House of Representatives
6 May 1965

25th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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Mr. GRAY presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the Government remove section 127, and the words discriminating against Aborigines in section 51, of the Commonwealth Constitution, by the holding of a referendum at an early date.

Petition received and read.

A similar petition was presented by Mr. Bryant.

Petition received.

Nuclear Tests

Mr. L. R. JOHNSON presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Commonwealth Government (1) instruct its representative at the United Nations to condemn the French Government’s proposal to test nuclear weapons in the Pacific, (2) again protest directly to the French Government with a view to cancellation of the tests and (3) use all appropriate means at its disposal to obtain an extension of the treaty to cover underground tests.

Petition received and read.

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– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question. In view of the statement he made in this House two days ago that the Government’s decision to send troops to South Vietnam was taken in principle some little time back and had nothing to do with the visit of Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, and in view of his further statement that the request for assistance did not come from the Government of the United States of America but from the Government of South Vietnam, will he say or can he say, what was the purpose of the visit by Mr. Lodge and what has resulted, if anything, to date, from the visit?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

- Mr. Speaker, the honorable gentleman asks me what was tile purpose of the visit by Mr. Cabot Lodge. He will recall that Mr. Cabot Lodge, as a former Ambassador to South Vietnam and of course as a very distinguished American, was making a series of visits to a variety of places around the world. What the overall purpose of his trip was is not for me to know or say. He called on us and presented me with a letter from the President of the United States of America indicating that he represented the President and that the President would be very happy if we could have some discussions with him. We had our meeting and he came into the Cabinet room at my request. The first remark he made that day was that he was very pleased to learn that we had made a decision in principle about a battalion. Therefore, so far from being the result of his visit, this was something that he had learned - on the most confidential basis of course - before he came here - from the United States.

He had nothing to ask us for. He was here because he had had a very great and close experience of South Vietnam. He had been there as Ambassador. He was close to the Administration and he was in a position to answer questions by us on matters of fact, if we had any to put, and we had quite a few. We took the full opportunity to find out from him his own impressions of people who were significant in Vietnam and of the general state of public opinion in South Vietnam, as far as he knew it. We put all the kinds of questions that any government would want to know the answers to in sizing up the nature of the country and determining whether anything he could say would modify our own approach, diplomatically or otherwise, to that country. I am bound to say that we had a very interesting exchange of ideas. He made no requests and therefore we neither granted nor refused any. But I am bound to say that at the end I felt that I had been given a certain amount of first hand information and first hand impressions of people which, from my point of view, and I am sure from the point of view of my colleagues, were very valuable. But Mr. Cabot Lodge is not to be regarded as having paid this special visit to ask for something specific, because that at no time emerged.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister seen a statement that the Labour Party is to appoint shadow Ministers? If this eventuates, and if the honorable member for Bendigo is appointed to shadow the Minister for Primary Industry, will the Minister assure me that he will at all times help his opposite number, even to the extent of teaching him to milk?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I did not see the statement mentioned by the honorable member. If the honorable member for Bendigo is to shadow me, he will do so for quite a long time yet. The honorable member for Wakefield did not say whether I had to teach the honorable member for Bendigo to milk cows, goats or sheep. However, I assure the honorable member for Wakefield that I shall appoint him as my deputy tutor in this instance.

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– I preface my question, which also is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry, by reminding him that proposed alterations to the King Island abattoir to bring it up to the standard required for the United States export market were placed under the personal responsibility of a Mr. Hartwell of the Department of Primary Industry on 13th January. In view of the fact that Mr. Fewster asserted on 1st March that he had not received the proposals, and that the matter is still unresolved, will the Minister have the delay inquired into with a view to expediting the restoration of the abattoir’s authority to export to the United States of America?


– I presume that the honorable member refers to a registration covering particularly exports to the United States of America. The absence of such a licence would not preclude the abattoir from exporting to other countries, because it would probably have a registration for such exports. I am not acquainted with the details, but I shall have inquiries made to see whether everything is in order and to ensure that the matter is dealt with expeditiously.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I ask: Is it a fact that members of the Australian police unit serving in Cyprus have not yet received the United Nations Medal although members of the New Zealand component of the police group have been wearing this decoration for some time? Is there any major administrative difficulty to be overcome? Is this a problem that has been the subject of representations to the right honorable gentleman, and is he in a position to advise us of the outcome?


– Some time ago, I took up this matter through the Governor-General. I am happy to say that we have now been advised that Her Majesty has approved the acceptance, and wearing without restriction, of certain medals by Australian citizens who have qualified under the United Nations rules. These awards are the United Nations Emergency Medal 1956- 57, the United Nations Medal - Congo, and the United Nations Medal - Cyprus.

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– I address my question to the Treasurer. The Prime Minister has intimated that the decision to send troops to South Vietnam was made in principle some weeks ago. The announcement of some curb by the United States of America on overseas investment was made many weeks ago. Can the Treasurer state how he so arranged the affairs of the Department of the Treasury as to place himself in the invidious position in which his visit to Washington and the Government’s announcement of the sending of Australian troops to South Vietnam seemed to be more than a coincidence?


– It may have seemed to be more than a coincidence to the honorable gentleman and some of those who sit with him, but I do not think there are many people who would prefer that charge against those of us in this place who are elected democratically by our fellow Australians and who, in this place, give expression to the wishes and thoughts of our fellow Australians. That is not a line of argument that any decent body of Australians would advance, and I do not think the honorable gentleman does himself any credit by associating himself with those who have adopted this poison as part of their own political propaganda.

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– I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. I understand that the right honorable gentleman has decided to preside over a meeting of State Premiers to consider the problem of decentralisation. Can he now inform the House when this meeting is likely to take place? Is the Government prepared to discuss at this meeting the possible convening of a special conference with the States and other interested bodies with the aim of getting an integrated national policy on the alleviation of drought effects? As the Prime Minister is aware of the serious losses being caused by the present widespread drought, I ask whether provision could be made for such a special conference to study means of enabling rural industries to provide against the devastation of droughts by means of improved water and transport facilities and greater availability of credit for fodder conservation.


– It was in July last year when there was a Premiers’ Conference that the Acting Prime Minister - I was absent at that time - made the suggestion, which was agreed to, that Commonwealth and State officials should meet to set about making a thorough study of the matter and that subsequently there would be further consultation between the Commonwealth and the States, no doubt, if necessary, on the Prime Minister-Premier level. Initial meetings between the officials took place earlier this year and they are continuing. They have to cover a wide field. The officials are devoting a great deal of attention to the job. I do not know how far the proposal made by the honorable member would fit into the pattern of their studies, but I will certainly invite them to take that into account. When the officials have concluded their studies so that we are able to talk about these matters on an ascertained basis of fact with the relevant considerations exposed, I will then give consideration to whether that is an appropriate time to have a discussion on the political level.

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– I ask the AttorneyGeneral a question. The honorable gentleman will have noted with appreciation the report of Professor Grant, the Tasmanian royal commissioner, who inquired into restrictive trade practices. Has the AttorneyGeneral made any approaches to any of the State Governments to see whether they are yet or still willing to introduce the complementary legislation which the Government at one time thought was necessary if Commonwealth restrictive trade practices legislation was to be effective?

Attorney-General · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– My predecessor, Sir Garfield Barwick, raised the matter of restrictive trade practices legislation in the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General some little time ago. At that time he gave the State Attorneys an outline of what he had in mind. Since then the matter has been examined closely by the Commonwealth Government and I have recently - it was last year - continued the process started by my predecessor of telling the State Attorneys what I had in mind in relation to the White Paper which was put down by my predecessor. That was a paper put down for the very purpose of allowing a broad range of examination of the proposals so that it would be productive of suggestions for improvement and be the very thing upon which the Government could examine proposals against the suggestions.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question concerning yesterday’s meeting of the Interstate Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Has the Minister any information as to the Executive’s decision on the recommendation of certain Communist dominated unions that the trade union movement should take industrial action in protest against the Government’s decision to send a battalion of troops to Vietnam?

Minister for Labour and National Service · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Yesterday the Interstate Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions did consider some resolutions from, among others, the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, that industrial action should be -taken as a protest against the Government’s decision to send troops and equipment to South Vietnam. The Executive decided that it would not support strike action as a protest against the Government’s decision. I understand that it will not support industrial action to prevent the movement of personnel and supplies to South Vietnam. It will also refer the problem to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in order to support a conference between the various parties involved in South Vietnam, including the South Vietnamese Government and the United States. It will also refer this problem to the trades and labour councils in the States in order to have mass meetings held on Sunday fortnight to consider the problem and to join with both the Australian Labour Party and the A.C.T.U. in disapproving of the Government’s action. I also draw attention to the statement that the Leader of the Opposition made in the House on Tuesday, when he said that the Australian Labour Party would do all in its power to ensure the free movement of materials and personnel to South Vietnam. I hope that the statement made by the Interstate Executive of the A.C.T.U. and the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition will lead to a somewhat more responsible attitude by some branches of the Waterside Workers Federation and will lead to a moderation of its policy of holding up the movement of supplies and equipment on any pretext that it can possibly find.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. Is it a fact that the Bureau of Agricultural Economics has concluded its latest survey of the dairy Industry in Australia? Is it also true that the Government has decided, for unidentified and obscure reasons, to hold up the presentation of this long awaited dairy industry survey report until after the presentation of the Budget for the next financial year?


– Those are not facts. I think the Bureau of Agricultural Economics has completed its survey of the dairy industry; but I have not studied the report as yet, nor indeed has the report .yet been compiled. It is not a survey of production costs; it is an economic survey designed to give us a true picture of the industry.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Supply. Has the Government entered into an agreement with Great Britain to supply the Royal Navy with the Ikara anti-submarine weapon system at a price of £6 million? To what extent can the system be claimed to be of Australian design and production? Apart from the sale to Great Britain, can the Minister inform the House whether there is any possibility of the Ikara system being sold to any other country, especially the United States of America?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I think the House will know that for some time a new antisubmarine weapon system under the name Ikara has been under development in the laboratories of the Department of Supply, with assistance from the Royal Australian Navy. In its early stages, this system was so attractive to the United States that that country backed the development to the tune of four million dollars and thereby acquired some rights, although these have never reached the point of detail. But the United States, for reasons of its own, has gone off on another but similar line of development for its own Navy. By virtue of the joint weapons agreement with the United. Kingdom - a good deal of the Ikara development has been associated with the Weapons Research Establishment - that country acquired some rights in respect of Ikara. So it is not right to say that the system has been sold to the United Kingdom for the figure stated by the honorable member. The agreement entered into with the United Kingdom a few days ago provides for Australia to do a considerable amount of research and development work in order to adapt the system to Royal Navy use. I am unable to confirm the accuracy of the figure that the honorable gentleman mentioned. There is quite a substantial programme of development to be carried out and the costs involved will include that development.

At the present moment a joint Department of Supply-Royal Australian Navy team is abroad, giving a presentation of this weapon system to some of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries. There is quite a possibility that as a result of the adoption of the system by the Royal Navy it will also be found to be of interest to N.A.T.O. navies. At this stage I pause only to pay a tribute to the scientists who have spent so much time so well in developing this system. I point out that it has added immeasurably to Australia’s technical prestige abroad.

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– I ask the Treasurer: Who would be right, those persons who are writing in the newspapers to the effect that his visit to the United States of America was a failure and that we will still have serious economic problems, or those who quoted him on his return as saying that American investment will increase? Has the Treasurer any intention of speaking to the House about his visit to the United States?


– Answering the last part of the question first, I shall be glad to give the House some account of my discussions in the United States if there is interest in the House in my doing so. I will probably do it during the course of next week. The honorable member asks whether reports on my discussions can be taken as indicating either that the journey was a failure or that we shall be receiving more dollars in this country in the future than in the past. I think it was a very valuable visit and I was particularly gratified at the reception I received in the United States. As a result of the visit I feel much better equipped to discuss with my Cabinet colleagues the economic problems which face us in the future. Quite apart from the discussions, no-one conceals the fact that this country will face some difficult economic problems in the future. I do not need to go into details at the moment, but several of the uncertainties which existed before my visit have now been removed and a general picture does emerge that, far from there being any sharp reduction in the inflow of American investment which has greatly stimulated Australian industrial development, several factors, in particular the enormous mineral projects which are coming now to the construction stage, should have the effect of maintaining a substantial inflow of American investment into Australia.

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– I ask you a question, Mr. Speaker. I think it is agreed that the function tendered to Lord De L’Isle last Tuesday evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all. However, as on two previous occasions, I was allocated a seat at a table in close proximity to the gentlemen’s retiring room. Sir, on the next occasion of a dinner will you elevate me even if only to provide me with a change of scenery?


– Putting the honorable gentleman in a higher position is a matter which concerns the honorable member’s own party.

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– As the Treasurer is aware, it is often stated that the Commonwealth is not giving the States a fair deal under the tax reimbursement legislation. Figures given in support of this contention are usually of the amount of money collected from the States and the amount allocated to State Governments. Quite apart from these figures, can the Treasurer give approximate aggregate Commonwealth expenditure in the States on such items as social services, repatriation, military and migrant establishments, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, roads, etc.?


– I am sure none of us finds anything surprising in the fact that spokesmen for State Governments and State Parliaments express chronic dissatisfaction with the levels of financial provision made directly to them from this Government and this Parliament. That is an expression of human nature as we understand it. But the honorable gentleman rightly stresses that the total Commonwealth expenditure is not confined to the tax reimbursement grants, and that Commonwealth expenditure inside the States makes an important contribution to the economic progress of the States and is a substantial item. It does vary between the States as to kind and as to degree. I regret that it is not practicable to give a precise figure in relation to these matters because a munitions establishment, for example, in one State could make purchases in that State with the object of distributing in other States the items produced. So you cannot say with any real precision what finally goes into a particular State. On the other hand, one State will derive a greater benefit than another from, say, the revenue provided for the dairy industry. We have in recent years been making contributions to the States for developmental projects, and in such States as Queensland and Western Australia these tend to offset the advantage which States like New South Wales and Victoria, where there are Commonwealth munitions factories and large military establishments, would otherwise have over the less populous States. I think the honorable gentleman is correct in implying that we would need a broad picture and a detailed picture to see just how much benefit States derive from Commonwealth Government expenditure. I shall explore the practicability of giving him a more detailed reply, but it could not be one marked by a high degree of precision.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister as Acting Minister for External Affairs. Has the Government had any confirmation of a report that a Nazi underground movement is gaining in strength, particularly in South America, and that its agents are becoming increasingly active in various countries, especially in Europe?


– I am not aware of any confirmation of this report, but now that the honorable member has raised the matter I will find out precisely what is known about it in the Department.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether the Victorian Government or any Department of that Government has entered into an arrangement with Commonwealth Hostels Ltd. to have apprentices undergoing training accommodated at the Brooklyn Migrant Hostel. Does the honorable gentleman consider that the Brooklyn Migrant Hostel is suitable for the accommodation not only of migrants at present living in that hostel but also for apprentices undergoing training?


– Commonwealth Hostels Ltd. has not informed me of any decision, if one has been made, to accommodate technical trainees at this hostel. If the honorable gentleman is sufficiently interested I will find out the details of this matter from Commonwealth Hostels Ltd. and let him have them. I can assure him that if he feels that this move should be encouraged I will do my best to encourage it.

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– I address a question to the Acting Minister for Immigration. Has he seen the March edition of the American magazine “ Gent “ in which appears an article bearing on migration to Australia? Accompanying the article are photographs of young ladies in a rather bare state. In view of the fact that it is represented that the photographs were supplied by the Australian News and Information Bureau, will the Minister consider whether this is indeed the best way of publicising Australia as the land of opportunity?

Minister for Housing · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Like other honorable members I am aware of the very keen and practised eye of the honorable member for Moreton in matters of fine feminine form, and indeed of his longstanding interest in this subject. I am not personally acquainted with this magazine, but if the article in question is designed to attract young men to Australia I suppose I should mention that Australia is interested also in stimulating the flow of young women to our shores. If the honorable member were to send to the magazine a photograph of himself suitably clad, or unclad, as the case may be, it may help to stimulate a flow into this country of young women migrants. If he requires any further copies of the magazine, I refer him to my colleague, the Minister for the Interior, who has under his aegis the News and Information Bureau.

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– Will the Minister for Shipping and Transport investigate immediately the possibility of making an Australian National Line vessel available to transport 7,000 bales of meadow hay, equivalent to 200 tons, from Bell Bay in northern Tasmania to Sydney in order to alleviate the drought conditions being experienced in New South Wales? I point out that the hay has been purchased but lack of shipping is seriously delaying this important cargo. Urgent representations have been made to the honorable member for Bass, the honorable member for Wilmot and myself to gain the Minister’s assistance in the matter.

Minister for Shipping and Transport · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I will look into the matter raised by the honorable gentleman.

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– I ask the Minister for National Development a question. I refer to a report that contracts have been signed for the sale of 260 million tons of iron ore from Western Australia. Will the Minister say what percentage this amount is of the total known deposits of iron ore in Western Australia?

Minister for National Development · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– This amount represents a very small percentage of known deposits - about 2 per cent. At one stage it was said that deposits of high grade iron ore in Western Australia amounted to 15,000 million tons. Since that time the figure has increased considerably. The managing director of one of the firms which has signed a contract with Japanese interests has told me that his firm could continue to export for 200 years at the rate for which it has signed.

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– Has the Prime Minister been advised that the Minister for Defence stated on Tuesday last that an Australian defence mission would visit Malaysia in the near future at the request of the Malaysian Government? Has the right honorable gentleman been advised that the High Commissioner for Malaysia, Tun Lim Yew Hock, was reported as saying in Sydney on the same day that the Malaysian Government had not made a request for more aid from Australia? If the defence mission is going to Malaysia, what will its purpose be if Malaysia does not need more aid from Australia?

Sir ROBERT MENZIES__ I will ascertain from my colleague just what he did say and obtain the reasons for whatever is happening because I can well imagine that there are some kinds of military discussions which do not have relation to new provisions but which may have relation to existing arrangements. I will find out from my colleague because I do not imagine that what he said would be in conflict with the views of the Government of Malaysia. All these discussions have taken place in a very intimate atmosphere.

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Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:

– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Why can I not get an answer to question No. 932, placed on the notice-paper on 1st April, relating to the medical services of the armed forces? Why has there been a heresy hunt in the Services to discover who has disclosed what is already common knowledge? If the authorities concerned can discuss the problems of the medical services in the Press, why cannot a backbencher be given the courtesy of an answer to a question placed on notice so long ago? Are the medical services in a much worse predicament than is suggested by the question?


– In the light of the honorable gentleman’s complaints and requests, all I can do is rete: his question to my colleague in another place and see that he gets the earliest possible reply.

Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:

– That is of no use.


– The matter is not under my control, as the honorable member well knows.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– I ask the Minister for the Interior: Has he received reports of increasing complaints that the water from the Canberra water supply, particularly in the higher altitude suburbs such as O’Connor, Campbell and Red Hill, is becoming increasingly offensive both as to taste and as to smell? Has the Minister been informed that housewives complain that they cannot get either their children or their husbands to drink the water unless it is treated with cordial or some other flavouring? Can the Minister say whether this undesirable effect on the water arises entirely from the long period of dry weather, the low level of water in the dams and decaying vegetation in the water? Will the Minister have a statement prepared and issued explaining the cause of the unpleasant taste and unpleasant odour of the water and suggesting means by which it can be overcome? In particular, I ask the Minister whether he can give some reassurance to parents that, although the water has an unpleasant taste and is unpleasant to smell, it is not injurious to health.

Minister for the Interior · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The first complaint I have had is in a letter I received yesterday from a resident of Canberra. If there is any fault with the water, it is quite true that this is due to the dry season. The level of water in the Cotter Dam has fallen considerably and it is quite reasonable to expect that some vegetable matter may have been transmitted by the pumping plant. However, we have plans under way to run a gravity main from the Bendora Dam. This will give us access to a much greater quantity of clean water, but it may be a few years before the gravity main is completed. Whilst the quality of water during the dry season may not have been all that could be desired - ‘this is the experience of most municipalities during drought periods - we can be thankful in Canberra that we have had an adequate water supply. We had to ask people to refrain from the excessive use of water during the hot summer months, but we have had plenty of water here to meet all the demands and residents have been fortunate enough to be able to keep their gardens up to a high standard. The honorable member asked whether I would prepare a detailed report on this subject, particularly on the health aspects. I will certainly do so and forward it to him.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is there any evidence to show that the Communist Party in Australia, through the trade union movement, is so organised that we can expect rolling strikes on a national basis, rather than on a State basis, all aimed at disrupting Australia’s economy?


– I cannot say that I have hard evidence at the moment that the Communist Party has a deliberate policy of encouraging rolling strikes on a national basis. What I can say - again I have to refer here to the waterfront - is that I believe that the Job Delegates Association, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, has become so uncontrolled and uncoordinated that it can call a strike at any moment it wishes to do so. I do not think that this is a co-ordinated policy but its effect is much worse because it does mean that the Waterside Workers Federation and the executive of the Federation cannot control the job delegates and consequently cannot control the number of strikes. Nonetheless, I will have a look at the problem raised by the honorable gentleman. If I find that there is evidence of co-ordinated action throughout Australia to encourage rolling strikes, I will let him know.

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– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation. Has the Commonwealth Council of the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Association once again written to the Minister for Repatriation and to honorable members requesting that the Government grant free medical benefits to the wives of totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners? Is it true that when a T.P.I, pensioner passes away his widow automatically receives the war widows pension, which entitles her to free hospital and medical treatment? If this is correct, why does she have to wait until her husband passes away before she is entitled to this free hospital and medical treatment?

Minister for Health · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I know that a submission has been made by the Federal Council of the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Association to the Minister for Repatriation and I know that the Minister will be giving consideration to the submissions which have been made, which include the point raised by the honorable member.

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– Yesterday the honorable member for Bradfield asked whether the fifth sitting Thursday on which general business has precedence on the notice paper after 23rd April, 1964, in respect of which he had given a notice of motion, would fall on Thursday of next week. The answer is: Yes, provided the House sits on Thursday of next week and provided, also, that the precedence to general business which would ordinarily apply next Thursday is not superseded. If the House does not sit, or if precedence to general business is superseded, the fifth sitting Thursday would become the next Thursday on which, in fact, the House sits and on which general business has precedence. The necessity for members who wish to give notice for a future general business day to do so by reference to a numbered sitting Thursday arises from the fact that the alternation of general business day and Grievance Day is determined in relation to sitting Thursdays and not by the calendar. As honorable members will realise, it is impracticable for a member to set down a notice of motion for a specific date, and it is difficult to forecast a general business day with any certainty.

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Report of Public Works Committee


– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960 I present the report relating to the following proposed work -

Augmentation of Darwin Water Supply, Northern Territory.

Ordered to be printed.

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Bill presented by Mr. Bury, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP

– I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

When introducing Customs Tariff Proposals governing acetyl products on 18th March, I mentioned that the Government had decided, on the recommendation of the Tariff Board, to continue bounty payments on the production of rayon grade cellulose acetate flake used in the manufacture of cellulose acetate yarn for a further three years as from 19th March, 1965. The Government has also accepted the recommendation of the Tariff Board that the rate of bounty should be reduced from 7d. per lb. to 6d. per lb., but that the annual limitation of bounty payable should be increased from £90,000 to £112,000. These changes, which are designed to coincide with the imposition of revised rates of duty, also apply as from 19th March, 1965.

The new rate and limit have been fixed bearing in mind the current annual demand for the cellulose acetate flake, which is approximately 2000 tons. The rate of 6d. per lb., and a maximum total payment in any one year of £112,000, are considered necessary to support the ex factory price of 37.5d. per lb. for rayon grade cellulose acetate flake. This price continues to be appropriate in view of overseas prices. The Bill now before the House is designed to implement the decisions I have just mentioned. It also makes provision for delegation of powers by the Minister or by the ComptrollerGeneral. This latter provision is in accord with present practice followed in other bounty legislation.

Cellulose acetate flake is produced along with other acetyl products such as acetic acid and cellulose acetate moulding powders, using ethyl alcohol, a by-product of the sugar industry, as a raw material. There is a network of inter-relationships between these products which means that to encourage the production of any one of them, the acetyl products industry as a whole must be assisted.

Protective duties are regarded as the best method of assisting the industry except in the case of cellulose acetate flake. In this instance a bounty is considered more appropriate as higher duties would lead to increased costs of acetate yarn, and might also cause some diversion of demand to viscose yarn. Acetate yarn is manufactured from cellulose acetate flake. At present, C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited, of Rhodes, New South Wales, is the only registered claimant for this bounty. This company has sustained a substantial level of investment and employment and has continued its successful efforts to reduce costs and increase productivity. It has maintained a balanced output of products in keeping with market requirements. The Government considers that local production of acetyl products, taken collectively, is well worth assistance. To assist it effectively, the bounty on cellulose acetate flake must be continued. I commend the Bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Dr. J. F. Cairns) adjourned.

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Social Services - Civil Aviation - Telephone Rentals for Pensioners - Pensioner Medical Service - Blind Pensioners - National Health Scheme - Commonwealth Secondary School Scholarships - Newspaper Articles

Question proposed -

That grievances be noted.


– I wish to refer, first, to the means test on pharmaceutical and medical benefits for age and invalid pensioners. I realise that, technically, this is a matter for the Department of Health, but I believe that it is also important that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) should note what I have to say on this subject. I have mentioned this subject on numerous occasions since 1955 when the late Sir Earle Page introduced an amendment to impose this iniquitous and unjust means test on pharmaceutical and medical benefits for pensioners. The test as applied at present operates in this way: If a single pensioner has an independent income of £2 a week or more or, in the case of a married pensioner couple, if the independent income is £4 a week or more, no pharmaceutical or medical benefits will be paid. I think most honorable members will agree that, with the present high cost of doctor’s services and medicines, this means test imposes a great burden on all those pensioners who receive income other than their pensions.

There are approximately 104,000 people in Australia who are affected by this means test today. About three years ago I put a question on the notice paper asking what the approximate cost to the Treasury would be if the means test were abolished. The answer I received at that time was that the approximate cost then would be £1,350,000. I presume that this figure would have increased to approximately £1,400,000 by this time. I do not think it would be a great burden to the Treasury if this means test were abolished, particularly when one takes into consideration that many honorable members on both sides of the House have repeatedly, consistently and vehemently expressed their desire for the total abolition of the present means test as applied to pensioners.

I understand that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who sits on the opposite side of the House, has often advocated a complete abolition of the means test. When he was a backbencher, the present Minister for Social Services advocated the abolition of the means test on pensions. One way in which we could start to do that is by abolishing the means test on pharmaceutical and medical benefits for pensioners. I think honorable members on both sides of the House have had many requests from their constituents on this matter and have received many representations about the unfairness of the means test. It is unfair, particularly when we remember that so many banking organisations, both Commonwealth and private, consistently appeal to the people to save their money. If they do save their money in response to these appeals, people are penalised. I do not think it is sound business when people who save money in the bank, or invest money, are penalised, particularly when the money is being saved or invested for use by them in their years of retirement.

Let me give some illustration of the high cost of doctors’ fees. In my electorate a visit to a doctor now costs 25s. If the doctor is required to visit the home of the patient, the cost is 30s. If the visit is required between certain hours, it is £2. Again, if a person is advised to seek specialist treatment it costs at least £4 4s. a visit to consult any specialist in Macquarie Street. All these things must be taken into consideration when assessing the needs of those pensioners who have incomes other than their pensions. Further, one has only to go to a chemist shop and note the high cost of those medicines which are not now on the free list to appreciate just what a burden it is to those people who are trying to pay for their own medicines. I know that the Minister holds the same views as I do on this particular matter and I appeal to him to put my submissions before the Government with a view to having this iniquitous and unjust means test on pharmaceutical and medical benefits for pensioners abolished. I believe that if a non-party vote were taken in this House on a motion for the abolition of this means test the motion would be carried overwhelmingly.

Let me refer now to the means test on social service pensions generally. I will admit that the means test is very complicated and that it is very difficult to explain in plain, easily understood words just what benefits may be enjoyed by persons who apply “for pensions. By way of illustration of my point, I quote the following from a leaflet entitled “ Age Pensions “ published by the Department of Social Services in November 1963 -

Where the standard rate applies: if his means as assessed are not more than £182, he receives the full pension of £312 a year (£6 a week). If his means as assessed exceed £182 and are less than £494 a reduced pension is payable. The rate payable is the maximum rate of £312 a year less the amount by which means as assessed exceed £182.

I challenge the average layman in the street, let alone the many age and invalid persons who are applying for pensions today, and who did not have the same educational opportunities and facilities that we enjoy today, to understand what those words mean. I believe without any hesitation at ail that there are scores of thousands of people in Australia today who, if they understood the means test fully, would be entitled to a small pension. They have not applied for a pension because they do not understand the means test.

I will give another illustration. A lady came to see me a few months ago and told me that she owned a small property at the Entrance in New South Wales. The valuation of that property is £3,000. She does not live in it but pays 30s. a week for a room in Redfern. She does that because she wishes to be close to her married son and his family. She likes to live near them because they are her only company. The fact is that her pension was reduced by £98 a year because the value of her property, £3,000, was £980 in excess of £2,020. She did not know, until I told her, that she could have let that property at the Entrance and have received, probably, £3 to £5 a week for the three years that it has been vacant. She did not know she could let the property. She thought that if she did so she would lose her pension. Therefore, that woman was penalised, to the extent of £600 over the last three years simply because she did not understand the means test. Many other people are losing their entitlement for the same reason. Some property owners do not realise that they could receive a few pounds a week if they converted part of a house into a little flat. Th:v do not know that they can do these things.

I am appealing to the Minister for Social Services to make the means test more easily understandable by people who are entitled to pensions and by people who are in receipt of pensions at the present time so that they will know what they can do in regard to other income. 1 think most honorable members will support me on these matters. In fact, there are probably some members of the House who do not fully understand the means test themselves and who refer their constituents to officers of the Department of Social Services for advice. Every honorable member and every person who wishes to apply for a pension should understand the means test. They can do this by reading some of these leaflets.


.- My purpose in speaking this morning is to refute in the strongest possible manner a number of statements which were made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) with respect to the Government’s aviation policies when he spoke during the adjournment debate last Wednesday. I regret that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is not present this morning. I notified him last night that I might raise this matter and he told me as late as this morning that it was not possible for him to be present.

I was not present in the House last Wednesday when the statements were made, but I was shocked at the nature of them when I read “ Hansard “ the next morning. The speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition contained a number of inaccuracies but the worst of them all, in my opinion, was his statement that this Government had guaranteed Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. against loss of any kind; that that company is not only guaranteed against loss but is also guaranteed to show a 10 per cent, dividend on all its capital and all its borrowing, after allowing for depreciation, taxes and so on. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition went on to say that if Airlines of New South Wales Pty. Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Ansett Transport Industries, Channel 0 in Melbourne, or the new television station in Brisbane, were to lose money the parent company, Ansett Transport Industries, would still show a dividend of 10 per cent.

Not only is this statement completely inaccurate and completely opposed to the facts, but the Deputy Leader of the

Opposition added an even more shocking statement when he said that the present Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) had frankly stated again and again that the Government had given an undertaking to this effect. Both of these statements are completely incorrect but if they are not denied the public is entitled to believe that they are true. If a grossly inaccurate statement is made often enough people are apt to accept it as being true. My purpose is not to defend Mr. Reg Ansett, whom I have met only once and who is quite capable of looking after himself, but to defend the integrity of this Government and its Ministers. Let me state quite categorically that this Government is not guaranteeing, nor has it ever guaranteed, Ansett Transport Industries against loss-

Mr Devine:

– Who told this to the honorable member?




– Nor for any dividend payment. This misconception, which has so often been repeated by the Opposition, has its origin in the guarantee given by the Commonwealth on loans, properly secured, over heavy aircraft purchased by this company. The Commonwealth’s guarantees for the repayments of these loans were provided for the old company, Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd., and were extended to Ansett Transport Industries in 1957 as the new owner of A.N.A. Some further guarantees for loan repayment were taken up by Ansett Transport Industries with respect to the purchase of Electra aircraft, but other guarantees with respect to the purchase of Fokker Friendships and Boeing jets, although offered, were not taken up. Apart from the fact that full details of the Commonwealth’s obligations are clearly set out in the Civil Aviation Agreement Act and associated legislation, progress reports are contained in the annual report of the Minister for Civil Aviation to Parliament and there is no reasonable excuse for anyone to misunderstand the position.

The only loans to Ansett Transport Industries which have been guaranteed by the Commonwealth are ordinary commercial transactions negotiated by the company under which the lending institution secures a loan by a first mortgage over the aircraft. The Commonwealth’s obligations under these guarantees could arise only if there were default by the borrower and if the mortgaged aircraft and all other assets of the borrower were inadequate to cover the balance outstanding. The loans with respect to which these guarantees can be given are limited to £6 million, while the company’s total assets are estimated at £43 million, of which its airline assets are estimated to be of the order of £30 million.

Ansett Transport Industries has no loans outstanding in respect of which the Commonwealth has given a guarantee. The company has never been lent money by the Commonwealth. The company has never defaulted on repayment of loans and therefore the guarantee of the Commonwealth has never been called up by the lender. The Commonwealth has never at any stage guaranteed either A.N.A. or Ansett-A.N.A. any return on capital. Let me repeat that: The Commonwealth has never at any stage guaranteed either A.N.A. or Ansett-A.N.A. any return on capital.

I want to refer to another of the very grossly misleading statements of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He spent quite a deal of time endeavouring to show how the Government had favoured Ansett-A.N.A. at the expense of Trans-Australia Airlines. He stated -

Nobody in the Government parties has complained yet at the fact that T.A.A. loses £300,000 a year because it has to share the Darwin route.

Let us examine that statement against the financial record of T.A.A. over the period since competition was introduced in the Darwin route in October 1961. In 1960-61, T.A.A. showed a profit of £383,444, and it paid a dividend of 5 J per cent. In 1961- 62, when part of that reputed loss should have been manifest, T.A.A. showed a net profit of £463,333 and paid a 5 per cent, dividend. In 1962-63 when, surely, the full loss on the Darwin route would have been felt, T.A.A.’s net profit rose to £534,957, and in that year instead of paying a dividend of 6 per cent., which was the target set by the Minister for Civil Aviation, T.A.A. paid 7 per cent, to the Commonwealth. Last year T.A.A.’s profit of £640,691 was higher still and out of that it again paid a dividend of 7 per cent. I ask the honorable members to contrast those facts with T.A.A.’s achievements under a Labour Government when its net losses over the first three years of operation aggregated £897,614.

Time will not permit me to deal with all the inaccuracies in the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, but I would like to refer very briefly to another of his statements. He said -

When East-West Airlines wanted to import another Friendship aircraft, the Government refused it a licence to do so.

The truth is that the Government did not refuse East-West Airlines permission to import another Fokker Friendship aircraft but for good and valid reasons which were fully explained to the company, it declined to guarantee a loan to finance this purchase. As I have already said, guarantees with respect to Friendship aircraft were not taken up by Ansett Transport industries Ltd. so East-West Airlines Ltd. was at no disadvantage in this regard.

Finally, let me say that, far from the Government according unfavorable treatment to East-West Airlines, as implied by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition last Wednesday evening, the Commonwealth has provided that company with substantial assistance over a period. In particular, the Government has assisted the company to acquire aircraft, has made substantial subsidy payments to it, enabling the company to operate profitably in each of the last eight years, and has spent large sums on the development of the Tamworth aerodrome, which is the home base of this airline. These are the facts. They are almost the direct contrary of the mis-statements made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition last Wednesday evening.

Wide Bay

.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I wish this morning to raise three matters which are really social services problems although they concern a number of departments. In October of last year, after the increase in telephone rentals, the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme), as a kind of afterthought, announced that a rebate of 33£ per cent, of telephone rentals would be granted to pensioners, subject to a certain means test. This was quite a change of policy. For a considerable time previously, whenever the matter had been raised we were told that the proposal for such a rebate would break new ground and that no comparable concession had previously been given, although honorable members on this side of the Parliament had repeatedly directed attention to the fact that a concession had been given in respect of radio listeners’ licences and television viewers’ licences.

I wish to mention particularly the case of one of my constituents, who has been receiving, since 1961, a pension of £11 16s. 6d. a week from a miners’ pension scheme. His wife receives an age pension of 3s. a week, making their total income £11 19s. 6d. a week. They own their own home and no other person lives in it with them. After years in the mining industry, the husband retired and has since drawn a miner’s pension, to which he contributed directly while employed as a miner. The point is that if the couple were both age pensioners they could draw a combined pension of £11 a week and could have substantial assets or an additional £7 a week in income and still be eligible for the one-third rebate of telephone rental. But, because miner pensioners are not listed among those qualified for this rebate and because the telephone is in the husband’s name, the rebate is not allowable. This couple’s total income is less than that of many pensioners who are eligible for the rebate of telephone rental. As I have said, the wife receives an age pension, but she cannot qualify for the rental rebate because someone else living in the home has an income of more than £9 10s. a week. I prefer to believe that, when the telephone rental rebate for pensioners was introduced, it was not the intention of the Government or the Minister to refuse the rebate to couples with a total income less than that of many age pensioner couples. I appeal to the Postmaster-General to consider the matter during the pre-Budget discussions and, during this sessional period, to introduce the necessary legislation to correct this obvious anomaly.

The second case that I wish to mention is that of the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated repatriation pensioner. For a considerable number of years, she has lived apart from her husband and has been able to support herself by undertaking domestic duties. For some time, she was employed at a base hospital in Queensland. After an illness that lasted more than 12 months, she is no longer able to work and has qualified for the age pension. When applying for the pension, she applied for a pensioner medical service entitlement card, only to be told that as she had income other than the age pension in excess of £2 a week she was ineligible. Since 1st November 1955, a means test on entitlement cards has been imposed. Under this means test, a single pensioner with an income other than the pension of £2 a week or more is ineligible for an entitlement card. I investigated to ascertain this woman’s total income and I found that she received £2 Os. 6d. a week as the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated repatriation pensioner. This means that a mere 6d. a week debars her from free treatment under the pensioner medical scheme.

Fortunately, this lady lives in a State where the best of medical attention is available in well equipped hospitals, thanks to a series of Labour Governments, particularly tha* led by the late Mr. Ned Hanlon, who was for many years Minister for Health and Home Affairs and later Premier of Queensland. However, if this person requires a visit from a doctor because of her illness, she will have to pay the doctor’s fee herself. She has now to decide whether to refuse the assistance of £2 Os. 6d. a week as the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated repatriation pensioner and obtain a pensioner medical service entitlement card or to pay for medical attention as the need arises and take the risk that the need will be small. As I have pointed out, she is fortunate that she lives in Bundaberg, in a State in which successive Labour Governments have established a system of medical care that is the envy of all the other States. Even today, despite the inroads made by the present Tory Government in Queensland and the number of public beds occupied by patients from outside the State, medical treatment there is free for people who want and need it. No obligation is imposed on anybody who avails himself of it and there is no flavour of charity about it. But what would be the position of this woman if she lived in one of the other States where medical and hospital services are not free? I am sure that the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar), the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz) and the Officers of their Departments have heard of similar cases.

I know that a line has to be drawn somewhere, but we are bordering on the realms of fantasy when we allow a mere 6d. a week to debar a person from free treatment under the pensioner medical scheme. Surely this matter should have been considered in the laying down of the means test. We should have some co-operation and cohesion between departments. They should not, when determining pensions and allowances or a means test, permit a situation in which a mere 6d. a week will debar a person from the benefits of the pensioner medical service in the later years of his life.

I now turn to blind invalid pensioners. I have made representations to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) on behalf of a blind pensioner with three dependent children. Under the Social Services Act, a widow with three dependent children is entitled to pension for herself at the standard rate of £6 a week, plus a mother’s allowance of £2 a week and 15s. for each child, making a total of £10 5s. a week. However, if the blind pensioner is a widower, as in this instance, he is entitled only to pension at the standard rate of £6 a week plus 15s. a week for each child. So his total income is £2 a week less than that of a widow in similar circumstances. We have often had occasion to direct attention to differentiation in benefits because of sex. The blind pensioner whose case I am discussing is unable to take employment. Because of the loss of his wife, he has to act as both mother and father to his children. He has no source of income other than his pension. Yet he receives £2 a week less than a widow in similar circumstances would receive.

I have mentioned that I referred this case to the Minister for Social Services who, in his reply, while professing sympathy, said that there was no allowance in the Social Services Act for such a payment- I hope that there is some sympathy in the Minister’s heart and in the hearts of his Cabinet colleagues in respect of this and similar cases. I am not convinced that there would not be a great number of people in this category throughout Australia. I hope that some provision will be made in the next Budget to cover the anomalies that I have mentioned this morning.


.- My grievance relates to an aspect of the national health scheme. It is not a broad and general matter, but it is one, nevertheless, that affects a significant number of people. This debate gives me an opportunity to put the matter on record in the hope that something may be done about it. About 12 months ago an elderly man over 70 years of age, not only one of my constituents but also a personal friend, was knocked over by a motor car in a highway near his home and was severely injured. The severity of his injury can be inferred from the fact that medical and hospital expenses up to 23rd February this year amounted to £1,151 9s. 5d. Naturally he went to the medical benefits fund with which he was insured, having paid the bills and hoping to receive immediate re-imbursement, but he was informed that since a writ had been taken out suing the driver of the car for negligence the medical benefits fund would not pay the amount. He was told that he must wait until the case was disposed of in court or settled out of court when he would know what compensation he would receive from this source before the medical benefits fund would make any payment at all. He then inquired of his solicitor as to how long it would be before the matter was disposed of in court and he was told that it would be about two years. This is in New South Wales, where we may hope for better things in the future, but the same kind of situation could arise in other States.

I inquired at the Government Insurance Office of New South Wales, which deals with about 95 per cent, of the business in relation to third party insurance. I was informed by that office that it simply insured a driver of a car against any liability to which he might be subject after a court had decided that a liability existed. So we have the situation where the medical benefits fund is not prepared to make any payment until the matter is determined in court and the insurance office is not prepared to make any payment until the matter is determined in court. The result is that the man may be left without any payment for perhaps two years or more. This matter does not affect only one isolated person. This is not a single case. Many people are killed on the roads in Australia in the course of a year - indeed, as many as would have comprised a whole brigade of troops in the last war. Although I have no figures to sub stantiate what I say, I imagine that the number injured is much greater than the number killed. So this is an eventuality that can happen to almost anybody and does happen to a large number of people. Therefore, it is not to be dismissed as a grievance that one person has.

It is true that figures of cost of the dimensions I have mentioned may not always be involved. The reason why the fund refuses to pay is that it would be out of pocket for a considerable time - perhaps two years - and in respect of quite a considerable amount of money. In this case it is more than £1,000. If interest were computed at 5 per cent., in a case like this it may be that the fund would be out of pocket to the extent of £100. This is quite considerable. Nevertheless, the person who is insured is entitled to prompt payment.

I wrote to the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz) about this case, and in the course of his reply he said -

I wish to explain that a basic principle of the medical benefits and hospital benefits schemes is that registered organisations are left free to manage their own affairs with a minimum of government interference. Accordingly, any matter relating to the payment of fund benefits or the interpretation of an organisation’s rule is one for the management committee of the particular organisation to determine.

My comment upon that simply is that the Government cannot wash its hands of responsibility in this matter. The scheme is one which the Government is bound to see will work, and it must use the powers that it has of persuasion or otherwise to ensure that anomalies of this kind do not occur. The Minister’s reply continued -

With regard to such cases I would point out that the medical benefits fund, in common with other registered organisations, has a rule (Rule 18 (d)) which precludes payment of funds benefits where, in the opinion of the organisation, the contributor has, or had at any time, the right to claim compensation, damages or other payment, in respect of any condition, injury or any medical, hospital or other expense. The organisation applied this rule in your constituent’s case, and, consequently, withheld payment of fund benefits until the results of any claim for third party compensation have been determined.

The Minister’s reply continued -

So far as Commonwealth benefits are concerned-

That is the proportion of the benefit that is paid by the Commonwealth Government as distinct from the proportion paid by the organisation -

I would mention that, generally, the National Health Act does not provide for payment of benefits in cases where a claim for third party compensation has been lodged. However, section 59 (3-) of the Act provides that the Director-General of Health may authorise provision of payment of Commonwealth benefits pending finalisation of the claim for third party compensation.

This is all very well, but the authorisation of this payment depends upon hardship, as 1 discovered when I approached the fund concerned. Under this provision the DirectorGeneral of Health is concerned with hardship. But how does he assess degrees of hardship? If a person simply cannot pay, it may be deemed to be a hardship because the hospital and the medical man must be paid; but there are many degrees of hardship. Why should the Director of Health be called upon to assess the degree? Suppose the wife of this man suffered from arthritis of the joints and because this payment of £1,000 was not made she was not able to pay for the domestic help that she would otherwise have had - perhaps somebody to come in for a couple of hours each morning. Is this hardship, or is it not? To my mind it certainly is.

In reading this reply in the Minister’s letter I cannot escape the feeling that this case has been put before him by an official. One would suppose that if he had written it he must have had a heart composed of a mash of manilla folders, red tape, sealing wax, letterheads and carbon paper. One knows that instead he has a heart of gold. I do not mean by that that he has a hard heart, but a kindly heart. I feel that he simply has not given his own mind to this matter and that this reply is something that has been churned out by officials. I invite him to give his mind to the matter. That is why I have raised the subject in this place.

To my mind it is preposterous for three reasons at least that this position should be allowed to continue. First, when people insure for hospital and medical fees they naturally assume that on the presentation of hospital and medical bills they will receive the amounts due to them from the insurer. When they do not, they regard this as a breach of faith and fraud. The issue for them is as simple as this. Secondly, since a motor accident is something that may happen to anyone^ whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, it is a risk that every contributor to a fund must run. Surely, therefore, it would be the general desire of contributors, upon payment if need be of a few shillings extra per annum, to be insured against this risk on the same terms as against any other condition requiring hospitalisation or medical treatment, with a right to prompt payment of benefits. Thirdly, who is to assess hardship? I have already said something about this. Is it cynically to be assumed that as long as the hospital and medical profession are paid all is well? The need for such assessment, since hardships are infinite according to varying circumstances, should surely never arise. I commend this matter to the personal attention of the Minister and I hope that this grievance - it is a grievance - affecting a significant number of people will be remedied.


.- In the time at my disposal I desire to address a few remarks on the question of anonymous writers in newspapers. I think they are worthy of mention from time to time despite the fact that they are afraid to sign their names. Every member of the Parliament knows that in the. various journals of the Commonwealth, be they daily publications or weekly publications, we see articles written by anonymous writers on politics, radio, television, football, international affairs and a variety of other subjects. Many of these writers go under the title of “special correspondent” or “a spokesman for the Government “ or for this or that organisation. They have become well known throughout the land under various titles.

The political correspondents or the newspapers’ spokesmen on politics take advantage of such names to attack whatever political party or individual does not suit them at the time. It does not seem to dawn on them that the fact that they are not prepared to sign their names and that they write anonymously means that they are using a cowardly way to put a point of view which they submit has great substance. Later on I propose to say what I believe should be done about this type of reporting which not only is detrimental to the prestige and standing of the Press but also is a very cowardly way of forcing on the public the views of people who are unknown to readers.

I have in mind one particular example of this. On the centre page of the “ Sunday Mirror”, which is printed in Sydney each week, there is a television commentary by a gentleman or a woman - I do not know whether the person wears pants or a skirt, because only the nom de plume “ Veritas “ is given. This very courageous writer who will not put his name at the top of his articles, goes under this great, high sounding title: “Veritas, the T.V. critic who writes without fear or favour”. He will not sign his name. He writes under a name that nobody understands.

Why will not this gentleman sign his name? Who is he? Some people tell me that he is the editor of the newspaper; but I do not know. Is he the editor? Is he the chief clerk? Could he be a broken down journalist who is getting part time work by writing for the “ Sunday Mirror “? Could he be a time server who has to do things that the Press wants him to do? Is he some incompetent and unreliable individual who is not game to put his name on what he writes, because if he did we would know immediately that he is not competent to write on television or anything else? Who is he? Why should not people who are being defamed in this journal know who is writing the articles? I suppose you could sue the editor of the newspaper for libel, if you desired to. If you knew who the writer was you might not bother to waste time in Court because he was so dopey that he would not know what he was writing about.

This pattern of journalism is going right through our society today. The amazing thing is that I have been advised that the word “ Veritas “ means truth. Does that not show how newspapers can misrepresent the truth? Many of this gentleman’s writings show that he does not even look at some of the programmes, that he does not understand television and that he has a slanted mind on every aspect. In the latest issue of this journal many able people who appear on our television screens are mentioned in this gentleman’s column.

Each of them is praised or defamed in some way or other by “ Veritas “. Why should he hide behind an alias? Only criminals are afraid to reveal their right names.

Why should not the people who read this man’s views - whether they accept them or not - know who he is? Why should not Don Lane and the various other people who are mentioned in this column know who is attacking their position and standing in the television world, particularly if the writer asks many thousands of readers to accept his views on this subject? If the “ Sunday Mirror “ and “ Veritas “ believe that there is substance in what is printed in the television column, why are they not prepared to make public the name of the writer? As I said earlier, I have been told that that the writer is the editor of the newspaper. If he is ashamed to sign his name to the column, he ought not to be editor of a second rate journal, let alone of a newspaper of the standing of the “ Daily Mirror “. I mention these matters in order to show the pattern right through our society.

I believe that some body - perhaps the journalists’ ethics committee - might well consider insisting that people who write articles on politics and other matters under titles such as this be called upon to put their names at the top of their columns. Although I may disagree with their writings, some of the journalists in the Press gallery here, at least, are prepared to sign their names to their articles. I excuse them, because they are prepared to stand by the opinions that they express.

Mr Duthie:

– They have to do that during election campaigns.


– Yes. I am reminded by the honorable member for Wilmot that during election campaigns political articles have to be authorised. How often have members of the Parliament found themselves defamed by some fellow who writes under the title of “ special correspondent “? He is a really courageous chap. You cannot attack him in any way because you do not know who he is. In the main, these titles are used to hide the great collection of dopes who write on various matters associated with politics, television and everything else. That is the only basis on which I can put it. If they were men of reputation, if they understood the subject on which they were writing and if they had any knowledge of the problems about which they write in their columns, they would not be afraid to sign their names.

Whatever this chap “Veritas” says and whatever people who write on politics under other nom de plumes say, let it be said that the people about whom they write, in the main, come out into the open and express their point of view on television and in other places. If people are given the opportunity to write other people up or down and to try to mould public opinion on politics, football, television, international affairs, or whatever the subject may be, members of the public are entitled to insist, governments have a responsibility to insist, and the Australian Journalists Association in particular should insist, that the names of these writers should be known to the people whom they are criticising and to the public. I make that suggestion to the people associated with the newspapers and journals. For too long have we given licence to writers anonymously to do as they like and to print all kinds of accusations against people.

I know that in days gone by this matter has been raised by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) and other members of the Parliament. Unfortunately, very little appears to have been done about it. The Australian Journalists Association and the newspaper proprietors might well get together on this issue in order to restore the reputation that some sections of the Press had as journalists whose writings on the great questions that come before us from time to time could be accepted and understood by the public. I do not wish to speak for much longer. I have been in this Parliament and in public life for long enough not to give a hang about what a newspaper or anybody else says about my actions. I am prepared to defend my actions. I believe that the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney), who is at the table, and other people will agree with me when I object to people who will not sign their names attacking members of the Government parties or members of the Opposition on their policies on all aspects of our national life, when those people are not prepared to come out into the open and to put their names on the top of the articles that they write.

I make this appeal today: I ask the people who are associated with the newspapers in this country to have a good look at this situation and particularly at this second rate writer on television who writes under the name “ Veritas “. He uses as a nom de plume a word from a language which is not the language of our country. If he really wants his work to be accepted and understood, why does he not come out into the open, as Ministers of the Crown, other politicians and other public figures have to do, and let the world at large see him, know him and judge whether he is competent or incompetent? I discard the criticisms of “special correspondents” and other people who write under aliases, because they are in the same category as people who ultimately go to gaol for hiding their names for reasons that they do not want people to know.


.- The subjects on which I want to speak can be classified as electoral redistribution and decentralization. I do not normally cite figures, but shall do so on this occasion. In “Hansard” of 27th April 1965 appear figures relating to the number of electors in each of the States as at 26th March 1965. They show that New South Wales had 2,260,443 electors, Victoria 1,667,268, Queensland 866,286, South Australia 566,685, Western Australian 421,187 and Tasmania 195,620. 1 quote these figures to help establish the case I seek to put before the Parliament. It does not take a mathematical genius to work out that with each State being represented by 10 senators it takes 226,044 voters to elect a senator in New South Wales, but only 19,562 to elect a senator in Tasmania. Whenever it is suggested by representatives of rural electorates in this House that such electorates should have fewer electors than metropolitan seats members of the Australian Labour Party call for one vote one value. However, they never object to the Senate composition. This, surely, is the height of inconsistency. Whenever the Constitution does not suit them they say, “Why not appeal to the public by way of referendum? “ However, we have not heard from them that there should be a referendum concerning the number of electors for each senator.

I do not object to these figures, because I believe the smaller and less populous States should have an equal opportunity with the States with larger populations. Tasmania, being a small area, is perhaps one State in respect of which we could raise an objection, but I do not wish to do so. Western Australia and Queensland have their problems. The smaller States seek an advantage to build up their populations and to bring about decentralization. However, inside the States are areas that require similar treatment. We have a concentration of members of Parliament from the city areas. For instance, Victoria has 33 members in the Federal Parliament, 22 of whom represent seats in the Melbourne metropolitan area. What chance have we to decentralize anything unless we decentralize political representation?

Mr Peters:

– Oh, rubbish.


– The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) is loud in his protest, but we note that his electorate contains 31,553 electors. The electorate of Lalor contains 104,113 voters and the electorate of Bruce 109,132. The electorate of Melbourne, represented by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), contains 32,623 voters. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has announced that there will be no redistribution of electorates during the lifetime of this Parliament but that there will be a referendum seeking to break the nexus between the numbers of the House pf Representatives and the Senate. I am not very happy about this. I can come out in the open because I am not immediately personally concerned. I represent the Mallee electorate and whichever way it moves - whether it moves out further to more electors or back to fewer electors - will not affect the general vote there. I am not foolish enough to suggest that I can always hold that seat, but any change in numbers will not affect the type of vote that has been recorded during the last 20 to 30 years. The electorate is a Country Party area, as is the district immediately outside its boundaries. The seat will not be affected by a redistribution, so I can speak impartially. Have honorable members realised that if there is no redistribution until after the referendum, and not during this Parliament, any redistribution under normal circumstances will not have effect until December 1969? If this happens it will mean that the honorable member, of Scullin will continue to represent his 31,553 voters and the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) his 109,132 voters and the rural electorates will not get the deal they should get under our electoral legislation.

I have spoken on this subject on many occasions. Every time we consider the estimates for the Department of the Interior I mention it. The Electoral Act lays down certain conditions governing a redistribution of electorates, and section 19, in part, states - the Distribution Commissioners may adopt a margin of allowance, to be used whenever necessary, but in no case shall the quota be departed from to a greater extent than one-fifth more or onefifth less.

I realise that at present the quota is more than 40,000, but taking 40,000 in round figures as the quota, if this section were fully implemented, in city seats there would be 48,000 electors and in country seats 32,000 electors. This would be the greatest move for decentralisation that we have ever had in Australia. We have had objections, motions and statements concerning decentralisation. We have heard that 60 per cent, of our population reside in the capital cities and much has been said about the great movement of population to the cities. We have heard suggestions about establishing committees to examine the situation. Decentralisation will continue to be a catchcall for politicians unless definite action is taken to decentralise political representation.

The honorable members for Kingsford Smith (Mr. Curtin) and Scullin (Mr. Peters) have been loud in their protests this morning, but let us examine their position. In each of their electorates are certain industries. I give them credit for representing the people who elect them because, after all, self preservation is still the first law of the universe, even in politics. So if it were suggested that some industries in their electorates should be decentralised - transferred to the country - what would they do? They would fight for the retention of the industries in their electorates. What would the man who runs the corner store, and who sells food or clothing to the employees of such industries, do if the honorable members advocated the decentralisation of those industries? He would help to put them out of Parliament at the first opportunity. I do not say that they should no so represent the people who elect them, because I hope that I adequately represent the people who elect me, but 1 believe in a wide concept of an Australian nation. I believe, too, in the future of this great continent.

We have to decentralise our population. I believe that the political style in the past has failed miserably. We cannot have decentralisation unless we take definite action. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) has said, in the past: “ What does the honorable member for Mallee think? Does he think that more people will go to the country or that there will be decentralisation if there are more members of the Parliament from the country? He has suggested that reduction in freight rates is the key to decentralisation. That problem would be easy to overcome if we could get more members of Parliament in decentralised areas. Then we would soon reduce freight rates. The Country Party would soon cut freight rates and would make it more congenial and profitable for people to live in decentralised areas than in crowded masses in the cities which suck the very vitality and strength that should be used to build a great nation.


.- I want to say something about our shipping industry and, if time permits, about our naval forces. Now that the Government has considered it necessary to send troops overseas, I am wondering how they will be transported. Will they go in ships belonging to other nations or will they go by air? I am making a plea for something to be done to build up both our naval forces and our merchant navy. Several times I have said in this House that there are very few passenger ships left to us that could be taken over and used for defence purposes. We have the *’ Princess of Tasmania “ and the “ Empress of Australia “ and a few other small passenger ships in various parts of Australia, but we have not nearly enough to meet our needs. We have not at our disposal ships such as we had in 1939, and I think it is time something was done to make us more self supporting in this direction. We have no “ Manooras “, no “ Manundas “ and no “ Kanimblas “. It is not so very long ago that the “ Manoora “ and the “ Kanimbla “ were sold to interests in other countries. The “ Kanimbla “ is now back here, renamed “ Oriental Queen “ and undertaking cruises from Australian ports.

These vessels were of the utmost value to this country during the 1939-45 war. The “Westralia”, the “Manoora” and the “ Kanimbla “ worked with the American forces with great distinction. They took part in every main landing in the Pacific area. The Americans always wanted these ships with them and there was great competition between the Australians serving in those vessels and their American allies to see who could get their equipment and men ashore first. I am very pleased to say that in all the cases brought to my notice the Australians got there just ahead of the Americans.

Shortly we are to have in this country our first Adams class destroyer, which has been built in America. 1 asked a question in the House as to why it was being built in America and I was told that the main consideration was time. This could not have been the real reason, because we can build not only ships but also buildings of all kinds or anything else you like to mention in as little reasonable time as you wish to nominate, so long as we have the necessary men to do the job. We are told that our engineers on certain projects, such as those working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, are constantly breaking records. The people constructing big buildings in our cities frequently break records. If the men who build ships in this country are set to work properly they can do the job in record time. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) asked the following question in this House on 29th August 1963 -

  1. How many ships have been built in Australian shipyards for the Royal Australian Navy?
  2. What was the (a) size, (b) tonnage, (c) class, (d) date of laying the keel and (e) date of completion of each ship?

The reply he received was, of course, a lengthy one and I cannot read all of it now. I point out, however, that we built a ship described as a seaplane carrier, the “ Albatross “, in two years and eight months. This was a vessel of 6,000 tons and 443 feet in length. During the war a Tribal class destroyer, quite a complicated vessel, was completed in two years and five months. Several corvettes of about 1,000 tons and 189 feet in length were also built. The “ Lismore “ was completed in 11 months, the “ Goulburn “ in 9 months, the “ Bendigo “ in 9 months, the “ Kalgoorlie “ in 14 months and the “Wallaroo” in 9 months. A few boom defence vessels were also built, the “ Koala “ taking 9 months, the “ Kangaroo “ and the “ Karangi “ taking 10 months each.

My point is that as long as the work force is set up properly the job can be done in record time. The Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney) knows as well as I do that shipbuilding in Australia in peacetime is carried on according to the money that is available. So much money is allocated each year to do the jobs required and in some cases it has taken six years to build a ship. But this does not mean that we must have our ships built overseas. I understand that when the “ Perth “ gets here she will bc Fitted with a good deal of Australian equipment. 1 believe the Ikara system will be fitted in Australia. I am very pleased to find that we are so advanced that we can build in this country such complicated electronic equipment as the Ikara system. 1 rose primarily today to make a plea for the provision of more dry docks in Australia. You cannot have a fleet of ships unless you have the facilities to service them, and we must start the job now. It is no good just listening apprehensively to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) telling us that World War III could break out any day in Asia. If this is the situation we must do something now. It is no good just saying that the Minister for External Affairs may be right or that he may be wrong. According to the statement attributed to him by the newspapers, we are in danger and we have not much time in which to put our affairs in order. I am not giving away any secret information when I tell the House what our docking facilities are. The information has been published in several publications and is known all over the world. I believe we should at least have a dry dock of adequate size somewhere west of Sydney. We have two small dry docks in Victoria which can take only very small ships. Western Australia, which is expanding very rapidly, should have a dry dock.

I know that there are difficulties connected with this proposition. I know that Commonwealth and State relations are involved. But I believe the Federal Government and the State Governments should get together and see that these facilities are provided. Everybody knows how long our coastline is. We have a sizable dry dock in Brisbane and we have the big Captain Cook dock in Sydney, and that is all. I hope that my words will fall on receptive ears and that something will be done about this matter, which is of vital importance. I understand that in Fremantle alterations are now being made to the harbour. This would provide a wonderful chance to do something about the provision of dry dock facilities.

I have before me a report of a plan to bring Japanese to this country to dredge ports on the north coast of Western Australia. I want to make a plea for the professional civil engineers of Australia who, in my opinion, include in their numbers the world’s best dredging engineers. Some of them have been asked to go to many overseas countries to carry out dredging operations. Even in Alaska you will find Australian engineers engaged on dredging projects. Others have been doing this kind of job in Malaya for many years. Yet we find that in order to deepen a simple port in Western Australia it may be necessary to bring Japanese here to show us how to do the job. This is quite wrong, because we have men in this country capable of carrying out this work.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

.- In the short time available to me this morning I should like to refer to the administration of the Commonwealth scholarships scheme for secondary school students. The legislation giving effect to this scheme was passed last year. At that time the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) indicated clearly - this was certainly accepted by honorable members on this side of the House - that the Commonwealth’s scheme was not meant to be a substitute for a State scheme that already existed. The Prime Minister said -

The Commonwealth will raise no objection to the holding of other scholarships concurrently with the Commonwealth scholarship, with the exception that a Commonwealth scholarship cannot be held concurrently with another scholarship which involves a bond of any kind.

I think that is clear. The Commonwealth has no authority in the field of State education and does not want authority except where it is invited to enter. But in two States - Queensland and Tasmania - State scholarship schemes have been withdrawn following implementation of the Commonwealth scheme. I regard this action as unfortunate. I have already had conversations with the Minister for Education - correspondence in the daily Press - in which the Minister for Education has stated that not more than £75 a year should be charged in tuition fees for children who attend non-government schools. This involves a presumption on the part of the Minister which is a little intriguing because, in general, the costs of education are greatly in excess of £75 a year under Queensland’s education system. It costs about £110 a year for each child in State secondary schools. Yet a limit of £75 is set by the Minister as his reason for withdrawing the State scholarships scheme - reasons that are both inaccurate and partial.

Mr Gibson:

– The Tasmanian Government has withdrawn a matriculation allowance for students in receipt of the Commonwealth secondary scholarship.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– That is right. Such action is unjust. Whatever a school charges a parent for tuition is no concern of the State Department of Education. It is an arrangement between the school and the parent. We know that many schools charge parents nothing for the education of their children because some parents cannot afford to pay. We know that many schools reduce their fees because more than one child in a family attends the same school. The whole point is that fees are an arrangement between the school and the parent concerned. Such a private arrangement should not be made an excuse for withdrawal of a traditional State interest in this field.

There are other unsatisfactory features resulting from the Queensland Government’s withdrawal from this field. The Department of Education is forcing discrimination in fees that are charged - something that it fights against in education itself. Children who have a Commonwealth scholarship are to be charged £20 a year more than children who do not have a scholarship. Such dis crimination is against all our principles and ought to be contrary to the principles of the Queensland Department of Education.

One other matter relating to the practice in Queensland must be mentioned. A book allowance is payable in the Commonwealth scheme. By withdrawing the scholarship allowance of £20 a year, the room in which to manoeuvre to gain a book allowance of more than £25 a year becomes very narrow. A greater portion of the second £100 that is payable under the Commonwealth scholarships scheme will be taken up in the payment of fees than should be the case. We know that children in their last two years of secondary schooling often have to pay more than £25 for books, but the Queensland Department of Education has fixed this upper limit. Whatever way we look at the administration of this aspect of education in Queensland I do not think we can be satisfied with it.

The Commonwealth has entered an area of education in which it has not had a previous interest. As far as I know, when the Commonwealth’s scheme was being debated the Queensland authorities never publicly stated that they would withdraw from the field upon implementation of the Commonwealth scheme. No word of Queensland’s intention was ever heard but effect was suddenly given to its intention by administrative procedure. It is interesting to ponder how much money is involved in the action of the Queensland Department of Education. It is difficult to make an accurate assessment, but I have calculated conservatively that in the full flower of the Commonwealth scheme Queensland would save £22,000 a year. The actual sum might be nearer £24,000 a year. It is difficult to arrive at an accurate assessment where Commonwealth and State partnerships are involved. If Queensland persists in its attitude in this field, as in other fields, how are we ever to know what is the net cost of anything we do? We face a complicated calculation of how much the Commonwealth gives and another complicated calculation of how much the State saves or the extent to which the State withdraws its traditional interests. This must be borne in mind when any other scheme is involved. When the Premier of Queensland attended the recent

Premiers’ Conference he chided the Commonwealth over one or two matters. He said that the Commonwealth had not been a satisfactory partner with Queensland in the matter of university education. Addressing the Prime Minister he said -

If I may say so with respect, Sir, that is not the proper way for partners to behave to one another.

Mr Coutts:

– Tell that to the Country Party in Queensland.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– The honorable member should not play politics all his life. In this matter I could well say to the Premier of Queensland: “ I do not think - and certainly many members on this side of the House agree with me - that this has been a correct way for partners in the field of education to behave to one another”. I look forward to the day when this anomaly will be corrected so that a true partnership may be developed in education. If this does not happen we will always have these difficult problems of calculating whether anything we do is a benefit or a cost to the people concerned.


– I was entertained this morning by the remarks of the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) relating to Victorian electorates. He complained that my electorate of Scullin has only 30,000 electors whereas the electorate of Lalor, which is represented by another member of the Labour Party, has 100,000 or more electors. He said this situation was most undesirable. I say emphatically it is most undesirable. But it is no more undesirable than for the electorate of Mallee to have 40,000 electors and the electorate of Scullin to have 60,000. The same principle is violated in the two instances. We of the Australian Labour Party stand for one vote one value. We stand for democracy.

Mr Turnbull:

– What about the Senate?


– The honorable member for Mallee says by way of interjection, in effect, that we should stand for one vote one value for the Senate. The result would be that the Senate would become an absolute replica of the House of Representatives. We do not stand for that. We stand for the abolition of every Upper House in all the Parliaments of this country. We stand for the unicameral system of government in Australia. If we have foisted upon us, as a result of a slavish imitation of the Connecticut compromise, a staggered system of election for the Senate, we are not to blame. We are opposed to it. We are in favour of democratic government for Australia. The honorable member for Mallee on the one hand bemoans the lack of democracy as between the electorates of Scullin and Lalor and on the other hand wants to implement a system of anti-democratic government as between the electorate of Mallee and every other electorate in Victoria. He wants representation for broad acres and sheep, and I would say that no member of this Parliament is more fitted to represent sheep than the honorable member for Mallee is.

Mr Turnbull:

– The honorable member always gets nasty and personal. Can’t he make a speech without being personal?

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Order! The honorable member for Mallee has made his speech.


– The honorable member said that I am getting personal and nasty. I am trying to be as polite to the honorable gentleman as I can be, and I am probably more polite to him than any other member of this House is. However, I did not rise to refute the absurdities of the honorable member for Mallee. I did not rise to proclaim a situation that is self-evident to the people of this country and has been made self-evident ever since there was a Labour Party in the politics of Australia. I did not rise to proclaim that the Labour Party stands for one vote one value in every department of politics and that it is the only party in this Parliament, the internal operations of which are based upon democratic control and which would introduce into this country a system of pure, undiluted democracy. I rose to say that on five or six occasions since I have represented the electorate of Scullin I have asked the Treasurer to take such action as would make the sources of income and the incomes of all public men known to every member of the community. What I desire to be done here is what is done in Norway and in many of the States of the United States of America and that is that the incomes of all public men and the sources of those incomes be published annually in the report of the Commissioner of Taxation. Every now and then the honesty and integrity of members of Parliament are impugned. We continually hear such comments as: “ After all, they are the best politicians that money can buy “.


– Order! It is now 15 minutes to 1 o’clock. In accordance with Standing Order No. 106, the debate is interrupted and I put the question -

That grievances be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 4 p.m.

page 1226


Assent to the following Bills reported -

Customs Tariff Bill (No. 1) 1965.

Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill 1965.

Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill 1965.

Housing Loans Insurance Bill 1965.

page 1226


Discharge of Motions

Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the following Tariff Proposals being part of Order of the Day No. 17 - namely, Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 25 to 30, Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals No. 3 and Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals No. 8- be discharged.

These proposals were incorporated in Bills which have now been assented to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1226


Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 36); Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 37); Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals (No. 4)

Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 36).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1964, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that the amendments operate, and be deemed to have operated, on and after the twenty-third day of April, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five.
  2. That, in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 9th November, 1964; 12th November, 1964; 17th March, 1965; 18th March, 1965; 23rd March, 1965; and 8th April, 1965.

[Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 37).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1964. as proposed tobe amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the seventh day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ mean the Custo ms Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 9th November, 1964; 12th November, 1964; 17th March, 1965; 18th March, 1965: 23rd March, 1965; and 8th April, 1965.

[Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals (No. 4).]

That the Second Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) 1960-1964, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the seventeenth day of March, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the seventh day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. **Mr. Speaker,** Customs Tariff Proposals No. 36 and 37 and Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals No. 4, which I have just tabled, relate to proposed amendments of the Customs Tariff 1933-1964 and the Canada Preference Tariff 1960-1964. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 36 relate to tariff alterations proposed by " Gazette " notice during the recent recess. A Press statement issued at the time by my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen),** and a copy of the relevant " Gazette " notice and Special Advisory Authority's report on continuous filament polyamide and polyester yarns were circulated to honorable members at the time the duty changes were made. The effect of these was to apply a temporary additional duty of 2s. 6d. per lb. on processed polyamide and polyester yarns. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 37 give effect to the Government's decisions in respect of the following Tariff Board reports - >Electrostatic air or gas filters operating at voltages exceeding 20 kv. > >A.C. watt-hour meters. > >Telescopic sights for weapons. > >Ethylene polymer and copolymer products. > >Monofil, strip and imitation catgut. At a later stage I shall table the relevant reports. In its report on electrostatic air or gas filters the Tariff Board found that although only a small part of local demand was met by imports, the local manufacturers were at a competitive disadvantage against imports admissible at British preferential rates. On its recommendation therefore the present British preferential tariff is being increased by 2½ per cent, to 20 per cent, ad valorem and the most favoured nation rate will be reduced by 12½ per cent, ad valorem to 30 per cent. The proposed duties of 30 per cent, ad valorem under the British preferential tariff and 40 per cent, ad valorem most favoured nation on single-phase A.C. watthour meters represent an increase over the present fixed rate duties and have been designed to protect long established local manufacturers from increasing imports which the Tariff Board considers could otherwise reach serious proportions. Nonprotective duties have been recommended for polyphase watt-hour meters. The Tariff Board also reported on the question of dumping of A.C. single phase watt-hour meters. The Board found that dumping had occurred and appropriate action is therefore being taken by my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Senator Anderson),** under the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act. The Tariff Board has recommended the removal of the protective duties from telescopic sights for weapons. The Board received no requests for maintaining the present duties or evidence of commercial production in Australia. Ethylene polymer and copolymer products are at present subject to various protective duties. On the Board's recommendation it is proposed to apply uniform ad valorem duties of 20 per cent. British preferential tariff and 30 per cent, most favoured nation to these goods, with an alternative fixed rate duty on extruded products and articles made therefrom of1s. 3d. per lb. to counter low-priced imports. The proposed rates represent an increase in duties on the major extruded products produced by local manufacturers but are substantially lower than the present duties on moulded products. The Board found in its report on monofil, strip and imitation catgut that the local industry has good prospects for expansion and should be able to supply the greater part of Australian requirements. It has recommended the moderately protective rates of 10 per cent, ad valorem British preferential tariff and 20 per cent, ad valorem most favoured nation which are now being introduced. Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals No. 4 are complementary to Customs Tariff Proposals No. 37 and maintain a 7½ per cent margin of preference over the most favoured nation rate of duty on seat covers for vehicles when made of polyethylene. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Dr. J.** F. Cairns) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1229 {:#debate-31} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP -- I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects - >A.C. watt-hour meters. Electrostatic airor gas filters operating at voltages not exceeding 20 kV. Ethylene polymer and copolymer products. Monofil, strip and imitation catgut. Telescopic sights and weapons. Hand saws and blades therefor. Trisodium phosphate dodecahydrate I also present a report by a special advisory authority on the following subject - >Continuous filament polyamide and polyester yarns. The reports on hand saws and blades therefor and trisodium phosphate dodecahy.drate do not call for any legislative action. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 1230 {:#debate-32} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-32-0} #### VIETNAM Ministerial Statement Debate resumed from 4th May (vide page 1 1 26), on the following paper presented by **Sir Robert** Menzies - >Vietnam - Ministerial Statement, 29lh April 1965. And on the motion by **Mr. Hulme** - >That the House take note of the paper. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KRK} ##### Mr McIVOR:
Gellibrand .- The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** rightly said that the decision of the Government to send the First Battalion of the Australian Regular Army to Vietnam is, without question, one of the most significant events in the history of this Commonwealth. 1 extend that statement by saying that the subsequent reactions to this decision throughout Australia, and the world generally, make the decision of this Government one of the most significant in the history of the world. No amount of argument can deny that in this country the Government's decision has caused a sharp and very marked difference of opinion among the people on this great national issue. In fact, it is true to say that there is throughout the world a very marked difference of opinion on the decision of the Australian Government to send troops to South Vietnam. That this is so was revealed in no uncertain manner in the debates at the recent S.E.A.T.O. Conference. Just as in Australia there is a very great bulk of the people opposed to this move, so, too, is there in the United States of America a tremendous number of people opposed not only to the move that Australia has made but also to a continuance of war in South Vietnam. In fact, it is true to say there are in America people of very prominent standing in the affairs of the nation who are saying that the injustices perpetrated in the name of anti-Communism must cease. They say, further,-that the only plan the American Government has for this war is to make it grow steadily bigger. On that note, I desire to refer to the statement made by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** on Cyprus when he informed the House that the Government had acceded to the request of the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations for a continuation of the Australian police element in that country. The Prime Minister further stated that the police element would be an integral part of the United Nations force, which is composed of 6,000 troops from seven countries and 170 police from five countries. He went on to say the function of the United Nations is to preserve international peace in the world, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions. I do not think the Prime Minister would disagree with me if I said that the measures taken by the United Nations force in Cyprus have saved countless lives and prevented untold suffering and misery befalling the people of Cyprus. Referring further to Cyprus, I draw the attention of the House to the fact that, prior to intervention by the United Nations, it was considered that the civil war in Cyprus would lead to war between Greece and Turkey and, eventually, to world war. Accepting without reservation the great debt which humanity owes to the United Nations for its intervention in Cyprus, I ask: How can this Government on the one hand praise the efforts of the United Nations in Cyprus and on the other hand reject the plea from thc Opposition, from the people of this country and, indeed, from people all over the world, for United Nations intervention in South Vietnam? To me, this sort of philosophy is strange. It is the sort of philosophy that has led to such remarks in the Press concerning the Vietnam decision as that the decision of the Government to send troops to South Vietnam has been a death for dollars deal and that the Government has accepted a blood bath for a balanced budget. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** have become very annoyed at these suggestions, as has been indicated by their attitudes during question time. I humbly suggest, however, that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, and indeed the members of the Cabinet, should do a little soul searching for I am sure that, after having conducted this exercise, they will concede that the criticism that has been levelled at them is the result of their own folly. The criticism arises from the very salient fact that the decision to send troops to South Vietnam is only another instance in the sorry record which this Government possesses of its irrevocable attitude not to take the people into its confidence on major issues of this kind. Argue as you will, the stark fact remains, to put it in the words of the Prime Minister, crystal clear that the timing of the decision was, to say the least, absolutely bad. The Prime Minister admitted that discussions on this matter had been going on for some weeks yet, at the same time, in another place a very responsible Minister denied that he knew anything about it. The Prime Minister would not have been establishing any precedent or breaching any principle or confidence if he had told this Parliament and the nation in general some weeks ago that the Government was discussing the advisability of sending troops to South Vietnam. Unfortunately, he waited until the papers were full of stories telling the world about the tremendous battles which those two valiant knights, **Sir William** Gunn and **Sir Roland** Wilson, aided by that charming prince, the Treasurer, were having in America to save Australia from the financial mess into which the Government had allowed this nation to descend. Each and every one knows - none can deny it - that the Press painted a very gloomy picture about this and indeed about the sad reaction to the overtures of these gallant gentlemen in their efforts in America to win the dollar battle for Australia. Amidst the gloom and despondency that the newspapers depicted about their efforts in America came the news that Australia would try to solve the difficulties of the United States in South Vietnam by sending a battalion of soldiers to that country. Then, after this statement, a shining star appeared which heralded a brighter economic future for Australia, for it was announced almost simultaneously that our three gallant gentlemen in America had won the battle of the dollars. Therefore, I say the Government brought the criticism down upon its own head by its own actions. An earlier announcement by the Prime Minister that the Government was considering the question of sending troops to South Vietnam would not have committed the Government one way or the other. But an earlier announcement would have averted the odium which has been directed at it, and to which it so emotionally objects. I feel sure that if the whole gamut of the exercise to which I have referred were made the subject of a court case the Government would be convicted on circumstancial evidence, as being accessory to the fact. It should be a lesson to the Government that the great majority of the Australian people will not tolerate the very obvious reluctance of this Government to take them into its confidence on matters of great national importance such as this, for they have reacted in a very definite manner to the treatment they have received. Having said that, I want to refer to a pamphlet that was sent to honorable members of this House today with the compliments of the Executive Officer of the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign. Attached to the document is a slip with the heading - >What do you know about the world's greatest tragedy? That document goes on to inform us that the world's population in 1965 is 3,300 million, that the number close to starvation is over 1,000 million, that the number suffering malnutrition is over 1,000 million and that the number who are well fed, including you and me, **Mr. Speaker,** is only 1,000 million. It goes on to say - >Two-thirds of the world's people are suffering from hunger now. These people will die before their time because of starvation and malnutrition. . . If two-thirds are poorly fed today, how can the world manage to feed the extra 180,000 mouths that are added each and every day to the world's population? Therefore, in answer to those who advocate war and to those people who say that China wants the rich rice bowl of South East Asia, and that in order to prevent the spread of Communism the war must be escalated in North Vietnam and China, I suggest that they pause and think how the spread of Communism could be prevented by the use of the billions of dollars that have been spent on the 20 year war in South Vietnam, on the war that cannot be won, on the war that was lost before it was even started, on the war about which the late President Kennedy said - >No amount of American military assistance in Indo-China can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, an enemy of the people which has the sympathy and covert support of the people. As each day goes by, the fact that the war in South Vietnam cannot achieve anything that will help better the lives of the people of that area becomes more apparent. As each day goes by, it becomes more apparent that the enemies that must be beaten in order to gain the friendship of the people of the underprivileged nations are hunger, disease, poverty and ignorance. I say, therefore, let us divert the billions of pounds now being used for the mass destruction of humanity to a crusade of reclamation of humanity, for no-one can deny that the policies of exploitation, subjection, oppression and corruption can no longer be tolerated in this day and age. One can say with equal truth, **Mr. Speaker,** that attempts to perpetuate these policies can only bring disaster and accelerate even faster in the future than in the past the growth of Communism. It is interesting to hear honorable members on both sides of the House refer to selfdetermination and become vocal about President Sukarno and his announcement of self-determination for West Irian. That is very good. But I wish those honorable members would use the same endeavours to help self-determination for South Vietnam, for it is in self-determination that the peace and security of South Vietnam lie. Finally, I think all honorable members will agree that the announcement by President Johnson of the United States of America that America was prepared to negotiate brought a sigh of relief from people all over the world. It was generally conceded that the world had again been drawn back from the brink of atomic disaster. The announcement, however, was received with apprehension when at the same time the President said that there would be no cease fire. With reference to this attitude, we on the Opposition side of the House have never indicated that we desire an ungracious withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam. With equal realism we say that you cannot obtain good results by holding out the olive branch of peace in one hand and hitting a person on the head with a waddy held in the other hand. Someone must set an example. We urge the United States to set the example, aided by the sort of assistance from the United Nations to which the Prime Minister so warmly referred yesterday in his remarks on Cyprus. As the Leader of the Opposition said, this sort of action is the key to the door of hope for peace. He truly added that the action taken by this Government had closed the door and lost the key. I emphasise again that this dispute in South Vietnam must be settled by the agencies of the United Nations. I support my leader, who said that the Australian Labour Party would support wholeheartedly a peace force to help the authority of the United Nations. I conclude by saying that it will be too late to profess sanity and espouse the virtues of saving humanity when the dust haze of atomic explosions begins to settle on the world. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER:
Bradfield **.- Mr. Speaker,** may I first of all say a few words in reply to the honorable member for Gellibrand **(Mr. Mclvor).** I must say I am very disappointed in htm because he has the reputation in this House of being a moderate and sensible man. I fear that he and other honorable members like him will lose respect if they do not show their commonsense and moderation more clearly than they have up to this time. The honorable member first of all traduced the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** and spoke of a deal of death for dollars. By doing this, whether he knows it or not, he is merely making himself nothing less than a conduit pipe for Communist poison. If the honorable member had listened to the speech of the Prime Minister on Tuesday - and I give him the credit of supposing that he either did not listen or did not understand - he would have had a complete answer to this. Every honorable member who has followed these matters in the Press knows that the problem of our balance of payments is one that follows an independent historical course. The present problem began to arise many months back. He would also know that a quite separate line of development was happening in Vietnam as the war situation became more critical. It happened that these things came to a conjunction within recent days. The Prime Minister, in his speech on the 4th May 1965, reported in "Hansard" at page 1108, had this to say - >We made our formal decision in principle on 7th April . . . That is the decision to make a battalion available for South Vietnam - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . should all the circumstances render its employment useful, fitting in with the general pattern of what was being done. He continued - >Before an actual decision could be announced, discussions had to occur with the various governments . . . Obviously - with the Government of the United Kingdom- Because we were also concerned with the defence of Malaysia - the Government of the United States- Of course, because our forces would be joining theirs in South Vietnam - and the Government of South Vietnam. Naturally; because without its concurrence we could not send forces to that country. The Prime Minister went on to say that because all these discussions had to take place before an announcement could be made - and I use his words - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . not one of us is entirely his own master in respect of the timetable. Statements have to be synchronised . . . That is commonsense. He continued - >When on Wednesday of last week a story about the battalion broke in sections of the Press . . . He had to consider whether to make an announcement or to let the rumours continue. He went on to say - >The final international messages which I thought I should have before making a statement arrived at something after 5.30 p.m.- That is, on Thursday last - and *I* then decided that I would make the statement at 8 o'clock. Now, I give the honorable member for Gellibrand the credit of supposing that either he did not hear the Prime Minister or that he did not understand him, because, otherwise, the suggestion that this is a case of a deal of death for dollars is quite beyond the bounds of any decency. I give the honorable member the credit for supposing he neither heard nor understood. Let that be the end of the matter. The honorable member for Gellibrand went on to speak about the desirability of ending the conflict in South Vietnam through the United Nations. The United Nations organisation is thought of by some honorable members .opposite as a kind of deus ex machina - some god that descends and settles everything. Let us examine the United Nations. What is it? It consists of two organs. The upper, the superior, organ is the Security Council, consisting of the great powers and a few other nations which are elected from time to time in rotation. In the Security Council, which is principally charged with the preservation of peace, each great power has a veto. One of the members of the Security Council is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Another happens to be France which, for reasons that seem good to the French although they do not seem very good to me, takes a particular view in regard to South Vietnam. Now, does any honorable member suppose that if this dispute were referred to the Security Council any action could result? Of course it could not. It would be vetoed at once. There is another organ of the United Nations, the General Assembly, which consists of about 120 nations - European, American, South American, African, Asian and so forth. This organ has no power to direct that any action should be taken for the preservation of peace. It can pass a resolution saying that it would be a good idea if somebody did take action, but nobody is bound to provide forces for the purpose. The small nations are very anxious to pass resolutions but seldom do they do very much by way of implementing them by way of action. Supposing this matter were put before the General Assembly, what would come out of it? Can any honorable member opposite predict? Suppose the Assembly did pass a resolution which had to be implemented by somebody else- {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- That applies to the Security Council also. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- The honorable member is not following me. I have referred to the veto in the Security Council. Very well; suppose you then re-establish the precedent that the General Assembly, by passing a resolution, can indicate that some military action should be taken. Quarrels are going on all round the world - in Cyprus, between Israel and the Arabs, in the Dominican Republic and in a score of other places. Are you to re-establish the precedent that, whenever a rather irresponsible body - as the General Assembly has proved to be, because it has little responsibility - chooses to pass a resolution declaring war or that military action should be taken, everybody is to act upon this as if it were the voice of God? Enough of this. The United Nations is clearly not the place where this matter should be settled, and I do not think that any Opposition member who really knows anything about the situation, or who thinks about it, believes that the United Nations is the place to settle the problem. Honorable members opposite just talk about action by the United Nations. They seek to absolve themselves from their responsibilities and urge us to absolve ourselves from ours. The honorable member for Gellibrand went on and said that military action must fail because the Vietcong has the support of the people. The Vietcong may have the support of as many as perhaps one-fifth of the people, but we believe that substantial majorities should prevail and that minorities of the kind involved in this instance should not prevail through terror. The honorable member spoke about a crusade to divert the great resources being used in the war in Vietnam into a campaign to feed the hungry millions of the world. This would be magnificent. The only point is that this is impossible in present conditions, as I shall indicate when I describe the nature of the war in South Vietnam. The honorable member then turned to fear and said that there will be a holocaust, and all the rest of it. I suppose the time will never come when risks do not have to be run "for things that are worth preserving in this world, including freedom - the freedom of ourselves among others. I now come to the policy of the Australian Labour Party in this matter, **Sir. The** Labour Party issued an information release containing the text of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party at a meeting in Sydney on Thursday, 18th February 1965. At that meeting the Executive had before it a unanimous recommendation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The information release, referring to the statements by the United States of America to the Security Council on 7th February, stated - >Tn its statement to the Security Council on February 7th, reporting the air strikes against military installations in the south of North Vietnam, America insisted that its object in South Vietnam, while resisting aggression, is to achieve a peaceful settlement maintained by the presence of international peacekeeping machinery and that it would not allow the situation to be changed by terror and violence. > >This statement of American purposes is unexceptionable and the case for the American action of recent days, as based on the aim of shortening the war and achieving a negotiated settlement, which would establish and maintain the rights of the South Vietnamese people, deserves sympathetic Australian understanding. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Who made that statement? {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- It was made by the Executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party. It is part of the text of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Executive last February. Then, on 4th May 1965, we find the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** making this flat statement: " We oppose the Government's decision to send 800 men to fight in Vietnam". So honorable members opposite are all for the Americans doing what they are doing, but the Labour Party is not prepared to send anybody there to help. I do not need to pursue this further. The Prime Minister, on Tuesday last, pointed out what a craven attitude this was. The Labour Party is all for young Americans from the Middle West of the United States dying in South Vietnam, but we will have no part in events there if the Opposition has its way. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- What about the honorable member having his go in it? {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- I have had my go. I had it in World War II. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- What about having a go now? {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- I am going on for 60 now and am out of it. But I wonder whether the honorable member who has just interjected is really concerned about our security or whether he is more concerned about the Communists of North Vietnam. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- You are taking a cowardly attitude- {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Yarra will cease interjecting. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- I repeat that I wonder about that. We seek from the Opposition justification for its attitude. We have been told by the Leader of the Opposition that we do not understand the nature of the war in South Vietnam and that it is not being seriously sustained from North Vietnam. He said that it is entirely a civil war supported by the vast majority of the South Vietnamese people and that North Vietnam has no part in it. I do not think it is denied that a gentleman by the name of Ho Chi Minh is leader of the Government of North Vietnam. May I recount his history very briefly. In 1920 he joined the Tours Congress of the French Socialist Party. When it split, Ho went left to the group that joined the Third International and became the French Communist Party, of which he was a foundation member when it was formed in 1921. In June 1923 he went to Moscow as a member of the French Communist Party's delegation to the Peasants International Congress. He remained there for two years, learning Russian and revolutionary techniques. In 1923 he went to Canton as an interpreter to the Russian delegation led by Michael Borodin. He subsequently became one of the Chinese Communist Party's principal propagandists. In June 1925 he created the Association of the Annamite Revolutionary Youth. So he has gone on. We are asked to believe that this dedicated Communist, who was trained in Communism and who controls the Government of North Vietnam, is completely disinterested in what goes on in South Vietnam. We are told that he lends no aid and no encouragement to the Communists engaged in the war there. We are told that he is really not interested in that war and that he leaves it entirely to the Vietcong. This is an impossible and ridiculous proposition, **Sir. The** honorable member for Yarra has tried to tell us that there is no infiltration in South Vietnam. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- He did not say that. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- Yes he did. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- No substantial infiltration. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- Yes, no substantial infiltration. I now turn to his leader, if, indeed, the Leader of the Opposition is really the honorable member's leader. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- Why don't you stick to the facts? You are supposed to be precise. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Bradfield has already directed attention to the honorable gentleman's conduct. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- I am expressing my opinion about whether the Leader of the Opposition is the leader of the honorable member for Yarra. I am entitled to express my opinion, and I do so. I express a doubt. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister had mentioned that, in the last year, 10,000 North Vietnamese had infiltrated into South Vietnam. The Leader of the Opposition corrected the right honorable gentleman and said: " Oh, no. The American White Paper said over 4,000 for certain and another estimated 3,000. It was not 10,000. It was only 7,500." Of course, nobody knows exactly. However, I would call that number fairly substantial. It is even more substantial when one considers the quality of the people who infiltrated. These were not simply privates or lance corporals. These were top people. The infiltrators consisted npt only of seasoned troops, but also of cadres and their commanders and technical people - indeed all the people who really make a force efficient. These were people of the kind that is necessary to sustain the Vietcong guerrillas. But I do not need to go into this further. I do not for a moment believe that the Australian people really believe that North Vietnam has had nothing to do with what has been going on in South Vietnam. The only interesting point is why the honorable member for Yarra tries to put this kind of story across to the Australian people. They certainly do not believe it. This speculation is interesting. Again, it has been said by the Leader of the Opposition that the Government in South Vietnam has no popular support among the people. Let us consider the events there in a local situation. Let us suppose that one fifth of the Australian people wanted this country to become Communist. Suppose that, in all the villages about Canberra - the Federal Capital - such as Bungendore, Brindabella and Collector, there were continual incidents in which the local policeman or school teacher or some other government official was tied to a telegraph pole and stripped of his clothes and had his head cut off. Let us suppose that there was then inscribed on his chest with a bayonet the slogan, " Caution to Capitalist Supporters of the Government ". Suppose that this Parliament had been sitting for 10 yeans and, in these circumstances, it had not been possible to hold an election; so there was only the rump of the Parliament remaining. Suppose the government were composed of the members of the party that now sits opposite, split and divided into all its factions, some of the factions having been extruded. Let us suppose that this was the only form of government we could have in these circumstances and that our American friends, anxious to help the four fifths of the Australian people who did not want to be Communists, said: " We cannot possibly help these people. They have not a representative government. And what is more they have not increased child endowment." This is the kind of argument that has been put up from the other side of the House. Unfortunately, I have not time to pursue this matter in great detail, but I should like to say a word about our involvement by reason of our treaties and our relationship to the Americans. First I should like to take the Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. What does that treaty say? Article III states - >The Parties- this includes the Americans and ourselves - will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific. This is the sheet anchor of our security; if our territories are threatened they come to our aid. Article IV states - >Each Party recognises that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. > >Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. This has certainly been done by Australia, as I think the Prime Minister mentioned. Article IV continues - >Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary 10 restore and maintain international peace and security. Article V states - >For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on any of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of any of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific- This, of course, includes Papua and New Guinea - or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific. This is the sheet anchor of our security and, quite apart from treaties, it is quite clear that without the aid and assistance of a powerful friend in this part of the world we stand in mortal danger from the expansion of China southwards. I repeat that this is our sheet anchor. I have not time to go into the South East Asia Treaty Organisation where we cannot get unanimity for various reasons - because the Pakistanis are at odds with the Indians and are friendly towards the Chinese at the moment and because the French have their own reasons, which seem good to them, for their attitude. But I do not think we need to depend upon the letter and word of treaties. The relationship is the sheet anchor of our security. The Government recognises it to be so and, therefore, we stand with our allies because, unless we stand with them, we cannot expect them to stand with us. This, I think, sums up the whole situation. We cannot be so craven as to say that we are all for what America is doing in trying to seek peace by getting to a position of strength for bargaining because we want to bargain an honorable peace when we can, but although we stand with the Americans on this objective not one drop of Australian blood must be spilt. In that situation the day must come when the young men from the middle west of the United States could not be expected to come to our aid either. {: #subdebate-32-0-s3 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills .- The honorable member for Bradfield **(Mr. Turner)** did himself a serious injustice by the introduction of his McCarthyist attitude to honorable members on this side of the House, his constant calling down of personal vituperation upon the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** and the denial of good sense and sincerity from this side of the chamber. I noticed that he finished up with the statement decrying the idea that not one drop of Australian blood should be shed in Vietnam. Whose blood is going to be shed? There are honorable members on the other side of the House who are of military age and who have chosen to vote for conscription to call up voteless young Australians to go to war. Let those honorable members set the example before they start thinking in this place that we will take up our burdens with the blood of young Australians. I have heard some nonsense in my time, but the arrogant assumption that righteousness, rectitude, sincerity and loyalty lie only on that side of the House is past reckoning with. The facts of the situation are these. We are not called upon here today to apologise for or support the North Vietnam Government; we are not here today either - or should not be - to apologise for or support the South Vietnam Government or the American Government. We are here to consider a fundamental issue of Australian foreign policy. The Government has chosen to make a radical decision. It introduced conscription some months ago when it decided, for the first time in peacetime, to call up young Australians to fight in overseas wars. It has decided to send Australians to fight in undeclared wars. We are not at war with North Vietnam, apparently, according to the reply of the Minister for Defence **(Senator Paltridge)** given in the other place only yesterday. Then what are we doing? 1 believe that if we are considering an act of war and if we are concerned with the defence of Australia we are breaking some of the fundamental principles of war in the way that we are going about the operation. The honorable member for Bradfield used many cliches. He called out a lot of absolutes. But what was he talking about? He spoke of the Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States and spoke of armed attack. Against whom is an armed attack being levelled in this instance? In what way is it particularly being levelled at Australia? What are we fighting for in South Vietnam or North Vietnam? Is there any solution to this by military operation? I believe that there is one consistent lesson to be learned from history - there is no solution to such problems by military operations. Another consistent lesson from history is that Conservatives never learn. So what are we faced with? The Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** has chosen to indulge in another flight of fancy in foreign policy. What are the elements in the Prime Minister's foreign policy over the last three or four decades? He has, I believe, what Professor Parkinson would call the great capacity for reverse infallibility - he is always wrong. The thing that depresses me when I look at honorable members opposite is that they always support him, no matter what he says. We have only to turn back over the pages of history to see what he said about Hitler on 24th October 1938. His remarks are in the record. He said - >If you and I were Germans sitting beside our fires in Berlin we would not be critical of the leadership which has produced such results. Again that was a fantastic error in judgment. When we spoke of independence for India back in 1947, it will be found that the Prime Minister said, as reported at page 854 of " Hansard "- >When I read in my newspaper that on 20th February last the Prime Minister of Britain, **Mr. Attlee,** had made his dramatic and historic statement about India, my first feeling was one almost of shock. He said a little later - I shall not read it all- >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 extraordinarily delicate and difficult task. Those remarks were made by the Prime Minister of Australia when speaking about the independence of India. If he had been Prime Minister of Britain in 1947 we would probably have been fighting this kind of battle in India still. Let us consider what he has done since he has been Prime Minister. Let us consider his almost historic statements about people like **Dr. Verwoerd.** I suggest that honorable members opposite refer to the Prime Minister's statement about the former Premier of South Vietnam in the House only last week. But when speaking of **Dr. Verwoerd** he said - >He is a man of outstanding courtesy and dignity. He seems to choose peculiar friends, and he has picked peculiar friends in this campaign. What was his judgment on the position in South Africa and why is it that 10 million South African natives can be ruled by 2 million white Africans by what is m many ways a reign of terror and yet there is no attempt to interfere there? About Sharpeville the Prime Minister said - >Was the government of South Africa responsible for the shooting at Sharpeville? Did the government order the shooting? Of course it did not. One can hide one's head in the sand and talk abstractions about all sort of things, such as the honorable member for Bradfield did. But let us go further through the history. At Suez was not the Prime Minister's attitude magnificently wrong? Was not the attitude of honorable members opposite in memorable error on the question of Suez? Did not the Prime Minister bring Australia into disrepute by his association with the belligerents involved in it all? On the question of West Irian, there does not seem to be much doubt now that a great error was made by the Prime Minister in his continual support of Dutch sovereignty as the principle upon which the decision should prevail, when in fact the whole world at that time was determined that people should have self-government and that colonialism and imperialism must be destroyed. I ask honorable members to consider his behaviour at the United Nations in 1960. Recently we have had his denunciations of the possibility of negotiation. The thing that intrigued me was that the two loudest denunciators, if that is the right word, were the classical materialists - Menzies and Mao Tse-tung. These are the issues that are before us. First, we have a Prime Minister who leads a government that is always wrong on foreign policy. Secondly, we have a government that has chosen to support, not only by words and statements of policy in this Parliament but also by the actual commitment of Australian troops, the government of another country. Therefore we ought to examine that government. Nobody in this House is asked to support the Government of North Vietnam. Everybody is asked and is in duty bound to examine the whole situation in Vietnam and to look for a solution of the problem. Nobody on this side of the House says that he has a solution. We say that the problem has to be examined as objectively as possible. We have to produce negotiations. We have to apply the principle of humanity first. We have to see what the world at large can do. I believe that there will be no solution of this problem until we have arranged in some way for the disengagement of the United States of America from its commitment in Vietnam. This is not a job for one nation or for two nations. How foolish we are to commit ourselves so uncritically to American foreign policy. All governments can be wrong. All governments make mistakes. It is the inevitable capacity of the Menzies Government for compounding other people's errors that has led Australia to the position in which it is only a cipher in foreign affairs. Why is the position of China as it is? Why is the veto as it is? Why has Taiwan a permanent seat on the Security Council? Those things are the direct result of American foreign policy. At the end of the Second World War, at the time of the creation of the United Nations, China was given a permanent seat on the Security Council as a result of American policy. China - now mainland China or continental China, call it what you will - has been excluded from the United Nations principally as a result of American foreign policy. Therefore, it is almost impossible to have negotiations at which China is committed. Why is West New Guinea now part of Indonesia? Is it not a fact that West New Guinea was handed over to Indonesia as a result of negotiations which were chaired by an American representative and sponsored by American policy? On that occasion what consideration did the United States give to Australian interests or, for that matter, to the interests of the people of West New Guinea? If we care to, we can recall what we might call minor operations, such as the sponsorship of the invasion of Cuba some years back - the Bay of Pigs fiasco as it has been called. Criticism of American foreign policy is not an attack on the United States. We have the right to stand up in this House and criticise the foreign policy of the Australian Government. We have an equal right to criticise the attitudes of other Governments, especially when our Government chooses to commit us to those attitudes. One of the interesting factors in foreign affairs is the United States' attitude to China and China's attitude to the United States. I suppose this is the great problem of the Pacific area. We want to ensure that these two great nations do not come into direct collision. This is the burning question in relation to Vietnam. Sorrowful as one is for the people of South Vietnam and the people of North Vietnam, and agreed as we all are that the horrors of war are being perpetrated by both sides, there is one issue before us all: China must not be brought into the conflict. We must prevent any possibility of a collision between the nations of the West and China, because I believe that such a collision would lead to the ultimate destruction of mankind. On this occasion it is also valid to examine the South Vietnamese Government itself. Vietnam is a substantial country, lt is not quite twice the size of Victoria, but it has about 30 million people. It has about 2.000 years of history, during most of which it has been bedevilled by its neighbourhood with China. It has tremendous difficulties. What is the position in relation to the Government now? We are being asked to support a Government which is in a revolutionary situation. There is no doubt about that. We are not fighting a war; we are trying to stop a civil war. Our Government has asked us to take sides on this matter. At some stage the world has to step in and see what it can do. The thing that continually depresses me is the statements of people such as the honorable member for Bradfield **(Mr. Turner),** who on most internal matters displays a sensitive although conservative attitude, but who is constantly writing down the United Nations. 1 believe that the United Nations is the hope of the small nations of the world. There are three or four nations which will be able to look after themselves no matter what happens; but that statement does not apply to Australia. There is no absolute value in treaties. The honorable member for Bradfield pointed out - I think, slightly unfairly to the United States - that unless wc support the Americans all the way they will not support us in our hour of peril. I hope that is not the case. What is the position in respect of the Government of South Vietnam? We are asked to support it. We are committing Australian troops. **Dr. Phan** Huy Quat is the Prime Minister. I understand that he is the tenth Prime Minister in the last few months. He is the leader of the Government. How was that Government selected? Was it elected? Was it appointed? How did it gain office? It is the last of a sequence of military juntas and other irresponsible power groups. Nobody can say that we are fighting for democracy. What manner of man is **Dr. Phan** Huy Quat? We do not know exactly; but on 16th February he had to deny frequently made allegations that he was a member of the extreme right wing Dai Viet Party. He said that he was not a member of that party; but obviously he must be a very right wing, conservative person if it is thought that he could possibly belong to it. What kind of situation do we meet in this unhappy country to which honorable members opposite are so devoted and in which the honorable member for Bradfield says 20 per cent, of the people might be against the Government, to put it in the language of the classics? What has been happening in South Vietnam? As recently as 15th February serious disturbances occurred at Thang Binh in Quang Tin province, about 300 miles north of Saigon, when about 2,000 peasants demonstrated in protest against air and artillery bombardment by the Government forces of villages suspected of harbouring the Vietcong. Troops opened fire on the demonstrators, 40 of whom were reported to have been killed. The situation is that, while this civil war continues and while military endeavours are considered to be the only solution of it, the ordinary people of the community are being held to hostage. It does not matter whether they are being bombed north of the 17th parallel in North Vietnam or whether they are being bombed south of the 1 7th parallel; they are being held to hostage by one side or the other in an attempt to gain military benefit. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- That is wrong. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- The honorable member for Chisholm is not following what I am saying. I am using the term " hostage " in the sense of some people being asked to pay for the sins of others. The majority of these people are not concerned with warfare. What they want is a stable government and a peaceful existence so that they can bring up their families, grow their rice and press on. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- Who is stopping them from doing that? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- Honorable members opposite may well interject; but what is the attitude of the Government of South Vietnam to the people who want to bring about peace? A strong movement in favour of a cease fire, peace negotiations and the reunification of Vietnam developed during February and March, with both Buddhist and Caodaist support. At a Press conference in Saigon on 25th February the leaders of a newly formed peace movement issued the text of a resolution which had been signed by 358 leading intellectuals. Do honorable members opposite know what happened to those leading intellectuals? Thirty-eight of them were arrested. On 17th March a Press conference in Saigon, called by the Caodaist leaders to launch their peace campaign, was broken up by the police and the sponsor of the plan was arrested. That is the position in South Vietnam today. We are not supporting a government that is an effective government in the sense that it is producing a good society. We are not supporting a government that is an effective peacekeeping organisation. We are not supporting a government that is doing much for its people. Denis Warner has said - >The much vaunted rural help programme did not exist. Land reform was a flop. Industry was insignificant. This statement might strike a chord in Australian hearts - >Another major South Vietnamese failing in communal relations has been that of relations between Saigon and the tribal aborigines . . . Apparently, aborigines live in the mountains around the borders - . . In North Vietnam, the Communist regime, for purely practical reasons, left the tribes a measure of local self-government in autonomous zones. In South Vietnam, on the other hand, policies were pursued which, so the tribesmen felt, would lead to their eventual extinction . . . That is the measure of the Government that we have chosen to support. What is the measure of the problem of trying to support it by military measures? How many troops does our Government expect we will finally commit to this unhappy land? In Malaya we finally won, I suppose one could say. There, peace was finally achieved as a result of prodigious efforts by the British, some Australians and the Malayan people themselves. The ratio of the British and Malayan forces to the Communist forces or the revolutionaries in the Malayan engagement was 50 to 1. In Cyprus, where the British did not win, the ratio was 110 to 1. In Algeria, where the French could not win, the ratio was 10 to 1. There is no possible answer to the problem in Vietnam in military operations. How then can we achieve victory? We can have victory by negotiation. Honorable senators opposite scoff at that. Earlier I pointed out the immense difficulties in trying to have negotiations when mainland China is involved. The Chinese and American ambassadors in Warsaw have been meeting consistently for the last six or seven years. I think the last figures I saw indicated that they had their 125th meeting or thereabouts some five or six months ago. So they are prepared to meet in Warsaw and there is ground upon which negotiations can commence, but I do not think negotiations will come from one or two individual nations. What is the other alternative? The total withdrawal from Vietnam of the American and other foreign forces. This would, of course, leave the situation with the people of South Vietnam undoubtedly under Communist dictatorship. That would appear to be the ultimate result of that alternative. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Does the honorable member object to that? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- The honorable member opposite knows all the answers, but I do not claim to know the answers. However, I know that if one brings absolutes to foreign policy he gets nowhere. If we get the idea that we can bomb the Communists into submission we will get nowhere. The only result would be the total destruction of North Vietnam. One of the lessons of the last war was that humanity will stand dreadful punishment rather than give in. I instance the Germans fighting in Berlin with the Russians on the outskirts of the city and the city in a state of almost total destruction. There is no solution to be derived from bombing North Vietnam. We have to bring the rest of the world into it somehow. Of course, there is also the immense danger that the more we commit troops in Vietnam the more people will be involved and the more we will provoke China to enter the conflict. Like everybody else in the world I am sorrowful for the people of South Vietnam but the overriding consideration for humanity is to keep China out. Will we keep China out by provoking further military operations north of the division between the two countries? Were there no lessons in Korea? Is it not obvious that something else has to be done? What can be done? The honorable member for Bradfield scoffs, as honorable members opposite almost invariably do, at the suggestion that it should be taken to the United Nations Organisation. Despite the tremendous difficulties involved, I am afraid that in the end it is the only answer. A number of nations have dedicated themselves to the idea that they will support peacekeeping operations. I believe that the large nations have to be taken out so that the small nations will accept their commitments. For instance, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy and other countries have put peacekeeping forces aside. There is nothing for Australia in this situation but the sacrifice of the men we send to Vietnam. There is no solution of the problem by military operations. America and Britain may well withdraw their troops from South East Asia but we, our children and our childrens' children must live here. We have to find a solution to these problems where humanity, peace and the acceptance of the right of people to negotiate and discuss will fee the answer. We cannot find any solution by military operations alone - the only solution which this Government has offered in most international conflicts. {: #subdebate-32-0-s4 .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr HOLTEN:
Indi . -Iwant to comment on one or two statements of the honorable member for Wills **(Mr. Bryant).** Early in his speech he said that one of the main problems in the present situation was America's attitude to China - indeed, one of the main reasons for the conflict was America's attitude to China. I disagree with him entirely. I think the major reason behind this whole conflict is the Communist attitude to the rest of the world. We are debating the Government's decision to send a battalion of 800 troops into combat in South Vietnam, and the reasons behind it. This decision is extremely grave and resulted from long consideration by the Government. Many factors were weighed and the final momentous decision was reached. At the outset I want to assure the members of the armed forces involved that I appreciate their position and am aware of the tremendous responsibility and the dangers involved in this decision for them and all our other servicemen outside Australia. Every honorable member would support my remarks in this regard. While the result of the decision is important and of great seriousness, the debate in the House has not been well conducted on the Opposition side. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** represented a vain attempt to justify his stated opposition to the sending of troops to Vietnam. His speech contained statements based on wrong premises and others which indicated complete justification of the Government's reasoning in the whole affair. I have not time to mention all his wrong premises, but as an illustration he said - >By its decision the Australian Government has withdrawn unilaterally from the ranks of the negotiators. This statement is not a fact. Australia, along with the United States of America, is ready at any time for negotiations based on certain sensible grounds, with the provision that the negotiations will be genuine. To indicate that the Leader of the Opposition agrees that there is justification for the Government's attitude and decision in this matter I quote from what the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** said on Tuesday night, because I consider it underlines a basic and vital point. He said - >A little later in his speech the Leader of the Opposition made another statement which I will read. He said - " I agree that the pace of North Vietnamese aggression - and that is the only term for it - has increased, though estimates as to its extent vary considerably." > >So, here is the admission that while all this is going on the pace of aggression from the North, the pace of the positive action by the Communist North, has increased. That is the state of affairs - it is now common ground between the Government and the Opposition - in which we have had to consider whether we should withdraw from the scene, whether we should make our contribution by words, whether we should leave the United States to go it alone, or whether we should, with all our partnerships and involvements and all our risks in this part of the world, determine that we will play our part, although it may be a small one, in positive action. The decision is probably a rude awakening and may have shocked a number of Australians, mainly because of a traditional apathetic and laconic attitude in Australians - one which extends to the dangers, power and objects of Communism both at home and abroad. At this stage I consider it appropriate to restate briefly the fundamental bases of Communism and the methods practised by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China in particular. In his publication " You can Trust the Communists ", **Dr. Fred** Schwarz of the United States reminds us that **Mr. Khrushchev** said - >Anyone who thinks we have forsaken MarxismLeninism deceives himself. That won't happen till shrimps learn to whistle. So, we can trust the Communists to practice Marxism-Leninism. What is this philosophy? Stripped to its barest essentials Marxism is the doctrine of the universality of class warfare, and Leninism is the doctrine of the historic role of the Communist Party to consummate the universal class war in world Communist victory. The basic doctrine of Marxism-Leninism is that Russia and America are at war, that Russia and Australia are at war, and that China is at war with America and Australia - not that they could be at war, not that they might be at war, but that they are at war. This war is historically declared. It is universal. It encompasses every aspect of society. In it there can be no vestige of a truce. The Communists did not choose it; they simply recognised it. Their duty is to prosecute the war to total and complete victory. This is the statement by a leading author who has made a far greater study of Communism than I have. It appeals to me as being common sense when viewed in relation to the activities of Communists around the world. I quote now from another American publication, " None Dare Call It Treason ", which states what the cold war really means. The author writes - >The cold war is real war. It has already claimed more lives, enslaved more people and ca»r more money than any " hot " war in history. Within the framework of the " cold " war there have been " hot " wars in China, Malaya, Indonesia, Algeria, the Congo, Cuba, Iraq, the Gaza strip, Hungary, Korea, Angola, Burma, Tibet and Egypt. In 1963 there was fighting in Laos, Vietnam and on the Indian-Chinese border . . . There has been no big ' war because the Communists are winning without one. To sum up, the Government's decision recognises with finality that the Americans, the Australians and the South Koreans have declared that the game is on. We have cast the die. We have shown the whole world that if there ever was any doubt as to where we stand or whose side we are on, whether we are all talk or not, then there is no doubt now. We have recognised that aggressive Communism exists and we are going to fight it side by side with our great American allies. The Opposition has constantly urged consideration and solution by the United Nations. This is a completely impractical suggestion. Why? Because, first, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and China are not members *ot* the United Nations; secondly, the matte/must be discussed in the Security Council, and two prominent members of the Security Council would exercise the power of veto, as they have done in the past. I refer, of course, to Russia and France, and I might also say that Cambodia might possibly invoke the veto power. Thirdly, Peking and Hanoi have already told U Thant, the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, to stay out of the area. This indicates the attitude of Communist China and North Vietnam to the United Nations. It all comes back to this final fact: You must have two sides in order to negotiate, and if the United Nations is to have any chance of success the Communist members of it must agree to negotiate and not to use their veto powers. The Korean situation is always brought up in discussions in which the intervention of the United Nations is advocated. We are reminded that the United Nations decided to send a peacekeeping force to Korea. Of course, the decision to do so was made at a meeting of the Security Council which was not attended by the Russian representatives. It was a lucky break for the free world that a decision along these lines could be made in the United Nations Security Council at a time when the star vetoists were absent. The involvement of S.E.A.T.O. in this dispute has been queried. Investigation shows that South Vietnam is a protocol State. This means that there is an addendum to the treaty that South Vietnam is a designated State and is covered by article 4 of the Treaty in which the signatories undertook to join in resisting aggression or other threats to their individual security. The article does not cover only armed attack but also subversion and terrorism. To show that the S.E.A.T.O. countries support the action of the Australian Government I will quote a couple of extracts from the communique issued on 5th May in London by the S.E.A.T.O. Council- >The Council noted that the Communists themselves have proclaimed their assault of the Republic of Vietnam to be a critical test of the tactic of infiltrating arms and trained men across national frontiers. It agreed that history shows that the tolerance of aggression increases the danger to free societies everywhere. > >The Council reaffirmed its conclusion at Manila a year ago that the defeat of this Communist campaign is essential not only to the security of the Republic of Vietnam but to that of South East Asia, and would provide convincing proof that Communist expansion by such tactics will not be permitted. Member Governments recognised that the state of affairs in Vietnam, as described above, constitutes :i flagrant challenge to the essential purpose for which they had associated together under the Treaty: to resist aggression. So we have support of the Australian Government's action coming from all sides - from nil groups of people. This struggle in Vietnam cannot be viewed in isolation. It is a part of the world expansionist programme of the Communists, although it is obvious that different methods are being used by different countries. The Russians at the moment are using more peaceful methods, while the Chinese method is to use force and more force. It is part of our plan to show that the western countries will not allow this expansion by force to go unresisted. There is no question that the Vietnam dispute is being used as a test case by the Chinese and the North Vietnamese. Fortunately for us, this is recognised by the United States and the struggle in Vietnam is being treated as a test case. There is no question but that it is being used as a test case for the whole South East Asian area. If the Communist attack succeeds it will set a pattern that could quite possibly expand right down through Indonesia and New Guinea to the northern shores of Australia. If we left the United States alone to face this problem - and we must remember that no direct U.S. interest is involved - this would make America reluctant to join in other theatres and the Chinese and other Communists would have the field to themselves. I repeat that the Vietnam struggle cannot be viewed in isolation. Surely we have learned the lessons of the " It can't happen here " philosophy. Apathy or fear of consequences or hoping that something will turn up have in the past led to inaction and unpreparedness. Certainly we have not declared war and this is something that we wish to avoid. It is why we are taking measures such as the Government announced last week to send a battalion of men to South Vietnam in an area of restricted hostilities. I could point to many other directions in which support for the Government's decision has been evident. There have been newspaper polls, for instance. One was conducted in Melbourne and reported in the Melbourne " Herald " yesterday. It showed that the majority of people were on the side of the Government, and, after all, the Government is here to carry out the wishes of the people of Australia. It is also interesting to note that the Buddhist Association in Saigon has come out on the side of the people who oppose Communist aggression in South Vietnam. In a statement issued on 12th April the Buddhist Association said - >For more than a century, Buddhism suffered many calamities created by the Colonialists and local dictators who had sought, by every means available, to control, to sow dissension, to discriminate and oppress in order to eradicate the people's traditional faith. We should remember that about 75 per cent, of the population of South Vietnam, or 10 million people, are Buddhists. We should also remember that there are one million Catholics in that country. These are the people that we feel called upon to protect. The Buddhist Association, which represents 75 per cent, of the people, in its statement of 1 2th April, stated - >But all those dangerous plots failed and Buddhism still survives with the nation despite the fact that it had to pay a high price. However, those dangerous facts have not completely disappeared but are developing at present in insecure areas in the countryside and are seriously threatening the religious faith under various forms: It is the danger of Communist dictatorship. > >The Buddhist Association sincerely praises the noble sacrifices of Buddhist priests and faithful in the defence of Faith and Religion and prays at the same time for the liberation of the Nation and the Religion from control and subversion by the Communists. America's action in Vietnam has united the people and appears to have stabilised the country's Government, as well as quietening objectors. A force of 800 men is small numerically, but I suggest that it is not the numerical strength of this force that is important; it is the psychological effect of our contribution, particularly on the United States of America. Without America's help Vietnam would have gone by now. So too would have Cambodia, and Malaysia probably would be well on the way. It is important for us to remember these things. The Government and people of America will welcome Australia's action. When I was in America for two months last year many people from all walks of life asked me: "Will anybody else help us in the struggle in Vietnam? We feel that we are on our own." That attitude was sweeping the people away from the philosophy of their Government. I recall the LieutenantGovernor of Minnesota - a man named Keith - speaking to me. He was a Democrat, and therefore could be said to be inclined towards a socialistic outlook. His words should be noted carefully. He said: "We are in this struggle in Vietnam to defeat the Communists, but what is Australia doing? What is Australia prepared to do? Is it all talk or is it prepared to back its words with actions? " It was at that time that the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** announced that Australia would send some Caribou aircraft and more advisers to Vietnam. That action was strongly welcomed in the United States. I know that right across the nation the people of America, as well as its Government, will welcome Australia's action in sending troops to Vietnam. The American Government and the 189 million people of the United States will welcome Australia's decision as proof of the solidarity and determination of Australia in the fight against Communism and the defence of freedom. {: #subdebate-32-0-s5 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS:
Barton .- It never ceases to amaze me when Government supporters, particularly members of the Australian Country Party, warn us of the dangers of international Communism. It must equally amaze our friends in the United States of America, because in the year ended June 1964 - the latest year for which details are available - we exported to China products worth £84 million. In the preceding year our exports had been worth £64 million. In one year the value of our exports to China increased by £20 million. {: .speaker-KCI} ##### Mr Devine: -- What were those products? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- I will give details about them later. In 1963 we exported to Russia goods worth £14.6 million. But a year later we exported goods worth almost four times as much - goods to the value of £56.692 million. The £56 million worth of goods exported to Russia in the year ended June 1964 may be compared with the £73 million worth of goods exported in -the previous 10 years. In other words, in 1 964 we exported to Russia - this country with which we have so much enmity - nearly as much as we exported in the previous 10 years. What are the commodities that we export to Russia and China? We export butter, fresh mutton, machines, appliances, wheat, wool, iron and steel - all of the things that might well be used by the defence services of those countries. {: .speaker-KCI} ##### Mr Devine: -- Leather? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- Yes, and tallow, which could find its way into munitions. We are treated to a great deal of humbug when Country Party members warn us of the terrible dangers of international Communism while at the same time they are feeding the fibres of Russia's army and China's army by exporting products of the kind I have mentioned. Answering the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** in this debate the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** said that the real question was whether Australia should walk out on her ally, the United States. Later he was prepared to concede that sometimes he was guilty of over-simplifying great issues. He said - >T am a great believer, -when it comes to determining international obligations, in simplifying a proposition so that it stands out stark and clear and so that we all know what it is we are deciding . . . That is a very noble thought but unfortunately the Prime Minister sees all of these issues affecting international questions and principles - Communism and matters of that kind - in terms of black and white or, rather, in terms of red and royal blue. He has over-simplified this matter to suggest that it deals merely with the question of whether we should be loyal to our ally the United States. There are, as we have recognised in the debate already, several aspects of this question that have to be dealt with, but I want to divert myself and the House for a moment to refer to one side issue. That is the recent visit of Cabot Lodge to this country. The Prime Minister told us at question time yesterday that Cabot Lodge bad come here on something of the nature of a courtesy call. The Prime Minister assured us that he had not come here to ask Australia for anything. The Prime Minister said that Cabinet was given the opportunity of asking Cabot Lodge questions about the kind of things one might be expected to want to know about. The Prime Minister reminded us that our very eminent visitor had had lengthy experience in Vietnam and would be capable of making a worthwhile assessment of the situation there. I am one of those generous hearted souls who is prepared to accept what the Prime Minister says about these things. He assures us that Cabot Lodge came here on a courtesy call. All 1 can say is that he came here in one heck of a hurry and went away in a heck of a hurry. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- He was lucky to see anybody. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- He probably saw the smallest segment of our population it was possible to see without seeing only tha Prime Minister. I am not trying to score off this issue, but there may be a lesson to be learned here. If Cabot Lodge did come here as an act of public relations in order to put Australia in the picture, as well he might because the Government has made some very bumble-footed mistakes of late, what a great opportunity was lost in not bringing him before the people of this country. Today we enjoy the great medium of television. What great interest and education there would have been for the Australian people, who will foot the bill in Vietnam - some will lay down their lives there - to have seen Cabot Lodge on television and to have witnessed his being interviewed and telling us of his great experience and great knowledge. There would be far less suspicion about diggers for dollars and bullion for bodies if the Government had been a little more on its toes and had recognised that it was not the sole fountainhead or repository of knowledge about our international commitments. We kid ourselves, do we not, that we live in a democracy? Do we not kid ourselves that what we aim to get is an informed democracy? Here was a splendid oppor tunity in my view. I would like to have been asking a few questions of our eminent visitor. What honorable member would not like to have had that opportunity? What about the great Australian public, who in a democratic society should be entitled to know as much as security will permit about their obligations and the assessment of the situation in Vietnam? I think it was shocking to lose the opportunity to give them this information. I do not blame Cabot Lodge. I think his intention was to stay here for at least three days, but, because the Ministers wanted to be away at their holiday resorts over the weekend, his stay here was limited to about 24 hours. He did not in fact have the opportunity to speak to the Leader of the Opposition - the leader of a party that represents almost 50 per cent, of the Australian people. This was shabby. I think the Government must in all conscience realise the disservice that it has done to the United States, to our eminent visitor and to the Australian community in denying him this opportunity. As I say, the visit lasted for scarcely more than 24 hours. What was the need for such urgency? Why did our eminent visitor have to come and go so quickly if this was not some urgent mission? If this was in fact a public relations visit, why was it not possible for him to stay here longer and to address the Australian people? But not only did Oabot Lodge not have the opportunity to speak to the Australian people; the Prime Minister did not make one statement about what happened. We were told that this was something of a courtesy call, that it was a visit to inform us; but no statement was issued either by Cabot Lodge or the Prime Minister or by them both jointly. I think at least some honorable members on the other side of the House will recognise that this was pretty shabby treatment and was a gross loss of an opportunity to put the Australian people into the picture. During this debate the Opposition has been described as some kind of ostrich with its head in the sand. It has been said that we are divorced from reality and that we represent a rather insignificantly held opinion in the world. I wonder whether this is so. Could it be said that **Mr. Shastri,** the President of the great republic of India, is an insignificant character? It is interesting to note that in general he takes the same attitude as does the Australian Labour Party. He has urged the reduction of military involvement in this troubled part of the world. He has repeatedly demanded that military activity in Vietnam be halted. According to **Senator Wayne** Morse, whose speech was reported in the " Australian " a day or two ago, the President of India has been lauded by Indian newspapers and all political parties for his stand. I understand that this is a new experience for him, because until now he has not had the support of all the political parties on any issue; but he has had this support when he has repeatedly asked the United States and other countries involved in Vietnam to do their best to bring about a cessation of hostilities. He has been praised by Indian newspapers for " standing up " to what they refer to as President Johnson's bullying diplomacy. In Pakistan, the image of the United States is of a nation showing an insensitivity to the military devastation of an Asian country. It is said everywhere that the United States is ever too ready to fight on Asian soil with the consequent military devastation of Asian homes and the Asian countryside. As we might expect, Indonesia is opposed to the activities of the United States in Vietnam. According to **Senator Wayne** Morse, who is a most prominent Democratic senator in the United States Congress, the Japanese Emperor sent his own personal representative to tour Vietnam and to make his own assessment of the effectiveness and the future of United States policy. According to Wayne Morse, his report was against the United States. The representative of the Japanese Emperor found that probably 30 per cent, of the Vietcong were Communists and that the Vietcong could not be regarded as being controlled by Hanoi or Peking. This is not the opinion of a Communist; this is the opinion of the emissary of the Japanese Emperor who made his own independent assessment. He also reported that the United States was greatly mistaken in thinking that military force would solve the problems. I am not making any judgment on these reports. I am just giving the facts of them to the House. Each of these people seems to be in accord with the attitude taken by the Opposition. The attitude of France is well known. Should not its attitude be respected? It waged war in this part of the world for 10 or 20 years to no avail. It knows what it is to pour arms into an inexhaustible pit of Asian misery and unhappiness. The Prime Minister of Canada has also advocated a cessation of hostilities and the commencement of negotiations. Pope Paul has made more than one appeal for the cessation of military hostilities in this area and the commencement of negotiations. As a matter of fact, yesterday or the day before I listened to the regular re-broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission of the British Broadcasting Corporation's " World Round-up ". I heard the voice of U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who made an eloquent appeal to the forces in Vietnam to recognise that military means will not solve the problems of this part or any other part of the world. He appealed to the nations to seek the intervention of the United Nations. If honorable members want to come closer to home, I remind them of the comments of **Senator Turnbull.** I understand that honorable members opposite have some respect for him as an independent senator. He has just made a tour of this part of the world which lasted for a month and he made his report from Hong Kong a couple of days ago. His on the spot opinion was that we made a wrong decision when we decided to intervene in Vietnam. " Newsweek " of 3rd May reported a statement by Walter Lippman, who writes for the " Washington Post ". This is a statement made by an American. He is reported as having said - >Today the United States is not only isolated but increasingly opposed by every major power in Asia . . In my view the President is in grave trouble. He is in grave trouble because he has not taken to heart the historic fact that the role of the Western white man as a ruler in Asia was ended forever in the Second World War. This great historic fact is an exceedingly difficult one for many Westerners to digest and accept. . . Until we purge ourselves of these old preconceptions and prejudices, we shall not be able to deal with Asian problems. Could not this message be given to our own Prime Minister? **Senator Wayne** Morse, in his historic address at Portland State University on 23rd April, only a couple of weeks ago, said - >United States foreign policy, shaped largely by militarists, is leading the American people into the jaws of both China and Russia while at the same time stripping us of friends and allies in all parts of the world. Nobody could accuse me of being proCommunist or anti-American. 1 would reject such an accusation completely. But I think our intervention in Vietnam at this time is a tactical error. We can contribute only 800 or 1,000 troops, but our contribution could provoke the intervention of Russia and China, who could send 10 or 20 times the number of troops we could send, or even more. I am afraid that the war is being stepped up. It is becoming more extensive and more internationally provocative, and it is becoming very much more lethal. We know that missile bases have already been installed in North Vietnam and we have been given the news that in Russia, China and Indonesia so-called volunteers are offering themselves in thousands to fight in the defence of North Vietnam. I think tactically we have made a bad mistake and we are provoking the intervention of these people. For all we know, in only a few weeks Indonesia may well take upon itself the task of making a diversionary attack upon Australia by intervening in Papua and New Guinea. What will we have left with which to resist such a challenge if it does come? The suggestion of such a possibility is not a very unreal or imaginative flight of fancy. It could quite easily happen. What about our obligations to Malaysia, a member of our own British Commonwealth, which is much nearer to us than Vietnam is? I think that our intervention in Vietnam, as has been said already, is only going to compound our problems rather than reduce them. I suggest that we ought to pay more attention to Michael Stewart, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Why does not the honorable member read out what he said? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- One of the things he said was that he thought the time was becoming propitious for negotiation. I will quote other things he said. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- He said a lot more than that. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- Of course he did, but he came to that conclusion at the end of his address. Speaking in the House of Commons on 1st April he said - >Therefore I say of the Communist attitude - difficult and impossible as it has so far been - that I do most earnestly hope and trust - and there aic now some signs of more ground for hope than even a day ago - that this attitude is not final. I think it is a pity that if the whole situation is to be inflamed by further international - Western style - intervention in Vietnam, we are going to provoke things to such an extent that this opportunity for conciliation and negotiation will be lost. Of course the Leader of the Opposition was right when he said that we have virtually negotiated ourselves out of negotiation. You do not invite into this kind of diplomacy the people who are involved in the trouble. The work has to be done by more disinterested bodies. We have forfeited our right to assist in arranging and promoting negotiations by our active participation in the war. I pay tribute to the United States in that it has waged the battle itself, but I cannot help thinking that we have missed the call for negotiations that has been made by so many international authorities and so many countries. At this time even America is holding out the prospect of great material development for Vietnam if peace can be achieved. But just when America is holding out that hope, what do we do? Do we offer the same kind of help? America has offered a thousand million dollars for rehabilitation. What do we offer? We offer 800 troops. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-32-0-s6 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** showed a lack of enthusiasm in supporting, as he tried to, the stand taken by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** in this debate. This can well be understood because the honorable member's sympathies are well known. I can well understand his difficulty in supporting a point of view which is so difficult to reconcile with Australia's appropriate interests. The Government has acted as it has in relation to this matter because of Australia's obligations not only to its major friend and ally but also because of its obligations as a member of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. It is important for us to remember that Article II of the S.E.A.T.O. treaty commits the members not only jointly, but also individually, to do what they can to maintain peace and prevent Communist expansion in the area covered by the Treaty. Imagine what harm would be done to the morale of the West, and of the antiCommunist countries, if a protocol country under the Treaty - which South Vietnam is - requested help under the Treaty - which she has done - and a foundation member of S.E.A.T.O. refused that aid. It would mean that the Treaty was worthless and all the other countries of this region would think that help from the anti-Communist area - from America, Australia and other countries - was just a mirage on the horizon. This is something that could not have been allowed to happen, and it has not happened. Our action flows from, or arises out of, this Treaty and has been taken to prevent aggression, to support the independence of South Vietnam so that that country may have some possibility of working out its own destiny in its own way, to prevent countries interfering with their neighbours, as North Vietnam and China are interfering, and to protect the mutual security of the area. It is important that we should act in this manner. If we do not, the repercussions will not affect only South Vietnam and North Vietnam, they will affect the rest of South East Asia and will flow over into the troubled and difficult continents of Africa and South America. The consequences of failure have been well recognised in successive S.E.A.T.O. communiques; but there is a wider reason which makes it necessary for this threat in South Vietnam to be overcome if it is humanly possible for it to be overcome. Russia knows, has learnt, that the West is prepared to use force to protect its vital interests. As a result, there has been less tension, and some beginning of understanding, perhaps, between the United States and the Soviet Union. China has not learnt this lesson, and if she wins in South Vietnam she will never accept the possibility of some kind of co-existence between her Communist regime and the West. Again, if China wins, Russia herself might well forget the lessons that she has learned over Berlin and Cuba, and she might assert herself in the same manner and in the same aggressive and subversive fashion. The lessons of Berlin and Cuba would have been in vain. lt is important that this House should understand the history and the nature of this war. In spending a few minutes on this aspect I take as my authority, not some documents from the United States, not some person on this side of the House who will not be believed, by definition almost, by honorable members opposite, but statements by the new British Foreign Secretary, **Mr. Michael** Stewart - a member of a Labour Government. Some honorable members opposite might be prepared to believe what a Socialist Government member says about these matters. He dealt with both sides of the story, not just one as honorable members opposite do. He made the point that in 1956 free elections were not possible in the Communistdominated North or in the troubled South. He gave both sides of the story. He pointed out, however, that the two countries could have continued to work towards their own destinies, to build up their own social structures and to build up their economies, as they did between 1954 and 1959, had it not been for the action of Hanoi in 1959 calling for aggressive guerrilla tactics in the South and for full support for a resurrection of Vietcong activity. **Mr. Michael** Stewart recognised that this was a North Vietnamese decision. It is interesting to note that this is in marked contrast with the opinions of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam).** The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was reported in the "Age" late last year as saying that the situation had deteriorated in Vietnam because North Vietnam was socially and economically stronger than South Vietnam. His statement, as reported, continued - >We strengthened the military position in South Vietnam and ignored social and political reform. That is why we are failing there. But, **Sir, does** this accord with the facts? Up to 1960 the economic performance of South Vietnam was far and away ahead of that of North Vietnam. The sugar production of South Vietnam rose. Its textile production increased by 20 per cent, in one year, and in 1960, when South Vietnam's per capita gross national product was 110 dollars North Vietnam's was only 70 dollars. It was the very success of the Diem regime in the economic field over this time which the North could not bear. It could not bear to see this prosperity in an independent country on its borders. This was one of the main motivating forces which led North Vietnam to undertake its action. This was completely ignored by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. But let me return to the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary. He said that after this decision by North Vietnam South Vietnam appealed to the United States for help, but as late as 1961 there were fewer than 700 United States advisers in South Vietnam. **Mr. Stewart** pointed out that this came about as the result of North Vietnam's decision. North Vietnam's activity preceded the United States action. He continued by pointing out that it was five more years - after the Gulf of Tonkin incident last year - before the United States and South Vietnamese forces decided that the war had to be taken to the hitherto inviolate bases in North Vietnam itself. He flatly rejected the idea that the United States should withdraw. He said that it would have been a breach of an undertaking by the United States that it would leave untouched the problem of the Vietnamese who did not want to be Communists. He pointed out that nearly one million went from the North to the South in 1954. He said that it would be an admission that Northern aggression had been successful and that it would cause profound alarm in all non-Communist countries in this part of the world. Here the following statement made by Prince Sihanouk ot Cambodia, as published in "The Economist " of 24th April of this year might well be worth noting - lt will be necessary to offer the Americans, in exchange for their withdrawal, a guarantee of South Vietnam's territorial integrity. If the Americans withdrew without that guarantee, Cambodia- It is Cambodia that he is concerned about - would bc left face to face with Communism along its entire eastern border. This would be very dangerous for Cambodia which does not want to become Communist. And for us in Cambodia, of all possible Communism, Vietnamese Communism is the worst. That would seem to indicate an attitude which is not generally attributed to Cambodia: The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary went on to describe the methods of warfare. He said that in 1963 the Vietcong killed 2,000 civilians in South Vietnam and that in 1964 the number killed was 2,800. He said that at the village of Kinh Mon a policeman was killed by the Vietcong and his body cut up into little pieces and then, at the funeral, the Vietcong exploded an anti-tank mine killing another and wounding many more. He also said that at Pieiku two bus loads of men, women and children, all civilians, were deliberately murdered by the Vietcong. He also drew attention to the Communist terms for a solution of the South Vietnam problem. He pointed out that the North Vietnamese and the Chinese say that the only negotiation that can take place is negotiation between North Vietnam and the Communist organisations in South Vietnam. In other words, he is stating that negotiation would take place only between Communist organisations. **Mr. Michael** Stewart drew attention to this. If these opinions cannot be accepted from the Government and from the United States, then surely the Opposition would pay some attention to these opinions of somebody on the other side of the world whom honorable members opposite would say is of the same political philosophy as themselves. If they answer that the words I have quoted do not match the United Kingdom's performances because the United Kingdom has no active troops in South Vietnam, I would say that we should take into account the fact that the United Kingdom has over 50,000 troops in Malaysia where she is carrying the main burden. When you look at her other efforts around the world, and when you remember that even now there are still only 35,000 American troops in South Vietnam - many less than the British have in Malaysia - it is no wonder that the British think there should be some restrictions on the scope of their activities at this particular time. The attitudes I have described contrast very greatly with the attitudes the Opposition has adopted in this particular matter. Here I think one or two remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** are worth quoting. When speaking the other night, the Leader of the Opposition said - >That there has long been, and still is, aggression from the north and subversion inspired from the north, I do not for one moment deny. Later, he said - >I agree that the pace of North Vietnamese aggression - and that is the only term for it - has increased. It is remarkable how this stands beside some of the things that the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** and others have said. In addition to this, I quote from a statement published on 18th February by the executive of the Australian Labour Party which, presumably the Leader of the Opposition endorses. The statement contains these words - >This statement of American purposes is unexceptionable, and the case of the American action of recent days, as based on the aim of shortening the war and achieving a negotiated settlement, which would establish and maintain the rights of the South Vietnamese people, deserves sympathetic Australian understanding. Later, the statement continued - >The demand of the Soviet Government for the immediate departure of all American and other foreign forces from South Vietnam would be in the interests neither of the people of South Vietnam nor the people of Australia. I emphasise the words " nor the people of Australia ". It continued - >Its immediate consequences must be a Communist takeover of South Vietnam, snuffing out the hope of freedom and of democratic independence in that country and extending the area of Communist control closer to this country. Despite what the Leader of the Opposition said, and despite the statement of 18th February, the Opposition then comes down against the Government's decision. Only two possible conclusions can be drawn from this action. The first is that the Opposition is fully prepared to accept a position in which Australia hides behind the umbrella of American activities, American troops and American servicemen in South East Asia. In other words, remembering that we are here and that America is on the other side of the Pacific, and remembering that our interests and security are more intimately concerned than those of America, the Leader of the Opposition is still prepared to hide behind the United States. The other possible conclusion is that the Australian Labour Party has changed its mind since 18th February and is now, in effect, saying to the United States of America: " It would be much better if you left South Vietnam." We should be told which of these only two possible conclusions is the correct one to arrive at in this particular instance. In the spring of 1964, the honorable member for Yarra, referring to the Australian Labour Party said this in an article published in " Dissent " - >We are situated in the political spectrum next to the Communists and they will stand for many things for which we also stand. We cannot therefore oppose those things. Because of our posi tion in the political spectrum we will find ourselves in the same places as Communists on some occasions, doing the same things for the same ends. The article does not define the things in which, to use the honorable member's own words, he will find himself doing the same things for the same ends. It makes no distinction. I should like to ask the honorable member whether, when he was advocating a line of containment for Communist China from Kamchatka to Darwin he was then advocating a policy held in common with the Communist Party. I ask this because such a policy would give to Communist China all the territories which she has ever claimed, all the territories over which, at some stage through history, she has once ruled. I suggest that this would be just as silly as talking of returning to Rome all the territories that were once included in the great Roman Empire. But is this one of the objectives in which the honorable member for Yarra believes in common with the Communist Party? During the debate, the honorable member for Yarra implied that there was no aggression from North Vietnam because he made use of the phrase " if there had been aggression ". In saying that, was he again doing the same things for the same ends as the Communist Party? In the " Australian " of 5th March the honorable member for Yarra is reported as having said - >I don't see anything to be worried about in a settlement. He was speaking about Vietnam. He also said that he felt that if there was a settlement the greater part of Vietnam would become Communist. Is this why he has been advocating the same things as the Communists? Is his objective the same as that of the Communists - a Communist Vietnam? The honorable member for Yarra has some obligation to give the House answers to these questions. In the same article, when speaking of Malaysia the honorable member is reported as having said - >There must be plans to phase out the foreign troops now on Malaysian soil. He again appears to be doing the same things as the Communists. Is he doing this, again, for the same ends? His statement continued - >I think Indonesia's fears are based on foreign troops being in Malaysia. Here, again he ignores the fact that this build up of troops came after confrontation made an increase in the number of troops necessary. He completely glosses over the facts of the situation. I have just been advised that the honorable member for Yarra is going to take part in a campaign to stop the war in Vietnam. Presumably this is to take place outside the American Consulate in Melbourne on 8th May. It is being sponsored by the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Cooperation and Disarmament. The pamphlet advertising the campaign states - >Prominent speakers include **Dr. J.** F. Cairns. It mentions nobody else. Is this again doing the same things with the same people for the same ends as the Communists? The honorable member for Yarra has some obligation to advise the House why he is doing these things - the same things for the same ends. The Opposition objects to what the Government is doing but it puts forward no viable alternative. The Leader of the Opposition has complained that we are committed now to the proposition that Communism can be defeated only by military means. This is nonsense. Australia has not lagged behind other countries in making aid available where necessary, but security is essential before you can get any advantage. What is the use of building a school in a village if the school master is going to be murdered and the school burned down? Negotiation is all that Opposition members talk about. They say " negotiate, negotiate ", but it is precisely because the possibility of negotiations is so poor that we have been forced into the kind of decision which we have just made. The things that have been done in relation to negotiations are worth noting. The Peking-Hanoi regimes have said that as a precondition to negotiations the United States must get out of Vietnam and that the only parties at negotiations must be Communist parties. At the same time they rejected the offer of the President of the United States on 7th April of nonconditional discussions. They rejected visits by Gordon Walker and U Thant to both countries. They rejected the policy put forward by 17 non-aligned nations on 1st April. They rejected the proposal of the Indian Presidentfor a cease fire and they are trying to prevent a conference on Cambodia taking place. How can there be negotiations and discussions with people who have no intention of talking except through terror, subversion and the gun. No-one is happy or light hearted about the decisions that have been made, and only a callous fool would suggest this, but in the absence of a viable alternative there is no choice. The Leader of the Opposition has admitted that there is aggression, that that aggression is gaining force and is greater than it once was. He has admitted that United States troops are necessary in South Vietnam, not only in the interests of South Vietnam but in the interests of Australia. There seems, therefore, no strand of reason in his present policy and we should be glad that we have a Government in this country which is prepared to act in strength and determination, and with realisation of the nature of the problem with which we are trying to deal. Sitting suspended from 6.2 to 8 p.m. {: #subdebate-32-0-s7 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa **.- Mr. Speaker,** the despatch of Australian troops to South Vietnam is politically but not militarily significant. They will not shape the course of the war in Vietnam. They may well shape Australia's future in Asia. There are half a million South Vietnamese and 30,000 United States troops in South Vietnam. Forces on the ground will not change the situation. In 1954, the then Minister for External Affairs, who is now Lord Casey, and whose idea it was to divide Vietnam, told this House what little value increased military forces would be - >It is hard to see what even outside military participation would have achieved in view of the attitude of a large portion of the Vietnamese population. In the same year, John F. Kennedy told the United States Senate - >I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indo-China can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and has the sympathy and . . . support of the people. In 1954, the Australian Government opposed further outside intervention in Vietnam. Lord Casey said - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . talk of intervention, particularly in the air, in order to save the situation, was being widely canvassed at that time. Our Australian view was that such intervention would be wrong for the following reasons: It would not have the backing of the U.N. It would put us in wrong with world opinion, particularly in Asia. It would probably embroil us with Communist China. . . . These were the views I expressed on behalf of the Australian Government to **Mr. Dulles, Mr. Eden** and other leaders at Geneva. The Government has forgotten the lesson Lord Casey learned then. By widening the war at this stage, negotiations are made more difficult. Australia's intervention will only encourage " volunteers " from other Communist countries to assist the Vietcong. The decision to send troops is, however, consistent with the denunciation of negotiations by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** - and will be interpreted in that light overseas. In 1914 and 1939, Australia entered war with world opinion behind it. This time, Australia does not have world opinion behind it and has made no attempt to influence world opinion. Barbara Tuchman's book " Guns of August ", should convince us how easily and quickly the world can rush to war where communications fail or are neglected. The Government's action in sending troops to South Vietnam is not likely to help negotiations", it is likely to encourage the spread of the war without contributing to the military strength which the United States of America wishes to establish before negotiations commence. In February this year, requests were made for the Government to send a second battalion for service in Malaysia and a second air transport squadron for service in Vietnam. The view of the Department of Defence then was that Australian forces were so inadequate that none of these requests for increased aid could be safely met. The Department said that it was necessary for a reasonable balance to be kept between committed and reserve forces and that to send another battalion to Malaysia would seriously denude the Army. Was this assessment wrong then, or is it wrong now? The more immediate military concern of Australia is in the Malaysia-Indonesia-New Guinea area. In terms of a pure military assessment, our forces could be better employed in this area than in Vietnam, where they will not add to the military strength. Is the issue as clear cut as the Prime Minister would have us believe? He says that the Government's action is justified because first, the failures of South Vietnamese Governments have been due to the action of the Vietcong, and, secondly, the whole trouble originates in North Vietnam. On the first proposition, I quote the report made to President Kennedy two years ago by **Senator Mansfield,** who stated - >It is most disturbing to find that after seven years of the Republic, South Vietnam appears less, not more, stable than it was at the outset, that it appears more removed from, rather than closer to, the achievement of popularly responsible and responsive government. The pressures of the Vietcong do not entirely explain this situation. In retrospect, the Government of Vietnam and our policies, particularly in the design and administration of aid, must bear a substantial, a very substantial, share of the responsibility. That is the view of a responsible and leading American, and Australia should accept the same view as bearing upon its own responsibility. On the first point the Prime Minister's argument falls down. On the second point, Edgar Faure, former French Premier, has said - >Today the rebellion in South Vietnam is popular. North Vietnam and China support it, but it has a life of its own. The Vietcong has not been primarily the cause, though it has exploited the situation. The Prime Minister believes in simplifying a proposition, he says, so that it stands out stark and clear. The propositions have been so simplified that they bear little relation to the facts. The Prime Minister bases our intervention on a dangerous and wilful oversimplification of the facts. South Vietnam has not invoked the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. The United States has not invoked S.E.A.T.O. and is not assisting under S.E.A.T.O. Australia has not invoked S.E.A.T.O. and is not assisting under the S.E.A.T.O. arrangements. If precise questions about this matter are put on the notice paper, the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** admits that none of the action taken has been taken under the S.E.A.T.O. arrangements. If these actions had been taken under the auspices of S.E.A.T.O., Australia would have had no option but to act. It would have been legally as well as morally bound to act and, if need be, it would have been bound to go to war to fulfil its obligations under the S.E.A.T.O. Treaty. Admittedly, departmental spokesmen say that the Government's action in sending troops has been taken under the S.E.A.T.O. Treaty. When pinned down, however, the Ministry admits that the action has not been taken under that treaty although it profoundly hopes that the public will believe that it is. We learned this week that the possibility of increased military forces being provided by Australia was first discussed between President Johnson and the Prime Minister, who, referring to the Australian Government's decision, told the House - >We made our formal decision in principle on 7th April, that decision being that we would be willing to provide a battalion, should it be requested. . . . Obviously, the request from South Vietnam was a secondary consideration. The initiative was not taken by South Vietnam under S.E.A.T.O. All the Prime Minister's remarks on external affairs inevitably are designed for internal consumption. In this, he shows a remarkable resemblance to President Sukarno. We are bound, therefore, to examine his general remarks on alliances in that light. In the first place, it should be said that the right honorable gentleman supports the United States alliance when it suits him. America obviously regards the sale of Australian wheat, wool, steel and lead to China as aiding and abetting the enemy. In this instance, however, votes in the Australian countryside are more important than the views of the United States. So the latter are rejected. Other countries which are allies of America in both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and S.E.A.T.O. have serious misgivings about Vietnam. None is sending troops to South Vietnam. The United Kingdom Minister for Defence, a month ago, referring to British personnel in South Vietnam, said - >None have been there, and there is no intention of sending any there. Does the Prime Minister say that all these are disloyal to the alliance with the United States? I repeat that there has been no action under S.E.A.T.O. When it suited, the Menzies Government was prepared to let an ally do something practical in a cause which it supported but did not lift a finger to help. The Australian Government supported the Dutch in West New Guinea for years. At last the Menzies Government assessed that Australia's long-term interests in the area made it prudent to go quietly. To paraphrase the Prime Minister's speech of two days ago, he said to the Dutch Government: " Sorry, we can do nothing about it. We will help you with debate in the United Nations. We will offer some fine words and good sentiments. But, as for practical action, no; that is for you. Dutch soldiers from the Hook of Holland can go and fight and die in West New Guinea, but that is not for us." Conservative forces in Australia have met political success by proclaiming their support over the years for North Atlantic empires in South East Asia and now North Atlantic alliances in South East Asia. Looked at from the point of view of immediate security these empires and alliances have succeeded. The empires have gone, despite the protestations of Conservatives. The supporters of this Government protested over British withdrawal from India. They supported the Dutch nearby long after their position ceased to be tenable. English papers like the "Economist" now speak frankly of 10 more years by Britain in Singapore. Even American commitments cannot be eternal in their present plentitude in our area. Conservatives never take a long enough view. One does not forgo an alliance until one has a better arrangement. We badly need the American alliance. America's motives in South Vietnam are above dispute. Her responsibilities as the leader of the West weigh heavily upon her. It does not follow that a small power which lives permanently in the area can do the same things as a large power which does not live in that area. It behoves us to make our motives abundantly clear. America has one strong card to play in Asia, that is, her military and economic power. America will be respected for that, but it is something for which Australia cannot hope to be respected. By contrast, in Malaysia Australia has an immediate and direct interest and influence. Support for Malaysia is much more consistent with our immediate interests and military power. Quite apart from how we should dispose our limited military strength, the issues there are much more clear cut - outside aggression and infiltration against a government which is one of the most democratic in Asia. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- The honorable member did not say that two years ago. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- There was no aggression two years ago and there was no infiltration two years ago. The formation of Malaysia is supported by the United Nations. World opinion in general, particularly in Asia and Africa, is sympathetic to Malaysia. Local support and world opinion have been tested and established. None of these things could be said of South Vietnam, and we have not helped there. Not only have we not acted under S.E.A.T.O. militarily in Vietnam or in the neighbouring protocol States, we have not fully carried out our obligations in the political, economic and social sphere as laid down in S.E.A.T.O. now for more than 10 years. The great question is: How do we effectively combat aggression and counter Communism? In 1954, after Dienbienphu, Lord Casey said - >The French, despite all their efforts and despite great sacrifices of French life, never really succeeded in rallying the Vietnamese themselves to resist the Communist Vietminh. We have not learnt the lesson yet. Unless the people themselves rally against Communism, outside assistance will fail. The Prime Minister of Singapore on his recent visit to Australia said that in South Vietnam - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . eleven precious years bought at enormous expense in economic -and human resources were frittered away. The Government talks a lot about the downward thrust of Communism. The failure of Western policies hitherto in Asia has been caused by the failure of Western Governments to understand the level at which Communism operates. It is not a simple question of external aggression as we knew it in the case of Japan and Germany a generation ago. Certainly the Communists do use force and violence whenever it suits their purpose, but their tactics are basically political subversion and infiltration followed by guerrilla warfare. Their attack is psychological and political, coupled with violence where necessary, rather than overt and frontal. If we oversimplify the threat, as the Government does, we will not begin to counter Communism effectively. The real strength of America in Asia is on the sea and in the air. Her strength in these elements checked Russia militarily in Europe; it was not the strength of Western ground forces. Russia feared nuclear attack on her homeland. This possibility, I believe, can be the best guarantee of the independence and neutrality of countries on the perimeter of Asia. Both China and America could undertake to guarantee the neutrality of these countries. In Korea, the position was at least stabilised with troops on the border. The position in Berlin was stabilised by the presence of allied forces. Better still, a course open to countries of our size is through international bodies to man and maintain border forces. Attacks on those forces would produce sea and air retaliation against the homeland of the aggressor. We are a country well able to contribute financially and militarily to peace forces, but we have not done so. Countries of our size on the North Atlantic, and New Zealand also, have done so. Strict provision would have to be made for the detection of attacks. America can show that her guarantee is meaningful. But this guarantee can only be an umbrella. The responsibility for combating subversion rests on the governments of the countries being subverted. If they fail, no amount of military material and manpower from outside will retrieve the situation. The French learnt this, and Lord Casey realised this after the fall of Dienbienphu. The only ideological counter to Communism in Asia is nationalism. The West has too often frustrated nationalism and forced it into the arms of China and the Communists. Is this not what has happened in Vietnam. Genuine nationalists have often been faced with the choice of joining the Communists or going into exile or going to prison. A real nationalism will be neither pro nor anti Western; it will be principally concerned with its own nationals. Events have shown that a country on the border of China which is aligned with the West is courting subversion. We must therefore accept the fact that such governments can survive only if they are genuinely nationalistic and progressive and are not tied to the East or the West. The independence of these countries must be primarily a matter for their own governments. In President Johnson's words, Vietnam must be free from outside interference, tied to no alliance, a military base for no other country. The same goes for all her neighbours. If they do not make strenuous efforts to provide dynamic political, economic and social leadership, they will be subverted and overthrown, and no amount of Western military support can change this fact. Only the nationals of a country can defeat the political subversion of their countrymen. A Westerner in Asia certainly cannot do so. He is acceptable and effective only if he comes as part of an international and multiracial force. Otherwise he is suspect and divisive. As the Prime Minister of Singapore said - >However massive the military cover, however enormous the economic assistance, if the leaders of the people, in whose name and on whose behalf military cover and economic aid is given, do not set out to secure its own salvation, the end result is still perdition both for the helper and the helped. As much as we may want to help, both in our interests and theirs, we will fail if viable, popular and progressive national governments are not established. That is why we have failed in Vietnam for 20 years. N.A.T.O. and the Marshall plans succeeded because the countries involved were prepared to save themselves. Military action alone and undertaken largely by Europeans will not defeat Communist subversion in Asia. The Government's action and its timing has not only crystallised opinion in America on economic matters, whatever the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** may have meant by that phrase; it will serve also to crystallise opinion in Asia for generations. The Government's sin is to have acted militarily without having prepared the ground diplomatically. The Prime Minister quoted the Labour Party statement of midFebruary. He omitted the passages which urged support for U Thant in his efforts to bring all the nations to the conference table. He omitted the passages urging support for the initiative of **Mr. Shastri** and **Mr. Pearson,** the Commonwealth Prime Ministers whose countries, with Poland, constitute the International Control Commissions in Vietnam, Laos and" Cambodia. He omitted the passages which urged support for the efforts of **Mr. Harold** Wilson, Britain's Prime Minister, and, therefore, the Joint Chairman of the Geneva Conference. By its precipitate action, the Menzies Government has compromised itself diplomatically. It can no longer fulfil Australia's responsibilities in procuring a just and lasting peace in South East Asia. {: #subdebate-32-0-s8 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP -- No matter how far apart the Opposition and the Government may be when decisions are taken on this matter, I am happy to note that there is a common point of departure in this debate, as expressed by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** when he said - >The over-riding issue which this Parliament has to deal with at all times is the nation's security . . What best promotes our national security, what best guarantees our national survival? It is the interpretation of this responsibility that is the subject of this debate tonight. We on this side of the House agree with what the Leader of the Opposition has said. Indeed, the discharge of that responsibility to preserve and secure this nation's freedom and survival underlies the whole policy, the consistent policy that this Government has applied to affairs in South East Asia. I pass lightly, for the moment, over the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** who has just given us a rather superficial essay. Some of it was culled very heavily from sources which support the Labour Party's point of view. It would be equally competent to draw on equally important and well advised people who would put the diametrically opposite interpretation on what is happening in South East Asia. The decision on how events in that area affect the future of this nation is one to be made by the Government and necessarily questioned by the Opposition. Tonight I wish to deal with some of the points of agreement and some of the points of disagreement within the Labour Party on the interpretation of events in South East Asia. The Leader of the Opposition accused the Government of oversimplifying the position in South East Asia and particularly in Vietnam. He claimed that we regard the conflict in Vietnam as a mere matter of aggression by North Vietnam against South Vietnam. Nothing is further from the truth. The fact is that the Government knows very well that what is happening in South Vietnam at the present moment is nothing more than an extension of the Chinese inspired Communist drive, the ultimate object of which is to take over the whole of South East Asia and perhaps countries beyond that area. We are well aware of that fact. I am happy to say that the Leader of the Opposition disclosed a considerable area of agreement with the views advanced by the Government. But the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** disagrees. He says that 90 per cent, of what is happening in South Vietnam is the responsibility of people living in that country. On the other hand, the Leader of the Opposition says - >That there has long been, and still is, aggression from the North and subversion inspired by the North, I do not for one moment deny. The honorable member for Yarra says that not one Chinese is to be found in South Vietnam. His implication is that there is no Chinese Communist influence behind the Vietcong. Even in his criticism of the Government's programme, the Leader of the Opposition says that it is not an intelligent response to the challenge of Communist Chinese power. In other words, the Leader of the Opposition acknowledges that there is a Chinese Communist power behind the Vietcong. He goes on to point out, in some odd fashion that I have never been quite able to understand, that the Government's policy "materially assists China in her subversive aims ". So the Leader of the Opposition disagrees with the honorable member for Yarra, or perhaps vice versa, on whether or not there is Chinese Communist influence behind the Vietcong. Then the Leader of the Opposition teaches his rather unworthy lieutenant a lesson when he says - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . the threat from China is not military invasion but political subversion. Finally, if any further words are needed from the Leader of the Opposition, he says - China must be stopped. Therefore, nobody need have any doubts about whether the Leader of the Opposition stands in agreement with the Government on this point. One wonders what forces are being generated, behind him on his own side of the House and behind him in the party that puts him here, which make him draw different conclusions from the same facts. The honorable member for Yarra sees no threat to Australia. Why does he seek to divert public attention from the real facts of Communist expansion in South East Asia, particularly in the light of the stated aims of the Chinese Communists whose leader publicly avows that all political power grows out of the mouth of a gun? The honorable gentleman has seen the subjugation of Tibet. He knows of the attack on India. He knows of the support of the Vietcong by the Chinese Communists from away back. He knows very well of the cells of Communist organised terror and subversion throughout almost every country in South East Asia. He knows very well that recently a Thailand Patriotic Front, designed to begin the process of Communist subversion in Thailand, was set up. If one looks further afield one will see the enormous intrusion of Chinese Communist influence into Africa and South America. What can these things possibly mean other than that the Chinese Communists' aim is to go even further than South East Asia in their quest for domination? If the honorable member for Yarra does not understand these facts, he is more naive and foolish than I believe him to be. If he does understand them and seeks to draw attention away from them, he is dangerous. Some members of this Parliament seem to have very short memories of the origin of the Vietnamese situation. The events that gave rise to the present situation are too recent to be forgotten. We ought to remember that after eight years of battling with the Vietminh Communists, aided and abetted by Chinese Communism, the French sued for discussions. In the discussions that followed, when the war was almost over, political divisions began to appear in Vietnam. The end product was a Communist North Vietnam and a nonCommunist South Vietnam, whose representatives were seated independently at the conference table. This is the reality behind the Geneva Agreement. In short, that Agreement provided that there would be no resumption of hostilities. Article 24 of the Agreement says that the armed forces of each party will respect the military control of the other party and shall commit no act or undertake no operation against the other. But what happened? The honorable member for Yarra paints a sylvan picture of Vietnamese people moving back and forth across the line of demarcation on the 17th parallel. What really happened, as we all know from the facts of the situation as disclosed at the time, is that the southward movement of refugees harboured with it a Communist trained force for subversion in South Vietnam. This trick is as old as subversion itself, and the Communists are well versed in its use. The honorable gentleman from Yarra says that complaints from the North and the South of interference in the other's affairs were neither proved nor disproved. The International Control Commission does not agree with him, because in its report presented on 2nd June 1962 it said - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . armed and unarmed personnel, arms ammunitions and other supplies have been sent from the zone in the North to the zone in the South, with the object of supporting, organising and carrying out hostile activities, including armed attacks directed against the armed forces and administration of the zone in the South. These acts are in violation of Articles 10, 19, 24 and 27 of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Vietnam. The plain fact is that there is a war in Vietnam today because the Communist Vietminh of North Vietnam broke the international agreement. This then was the picture in Vietnam: Wearied after eight years of war, the people of Vietnam found that it was not enough to throw off the yoke of French control; they had to start all over again and throw off the yoke of the Communist Vietminh. The end result was the division of the unhappy country. The people of South Vietnam set about the task of establishing a new government in office and in authority. They had before them the problem of building a viable economy in a country whose resources had been sadly diminished by the division of Vietnam. While all of this was happening they had to fend off the mounting attacks of the Communists, supported from the North. Yet in this kind of situation the Leader of the Opposition says that our policy of creating a democratic antiCommunist South Vietnam has failed. Surely the honorable gentleman gives up too soon. Who can be surprised that in a situation of this kind South Vietnam called for help? We ought to be eternally grateful for the American presence in South Vietnam. The Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition acknowledge that the United States has a right to be there. If the United States has a right to be in Vietnam I say that Australia has a right to be there and, as I will point out presently, we have a deep-seated obligation to be there. This is not America's war in North Vietnam. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has talked about Asian nationalism. For what other reason could the United States possibly be in Vietnam except to guarantee South Vietnam's nationalism? For what other reason would we want to be at this present moment in Malaysia? We have no territorial ambitions and we have nothing to ask for, but we demand, and we believe we must make our contribution to, the preservation of the rights of these countries to determine their own form of government and their own future. The Leader of the Opposition says we have never successfully supported Asian nationalism. We will pass over the word " successfully ". History will pass its own verdict on that. We are in South East Asia with our S.E.A.T.O. .allies and with our friend, the United States of America, to preserve Asian nationalism. Does the Leader of the Opposition, or the Australian Labour Party, forget the events of over 23 years ago when the Labour Prime Minister, **Mr. Curtin,** made a declaration of policy from this side of the House by saying, "We look to America"? Do the Labour Party, the Opposition, or the people of this country not understand that this carries deepseated obligations and deepseated implications? This very week we are celebrating Coral Sea Week. Many of the people who have joined in demonstrations against the presence in this country of the American representatives helping us to celebrate Coral Sea Week would be in an entirely different situation if the United States had not been here at the time of the Coral Sea Battle. What we were prepared to accept at the hands of the United States 23 years ago we would deny to people hard pressed like the people of South Vietnam. I quote two sections of a thoroughly sober and balanced editorial which appeared in the " Newcastle Morning Herald " last week. It stated - >We not only count on American protection, we aim to deserve it - to acquire a right to it by association in times of trial. I think this is quite an unexceptional statement. The editorial stated further - >To Australia the causes to be defended in Malaysia and Vietnam are the same - freedom from externally organised subversion and aggression. This is the reason we are in Malaysia and propose to be in South Vietnam. There can be no doubt about the effects of the resolution of the present Vietnamese situation right through South East Asia. We know very well that there are Communist cells - the machinery of subversion - in almost every country in South East Asia. We know very well that the patriots in those countries are waiting to see whether they can or cannot call on outside assistance in standing up to the organised might of the Communists supported from China. The outcome of what happens in South Vietnam will very much affect the morale and the inclination for opposition which will come from those countries. Therefore the next months in Vietnam will be decisive, not only for that country but for all countries of South East Asia. The other night the Leader of the Opposition referred to the conspiracy of geography. If the honorable member looks at the areas in' which the Communist Chinese have already made attacks and examines the fact that the Communists of North Vietnam so aided and abetted have all the control they need over Laos for their supply routes to the south he will realise how easily an attack through Burma and success in South Vietnam could isolate Thailand. The whole of South East Asia could fall under the grip of international Communism, which would appear on our own shores. The Communists know very well how important is the outcome of the present situation on the morale and opposition of the rest of the peoples of South East Asia. The peoples of South East Asia themselves know it particularly well. At the S.E.A.T.O. meeting recently the Thai Foreign Minister said - >As we meet here today I hope none of us will fail to realise how crucial the struggle in Vietnam is and that the outcome will transcend the borders of that country and is bound to affect not only South East Asia but the entire free world. I am bound to say that the interest of the Thai Foreign Minister and of his country in what is happening in Vietnam is a little higher than some of that expressed by members of the Opposition. We must recognise the situation. The Leader of the Opposition has tacitly admitted the right of America to be in Vietnam. He said that the United States must not be humiliated and must not be forced to withdraw. As this is as much our war, and as much the war of every freedom loving country, as it is of the United States, how can the Leader of the Opposition suggest that we evade our obligations to make some contribution to the prevention of America's humiliation - which would be our humiliation - and at the same time prevent the withdrawal of the United States in this event? The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has questioned the auspices under which we come into this particular situation. He questions whether our action was taken as a result of a S.E.A.T.O. decision. The answer is " No ", but, as the Prime Minister has pointed out on many occasions in this House, we believe that our obligations under S.E.A.T.O. are joint and several. This view is agreed with in the United States, for the Secretary of State re-affirmed that the obligation of the United States does not depend upon the prior agreement of all other parties to the Treaty, since the Treaty obligation is individual as well as collective. There is the basis of our support. The Government does not deny the dangers which exist in our military involvement in South Vietnam, but neither does it shrink from a national obligation honorably incurred. We do not close our eyes to the fact that appeasement encourages aggression. It seems to me that whatever efforts it lies within our power to give in a situation of this kind we not only owe to our neighbours in South East Asia - struggling as they are for the right to self-determination, and struggling for the opportunity to develop the kind of political system which we enjoy in this country - but also owe to our own ultimate security. {: #subdebate-32-0-s9 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- Like a vast number of people in this country, and like my colleagues in this Parliament, I am perturbed about, and disagree entirely with, the decision announced by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** last week to send 800 Australian troops to participate in the struggle in Vietnam. I do not think anybody can look sensibly at this problem unless they view the scene much further back from the site of the existing struggle. Communist China has a population of 700 million which is growing rapidly; Japan, another oriental country, has a population of 100 million; and what was formerly Indo-China, to wit Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam and South Vietnam, has a population of Asiatic origin of about 50 to 69 million. One must consider whether we are morally justified in making a contribution to what is in effect a civil war. Whatever you might say and however you might disagree, the fact is that many people take the view that the important question is not the determination of the merits or demerits of the dispute between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, but the dangers that there may be from China in the future. Let us look at the historical situation. I and others of my age group have seen three revolutions occur in China. The first was engineered by Sun Yat-sen, the liberator of his day. Later we saw the emergence of Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the anti-Communist forces at the outbreak of World War II and prior to that time. Now we see Mao Tse-tung in command. In every case the weapon of liberation used by these leaders was the revolutionary weapon. We must consider the situation in China in the light of the fact that democracy as we know it simply does not exist in that part of the world. We must also realise that the purpose of each of these three revolutions was to improve the material welfare and prosperity of the people, and it is a fact that each of these revolutions resulted in some advancement of the conditions of the people of China. Having these things in mind, is it necessarily the case that China is to be considered the great menace of the world? Are we to be so foolish as to think that we must adopt the philosophy of the people of the United States of America and say that we must plunge young lives into a struggle to contain Communism? "What we must do is to so shape our destiny that we will he able to trade with these people and try to establish good personal relationships with them. We should try to assist the members of the country group in this Parliament to achieve what they so ardently sponsor - wheat for Red China, wool for Red China, steel for Red China, copper for Red China. As long as there is money hanging to it the members of the Country Party are all for it. Well, I am for it, too, because I believe that the establishment of trading relations is more likely to foster peace than to foster war. But if the Government prefers the viewpoint of the United States Administration under the existing President and really believes that Communist China is a world menace, it has no moral right to be supplying that country with goods which would be useful to it in wartime. After all, steel is used to make shells, and copper alloys are used for the shell cases. Wool is a most essential commodity which will be used to clothe the Red Chinese Communists if they want to continue a war of aggression on the cold frontier between Tibet and India. I put this question to honorable members opposite: What are you pursuing? You are pursuing a myth. You have no hope of defeating Communist China. It would seem to me that the present Government of Red China, no matter how much I disagree with its ideology, has succeeded in doing something for its people that has never been done to the same extent hitherto in China's long history. We can look to Red China to discover the real reason why the wheatgrowers of Australia are waxing rich and fat. In past years when famines occurred in China the people were allowed to die in millions, but now the Chinese Government nourishes them with wheat bought from the wheat farmers of Australia in a traffic encouraged, fostered and sponsored by the Menzies Government Only recently the Australian Wool Board at its offices in Collins Street, Melbourne, entertained a deputation from Red China. The Wool Board said in its annual report that a good time was had by all and that it hoped the sale of Australian wool to Red China would increase. Members of the Australian Wheat Board, which is under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann),** recently entertained in Australia delegates from Red China and explained to them how we are endeavouring by every possible means at our disposal to provide more wheat to fill their needs and save their people from starvation. Looking back over my lifetime I can vividly remember the horrors of floods that occurred from time to time in the Yangste valley. Millions of people drowned. They do not drown any longer in these floods. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- Ah! {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Somebody says: " Ah ". Will that gentleman refer me to any Press report of recent years to the effect that millions of people have drowned in floods in the Yangtse valley? The honorable gentleman is now silent. I do not support the form of government that exists in China, but I believe that it is doing something of value for the Chinese people. The people of Vietnam must realise that conditions in China are improving and it is natural that they ask why similar things are not being done in Vietnam. It is because many of the Vietnamese people are convinced that the Chinese Government has done a good job for its people that the present revolution or the present dirty civil war is proceeding merrily in Vietnam. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The Government in Vietnam was taking constructive measures, but the Communists stopped them. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -Wait a minute, let me finish. I am giving the facts. During this debate a good deal has been said about atrocities that have been committed in Vietnam. It may be that at the present stage of development the Asiatic people are more prone to commit atrocities than are Europeans, but that also is questionable. I suggest that atrocities of equal severity have been committed on both sides. If honorable members opposite doubt that this is so I refer them to an article by Denis Warner in the Melbourne "Herald" of 22nd January 1965, in which the following appeared - >In any war, .truth and justice are among the first casualties. Where vital interests are involved, it 'becomes expedient to pretend that defeats are really victories and that the end justifies the means. But it is precisely these fictions that have contributed so gravely to the decline of our position in South Vietnam. Before its end in November 1963, the Diem regime had become a tyranny that differed from the Communist forces it opposed only that its terror was indiscriminate. In other words, its behaviour was as bad as that of the Communists or even worse. The gaols were full of political prisoners, held without charge. Today, six changes of governments later, the gaols are still full, with six new crops of prisoners. There have been six new governments since Diem's time. This week, from what was once the Vietnamese equivalent of Devil's Island, came a crumpled smuggled letter from one of these political prisoners, a man who risked his life, in August 1963, to alert the Australian Government weeks in advance of the suicidal decision of the Diem regime to storm the Buddhist pagodas. After 15 months in prison without trial, he writes a tragic story, much of it too horrifying to print. Let us be factual. One honorable member on the other side of this chamber told us how somebody had been chopped into pieces by the Vietcong. Here we have a story related by Denis Warner, who is not a Labour man but a Tory writer for the capitalistic Press, about prisoners in South Vietnam suffering atrocities too horrible to relate. There is more along the same lines in his article. We can see how badly the Government of this country has judged the people that it is supporting. I have before me a cutting from a newspaper of 30th September 1957 which gives us some information about the Vietnam struggle at that time. It is a striking demonstration of how bad a judge is our Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** of the people he backs. The newspaper article contains this information - >The West has nevertheless placed great confidence in President Ngo dinh Diem. The Queen has conferred on him a G.C.M.G. on the recommendation of the Government of Australia, where he was recently given a hero's welcome. It would be a pity if some of the ashes from the recent bonfires sullied South Vietnam's hard won prestige among the Asian nations. At that time the Prime Minister was the man who still holds that position. The Government thought so much of Diem that it recommended to Her Majesty the Queen that she honour him. Subsequently he was murdered in his own country and his wife had to flee the country. She had to get out pretty quick when the viciousness of the corruption for which she and her husband had been responsible in Vietnam was exposed. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- Rubbish. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- To say "rubbish" is to make a very cheap gibe. Those are the facts. We know that the situation in South Vietnam has not improved substantially since Diem's time. The decision to send Australian troops to South Vietnam is one of the most regrettable decisions ever taken in our history. Do not let us be led astray by the attitude of the United States of America. I have nothing against the people of the great American nation, but I do not have any time for some of their Administrations, particularly the present one. If we are to follow slavishly the American point of view simply because at one stage in our history we were under threat we should take into consideration the fact that America did not come to our rescue until some of its vital interests had been dealt with severely by the Japanese. We should not forget that America took a long time to enter the First World War. I do not blame America for doing this, but those are the facts of life. We should not follow slavishly American policy simply because of something America did more than 20 years ago. I am grateful for what America did, as are other people in Australia, but this does not justify ;is in supporting the line it has been following in Vietnam for a long time. Honorable members opposite are interjecting. They may have their say later. I know that I will be called a Com. I have been called lots of things. Names have never hurt me. If you look far into history you will find that wars of intervention have been sorry affairs. How would the people of America have liked it if a foreign power had intruded into their War of Independence against the British? {: .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr Holten: -- That happened. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- We know that the British hired mercenaries to fight in the American War of Independence. In the Civil War the Americans fought their own battles and made their own peace. I have always been a fervent and forthright supporter of the machinery of the United Nations being used on every occasion where it is justifiable in order to settle international disputes and other kinds of disputes. Honorable members opposite are again interjecting. They have had their say. Some honorable members opposite devoted their time in the debate to casting aspersions on members of the party to which I belong. Honorable members opposite have been indulging in the Communist smear. I have heard it said by honorable members opposite that it is of no use taking the Vietnam dispute to the United Nations Security Council because Russia may resort to the veto. This is true, but there is still the General Assembly. Then honorable members opposite say that there are some Asiatics and black people on the General Assembly and that its decision might not go exactly our way. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- Do not call them Asiatics. It is an offensive word. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I respect the honorable gentleman's point of view, but I did not interrupt Government supporters when they were speaking. This Government has not made any attempt to invoke the aid of the United Nations in this unfortunate dispute in Vietnam. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- The United Nations cannot meet. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Of course it could meet if this Government would try to have the members brought together, but the Government has not tried. Ever since the United Nations was formed in 1945 many members of the Government parties in this Parliament have looked upon it with dis.favour They have not shown any real desire to invoke its aid. When the aid of the United Nations was invoked at the time of the Suez dispute the Government did not like it. At that time the Prime Minister was prepared to go to war with Great Britain and France at the drop of a hat in order to solve the Suez dispute. If that idea was not in the back of the right honorable gentleman's mind I will apologise to him. We all know that going to war over Suez would not have solved anything. It was said at the time that the Egyptians would not be able to pilot a ship through the Suez Canal - that British pilots would be needed. What nonsense! You could take a ship through the Suez Canal with a rowing boat. It was said further that a sacred agreement had been violated. What nonsense. The fact is that the dispute was settled by peaceful means through invoking the aid of the U.N. The people who owned shares in the Suez Canal Company have been paid in full at the price of the shares on the Paris Bourse on the day of acquisition. Ships are sailing through the canal today, probably at a charge no higher than was levied prior to the dispute except that charges may have increased slightly because costs all over the world have increased. Labour's attitude in regard to the dispute in Vietnam is that it should be settled. Instead of sending a token force of 800 Australians to South Vietnam the Government should be striving strenuously among the nations of the world to reach a settlement by negotiation. The Government is not doing this in a sufficiently strong manner. The Labour Party regrets that this should be the case. I know that it has been said that Australia's decision to send troops was taken in order to get some dollars. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Does the honorable member say that? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The Prime Minister became so testy about the allegation that I believe there is something in it. In an article in the Melbourne "Sun" on Friday, 30th April, Douglas Wilkie wrote - >But to allow the two moves to be linked so blatantly has a mercenary smell - good enough for a Loan Council haggle in Canberra, but hardly a good postscript to the 50th anniversary of ANZAC. The Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** has just returned from New York. I would like to be able to read what he said while in America. I would like to know what weapons he used to wheedle the dollars that he is supposed to have obtained from the United States. {: #subdebate-32-0-s10 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Treasurer · Higgins · LP -- The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** exposed in his concluding remarks a weakness in the Opposition's case. If he wants to know what I said in the United States of America he will have an opportunity to hear it next week. I regret that one whom I have known in this Parliament for so long should have associated himself with people who make charges of a kind which are offensive not only to our allies but also to any democratically elected member of this Parliament. I will not devote my limited time to personalities. The issue before us is far too serious for that. On Tuesday the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** said that the decision of the Government to send a battalion of the Australian Regular Army into South Vietnam was one of the most significant in the history of this Commonwealth. We must treat the decision as one of the most significant in our history. That is why we, as a government, have felt that debate should proceed on this matter not merely to clear, if we could, the minds of members of Parliament who retained doubts as to the wisdom of the course adopted, but so that the people of Australia, who aTe vitally concerned in this decision, should themselves see clearly the issues that are involved. Opposition speakers in the debate have said that we on this side of the House have oversimplified the issue. The fact of the matter is that honorable members opposite have so muddled the issue that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Australian people to know just what it is all about. I want to devote my own limited time tonight to trying to reveal the issues in their stark simplicity, because for this country these issues are stark and I believe that they can be seen as simple issues, vital though they are to our security. The first fact to which I direct attention is the consistent policy of Communist China. Why is it that Communist China is conducting an open argument with Communism in Russia? There is one simple explanation for this. Over recent years, the Governments of Communist Russia have recognised that the course originally proposed for Communism, one of violent continuing clashes with the forces of free enterprise - or capitalism, as they choose to describe it - could in a nuclear age end only in mutual destruction. So they have adopted the practical and realist course of peaceful co-existence. Whilst they do not themselves accept the way of life of people in such countries as Great Britain and the United States of America, they do adopt consistently, as they have over recent years, this policy of peaceful co-existence. But that is anathema to the Chinese Communists. They believe to this day, as they have throughout the years since they took over the dictatorship that exists in China, that the only course open to them is to follow the policies laid down for them by their Marxist philosophy and go ahead with the conquest of the world for Communism by military means. That is the essence of the conflict between Russian Communism and Chinese Communism. Is there any honorable member opposite who denies this as one of the stark historic facts of existence in this world at the present time? The practical effect of Communist China's policy has been seen by us in Asia in the post war years. Honorable gentlemen opposite talk of what is happening in South Vietnam as though this were some isolated matter, some civil war in which it is dangerous to involve ourselves. They seem to have ignored completely the whole history of what has been happening in other countries in South East Asia in the post war years, and indeed in other parts of Asia as well. As they attack the" role of the United States, which has endeavoured to secure the freedom and integrity of South Vietnam, they seem to ignore completely what has happened earlier in these other countries. Let us just pause for a moment or two to examine this. Not so many years ago Australia was the first country to declare itself by the side of the United States in the crisis in Korea. If the United States had not intervened in the Communist attempt to dominate South Korea, we would have had a Communist tenure of that area today and a complete subjugation of the people of South Korea. But the United States intervened and today between 500,000 and 600,000 South Korean men are in the services helping to contain the expansion of Communism in that part of the world. If the United States had not given practical support to Chiang Kai-Shek in Taiwan, Taiwan today would have been under the control and government of Communist China. But that support was given and now between 500,000 and 600,000 trained servicemen in Taiwan are able to help contain the expansion of Communism in that part of the world. It is not so long ago that we were joined with troops from the United Kingdom and other nations of the Commonwealth in Malaya in stamping out Communist guerrilla warfare in that country. Gradually this situation was brought under control. Had we neglected these efforts, the onward march of Communism would have proceeded to our peril still further south. But what the Opposition will not learn is that this is the unwavering policy and determination of the Chinese Communists. When the United States sees this policy being expressed by the practical support of the Communists in North Vietnam, it says: "This is where the stand must be made if South East Asia is to be held secure". The United States has not only built up strength in the countries I have mentioned, but the frail and economically fragile country of Thailand has quite rapidly been brought up to strength in South East Asia as well. If South Vietnam were to go, how long would Thailand stand as a bastion against the further pressure on the south by Communist forces? Is there any Opposition member who would deny the truth of what I am saying or its validity in relation to the present situation? We are told by honorable gentlemen opposite, and indeed by the Leader of the Opposition, that we have denuded our pitifully small forces by the action that we have taken. Do Opposition members believe that our security in this country would have been better served had we ignored the obligation we have - that is the way the Government sees it - to come alongside our own ally, the United States, in our treaties under A.N.Z.U.S. and S.E-A.T.O. in the action it has taken in our defence as much as in the defence of South Vietnam at this time. We should never delude ourselves. We have a more direct stake in the preservation of South Vietnam than the United States has, and it is our great good fortune that this most powerful country in the world shares our ideals of freedom and democratic justice and has derived its own democratic tradition from the common heritage we have derived from the Parliament at Westminster. Here we are linked for common purposes and at the same time we are serving our own national security. When I hear the Leader of the Opposition sneer at us about our pitiful defences, I think that he must have a very short memory. In the year in which we took office, the Budget laid down by the Labour Government provided £54.6 million for defence. We immediately increased this in our first budgetary year to £100.4 million, or nearly double. In the following year, we increased the amount to £164.3 million and in the year after that to £203.1 million. In a period of four years, we nearly quadrupled the provision for defence made by the Labour Government. {: .speaker-KVG} ##### Mr Stokes: -- Labour opposed this. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT: -- Labour not only opposed it but continued to criticise us until very recent times. The Labour Party of 1950 was the Labour Party that supported the action we took in South Korea. What is the fundamental difference between the course we are now following and the course we followed in the crisis of South Korea in July 1950? The fundamental difference is that in 1955 there was a split on foreign policy in the Labour Party and those who have been hostile to the United States and who have been tender and sensitive to Communist causes have become the dominant force in the caucus of the Australian Labour Party today. That is the fundamental difference. There is no essential difference between the issue that had to be fought out in South Korea and the issue that has to be fought out in South Vietnam. The people of Australia must face up to this issue clearly and directly. At this stage of our development nationally we must either muster the forces for us to be entirely self sufficient in defence or must depend on the help of somebody else. If we were to attempt to be self sufficient we could do so only at the expense of the steady development of this country, its population and its resources. For years in this postwar period our allies - the United Kingdom and the United States - have given us every encouragement, as they continue to do, to build up our population and our resources. We believe that we also must make an honourable contribution to the issues of defence in this part of the world. That is why our troops are today in Malaysia in response to our own unilateral undertaking freely given and now honourably serviced. At the same time, we are conscious of what is being done by the United States in the common cause of freedom, and we are honouring an obligation to give support - not support involving any great numbers, but support which means a tremendous amount, as the Prime Minister and I and other members of the Cabinet have cause to know - which has been welcomed, with every evidence of sincerity, by the United States and is a great fillip to the Americans' own morale. It is a psychological lift to them to know that others are sharing their views and sharing the burden of the conflict with them. So, **Sir, our** contribution has been welcomed and honoured by them. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Crystallised opinion. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT: -- I do not know what the honorable gentleman means by that. If he means that our opinion and the opinion of the Administration of the United States is at one on this great issue, then he is correct. Unfortunately there are divisions in America as there are in Australia. They are divisions arising, I believe, from the fact that people have not yet faced up directly to what is involved. It is very easy to be critical, and in a country with a population of 193 million people so diversely composed it is not surprising that there should be criticisms here and there. We live in a day and age in which the Press is much more prone to present the public with criticisms than with applause, and it is the criticisms which seem to dominate. I believe that there is at the grass roots of this country a recognition of where Australia's national interests lie. I am quite certain that the Opposition has seriously misread Australia's thinking on this matter. I am appalled to believe that there are so few, apparently, in the ranks of the Opposition who, in contrast with the attitude displayed by the Australian Labour Party in 1950, are not prepared to come forward - as their Party was then - and join in supporting the action taken in the interests of our national security. We have today not merely a task for leadership in government and in this Parliament, but I would hope in every section of the Australian community whether it be in the Church, in academic circles, in business, in the trade union movement or through the Press. Wherever leadership has a chance to express itself it should be directing its thoughts to this cause and examining where Australia's interests can best be served. We cannot afford, nationally, the kind of division which is registered by the Opposition in the Parliament at this time. The Opposition speaks for nearly half of the Australian electorate. Australia cannot go on with the strength which it should be bringing to this issue if there is in Australia the kind of division which the Opposition is reflecting here at this time. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** tried to confuse the issue by saying that we were insincere in our attitude because of the way in which we trade with Communist China. We sell to Communist China goods which are not unique to this country. Other countries have wool. There are other countries with wheat and steel, and they are all anxious to sell these products on the markets of the world. From what we can secure from the sale of products which are in a competitive field and freely available elsewhere we can build a stronger Australia able to make a better contribution to the stability of, and the strength of freedom in, this part of the world. So, **Sir, I** suggest to honorable gentlemen opposite that they search their minds and their souls on this issue. Let them ask themselves: What realism is there today in clinging to the United Nations as our source of salvation? I believe in the United Nations. I want to see it succeed, but only a fool dangerously committed to folly could find in the current fragile situation of the United Nations - its disarray on great international issues as they arise - a source of strength for freedom in the world at this time. We have great cause to be appreciative of and grateful for the contribution which the United States is making through its strength, through its wealth, through its manpower, to causes in which we are commonly interested in this part of the world. It is for Australia not merely an obligation but an honour to see Australian troops alongside those of its ally, the United States, in helping to secure freedom in our part of the world. {: #subdebate-32-0-s11 .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr COURTNAY:
Darebin .- The Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** made one or two points which I desire to answer. The right honorable gentleman suggested that since the year 1950 his Government has annually concentrated and applied more money for defence than the Labour Government did in its last year of office. In our last years of office we had just come through a great war and it had been the task of the Australian Labour Party to carry on that war and to unify the people of Australia for that purpose. It had done that. Members of the Labour Party had completed that task and they were then confronted with the task of rehabilitating people who had been in the armed forces, and with restoring the economy generally. They were confronted with a situation in which, because of the exhaustion that followed years of war, there was no enemy immediately in sight who could pose a threat to Australia. The sensible thing to do was to devote whatever resources the country had to the rehabilitation of the men of the armed forces and the restoration of Australia's industries. That is what we did and we carried out that rehabilitation process with credit. The right honorable gentleman asked why the Labour Party supported the Government's action in Korea and yet hesitates to support its action today. The situation today is vastly different from the situation when we were involved in Korea. Today the action that the Government has taken is supported by very few nations. That is the difference between the situation today and then, but more important, since the time of the Korean war Chinese Communism has developed very rapidly and poses a greater menace now than it did even then. Furthermore, the situation in South Vietnam now poses not only the possibility but the probability of involvement with the Communist powers and involvement in a nuclear war. It is for this reason that we of the Opposition say that in the interests of the people of this nation we are at least entitled to take a closer look at the matter. It is not I, nor the Australian Labour Party, who suggests that there is a real threat of an all-in nuclear war, the suggestion has been made by many other authorities, even by the representatives of the British Government, at the current S.E.A.T.O. meeting. So I say to the right honorable gentleman who has now left the chamber that I have shown two very great reasons - perhaps the last one is the real one) - why we are entitled to take a closer look. In circumstances where not only we but most of the countries of the Western world, and of the Communist world, too, believe that a threat of nuclear war exists, we would be neglecting our duty to our people if we did not take a close look at the matter. The Treasurer also drew attention to the difference in the point of view displayed between the Russian and Chinese Communist ideologies. He is quite correct. We do recognise that China adopts the attitude that Communism can be imposed on the rest of the world by means of war. We also recognise that is the difference between Chinese Communism and Russian Communism. We say that at the present moment Russian Communism is in a very embarrassing position because, in the conflict of opinion in the Asian world - and there is conflict of opinion there now - Chinese Communism is forcing Russian Communism into a situation where, if it became necessary, not only would Chinese Communism intervene but, in order to keep faith with the rest of the Communist world, and in order to hold its position in the Asian Communist world and among the Asian nations generally, Russian Communism may be forced also to intervene. That is another reason why we should take a closer look at this matter. I have answered the points which the right honorable gentleman has made. There is one feature about this debate that I deplore. It is the intemperate language used by some Government members. For instance, the other night, the honorable member for La Trobe **(Mr. Jess)** said - >I have nothing but contempt for the Opposition, both those who will speak and those who will not speak. How can I take a trick? If I speak, he has nothing but contempt for me, and if I do not speak, he has nothing but contempt for me. That is his general attitude and it is similar to that adopted by another Government member in another place who argued that the points the Opposition put forward were so much claptrap. He might think they are so much claptrap, but at least they are supported by a very large body of opinion right throughout the world, even in America. There are honorable members on this side of the House who have given serious consideration to this matter. They are seriously concerned about it because they know just exactly what is involved. Their conclusions may not be correct, but at least I put it to honorable members on the Government side that they ought to give us credit for being honest in the matter. I have already mentioned our part in the defence of Australia, and if the Government members want history, let me add that if the history of the defence of this country is honestly written, due credit must be paid to the Labour Party and to the Labour Government. In fact, I want to say that the concept of an Australian-American defence alliance was brought into being by none other than the Curtin Labour Government. It was we who said that we must form an alliance with America. We said that such an alliance was necessary if this country was to be saved, and the then Leader of the Opposition, **Mr. Menzies** as he was then, said that such an alliance was a grave blunder and opposed it. If it is history that Government members want, then we can give it. Let me emphasise, too, that although we were responsible for this concept of an Australian-American defence alliance, we never at any time agreed or conceded that that alliance meant that if America at any time did something that was wrong we automatically should be involved in the wrong that was being done. We have no quarrel with America's desire to contain Chinese Communism. What we say is that the methods adopted are not, in our considered opinion, likely to succeed, and in this we are supported by a very substantial body of world opinion. For instance, **Mr. Lester** Pearson of Canada has criticised the American Government. Pakistan is criticising the American Government, and various other Western nations, including France are criticising the American Government. Indeed, France is so critical of the American Government that she now refuses to be very closely allied with S.E.A.T.O. We have in the world today a situation which I suggest could and probably will result in a major war in which we will be involved. Not one Western country in the world, not even New Zealand - if New Zealand can be called a Western country - has gone to the extent of saying that it is going to involve itself militarily in this venture. Most have said that they would not do so, and have expressed disapproval of it. This Government's decision to send troops to Vietnam was made right at a time when Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan and other nations of the world were seeing whether it was possible for them to arrange for a cease fire and to negotiate in connection with this critical situation. The Australian Government's reply to them was: "Who are you going to negotiate with?" Are we to believe that such great nations as Britain, France, Canada, Japan, even Russia and the others which were trying to arrange negotiations were foolish enough to expend their efforts along those lines while believing that there was nobody to negotiate with? I come now to the statement made by the Prime Minister in justification of this action. The Prime Minister would have the people of Australia believe that this action is being taken in the discbarge of our S.E.A.T.O. obligations. The Prime Minister knows perfectly well that it is not being taken in discharge of our S.E.A.T.O. obligations. If he knows anything at all, the Prime Minister also knows perfectly well that no approach has been made to S.E.A.T.O. with respect to the despatch of these troops to South Vietnam. Government members may argue that the action is being taken in discharge of our obligations under S.E.A.T.O. Let them argue in that way if they wish. But let me say that if there is an obligation on us under S.E.A.T.O. to send combat troops to Vietnam, then every other member of S.E.A.T.O. is failing to fulfil its obligations. There are seven members of S.E.A.T.O. Is the obligation only on Australia? If, as has been put by the Prime Minister, there is an obligation on us, then there is also an obligation on all members of S.E.A.T.O. The plain simple fact is that the Prime Minister does not tell the truth when he implies that there is an obligation or that such an obligation can be read into the Treaty. But if the Government wishes to continue that argument it is merely submitting to the people that everybody else in the Organisation is letting it down; that everybody else is ratting on it. If that were so the Organisation would not be worth much anyhow. That is not Labour's view. Referring to the current situation, I said that it was not only the Australian Labour Party but also a sizable body of world opinion - I mentioned several governments - that was opposed to the step we are taking in sending troops to South Vietnam, lt has little military value anyway. There is a maxim that you cannot beat the Asians in Asia. Nobody has ever done it yet and I fail to see how we can affect the situation by committing some SOO troops. We need them here in Australia anyhow because there is danger closer to home. I mentioned that there was a substantial body of world opinion opposed to this step. I want to read from a statement by **Senator Wayne** Morse. **Senator Morse** has been a Democratic senator from Oregon, United States of America, since 1945 and enjoys a pretty good reputation. I cannot read the whole of his statement but he had this to say - >I do not suggest that at any point has North Vietnam been innocent of illegal action under the Geneva Agreement. Nor do I doubt that in recent months, and perhaps in recent years, the Viet Cong movement has received considerable advice and support from North Vietnam. > >But violations by one side do not excuse violations by the other. Terrorist methods employed by one side have been matched by terrorism employed by the other. This is the view of a United States senator. He continued - >The United States had the clear duty and obligation under international law to petition the United Nations for redress of North Vietnam's violation of the Geneva Agreement. Why didn't we? History for generations to come will continue to ask the United States that question. > >It will also continue to find us guilty of having substituted the jungle law of military might for our often professed ideal of the rule of law through international agreement in cases of threats to the peace of the world. > >In South-East -Asia we have walked out on our ideals and joined the communists in becoming a threat to the peace of the world. That is what **Senator Wayne** Morse of the United States had to say. I want to say just a little bit about the origins of this strife in Vietnam. Perhaps I should quote what **Senator John** Kennedy, later President Kennedy, said on 6th April 1954. At the time he was fighting a campaign against Barry Goldwater who, by the way, adopted as one of the bases of his campaign the escalation of the war in Vietnam. At that time Kennedy was resisting this. However, this is what **Senator Kennedy** had to say on 6th April 1954 - >No amount of American military assistance in Indo-China can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere - an "enemy of the people " which has the sympathy and covert support of the people. **Senator Kennedy** adopted the line that this matter could not be resolved militarily, but would have to be resolved by negotiation. It is known that in 1954 a number of nations, under the auspices of the United Nations and under the co-chairmanship of Great Britain and Russia, were called into conference to solve the crisis in South East Asia. The nations represented were Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam North, France, Laos, the People's Republic of China, the State of Vietnam, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Under the auspices of the United Nations, these nations finally came to an agreement which restored peace to the area. One clause of the agreement was that in 1956 there should be a free election held in South Vietnam to enable the people to determine their own destiny. Such an election has never been held. In the last couple of years, at least eight governments - all supported by the United States - have been overthrown but there has been no election. The United States did not sign the agreement but undertook - >That it would refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb the agreements in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter dealing with the obligation of members to refrain, in their international relations, from the threat or use of force. > >That ;t would view any renewal of aggression in violation of the aforesaid Agreements with grave concern and as seriously threatening international peace and security. That was the undertaking given by the United States, to be followed shortly after by military intervention. Many agreements have been broken. We of the Australian Labour Party believe that rather than send troops and become involved in this conflict we in Australia should be aligned with the majority of the nations of the world in seeking to find a peaceful formula so that we can have a negotiated settlement. We believe that there are those with whom negotiations can commence. We believe that this may save the world from being plunged into the holocaust that is threatened. That is our view and that is what we fight for. {: #subdebate-32-0-s12 .speaker-JLT} ##### Mr IAN ALLAN:
Gwydir .- As the honorable member for Darebin **(Mr. Courtnay)** has indicated, there are always, in times of tension and conflict, armchair strategists ready to fly into print at the drop of a pen, and it is usually the least informed who have the widest public. There is a legion of people who are jealous of the prestige, authority and wealth of a great power like the United States of America. That is natural. It is accepted as a feature of human nature. There are also people in the community - in fact almost everyone - who find violence distasteful. So, it is easy - too easy indeed - for Opposition speakers to be critical of the conduct of affairs in South Vietnam at the present time and it is because of this easiness, this simplicity, this ability to quote critics of United States policy and Australian policy that this Parliament should act most responsibly. 1 regret that the Opposition on this occasion has not seen fit to act with a proper and due sense of responsibility. In my opinion the Opposition has caused unnecessary strain and distress to those who have sons and brothers either committed, or who may be committed, to service in South Vietnam. For the Opposition to oppose the Government's decision to send troops to aid our allies in South Vietnam is an act of the highest irresponsibility. I would not minimise the value of 800 Australian troops, as Opposition speakers have done. I have the highest regard for the fighting qualities and general character of Australian fighting men. Eight hundred Australian troops in South Vietnam will make an impact far out of proportion to their numbers. Of that I am sure. They will carry the flag of Australia high and proudly in the fight for South Vietnam. As previous speakers have said, the case for sending our troops to South Vietnam is simple. First, we have the reason for the trouble there: The economy of South Vietnam was improving and the economy of North Vietnam was deteriorating. The Communists could not allow this situation to continue, for they ran the danger of losing their grip on North Vietnam. So they instituted the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam, which promoted a Communist insurrection in South Vietnam. That is a normal Communist process. There is no doubt that if the Communists were successful in South Vietnam, Laos would be next to succumb, then Cambodia and Thailand would go, and in a very short time the whole of South East Asia would be thrown to the wolves. We in Australia cannot afford to have this happen. We cannot afford to lose our friends in South East Asia and- see them swallowed up behind the borders of a Communist empire, whether it be that of the Chinese Communists or that of the Russian Communists. There is another reason why our troops should be in South Vietnam. They are there to help our great friends and allies, the Americans, who are our ultimate protectors. We are tied by treaty to the United States of America and we are tied by sentiment. We are tied also by realism. If Australia were to be threatened by an aggressor, who would ultimately protect us? We would be protected by nobody but the United States. So it is fitting that we have troops in South Vietnam and that we be the first to rally to the side of the United States when she needs assistance in a hard campaign there. The case against the sending of our troops to South Vietnam, on the contrary, is not at all clear. Opposition speakers have muttered some words about the United Nations. But, as everyone knows, or should know, the United Nations at present is quite impotent and powerless. It cannot act, because it has beggared itself in carrying out peacekeeping operations in the Congo and in Cyprus. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That is a weak argument. {: .speaker-JLT} ##### Mr IAN ALLAN: -- It is all very well for my honorable friend to say that that is B weak argument. If the United States were prepared, out of her own exchequer, to fill the coffers of the United Nations, perhaps we could revive this flagging institution. But America has been carrying the burden of world peace, through the United Nations, and getting no credit for it for too long, lt is time some of the other big powers shared the burden. That is the United States view, and I entirely subscribe to it. The Opposition has put forward a very weak argument in favour of action being taken through the United Nations. This magical phrase " the United Nations ", which honorable members opposite use so frequently to aid them in their arguments, really means nothing in the present context. The United Nations has no force ready to help in Vietnam. Even if it bad, that force could not help in sufficient time to be effective. There is an odd strain in the Opposition's attitude to the defence of Australia, and I have been at some pains for a considerable time in trying to get to the bottom of this attitude and to understand the motives behind it. It seems to me that the Opposition has become fascinated by the non-aligned countries. As honorable members may recall, the first conference of the nonaligned countries, so called, was held in Belgrade in 1961. It is interesting to see that the conditions for admission to that conference, in substance, were subsequently written into the Australian Labour Party's platform. They were as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. to follow an independent policy based on peaceful co-existence with other countries of different political and social ideologies . . . ; 1. always to support popular liberation movements; 2. not to become a party to any collective military pact that would involve implication in current East-West wrangles; 3. not to become a party to any bilateral treaty wilh any regional defence bloc, if that would mean involvement in East-West disputes; 4. not to have on its territory any foreign military bases set up with their own consent. As I have said, those conditions have largely been written into the policy of the Australian Labour Party. 1 cannot understand why the Labour Party has tied itself so closely to the nonaligned countries, which are led by Yugoslavia. Honorable members may or may not be aware that in recent years that country has tended more and more to move towards Soviet Russia in its policies. So it seems that the policies promoted as policies of the non-aligned countries are in fact becoming more and more the policies of Soviet Russia. The Australian Labour Party may or may not be aware of this situation. But it is a curious fact that the Party's foreign policy is moulded to fit into this framework of non-alignment that has been designed in Moscow. The Labour Party would be well advised to look closely at this situation. Australia is not a non-aligned country and cannot be. Our social standards, traditions and economic standards are totally different from and totally incompatible with those of the non-aligned or neutral countries. If we were to move in the direction of non-alignment and towards cutting our ties with the United States, we would do a great deal of damage to the cause of the non-aligned countries themselves. Let me explain that. We are not a nonaligned or neutral country. On the other hand, we are not a big power. We hold an intermediate position and, in that intermediate position, we have the sympathy, the goodwill and the support of the nonaligned countries - the under-developed countries. They regard Australia very highly indeed. They appreciate our position and, as anyone can find out for himself by travelling around, the stocks of Australians in the small countries axe at the highest possible level. That has been brought about not as a result of pursuing some nonaligned policy but as a result of pursuing the policies of this present Government. Our position is clear to the small countries. We are a Western country; we are a wealthy country; and we are the first to defend our way of life against the threat of Communism. They appreciate that situation. They can make an approach to the West through Australia, and they do. They find it easier to approach Australia for assistance and for advice than to approach some of the larger powers, some of the powers which have a colonial history or the United States of America. So we have a very important position and the Labour Party is very foolish to jeopardise this position by pursuing a most ambiguous, to say the least, foreign policy - one that will not be understood by the non-aligned countries and one that is certainly impossible for the Western countries to understand. I am sure that if the Labour Party were in Government in Australia it would not act as irresponsibly as it has acted in the present instance in opposing the sending of our troops to help the South Vietnamese. I am one who is convinced because of the record of previous incidents of the same kind in Malaysia, the Congo, Cyprus and in other places that the war in South Vietnam can and will be won. For its successful conclusion we will need courage and patience. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- And allies. {: .speaker-JLT} ##### Mr IAN ALLAN: -- Above all we will need unswerving loyalty to our great friend and protector, the United States of America. That is the only country which can guarantee peace to South East Asia, to Australia and, largely, to the rest of the world. There was an interjection from an honorable member opposite whom I did not quite hear. I am sorry that so many of my friends on the Opposition side have adopted the stand that they have. I respect their views. A previous speaker complained that a general charge had been laid that many speakers on the Opposition side were dishonest in their arguments. I do not lay a charge like that. I remark, on the other hand, that it is sad to see so many well meaning, good intentioned and honest Australians in the Opposition ranks adopting the course that has been adopted in this debate. Australia is a proud country; it is i strong country; and I hope that it will always do as it has done on this occasion - be the first to go in and fight for what it believes to be right. We will go in this time. We will go in with right and might on our side, and we will win. And, what is more, the Australian public will be behind us. {: #subdebate-32-0-s13 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- I regret that a man for whom I have much personal admiration, the honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Ian Allan),** spoke along the lines that he did. The Australian Labour Party is united in the stand it is taking in this Parliament on what is, to my mind, one of the most important issues that has been discussed in this National Parliament. "Hie Parliament is debating a matter of major importance - the Government's decision to send 800 Australian troops to South Vietnam. It was in 1962, which was not long ago, that this Government announced that three Australian instructors were to be sent to South Vietnam. Soon afterwards it was announced that 36 would be sent. Then the number was increased to 84, or thereabouts, and then to 100, as it is now. The Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** has now arrived at a decision to send 800 additional Australian boys to South Vietnam. I do not believe that the Australian people will condone the actions of this Government. The Australian boys to be sent are the cream of Australia's manhood - soldiers always are. The war in Vietnam has, I believe, been correctly described as a bloody, filthy war. It is a war in which rising world opinion will prove that our actions and the actions of our friend and ally, the United States of America, are grossly wrong and against all principles of justice. I believe that the great majority of honorable members opposite have not been given the opportunity to express an opinion for or against the sending of these boys to South Vietnam; and for that reason 1 believe they have been denied the opportunity to represent their constituents in this Parliament correctly and democratically. But this is how democracy functions under the dictatorship of the Prime Minister, who is commonly known throughout Australia is the great white father. Let us consider the problem in Vietnam. The decision of this Government is of a very grave nature; in its consequences it is unprecedented in Australia's political history. No Australian Government has had to make a more serious decision; it will involve its nationals, and to some extent the cream of its manhood, being sent to war on a foreign battlefield. A decision such as this has never previously been taken since Federation in that Australian nationals will be sent to a war in which modern nuclear weapons could be used; and I submit that we are virtually on the brink of a nuclear war now. Should the Vietnam situation escalate further it could bring about the extinction of the human race and the destruction of the fabric of the earth. A knowledge of the devastation that modern weapons of war can cause makes the decision by the Government far more serious than decisions made on the eve of World Wars I and II. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Does the honorable member believe that America should get out of Vietnam? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The honorable member for Higinbotham should set an example by doing what he is advocating. By this decision we will have military commitments on more fronts in South East Asia than any other Commonwealth country. We support the United Kingdom's extensive financial interest in Malaysia and the American Government's military actions in Vietnam. We are also flying our military flag in Thailand where Australian forces are stationed. In addition we have our own perimeter defences to man in New Guinea. On 30th April 1965 a report appeared in the Melbourne " Age " stating that Government sources were explaining that any involvement of a second battalion in Malaysia would upset the needed balance between Australian forces committed and forces in reserve. In short, we do not have troops to spare for Vietnam. I agree wholeheartedly with the submissions made by the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** in the course of this debate. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Oh! {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Yes; the honorable member who interjects hates the truth. The aggression from the north in the Vietnam war has not been of a major nature. **Senator Wayne** Morse, who is a lawyer, farmer, senior educator and, since 1945, a Democratic senator for Oregon in the United States of America, and a member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee is on record as having interviewed some time ago senior officers of the Pentagon on their return from Vietnam. When questioned, they stated one after the other that virtually no military help was coming from North Vietnam. I am inclined to the view that it was not until the Government forces in South Vietnam - aided, abetted, counselled and procured by our friend and ally, the United States - commenced to go further than making retaliatory air strikes against the North, over the 17th parallel, that the North's activity against the Government forces in the South was stepped up. We are told that almost two-thirds of South Vietnam is controlled by the Vietcong. We are also told that the Vietcong represents almost 70 per cent, of the South Vietnamese people. That being the case - I am strongly inclined to the view that it is the case - what type of democracy do we claim to be supporting? Is it a minority? That is what it appears to be on the face of things and on the material that is available in the Parliamentary Library. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Does the honorable member want the Americans to get out of Vietnam? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- No; I would sooner the honorable member got out because he has a head on him like a swallow's nest - mud outside and you know what inside. Does not the United Nations Charter lay down that all countries have the right of selfdetermination? Is not **Senator Wayne** Morse correct when he accuses his own Government of violating United Nations principles and international law? This forthright senator, whose name we seldom hear mentioned by members of the Government parties in this or any other debate, is strongly supported by other United States senators, including **Senator Mike** Monroney, **Senator Fulbright** and **Senator McGovern. Senator McGovern** is on record as saying recently - >We have thrown four billion dollars and several hundred American lives into the political quicksand of South East Asia, but this is the prelude to a debacle of major proportions if we persist in the effort to impose military solutions on the stubborn political problems of Asia. But, unfortunately, the tone in Washington is set not by realistically minded senators of the Morse-Fulbright-Monroney-McGovern type, but by an extreme right wing faction of the type that is represented in the Australian Parliament by the honorable member for Higinbotham **(Mr. Chipp),** the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** and other eccentrics who are known as the lunatic fringe of the Government side of this Parliament. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The honorable member cannot take it. {: #subdebate-32-0-s14 .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackinnon:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA -- Order! {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- I have never raised a point of order in this chamber before; but I do object to a person of the character of the honorable member for Hunter saying- {: #subdebate-32-0-s15 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will state his point of order. He must not reflect on another honorable member. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- I object to the honorable member for Hunter referring to me by name as part of the lunatic fringe. I ask that that be withdrawn. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Hunter will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I withdraw it out of respect for you, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** 1 did not refer to the honorable member by name. To my mind, the extreme right wing political leaders in the United States are disregarding world opinion in connection with the Vietnam war. We know that more than 2,500 Christian leaders in the United States prevailed upon the Government of that country to halt aggression and to seek an honorable peace. They wrote to the New York " Times " asking that everything be done to halt aggression and to seek an honorable peace. Napalm, phosphorus gas and the lazy dog are some of the weapons which have been used in our name and which are held by many people to be against all the conventions of war. How long will it take for the people of Vietnam, Asia and the world to forget the shocking atrocities that have been committed in our name? I admit that atrocities have been committed by the Vietcong; but according to Press reports the most shocking atrocities have been committed by the Government forces in South Vietnam. We recall that not so long ago these atrocities stirred the indignation of the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** so much that in this Parliament he asked that photographs of some of the atrocities committed by the Vietcong be sent to the newspapers in Australia. I venture to suggest that, if atrocities by the Vietcong were prevalent and photographs of them were readily available, those photographs would have been published in our newspapers, particularly in the Sydney "Daily Telegraph ". The burning fact remains that the white man's intrusion into the Asian continent has accentuated the possibility of a world blood bath. We should ask ourselves this question: Are we not, by the Government's actions, taking the pathway to death? I do not think at this time we should be concentrating so much on who is right and who is wrong. The question is: How can we stop the war? The very actions of this Government could be considered as having cut the last bridge between Australia and Asia. London, Bonn and New York do not belong to the south seas. The time has come when we should consider cutting our navel strings with the great powers because they are leaving us alone now. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- Did the honorable member say " navel strings "? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The honorable member would not know. There would be none attached to his system; I know that. The Prime Minister is said, to have referred to a former Prime Minister of South Vietnam - Diem - as a brave little man. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- That is right. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- That is right, is it? Who said that? {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- I did. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The honorable member for Moreton says that Diem was a brave little man; yet we learn from the magazines in the Library that on Diem's personal orders 300 Buddhist pagodas were totally destroyed and about 2,000 of the opposing government forces were arrested, tortured and murdered. It was thought that when General Khanh came to power in South Vietnam things would be different; but his regime committed almost similar destruction of Buddhist pagodas. The number of pagodas destroyed was fewer, but about 1,000 Buddhists were arrested, tortured and disembowelled. How could one expect such actions to bring the great majority of the people over to the Government's thinking? On the contrary, they must become more hateful of the Government. President Johnson's offer of aid and peace negotiations is welcome. However, the continued bombing of North Vietnam must force China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to unite with other Communist countries in order to help their allies as they have promised to do. That could mean a major war between the United States and its allies, including Australia, on the one hand, and the Communist allied nations on the other. It would be a nuclear war, as stated by United States **Senator Wayne** Morse on 14th April 1964, when he said - >If we escalate the war to North Vietnam the plan is to use nuclear weapons. Continued Australian support for United States action means risking our people, our cities and our land with nuclear destruction. Therefore, the Australian Labour Party is united to a man against the Menzies Government's action in sending 800 Australian boys to this dirty war in South Vietnam. Is war with China the aim? We have to ask ourselves that question. We know that that is the thinking of the honorable member for Mackellar, who stated openly in this Parliament that he was in favour of using nuclear weapons against nuclear installations in China. If that was not a warmongering statement, I have never heard one. Professor Hans J. Morgenthau, a Defence Department consultant in the United States, said on 5th March last that air raids on North Vietnam were pushed by a group that wants to use the present situation in Vietnam to provoke a war with China while China is weak militarily. **Senator Morse** said - >The war hawks- The honorable member for Mackellar and many other people in this House who think as he does fall within that category - . . think they may get China to slip into an overt act so they can bomb the nuclear installations in China. Then the big show is on. The Conservative British publication " Far Eastern Economic Review " of 25th March 1965 stated that according to his friends the United States Ambassador, General Taylor, threatened to resign if President Johnson did not give him strong backing and carry out his advice to bomb North Vietnam and eventually China itself before China could attack the United States. I repeat, this statement appeared ;n a Conservative British publication, so the Labour Party is justified, through love of this country, in bitterly opposing the Government's action in sending additional troops to South Vietnam. Taylor himself confirmed the statement I just mentioned when he said: " There is no limit to escalation ". These warnings are not from radicals and Communists but from highly placed Conservative sources. They should be heeded before our involvement destroys us. I have a document from the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation of Australia and New Zealand. The great patriots opposite laugh when I say the name of one of the greatest living Britishers, one of the greatest the world has ever known, Lord Bertrand Russell. This document contains the following statement - >If this plan goes forward millions of people including Australians may die. Yet we still support U.S. wider war actions in Vietnam. Why? President Kennedy warned in 1961, global war may start "at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness ". We do not wish our children and others to be nuclear bom-bed in a war brought on by military madness. Australia can advance freedom and democracy while demonstrating her friendship for America - but we need not meekly accept the potential disaster of present U.S. policies. It is not too late for the Government to reconsider and revoke its decision to send Australian boys to a blood bath in South Vietnam - an action commonly referred to, and I believe justifiably, as sending these boys to a blood bath to balance the forthcoming Budget. Only when war has been rejected can conflicts be resolved by conciliation and negotiation. Only when war is rejected will governments be compelled to find another way of resolving conflicts. I honestly and sincerely believe that the steps taken by this Government in connection with the Vietnamese situation will send it out of power as happened during World War I and World War II with non-Labour Governments. The Labour Party will be called in, if Australia becomes further involved in the war in Vietnam, to steer Australia through the crisis. It will be called to power by the Australian people as it was in World War I and in World War II. I appeal to Government supporters to have a deeper love of country instead of love for a foreign power. Let them put their own country first and have the guts to cross the floor on this subject. The Government's decision could ultimately bring about the destruction of Australia and of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. {: #subdebate-32-0-s16 .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Parkes .- Needless to say I shall not accept the invitation tendered by the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James).** I felt rather sorry for him when he represented to the House as the pure stream of correct principle in American policy the sentiments voiced by such people as **Senator Wayne** Morse and **Senator Mansfield** and represented them as being people who are preaching what is right and what is acceptable to a large body of public opinion in the United States of America. However, the honorable member has not read this evening's newspapers. If he had the picture would have emerged to him as somewhat different, because in the Melbourne "Herald" under a Washington dateline of Wednesday it is reported that the House of Representatives of the United States Congress gave President Johnson an overwhelming vote of confidence on his Vietnam policy. It voted 408 to 7 to approve quickly his request for another 700 million dollars, which is £350 million Australian, for the fighting there. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- For the fighting where? {: .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- In South Vietnam. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- In the Dominican Republic. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- He cannot read. {: .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I can read. There was an overwhelming vote of confidence in his Vietnam policy, so the honorable member for Hunter is once more out on a limb. Whereas the Labour Party in England is substantially united as to the correct policy to be followed in relation to South Vietnam, which last night was described by the British Prime Minister as the most dangerous part of the world today, and whereas the people of the United States are overwhelmingly behind their Government on this momentous question, the Party which sits on the Opposition benches in this House chooses to divide this nation on probably the most important question which has faced us as a matter of principle for many years past I want to comment on the speech of the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** in this House last Tuesday night, but before doing so let me say that I am again sorry for the honorable member for Hunter that he put himself whole heartedly in alignment with the honorable member for Yarra and what he said. Of course, such a step on the part of the honorable member for Hunter was hardly unpredictable. We know where he stands. He is in the little coterie of left wingers in the Labour Party who gather round the honorable member for Yarra. I agree with the honorable member for Yarra on one point - that the question, which faces us as a country and as a Parliament, of whether we commit troops overseas to help a country in the situation of South Vietnam is a question of morality. I wholeheartedly agree, because any decision to commit young Australian men to fight in any overseas theatre must be a decision which in the conscientious opinion of any government is founded on morality, justice and international right. So the honorable member for Yarra and I start with one point of agreement; thereafter we diverge for reasons which I will indicate. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** tonight sought to cast doubt on the basis of our position in South Vietnam. He made a claim, supported by tenuous argument which is of no worth at all, that we are not there because of our commitment under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. I thought that this question of why we were in South Vietnam and why we are to be there in greater strength very soon was settled once and for all in this House by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** on 13th August when he pointed out that South Vietnam had been a protocol State under S.E.A.T.O. since the inception of the S.E.A.T.O. Treaty in 1954 and that such men as we had in South Vietnam were there because of a specific request by the South Vietnamese Government. The Prime Minister pointed out on Tuesday that we are sending 800 fighting troops to South Vietnam now because the Government has received a request from the South Vietnamese Government for additional assistance. There can be no doubt as to the basis of our being there soon in greater strength. The honorable member for Yarra, having posed the proposition, with which I agree, that it is a moral question whether we send troops overseas, proceeded along a line of argument. He quoted figures which came from a document put out on 13th February 1965 by the International Control Commission in South Vietnam and which appeared in an American State Department pamphlet entitled "Aggression from the North ". He gave these figures in an attempt to show that the scale of outside Communist intervention in South Vietnam was minimal or, as he put it, I think, marginal. That was his point, and as I understood him he said that it was so small that there was no call for us to do anything at all. The honorable member in making that statement overlooked some very important facts and some very important recent developments. What the honorable member for Yarra did was to quote these figures with regard to weapons of outside Communist origin - Russian, Chinese, Czechoslovakia^ East German - which had been captured from Vietcong troops between June 1962 and the end of 1964. He pointed out to the House - and his figure was substantially correct - that the report of captured arms in this document gave a total of only a little over 900 weapons of external origin that had been captured in South Vietnam during this period which he was perhaps inaccurate enough to describe as four years when in fact it was only two and a half years - but that is by the by. Then he said that this was a measure of the contribution of the North by way of weapons to the fight in the South. He suggested to the House that these were representative and, indeed, up to date figures. They were neither, and the honorable member for Yarra, I suggest, knew this at the time that he gave the figures. He gave them as being the number of captured weapons up to 13th February 1965 and he said to the House: " I get these figures from the American State Department document titled ' Aggression from the North ' ". He said this after having taunted honorable members on this side of the House by declaring that they had not read and analysed the document. He clearly implied that he had both read it and analysed it. Nothing could be clearer than that. He said - and this needs to be weighed in the light of what I will put in a few moments - that it was necessary to be meticulously accurate about the facts in considering this great problem which he described as a moral problem. What I ask is this: Was he meticulously accurate, as he said it was necessary to be? In truth he was not, as I will show. Here we have a man who claims to have read and analysed the American State Department document, and in that very document there is a substantial portion which deals with a most significant event which occurred on 16th February 1965, three days after the close of the period which the honorable member for Yarra called in aid as being a representative period and which gave a measure, if one looked at the quantity of arms captured during that period, of the extent of North Vietnamese assistance. The honorable member omitted to tell the House, despite this avowal on his part that he ought to be accurate, that in one portion of the document the following appears - >On February 16, 1965, an American helicopter pilot flying along the South Vietnamese coast sighted a suspicious vessel, lt was a cargo ship of an estimated 100-ton capacity, carefully camouflaged and moored just off shore along the coast of Phu Yen Province. Fighter planes that approached the vessel met machine gun fire from guns on the deck of the ship and from the shore as well. I shall not read the whole passage. The vessel was sunk by the South Vietnamese forces, and the report goes on - >The ship, which had been sunk in shallow water, had discharged a huge cargo of arms, ammunition and other supplies. Documents found on the ship and on the bodies of several Viet Cong aboard identified the vessel as having come from North Vietnam. A newspaper in the cabin was from Haiphong- Haiphong is in North Vietnam - and was dated January 23, 196S. Then the document gave a list of the supplies that were on board the vessel, all from North Vietnam. The fact that they came from North Vietnam cannot be disputed. The report said - >The supplies delivered by the ship - thousands of weapons and more than a million rounds of ammunition - were almost all of Communist origin, largely from Communist China and Czechoslovakia, as well as North Vietnam. At least 100 tons of military supplies were discovered near the ship. A preliminary survey of the cache near the sunken vessel- There was a cache of arms on shore near the scene of the wreck - from Hanoi listed the following supplies and weapons: approximately I million rounds of small-arms ammunition; more than 1,000 stick grenades; 500 pounds of TNT in prepared charges; 2,000 rounds of 82 mm. mortar ammunition; 500 antitank grenades; The list goes on and includes 1,000 submachine guns, more than one hundred 7.62 carbines and 2,000 Mauser rifles. This information was in the American State Department document that the honorable member for Yarra claimed be had read, analysed and understood. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- He deliberately left out that information. {: .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Why would he leave it out of his speech to the House when he gave figures which he claimed indicated a fair measure of the extent of the supply of external Communist arms in the conflict in South Vietnam? There are two possible explanations. One is that the honorable member, despite his claim that he was careful and had read the document, was careless. The other explanation is that he was deliberately trying to suppress the truth in an attempt to make out an argument. There can be little doubt as to the side of the line on which the decision should lie. I have been fortunate enough to receive from the honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon),** who yielded his place in this debate tonight so that the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** could speak, a most interesting 15 foolscap page document which has on it the notation " With compliments J. F. Cairns " in what I presume to be the handwriting of the honorable member for Yarra. No doubt this was prepared for the indoctrination of his fellow members of the Labour Party before they discussed this question and what they should do in relation to their policy on the sending of these troops. It was obviously prepared by the honorable member for Yarra before he spoke in this House on Tuesday night, and a very interesting excerpt appears on page 10 of the document. The honorable member at this point was discussing the American State Department document to which I have referred, and he said - >The only occasion on which the report shows any large quantity of arms to have come from the North was as late as February 23, 1965, and then it failed to arrive. This was a "cargo ship of an estimated 100 ton capacity, carefully camouflaged and moored". The description of the vessel was in inverted commas, showing that it was taken from the State Department's report. The honorable member went on in this interesting document - and "at least 100 tons of military supplies were discovered near the ship." If the honorable member for Yarra knew that on 23rd February, as he put it - 'the correct date was 16th February - this massive importation into South Vietnam of arms and ammunition of foreign Communist origin had been made, as he obviously did know, why did he not tell the House? Why was he not frank and honest with the House? It is a very interesting question. I could suggest an answer that I think may readily occur to most honorable members. I make no bones about it: This was blatant dishonesty. The House is entitled to expect better from its members. I notice that the honorable member for Yarra has left the chamber since I started to attack him. The whole point that is overlooked by honorable members who have opposed this thoroughly justifiable and necessary measure is that during 1964 and into early 1965 there has been a tremendously significant stepping up of the scale of infiltration of highly trained troops from the north into the south of Vietnam. There has been a tremendously significant stepping up of the scale of the supply of weapons of external Communist origin into South Vietnam. AU this is made clear in a document which is certainly not a classified document. It was made available to me through the Department of External Affairs and I imagine it would be made available readily to honorable members opposite if they wanted to inform themselves of what is really happening in the way of stepping up external aggression from the north into the south. According to this document, 40,000 people have infiltrated from North Vietnam since 1959. The American State Department document to which I referred earlier and the International Control Commission document of 13 th February 1965 make it clear that the greater number of those infiltrators has come into the country in the years 1962, 1963 and 1964, with a big increase in 1964. It is quite clear that in February this year there was the large scale attempt to import weapons and munitions, which was frustrated by the sinking of the vessel that has been mentioned. The honorable member for Yarara forbore to say anything about that. This was the situation which confronted the Government that I have the honour to support on this measure. The Government had to consider whether it should do something more to redress the military situation in South Vietnam. It is not as if we are merely dealing with the problem in terms of military assistance. As the Prime Minister pointed out, our aid to South Vietnam is presently running at the rate of £1 million a year. That is a pretty good effort. But in the deteriorating military situation that began to emerge in February of this year I suggest there was nothing that could be done other than to take the course adopted by the Government in the honorable discharge of its commitments as an ally of South Vietnam under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation by increasing the rate and the measure of its military assistance. It is a sad thing, as I said earlier, that alone of the democratic countries of British origin - I include America - 'that have an interest in South Vietnam, we in this country, because of the attitude and policy of the Labour Party, must be divided. But Labour leaders in England are in no doubt as to what should be done. They realise that South Vietnam must be supported. The American Congress, by the enormous and overwhelming vote given yesterday in support of a largely increased military commitment, has indicated its unity and firmness of purpose. I hope the day will come when the Australian Labour Party may change its mind and not be wrong once again. {: #subdebate-32-0-s17 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN:
Oxley .- The honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Hughes)** in his obviously keen desire to indulge in personalities allowed himself to confuse the facts when launching an attack on the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns).** Not only did he allow himself to confuse facts but he completely got away from the moral issues that are implicit in this continuing debate - continuing not only in this Parliament and in this country but throughout the world. Let me point out to the honorable member for Parkes that what the honorable member for Yarra said about armaments captured embraced a four year period up to and including 1964. The honorable member for Yarra was meticulously explicit in pointing this out. His reason was simple: The arguments of the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** and of honorable members opposite are that there has been Chinese influence on a massive scale in South Vietnam in support of guerrilla activity there; that there has been Communist subversion on a very broad field from outside South Vietnam - not this year since the stepping up of bombing raids on North Vietnam, but over a period of some years. The facts that the honorable member for Yarra has presented to the House clearly expose that rather than any massive involvement from any outside influence, up till the end of 1964 the contribution from outside was insignificantly small. One must bear in mind that this is internal strife. The civil war has been bogging down Vietnam since 1953. In all the circumstances does it not appear that the Prime Minister and the members of his Government, together with others of their ilk who think as they do, are engaging in sensationalism and inflating, distorting and exaggerating their arguments to suit their own purposes? I have before me the document entitled " Aggression from the North ". Quite candidly, it is propaganda. This is understandable. It is no better or worse than many of the things I have seen come from the other side. For instance, the document refers to the Control Commission's report criticising what has been done by Vietcong influence but completely omits to mention that there has been criticism of American influence in South Vietnam. In the report of 1962 there was criticism - I do not intend to read all of the extract - of American military presence in South Vietnam. The report pointed out that this was the result of what was virtually a military alignment or a de facto military convention between the Government of South Vietnam and the American Government, in complete derogation of the Geneva Accord which resulted in the partition of Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam in or about 1953. Admittedly there has been a stepping up of outside influence supporting North Vietnam but once again, compared to the overall effort that is being made, it is still not a Targe contribution. After all, is it not understandable? We are bombing North Vietnam. We are indulging in a major war. We are increasing tremendously our commitment both on land and in the air against North Vietnam. We have escalated the war. We have taken it into a new phase. So the stepping up of outside influence is not to be marvelled at. The Government's decision to involve Australian troops in Vietnam is wrong. It cannot be justified. It is a decision which will do us a great deal of harm not only now but in the future and possibly for as long as a quarter of a century. We in Australia must be vitally interested in the attitudes and involvements of the AfroAsian countries - those newly emerging nations whose peoples are casting off their bondage of colonial exploitation and looking for a new and better way of life. Certainly we are Europeans but the masses in the newly emerging Afro-Asian nations lie between us and our forbears in Europe. We must be vitally interested in the welfare of these people. So when the West goes into a country such as Vietnam and plays the game hard, fast and for high stakes it must appreciate that the results of its actions may ultimately spread across the borders of South Vietnam into other places. These newly emerging nations are looking at what we are doing and offering. If we live up to our promise they will respect us, but if we fail they will seek an alternative way of life. I submit that the historical developments in South Vietnam to the present time show that although we may have contributed a tremendous amount of money for the military budget our contribution towards the social and economic development of this country - and this is the crux of its problems - has been deplorably low. Until we grapple with these problems, we cannot expect but to continue to lose the confidence, support and allegiance of the people of the AfroAsian bloc. The Vietcong already controls from two-thirds to three-quarters of South Vietnam. According to reports, it has control of about 50 per cent, of the people in the areas it holds, not counting numerous people from whom it appears to be able to gain some form of loyalty and support in areas in which it is engaging in guerrilla activity. Surely it is incumbent upon us to see that we first do something to give these people a better way of life. The Prime Minister's argument is that while we are so vitally involved in this country, we must step up the war and commit young Australian lives to the area because Communist China is becoming involved, because it is behind the scenes manipulating the destiny of the area. I seriously submit that there is historical and present day evidence which indicates that what we are doing now is not restricting the spread of Communist China's influence by stepping up military retalia tion. We are increasing rather than reducing it, at the very time when there are valuable liberalising influences within the Communist bloc countries, when a much greater degree of self-determination is developing within those countries. This sort of action by the West will serve to compact these countries once again in their attitudes on international affairs, and to intensify the cold war to a much warmer state. The most disturbing feature is that it will possibly drive Moscow and Peking together and send Hanoi across to Peking for support. Historically, Hanoi has had experience extending over centuries of colonial occupation by Chinese forces. It has been an unhappy experience on each occasion. I believe that to the present day there is evidence of Hanoi's reluctance to involve itself with Communist China. What we should be aiming at, instead of a stepping up of air raids and developing a potential dependence on China by North Vietnam, is a break in them, so that we do not go along belting the daylights out of North Vietnam, saying: "You must submit to us. You must sink national pride and settle for negotiation." We must have a break and then take serious steps to negotiate with these people for some form of settlement and encourage some form of self-determination for this Communist country within the Communist bloc, because we must learn to live with Communist countries in South East Asia as we have learned to live with them in the European theatre. Yugoslavia is an excellent example of this. Not only have we learned to live with Yugoslavia but also the United States of America have provided it with considerable sums in aid to set it on its feet and to lift its growth rate. This, I submit, is a far better proposition than indulging in an escalation of military conflict which will serve only to drive Hanoi into the arms of Peking and compact the determination of the Communist bloc in the world at a very time when there is a liberalising influence which is most valuable to this world of ours. Self-determination should be encouraged there. Trade relations between North Vietnam and South Vietnam should be encouraged. North Vietnam is strong industrially but poor in agricultural output. The opposite conditions exist in South Vietnam. These things can be done successfully if we try. The argument of the Prime Minister, of Government supporters and of other people who share their point of view is that if Vietnam overall becomes Communist that is the end of South East Asia; the Red tide will flood across the plains of Vietnam, down through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and will eventually swamp Australia. This argument is not valid. Vietnam is not so important strategically. If we are to talk in purely strategic terms, Vietnam is a quicksand base for American military operations. Nobody understands this better than does America. Her involvement in Vietnam is costing her about two million dollars a day and more than 450 lives have already been lost. America's strategic might at sea lies in the Seventh Fleet, which is one of the largest armadas that history has even known. Its strategic air power lies in air forces stretching from Okinawa down through the Asian areas. Its strategic military power lies in the military forces it has deployed throughout this area. It has this strategic power established on a substantial basis. It is not being eroded by guerrilla activity. Guerrilla activity is not eating away the very substance of the power that America requires in this area and it oan retain its power here. The argument that North Vietnam is Communist and that South Vietnam may go this way too has no validity at all in terms of strategic power. I want to move to another argument of the Prime Minister and- that is that Australian troops are in Vietnam at the invitation of the Government of South Vietnam. There seems to be a glaring inconsistency in the statement made by the Prime Minister in this House on Tuesday, 4th May. He said that the decision had been taken as far back as 7th April. He said - >Wc made our formal decision in principle on 7lh April . . . He said earlier - >I had some exchanges with President Johnson towards the end of last year . . . These exchanges related to the commitment of Australian troops to Vietnam. He added - >Before an actual decision could be announced, discussions had to occur with the various governments with which we are associated and, in particular, with the Government of the United Kingdom, the Government of the United States and the Government of South Vietnam. I think that is particularly interesting. On the one hand he said that before we could go in, we needed an invitation from the Government of South Vietnam. Indeed the fact that we go in is because the Govern* ment of South Vietnam has invited us. But he said in his speech to this House that the decision had already been made, and mads as far back as 7th April, not with the Government of South Vietnam but with President Johnson of the United States of America, and the actual announcement of the decision was held up while the rubber stamp imprimatur of the Government of South Vietnam, a puppet government, was obtained. Surely this is of concern to the people of Australia. According to reports that are appearing in the Western Press, the people of Vietnam are concerned that their land is being used for a war that has no interest for them. When we speak of the Government of South Vietnam, we cannot possibly suggest with any seriousness at all that it speaks for the people of that country. There has not been one election of any government of South Vietnam since the partition of 1953. Under the Diem regime - that horrible, corrupt and oppressive regime that existed until about 1961 - when elections were held, as I said when we debated international affairs a few weeks ago, anyone who stood in opposition to the Government was harassed, intimidated and thrown into gaol. Those who were elected, such as **Dr. Dan,** were never allowed to take their seats in the Parliament. The Governments of South Vietnam have come to power almost exclusively by armed might. They have held their positions by armed might and they have been thrown out by the use of armed might by some pretender to the throne. These Governments have no right to claim that they speak for the people of South Vietnam. I do not know how the Prime Minister can suggest that Diem was a patriot, that this brave little man was something of a democrat. This suggestion is deplorable hypocrisy. The facts are that, if it had not been for the Diem regime, if South Vietnam had been governed by someone more stable, more responsible and with a broader vision, the strife in South Vietnam today would not have been fomented. The Geneva settlement provided that the people of North Vietnam and of South Vietnam would decide in 1956 whether the partition would continue or whether there would be a junction of the two States. The Prime Minister said that it is ridiculous to suggest that such an election could be held, that in 1956 the Vietcong was so active that an election could not be tolerated. In September 1957, in a joint statement with Premier Diem, the Prime Minister said1 - >The internal situation in the Republic of Viet Nam is now good. But the election was supposed to have been held in the year before this statement was made. There is no evidence of any serious guerrilla activity in South Vietnam until 1957. This activity did not commence until the people of South Vietnam realised that they would not be given any democratic rights at all. They realised also that there was oppression and discrimination. Buddhists were thrown into gaol. On one occasion in May 1963 when the Buddhists decided to have a religious procession and to fly their flags, the Government suddenly imposed a regulation which had not been imposed in the past and which provided that religious orders were not to fly these flags. Police descended on the crowd, nine people were shot and numerous others were thrown into gaol. This was the start of the really serious discrimination against these people. In 1963 the Xa-Loi Pagoda was raided by the police. Hundreds of nuns and monks were thrown into prison. This was the start of the really serious attacks on nuns and monks of the Buddhist faith. Nuns and monks indulged in self immolation as an expression of complete opposition to what the Government was doing. It was a lonely cry of opposition and concern at the way in which they were being discriminated against. What did Madame Nhu say, this member of a regime which the Prime Minister says was a valuable regime and one which had human values? She suggested that these people should be allowed to barbecue themselves if they wanted to do so and that she would provide the sauce - hardly the attitude of a humanitarian. If we go into these countries and there is no change after we go in, is it any wonder that we lose the ideological struggle? The battle for men's minds will not be won with bullets and bayonets. It will be won with a better way of living. This is something that the Prime Minister, Australia and the rest of the world must face up to. If there is something disloyal about people who hold the view that the Opposition holds, and if the Government feels that there is reason for it to impugn our character and to indulge in personal vilification, I ask the Government to pause and reflect why world statesmen in places like the United States are criticising, on the floor of Congress, American activity in Vietnam. I have in mind particularly **Senator Mansfield.** I heard an honorable member opposite try to write down this man's value. I point out that he is the leader of the Democratic majority in the United States Senate. That is a pretty important position in the American set-up. In fact, it is one of the most influential positions that can be held under the American system of government. Not only that, it is obtained only after outstanding service and after a person has displayed outstanding ability. Criticism has also been expressed by people like **Senator Fulbright,** a man of many years service in the United States Congress. He served on the Foreign Relations Committee and obviously knows what he is talking about because he has made a close study of international affairs. He sees restricted and confidential documents and he knows what takes place in these areas. If the Prime Minister really thinks the Diem regime was loyal, patriotic and democratic, why did the Mansfield committee which went to Vietnam report many disturbing features to the American Congress? On page 195 of the report which was made in 1963 the following appears - >It should also be noted, in all frankness, that our own bureaucratic tendencies to act in uniform and enlarging patterns have resulted in an expansion of the United States commitment in some places to an extent which would appear to bear only the remotest relationship to what is essential or even desirable in terms of United States interest. Another matter he raised was the way in which money had been squandered in a corrupt manner. Why is it our South East Asia Treaty Organisation allies, particularly New Zealand, have not involved themselves as Australia has? The Prime Minister practically underwrote New Zealand's entry into Vietnam, but she has not entered to date. Nor has Canada, the blood brother of the United States which owns 60 per cent, of it. Nor has Great Britain. Nor has Japan which has said that the United States is not to use its bases in Japan for military activities connected with Vietnam. We will win this struggle only by giving these people a worthwhile holding in the life that we will offer them. If there is no change in that country after we go in, we will lose this ideological struggle. {: #subdebate-32-0-s18 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Hayden)** is young, enthusiastic, honest and sincere, but it is an awful pity he is such a sucker for certain kinds of propaganda. I do not know where he got his information but he is mixed up and confused. He has taken bits from here and bits from there and has shown that he does not really understand what he is talking about. Take for instance the report which he just finished quoting from about **Senator Mike** Mansfield. The senator was in Vietnam in 1963. It was only the second time that **Senator Mike** Mansfield had been to Vietnam. The **Senator contradicted** something the honorable member said a little earlier about Buddhists and how right they were. In that report **Senator Mansfield** upheld an article I had written for the Washington " Post " five months previously pointing out the infiltration by the Communists of certain Buddhist sects from Ceylon to Japan. Both that article and the report of the delegates from the United Nations stated the same thing. So, the honorable member for Oxley, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** was going off half-cocked. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- There were no conclusions in the United Nations report. {: #subdebate-32-0-s19 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The United Nations delegation was sent out there, and if the honorable member will read their report- {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- I have read every page of it. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- I am sorry, but in that case the honorable member is also incapable of absorbing plain English. He is rather like my gallant and honorable friend the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard),** who gave us a great dissertation on Asian history, but unfortunately for him, insisted on referring to Asians as Asiatics. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- It does not matter; it is just a detail. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member can say it does not matter in this House but if he knows anything about Asia and Asians he would know that to them " Asiatics " is a term of opprobrium and just should not be used. This shows that the honorable member does not have the faintest notion of what he was talking about. If he does not believe me, I suggest he go over there and try using the term. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- And be as silly as the honorable member? {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for Darebin may think I am silly but I have been spending some money, which I could well have spent otherwise, in endeavouring to keep in touch with what is happening in South East Asia. It is more than the honorable member has done, and he is on the same salary as I am. I was there once as a Minister in 1955, and I was there in 1958, 1962, 1963 and 1964, and I hope to go back there this year in order to try to learn the true facts which the honorable member does not bother to assimilate. The red lolling tongues or the barking of a few political tripehounds is not going to put me off. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- What a nasty type. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- As I have said, the honorable member for Lalor does not know what he is talking about if he refers to Asians as Asiatics because that is offensive to them. He said that Vietnam should do as China has done and produce food. The main trouble over South Vietnam was the success of the Diem regime from 1954 to 1958 and 1959 when it produced so much food that it was back to exporting 300,000 tons of rice. The people of Communist controlled North Vietnam did not like this contrast and therefore they decided that they had to step up thenactivities. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- If the honorable member looks at my speech he will find that I never mentioned food production. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member did mention food production. I took down some notes. He was talking about wheat. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- In China. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- Yes, but the honorable member said that Vietnam should do as China does and produce food, although China still has to buy wheat to feed its starving people. There again the honorable member was wrong because Chou En-lai, as quoted fully in " Muster " about two months ago, said - >We buy wheat because it is good trading. It is good marketing because for every ton of wheat we buy we can sell a ton of rice at almost double the price of wheat and make 100 per cent, foreign exchange. Those are not my words, they are the words of Premier Chou En-lai. For some reason or other many honorable members opposite have been so inconsistent, irresponsible and careless about the statements that have made in this House. Whether the reason is that they want to undermine Australian morale and to pull the wool over the eyes of the Australian electors, or whether they are just following, willy-nilly, the leadership of the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns),** I do not know. But honorable members opposite are not doing a service to this country in the way in which they have conducted the debate on their side. It is interesting to note that their views differ violently from the views of **Mr. Stewart** and the British Labour Party. At the same time as this debate was opened, the British Foreign Secretary made a very strong statement to the conference of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. I do not have to repeat it. Honorable members opposite have probably read it. He said, among other things, what I have been saying for the last three years, but the Opposition has laughed at me. I see from the Press that the Second Secretary in the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra stated that what **Mr. Stewart** had said was the greatest joke of the year. When I asked a question in this House about what was happening to our north and why General Nasution had had a meeting which laid down the Indonesian tactics for taking over Portuguese Timor and East Irian, as the Indonesians call the Australian part of New Guinea, if and when the opportunity offered, there was no reply. There was no denial when earlier I said mat a friend of mine, travelling through Djakarta, went into the officers' mess and saw murals showing, first, the gaining of independence, secondly, the gaining of West Irian, and thirdly, Indonesian tanks in Darwin. If those things are to be treated as jokes I hope that some of our next door neighbours will learn a bit more about us. The honorable- member for Lalor accused the Government of slavishly following the policy of the United States of America, yet in February 1942 his Party cried out very quickly for help to the same country that he and his colleagues are now criticising. There were loud lamentations heard in these very halls. " Come quickly to our help," they said to the United States. Why should there be this criticism now? One minute honorable members opposite are saying they are not inconsistent and the next minute they are criticising the Government for slavishly following U.S. policy. During the adjournment debate the other night when the farmer's wife was away the three political blind mice got up and asked the Government: " Why are you not following U.S. policy? " They cannot have it both ways. Not so long ago the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** was saying: " Pull Australian troops out of Malaysia ". Now he is telling us to leave them there. The inconsistency in the policy, or lack of policy, that has been shown by the Labour Party all the way through is most remarkable. One might- almost feel that the Labour Party is confused by the Communist propaganda, like some very excellent citizens, the Anglican Bishops, the words of whose letters might almost have been written by the same person who wrote a Communist advertisement that appeared in the daily Press. I do not suggest that for one moment, because I have the very highest respect for the right reverend gentlemen, but I am just pointing out that very excellent citizens who are not politicians can become confused by the insidiousness of Communist propaganda. I think it was the honorable member for Oxley who said that South Vietnam is not really important and that it is not really the front of the free world. He said that if it fell the rest of South East Asia would not fall under Communist domination. He said that we have to learn to live alongside the Communists - we have been trying to do that. The Americans tried that and it was not until 1961 that they had any worthwhile number of troops in South Vietnam. That was after the Vietcong had stepped up the pressure to destroy the excellent work that was being done by Diem at the time. Diem was responsible for the building of thousands of new schools and for the resettlement of one million refugees who came down from the north. As I said before, South Vietnam had a surplus of 300,000 tons of rice for export. If the Americans had not helped South Vietnam when the Communists decided to come down that country would have been easy prey for them. If he does not believe me perhaps the honorable member for Oxley will believe General Vo Nguyen Giap, who is Commander in Chief of the North Vietnamese armed forces. He said quite implicitly and strongly the other day - >If this so-called war of liberation technique succeeds we will be able to apply it anywhere else in the world. The honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** said that the Chinese had practically nothing to do with the actions of the Vietcong in South Vietnam. Has the honorable member for Yarra never heard of the South Vietnam Liberation Front, the standard Communist tactic, formed in Hanoi, if I remember rightly, in the early 60's? Its members are constantly in Peking two or three times a year, or else Chen Yi or somebody else is visiting Hanoi supporting the South Vietnam Liberation Front. I am not denying that there are atrocities on both sides but when 1,500 village headmen or such people get bumped off in a year by the Vietcong do not come along and just talk about atrocities on the other side. No war is pleasant. This is not a pleasant war. I disagree with the Minister for Defence **(Senator Paltridge).** We are at war. It is the same war whether it is the confrontation of Malaysia, which is the southern or nether millstone, or the pressure on Laos and Vietnam, which is the northern millstone. After all, you have the visit of Liu Shao-Chi, who is higher in the hierarchy than Chen Yi, the Foreign Minister, to Djakarta. In a common communique issued on 20th April 1963, with President Sukarno, he expressed resolute and unequivocal support of the Brunei rebels and the Vietcong in South Vietnam. What ridiculous nonsense it is to say that China had nothing to do with the Vietcong! Therefore, I feel that our Government has erred in bending over backwards to try to keep the peace. It has done it with Indonesia. In fact, sometimes I wonder if it were not bending over so far backwards that it will have difficulty in coming up frontwards and seeing the dangers which are marching upon us. I congratulate the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** on the speech he made tonight, and I hope other senior Ministers will make a lot more like it. He pointed out - and it was the first time I have heard it from a member of the Government - the debt we owe to the two rocks in this part of the world. I refer to the Republic of Korea - ROK - and the Republic of China - ROC - each with from 600,000 to 650,000 men, who have enabled us to obtain defence on the. cheap for some years past. I was delighted to hear the Treasurer say what he said tonight, and I hope that other members of the Government will come out and tell the people why there has been this deterioration and why we have unfortunately had to decide - nobody would want to do it unless it were very necessary - to back up the American effort. After all, you can get very tired of going it alone. The Americans came to our aid in 1942 and we are going in, in a small way, to their aid. I want to spend the last five minutes of my speech in saying something in support of what the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** is reported to have said in S.E.A.T.O. yesterday. He is reported as having said there that you cannot win the hearts and minds of men in Asia by force alone. In this respect, Australia, small as it is, has a very big and powerful part to play because the countries of South East Asia look upon Australia as one of them. This is a small country that was a colony, gained its independence and is now trying to develop. The people of South East Asia would rather have Australians in various positions as advisers, &c, than either British or Americans. This is not because they are not grateful to Britain or because they are not grateful to America. It is because of the fact that if Australians are there it does something to blunt the sharp edge of the sword of propaganda which is wielded by Peking, Hanoi and Djakarta Radios every day. I have said this before in this House. The No. 1 priority must be security. In that regard I hope that we shall continue to play our part and not cut and run as some people suggest. I hope we will always be ready to negotiate. It is no good saying in an airy-fairy fashion that we should negotiate when the difficulty, whether it is experienced by U Thant, the 17 unaligned nations or **Mr. Patrick** Gordon Walker, is to find somebody with whom to negotiate. But when we have finished with security, do not forget that the modern tendency in the world today is regional co-operation. This exists in Europe, where for centuries past people have cut each other's throats or bombed each other when one nation thought it could improve its standard of living or increase its living room. Whether honorable members agree with it in its present form or not, the effort by Europe to come together as a regional co-operative concern is, I believe, one of the most heartening movements in the world today. It is the same in South East Asia where there is A.S.A., as it is called started by Tunku Abdul Rahman and supported by Thailand and the Philippines. It has never got off the ground. One thousand million dollars has been offered by America in its generosity. There are also the Colombo Plan, the proposals of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. If we could draw those bodies together into one economic section perhaps of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation or of an altered S.E.A.T.O., in two parts, one guaranteeing security and the other supplying the funds and helping with the ideas, with the initiative coming from South East Asia for economic development, we could then obtain regional co-operation. So a lucky country such as Australia - one of the richest countries in the world according to standards of living - could perhaps carry on the Anzac tradition of self-discipline, self-sacrifice and service in another field just as noble and just as challenging. As a result of that, we could also play a big part in this development although we could not provide a lot of the funds because we have not got them compared with America. Australia could set out, first, to provide for security, as the Government is doing, and secondly, to assist this initiative which has come for regional co-operation in South East Asia. I feel that if this were done, we could sit back and say that we had responded to a challenge of the modern world and in some small way had helped to bring about peace in this world. {: #subdebate-32-0-s20 .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY:
Fremantle **.- Mr. Speaker,** I have heard foreign affairs debates in this Parliament now for 20 years. If I were to make a generalisation about them, I would say that they are always characterised by rancour. Their effect is always to divide the country. They are always followed by selective quotations from one another for electoral purposes. They are almost invariably the worst debates in the Parliament. Because foreign affairs debates are characterised by hatred when we are supposed to be dealing with a situation the quintessence of the disease of which is hatred it is very unfortunate, because I have never felt that any of our debates on foreign affairs were part of the cure of the world's disease but were part of the disease itself. I would' like to quote from the speech by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** what I believe is vital and what I think will be the aftermath of this debate. He said this- >I cannot close without addressing a word directly to our fighting men who are now by this decision, committed to the chances of war: Our hearts and prayers are with you. Our minds and reason cannot support those who have made the decision to send you to this war, and we shall do our best to have that decision reversed. But we shall do our duty to the utmost in supporting you to do your duty. In terms of everything that an army in the field requires, we shall never deny you the aid and support that it is your right to expect in the service of your country. This means that the Australian Labour Party expresses a constitutional opposition to what the Government is doing, but it gives no sanction to anyone, who, by boycotts or anything else, endeavours to impede what will be the constitutional decision of this Parliament. There is legislation, enacted by the Labour Party, which deals with people who seek to obstruct defence projects. Having said that, I would like to make some comments on these affairs because I think in foreign policy you have to see all the facts and see them whole. A lot of things have been said about the United States of America, for and against. I happen to be one who believes that the United States is the bastion of liberty. That does not mean that 1 believe that every decision by the United States is wise. I think some of them are disastrous. A great deal has been said in this debate about Indonesia. The United States is still training Indonesian forces in guerrilla warfare. The United States, which has already given a billion dollars worth of aid to Indonesia, is still giving aid which makes possible Indonesia's military policy. If we have any occasion to fear that Indonesia will have hydrogen weapons in the near future, it is because the United States has given nuclear reactors to Indonesia. There is silence from the Government benches. I do not think any member of the Government parties supports that policy. I do not think any of them think that it is wise. 1 think everybody believes that it is possible that this policy will be disastrous. I say that because the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** spoke about inconsistencies. 1 do not deride the United States for that policy. I know its motive. Its motive is that the United States hopes that by these means it will keep the 100 million people of Indonesia out of the Chinese Communist orbit. That is not a motive I deride - it is a method which I doubt. If we are going to have foreign affairs debates, we must try to see all the facts steadily and to see them whole. I have now been long enough in this Parliament to remember that when Lord Casey, then our Minister for External Affairs, came back from what was then called Indo-China to report to us on the situation there, he said when he landed on the tarmac in Sydney that General Navarre would, the following day, launch a French offensive in Indo-China which would smash the Reds. The following day the French forces in Indo-China surrendered at Dien Bien Phu. Australia's Foreign Minister had come straight back from the area and that was his conception of the situation. Nobody is infallible on foreign policy. It is very complicated. I can look back on many of the things that I have said and find that events have shown them to be utterly stupid. There will be many honorable members who will find that some of the things they are saying tonight will be proven wrong by events. A lot of criticisms have been made about South Vietnam and other countries in Asia, including Indonesia, because they are not democratic. We tend to equate lack of democracy with lack of virtue. I think that this is really a terribly false way of judging another nation, whether it be South Vietnam, with which we are officially friendly, or Indonesia, with which we are officially unfriendly. The plain fact is that many of the countries of Asia cannot solve their problems with parliamentary democracy. Classic conditions of democracy seem to me to require four things: A high level of literacy, a general level of prosperity well above subsistence, social homogeniety and a strong and large middle class. There are many countries which do not have any of those ingredients and do not have a tradition of parliamentary democracy but which are trying to cope with very serious problems - countries whose peoples do not expect them to be democratic and would not understand in many ways what the democratic process meant. If they show intelligent merciful restraint in their conduct, never mind the institutions which their traditions may throw up, if they do not happen to be like ours. If the South Vietnamese State is to exist it must have vision, encouragement and time - a vision for itself, but also the belief that people intervening in the affairs of the South Vietnamese have a vision for them. To regard South Vietnam as a strategically convenient cockpit in our defence would be a contempt and, if they felt that that was the belief, it would mean the death of any sort of support by them for the West. By "encouragement" I mean encouragement to believe that a government with a clean and clear policy can exist A mortal blow has been struck at confidence right throughout Asia because of what happened to Diem. It is very bard for his successors to believe that if, from the point of view of the West, they make mistakes, they will not be rounded on and undermined. The third factor is that of time. Military action can give encouragement and it can buy time, but if there is no vision of what is to happen in the time which has been won, there must ultimately be complete collapse. I ask honorable gentlemen' in this House tonight to consider two things that have underlain this debate and which have been the assumptions on both sides of the House- completely unspoken, so that many people may not realise them. Of these two unspoken assumptions the first is that, while many people assume that Hanoi has ideas which may win South Vietnam, no one assumes that Saigon has ideas which may win North Vietnam, and until we reverse that situation there will always be danger. Everybody has assumed that China has ideas which may win Asia, but nobody has assumed that the outside world has ideas which may win China and, until that situation is reversed, we will continue to have danger. The Government stresses that Vietnam is strategically vital to Australia because of China, but although many Communist Vietnamese are living and fighting to bring to fruition ideas that emanated from China, they do not see any Chinese soldiers. For that matter, many people in the Congo and in Latin America are living and fighting to bring to fruition ideas emanating from China - some of them applied against Russia - but they see no Chinese army. I am not saying there are no Chinese there or that they do not transmit the ideas, but I do say we are dealing with the power of these ideas and when we speak about the thrust that emanates from China we are speaking about a situation in which virtually no Chinese troops are involved. The fact that Vietnam, territorially, is strategically vital to us and that it is, ideologically, vital that Vietnam should not go Communist, is not a reason for the South Vietnamese to live. This constitutes no vision for the Vietnamese. These are considerations of the outsider. If a Vietnamese is anti-Chinese and is well informed about the outside world, he ought to know that the Australian Government is assisting and strengthening China, in its drive for industrialisation, by a massive wheat trade which enables China to divert labour, effort and resources to industrialisation. " We will have money. You will have death ". Is that our message to Vietnam? The Government cannot have it both ways. Honorable members opposite fix the Opposition with a stern look and say that Australian troops must fight and die to counter what, in the last analysis, they say is Chinese Communism. Fortunes, incomes, taxation proceeds and affluence flow to various coffers from the China trade. In any event the future military posture of China is going to change when it is based upon the possession of nuclear weapons and delivery capability. South Vietnam and all neighbours of China will then change in significance. I want to say one thing about this question of the complicated relations between Ho Chi Minh and China, which have been discussed in this debate. It is almost axiomatic in the Communist world that if you have leagues of land and sea between yourself and China you may be pro-Chinese. The Communist Party of New Zealand is, that of Albania is, African ones are and so are those in South America. But those in countries that are neighbours of China, such as Mongolia and North Vietnam, do not want Chinese troops on their soil. Ho Chi Minh, as a Communist liberator himself, does not wish to be liberated by the occupation of his country by Chinese troops. This is one of the complications in the Communist world that may ultimately be very important. In fact, the divisions between the Soviet Union and China have already been fairly important. I want now to come back to this wheat trade, because it is highly relevant to the second phase of the Communist offensive in Asia. I said that time is a factor in Vietnam. We may now have no time in Vietnam. But we have time in a vital country of Asia - India. Will it drift through chaos to be another Vietnam? China has ceased her military pressures on India and has launched a very intensive ideological offensive, to which the first response of the Indian Government has been to imprison the proChinese Communists but not the proMoscow Communists. This has been done because the Indian authorities believe that, because of linguistic divisions, class divisions, poverty and so forth, Chinese Communism is beginning to have a tremendous appeal and is actually beginning to be a dissolvent of India. What are you to do? You have a lot of time. I remember a significant conversation with the late J. B. Chifley. I have to give the Chifley Memorial Lecture at the University of Melbourne, and I propose *to* start it by recounting two statements of his that represented convictions in foreign policy. He had two convictions about Australia and South East Asia. The first was that imposing Western solutions without the consent of Asians was like drawing a stick through water: You made an indentation in the water, but, when you moved on, it was as though you had done nothing. **Mr. Chifley** knew that the French effort in Indo-China was doomed to failure. I do not say that from that I draw the conclusion that the effort of the United States is doomed to failure. The United States intervened in military and civil war situations in Greece and Korea and in a situation in which an external threat was directed against Turkey. It was successful in all those instances. Through the Marshall Plan, it succeeded in stopping the social collapse of Europe. The United States has resources that probably will enable it, at enormous expense in the face of guerrilla warfare, to succeed in Vietnam. But I come back to the truth of **Mr. Chifley's** statement that imposing Western solutions that do not rest on Asian consent is rather like drawing a stick through water, and to the fact that he knew that the French effort in Indo-China was doomed to failure. His second conviction concerned what may be described as the ever normal granary. This is where we still have time in India. **Mr. Chifley** believed that the countries with grain surpluses should establish throughout India and Pakistan silos and grain storages so that the people of those countries would stop hoarding because they would know that they always had a year's buffer stocks. The possession of an ever normal granary would enable them to end the control of their lives by famine and the social instability that developed from famine. You have time in India if you are prepared to give up the affluence that proceeds from your policy of strengthening China and . to use the grain that you have to create proper conditions in India, because, ultimately, India is a much more important country than South Vietnam. You still have time, but one can see the beginnings of drift towards a situation in which, in five years' time, you may be trying to apply desperate military expedients, whereas intelligent anticipation of India's needs today would prevent the drift towards a situation in which these desperate military expedients would be needed. Something has been said about the resolution adopted by the Australian Labour Party in February. In speaking about this resolution the Prime Minister rather derided the A.L.P., as if we believed that South Vietnam could conduct free elections in a military situation. That was a good debating point, but let me go back to the text of the statement itself, which is a very sane one. It said - >The demand of the Soviet Government for the immediate departure of all American and other foreign forces from South Vietnam would be in the interests neither of the people of South Vietnam nor the people of Australia. Its immediate consequence must be a Communist takeover of South Vietnam, snuffing out the hope of freedom and the democratic independence in that country and extending the area of Communist control closer to this country. The statement then went on - >The object of intervention must be, at a proper time and in circumstances enabling the people of South Vietnam a free choice, to allow them to decide by their own votes on their own government and to ensure the physical independence of that government. > >It is an utter delusion to pretend that any such government now exists in South Vietnam or that the people have any chance of exercising such a free choice in existing conditions. Those very words ' are almost the words that the Prime Minister invoked against the statement when that consideration was fully invoked in the statement itself. It went on to say - >It is equally a delusion to pretend that there is any real hope of attaining in South Vietnam the free and independent democratic government which Australia would like to see there unless Western support is withdrawn from the forces of reaction, militarism and tyranny in that country and given to a civil authority with a programme of economic, political and social and land reform, and unless a programme of full scale economic and social assistance is implemented without delay for its wretched people who have obviously no reason for, interest or enthusiasm in, taking sides in the struggle now proceeding there. A great deal has been said about this penetration of ideas. I believe that ideas can penetrate back. If it is perfectly clear that our motive is not merely to use people in our strategic interest, that it is based on a genuine respect - and if this is the motive underlying our diplomacy, and I hope it is, I believe that motive will be carried over. I believe that the thing that will lead to cynicism about our motives is the way we talk one way about security from Communist China while we act another way by our whole trade policy, making sure we have affluence from enhancing Chinese power. Question put - That the House take note of the paper. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) AYES: 60 NOES: 44 Majority . . . .16 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.40 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1289 {:#debate-33} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated - {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Hearing Aids for Service Pensioners. (Question No. 924.) {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is a service pensioner entitled to be issued with a hearing aid if suffering from deficient hearing? 1. Is the Repatriation Department responsible for the maintenance and replacement of batteries for the aids? 2. Will the department maintain and replace batteries of hearing aids purchased privately by service pensioners? 3. If not, why not? {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A service pensioner may be issued with a hearing aid at the expense of the Repatriation Department when the aid will be of value in alleviating the pensioner's hearing deficiency. 1. The Repatriation Department accepts this responsibility. 2. No. 3. The Repatriation Department issues a type of hearing aid made by the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratory, which, on specialist advice, is fully effective; it provides a complete maintenance and battery service for these issues. Some years ago, the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratory, on behalf of the Department, provided a maintenance and battery replacement service for commercial type aids, but with the wide and changing variety of brands, frequent changes in models, style, size, colour, &c, it was impossible to maintain throughout the Commonwealth, a range of spares to provide an efficient service. Frequently, parts for the commercial aids became unavailable or were more costly than the aid was worth - particularly for superseded models. {:#subdebate-33-1} #### Census. (Question No. 927.) {: #subdebate-33-1-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what dates since Federation has a census been taken? 1. When is the next census to be taken? {: #subdebate-33-1-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The dates on which censuses have been taken in Australia since Federation are 31st March 1901, 3rd April 1911; 4th April 1921; 30th June 1933; 30th June 1947; 30th June 1954 and 30th June 1961. 1. It was announced on 31st October 1963 that the next Census would be in June 1966. Census day has not yet been proclaimed. {:#subdebate-33-2} #### Armed Forces Medical Officers. (Question No. 932.) {: #subdebate-33-2-s0 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:
CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has recruitment of medical graduates into regular armed forces been virtually nil for years and has practically the sole source of regular medical officers been through the armed forces medical undergraduate scheme? 1. In the case of the Army, is the consequent shortage of regular medical officers so serious that, in the event of Australian forces being committed to active operation overseas as a formation, effective medical cover could not at present be provided; if so, has the Government fully noted the implications of this situation? 2. Is the main reason for the shortage of regular doctors in the forces the inadequate scale of service pay and allowances compared with what is readily obtainable by doctors elsewhere? 3. Is it a fact that, despite the advice of the Services medical directors-general and of consideredproposals made by the Department of Defence to provide pay and conditions of service sufficient to attract doctors to the Services, the Department of the Treasury has consistently refused to approve the recommendations to the degree where they would be effective? 4. Will the Government consider the appointment of an independent assessor of appropriate status to investigate and report on conditions of service for medical officers in the armed forces and provide for his report and recommendations to be made directly to Cabinet? {: #subdebate-33-2-s1 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The Minister for Defence has supplied the following information - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The main source of recruitment of medical officers is through the undergraduate scheme. There have been 17 direct entry medical graduates and 101 undergraduates appointed to the three Services in the past five years. 1. The Government is fully aware of its responsibilities in relation to the provision of effective medical cover for any forces which may be committed overseas. Medical support will be provided from within the Services and by call-up of Citizen Force and Reserve officers if necessary in time of war and in time of defence emergency. 2. Whilst some doctors in private practice achieve high incomes, pay for Service medical officers is not inadequate when compared with other salaried positions. Service and Public Service positions have been aligned in regard to salary, and. in addition, Service officers receive a tax free marriage and uniform allowance totalling £351 per annum. Short service commission officers receive an additional £200 per year gratuity. It is believed that the main reason for the shortage of medical officers in the Services is the general shortage of medical officers in the community. 3. No. Increases in rates of pay for medical and dental officers, retrospective to April 1964, were approved this year. Medical officers continue to receive substantial margins (up to £800 per annum) over other officers in the same rank, including those with professional qualifications, with the exception of the Director-General who receives the same rate of pay as other major-generals. Other conditions of service, such as refresher and postgraduate training courses, are being considered. 4. As mentioned above, special rates of pay for medical officers have been determined after alignment with positions of comparable responsibility in the Department of Health. Other conditions of service are under review and the appointment of an independent assessor is not considered necessary. {:#subdebate-33-3} #### Superphosphate. (Question No. 1003.) {: #subdebate-33-3-s0 .speaker-KHS} ##### Mr Holten: n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What were the sales of superphosphate in each of the States in the two years prior to the introduction of the bounty of £3 per ton in August, 1963? 1. What have been the sales in each of the States since the introduction of the bounty to the latest date for which records are available? {: #subdebate-33-3-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The information requested by the honorable member is set out in the following tables showing sales of superphosphate in each State by month from July 1961 to March 1965 inclusive. A table showing total sales in Australia by month for the same period has been included. {:#subdebate-33-4} #### Pay-roll Tax: Papua and New Guinea. (Question No. 1035.) {: #subdebate-33-4-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What percentage of the rebate of pay-roll tax by reference to exports was granted in the last financial year for exports to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea? 1. What were the principal exports to the Territory which attracted these rebates? {: #subdebate-33-4-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows - >Employers who claim rebates of pay-roll tax on account of increases in export sales are not required by the pay-roll tax law to state in their claims the country to which their exports were made. Accordingly, no statistics are available which would enable an answer to be given to the honorable member's question. Workers' Compensation Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory. (Question No. 1046.) {: #subdebate-33-4-s2 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is a review being made of the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory? 1. If so, can he indicate when the review will be completed? 2. Will the provisions of the ordinance in relation to compensation for injury, incapacity and death be brought into line with similar provisions in the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act? {: #subdebate-33-4-s3 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1 and 2. The review has been completed. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Yes. {:#subdebate-33-5} #### Search for Oil. (Question No. 835.) {: #subdebate-33-5-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb:
STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA b asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many wells have been drilled in Australia in the search for oil? 1. Was evidence given before the Tariff Board that Australia could discover oil on the same scale as in the United States of America and that it was necessary to bore 3,000 wells within the next seven years? 2. What action is proposed to increase oil exploration? {: #subdebate-33-5-s1 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. About 955 wells totalling 3.56 million feet of hole were drilled to the end of 1964 in the search for petroleum in Australia and the Territory of Papua-New Guinea. 1. An opinion was expressed by a witness before the Tariff Board on 25th February that Australia may contain just as much oil or gas per sedimentary area as North America and that we could discover as much as they have in the United States of America. The same witness estimated that drilling of 500 wells in the last decade has resulted in discoveries having an optimistic production potential of 20,000 barrels per day, equal to about one-fifteenth of the present crude oil consumption of 300,000 barrels per day. Seven thousand five hundred wells would nominally produce present requirements. It was then argued that in view of the annual increase in crude oil consumption of 7 per cent, to 8 per cent, cumulative, our requirements will double in seven years and the 7,500 wells may only be sufficient to discover 50 per cent, of our then requirements. However, it was hoped that the ratio of discoveries might increase so that the 7,500 wells may be expected to discover between 50 per cent, and 100 per cent, of our requirements by the end of the seven-year period. 2. The Commonwealth Government's present policy is directed towards maintaining and increasing oil exploration. Briefly, the Commonwealth Government's assistance to petroleum exploration is by both direct and indirect means. The direct means include the operations of the Bureau of Mineral Resources and the Division of National Mapping and the expenditure incurred under the petroleum search subsidy acts. Indirect assistance is given to exploration companies by means of taxation and similar concessions under Division 10aa of the Income Tax Act and by the by-law entry concessions under which import duties on equipment are reduced or waived. This policy has led to a remarkable increase in the rate of drilling, which has been steppd up from 14 wells in 1959 to 210 last year. It is expected that approximately 300 wells will be drilled in the current year. {:#subdebate-33-6} #### Army Medical Services. (Question No. 900.) {: #subdebate-33-6-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice - >What further steps have been taken to recruit or conscript doctors for the armed forces since his predecessor's answers to questions on 6th November 1962 ("Hansard", page 2047) and 13th November 1962 (page 2307)? {: #subdebate-33-6-s1 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr Fairhall:
LP -- The Minister for Defence has supplied the following information - >The recruitment of doctors for the defence forces is by voluntary means, but in time of war or in time of defence emergency there are general powers of call-up as provided for in the Defence Act. Active measures have been taken to encourage the voluntary recruitment of doctors for both permanent and short service commissions. These include the authorisation of substantially increased rates of pay and review of other conditions of service. > >A further measure, announced last year, which will make the Services more attractive to doctors is the provision of an integrated hospital system for the medical care of the three Services and for the training of Service medical units. An Army hospital of 200 beds is to be constructed at Holsworthy, New South Wales, and a Royal Australian Air Force hospital of 125 beds will be constructed at Laverton, Victoria. The existing Naval hospital at Balmoral, N.S.W., is to be modernised. Each hospital will be available for the treatment of patients from all three Services. In addition, the Services attract young doctors by subsidising an undergraduate scheme for selected medical students, who undertake to serve for a period of about four years following graduation. {:#subdebate-33-7} #### Census. (Question No. 928.) {: #subdebate-33-7-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it anticipated that the next census will he taken in 1966? 1. As a general rule does the redistribution of electoral boundaries usually take place after a census? 2. If so, is it proposed to postpone the redistribution of electoral boundaries until after the next census is taken? {: #subdebate-33-7-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes. 2. Yes. {:#subdebate-33-8} #### National Debt. (Question No. 936.) {: #subdebate-33-8-s0 .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr Costa:
BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES a asked the Treasurer, upon notice - >Can he state the total of (a) the national debt at 30th June 1964, and (b) the interest owing thereon at the same date in respect of (i) Australia, (ii) the United Kingdom, (iii) the United States of America, (iv) Switzerland and (v) Canada? {: #subdebate-33-8-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows - Ophthalmologists and Optometrists. (Question No. 992.) {: #subdebate-33-8-s2 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr Hansen: n asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that contributors to several health - schemes are encouraged to obtain glasses through ophthalmologists rather than through optometrists? 1. Is he able to state whether ophthalmologists and optometrists both agree that refraction tests are necessary when prescribing glasses? 2. Is it possible for a person to become an ophthalmologist without having passed any examination in refraction? 3. If so, are optometrists, as a consequence, equally, if not better, qualified to prescribe glasses? {: #subdebate-33-8-s3 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. While some medical benefit organisations provide an ancillary fund benefit from their own resources for spectacles prescribed by optometrists or by ophthalmologists, others provide such a fund benefit for spectacles only where they are prescribed by an ophthalmologist. Commonwealth medical benefit is not payable for any attendance at which spectacles are prescribed. 1. Yes. 3 and 4. An ophthalmologist is a legally qualified medical practitioner. In addition, he has acquired specialised knowledge and skill in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and is accepted by the medical profession as a specialist. It is not possible for a medical practitioner to become an ophthalmologist without being a competent refractionist. {:#subdebate-33-9} #### North Vietnam Peace March. (Question No. 1032.) {: #subdebate-33-9-s0 .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr Cockle: e asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - >Does he know who organised the North Vietnam peace march in Canberra on 17th March last when a number of the marchers entered Parliament House? {: #subdebate-33-9-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows - >The New South Wales Peace Committee for International Co-operation and Disarmament initiated the organisation of the peace deputation which visited Canberra on Wednesday 17th March. On 9th March 1965, that Committee issued on its official note paper a circular letter calling for representative delegates to go to Canberra on 17th March. That circular letter stated that it was proposed to make representations on the situation in Vietnam to the Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition; the Embassies of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France; and the offices of the High Commissioners for the United Kingdom, Canada and India. > >The New South Wales Peace Committee for International Co-operation and Disarmament also nominated certain persons to lead groups of members of the deputation for each of the authorities they proposed to wait upon. These nominated persons, almost without exception, were either associated with the Communist Party of Australia or involved in the activities of Communist influenced movements.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 May 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.