not mean.” In most of his attitudes and actions in international affairs the Prime Minister has shown a subservience to the opinions expressed by the United Kingdom and the United States of America. On this occasion, perhaps, criticism has been levelled at him because there appears to be some difference of opinion between him and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. I give admiration to him for the fact that he is prepared to disagreeana to state an opinion which may be contrary to the opinion of the Prime Minister of Great Britain or to the opinion of President of the United States; but I withdraw that admiration when, as has happened in this case, he sees that he is offside with the United Kingdom and the United States and immediately he and the Government, with the advice of certain senior members of the Cabinet, turn a somersault on the policy and the attitude adopted by Australia in the United Nations in relation to the South African Government’s policy of apartheid.
I disagree entirely with the Prime Minister’s opinion that the withdrawal of South Africa has in any way weakened the Commonwealth of Nations. To my mind it will have a strengthening effect upon the Commonwealth because, as the Prime Minister said last night - and I quote -
The Prime Ministers meet in private for a frank exchange of ideas and information. They have discussions of an intimacy which is quite impossible in the United Nations. They frequently exercise more influence over one another than they perhaps realize at the time.
The right honorable gentleman indicated in other parts “of his speech that the atmosphere in the Prime Ministers’ Conference is one of cordiality and friendship. So I say that it is a very poor thing when one of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers is not prepared to accept the considered advice and impartial information which are passed on to him by his friends.
Another point which I believe adds strength to the Commonwealth of Nations by the departure of South Africa is that South Africa has refused to recognize diplomatic representatives from Asian countries. I quote again from the Prime Minister’s speech last night. He said -
There are, to us, certain astonishing things in the application of the policy which have, I think, done much to alienate world opinion. One of them I, and others, earnestly discussed with Dr. Verwoerd in London. The Union does not accredit or receive diplomatic missions to or from Commonwealth countries in Asia and Africa. This discrimination is, to me, offensive to the great countries concerned. I pointed out that there is great value in such exchanges, and that to deny them is to suggest some notion of racial superiority, intolerable in form, and utterly unjustified in fact. I did my best to point out to him that even this one diplomatic step would do something to lessen the tension which we all wanted to see relaxed. But Dr. Verwoerd was adamant on this point, as on others. He felt that there would be a grave risk of “ incidents “ arising from public opinion and private action. I said, in vain, that it was better to accept these risks than to incur the certainty of mounting hostility. Is it any wonder that there was a certain amount of hostility by certain Prime Ministers from Asian countries towards the policies of South Africa when one of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers who was there to sit in intimacy and friendship, and discuss problems, refuses to recognize any representatives from their countries? Is it any wonder that the Asian Prime Ministers took exception to the fact that the Prime Minister of South Africa was not prepared to alter in any way the policy that has been adopted by his Government?
A point which has been made by many Government speakers is that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference has not hitherto dealt with the domestic affairs of member countries of the Commonwealth. Perhaps this is a point which is well worth labouring, but the simple fact is that in this situation the policy of the present Government of South Africa does not reflect the opinion of the majority of the people in South Africa. There are many people in South Africa who have no say, and no possibility of having a say, in the policies that are enunciated by Dr. Verwoerd and his Government. By race discrimination they are debarred from exercising any right in the domestic policies of South Africa.
The situation in South Africa deserves the condemnation of all freedom-loving people. If this Parliament criticizes, for instance, the actions that have taken place in Tibet and Hungary, where people have been oppressed, surely it is up to us, in sincerity and consistency and in adherence to principle, to take exactly the same attitude to the policies adopted in South Africa where certain people have been oppressed by the Government.
As I mentioned earlier, I intended to show to the House the inconsistency between the Prime Minister’s attitude to the Suez Canal situation and his attitude to the South African situation. In dealing with the Suez Canal situation, of course, we were dealing with property. In this instance, we are dealing with people - with human beings made of the same flesh and blood and in the same image and likeness as the Son of God made man. We are dealing with people who have the same loves, the same hates, the same temptations and the same ambitions as each one of us. There the difference between the South African and the Suez situations finishes yet the Prime Minister, with the support of all members and supporters of the Government, took exactly the opposite attitude to the Suez situation to that which he has taken in this instance. In deciding whether human beings and the dignity of man should be protected or the possessions of people, the Opposition always decides in favour of the human beings I shall quote rather extensively from the Prime Minister’s statement on the Suez Canal situation, made in this House on 25th September, 1956. At page 14 of the printed copy of his speech, he said -
What, then, should be our programme of action in relation to the Suez Canal, that great international waterway, up to now non-political, which is at present the economic life-line of hundreds of millions of people, North, South, East and West of it?
First, negotiation for a peaceful settlement by means of honorable agreement So far, we have tried this without success. The failure, let me repeat and emphasize, has not been due to any unfairness or illiberality on our side but to a dictatorial intransigence on the other.
I interpose here that the same could be said about the South African Prime Minister - that the discussions at the Prime Ministers’ Conference could not succeed because of the dictatorial intransigence of the Prime Minister of South Africa. The Australian Prime Minister continued -
Should we continue to negotiate on a watered down basis, in the spirit which says that any agreement is better than none? I cannot imagine anything more calculated to strengthen Colonel Nasser’s hand, or weaken our own.
Let me put those words, with a slight change, into the mouth of one of the Asian Prime Ministers thus: “Should we continue to negotiate on a watered down basis, in the spirit which says that any agreement is better than none? I cannot imagine anything more calculated to strengthen South Africa’s hand, or weaken our own.” The Australian Prime Minister continued -
Second, the putting on of pressure by cooperative effort on the part of the User Nations. Colonel Nasser must be brought to understand that his course of action is unprofitable to his country and his people and that he is abandoning the substance for the shadow. This is one of the great merits of the Users’ Association now established by the second London Conference. The more Canal revenue that is diverted from the Egyptian Government the less will the Egyptian people believe that it pays to repudiate.
Third, should the United Nations, by reason of the veto, prove unable to direct any active course of positive action, we may find ourselves confronted by a choice which we cannot avoid making. I state the choice in stark terms -
We can organize a full-blooded pro gramme of economic sanctions against Egypt, or
We can use force to restore international control of the Canal, or
We can have further negotiation, provided we do not abandon vital principles, or
We can “ call it a day “, leave Egypt in command of the Canal, and resign ourselves to the total collapse of our position and interests in the Middle East, with all the implications for the economic strength and industrial prosperity of nations whose well-being is vital to ours.
This is, I believe, a realistic analysis of the position.
It has been, for me, an astonishing experience to find that there are people who reject force out of hand, reject economic action on the ground that it is provocative, and so, being opposed to action of either kind, are prepared to accept the new tyranny, with regret perhaps, but without resistance. Such an attitude is so inconsistent with the vigorous tradition of our race that I cannot believe it commands any genuine and informed public support.
– Who said that?
– That was an extract from the Prime Minister’s statement on the Suez Canal situation made in this House in September, 1956. In giving reasons, last night, why the Australian delegation did not vote for the 25 member nation resolution in the United Nations, the Prime Minister said that the resolution was far too drastic in its application. In 1956, when property was concerned, not the rights of human beings, the Prime Minister was prepared, not only to organize a fullblooded programme of economic sanctions, but also to use force if necessary. Yet in this instance he is not prepared to stand up on behalf of the Australian people and say the same things about the attitude of the South African Government towards the people of South Africa who have little or no say in any domestic policy pursued by the Government of South Africa. It is quite simple to see that the Prime Minister and those who have supported him, not only in this instance but also in the Suez Canal debate, are more inclined to support the property rights of the better developed nations than to uphold the dignity and rights of human beings. Although I hesitate to say so, they are prepared to support the people who have the same coloured skin as our own rather than adhere to the principle in which I feel most of them firmly believe - that all men are born equal and should have equal opportunity in this world. They try to support the policies of the United Kingdom and the United States of America rather than adhere to a policy dictated by Australian principles and one which the Australian people would be proud to be able to say had been voiced on their behalf in the international conferences of the world.
I support the amendment which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, censuring the Prime Minister for his attitude at the Prime Ministers’ Conference and for his general attitude since he has been the Minister for External Affairs. I say, in all sincerity, that honorable members who believe in principles will vote for the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the first place, may I assure the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) that there was nothing at all sinister in the altered order of speakers this evening. As I happened to have a dinner engagement and could have been a few minutes late had I remained listed to speak almost immediately after the resumption of the sitting, I made a friendly arrangement with my friend, the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston), who is Deputy Government Whip. Apparently, members of the Australian Labour Party are trying to see all sorts of things in this debate. This is unfortunate, because the subject-matter of the debate involves policies which not only raise questions of high principles but also are vital to Australia’s security and our future development.
I think that the Government is to be very warmly congratulated on the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), which, taken by itself as a document, could scarcely be the cause of any serious dissension. Some of the details may be arguable. For example, it may be argued whether the interpretation by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of what happened and what will happen to the Commonwealth is correct or whether our own Prime Minister’s interpretation is more correct. I do not think that anybody in this House will dispute our Prime Minister’s account of his vist to President Kennedy, of the United States of America, particularly in view of the latter part of his statement in which he reiterated and reaffirmed the Government’s policy with regard to red China. Every one agrees with the policy of disarmament, and we all hope that disarmament will come about, although I think few people realize the immensity of the problems involved, particularly when we have a country like red China in which practically every citizen is mobilized on a military basis.
The Opposition may make what political capital it likes out of the fact that there happened to be a Cabinet meeting called at short notice the other day. What is the important fact? Surely it is how Australia acted and voted at the United Nations. Does anybody disagree with what we did? Members of the Australian Labour Party, naturally, are silent when I ask that question. They do not disagree with what was done.
In view of what happened at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference and what has happened since, the compilation of the Prime Minister’s statement and the issuing of it required no mean courage on the part of the right honorable gentleman - and courage is a quality in which he has never been lacking. I think that he is to be congratulated on the statement that he made to this House. Unfortunately, however, the document cannot be treated as a separate statement entirely, because it is really only a further chapter in a book much of which has already been written. Again, unfortunately, in my opinion, the earlier chapters have done far more damage than this latest one can repair. It rs our job to repair the rest of the damage as soon as possible. I do not doubt for one moment that the earlier chapters which were written at the Australia Club dinner, at the press conference on 19th March and at the press conference at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) airport at Mascot were written with anything but the best of intentions, but, unfortunately, they produced disastrous impressions which have travelled far and wide across the world. I only wish that the statement made in this House by the Prime Minister last evening could receive the same publicity as has been given to the other arguments and discussions. They were world news. Unfortunately, this debate will not be.
I think that I have said enough to indicate that I hope that the Opposition’s amendment, which is in effect a want-of- confidence motion, is soundly defeated. Let anybody who may have doubts about whether this want-of-confidence motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is anything but a hollow sham recall that, on 31st March, 1960, in the debate in this House on the riots in South Africa, the Leader of the Opposition said -
Every one with any understanding of South Africa’s problems knows that the presence of the white man in that country is indispensable at the present time, and will be for many years to come, for the well-being and progress of the native peoples and for the development of the country. We have no sympathy with those who say that the white man must go. We have no sympathy with those who say that South Africa must be removed from the Commonwealth of Nations.
– Who said that?
– That was said by the Leader of the Opposition. He continued -
That would not solve any of the problems of to-day. It is far better that a proper relationship should exist between the races that are living together in South Africa, and have lived together there for 300 years or more . . .
As I have said, we want to see South Africa remain within the Commonwealth of Nations-
I emphasize the words “ remain within “.
– On what date was this said?
– On 31st March, 1960. The Leader of the Opposition proceeded -
One may have a difference of opinion about how this or that opinion was expressed, but to say that in March, 1960, and to move a vote of want of confidence in the government of the day on the occasion of this debate is just to take a back-flip followed by a somersault. Who is accusing the Prime Minister of inconsistency?
Secondly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I want to dissociate myself entirely and absolutely from the incorrect interpretation of the action of my very good friend, the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney). I dissociate myself absolutely from the incorrect interpretation placed on his actions by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) and one or two other members on the Opposition side of the House. Nevertheless, I must confess that I am at a complete loss to understand why the
Government has asked the honorable member to foreshadow a motion of confidence in itself. Perhaps I am out of date, but I have always understood, since I first became a member of the Victorian Parliament in 1927, that this sort of thing was a sign of uncertainty and weakness, and for that reason I hope that the Government will not proced with its proposal. Furthermore, the Prime Minister having had the courage to correct a grievous and unintentional misunderstanding, why should we have a motion which, in effect, would negative his action in making the statement which he made last evening? I can see no good reason for going on with the proposal foreshadowed by the honorable member for Perth. It seems to be most unwise, and I do not want to have any part in it. As I may be absent from the House when divisions are taken on the Opposition’s amendment and on the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Perth, if it is proceeded with, I want to make my position on both matters absolutely clear.
In this House, apartheid is universally condemned, and there seems to be no need to say anything more about that. But I beg to differ from the Prime Minister on the question of what is a domestic matter under present-day conditions. There may be some argument as to what are or are not domestic matters, but I do not think that that is really important in this debate. I consider that the policy of apartheid does not remain a domestic policy when it means that a majority of the citizens of the country in which it is applied can never look forward to anything but second-class citizenship. It is almost impossible - “ Or is it possible? “, you ask yourself - to remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations when you refuse any diplomatic representation to other countries which are members and when you will not even invite citizens of those countries to your own home town. This may have been going on for some time, but that is not to say that at the present stage of world development it can be continued. As the United Kingdom Prime Minister said, the Commonwealth was previously based on a common allegiance, and it must now be based on common ideals.
Again, I think it is rather unfortunate that any analogy between the policy of apartheid and Australia’s immigration policy was made. Australia’s immigration policy is based on assimilation and social and economic foundations. But nothing more need be said of this, because I think that a full explanation was given by Tungku Abdul Rahman, who is one of the great statesmen of Asia to-day.
Another difference of opinion may arise as to what is the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. Although I am very sorry to see South Africa go, I feel that in the net result, under the existing conditions, the Commonwealth will be strengthened. I call to mind the words of Wordsworth in his sonnet, “ On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic “. He wrote -
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great is passed away.
I think we all were sorry to see the old British Empire change into the British Commonwealth of Nations. There are many who sigh for what they call the good old days, which, I often think, never were good. To-day there will be some who will grieve that the Commonwealth as we knew it has changed very considerably, but let us not waste our time on too much grieving for what is past and for what cannot be undone. Sometimes I think that we who spend so much time in concrete chasm:-, are inclined to forget the lessons that we can learn from, nature. An overgrown shrub can be properly pruned, and often can have new shoots grafted on to it, and as a resul show a stronger and healthier growth and produce better blooms. In this way ii:<.grand old British Empire, of which we were justly proud, was pruned and developed as the British Commonwealth of Nations and later as the Commonwealth oi Nations. This was a stronger and healthier development. To-day we can follow the same process, and in the conditions thai now exist we can set our hands to the task of again bringing into full bearing a stronger and healthier organization. If the organization is weaker it will be our fault, in that perhaps we have expected that no more effort, thought or action on our part is required.
As we know, human organizations are never static. They are always dynamic.
Therefore, on this question, I range myself on the side of the British Prime Minister, the Malayan Prime Minister and several others. We all hope that South Africa will one day return, but in the meantime let us set our hands to the task of rebuilding even better than before, with a wider perspective. Perhaps we can provide a broader foundation, which may ultimately result in what may be called, for want of a better name, a League of Free Nations. I make; this suggestion because if the Soviet has ils way it will either completely control or wreck the United Nations within the not far distant future. From the. Commonwealth may arise an institution which will prove to be better in the way of ensuring co-operation, and will lead to greater prosperity for a far larger number of people.
The Prime Minister’s intense and al.absorbing loyalty to the British Throne, the British parliamentary system and British justice, to which we all subscribe, is an excellent attribute provided one does not allow it to grow into a tradition complex which may lead to immutability and sometimes to immobility. By all means let us hold te that which is worth saving from the past - and a good deal is - but at the same time let us adopt and adapt the newer ideas and materials which are right and necessary in this changing world where almost every dawn brings a new challenge.
As the Prime Minister said, part of our sorrow at the departure of South Africa from the. Commonwealth is due to the fact that its soldiers fought alongside ours in the interests of freedom. So also did the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Malays, the Chinese and many others. They too are, and should be., our friends, “ to strive, to seek, to find, and not tq yield “ in search of a better world.
The immediate task that lies to hand is, therefore, as far as Australia is concerned, the rebuilding of our prestige and influence, which, I am sorry to say, has undoubtedly suffered quite considerably as a result of misinterpretations and. misunderstandings. It will not be easy, and for my part I honestly believe that it will be done far more quickly if we have a full-time Minister for External Affairs with, as I have suggested, a junior Minister to do the routine work. I would go even further and join with my friend, the honorable member for Perth, in advocating the establishment of a special post of Secretary for Commonwealth Relations. This position should be under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Department. The work of the Department of External Affairs, in which the Prime Minister, whether he is the Minister for External Affairs or not, must always have the final say, at least on major questions, is steadily increasing. I believe we could do with far fewer Ministers in the Service departments, and that we need more ministerial representatives in the work of external affairs or of Commonwealth and international relations. In the world of to-day we can no longer leave the cold war to be attended to as a part-time job. We are living in a world in which the matter of public relations is assuming more and more importance, and in public relations, whether in respect of the Commonwealth or of the United Nations, we are still in the kindergarten class.
Furthermore, let us not forget that personal contacts are a most essential part of the building of goodwill and co-operation. How can a Prime Minister who, in the space of one month, has important conferences in Washington, London and Bangkok, handle the many and multifarious jobs which arise in his two offices? For all too long, I believe, we have dealt with these important cold war problems too spasmodically and erratically. Let me remind honorable members that there, are many people who are suggesting that South Africa should be expelled from the United Nations, but who, at the same time, advocate the admission of red China. When one thinks of what happened in Tibet, the happenings at Sharpeville appear very small indeed. Moral issues are important, but they should not be considered as a one-way traffic. Moral principles should he adopted right across the board.
Finally, I want to say something about Laos, the gateway to South-East Asia. In this connexion we see an outstanding example of the. impossibility of achieving the most effective results under the present allocation of ministerial duties. In June, 1959, the Government was warned of the shape of things to come, and it was warned again in June, 1960. On 19th September Prince Boun Oum stated, according to a report in the “ Sydney
Morning Herald “ of 21st September last, in unmistakable terms the increasing danger to his country, but he was unheeded. All eyes were on the summitry exercises at the United Nations, and our ambassador in Saigon was left to announce the recognition of the Phouma government and to state that he did not believe there was any danger of war in Laos. The Prime Minister, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) were all in New York when, later, Marshal Sarit complained bitterly about the indifference towards Laos, which was forgotten in the discussions following the Congo tragedy.
By the beginning of November the disagreements between the Seato partners were common knowledge, and reports of them were published in the newspapers. Many Asian nations, in desperation, held a conference of their own in Manila, and in Laos the situation went from bad to worse. Finally, at the recent Seato meeting, any good that might have been done by the com.muniqué was dispelled by a leakage from Australian sources of information to the effect that the Prime Minister had acted as a broker between divergent views. Had America not taken a strong hand and sent technicians from the marines, and helicopters to Udorn in Thailand, it is unlikely that Russia would have even considered, the British Seato proposals which, except for the cease-fire proposal, were her own suggestions of four months earlier. Any one who is optimistic about the result should study the report of the broadcast of 10th April from Peking Radio. He can then decide whether he thinks the terms of the British proposals will be accepted, and whether a cease-fire is likely to be agreed to in Laos at an early date. Unfortunately, the Communists have said; very clearly that they have no intention of accepting the proposal.
A major share of. the responsibility for the present precarious position in Laos must be accepted by Britain, France and Australia. It is a long and sad story, and it underlines once again the plain fact that as long as the Ministry for External Affairs remains a part-time job, Australia’s ultimate security will drift into greater and greater danger.
.- The remarks of the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) should not be disregarded, because he speaks in this Parliament as chairman of the Government’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The fact that he has been replaced as first speaker on the Government back bench by the comparatively unknown and inexperienced honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) shows that the views that he has expressed to-night are by no means acceptable to the Government or to other honorable members who sit behind the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). It is quite clear that the honorable member for Chisholm does not support the motion of confidence in the Prime Minister. He said so himself, and he will be absent from those divisions concerned with it. To be most charitable, 1 would say that he is a very doubtful supporter and T think that that sums up his attitude.
We are debating an amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to a motion that a statement submitted by the Prime Minister be printed. The final paragraph of the amendment states -
The House resolves, therefore, that the right honorable gentleman should be censured and removed from the office of the. Minister of State for External Affairs.
The honorable member for Perth, in flowery language, some of which he could not have written himself because it is quite beyond him, has stated that the Parliament should express its confidence in the Prime Minister and that he intends to support him in a vote of confidence. It is quite clear, as the honorable member for Chisholm has stated, that this is an indication of uncertainty and weakness in the Government and the policies that it is following. There can be no doubt that the Australian Government, to its eternal discredit, is to-day defending in this Parliament the racial’ policies of South Africa and all that the South African Government is doing. This Government to-day stands as the apologist for the immigration policy of this country and it supports the Prime Minister of South Africa, who has been condemned bv every nation in the civilized world for the actions of his Government. Is it any wonder that the honorable member for
Perth finds it necessary to move a motion of confidence? As the honorable member for Chisholm has said, this shows that the Government is uncertain and there is a weakness in the Government’s case. A vote of confidence in the Government is required because there are no doubt men in its ranks like the honorable member for Chisholm who are not prepared to support such a motion.
The honorable member for Chisholm said that at Mascot when the Prime Minister returned he made certain statements in a manner which would have caused concern in the minds of people. Undoubtedly such a disturbance was created when he said that if it had been left to him he would have withdrawn two rounds earlier. That was hardly a bright statement when we recall the statements of Mr. Macmillan. The Prime Minister also made some statements after the dinner at the Savoy Hotel. That must have been a pretty good turnout and it was in advance of what happened at Mascot. These matters, which have been repeated in this debate and some of which I wish to state again later, show that there is more than uncertainty amongst the people at large and that amongst the nations of Asia there is downright contempt for the policies espoused by this Government in the councils of the Commonwealth and the United Nations.
I agree with Lord Casey - fancy me agreeing with Lord Casey! - and also with the honorable member for Chisholm that the Commonwealth will be strengthened by the withdrawal of South Africa from the ranks of its members. In supporting South Africa, we support policies that have appalled the civilized world. We cannot ignore the statements of the honorable member for Chisholm when he says that he is uncertain and will not support a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister. I ask the people who helped to draft the amendment for the honorable member for Perth and those who have supported the policies put forward by the Prime Minister what they think of the statements of the honorable member for Chisholm, who has said that we must set about rebuilding our prestige which has been gravely affected by the Prime Minister and the Government in the councils of the world in recent times. This is the Government that says it has great goodwill throughout Asia, and that the nations of the world welcome it! Here is one of its members, chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee, stating that our task to-day is to set about rebuilding the prestige of Australia; that our prestige has been destroyed by the actions of a most arrogant and overbearing Prime Minister who is Completely out of step with the feelings of the Australian people.
The honorable member went on to state that we must have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. I think it is about time that we did. I have had a look around the Government benches. The Prime Minister has not much to choose from, but I do not think anybody in the Government parties could do any worse than the Prime Minister has done. The External Affairs portfolio is a full-time job. In this Parliament, as reported at page 434 of “ Hansard “, of 21st March, the honorable member for Chisholm said practically what he has said to-night. He said that there ought to be a full-time Minister for External Affairs. In fact, he said it was too much for one man and there ought to be two men. Labour can do the job with one man, but I appreciate that it takes two Liberal Party members to make up for any one Labour Minister. The honorable member for Chisholm, therefore, is on safe ground. We now have a part-time Minister for External Affairs. Surely, the Prime Ministership of this country is a full-time job! But at one stage the Prime Minister said that he could do the work of Minister for External Affairs. Then he also became Acting Treasurer. Even allowing for the undoubted talents that he possesses, these tasks are beyond him and the constant blunders he has made, which have been condemned to-night by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, show that there is an unanswerable case for a full-time Minister for External Affairs if the name and the prestige of Australia is not to be dragged further into the dust by the actions of the present incumbent of the position.
Why can we not get a full-time Minister for External Affairs? 1 have had a look at the notice-paper and I see that we have a Foreign Affairs Committee. The chairman is the honorable member for Chisholm. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) is a member. He is supposed to be a bright fellow. He has told us consistently in this Parliament of his great knowledge of foreign affairs. The honorable members for Phillip (Mr. Aston) and Perth are also members. The honorable members for New England (Mr. Drummond), Lawson (Mr. Failes) and Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn) are members. The honorable member for Farrer is to speak next and honorable members will be able to judge for themselves how he would be as Minister for External Affairs. The honorable members for Barker (Mr. Forbes), Isaacs (Mr. Haworth), Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon), Bowman (Mr. McColm), Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and Mitchell (Mr. Wheeler) are further members of the committee. The honorable member for Mackellar is a man who makes unusual statements, but nonetheless he puts his point of view with force.
All these honorable members are members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of this Parliament. It should be no satisfaction to them that the Prime Minister has to do the job on a half-time basis because he does not consider any of them worthy of even assisting him in administering this portfolio. Is it not time that we had a change of Government if this is the best talent that the Government parties can produce? There are more than 100 Liberal Party members in this House and in the Senate. Yet of that number the Prime Minister cannot find one he can trust with the External Affairs portfolio; he has to muck up the whole thing himself. This is an indication of the incompetence of the Government. It shows the lack of confidence the Prime Minister has in the rank and file members. If those I have mentioned vote for a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister when he has clearly shown that he has no confidence in any of them, they deserve all they will get and that is a continual sojourn on the back bench on the Government side of the House.
I, with others, agree that we should have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. With the Prime Minister holding the portfolio we have a boy on a man’s errand. He rushes in and out of this place, picks up a brief, does not know what it is all about, wins five votes out of 95 and thinks he is doing well because this is a couple more than he expected to get anyway. These matters would be humorous if they were not so serious, and we must remember the state of affairs that exists in the world to-day and the constant use of Australia as a pawn in the game because of the actions of the Prime Minister. This disturbs those people who sincerely desire to maintain our prestige throughout the world.
Let us look at the actions of the Prime Minister on many matters without touching at all the situation in South Africa. Every one in this country remembers the Suez crisis. The Prime Minister was sent there as the fall guy when others would not go. He was the bunny, as it were; he was picked out; he was the crow; he was drawn out of the hat. He went to see Nasser and just to make it look as if he were really sincere on the issue, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) said that 20,000 Australian troops would support him in the Suez crisis. This was the attitude adopted by the Prime Minister, and the results are now history. Australian prestige in that part of the world has never been lower for many generations.
What happened at the United Nations? The Prime Minister went there and consulted with President Eisenhower and others who at that time were evidently completely out of touch with Australia’s position in this part of the world. He went into the United Nations and moved a resolution. In the words of those who knew at that time, Pandit Nehru left his reputation, such as it was, in tatters on the floor of the United Nations. And he did a remarkable job. I listened to the quotations made by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt) to-night. The Prime Minister did a remarkable job on that occasion and got five votes out of 95 - the mystic five! Five votes out of 95 was what the Prime Minister got at that stage!
Let us look at the next situation - his third excursion abroad which was to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference. There is no doubt about our Prime Minister. He gets results, and South Africa is now out of the British Commonwealth of Nations. First of all, President Nasser threw the Prime Minister out of the ring, and then Pandit Nehru threw him all over the place and he got five votes out of 95.
He attends1 the Prime. Ministers’ Conference and South Africa leaves the. Commonwealth. Prior to that, he stood in the world as the only Prime Minister who was prepared to support South Africa in the shooting down of defenceless natives, an action which appalled the world It is no good denying it.
If we read the South African papers at that time we find that they mention that Uncle Bob had stood up for South Africa because he was the only Prime Minister prepared to support its policy. What do honorable members think the result of that is in Asia? Here we are, a white nation in Asia, living with these people and building up friendship under the Chifley Government in days gone by. Now all that is destroyed overnight by the stupid actions of one who I would say is an intelligent man, because of his inability to do an important job in an important sphere. It is no good denying the fact that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) last night quoted the votes in the United Nations, and they showed that Australia has been on the wrong leg ever since the present Prime Minister and the present Government have been in office.
The other night - at midnight, in the dead of night - the Prime Minister called his Cabinet together, hoping, I suppose, that its deliberations would not get out to the press. A complete reversal of form in the United Nations followed. Our delegate was instructed to condemn South Africa, although, the Prime Minister had stood up for it at the Savoy Hotel dinner and at other conferences in different parts of the world. He had defended South Africa’s actions as a racial and internal problem of its own. Is not this great reversal of form amazing? Is it not a case for the stewards? The Prime Minister must have got jealous of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The Prime Minister must have reasoned: If the Treasurer can change his policy as often as the weather changes, why can’t I change our international policy? But this may mean the difference between war and peace. On the economic front, we may survive the Treasurer’s blunders but the Prime Minister’s blunders in the British Commonwealth of Nations and also the United Nations are such that not for much longer can we stand a Minister for External Affairs who does not know the job that he is expected to do.
It is no good Country Party members and others saying that they support this policy. No Country Party member has been able to talk for more than ten minutes in support of the Prime Minister’s policy. We heard a lecture on the- results of the library researches conducted by the honorable member for Wide Bay, because he did not want to support the Government’s policy. The truth of the matter is that what I am saying is clear to the Government. The Government has defended South Africa’s racial discrimination and has defended Dr. Verwoerd although that policy is opposed to everything that the people of this country stand for. Would not one expect this Government to be behind a man who was British in outlook and who had supported us over the years? Would not one expect the Prime Minister to get behind people who had really supported our country? But no, that is not the position.
Let us look at the background of the people he is supporting in South Africa to-day - Dr. Verwoerd for instance. Let us look at the Prime Minister of South Africa and the attitude the Government is taking in respect of this man. I quote now from a book written by a journalist experienced in South African life. It is “ The Tragedy of Apartheid “, by Norman Phillips, the foreign news editor of the “Toronto Star” and a victim of South Africa’s idea of freedom and democracy. He says -
It could be said of Dr. Verwoerd that he is a devout Calvinist and the father of seven children. Further than that, on the credit side, I find it difficult to go. If he must be granted sincerity in his patriotism, then it is the sincerity of a Hitler or a Stalin. If he appears to have intellectual stature, it is only in comparison with the moss-backs and small-minded bigots surrounding him.
Dr. Verwoerd repeatedly calls himself a Christian, yet he is the most ruthless exponent of the unchristian doctrines of apartheid and baasskap. He claims South Africa is in the forefront of Western civilization; but he is turning it into a police State.
Let us listen to the loyalists on the other side who always say the British Empire is supreme and who wave a flag and talk wildly of patriotism. Norman Phillips goes on to say, of Dr. Verwoerd -
His first recorded public pronouncement was a call in 1936 to bar South Africa’s doors to the
Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany. The next step was to become editor of the Nationalist paper Die Transvaaler, a post he held from 1939 until 1948. During the war years Die Transvaaler was undisguisedly anti-British and its pro-Nazism was thinly veiled. When another South African paper commented on his pro-German bias, Dr. Verwoerd sued for damages - and lost. The judge ruled that he had knowingly given support to the enemy.
To our eternal disgrace, indelibly recorded in the annals of history, is the fact that the Prime Minister of Australia supported that man against other members of the Britsih Commonwealth and people in other parts of the world who had stood behind the British Commonwealth and Australia in times of crisis. It is no use denying that the Prime Minister stated that Dr. Verwoerd was a sincere man who put his point of view in every way admirably on various points.
I take the point, also, to-night which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) took to-day. I thought it was almost tragic to hear a man like the Attorney General (Sir Garfield Barwick) practically begging for mercy when having to speak in support of the Government. It was really tragic. I can understand the discontent of the Attorney-General. After all, he went away to lead the Government’s team at the United Nations and in the middle of the proceedings the Prime Minister said the Attorney-General could not do the job. The Prime Minister took it on himself and made a bigger hash of it. So the AttorneyGeneral has reason to be a bit sore, but today he was apologetic and a bit sorrowful about the whole matter and said that these misunderstandings occur. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in what I thought was a brilliant speech, tore to ribbons the weak defence of the AttorneyGeneral.
It is no good denying the fact that when he came back to Australia the Prime Minister had to do one of two things, either stand up to the statements which he made abroad or run away from them. In this Parliament last night, we saw him running away from the statements he made after the Savoy Hotel dinner and from his Mascot statement and from the statement about jumping in the Serpentine. Last night the Prime Minister stated many things which, if they had been stated in the councils where he was, would have been to his credit.
Instead of that he told one story in Great Britain and another in Australia, but he had to come into the open because his great friend, Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, denied him in the British Parliament.
It is no good honorable members opposite saying that these denials of the Prime Minister come from the press. I have here the statement of the United Kingdom Information Service, and it was only when the Australian Prime Minister was lined up by the British Prime Minister that he got into line and realized that Dr. Verwoerd was not forced out of the British Commonwealth. As Mr. Macmillan said, one little concession or act by Dr. Verwoerd would have maintained the status quo and kept South Africa in the Commonwealth. This is an indication of the two voices with which the Prime Minister speaks and of the fact that he realized, when he got home, that he had failed his country and, therefore, was deserving of a vote of no confidence by this Parliament.
Is it not degrading to know that the Prime Minister is ashamed of our white Australia policy and that we have had to get the Prime Minister of Malaya - I do not say this in any vicious strain at all - a man not of our colour, to stand up and defend the white Australia policy and tell our white Australian Prime Minister that he does not know what he is talking about and that he completely misunderstands his own policy? Those are matters upon which the Government and the Prime Minister are deserving of censure. Therefore, we believe that the amendment proposed by our leader is warranted.
I conclude on this note, as time does not permit me to say anything further: I express, as other members of the Opposition have expressed, our complete lack of confidence in the Government and its unAustralian attitude. I agree with the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) when he said -
Those of us who stand for a more vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies’ inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.
That was said by Mr. W. C. Wentworth, as reported in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ on 13th April, 1943, and it is as true to-day as it was eighteen years ago.
– Honorable members who have been in this Parliament with the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) for over eleven years, as I have, have not been taken by surprise by him to-night. His speech was notable for his non-stop method of delivery rather than the thought that he put into it. Indeed, it was a typical example of the buffoonery, burlesque and clowning that we have come to expect from him. Such a speech as that does not warrant a sensible reply, so I will not bother to discuss some of the points that he made. But let me remind him that he talked about the need for Australia to have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. The honorable member for Grayndler has just left the chamber. I am sorry that he will not stay to hear what I have to say. Even the Labour Party did not have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. It had a part-time Attorney-General and a part-time Minister for External Affairs. Further, the Prime Minister of the day was not a full-time Prime Minister; he was the Treasurer as well. Apparently the honorable member for Grayndler does not realize that there is an assistant Minister for External Affairs - Senator Gorton - who deals with a lot of the work associated with that portfolio. However, as the honorable member for Grayndler has delivered his speech and has run out of the chamber, T shall not bother to reply to any more of his remarks which I regard as nothing short of complete buffoonery.
One point that has emerged from the debate on the statement that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) delivered last night is the Opposition’s lack of knowledge of external affairs generally. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that members of the Labour Party should join the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and take an active part in it. They would then perhaps know a little more about the subject and could make a better contribution to a serious debate of this nature than has been the case with the honorable member for Grayndler. Why will the Opposition not join the Foreign Affairs Committee? Do honorable members opposite think that if they learn the truth it will affect their thinking and that they will not be able to make the speeches that they make now? The committee comprises members of the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Democratic Labour Party. Why does the Australian Labour Party, as it calls itself, not see fit to join the committee also?
In the House of Commons, the Mother of Parliaments, there is a very close approximation to a bi-partisan foreign policy because there is a joint foreign affairs committee on which members of the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party sit together. In the United States of America there is as close as one could ever get to a bi-partisan foreign policy. It does not matter whether the Republicans or the Democrats are in office, the foreign policy varies little. Would this great country of Australia not be better served if we could get similar co-operation here? But what does the Labour Party do? It attempts to drag down the Prime Minister as it attempted to drag down the previous Minister for External Affairs, Mr. Casey, as he then was, when he returned to Australia and made his reports to the Parliament.
– You should have been here before 1949.
– I cannot see what that has to do with it. I was here in 1950 and I heard the present Leader of the Opposition call Mr. Casey the Bengal tiger.
– There was no bi-partisan policy from 1945 to 1949.
– If that was so, it must have been because the Labour Party was so far to the left that the Liberal and Country Parties were unable to meet it on a common footing. We have to find a bipartisan policy with which we can agree. We could not accept one that would lay down, for example, that we were not to send any troops from Australia, or that we were to expel the Americans from Manus Island, or that we were to make enemies of the people of the Philippines by refusing Sergeant Gamboa the opportunity to come here to visit his wife. If there were a bipartisan policy along those lines, of course we could not accept it.
The debate has been nothing more than a crude attempt to embarrass the Government. It is a travesty of justice for the
Labour Party to blame the Prime Minister for the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth of Nations. The honorable member for Grayndler was trying to be humorous when he said that when the Prime Minister went abroad South Africa left the Commonwealth. Goodness me, if there was any man who went to that conference with the desire to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth it was the Prime Minister of Australia. He went out of his way to do everything he could to this end. Who will say that he was wrong in trying to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth?
The Prime Minister has said, and I am sure that he is right, that we could do much more to influence the policies and actions of South Africa while it was a member of the Commonwealth because there could be frequent meetings and discussions. Further, as he pointed out, the fact that South Africa has now been excluded from the Commonwealth does not mean that only Dr. Verwoerd is out; it means that every one in South Africa is out, whether it is the 46 per cent, of the population which voted to remain under the Queen, or whether it is the Bantu. We shall never know for certain, but had the Bantu been given a vote in the referendum I think it is very likely that a majority of South Africans would have voted to remain in the Commonwealth under the Queen, and South Africa would not have been lost.
The Opposition has a curiously flexible outlook on this matter. This afternoon we heard the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) denounce apartheid and everything that has happened in South Africa. Of course, we disagree entirely with the policy of apartheid. We loath and detest it. But it is interesting to know that only one Opposition member had anything to say about any other country. The honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) mentioned the policy of red China in Tibet. If one were to ask the Opposition its policy on red China I suppose 99 per cent, of honorable gentlemen opposite would say that it should be admitted to the United Nations.
– They would have to ask Mr. Chamberlain first.
– Yes, they take their directions from Mr. Chamberlain. There is an extraordinary reversal of policy. On the one hand the Opposition condemns apartheid and claims that South Africa should have been expelled from the Commonwealth, and on the other hand it claims that red China should be welcomed into the United Nations. What is the difference in the two cases? Both countries are to be condemned but, as Dr. Verwoerd has pointed out, the Bantu in South Africa live in very much better conditions than do many of the natives in other African or Asian countries. More money is spent on them than on other peoples and they have better hospitals, a better standard of education ar d better housing. Red China, which the Labour Party would welcome into the United Nations, has 25,000,000 slave labourers. That figure has not been plucked out of the air. I can see the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) looking a little puzzled. For his information, that figure was produced by an international body known as the International Labour Office which no one could call a conservative organization. It has even documented where the various labour camps are situated.
I have been following this debate as closely as I can, and it seems to me that the points of criticism which the Opposition has levelled at the Prime Minister and at the Government are these: In the first place, it has said that the Prime Minister was not strong enough in his criticism and condemnation of apartheid and that he should have said that he disagreed with it entirely instead of saying merely that it would not work. Secondly, the Opposition claims that the Prime Minister was wrong in maintaining that apartheid was solely a domestic issue and in saying, as he did, that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers do not sit in judgment of one another. Thirdly, the Opposition claims that the Government has done a switch by voting as it did recently at the United Nations. Fourthly, the Opposition claims that the Prime Minister broke confidences by mentioning in his speech at the Australia Club in London what had happened at the conference. Fifthly, the Opposition claims that the Government has been losing friends in Asia and Africa by its stand at the United Nations last year and at the Prime Ministers conference this year. Finally, the Opposition claims that there is a difference of opinion between Mr. Macmillan and the Australian Prime Minister, particularly in relation to whether South Africa was expelled or withdrew from the Commonwealth. I shall now deal wth those six points separately and indicate how the Opposition’s claim in each case can be refuted.
First let me take this statement of the Labour Party supporters that the Prime Minister has not been strong enough in his condemnation of apartheid. I am sure there has never been any doubt whatever in the minds of the public of Australia and indeed the people of the world as to where the Prime Minister or Australia stood on apartheid. Last night, his speech was typical of many others that he has made. It was studded with phrases condemning apartheid. Early in his speech, the right honorable gentleman said that he would state his own condemnation of apartheid, and his reasons, categorically. Exactly the same thing has been said in the United Nations, first by our Ambassador, Mr. Hood, in the special Political Committee of the United Nations and later by Mr. Plimsoll in the General Assembly. Both condemned apartheid very soundly and stated in no uncertain terms what Australia felt about this racial policy of South Africa.
Secondly, the Labour Party has said that the Prime Minister was wrong in saying that this was solely a domestic matter. The Prime Minister has said that the internal affairs of members of the British Commonwealth of Nations are their own business. This debate, as we know, occurred with the concurrence of Dr. Verwoerd, but surely the Prime Minister was right in trying to get a precedent established. While this year you can have a debate on apartheid, next year you might have a debate on the internal policy of some other country. The following year, it would be a debate on yet some other country’s policy. The following year, the discussion might centre on Ghana and whether the Opposition should be behind bars. The year after the debate might be on Ceylon and its treatment of the Tamils; or on Australia and our restricted immigration policy, or our policy on New Guinea.
As the Prime Minister pointed out, once you open such a debate at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference the country concerned loses its right to self- government. Are we not to be told by people who have only recently taken over the government of their countries, and in some cases have not shown great success in doing so, that we are to alter our policies? Are they to tell us how our policies should be altered? Many of these people have never even been to this country. Let us stick to the policy that we are self-governing and that we will not allow matters affecting our internal policies to be debated. As has been pointed out, if we permit any other policy, eventually there will not be any British Commonwealth left. I think we should stick to the old biblical injunction at the next Prime Ministers conference -
We might also say, in the words of the Bible-
Judge not that ye be not judged.
Let us not get down to internal affairs at these conferences. The Government has been criticized for changing its mind. Is there anything wrong with changing one’s mind? The Opposition has changed its mind frequently. I sat in this place in 1950, and I have never seen so many changes of mind as the Opposition had on the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. First it opposed the measure, then it voted for the bill, and then it went out and opposed the measure on the hustings. The Opposition has changed its policy on many things, and we have the right to change ours.
In the past, we have regarded apartheid as an internal affair affecting South Africa, but the events, particularly at Sharpeville, and the gradual build-up of the workings of the policy of apartheid have shown it to be really something that transcends the bounds of one country’s administration. It is something in which the whole world must engage itself because it is completely opposed to all the principles of the United Nations Charter. What did we do? We altered our vote at the United Nations from abstention the previous year to a vote against South Africa; but we explained that in voting that way we were not prepared to put sanctions on South Africa, nor did ve feel that the South African affair was endangering world peace. Having made our position clear, we supported the motion opposing apartheid in South Africa.
My next point is this: The Labour Party said that the Prime Minister in some way broke a confidence after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference by disclosing some of the things that had taken place. All I can say is that, having read the press in London and Australia, I believe the Prime Minister was about the last one to break any confidence. It appears that a tremendous leakage from the conference was going on constantly. It is rumoured that daily press conferences took place between some of the Prime Ministers and either their press attaches or members of the press. Supporters of the Labour Party should be the last to talk about breaking confidences of this sort. Every Wednesday morning they hold a party meeting and within half an hour we know exactly what took place in any of those meetings. The Prime Minister did not break any confidence on this occasion. Beyond stating what Dr. Verwoerd’s position was, the Prime Minister did not divulge what any other Prime Minister said. He said that two people later in the conference took a certain position. He did not say who they were, and he has been exemplary in maintaining silence on what happened there while still being able to set the record straight so far as he could.
We have been accused by the Labour Party of losing friends. Do members of the Opposition think we should jump on the band-wagon and because everybody else is sticking the boots into South Africa, we should get in for another kick and by so doing immediately gain the support of our Asian and African neighbours? Of course, it is absurd to suggest that you should kick a man when he is down because if you do not do so, you will not get the support of those who are attacking him. The Opposition has also stated that our Prime Minister has been in disagreement with Mr. Macmillan. The Labour Party is like a drowning man clutching at a straw. It claims that Mr. Macmillan said that South Africa was not expelled from the British Commonwealth of Nations but withdrew, while our Prime Minister said it was expelled. Let me extend the simile and say that the Labour Party is splitting straws because I cannot see any difference between being expelled and withdrawing under pressure which is so strong that if you do not withdraw, you will be expelled.
It is futile for the Labour Party to say that there is a difference of opinion between the two Prime Ministers. It is a narrow and legalistic difference, and the result has been the same in the long run anyway. South Africa has left the British Commonwealth of Nations.
My time has almost expired. I had intended to say a little more because I feel that if any criticism could be levelled at the Prime Minister it would be to the effect hat he did not deal as fully as he might have done with affairs in Laos. I can understand why.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- No member of this chamber or of the community could, with good conscience, deny that Australia’s reputation has suffered seriously as a result of the impression given abroad by the incursions of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), as Minister for External Affairs, into the conduct of this country’s foreign affairs. The Prime Minister, as the Minister representing this country in its foreign relations, has been on the losing side in a succession of international issues, and the time has come to call a halt to the deterioration in Australia’s international reputation which has resulted.
I agree with, and warmly commend, many of the statements made in this debate by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes). I feel that his forth.rightness in regard to matters which are germane to the issue before us is something of which the House generally will take some notice and that the House will realize the great truth that lies behind many of the honorable member’s statements.
It is amazing now to remember the severe strictures that the Australian Minister for External Affairs made during his London stay. He found himself at distinct variance with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in regard to South Africa’s announced withdrawal from the British Commonwealth. This brings me to the issue which produced that withdrawal - the policy of racial discrimination in South Africa which is known as apartheid. This policy is a serious abrogation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I would like to quote at least two of the paragraphs of that charter to show how far the Prime Minister of this country, and certainly the Prime Minister of South Africa, have departed from the vital principles of that great document. These paragraphs are contained in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They read -
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
I would say, in regard to that, that it is interesting to note that 48 nations supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but South Africa joined with all the Communist countries which are members of the United Nations, and with SaudiArabia, in abstaining from giving its endorsement to those principles, which are high in their character and essential to the maintenance of the rights of every human being.
In what is, in effect, the world court - the United Nations itself - the policy followed by the national government of South Africa was recently under consideration: and by an almost unanimous vote the United Nations expressed its condemnation of the policy in South Africa which hacaused such serious disturbance in that country and has also brought about serious division in the British Commonwealth of Nations. South Africa has affronted the world’s concept of the human rights el every living person. Let me hasten to say that the policy of the national government of South Africa does not reflect the view? of a substantial section of the white population of that country. I know something about the position there, for I have visited South Africa on three occasions. I know something of the life there, and of the people. To me it is sad to think tha; thousands of white people in that country have been caused embarrassment and serious indignity as a result of the South African Government’s policy. 1 suggest that the policy of apartheid followed by the South African Government, and the decision of that government to withdraw from the British Commonwealth, are seriously deprecated - as they should be - by a very substantial section of the white population of South Africa. That fact is evidenced by the statements made in the South African Parliament itself by the official Opposition, the United Party, which represents a large section of the community there. That party had repudiated the action of the South’ African Prime Minister in withdrawing South Africa from the Commonwealth. Even before that gentleman went to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference in London he had given clear evidence of his anti-British attitude, and in those circumstances the Opposition in South Africa feels that the decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth does not reflect public opinion as a whole in South Africa.
Many people in South Africa are horrified by their government’s extreme policy against the native peoples, and feel despair as a result of the action of their Prime Minister in withdrawing South Africa from the Commonwealth. I am reliably informed, from public sources in South Africa, that the action of the Australian Prime Minister in regard to this matter has, most unfortunately, been a source of encouragement to the South African Government in continuing with its policies. I may say that I view with some feelings of deep concern the fact that our Prime Minister indicated that he would have left the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference two rounds earlier than the South African Prime Minister did, in the same circumstances. J regard that as an outrageous statement. Let me say to this House, and to the country, that if the present Prime Minister should, by any misfortune, again be called upon ro attend a Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, and anything happened there which made him decide to withdraw this country from the Commonwealth of Nations, there would be great protest and a great feeling of outrage in this country which would indeed repudiate any such action that the Prime Minister might seek to visit upon the Australian people. I warn the people of this country that if they want to safeguard against any further division in the British Commonwealth, and any loosening of our ties with the United Kingdom and other members of the British Commonwealth, it is essential to change the government and the Prime Minister.
I feel that this motion of censure upon the Prime Minister which has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition indicates that a change of the Minister who represents us in international spheres is well justified. I believe that the amendment will commend itself to a very large number of members of this House. I would say that at least some members on the other side of the House, such as the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) realize that in order to safeguard the interests and the integrity of this country it is essential that a change be made in the administration of our Ministry of External Affairs. One can see a striking difference between the attitude of our present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Menzies) and the attitude, under the Labour Government, of that very great international authority, the right honorable Dr. Evatt who, in all negotiations which he undertook as Minister for External Affairs, placed Australia on the very highest standard possible and brought new lustre and prestige to the name and reputation of this country.
In view of the statements of the Prime Minister at the United Nations where he failed signally to have his representations accepted, and in view of the attitude he adopted subsequent to the meeting of the Prime Ministers in London, I feel that the motion of censure is justified. Because of the danger of this country being misunderstood by the world, the Minister for Ex ternal Affairs should be requested to vacate his office.
The concluding paragraph of an article which appeared in that very distinguished Australian journal, the “Age”, is worthy of the attention of every member of this House It reads as follows: -
Proceedings in Parliament may well prove to the world that. Australia is not united behind the Prime Minister’s personal opinion, and in the meantime our record has been put straight by our delayed decision to support the U.N. motion condemning apartheid. The mending of our damaged fences can now begin, and the task will not be quickly accomplished. Our relations with the Afro-Asian world have suffered a severe setback and patient labor will be required to restore our previous good will.
For this task we require a Minister for External Affairs who can be in constant contact with his foreign colleagues and has both the time and the opportunity for rethinking his attitudes as the Commonwealth develops. Such a Minister may be hard to find, but the need is there.
I commend to honorable members In statements that have been made by the “ Age “. I feel that that paper has brought us a very telling message concerning the misunderstandings that have occurred through the actions of our Minister for External Affairs. If the good name and reputation of Australia is to live in the society of the peoples of this world, we will require to do something better than we have done in recent times. I therefore warmly support the amendment that nas been moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I should like to thank honorable members of the Opposition who, I understand, have co-operated this evening so that more members may speak in this debate than could otherwise have spoken. I thank the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin) in particular for his co-operation. Perhaps this is the first occasion for a long time that he has sat down well before his time had expired.
I was glad to see in the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) reference, not only to South Africa which is foremost in the minds of the people of this country and to the Prime Ministers’ Conference, but also to the disarmament proposals which came out of the Prime Ministers’ Conference. The Prime Minister drew our attention to the fact that, if disarmament is to become a reality, all kinds of weapons, conventional and nuclear, must be controlled in such a way that, in the process of disarmament, no one country will at any time gain an advantage. The Prime Minister also drew our attention to the fact that disarmament without inspection is a myth and that it could not happen. Consequently, inspection must go side by side with any disarmament programme. But this, to me, still seems to leave one essential element missing from any real programme of disarmament.
So far as I have been able to ascertain, in the councils of the world there have been passing references only by the United Kingdom and the United States of America to the third element which is the question of enforcement. In order to make disarmament and inspection of disarmament a reality some method of enforcement would ultimately be essential. Otherwise, after carrying out a programme of disarmament, there may be an argument resulting in one country beginning to re-arm. If there were no method of enforcement, other countries would then re-arm out of fear. The only difference between that and the present position would be that they would be starting from a lower base level of arms. I believe that this question of enforcement presents even greater difficulties than the actual disarmament and inspection over which the great powers have been unable to reach agreement. It entails political problems. Who would administer the enforcement body and how could it be maintained so that no one country would be able to get control of it and so that the commander of the force would not become a dictator of the world? There are problems that will have to be tackled if disarmament is ever to become a reality.
In regard to South Africa, I believe that the Opposition’s attack on the Prime Minister’s silence up to last night in regard to his personal opinion on apartheid represents a pretty shabby attitude. The reason why the Prime Minister maintained his silence was clear. If all the Prime Ministers had adopted the attitude of our Prime Minister and had not committed themselves in public beforehand to condemning apartheid I believe that their united and concerted efforts inside the Prime Ministers conference would have carried more weight because they would not have prejudiced themselves in the eyes of South Africa. This may perhaps be borne out by what happened in the event, because, in the event, the influence of the Prime Ministers in trying to change South Africa from its course was as nothing. I believe that the Opposition’s attitude in not respecting the silence of the Prime Minister regarding his own personal feelings is pretty shabby and something that the Opposition could well have done without.
Honorable members opposite have made great play on the alleged differences be tween the United Kingdom Prime Minister and our own Prime Minister, but they have said nothing - and I have not heard any one say anything in this debate - about the essentials in connexion with this matter in which these two Prime Ministers are quite clearly as one. They both wanted South Africa to stay in the Commonwealth of Nations. They both worked to see that she stayed in if possible. At the same time, as I understand it, they both wanted the best thing for the subjugated people in South Africa, and they both deplored and abhorred the policy of apartheid that was being put into effect. On these essentials, the two Prime Ministers are as one. But, again, it would be too much to expect the Opposition to recognize these elements of the situation.
There are cogent reasons for keeping South Africa in the Commonwealth and there were also strong reasons for pushing her out, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I shall give the House first the reasons for keeping her in. The first, as has been said, is that the Commonwealth is a union of peoples and not of governments. Dr. Verwoerd is the head of a government that does not represent the majority of the people of South Africa and, at this time, that Government may not represent even a majority of the whites. But because of Dr. Verwoerd, South Africa and all its people, including the 9,000.000 members of the Bantu race, are out of the Commonwealth. Continued membership of the Commonwealth may well have exerted a moderating influence on South Africa over a period. Expulsion may well harden the hearts of the Afrikaanders and, indeed, there are some indications that this may occur. Again, expulsion, as I have indicated, takes no heed of the white opposition which wished to retain allegiance to the Crown, or of the Bantu, who are voiceless in South Africa.
Against these arguments for keeping South Africa in the Commonwealth there are, as I see it, two powerful arguments for pushing her out, or for her withdrawing, according to the way one likes to look at it. The first is that the withdrawal of South Africa makes the Commonwealth a stronger moral force than it would be if South Africa remained a member. Secondly, South Africa’s withdrawal could increase very greatly the strength and unity of the
Commonwealth in its essentials, and I believe and hope that this may happen. History alone will tell which group or which attitude of thought will be right in this matter.
Even though we are very close to the events, I think that we should try to understand them better than perhaps we do at present. If we ‘do ‘not, we shall find it very easy to misjudge the future. There are two main issues, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and1 I believe that an understanding of the elements of both is essential if we are to arrive at proper judgments. about the future. The first issue, of course, is that of apartheid and what it actually involves, its scope, the .extent of its administration, and whether it is an internal or an external problem. The second issue is the effect of recent developments on the Commonwealth, and ‘what the Commonwealth holds or should hold for the future. Quite clearly, :the policy of apartheid is internal in that the South African Government does not intend or wish to try to .export it to other countries. But the conditions of this present age make this issue a unique one. The spirit and the emotion of our times are represented1 in the emancipation, freedom and self-government of coloured people. Anything that flies in the face of this spirit cannot stand and will be pushed aside in this present age. I believe that this was recognized by Australia’s vote in the United Nations a short time .ago.
More precisely, the reasons why I believe that apartheid, although internal in its administration, is international in effect are these: Africans in South Africa are secondclass citizens without political rights. They are subjugated and often are treated in a brutal fashion. Their blood brothers or cousins - people who are racially the same - in Nigeria, and in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in particular, are completely equal and completely free. It is intolerable for the coloured people of other nations of the Commonwealth to see those who are essentially their blood brothers in subjugation in a neighbouring country on the same continent. The force of the emotion engendered by this issue is something that cannot be disregarded however much we feel that perhaps we should disregard it. To expect Asians and Africans to take a detached legal view of this matter is to expect too much. I do not think that there are many Australians who can “take a detached view of the white Australia policy. How much reason, then, have we .to expect Asians or Africans to take a detached >view of this other problem? I do not think that this element can be disregarded in the present circumstances.
Furthermore, South Africa’s refusal to accept diplomatic exchanges with other African or Asian members of the Commonwealth surely, to some degree at least, translates this problem into the international field. The South African Government is trying to maintain in this regard an archaic viewpoint and to make a philosophy of action for the future out of something which the free world regards as wrong at the -present time. The Afrikaanders in South Africa are trying to march against the course of history on this issue. But perhaps the important point for us to remember in relation to this is that although we ourselves are not free from some of the prejudices or sins of the past in these matters - -1 do not think that any Commonwealth country is free from them - we hope and try, or believe we are trying, to rid ourselves of these inherited prejudices. Dr. “‘Verwoerd and his party plainly are not, and they have said so.
Also, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think it is not unreasonable for us to ask ourselves why apartheid arouses among Australians and many other people in the free world feelings which are much stronger than are the feelings which are aroused by events in other countries which are much worse in terms of suffering and of numbers killed and wounded. I think that there is a reason for this. Firstly, South Africa was a foundation member of the Commonwealth of Nations. She was a member of the British family. It is my belief, at any rate, that a crime committed by a member of one’s own family is regarded in a much worse light than is a similar crime committed by somebody .whom one does not know. South Africa has ostensibly been a member of the free world and is heir - or some part of it is heir - to the British heritage. We believe that people who are heirs to the British heritage or who are members of the free world should set an example. South Africa has let the free world, and more particularly the Commonwealth, down on both counts. The Commonwealth has been likened to a family, and this is not the first time that a member of a family has been cast out because that member would not conform to accepted rules or accepted standards. That fact is worth noting.
For all these reasons, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I believe that apartheid is unique in effect, and therefore I do not think that the consideration of it opens the door to the wholesale discussion of the internal problems of nations which are members of the Commonwealth. If this belief is not fulfilled, though, the future of the Commonwealth may well be in jeopardy. Some support for this view is found in the views expressed by the British Prime Minister and by Mr. Duncan Sandys, who is Minister for Commonwealth Relations in the United Kingdom Government. Mr. Macmillan said that the precedents were not broken, because Dr. Verwoerd agreed to the discussion. Mr. Sandys said that South Africa itself transferred this problem to the international sphere by refusing to accept diplomatic representatives from the Asian and African countries which were represented at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference. We have had some concern over our immigration policies, and the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) devoted an article which was published in the “ Canberra Times “ to this point. There has been some concern that our immigration policies will be discussed. I do not believe that if our diplomacy is sound we need have any fear over that. These policies can be well defended, and I believe that members of this Parliament all support them and defend them. We have had support overseas for these policies, notably from the Prime Minister of Malaya, who recognized them as sound and justified in present circumstances.
Recent events have thrown the nature of the Commonwealth into sharp relief. This is something that is not always well understood, and sometimes not understood at all. This is, perhaps, because the Commonwealth has never been quite the same organization for more than a few years at any one period. It has been constantly changing and evolving. It is often depicted as a cozy group comprising the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, New
Zealand and Australia. This is certainly far from the truth to-day, and, indeed, it is doubtful whether it has ever been the truth. We must remember that Prime Ministers conferences, as such, have been held only since 1946. Before that date what were called Imperial Conferences were held. The group attending Imperial Conferences was not restricted to the countries I have mentioned. In 1917 and 1918 India, although not a full dominion, was allowed full and proper representation at the Imperial Conferences. So that even though there were no coloured, or non-white, dominions in the Commonwealth before the war, there have been for a very long time non-white representatives within the Commonwealth meetings.
The Imperial Conferences were formal affairs with fixed agendas, and votes and abstentions which were all recorded - quite unlike the Prime Ministers’ Conferences. It is worth noting that in the minutes of the Imperial Conferences as far back as 1911, it can be seen that the Crewe memorandum directed attention to the embarrassment caused, chiefly by South Africa but by other dominions as well, to the Government and people of India because of the internal policies of those countries. In 1917 and 1918 this was taken a step further, and a resolution was unanimously passed by the Imperial Conference recognizing the distinction between immigration policies which the conference at that time recognized as being completely under the control of one country, and policies affecting races already inside one country. The resolution, although in fairly watery terms, as one could imagine would be the case at that period, was the first effort by what was to become the Commonwealth of Nations to try to ensure equality of treatment for people of different races in one country inside what was then the British Empire.
If we have a look at the nations of the Commonwealth up to 1948 we find that they were probably united by allegiance to the Crown, by the fact that all had been governed at one time by the United Kingdom, and perhaps by what was probably even then an outworn concept of defence. But the most important factors for Australia were allegiance to the Crown and a common heritage. But in 1948 India became a republic and remained within the Commonwealth as such. Since that time members have not been bound by common allegiance to the Crown, by defence agreements, by race, colour or religion. They are not bound to a power group, and certainly they do not all possess a British heritage. The common factors are that all had been governed at one time by the United Kingdom, and all professed to strive for racial equality, except South Africa, which is now out. There is only one possible common denominator for members of the Commonwealth at the present time. It is a set of common ideals based on racial equality. If we cannot work for that principle and with that principle, we cannot work with anything. This does not mean that we are all perfect in pursuit of these ideals, but it certainly does mean, I think, that we all try to work to shake off the shackles of the past in this regard.
I regard the Commonwealth as a bridge between the people of different races and colours, and we must try to maintain this bridge. Having regard to the circumstances I think it was inevitable that South Africa would have had to go, however deplorable I may consider the event. Recent events cannot have done other than arouse some uneasiness for the future. I am convinced that we must make the Commonwealth work If it cannot be made to work, then I believe the world cannot work and that there will be little hope for us.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Reynolds) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Cramer) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- There are in this country at the present time a great many Australians who, by tradition, are supporters of the Australian Labour Party. These people, whose loyalty to that party has suffered a great deal of strain over recent years, due to the series of crises that have occurred within the party, are watching their newspapers each day for reports of what is going on at the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party, which is being held in Canberra at the present time. These people are fully aware that at the last conference of the Australian Labour Party the ban on the use of unity tickets was endorsed by the conference. They are also aware that the Victorian executive of the A.L.P. placed on the agenda for the present conference a motion which, if agreed to, would have the effect of removing the ban on the use of unity tickets, and would pave the way for the united front that is called for by the Communists. There would be a coalition of the Communist Party and the Labour Party in trade union elections, and this would give an opportunity to the Communist Party to exert even greater control over the A.L.P. than it has previously done.
These people, whose loyalty, as I have said, has been given by tradition to the Labour Party, are becoming sick and tired of hearing their friends say that the party they traditionally support is nothing short of a Communist-front organization. Many people who feel that they cannot vote for the Liberal-Country Party coalition government find themselves unable to continue to support what they consider to be now a Communist-front organization. They have hung on to the tails of the Labour Party, and although their loyalty has been greatly strained over the last two years, they had hoped that the right wing of the Labour Party, led particularly by the New South Wales executive, would on this occasion have the courage to stand up to the spokesmen for the Communist Party, such as the members of the Victorian executive, many of the members of the Western Australian executive and some of the members of the Queensland executive. It was hoped that some right-wing members of the party would still have some fight left in them, and that there would still be some who believed in the fair dinkum, basic traditions of the Australian Labour Party and would be prepared to fight against Communist infiltration. But up to now there has been no evidence that the right-wing element has the courage to stand up to the dictators who have gained control of the executive of the party. There is no indication that there will be any fight from the right wing to continue the ban on unity tickets, or that the policy laid down by the previous A.L.P. conference will be implemented. I refer to the decision arrived at by that conference, which was in the following terms: -
Any member breaking this policy must be summoned before the respective State executive, and, following a satisfactory explanation, dealt with according to the rules.
Although that has been on the books for four years, it has not been implemented. This is borne out by a perusal of the official publication of the A.L.P. in Queensland. I have a copy of this journal before me, and I am told by Mr. Jim Keeffe, the State Secretary of the A.L.P. in Queensland, that this is a particularly good edition. It is called the “ New Age “ and it is dated 5th April, 1961. We find on page 4 a list of the members who attended the preceding meeting of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland. In reading those names I find no fewer than twelve members of the executive of the Labour Party who are holding positions of various kinds in trade union organizations after having stood for election to those positions on unity tickets. Is it any wonder, Sir, that, because at least twelve members who attended that meeting have stood on unity tickets with Communists, the rank and file of the Labour Party believe that the party is not game to implement the policy that was laid down by its own federal conference? But more than twelve members of the central executive are involved. I know of sixteen members of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland who have stood on unity tickets within the last twelve months without any action having been taken against them. In addition, the party has endorsed as a Senate candidate a man who stood on a unity ticket with Communists in a Waterside Workers Federation election not only in 1960, but also in 1959 and 1958. I refer to Mr. Arnell, the president of the Queensland branch of the Waterside Workers Federation. This man, who is known as “ unity ticket “ Arnell, has been endorsed by the Labour Party. When with Mr. Phil Healy, another member of the executive, after there had been a disturbance during adjournment debates in this Parliament, he was brought before the executive of the party, he and Healy used the excuse that they did not know that their names were on the ticket. That was quite untrue because the week before in a magazine entitled: “ Branch News “; which is the official organ of the Waterside Workers Federation, Phil Healy published the statement that it was quite all right to have one’s name appear on these unity tickets and that no action could be taken because the policy statement applied only to political elections.
Now let me read the names of twelve members of the Queensland central executive who have stood on unity tickets. They are as follows: - George Whiteside, W. McCormack, Jack Egerton, F. Whitby, F. J. Waters, J. S. Sweet, R. J. Patterson, F. G. Nolan, A. H. Dawson, B. R. Milliner, P. Healy and E. A. Stokoe. But other members of the central executive have stood on unity tickets. They include E. Edmonds, who was not present at the meeting to which I have referred, who stood with Sweet on an Australian Meat Industry Employees Union unity ticket with Communists. I have in my hand the actual unity ticket that was used; the names appear on it. But no action was taken. Both of those people knew that their names were on the ticket before it was published and distributed.
Why is it so important that action should be taken by the central executive of the Labour Party to deal with its own members whose names appear on unity tickets? The reason is to be found in a statutory declaration the terms of which have been heard by those who attended the debate in Brisbane. The statutory declaration reads -
I was present as a delegare at a meeting of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council held in Brisbane Trades Hall at which Mr. G. M. Dawson- 1 remind honorable members that G. M. Dawson is a self-confessed Communist and has boasted that he is a member of the Communist Party - identified a number of union officials present at a meeting by their names and stated that at the previous meeting of the Queensland Central Executive of the Australian Labour Party they had voted contrary to Trades Hall policy. He then went on to say that if they continued to vote contrary to Trades Hall policy at meetings of the Q.C.E. of the A.L.P. he would see that action was taken against them in their unions.
Subsequently Mr. Jack Egerton, who is a member of the inner executive of the central executive of the Labour Party in Queensland and president of this Communistcontrolled organization, the Trades and Labour Council - no Queensland member in this House will deny that the Trades and Labour Council is Communistcontrolled - and who got there on a unity ticket with well-known Communists, made the statement in his report to the trade union congress, subsequent to this action by the Communist Dawson at the Trades Hall, that he was pleased to be able to report that the delegates-
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Mr. Speaker, I ask that the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) be required to table the document from which he has quoted.
– Which one?
– The statutory declaration.
– I am not prepared to table that document. The person concerned is a well-known trade union leader in Queensland.
– Order! There is no obligation on the honorable member for Lilley to table the document.
– I am entitled to claim that he be required to table the document.
– I am prepared to table the minutes of the Trades and Labour Council.
– Order! The obligation referred to by the Leader of the Opposition applies only to a Minister.
– I am not surprised that this mud-slinging buffoon from Lilley should refuse to table a document. He stands in his place here and reflects on honorable members and others-
– Order! The word “ buffoon “ is quite unparliamentary. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw it.
– Well, Sir, he has engaged in-
– Order! I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw the word “ buffoon “.
– I withdraw the word “ buffoon “. I say that he has engaged in his usual buffoonery. He acts as a clown in this Parliament and under the cover of unwarranted interference in the affairs of the Labour Party he sets out to besmirch the reputations of twelve members of the Queensland central executive of the party. I challenge him to repeat his speech outside the Parliament, if he has the guts to do it. But he has not the guts. He is as contemptible as he looks, as miserable as he can be, and he is held in as much contempt by his colleagues in this Parliament as he is by the members of the Opposition. He entered this Parliament twelve years ago to sit on the back benches. The Prime Minister thinks so much of him that he has left him in the position that he occupied when he first entered the Parliament.
I have risen to protect the reputations of my colleagues in Queensland, who all are decent Australians. Every one of them is prepared to meet the honorable gentleman in a law court if he will repeat his charges outside the House. We are capable of running our own affairs and of doing so very satisfactorily. I suggest to the honorable gentleman that he should look after his own electorate and his own interests. I am certain that if ever he loses his seat - he is due to lose it at the next election, and I certainly hope he does - he will have no difficulty in getting a job in any circus in Australia as its principal clown. This simulacrum of a politician, this man who feeds on the carrion that is supplied to him by the National Civic Council, the Queensland Labour Party and by anybody else who will go along and serve up something for him to digest, comes into the Parliament to try to besmirch and attack the reputations of Labour men. He made a speech in the House a few weeks ago as a result of which he was challenged to debate in his own electorate the influence of communism in the Labour Party. He accepted the challenge. The debate was held and he was pulverized in his own electorate by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison). There were 700 people there and the galahs who are screaming on the Government benches to-night were, most of them, 1,000 miles away from the scene and know nothing of what happened.
– Where were you?
– I was at the other end of the telephone and I had all the news immediately the event was over. The honorable gentleman has not challenged anybody to repeat the performance in his electorate; he is sorry it ever happened. I shall be in Queensland. I will come at any time. I am never afraid to come to Queensland to expose the ratbags and the humbugs who associate themselves with honorable members opposite in attacking the reputations of members of the Australian Labour Party. If honorable members opposite think that they have evidence to prove that members of the Labour Party have associated themselves with others on unity tickets, let them produce the evidence. They are the accusers and nobody else. The documents thrown at me now by the honorable member for Lilley are certainly no evidence.
– -Order! I must ask the House to come to order. The honorable member for Lilley had a good hearing and the Leader of the Opposition now has the call.
– I have tossed aside the filthy propaganda just thrown at me in the larrikin performance of the honorable member for Lilley. That is all he is capable of doing. Honorable members opposite merely make charges. People somewhere else print the propaganda, make the allegations and then they say to us, “ You disprove the charges “. I say to them: “ Make your charges outside the Parliament and stand up to them. But none of you has the guts to do it “.
.- A most distressing show of temper by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) does not help in a debate of this nature, which relates to a matter of grave national concern. The Leader of the Opposition talks about buffoonery. This is a lesson in semantics and temper from him. What he did not do at any time was refer to unity tickets. He did not make a single reference to this subject, except in a bad-tempered throwing away of the very documentary evidence for which he asked. When it came to light, he refused to look at it. Why did he refuse to look at it? He is not game, in common with the rest of his party, to face up to the question of unity tickets and Communist infiltration into his party and into trade unions. In 1958, the Leader of the Opposition said -
What they want us to do is to take part in the campaign and denounce Labour men and Communists who are standing together. And the Labour men who are standing with Communists in trade union campaigns are, in my view, violating the rules of the Australian Labour Party and will have to be dealt with at some time or other.
– Who said that?
– The Leader of the Opposition said that in August, 1958. He said they would have to be dealt with at some time or other, but he has not done so yet. There can be no doubt that unity tickets are against the rules of the Labour Party. This was made perfectly clear by the former Leader of the Opposition, the right honorable Dr. Evatt. He made it perfectly clear in tracing the resolutions of conferences of the Australian Labour Party and of executive decisions of the party, which held that to stand on unity tickets was to violate the party’s policy. The conferences and the executive said, “ We direct State branches to take action against those people who violate the policy by standing on unity tickets “. On the last occasion on which the Leader of the Opposition spoke on this matter, he said, “ Victoria, of course, is in a special position. In Victoria we cannot do much about it, because, you see, in Victoria there is the Democratic Labour Party and some of the unions in Victoria are affiliated with that party. So, although we would like to do something about unity tickets, we really cannot because there is the Democratic Labour Party down there.” He then gave a long recitation about the efforts in the Federated Clerks Union of Australia to get rid of the Democratic Labour Party and he made it perfectly clear that he regarded the Democratic Labour Party as a greater enemy than was the Communist Party.
– No, I did not.
– You did. Look in “ Hansard “ of 13th August, 1958, and you will see that you made it perfectly clear. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition is in good company in putting the Democratic Labour Party forward as a greater enemy than the Communist Party, because Senator Cant in another place said that he without doubt would always put the Communists in front of the Democratic Labour Party when he exercised a preference in voting. But do not let it be thought that Senator Cant was speaking without authority. It was not much later that the present Federal President of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Stout, at the conference of the State branch of the party in Victoria, said publicly that he would always put the Communists before the Democratic Labour Party in voting. That was printed and it was confirmed subsequently by Mr. Stout. He was then the Victorian State president. He is now the Federal President of the Australian Labour Party.
This is the matter that the Leader of the Opposition characterizes as filthy propaganda. This is not filthy propaganda. This is something of great national importance and it is not assisted by displays of temper by the Leader of the Oposition. It is not assisted by Opposition members turning away from the issue and refusing to face up to it. This is something to which the whole of the Australian people demand an answer, because, laughable as it may seem, by our constitutional practice the Opposition is the alternative government. Opposition members come into this House and speak in a way that they hope will attract from the people of Australia sufficient votes to put them in government. How could it ever happen that they would come into government while they flirt in this way with the Communists? Of course, there is no doubt that this flirtation has long since passed from the hand-holding stage; it is now a deep engagement. What sort of progeny this association may produce is anybody’s guess; but the ravages of atomic warfare, which may produce biological monstrosities, will have nothing to compare with the result of a union between these two parties.
If there be any doubt about where these people stand, let us consider the situation. I have referred to the former State President of Victoria. Now let us look at the utterances in this very chamber of the Honorable R. W. Holt, who was formerly the honorable member for Darebin. While he was a member of this House, he stood up and said, “ If action is taken against any unionist in Victoria for standing on a unity ticket, the Australian Labour Party can look forward to another split in Victoria. There will be an Industrial Labour Party. We will refuse to be dictated to by the Australian Labour Party in this matter.” One might reasonably say, “ He was here when he said that but he is not here now.” But where is he now? He is now the treasurer of the Australian Labour Party in Victoria. He is still an executive officer of the party. What he said no doubt had the support of the executive of the Victorian Labour Party. These matters stand out and bear no refutation. When it comes to unity tickets, of course, the devices and artifices of the people who work them know no bounds. There was a unity ticket at Yallourn for the Trades and Labour Council election. Do honorable members know what happened? A man named Gardiner, who was a Communist, was on the joint ticket. In explanation, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna) said that the only reason Gardiner was on the ticket was that he was the only fellow there on the night when the team was selected; there was to have been an A.L.P. man present but he did not turn up, for some reason, so they had to put Gardiner in for vice-president of the Trades and Labour Council. But when we look at the votes, we find that Gardiner, the Communist, polled 48. Hodgkin, who was elected president, polled 48; Wragg, for secretary, polled 48 and Shaw, the assistant secretary, polled 48. One would have thought that the two vicepresidential candidates, Gardiner, the Communist, and Akers, the A.L.P. man, would also have polled 48, but by a curious coincidence there was one informal vote. The one informal vote was for Akers, the A.L.P. candidate for vice-president, which meant that Gardiner the “ Com “ got 48, one more than Akers. and was elected senior vice-president. By a curious set of circumstances, there was one informal vote; the only informal vote was the one which made the Communist on the unity ticket the senior vice-president. This is the way in which the deal was done. This is the way in which the unity ticket operates.
For all these reasons, this can be said: If the A.L.P. is to remain a responsible party in Australia, it should cleanse itself of these Communist accretions. If the
Leader of the Opposition wants to issue a challenge to anybody, any one on this side of the House will debate with him. I certainly will accept any challenge from him and I am certain that the honorable member for Lilley will do the same. If the Leader of the Opposition has any sense in this matter - he has displayed precious little to-night or in the past - he will not debate this issue publicly, for he cannot win. Unity tickets exist and the Labour Party has refused to do anything about the matter. The Leader of the Opposition himself has said that they violate A.L.P. policy, and that something has to be done at some time or other. We can quite reasonably ask the Leader of the Opposition: When will this “ some time or other “ arrive?
.- It is regrettable that at this particular juncture in our history people of the calibre of the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) and the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) endeavour to lead the Australian public to believe that a party of the standing and status of the Australian Labour Party has any substantial or other association with the Communist Party of Australia. This is a moment in history when this Parliament and the Government of this country should be seriously devoting themselves to the consideration of the possible outcome of the rumoured success of the Communist Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in putting a man into space and safely returning him to a pre-determined destination. Honorable members opposite may laugh at my words, but I emphasize that this is a matter which, if it is true, will need serious consideration at a very early date by every responsible member of this Parliament.
If the report is true, it means that it is within the ability of a great power to lodge at any pre-determined place on the face of the earth a missile containing an explosive force equal to all the explosions that have ever taken place in recorded history. To the people of Australia, it means that every penny spent henceforth in the defence of Australia is absolutely futile. This Parliament ought to have before it at least initial proposals for the diversion of our expenditure of £200,000,000 per annum on defence to constructive efforts on behalf of men wherever they may live. Work that one out! Before very long, if this rumour is correct, responsible members of this Government, at the United Nations and perhaps in Moscow itself, will be making peace and working in amity and harmony with the Soviet Union. Work that one out!
I know perfectly well the real reason why all this piffle has been talked to-night and why this attempt has been made to intrude into the private affairs of the greatest political party in Australia’s history - the greatest force for peace in the history of this country, a party which when this country has been involved in either peace or war, and particularly in war, has acquitted itself with honour and credit and been recognized throughout the civilized world as a party worthy of honour. Let honorable members opposite devote themselves to investigating the filthy ramifications of the commercial and other usurious interests with which the party opposite is actively and directly associated. In the last twenty years or in the last twelve years - put it at that - this country has seen an increase in the usurious powers of the commercial interests in this country, an outbreak of profiteering and land inflation unparalleled in Australia’s history, and an infliction on every young couple wanting to buy land on which to establish a home of a burden which is round their necks for the rest of their lives. When honorable members opposite can cease their dirty attacks, cleanse their own filthy stables, and cease to use this sort of thing to divert the attention of the Australian public from their own dirty sins, they will be worthy of a name as good as that which the Australian Labour Party bears.
.- To-night we witnessed the retreat of the Australian Labour Party. It is a very sad thing for Australia to see the leader of the alternative government who is reputed to be the leader of the Labour Party - I say “ reputed “ advisedly - refuse to face up to a matter which concerns each and every loyal Australian citizen.
– And his deputy.
– I shall deal with him in a moment. To-night the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was given positive proof of the existence of unity tickets but he threw the papers across the table and was not even prepared to look at them. This shows his qualities for leadership! He was in such a bad temper and carried on with such buffoonery that I am sure many members of the party who were sitting behind him had qualms as to his suitability to lead them. Of course, sitting at the back of the Labour Party in this chamber to-night are the true bosses of it. The Leader of the Opposition, whose popularity within his own party is waning, put on a performance in front of his own bosses who, I am sure, were not at all happy with it. Throughout this tirade the Leader of the Opposition did not deal once with unity tickets. On no fewer than two occasions in this chamber I have challenged him to state where he stands on this question. On each occasion he refused to say where he stood or where the Labour Party stood. If he is the leader of the alternative government, surely we need to know where he stands on this blatant collaboration with the Communists. If he wants proof of unity tickets, let him look at the Australian Railways Union ticket that is now in operation. The elections are due in June of this year and members must have been financial by March. Candidates are Mr. Pauline, Mr. Bone, Mr. Brown, Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Cregan. Will the Leader of the Opposition deny that Mr. Pauline, Mr. Bone and Mr. Brown are members of the Australian Labour Party? Of course he will not! Will he deny that Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Cregan, whose names appear on that same ticket, are self-confessed members of the Communist Party? If he w; its proof of the unity tickets, I hold one in my hand now. I ask him, frankly, what does he intend to do about it? I think that the Australian people are entitled to know where the Leader of the Opposition stands on this matter. We, as loyal members of this community, demand to know where the Leader of the Opposition stands in this regard. I think it is his duty to the people of Australia to be man enough to get up in this House and say where he stands on the question of unity tickets. If he fails on this - he may laugh - he will be judged accordingly, not only by members of this Parliament, but also by other decent and loyal citizens of this country.
I issue the same challenge to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). I identify him as the honorable member for Werriwa, because we are apt at times to be confused as to who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I issue the same challenge to him because on the same two occasions the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was challenged to state where he stood on this question of unity tickets. As he is the young pretender, I believe that we are entitled to know where he stands on this matter. There is a great deal of evidence of unity tickets in this country to-day. They are being produced round this country so blatantly and so often that the leaders of the Labour Party cannot afford to ignore them. When we find - as we have found to-day - that the president of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Stout, and of course, the infamous Mr. Joe Chamberlain, the secretary-
– Mr. Speaker, I object to Mr. Chamberlain being described as infamous. The remark is offensive to me.
– The word “ infamous “ is unparliamentary. I ask the honorable member to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it and substitute the word “ notorious “.
– Say that outside, if you are game.
– I think he is notorious. The secretary of the Labour Party is also notorious for his attitude and the fact that he speaks for the Labour Party in this country to-day. We can see how the Leader of the Opposition immediately gets to his feet to defend his bosses and masters. Goodness gracious, honorable members opposite are the elected representatives of the people. When will they take it upon themselves to make their own decisions, rather than be dictated to by an outside body? The situation to-night is that the member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) has again come to the assistance of the Labour Party by pulling a red herring right over the question of unity tickets and dodging the question that was posed by the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) and the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight). In an endeavour to shear this matter of its political aspects I think that, in the interests of the Australian people, I should point out that this once great party was split in 1954, as we well remember. Some of its members decided to branch away from it. They were men of great calibre, distinction, conviction and loyalty who would not have any truck with the Communists in this country. They formed the Australian Democratic Labour Party. But what do we find to-day? The leader of the Opposition again refuses to take any notice of unity tickets in this country. Mr. Speaker, it might be well to ask the Labour Party why many of its better men, very good and capable men, leave it - men of the calibre of Johnson, Anderson, Joshua and, of course, Cyril Chambers, who was man enough to stand up and say where he stood on this matter. Several men in the Opposition at the present time sweat tears of blood every time this issue is raised, because according to their own conscience they cannot, in the position in which they are being placed by their own leaders, do anything about it. The Leader of the Opposition must find himself in quite a predicament in reconciling his conscience with the actions of his bosses.
I believe that if the Leader of the Opposition were to state to this country fairly and squarely where he stands and give the members of the Labour Party a lead on this matter, in order to relieve them of the shackles which are being tightened around their necks as a yoke by conferences outside this Parliament, he would do a service not only to the Labour Party itself but also to the people of Australia.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the usual diatribe from the roly-poly member for Phillip (Mr. Aston).
– Order! I must ask the honorable member to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it, Mr. Speaker, and substitute the over stout member for Phillip? I suppose that next we will have the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) coming in with his usual tripe on this question of unity tickets. What strikes me in these debates is the failure of members of the Cabinet to buy in. They let the rat bags on the back benches continually beat their brains out on the subject of unity tickets. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) started to take to task a friend of mine, Jack Egerton, who is the secretary of the Boilermakers Society in Brisbane and also the president of the Trades and Labour Council. When the honorable member takes him to pieces and claims that he is a Communist and a supporter of unity tickets, he takes to pieces a man who has been continually in the Boilermakers Union, of which I am a financial member. For years he has been an executive member of that union and he has continually run against the Communists. In 1949, on the Labour Party ticket, Egerton was the man who ran the federal secretary of the union to 92 votes. The federal secretary of the Boilermakers Union, as every one knows, is a very prominent and declared member of the Communist Party. Two years ago the same Jack Egerton was the Labour Party supported candidate in the federal ballot of the Boilermakers Union. Yet the honorable member has the temerity to stand up in this House and claim that Egerton is a supporter of, and a party to unity tickets. I know this man personally. He would not be associated with Communists or unity tickets or have any other association with them. Do honorable members think that the Communists would permit him to stand on a unity ticket with them in Brisbane and use the build-up that it would obviously give him to oppose and defeat a Communist candidate for a position in the boilermakers’ union? It is too stupid for words to suggest that any fair-minded, fairthinking person would believe that they would build up a man to defeat one of their leaders of the industrial movement in Australia.
Let us have a look at the men who here to-night, in their usual manner, have been talking about unity tickets. I have not heard one of them in this chamber raise one objection to this Liberal-Country Party Government’s unity ticket with the Communist countries of the world. Consider the export of wheat at the present time. If the Government is fair dinkum in wanting to embarrass, harass and hinder a Communist country, why is it selling wheat to Communist China? Honorable members in hillbilly corner over here - the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) and the rest of them - are prepared to work in unity with the Communists when it suits them.
A short time ago 1 took the trouble to find out just what goods were being exported to Communist countries. Frozen beef is one of them. Nobody can tell me that these goods cannot be classified as being of some importance in the defence budgets of those countries. The exports include also greasy, scoured, carbonized, and hand wool, wool tops, rutile concentrates, sheet steel, steel plates, galvanized flats, pipes and tubes. Does anybody say that steel is not needed for defence? It is clear that all the talk by honorable members opposite about unity tickets in trade unions in Australia is just sheer humbug. This trade with Communist countries shows that supporters of the Government are prepared to work in unity with the Communists not on a small scale, but on a large scale. Honorable members opposite know as well as I do that 10 per cent, of Australia’s total exports to non-British countries go to Communist-controlled countries, but not one word is said by the honorable members for Moreton, Phillip, Lilley, Stirling and the others who speak on this matter from time to time, against the Government’s policy of trading with Communist-controlled countries. They do not say one word about that, but they continually trot out this question of unity tickets.
– Where do you stand on unity tickets - for or against them?
– I am against unity tickets. If honorable members opposite were prepared to do something constructive in regard to their trade and their own unity ticket with Communist countries, we might be able to talk some sense into them. They use their policy only as an excuse to smear and slander people. They are not prepared to get out on the streets, the highways and the by-ways - places where it would constitute slander - and attack these men so that the men would have the right to have a go at them. They are not prepared to make their statements about Egerton out in the street where he would have the oppotunity of having a crack back at them.
– I did.
– They always get up in this coward’s castle and make their statements.
.- It is very interesting to see how mixed up the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) can get when he says that he is in favour of unity tickets, yet really in his own heart-
– He said that he is against them.
– I wish to raise a point of order.
– If the honorable member claims to have been misrepresented, he can deal with the matter at the conclusion of the speech of the honorable member for McMillan.
– I am sorry. The honorable member for Newcastle did say that he was against unity tickets, but really in his own heart he knows that he can stay here only by means of them. He is really mixed up. He ought to know that Mr. Egerton, of whom he spoke, will not have the Australian Workers Union back in the Australian Labour Party. The union is insisting that the unity ticket racket be dropped altogether.
The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) gave the House a delightful exposition of just what a mixed up feeling there is in his party when he was backing up the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the very country that is giving the directions to the Communists on the way to take control of the A.L.P. Honorable members opposite tell us that although the Communists have got into power in the trade unions, members of trade unions belong to many political parties, including the Australian Labour Party, the Democratic Labour Party and even the Liberal Party, and that they can keep things under control. It is claimed that the rank and file unionist can prevent the militants and the often quite effective Communist secretaries, delegates and shop stewards from achieving their objective of disrupting the democratic system which honorable members opposite say they support. But members of the Opposition are only fooling themselves. They are lending themselves to the openly declared programme of the Communist Party to control the A.L.P. This is a long-term project and it is going very well - for the Communists.
In 1936 Stalin, in one of his bursts of frankness, said in his instruction to his tools -
The main task of the Communist Parties at the present time is to develop the campaign for unity in the trade union movement; to see to it that all Communists, without exception, join trade unions, there to work” systematically and patiently to strengthen the solidarity of the working class in its fight against capital and thus attain the condition that will enable the Communist Party to rely upon the trade unions.
Sharkey, the Australian President of the Communist Party, said in the pamphlet, “ The Trade Union “-
The trade unions are vital centres for the building of the united front of the working class.
In the trade unions the foundation of unity has been laid which will in the end1 compel the A.L.P. to agree to Communist Party-A.L.P. collaboration. The main reason why the Communists want control of the unions is that control of the unions gives them control of the A.L.P. So the Labour Party would become in reality the mouthpiece of the Communist Party.
The A.L.P., as everybody knows, is controlled by its federal conference, which is now meeting here in Canberra. It is made up of 36 men - six from each State - elected by the State conference.
– We all know that.
– I know you do, but it is necessary to bring this out and explain the position. The State conferences are the bodies that absolutely control the A.L.P. Roughly three-quarters of the delegates to them are elected by the trade unions. By getting control of the trade unions, the Communists who have worked themselves into main union positions gain control of the State executives, the federal executive and the federal conference. So although the A.L.P. retains its name, in reality it becomes a camouflaged Communist Party.
In Victoria we have another example of the defiance by the Victorian executive of the 1959 decree of the federal executive. I think these things are worth noting. According to that direction, members of the A.L.P. were on no occasions to allow their names to be associated with the names of members of any other political party on any how-to-vote ticket. The direction continued -
Any member breaking this policy must be summoned before the respective State executive and, failing a satisfactory explanation, dealt with in accordance with the rules.
At that time a unity ticket for the Australian Railways Union elections was in circulation, but the A.L.P. men whose names were on it defended themselves by saying at the last minute. “ We did not know our names were on it “. As the honorable member for Phillip has pointed out, the same unity ticket is being used again in this year’s elections in the Australian Railways Union, but the Opposition cannot say on this occasion that it knows nothing about the matter because every one has given it the publicity that it deserves. The candidates are three A.L.P. members and two Communists who have already been named. I might add that one of the A.L.P. members is on the federal executive and ought to know better. In addition, three of the five organizers are also Communists.
The worst feature of this sorry business is the abject failure of the Leader of the Opposition to carry out the official policy of his own party. He is reported to have said that unity tickets are of no consequence and that the Australian Labour Party is not disturbed about them. This is in sharp contrast to Dr. Evatt who said that they are a running sore and are opposed to Labour’s policies. He added that the Labour Party must get rid of them. In 1949, the present Leader of the Opposition took an entirely different view when he said, speaking of Communists -
Concentration camps are the only place for these people. If it is left for me to put them into concentration camps, they will go. This human scum seems to think they can dictate the policy of the Government.
Remember, please, that Labour was the government of the day. But his attitude is very different to-day. What has made him completely disregard all approaches that have been made to him for intervention in this matter of unity tickets? Last year in the Trades and Labour Council elections in Yallourn he refused to intervene when he was informed of another example of how the A.L.P. and the Trades Hall Council were handling this issue. They perpetrated the two-card trick with one ticket showing pencilled numbers and the other printed numbers. But we who come from that area know how much collaboration there was at that time and the disastrous effects that have been felt since. The Leader of the Opposition has been told this year about the unity ticket in the Australian Railways Union elections, and he has done nothing about it. He knows about the unity ticket that elected G. Sellaf once more to office in the Victorian division of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union. He knows about the unity ticket that put Clarrie O’Shea back again in office in the Australian Tramways and Motor Omnibus Employees Union. But he does nothing about them because now he has finally alined himself with the A.L.P. Communist collaborators.
The Communist tactics of getting control of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council and the Victorian State executive have been so successful that the Leader of the Opposition is afraid to take any action which would call for very swift retribution if he did not follow the directions that have been given to him. King Victor Stout and Joe Strongarm Chamberlain call the tune and he must dance as he is told to dance.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.I wish to say a few words on the matter under discussion. It is interesting to learn the sudden concern of the Liberal and Country Parties in the advancement of communism in this country because possibly no party in the history of Australia has ever done less to fulfil promises that were made in relation to it. In this Parliament to-night honorable members opposite have raised an issue on which Labour Party policy is quite clear, but they have raised it deliberately in an endeavour to throw a smokescreen around the activities of their Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) while he was abroad and the activities of their Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) at home. To-night they have sought to take from Labour the advantage of the terrific hiding that it gave the Government yesterday and to-day in the debate on international affairs and in relation to other issues that have been raised since the commencement of this sessional period.
Honorable members on the Government side want these issues put into the background. The Treasurer does not want his financial policies to be discussed, and I know the reason why. He shows intelligence in that attitude because he makes the honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), who was the most tragic Treasurer in our time, look a wizard.
Let us see where the Government stands on international affairs. Government members have refused to debate the issue and to record a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister. This matter of unity tickets has been raised to-night for the exclusive purpose of diverting the attention of the people from the Government and its policies on economic and international affairs.
– Are you for or against unity tickets?
– For the benefit of the honorable member I state that Labour’s policy is quite clear on this issue. It has announced that it is opposed to unity tickets, but time does not permit me at this stage to read the complete text of our policy in regard to them. However, let me remind Government members that the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean) was elected to this Parliament on Communist Party preferences, and he is known in this place to-day as the red dean because his name is Dean. Senator McCallum was elected on the preferences of Jim Healy, the noted Communist, and he would not be in this Parliament to-day if the Liberal Party had not given its preferences to Jim Healy and others instead of to the returned soldier Labour candidates who were standing for election at that time. This is a matter of history and is recorded for all to see. But the Government likes to run away from this issue. It was elected on a pledge to stop the growth of communism in this country, but it asks the Labour Party what it would do in relation to communism. If the Government wants advice we shall give it, but it has never shown any alacrity to accept our advice because it does not want to stop communism. The Government wants communism to remain in Australia so that it can make use of it. This Government is the most incompetent that we have seen in our time. It has worn out its welcome.
The honorable member for Phillip will need to do a lot more than to rant about communism to retain his seat. He talked about a Labour Party retreat, but there will be a retreat from Phillip in the not far distant future. He will be leading the way out because, like the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) and others in this Parliament, his only contribution to the affairs of the nation has been to try his redbaiting tactics on the Opposition. Honorable members opposite would do well to remember their own shabby past and have sympathy for those Liberal members who are here only because of the sympathies of the Communist Party and the fact that the Communist preferred the Liberal Party to the Labour Party. In the election being held to-day in the municipal sphere in Queensland I understand that five Communist candidates are running in opposition to Labour candidates while their friends, the Liberals, are unopposed. In the general election in this country what party is opposed by the Communists? It is the
Labour Party. The Communists lean towards their friends in the Liberal Party. They want the Liberals in office because they are the people whom they sponsor and stand side by side with them.
Country Party members now are as silent as the grave. As the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) said to-night, they are the people who take blood money, as it is called, from Communist countries. Their attitude is: We can run down the Communist Party; we can rant about it; we can call Communists dreadful people and we can say that communism is the most monstrous system of our time, but, for heaven’s sake, let us not stop Country Party members from selling wool and wheat to red China. The cockies will not stand it; the graziers will vote against us. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), the greatest red baiter and ranter in the Parliament, would lose his seat, because the Country Party would not be able to sell wheat to red China. The honorable member for McPherson (Mr. Barnes) said in this Parliament not more than a month or two ago that we are at war with Russia. I say that he is a party to selling commodities to a country with which he says we are at war. He is a party to selling to that country commodities to keep it going, perhaps. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) has mentioned steel.
From one end of the country to the other and from one end of the world to the other, this Government is condemned for what it is doing on the economic front and in the international sphere. On questions such as unity tickets and communism, Government supporters are hypocrites and humbugs, and they stand condemned as such throughout the country. All that they can do is talk. They will sell their principles for political and personal gain. It is a well-known fact that all honorable members who sit opposite who were elected in 1949 are here because of the financial resources put behind them by the private banking institutions, which set out to wreck the Labour Government of that time. They are serving those institutions well. The Government is betraying the interests of the ordinary person. It is ignoring completely the people in the community who look to governments to advance their welfare and protect their interests.
In the field of international affairs and in other matters, the Government has destroyed completely, as the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) said to-day, the integrity and the prestige of this nation. It is no wonder that honorable members opposite raise a side issue to-night, thereby hoping to take the minds of the people from the failure of a government that lives on borrowed time. In the not far distant future it will reap the harvest of its sins. It will be cast into the limbo of forgotten things by the people of Australia, who now realize that the supporters of the Government are sham fighters on every issue and that they never fulfil any pledge on which they are elected.
I see the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) poised in his place, no doubt intending to rise at this late hour. It is nearly time that we heard from him. I hope that instead of dealing with unity tickets, he will tell us about his policy that changes like the weather, about how his policy fluctuates and how he never gives effect to anything for more than 24 hours. I hope that he will reply to the suggestion of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) that the Treasurer should arrange with television stations to give the Government’s policy for the day at the same time that they announce the weather forecast, so that the people may know it from hour to hour.
I hope that he will tell us to-night why he has authorized the Commonwealth Superannuation Board to lend £1,000,000 to David Jones Limited at a time when he has denied finance to every other section of industry. The Treasurer may sneer, but those are issues that he does not want to have ventilated. Instead, he and other honorable members opposite want continually to raise the red bogy and other issues ment. Instead, he will deal with other issues, after his heelers have come into the Parliament and put forward propositions on which they try to capitalize.
– What about unity tickets? which they believe will take the minds of the people off matters such as those I have mentioned. I am sure that the Treasurer will not deal with the £1,000,000 that David Jones Limited has received and with the vested interests that support the Govern-
– The honorable member who has interjected has said that we are at war with Russia. He asks, “ What about unity tickets? “ I ask, “ What about the wheat, steel and other things that we are selling to a country with which he says we are at war? “ Honorable members opposite talk about loyalty to this country. If we are at war with Russia, some of the supporters of the Government ought to be charged as traitors to this country because they are supplying Russia with materials which should not be supplied to a country with which we are at war.
But who takes any notice of the Country Party? It is a collection of individuals who sit in possum paddock crying, “Low wages and long hours “. If it were not for the Australian Workers Union, the people who are working on farms to-day, and are supposed to be represented by the members of the Country Party, would probably be working for less than the basic wage. The members of the Country Party are a vested minority in this Parliament. They live on red bogies. They have never done anything worth while to stop the growth of the Communist Party. Whether honorable members opposite like it or not, the only party that has made any contribution towards ensuring that the trade unions and other institutions in this country that seek to improve the welfare of individuals are controlled by people responsible to the Australian community is the Australian Labour Party.
In 1949, the Communist Party took action to wreck a Labour Government, which it subsequently did. It was a Labour administration, under men such as Chifley, Calwell and others, which stood up to the Communists, and did so without assistance from the people opposite who say they are opposed to the Communist Party. The Australian Labour Party acted at that time to quell a strike which was sponsored and supported by the Communist Party and designed to destroy the Labour Government. Labour has taken action against the Communists. The present government has not put one Communist in jail since it has been in power. It is condemned for what it is - a collection of hypocrites.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The House has witnessed a fantastic exhibition to-night from the Opposition. Its members have ranted and shouted, wobbled and weaved ducked and wriggled. They have done everything except face up to the issue which was brought before the House by the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) and supported by other speakers from this side of the House. The issue is simple enough, surely. The leader of a party which seeks the right to govern this country should face that issue and state just where his party stands in relation to unity tickets in trade union elections.
Do honorable members opposite deny that unity tickets exist? I do not imagine for a moment that they deny their existence. Do they approve of their existence? The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) - and I give him credit for this - was the only one of all those who have spoken from the Opposition benches to declare quite frankly that he was opposed to unity tickets.
– The party is opposed to them.
– The Opposition Whip says that his party is opposed to them. I am glad to have that statement in the authoritative voice of the Whip. We did not get such a statement from the leader of the party, nor did we get it from one of the members of the executive in the person of the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard). He put us into orbit and took us for a run around the world in a sputnik - anything to get away from this issue.
The really important matter for this House to study, Sir, is not just the unity ticket, which itself is merely a symptom, but whether there exists collaboration with the Communists by the Australian Labour Party or any significant sections of it. The unity ticket issue is important in itself, of course, but it is more important because of what it stands for. It is a symbol. The essence of the situation is that in the eyes of many people inside the Labour movement, and in the eyes of Labour men who were formerly members of the Labour party but who no longer belong to it, the unity ticket is an expression of a collabora tion which is either now accepted or condoned by those who remain members of the party. It was the reason for the retreat or expulsion from the party of these former members.
Where, Sir, are the seven Victorian members who used to sit in this place and who were expelled from the Australian Labour Party? Why were they expelled? They were expelled because they believed they were being taken by the leadership of the Australian Labour Party into a closer association with communism than they could tolerate. Where is the former honorable member for Adelaide? Where is the former honorable member for Kalgoorlie? Why are they no longer in this place? They are no longer here because they could not tolerate the degree of association with the Communists that they found in their ranks.
The real issue which honorable gentlemen opposite must face and which, indeed, the Australian public will demand that they face before they go to the polls, if they intend to present themselves as an alternative government, is where they stand on this matter of collaboration with communism. We have heard many denials from honorable gentlemen opposite. They are the remnants of what was once a larger party which included men who have been expelled or who have retired from the movement. Why is there such a section of the Labour movement in Australia to-day as the Australian Democratic Labour Party? The existence of that party indicates recognition by former Labour men that they could no longer associate with the Australian Labour Party because of its attitude to communism.
Let us have a look at the composition of the Australian Labour Party to-day, not merely at honorable gentlemen who are sitting opposite. I do not think that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is either a Communist or a Communist sympathizer. I do not think that the honorable member for Lalor is a Communist. I recognize them for what they profess to be - dedicated socialists. They make no bones- about the fact that they believe in the socialist programme and in the socialist philosophy. I hope that the Australian people realize that if ever they come to office, it will be a socialist programme and a socialist philosophy that will go with them, and that they will have alongside them as collaborators and allies the Communist forces in this country. I can produce evidence enough to convince most thoughtful people that the federal president of the Australian Labour Party has gone on record as saying - and he has never denied the fact - that he gives his voting preference to the Communists over members of the Liberal Party and members of the Democratic Labour Party. He said that in 1960 at the Australian Labour Party conference in Victoria and he has never denied it. The strong man of the A.L.P. - the present federal secretary - has indicated where he stands in relation to Communist China. He wants to see the people of Formosa thrown away as expendable in order that the interests of Communist China can be advanced.
– Mr. Speaker, I ask that that remark be withdrawn because it is unparliamentary and untrue. Mr. Chamberlain never said that the people of Formosa were expendable. It is a contemptible lie, whoever said it.
– Order! First, I must ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw the words that he has just used.
– I withdraw them. The words that I want the Treasurer to withdraw are that the federal secretary of the A.L.P. has stated that the people of Formosa are expendable to the Communists.
– Order! That will be entirely in the hands of the Treasurer.
– I do not think the term is unparliamentary, but if it offends the sensitivities of the Leader of the Opposition
– It is not true.
– My time is limited, as the Leader of the Opposition knows, but let me say this: I refer the honorable gentleman to the report I quoted from Homer Bigart, a man who has been awarded the Pulitzer prize for accuracy in journalism, of an interview he had-
– I rise to order again. Mr. Chamberlain has categorically denied that he made that statement and Mr. Bigart said, “ Well, if he denied it, I leave it at that “. Mr. Bigart did not repeat it. I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
– The point of order is not upheld.
– Then I leave it to the Treasurer’s sense of decency and ask him to do the right thing.
– I have quoted Mr. Bigart. Mr. Chamberlain can make his own explanation.
– He made a complete denial, and you know it. Why do you not have the decency to do the right thing?
– The Treasurer will not withdraw, so I move -
That the honorable member for Higgins (Mr. Harold Holt) be not further heard.
Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. John McLeay.)
Majority . . 30
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Mr. Downer) put -
That the honorable member for Higgins (Mr. Harold Holt) be granted an extension of time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 29
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Allan Fraser) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. John McLeay.)
Majority . . 29
Question so resolved in the negative.
– The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, has demonstrated very clearly the value of the allegations which are made in these adjournment debates. Mr. Bigart alleged that Mr. Chamberlain made a statement on Formosa. Mr. Chamberlain denied having made that statement. Now, how does one determine who is telling the truth in that way? Everybody continues to believe what he wants to believe. In actual fact, every one of the allegations made by rankandfile members of the Government parties which I can recognize had similarly been denied in the past. People with a wish to believe these allegations do not accept the denials.
Mr. Harold Holt interjecting -
- Mr. Speaker, I did not interrupt-
– Order! I ask honorable members to remain silent.
– Let him deal with the facts.
– These allegations are never made about people who can answer in this place. There is no Government member or supporter who will make an allegation about the political rectitude of any member of this Parliament. He knows that if he did, it would be promptly denied, and the member concerned would have his remedy before the Committee of Privileges. Furthermore, these allegations are rarely made about persons who are well known to members of the Parliament. In the few cases in which the allegations are made they can be refuted. One such allegation was made to-night about Mr. Egerton, and we had a factual and temperate refutation of that allegation by a man who knows Mr. Egerton - the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones), whose Labour and anti-Communist record is very well known in this Parliament and in the district where he has lived his whole life, and1 which he now represents in this Parliament. The utter lack of scruple that the Treasurer showed to-night can be seen by honorable members who recollect what the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) said yesterday afternoon. The AttorneyGeneral made a reference to what Mr. Chamberlain is supposed to have said about Formosa. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), who followed the Attorney-General in the debate, pointed out that Mr. Chamberlain had denied making that statement, and the Attorney-General at least had the grace to interject “ I said that he was reported to have made it “. Now, Sir, nobody who knows Mr. Chamberlain, or who has conversed with Mr. Chamberlain, or who has heard him, believes that he ever expressed the view that Formosa is expendable.
The view of the Labour Party in Australia, the Labour Party in New Zealand and the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, is quite clear. All those parties say, as does the British Conservative Government, that it is quite inappropriate for Formosa to have a permanent seat, with the right of veto, on the Security Council, and to have the right to nominate judges to the World Court, and so on.
– Would you give the Communists preference over the D.L.P.?
– No! And the Labour Party never has. I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to answer the numerous interjections being made. I have had the courtesy to answer the interjection of the honorable member for Bruce, since he is so rarely in the chamber. There is no member who has such an appalling attendance record as the honorable member for Bruce. There is no member who so abuses his travel warrants as the honorable member for Bruce does for his own private profit. Sir, he is a disgrace to this Parliament. He is a disgrace to the party which up to now has endorsed him for the elections. I will answer a member like that. He is not one of the usual mid-night orators. The other mid-night orators have made the usual allegations which have already been denied. They have not refuted the denials of these allegations. The allegations which one can recognize have no more validity than the allegation which the Treasurer repeated without qualification.
Now, Sir, there is no question about the attitude of the Labour Party and of all of its members. The Labour Party does not believe in unity tickets, and you will find that every member of this Parliament who is a Labour member, every member of the federal conference of the Labour Party which is meeting in Canberra, and for whose benefit this mid-night performance - this command performance - is put on, will state the same. He will state that he is against unity tickets. The plain fact of the matter is that all parties other than the Labour Party wish that the Labour Party would approve of unity tickets. They have good reasons for wishing that. Because the Labour Party will not approve of unity tickets, every other party in Australia is forced to make one of two allegations. The first allegation is that the Labour Party is not carrying out a ban on unity tickets. The alternative allegation is that we are about to repeal the ban. We can never win in this argument. If we ban unify tickets we are asked to alter the ban or not to put it into effect.
The attitude of the Labour Party is quite clear in this matter. If any member of the Labour Party believes that any other member of the party is a party to a unity ticket, a procedure exists under our rules, a procedure that is perfectly well known to every member of the party, whereby he may make a complaint about the disloyal conduct of the member who he alleges is on a unity ticket. Then the matter is determined after hearing both sides. People have been disciplined, expelled and suspended for being on unity tickets. Our opponents - supporters of the Liberal Party, the Australian Country Party, the Australian Democratic Labour Party and the Communists - claim that we should have expelled more people. It is impossible to satisfy people who believe anonymous allegations. There have always been allegations about unity tickets and there always will be among people, such as supporters of the Democratic Labour Party and the Communists, who strive for the allegiance of the trade union movement but who have been unable to secure any such allegiance. There will always be such allegations from supporters of the Liberal and Australian Country Parties who, of course, want to break the link that has existed in all British countries between the trade union movement and the political party of real reform. The real objective of the Treasurer, who is now sitting on the back benches beside the person who started this performance, the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), and other Liberal philosophers is to break that link. They want to create the position that exists in the United States, and which hitherto existed in Canada but which is now being abandoned there. Canada is doing what other members of the British Commonwealth have done. It has established a link between the industrial unions and the political party of real reform.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.I wish to direct attention to an incident that occurred in the House during the course of a division, but before so doing I want to make a few fleeting references to the break of silence by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) on this issue of unity tickets. There is nothing new about unity tickets. This issue has been canvassed in the House on frequent occasions. I think to-night marks the third occasion when this matter has been referred to in the House at a time when the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party has been held in Canberra. Three years ago when the issue was raised the then Leader of the Opposition with a fervent bleat said that he did not know anything about it. On that occasion my friend the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) suggested that the Leader of the Opposition may know something more about playing a piano. What did the Leader of the Opposition say on that occasion? With a great touch of drama he said that the Labour Party had passed a resolution and would ban unity tickets. He said that anybody who broke the ban would be for it What happened twelve months later when evidence was produced to show that members of the Labour Party had appeared on unity tickets? The Leader of the Opposition said that the Labour Party would take further action. My friend the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Wight) in his own inimitable language said of the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that he skates along a barbed wire fence with a leg on either side. I can think of no imagery that could better capture the position of the Leader of the Opposition.
This evening the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was not prepared to deal in any explicit fashion with unity tickets. The fact of the matter is that if the Australian Labour Party refuses to do something about unity tickets the Australian Workers Union will break its historic link with the party. Honorable members opposite should read “ The Worker “. What appears in that publication would open their eyes. The consequences of unity tickets are to be felt in the industrial sphere. They are to be felt in the national sphere. This has been demonstrated in a number of countries.
I come now to the incident that I referred to earlier. I view this matter in a most serious light as I believe that it represents a challenge to our parliamentary institution. During the course of a division this evening, when Government supporters crossed the floor of the House to sit on the Opposition benches, some persons alleged to be representatives at the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party and sitting in the gallery on the Opposition side of the House, set out to intimidate Government supporters. I will press the House for an inquiry into the veracity of the charges that I make because they are of fundamental consequence. I do not propose to quote all the language that was used by those persons, even though I am acquainted with bullock drivers. One of those persons said to one Government supporter: “ If you caste your pearls before swine you know what happens “. That was said to a Government supporter by a stranger in the House. Another person said to another Government supporter, “ You are like a- “; and then used a three-letter word. Another of those persons threatened to flatten a Government supporter’s nose. Another person described a Government supporter as a so-and-so liar. This is a serious matter. Parliament has abrogated its responsibilities when strangers are permitted to come into this House and speak in that fashion to honorable members who are voting in a division. I invite you, Mr. Speaker, bearing in mind the seriousness of the charges that I have made this evening, to call promptly for a full and unfettered investigation into this matter.
.- First, I wish to say that the exhibition that we have seen here to-night by the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) indicates that he has no chance of beating Gar for the future leadership of the Liberal Party. Let us look at the record of this so famous Leader of the House in regard to his opposition to the Communist Party. Honorable members will remember that not long ago, following on the rape of Hungary, honorable members opposite called the Russians “ blood-thirsty murdering butchers “.
– I rise to order. Members of the Opposition having denied me an opportunity to speak to-night, am I now to be subjected to an attack by honorable gentlemen opposite with no right of reply?
– Order! Unfortunately the Treasurer has exhausted his time.
– We remember when the Treasurer was Minister for Labour and National Service.
Motion (by Mr. Downer) agreed to -
That the question be now put.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 1 a.m. (Thursday).
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has furnished the following information: -
Sir Giles Chippindall, vice chairman,1stJuly, 1959, to 7th December, 1959; chairman 8th December. 1959. to 30th June, 1960-
Mr. K. Vial, member 1st July, 1959, to 18th February, 1960; vice-chairman 19th February, 1960, to 30th June, 1960-
The remuneration of the other three members of the commission was ?489 8s.10d. each and their travelling expenses were ?68 5s., ?152 5s. (Perth member), and ?10 10s. respectively.
Sir Giles Chippindall, C.B.E. Sir Giles was Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs from 1949 to 1958. He is a member of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission and a director on the boards of a number of companies.
Air Vice-Marshal E. C. Wackett, C.B., C.B.E. - Prior to joining the Airlines Commission on 26th April, 1960, Air ViceMarshal Wackett served with the R.A.A.F. for 36 years. On retirement from the R.A.A.F. he was Air Member for Technical Services - the R.A.A.F.’s senior technical officer.
d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
In addition, the company subsidises a number of living expenses of its European employees. 7. (b) Wage rates for Native employees.- In 1954-55, native employees were paid cash wages on scales ranging from 15s. to £5 5s. per month. In addition, they, their wives and families were provided free with food, clothing, accommodation, personal issues (including bedding, articles of toilet and eating and cooking utensils), first aid and medical treatment and sporting facilities. At present, native employees are being paid cash wages on scales ranging from £1 5s. to £12 per month and they receive the same free benefits as were received in 1954-55.
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Otter. Mandated Airlines, now owned by Ansett Transport Industries, is operating eleven DC3’s, four Norsemen and four light Cesna aircraft. T.A.A. therefore has a little more capacity than has Mandated Airlines.
m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council in Hobart in February last for legislative and administrative action by the (a) Commonwealth, (b) Territories, and (c) States?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Apart from a limited number of matters submitted to the Australian Transport Advisory Council for information, most of the questions considered by the Council at the meeting held in Hobart on 13th and 15th February, 1961, at some stage involved legislative or administrative action on the part of the Commonwealth, a Territory, or the States.
The following are the principal matters considered at the Hobart meeting which might involve such action: -
Interstate road transport - Council considered proposed legislation to facilitate enforcement of court orders against offenders resident interstate. This would require agreement by all States on a basis for reciprocal legislation.
Railway standardization - Council agreed that the Ministers of Transport in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland should meet to consider operational matters arising out of the construction of the uniform gauge line between Albury and Melbourne.
Second passenger/vehicle ferry on MelbourneTasmania service - Council referred to the Commonwealth for consideration the proposed construction of a second passenger/vehicle ferry to duplicate the service of the “Princess of Tasmania”.
Liability of air operators for loss or injury - Council confirmed its approval of the principle of uniform Commonwealth and State legislation covering the liability of air operators and recommended that the draft bill prepared by the Commonwealth draftsman be forwarded to State Crown Law authorities for consideration and consultation with the Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral where considered necessary before enactment in the several States.
Australian Road Safety Council- Reorganization - Council approved the reconstitution of the Australian Road Safety Council with a personnel of sixteen members and confirmed the appointment of Dr. J. R. Darling as Chairman.
h asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has furnished the following answers: -
Buffet - £440 per month or 8.3 per cent of gross turnover whichever is the greater amount, and
Cocktail Lounge - £680 per month or 13.3 per cent of gross turnover whichever is the greater amount
The period of the lease is three years.
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
How many (a) men and (b) women are registered for employment at the Newtown Employment Office?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
At 24th February, 1961, the latest date for which figures are available, 448 adult males and 189 adult females were registered for employment at the District Employment Office at Newtown. These figures relate to persons who claimed when registering that they were not employed and who were recordedas unplaced at the date shown. The figures include persons -
who, since registering, had been referred to employers, but whose placement had not been confirmed at 24th February, 1961;
who, since registering, may have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service; and
receiving unemployment benefit.
ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Priority in housing in Canberra for such Ministers (including presiding officers) as reasonably require it for the administration of their departments has been approved. No other senators or members have been granted tenancies of government houses or flats. The tenancy agreement in each case is on the same terms and conditions, including rental, as would be granted to any other occupant. It does not seem desirable or relevant to disclose information which is personal to other Ministers unless the honorable member is prepared to justify bis need for such information.
a asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) The amount of the national debt domiciled overseas at 31st December, 1960, converted to Australian currency at the rates of exchange prevailing on that date, was £699,700,000. (b) The amount of the national debt domiciled in Australia at 31st December, 1960, was £3,743,200,000. 2. (a) The annual interest liability on the amount of the national debt domiciled overseas at 31st December, 1960, converted to Australian currency at the rates of exchange prevailing on that date, was £28,700,000. (b) The annual interest liability on the amount of the national debt domiciled in Australia at 31st December, 1960, was £140,300,000.
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 7. When the Commonwealth Government experiences a cash deficit on its transactions for a financial year, the deficit, to the extent to which it cannot be covered by drawings on the Government’s bank balances with the Reserve Bank, is financed by issuing treasury-bills to the Reserve Bank. Trading banks are not called upon to assist in financing the deficit, nor are they under any obligation to make advances to the Government for this purpose. The Reserve Bank may resell some of the treasury-bills it holds to other banks (including the Commonwealth Banking Corporation group of banks) desiring to hold part of their liquid assets in that form. The conventional measure of the liquidity of the trading banks is the ratio of their “L.G.S.” assets (liquid assets and government securities) to deposits. Treasurybills, as well as any other Commonwealth securities held by the trading banks, count as “L.G.S.” assets.
m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
I have not been supplied with a record of the proceedings at meetings of the State Health Ministers since I last attended.
n asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Applications were rejected only where the conditions prescribed by the National Health Act were not satisfied. The requirements are -
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the present purchasing value of the Australian £1 taking the year ended 30th June, 1949, as the base?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Because of disparities in price movements for various commodities and services, in various places and at various stages of distribution, it is impossible to designate any single figure as representing in all circumstances the change in value of money in recent years.
m asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
How many applications for admission to Australia have been rejected because of security objections to (a) the applicants, and (b) the nominees?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
d asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
What is the present-day value of the Commonwealth unemployment benefit in terms of the real value of the Australian £1 as compared with what it was when the benefit was originally granted?
– The following answer is supplied: -
I refer the honorable member to the Treasurer’s reply to his question on the notice-paper relative to the present purchasing value of the Australian £1. I regret that it is not possible to make the comparison requested.
Overseas Investments in Australia.
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s question are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 April 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1961/19610412_reps_23_hor30/>.