26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Dr EVERINGHAM presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that this House will make a survey of the full requirements of pensioners of all kinds and adopt a policy for the progressive liberalisation of the means test, resulting in its removal within 3 years.
– Has the Prime Minister consulted the Minister for Defence and the relevant departments concerning the tabling of the contract and other documents relating to the purchase of the F111 aircraft? If so, is he in a position to say whether he will table the documents and, if he intends to do so, when?
– The answer to the first part of the question is yes. The answer to the second part of the question is that the matter is still being considered. I do not want to be completely definite, butI think it unlikely that the documents will be tabled.
– In directing a question to the Prime Minister I refer to the advice given in this House yesterday by the Minister for the Interior that any expansion of the Australian Capital Territory into the State of New South Wales would be a matter for discussion between the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales. Will the Prime Minister assure the Parliament that we are not going to witness or permit a situation in which the Australian Capital Territory will expand into a heavily subsidised colossus and a mecca for the public service at the expense of every taxpayer in the Commonwealth?
– I think it is quite clear, as the Minister for the Interior has said, that if at some future stage the Australian Capital Territory should require more land, this would need to be the subject of discussion between the Premier of New South Wales and the Prime Minister. We would not, in my view, be witnessing a heavily subsidised colossus. Indeed, I think people are gravely misled as to the amount of subsidy, if any, that goes into the expansion of the Australian Capital Territory at present. We notice, of course, the votes which are provided in the Budget for such expansion, but we do not notice the premiums which are paid for blocks of land when they are offered, or the income from rates and other sources which goes directly to the Treasury.I am not in a position to say precisely how the accounts balance out, but I believe I can say that it would be inaccurate to describe the Australian Capital Territory as heavily subsidised at present other than for those things which go to make up a national capital, such as parklands, national monuments and things of that kind.
– Can the Prime Minister inform me of the course his Government intends to follow in respect of a shipbuilding programme, both naval and commercial, for the future? Would it be correct to say that the Government intends to pursue a vigorous course which will include the construction and operation of a large fleet of cargo and passenger ships flying the flag-
– Order! The honourable member is asking a hypothetical question of the Prime Minister. It also involves policy. I ask the honourable member to reframe his question.
– CanI be assured by the Prime Minister that the Government will pursue avigorous course which will include the construction and operation of a large fleet of cargo and passenger ships flying the flag of the Commonwealth shipping line? If so, I suggest that this course will meet with the acclaim of all residents of our Commonwealth.
– I am happy to assure the honourable member that I will advise him of the Government’s policy when that policy is announced.
– Is the Treasurer aware that the New South Wales Government will terminate drought employment and fodder assistance on 30th September? Have officers of the New South Wales Government been in touch with Commonwealth Treasury officers? Is the Treasurer aware that if drought fodder is cut off many cattle, which have cost millions of dollars to feed, will die? Is he also aware that the drought in south east New South Wales is in its fourth year and that if rain falls, which it has not done yet, the cattle will need dry feed to save them from the deadly effects of young grass?
-I was not aware that the New South Wales Government would cut off drought relief in certain areas of the State by 30th September. I was aware, of course, that the Commonwealth Government had written to the New South Wales Government stating that it would cease providing, except in certain circumstances, additional drought assistance after 30th September but that where there were continuing commitments or where commitments had been made and finance had subsequently to be provided we would continue to provide it. As to the second part of the honourable member’s question, I had a telephone call from a senior New South Wales Minister last night and a similar telephone call this morning. I advised him what procedures should be followed if New South Wales wished to make a further application to the Commonwealth - in other words, that it should be by means of a communication from the State Premier to the Prime Minister. I also advised him to try to ensure that contact was made between State and Commonwealth officials. Until late this morning that contact had not been made. As to the third part of the question, I am no longer the Minister for Primary Industry but naturally enough I have a deep and abiding interest in the welfare of primary producers. I will take note of what the honourable member has said and will make certain that the contents of his question are drawn to the attention of Commonwealth officials.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral or the Australian Broadcasting Commission any control over or any connection with the programmes of commercial television stations? If so, will he use his best endeavours to stop what has now become the general practice, particularly in South Australia, of replaying old films and serials to the extent that they now dominate metropolitan television programmes?
– The standards to be observed by the commercial stations are determined by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board which has issued, in booklet form, the standards relating to programmes as well as to advertising. I point out to the honourable member that approximately onethird only of the population see any film on its first presentation and that many of the. stations, including ABC stations, do have repeats of programmes because they know that there is. still a substantial audience in the country that has not seen the film previously. This is a matter which has been discussed on a number of occasions between the Board on the one hand and commercial stations and the ABC on the other. I see no virtue in making representations against the judgment which the Board has implemented:
-Has the Treasurer’s attention - been drawn to a Press statement attributed to a leading Australian management consultant who recently returned from overseas that international companies would be making attractive takeover offers to Australian companies and retaining controlling interests in them? Has this trend already become apparent? If it has, or if such a trend could develop, what is the Government’s policy in relation to the prevention of undue expansion of control of Australian companies by overseas interests?
– My attention had not been directed to the statement referred to by the honourable gentleman. Naturally enough, Australia is one of the most attractive countries for international investment because prospects here are, I believe, unequalled in any other part of the world. As to present trends, in the period that I can look at, I do not think there has been any increase in takeovers of Australian industry or attempts to obtain control of Australian industry. As to the philosophy behind the
Government’s actions, I assure the honourable member that it is the Government’s wish for an increasing Australian participation in industries that are established here, whether with overseas finance or from our own resources in co-operation with international corporations. As Treasurer I certainly do what I can whenever possible to bring home to foreign corporations the desire of the Australian people and the Australian Government to see an increase in Australian participation in industries in this country. I should point out that in many cases the Government is not consulted because these matters are. more within the control of the States than of the Commonwealth, but when, by virtue of financial regulations, the Commonwealth has some control, I take every opportunity to note the extent of Australian participation ard to see that it is kept at an appropriate level.
-I ask the Minister for Defence a question. What is the role of the F111C aircraft in Australia’s defence strategy? Will the Minister clearly define how that role will be fulfilled in view of the aircraft’s radius of action - 1,000 miles - which would allow it to reach from Darwin to the end of the Indonesian archipelago, but no further?
– The F111 is a strikereconnaissance aircraft which will find its proper place in the entire defence structure in Australia.
– But why-
– Order! The honourable member has asked his question. The Minister should have an opportunity to answer it.
– The question of what will be done with a certain piece of military equipment is always one reserved for people who carry no responsibility for defence. The Australian Air Force needs a strike reconnaissance capacity of this kind to complement its entire force. We find this capacity in the best shape in the world in the F111. The aircraft will be brought to Australia and integrated into the training pattern in Australia.
– The Minister has not said anything yet.
– The honourable member clearly wants to start a war so that we will be able to employ the aircraft.
– In addressing a question to the Minister for External Affairs I point out that the biological effects of radioactivity are cumulative. Has the Minister seen reports that the recent testing by France of nuclear devices in the Pacific has greatly increased radio-activity in South America’s atmosphere, although this radioactivity has not yet reached what is believed to be a dangerous level? Will Australia endeavour to join other countries in taking effectively strong action against countries which are irresponsibly polluting the earth’s atmosphere with substances which have long lasting effects and which might well be disastrous to mankind?
– Australia is, of course, a party to the treaty banning nuclear tests and uses its international endeavours to try to get the maximum observance of that treaty. In pursuance of that policy, we made strong protests to the Government of France before the tests took place in the Pacific. The Government of France proceeded with the testing despite the protests made by ourselves and by various other nations. Preserving Australian interests as best we can. our own National Radiation Advisory Committee is making observations and tests to protect all living things, human, animal or vegetable, in Australia from any consequences and its report will, as on former occasions, be available to the public when it is completed.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that any one Australian insurance company is unable to have equity ownership in another Australian company but that foreign insurance companies can have such ownership in Australian companies? Does this not indicate the need to revise the law in this matter so that foreign companies are not preferentially treated?
-I would agree with the philosophy contained in the last part of the honourable gentleman’s question. I was not aware of the law that foreign companies could have interests in several Australian life offices and that Australian life offices could not have an interest in another life office. I will have a look at the matter and if the law is as stated by the honourable gentleman he can rest assured that I will take prompt action about it.
– I wish to direct my question to the Minister for Health. Is he aware that the South Australian Government will shortly be bringing down legislation in line with Victoria to ban Scientology by insisting on the registration of properly qualified medical personnel trained in dealing with all aspects of psychology and psychiatry? Bearing in mind that two other State governments are also considering the same legislation now, will the Minister undertake to investigate the implementation of similar legislation pertinent to the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and other Commonwealth Territories to rid this country once and for all of this unpopular organisation?
– I am aware that the South Australian Government proposed to legislate on this matter. This was discussed at the last two conferences of Commonwealth and State Ministers for Health, one in Perth last year and the other in Darwin in June. The Ministers jointly, including myself on behalf of the Commonwealth, made a statement on the matter and in it this cult was described as perverted, debased and harmful. The Ministers - I acted on behalf of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory - undertook to watch the spread of this organisation very closely and to recommend to their governments appropriate legislative action when and if it appeared to be necessary. That is still the position as far as the Commonwealth is concerned. I am glad to say that so far there has been no sign that this cult has arrived in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. What programme has his Department for servicing the area of the Gulf of Carpentaria including Karumba, Normanton, Georgetown,
Einasleigh, Weipa and Thursday Island with radio stations? I believe there is some move in this direction. It will be very welcome. Some mention of this was made in the magazine ‘Electronics’ in September 1968.
– Order! The honourable member is now giving information.
– I would like to know when.
– I am not sure whether the honourable member is referring particularly to the expansion of radio or whether he is speaking in terms of the expansion of telephone communications.. If his question is related to radio, as his nod suggests it is, I point out to him that there is a great shortage of radio frequencies available to us in Australia.I am not aware of any plans to attempt to cover, with a substantial number of stations, the area that the honourable member has mentioned, The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is continuously examining the expansion of radio facilities and, as it is able to meet additional needs of the Australian community, it makes a recommendation to the Government. I have not recently received any such recommendations.
-I ask the Minister for Education and Science whether he has seen allegations that there has been some falling off in the proportion of university places being devoted to the study of science. If this is the trend, does it denote any falling off in interest in scientific affairs?
– Over the last week or so I have seen suggestions that the proportion of the total number of university students studying science based courses is less than it once was. From the information available to meI think those suggestions are correct. But even though the proportion of the total number of university students studying science is less than it once was, the total number of students studying such courses is, because of the rapid increase in the number of university places as a whole, greater than it was.
If at the present time there is an increased interest in the social sciences or the humanities as opposed to science, I would not say that this by any means is necessarily a bad thing. Over the last 20 or 50 years the advance of knowledge in the physical and biological sciences has been beyond the dreams of anyone in the last century, at any rate. Although there may be one or two limited exceptions, I do not think anyone can really claim that there has been an equivalent advance in the social sciences or in matters which affect the relations of one man with another, the ability of communities to solve their own problems, or the ability to solve problems as between communities. If there is an increase in the study of such matters, or an increase in the interest in them, then this is probably a good thing. I might add that the Australian Universities Commission is in the midst of a triennial visit to all States and all universities studying the needs of the universities for the next triennium. I have no doubt that the sort of position which the honourable member outlined in his question is one of the things the Commission will have in mind when making its report to the Government.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs what response the Government has made to appeals for humane relief for starving Biafrans. Will he urge and assist the nations which organised the Berlin airlift to undertake prompt action, especially as they have helped to supply the war criminals of Nigeria with sophisticated arms?
– The principal response by the Australian Government to appeals for the relief of persons in the whole of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been to supply foodstuffs. I am happy to be able to inform the House that means have been found lo transport by sea to Nigeria not only the initial gift which we made but the subsequent gift also.
– By sea?
– I do not think tons and tons of wheat could be carried by bicycle. The problem of distribution remains. The tension between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Biafra continues. Without attempting to ascribe fault to one side more than the other, the sad fact is that by actions taken by both sides the possibility of delivering means of relief to those who really need it has been very seriously interrupted. We are depending upon international agencies to break through that particular problem. We have done all we can in making foodstuffs available.
– 1 address my question to the Minister for National Development. Can he tell me the present level of water storage in the Hume Weir? Can he say whether the level indicates that an adequate supply of water for irrigation purposes will be available during the coming season or whether water rationing is a possibility in the Murray Valley?
– There are two other major storages besides the Hume Weir which are under the control of the River Murray Commission. These are Lake Victoria and the Menindee Lakes. At present the level of water in the Hume Weir is rising steadily and it is filled to about two-thirds of its capacity. Lake Victoria is completely full and some water is available from the Menindee Lakes. The Technical Committee of the River Murray Commission is making an assessment of the water available and will shortly report to the Commissioners. On the basis of this report a decision will he made as to whether or not there will be restrictions. Obviously, it is impossible for me to say yet whether restrictions will be imposed. But they appear unlikely, particularly in view of the fact that this year there is a greater quantity of snow on the mountains than there has been for about the last 4 years.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. Docs Australia accept and acknowledge the decree made by the President of Mexico 10 days ago which declared that the northern half of the Gulf of California was part of Mexico’s territorial sea? Does the Minister know whether any other nations have accepted or disputed the Mexican decree? Has the Government given further consideration to asserting Australia’s exclusive fishing rights over a larger area of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the light of this Mexican decree?
– The two questions asked by the Leader of the Opposition would require some further consultation, particularly with my colleague, the Attorney-General, If he will put his questions on notice, I will undertake to give him an answer.
– I address my question to the Minister for External Affairs, and by way of a brief preface I refer the right honourable gentleman to the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, dated 28th August, concerning the situation in Southern Rhodesia, to which there is attached what purports to be a cable sent from Australia, in English, on 23rd August 1968. 1 ask the right honourable gentleman: Can he confirm that his Department sent a cable’ to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 23rd August 1968 and will he say on what date the Australian Government decided to comply with the Security Council’s resolution concerning Rhodesia?
– In answer to the first, part of the honourable member’s question, I must confess that I will have to check with my Department to ascertain whether the communication was sent by cable or by diplomatic bag. My individual responsibility in the matter ended when I instructed my Department to send the report.- 1 really do not know what means of communication it used. The channel of communication, of course, was our mission at the ‘ United Nations, in New York. The second part of the question raises the matter of the privacy of Cabinet records. While paying proper respect to that privacy, I will endeavour to answer as best I can. Those honourable members who have had ministerial experience will realise that on many occasions matters are not decided by Cabinet in one fine, decisive hour so that they are over and done with. In this case, shortly after the resolution was passed by the Security Council at the end of May, I drew the attention of Cabinet to the fact that the resolution had been passed.
The first action to be taken by Cabinet - it was taken quite promptly - was to authorise the relevant departments of the Commonwealth Government to examine the resolution to see exactly what it meant, what further action might be required by the
Australian Government beyond the action we had already taken, and in what ways such action could best be taken. It would be some weeks later, as a result of another departmental examination, that Cabinet was. able to have a second look at the matter and to ascertain that many of the requests made in the Security Council resolution did not require action by the Australian Government because nothing that we were doing was affected by the resolution. So, Cabinet, was able to isolate the matters on which it had to consider further action. After that Cabinet consideration, which was done - speaking from memory - towards the end of June or early in July, further work was carried out by the Ministers. concerned.
Eventually, after further Cabinet discussion, the point was reached where, Cabinet having made its decision, it again became my responsibility to remind Cabinet that under the terms of the” Security Council resolution we were obliged to report to the Secretary-General by 1st August on what we had done. That coincided with a time of very heavy business on the Cabinet agenda. I think that, . without disclosing the privacy of Cabinet records, I can say that I advised Cabinet-that in my view we could afford to be- a few weeks late with our report. Eventually, it was left to the Prime Minister, myself and other senior Ministers to approve the terms of the communication to the Secretary-General.
In that whole sequence.- qf events it would be difficult to say that on such and such a day a total decision was made. The decisions eventually reported to the Secretary-General were cumulative deci-. mons. The main point is. that they were decisions consequent on decisions taken by a previous government when the first request for sanctions, was made by the Security Council. At no time in the recent series of considerations of the Security Council resolution - if this is the line on which the honourable member is thinking-did Cabinet face up to the question: Do we obey or disobey, our obligations as a member of the United Nations?
– My question is directed to the Minister for - National Development. The Minister is no doubt aware that a ban on the export of copper scrap and copper alloy has been in operation for nearly 3 years and that a number of reasons - right or wrong - have been advanced for that ban. I ask: Does the necessity still exist for the retention of this unjustified export restriction? When will the restriction be lifted?
– This matter has been under consideration by the Department of Trade and Industry and my Department for some time. The honourable member will recall that early in the year there was a major disruption to world supplies of copper because of a prolonged strike in certain mines in the United States of America. This has now been overcome. Iri addition, Australia’s production of copper has increased and some supplies are available for export. The two departments are now examining the matter in the light of the altered situation and I hope that in the near future we may be able to reach some decision.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I ask: Was the Minister correctly quoted as saying that Jumbo jets could use the present runways at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport in need? Does this statement in any way presage further delays on the planned extension of this major airport? ‘
– 1 was correctly reported when I stated that the jumbo jet type of aircraft, the first of which will be the Boeing 747, could at this moment land quite satisfactorily on the runway at the Sydney airport. The runways have been specially strengthened there, as they have been in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin, with a view to catering for aircraft of this weight in the future. What I did say in addition to the fact that the aircraft could land and that there was sufficient runway strength and sufficient width of runway to cater (or them at the present time was that, if they wished to operate on allup loading at fu)] range, additional length of runway would be required. Approval has been given for the lengthening of the main runway in Sydney to cater for this purpose. I also indicated that, whilst at this point of time we cannot anticipate Government approval, we are planning for the necessary lengthening of the runway in Melbourne so that it can cater for the jumbo type jets and the supersonic jets when they come into operation in Australia. The reference to the capacity or the ability of the runways to cater for such aircraft at the moment was a reference to the strength of the runways and not an indication that they could be used at the moment under all-up loading conditions.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. Did the late Prime Minister, Mr Holt, ask Sir Leslie Melville to report to the Government on the feasibility of transferable superannuation schemes? If so, what access was Sir Leslie Melville given to the Government, the Treasury and the Commonwealth Superannuation Board? Has Sir Leslie completed his report? If so, what recommendations has he made? Will the right honourable gentleman table the report in the Parliament?
– I believe it was the late Prime Minister, Mr Holt, who asked Sir Leslie Melville to embark on this course of study..
– It was the Prime Minister and I who asked him.
– I thought that it originated with myself. But it was the late Prime Minister who conveyed the request to Sir Leslie Melville. Possibly it was the Treasurer and myself, when I was the Minister for Education and Science, who instigated the matter, but it does not matter who did. It was Sir Leslie Melville who was asked to do this. I understand that he was given full access to all sources he wished to have access to. He has completed his report or, if he has not fully completed his report, he has completed a significant portion of his report. It is under study. When the Government has completed studying it, the question as to what should be done about it in order to hasten the transferability of superannuation between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the universities, the Public Service and so on will be announced.
– Did the Treasurer, when opening the annual conference of the Cold Storage Association of Australia, say that farmers would have to adjust to producing those kinds of goods which they could sell at a profit in the world market? Did he say it was the Federal Government’s intention to discontinue financial support to rural industries which had no prospects of standing on their own feet? If the Treasurer was correctly reported in the ‘Australian’ of 30th August last, what exactly does he mean by the term ‘standing on their own feet’?
– I cannot remember exactly what I said at the meeting of the Cold Storage Association. Regrettably, I have had to make so many speeches lately that I cannot remember all the details. But I did say - 1 can remember it only too well - that in the Australian economy there was a necessity for primary producers in particular to be well aware of changes in demand and to adjust their production patterns to the changing demands as they emerge. As to the second part of the honourable member’s question, 1 will have a look at what I said. If I think it is necessary to amplify what I have said this afternoon, I will do so.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Does the Broadcasting and Television Act limit the control of radio stations by any one company to four, one of which can be in the metropolitan area of any State? How many radio stations are controlled in Western Australia by Western Australian Newspapers Ltd? How many additional radio stations has it recently acquired through its own television company TVW Ltd? Has the Minister approved of these additional radio stations being controlled by Western Australian Newspapers and its television company?
– The honourable member is correct when he says that the Broadcasting and Television Act provides that four is the maximum number of radio stations which can be controlled in any one State by one company, with only one station out of the four being in the metropolitan area. Western Australian Newspapers Ltd does in fact, control four licences in Western Australia under circumstances which the honourable member and I have both mentioned. There is an application before me from TVW Ltd, a television station in Western Australia which is not controlled as to 50% of its shareholding by Western Australian Newspapers, for the control of four additional licences in Western Australia. No decision has been made in relation to that application.
– Will the Prime Minister inform the House as to the accurate position regarding the Australian equity in the Gove alumina project? Is it confirmed that the Australian equity wilt decline to 40% when the capital is found to make possible the expansion of the plant. Has the right honourable gentleman, who, I think, recently visited the project, any helpful observations for the House?
– 1 understand that the Gove project was to be financed as to 50% from Australian sources and as to 50% from Swiss sources. Since that arrangement, was made it has been decided that in order to operate economically there will need to be built a very much larger alumina plant than was at first thought necessary. Therefore more capital than was at first thought necessary will be required to build this alumina plant. I believe that discussions are still in progress between the Australian partners and the Swiss partners to see whether the Australian partners can raise a sufficient amount of extra capital to keep their equity of 50%. I would not guarantee that those discussions have not reached a conclusion, but my recollection is that they are still in progress.
– The Postmaster-General would be aware that an important rugby league football final will be played in Sydney on Saturday week and that many people in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria would like to view this match. Would the Minister see that adequate steps are taken by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to ensure that this important match is televised for these viewers not only intra-state but ako on the interstate hookup?
– From the indications of honourable members in the House I do not think that there is a unanimous desire to have this telecast made. This is a matter to be arranged between the television stations and the controllers of rugby league. 1 know that in Queensland the rugby league organisation does not allow any televising of the match of the day or of any other matches until after the conclusion of the event. 1 do not know the arrangements in Sydney. But it is a matter to be taken up between the television stations and the rugby league controllers in each individual city.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. To what extent is the Australian territory of Norfolk Island being used by Australian and foreign companies as a haven from tax imposition by governments? Is it correct that in 1960 only sixteen companies were registered there while now more than 200 companies are registered? If so, what action is being taken by the Government to prevent this kind of tax evasion?
– The answer to the first part of the question is: Too many companies for my liking. The answer to the second part of the question is that I do not know whether the “figures given by the honourable member are correct but I have no reason to doubt their accuracy. As to the third part of the question, investigations are in train by the Commissioner of Taxation and his Branch and when I have received a full report I will probably take it to the Cabinet or to the Prime Minister to see what he wants to have done about it.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been directed to reports that Australia’s Defence Committee has recommended drastic changes in the concept of forward defence, which so far has been Australia’s policy, and that one of these changes involves the withdrawal of Australian forces from South East Asia by 1971? Can the right honourable gentleman inform the House whether these reports are accurate and, if so, whether a reassessment of the whole situation is to be made? Will he, in any case, give the House an opportunity to debate the issues involved and avoid presenting it with a fait accompli at some time in the near future?
– I have received the recommendations of the Defence Committee and 1 have also had my attention drawn to varying reports in various newspapers to which, I think, the honourable member has referred. Some of these reports in some of those newspapers indicated that the Defence Committee’s report said what the honourable member has now said it said. Other reports in other newspapers said precisely the opposite. I have had my attention drawn to these varying reports. The honourable member may select his newspaper and make his choice.
– Is this what Parliament is for?
– 1 am asked, Mr Speaker, whether this is what Parliament is for. Parliament is for the presentation to it by a Government, for approval or disapproval, of a programme based on the Defence Committee’s review. That, Mr Speaker, is what will happen.
– I present the following paper:
I seek leave to make a short statement in connection with the paper.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Australian Industrial Research and Development Grants Board was appointed in August of last year. Its annual report therefore covers its first 10 months of operation. The Board is to be congratulated upon having made a good start with its important work. Beginning a new activity of this kind understandably involves a great deal of preparatory work. Staff has to be engaged, methods of work have to be established and some time elapses before potential applicants are fully aware of the new facilities available. The Board has reached the stage of full operation in less than 12 months.
In these first 10 months, as the report shows, the Board received 108 applications’ for grants, of which 51 were approved by 30th June 1968, and grants totalling $653,703 were made. The report gives full details in its appendices of the recipients of all grants made and the amounts made available. The report also contains a list of all the research organisations approved by the Board in accordance with section 6 (a) of the Act.
The Government has undertaken to make up to $6m a year available for grants under the Act administered by this’ Board. Last year’s experience is, of course, not a reliable guide to the demand Australian industries will make on the funds available. With no previous history to rely on, $3m was allocated in the Budget for the work of the Board last year. Later in the year when there was some months experience as a guide, the Treasury was advised that expenditure was unlikely to exceed $.tm. In the event, grants made during the year ended 30th June 1968 totalled $653,703.
There are now signs that Australian industry is responding more, strongly to this scheme. Applications for grants are being made in greater numbers, many of the applications : being for quite . substantial amounts: To illustrate this, I am informed that so far this financial year,- in a period of little more than 2 months, grants approved by the Board amounted to $734,556. The Government has introduced this scheme to encourage increased, research and development effort by Australian manufacturing and. mining companies. It offers substantial incentives for companies to do this because the Government believes strongly that vigorous original research and development work undertaken in Australia by Australian companies will bring important benefits to the community as a whole. The success of the scheme in achieving its maximum effect will depend upon how much use companies make of the funds made available by the Government.
A good start has been made, but to have its fullest effect in the years ahead will require a substantially enlarged effort from Australian industry. Australia must maintain its place as one of the world’s great trading nations. We need strong growing industries capable of producing the best products and keeping up with the best from overseas. The Government is playing its part by providing this assistance. I urge all Australian industries to take a close look at the provisions of this generous scheme.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) agreed to:
That Government business shall take precedence over general business tomorrow.
Bill presented by Mr Freeth, and read a first time.
– 1 move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to increase tha rates of the weekly payments of compensation provided by the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act 1930-1967. Under this measure, the introduction of which the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) announced in his Budget speech, the weekly rate will be increased from $25.35 to $28.15 for a totally incapacitated adult employee.
Consistent with past practice, the rate for a minor has been fixed at 75% of the amount for an adult employee. This means an increase from $19 to $21.10 in the weekly amount payable to a minor. In addition, the weekly allowances payable for dependants will be increased from $6 to $6.80 for a dependent wife or other female and from $2.45 to $2.50 for each dependent child under 16 years of age. These new rates will provide a total weekly payment for a man with a dependent wife and one child that compares very favourably with the comparable amount provided under the legislation of the States in this field.
Under the Act a weekly payment of an amount equivalent to the weekly allowance for a dependent child of an incapacitated employee is payable in respect of each dependent child aged less than 16 years of a deceased employee, and the new rate of $2.50 per week will also be payable for such dependants.
Honourable members will recall that in his statement to the House on 6th June 1968 the Treasurer announced that the Government expected to submit a Bill for a new and revised Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act during this session. The drafting of that Bill, which is, by any standards, a major one, is proceeding. However, rather than incorporate in that Bill provisions regarding the new weekly rates, the Government decided to introduce a separate Bill for this purpose so that payment of compensation at the increased weekly rates can be commenced with as little delay as possible. I commend this Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Webb) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Freeth, and read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill will declare the general rates of tax for the. current financial year 1968-69. I will later introduce a separate Bill declaring the special rates to apply to certain income of superannuation funds, trust estates and members of partnershipsfor 1968-69. So far as individual taxpayers are concerned, it is proposed to enact for the current financial year the rates which were operative last year. As announced in the Budget speech, however, the Bill provides for an increase in the exemption levels of the age allowance. This allowance is available to persons who have been residents of Australia throughout the year of income and who, at the end of that year, have attained, if men, the age of 65 years, or, if women, the age of 60 years. The age allowance exempts from tax aged persons whose taxable income does not exceed the sum of the full age pension and the maximum amount of other permissible income for age pension purposes. In 1967-68 this allowance exempted from tax a person whose taxable income did not exceed $1,196. A married taxpayer contributing to the maintenance of his or her spouse was exempt if the combined taxable incomes of the couple did not exceed $2,106. In line with the increases in age pensions announced in the Budget speech, these exemption limits are being increased to$1, 248 and $2,184 respectively.
A measure of relief is also provided by the age allowance where the taxable income is somewhat in excess of the exemption levels that I have mentioned. For the 1967- 68 financial year, this relief could apply to a taxpayer whose taxable income did not exceed $1,452 or, where the taxpayer came within the married couple provisions, if the combined taxable incomes of the couple did not exceed $3,287. These upper -limits are being increased to$1, 532 and $3,514 respectively for the current year.
For the purposes of the age allowance residents of certain territories of the Commonwealth are treated as residents of Australia and eligible for the allowance. The Republic of Nauru is, of course, no longer a territory of the Commonwealth and, for this reason, the age allowance provisions will not apply to residents of Nauru for
The rates of primary tax payable by all companies on incomes derived during the 1967-68 income year are being increased by 2.5 cents in the dollar. Public companies will thus pay 40 cents in the dollar on the first$1 0,000 of taxable income and 45 cents in the dollar on the balance. ‘ Private companies will pay 30 cents in the dollar on the first $10,000 of taxable income and 40 cents in the dollar on the balance. The rates at which tax is payable by life assurance companies, cooperative companies and non-profit companies will also be increased by 2.5 cents in the dollar.
A further change results from the increase in the rates of tax payable by nonprofit companies, combined with the fact that such companies are not liable to tax if their taxable income does not exceed $416. In order to soften the impact of tax at full rates on incomes only marginally in excess of $416, tax is at present’shaded-in’ over the range of income $4 17 to$1,188. The upper limit of this ‘shading-in’ area is being raised to$1, 386.
The rales of tax payable by a superannuation fund that does not invest a statutory proportion of its assets in public securities are also being increased by 2.5 cents in the dollar so that these funds will continue to be taxed at the same rates as those applying to the mutual income of life assurance companies.
Apart from the features that I have described, the provisions of the Bill conform to the pattern of past legislation declaring rates of tax, and I do not think further explanations are necessary at this stage. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill’ presented by Mr Freeth, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill.be now read a second time.
This Bill will declare the rates of income tax for the financial year 1968-69 on income of certain superannuation funds, trust estates and members of partnerships. These are special rates for the purposes of legislation enacted in 1964 to counter tax avoidance arrangements brought, to attention in the report of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation 1959-61 headed by Sir George Ligertwood. Apart from minor changes consequential upon the increase in the exemption levels of the age allowance proposed by the Income Tax Bill 1968, the Bill follows the same pattern as previous Bills declaring these rates.
In respect of the income of a trust estate, other than a deceased estate, to which no beneficiary is presently entitled and which is not taxed as if it were the income of one individual, the rate declared by the Bill is 50%.
A rate of 50% is also declared for the taxable income of a superannuation fund that is not exempt from tax. This rate does not, however, apply to the investment income of a fund that is subject to tax only because of the fund’s failure to comply with the ‘30/20’ rule concerning investments in public securities; the rates of tax applicable to the investment income of these funds are proposed by the Income Tax Bill 1968.
As to income from a share in a partnership over which a person lacks, or is deemed to lack, real and effective control and disposal, the Bill declares a rate of further tax sufficient to bring the aggregate rate on the income up to 50%. If a taxpayer’s average personal rate of tax is 50% or more, no further tax is imposed under this Bill.
The rate of further tax is not payable by taxpayers who are eligible for the age allowance and whose taxable incomes do not exceed the upper limit of the range of income within which the agc allowance provides partial relief. For 1967-68, further tax was not payable by an aged person whose taxable income did not exceed $1,451 or, where the taxpayer came within the married couple provisions, if the combined taxable incomes of the couple did not exceed $3,287. In consequence of .the increases to these upper limits proposed by the Income Tax Bill 1968, the income levels below which further tax will not be payable are being increased to $1,532 and $3,514 respectively.
I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
– I move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Extension of submarine maintenance facilities, Cockatoo Island, New South Wales.
The proposal involves the construction of three separate buildings. Building No. 1 is a two storey steel framed structure to house mechanical and electrical workshops and amenities. Building No. 2 is also of two storeys to house electronic workshops, offices and living-in accommodation with air plant at the third level. Building No. 3 is an extension of an existing single storey structure to accommodate pipe cleaning and testing operations. The estimated cost of the building work is $4.7m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
The proposal involves the construction of a 3-mile long access cableway to the top of the mountain, the erection of the transmitter building, the supply of electric power and a short access road to the foot of the cableway. The estimated cost of the proposal is $l.lm. I table plans of the location of these works.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
The proposal involves the construction of four additional floors to the existing exchange building to house telecommunication equipment to serve the Perth network. The estimated cost is $960,000. The Committee has reported favourably on the proposal but recommends that the Department of Works take any reasonable step which will hasten occupancy of the extensions. All possible action will be taken by the Department of Works to give effect to the Committee’s recommendation. Upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution, the planning of this work can proceed to finality in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Erection of Houses at Royal Australian Air Force Base, Darwin
– I move:,,
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, it is expedient that the following proposed work should be carried out without having been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: Erection of seventy-six houses at RAAF Base, Darwin.
The proposal involves the erection of 65 three-bedroom and 11 four-bedroom houses together with associated internal and external engineering services at the RAAF Base, Darwin, at an estimated cost of $1,355,000. This amount ‘ includes $250,000 for roads and other services required to develop the sites on which the houses will be erected. The houses will be of standard Commonwealth tropical designs and they will conform to the accepted standards for housing for the Services in the Darwin area. Although the total estimated cost of the work is $1,355,000, it consists of 76 repetitive units, each of standard design in conformity with approved scales and standards of accommodation for the Services. .
In view of the nature of the proposal as outlined above, I recommend that it be carried out without having’ been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
Mr CHANEY (Perth) [3.42)- The Public Works Committee agrees with the proposal put forward by the Minister for the Navy (Mr Kelly). It is interesting to note that, I think in 1913, when the first Parliamentary Public Works Committee was formed, it was for the sole purpose of an investigating expenditure on defence matters. Now the Minister for the Navy has moved that these works not be referred to the Committee. I point out that when the current 3-year defence programme was put before the Parliament, the then Public Works Committee, following correspondence between the then Prime Minister and the Committee, agreed that it would not examine the repetitive building of houses, on standard patterns, which had been approved by the Government and the Services. Accordingly we raise no objection to the motion proposed by the Minister.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1968-69 In Committee
Consideration resumed from 10 September (vide page 869).
Proposed expenditure, $63,950,000.
–The debate on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs permits us to look at a number of details of the operations of the Department. At the present time, at the end of 1968, the situation in relation to Australian foreign and defence policy is such that during the course of the estimates debate we must direct attention to what is apparently involved behind the scenes. I refer to the need for a critical reassessment of the whole basis of Australia’s foreign and defence policy. During my opening remarks, therefore, 1 want to refer to a number of these details. I want to look into this very important and quite significant overall policy.
Firstly, I want to direct attention to something I have noticed, lt is a personal and perhaps subjective judgment, but it is one. that I think the Committee ought to hear and ought to take into account. I think there is. a luck of a sense of urgency on the part of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) in relation to a number of very important questions. There seems to be a willingness on the part of. the. Minister, and perhaps his Department, to accept as a matter of course the assumption that a certain event will have a certain outcome and that it is not worth while for Australia, the Department or the Minister to have any sense of urgency about it. I think this attitude of the Minister and of his Department has become very clear in relation to two recent important incidents in international affairs. 1 refer firstly to the invasion, the occupation, of Czechoslovakia by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Minister gave me the impression that he thought that because a great power, the Soviet Union, was involved, there was very little that could be done to affect or modify the position in any way. He seemed to me to assume that the Soviet Union would exercise its power of veto in the United
Nations and that there was not much point in Australia trying in any way to make our own feelings known in a vivid way. I have tried to keep the Russian aggression in Czechoslovakia in context; I am aware of its nature. I am aware that what is involved for the time being is a completely unjustified interference in the affairs of another nation directed at the replacement in Czechoslovakian society, as far as the Soviet Union can do this, of people it feels cannot be trusted. This is an insult of a fundamental nature to another nation.
Whilst I appreciate the full significance of this, I think that the Soviet Onion has not been as aggressive in Czechoslovakia, in pursuit of what she considers .’ to be her interests, as has the United States of America in Vietnam. Nevertheless 1. think it is absolutely important for us to make clear our own views on the totally unjustified interference by the Soviet Union in the affairs of Czechoslovakia. I was left with the feeling, after listening to the Minister, that the Government had not made its attitude clear and that it was not willing to take advantage of the opportunities provided in the. international forums of the world, particularly the United Nations, to press a view about which there could be no doubt. Even if there were a chance that that view would not be completely effective, we should not in any way hesitate for that reason.
A second occasion occurred recently, and again today, in respect of Biafra. Nigeria was formed as the largest and greatest nation in the new Africa. There was a great feeling of optimism that Nigeria would develop and would become a very significant united nation. Unfortunately this has not been so. What has happened in Biafra is not simply the result of the tribal differences that exist among people in this area. What has happened there has resulted very significantly from the interference of outside powers - interference by the Western powers and by the Soviet Union. The interests of both France and England are not confined to democracy, purity and freedom but are influenced considerably by the oil and other mineral resources of the area. The interests of the Soviet Union, likewise, are not influenced by desires for freedom but by the world ideological struggle in which she is taking part.
This means in effect that the National Government in Nigeria has been supplied with arms and equipment by both the Western powers and the Soviet Union. That Government has used those arms and equipment very ruthlessly against an almost unarmed people. If ever the term ‘genocide’ was justified it is justified in regard to the action of the Nigerian Government against the Biafrans. Not only has military power been used’ but tens of thousands of men, women and children who have no part to play in any kind of military engagement have died quickly, or slowly by starvation, as a result of these circumstances. There was no Western urgency about this. There was nothing like the Berlin airlift. There was nothing like the kind of vivid alacrity with which the Western powers respond when they feel that there is some contest between themselves and the Soviet Union or China. The Minister for External Affairs reflected this kind of nonchalance. If he is capable’ of being nonchalant about anything, he was about this.
I was disappointed today in the way the Minister seemed to take an impartial stand, as though diplomatic practice required him not to show that he was either for or against either side in the Biafran tragedy. He showed no sense of urgency. Presumably some flour is to be sent by Australia to Biafra. This is to be sent by ship. How many tens of thousands of Biafran children will die of starvation while the ship is carrying Australian flour across the Indian Ocean? No willingness has been shown even to make a token effort to send something by aircraft. Tanks can be flown across the world by aircraft but flour cannot be flown by the Australian Government to meet to a small degree the needs of this terrible emergency that exists in Biafra. When listening to the Minister for External Affairs and reading the reports that are issued by his Department, one feels that there is no human feeling at all - that their approach is very technical, very abstract and very slow. We get the impression that it is very much uncommitted. It seems to reflect in no way the kind of human feeling that I am sure ought to motivate the actions of governments in these affairs.
Before I look at the very important question of policy, 1 want to say one thing about the Department of External Affairs. This is the first opportunity 1 have had for some time to say this. In the last couple of years, at my own expense, I have had the opportunity of travelling in South East Asia. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to each and every one of the officers of the Department of External Affairs who are stationed in South East Asian countries at posts. from Djakarta to Saigon. They have given me magnificent assistance on the occasions when . I have visited those countries. I have written to the Minister a couple of times telling him of the fine service I have been given by his staff. I want to make some public expression now of my gratitude for this service. I do not think that I have come across people who are doing their job better than are the officers of the Department of External Affairs in that part . of the world.
I believe that one deficiency is apparent to everyone’. It will take time’ to remove. One cannot expect that Australia, which became significantly involved in South East Asian affairs only a few years ago, would yet have a sufficient number of diplomatic officers who speak the native languages of the areas in which they are working. Quite a number of officers of the Department of External Affairs have made great efforts to learn the languages of the countries in which they are working. But I think that more urgency should be attached to this objective. I believe that more funds should be made available for the teaching of languages to younger members of the staff of the Department than are allocated for the purpose in these estimates. The teaching of Asian languages in Australia ought to have far higher priority. There ‘is noi so urgent a need for Australians to learn French, German and Italian as. there, is for them to learn the languages of South East Asia. South East Asian languages ought to be given top priority, not only, in the Department, but in Australia, as a whole.
I want to say something briefly- about the very important question of policy. Supporters of the Government - the honourable member for Higinbotham (Mr Chipp) and the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), to mention two - have for some time voiced their point of view in their party room. The honourable member for Higinbotham has written some excellent articles which have appeared in the Melbourne ‘Herald’. Reading them, I felt that I could easily have written them myself. These articles show that the honourable member does not accept the fundamental misconceptions and deceptions upon which the Government’s policy has been based in recent years. He does not accept the domino theory or the argument about the downward thrust of China. The honourable member realises that, from a political point of view, this thinking has served the Government extremely well in recent years. One cannot estimate how many votes this scare policy of the domino theory, the downward thrust, with the Red arrows coming down from China, and the concept of a Communist under every bed has gained for the Government in recent times. But it seems to me that the more intelligent and independent members on the other side of the chamber who are less like driven sheep than their colleagues are at last making a proper evaluation of these theories today. A number of honourable members on the Government side, and especially the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), are capable of independent thought on a lot of issues. But I am not sure where the honourable member stands on the subject of policy and I am sure he will not mind my saying so.
Not only are some Government supporters in disagreement with the present policy; so also is the very important Defence Committee which seems to have made certain recommendations. I do not know what those recommendations are. I do not know whether I will ever know, unless we on this side of the chamber soon form a government and get access to the relevant papers ourselves. The Prime Minister, in answer to a question that I asked him at the end of question time today, gave the impression that he was not going to say which of the conflicting newspaper reports about this important Committee were correct. He was not going to say whether the Committee had recommended drastic changes in the concept of forward defence which has characterised the nation’s postwar attitude towards Asia. Nor was he going to say whether the Committee would support the policy of forward defence which so far has been the policy of the Government. Then someone said: ‘What about the work of Parliament?’ To this the Prime Minister very deliberately and strongly said: The work of Parliament is to receive what is presented to it by the Government for its approval’. Here we have the imprimatur of the new Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Grey Gorton, who has enunciated the principle that all Parliament is for is to approve what the Government has decided.
– That is a misrepresentation.
– That is the way he answered the question. Let us wait until we see Hansard tomorrow. The point 1 am trying to make is that Parliament should have the opportunity to debate the issue and see who is right and who is wrong. The whole point I am making in respect of policy is that the Government gives us very restricted opportunities to debate the subject of policy. I am asking the Government now to give us an opportunity to debate this subject matter, which is as much concerned with external affairs as it is with defence, so that we can have the opportunity to say something and so that the Parliament will not be treated as just a rubber stamp.
– I always find it exhilarating to follow the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). I found that I agreed with most of what he said in the first two-thirds of his speech. I do not know whether we are getting the smooth line because of the stress and strain that he is under at present. But I feel that some of the criticisms that he made of Australia’s stand, or lack of stand, on certain issues were criticisms that could be fairly made. It was interesting to find these comments coming from the honourable member on this occasion.
I find myself in great confusion on moral grounds in working out how we in Australia justify the actions which we take - I think rightly - in support of certain proposals that are discussed in the United Nations. But when actions are taken by other and greater powers, as a rule we seemingly say and do nothing. However, recently we did pass a motion of censure in this House and in another place. But when it was suggested in another chamber that an embargo or sanctions to be placed on the Soviet Union it was argued that the Government wanted to have the unanimous support of the Senate. I can imagine the fear in the Soviet Union when it was discovered that the Australian Senate had unanimously condemned the Soviet Union’s actions in Czechoslovakia!
The speech made by the honourable member for Yarra is interesting when analysed. In respect of the Biafran situation he said that (he Government did not seem to be making much noise, although it was sending flour by ship. I agree with his criticism. The Western world - the free world - is not prepared to take the same action in respect to Biafra as it took with the Berlin air lift. It is only when the newspapers have nothing else to write about that we occasionally get a mention of what is happening in the Sudan or in other troubled parts of the world. But do we ever get up and say that something is wrong and that unless we, the smaller nations, protest and say something about it we are finished as one day it will be our turn? I do not think that one impresses people by going along with them when one knows that they are wrong. 1 am not for one moment suggesting that courage to the point of ridiculousness is the policy to adopt. I accept that it is necessary to have diplomacy and that diplomacy sometimes results in not being able to say all1 that one wants to say. But there are times when somebody has to set an example to the smaller, less developed nations that want to live in peace and security. There should not be one rule for the rich and another for the poor, although that appears to be the situation at the moment. I refer to the report of the External Affairs Department on the United Nations Conference on Human Rights. Do not let it be thought that 1 am suggesting that we should not be a member of the United Nations. I am not. I think it is of great val’ue but I am not sure that it works in the way that it should work.
If one reads what was discussed one finds no criticism of Communism, of Communist countries or of Communist colonialism. Motions were passed condemning Nazism, and racism and aparthied and 1 agree with all of them. But nowhere is there any refer ence to the occupied countries of Europe and to the colonial pressures exerted by the Russians and (he other great powers against the smaller powers. This concerns me. 1 feel that we in Australia are lucky but that we have a lot to lose if we are not prepared to get up and speak strongly. Even if we do not have the numbers of people th.it the Africans or the Asians have. I think that they will respect us much more if we stand up and say what we truly believe.
When I was in the United Kingdom last year I attended a conference of 25 representatives of various countries. Of that number, 20 were from Afro-Asian countries. At night 1 would sit down and speak to these Africans and Asians. 1 could not have been with a more delightful and intelligent group of people anywhere in the world. We discussed Australia’s immigration policy, we discussed South Africa and Rhodesia and we discussed South Vietnam. They all understood what was happening and they accepted that if situations such as those in Vietnam and Czechoslovakia were to be allowed, their day would come. At the luncheon given at the House of Commons at the end of the conference there was much talk of politicians returning to their homelands. I had the honour to second a vote of thanks to the United Kingdom Government. 1 stated that it had been a great experience to me to speak to these people. I referred to how we had been able to agree on matters and said I hoped that when we all returned to our countries we would not be just politicians but would endeavour to be statesmen. But if one looks at what is happening in the world at the moment one realises that a representative from a country such as Malawi or Lesotho cannot always go back home and say the things that he wants to say. There is a radical fringe in al1! these countries that is endeavouring to create dissent and a returning delegate who spoke too freely might be unlikely to have his head on his neck after about 12 months. Those of us who do not have these problems should point this out to the world. We should point out that the smaller nations have rights and that, if a small nation is on the wrong track, any rul’e applied to it should apply equally to larger countries. Surely might is not right in the world today and we should not accept this.
I would like to congratulate the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) and his Department for the work that they have done. 1 have not endeavoured to be critical of them at all on this issue. 1 know that at the present moment Australia is in a most involved situation in regard to foreign affairs and defence. I know ;..at the whole scene around Australia has changed. I know that we now have to accept responsibility in this part of the world. 1 know that the Minister and his departmental officers and ambassadors throughout South East Asia and the rest of the world are second to none. I support everything said by the honourable member for Yarra in this respect. I know that headlines do not necessarily make a good member of Parliament or a good diplomat. Indeed, I know that more can be gained by going around quietly conferring and endeavouring to convert people to ways that will lead to betterment for their country, our country and the world. It is by this influence and not by standing up and beating a drum that the most is achieved. Our departmental officials in South East Asia and. indeed, as I have found, in South America and. as others have found, in Africa, are not under suspicion by the host nations as are the representatives of some of larger nations.
The peoples of Africa, South America and South East Asia regard us, through the influence of our ambassadors and service personnel, as being a nation that is willing to help them. They know that we are not a threat. When critics from the other side of: the chamber or outside say that we arc losing friends in Asia, I say that they should go to Asia and see for themselves. The Asians know that we are not a threat. They know that we are going out of our way to help them and that we wish to help them. It should not be forgotten that defence is the servant of foreign affairs but we cannot expect to have good international relations unless the people we hope to sign treaties with accept that we are prepared to do what we say we will do. I feel that Australia should be a little more forthright and should be setting more of an example than it is. We should be instilling in these people confidence that we, as one of the lucky and developed industrialised countries of this region, are prepared to do more than we have done in the past and that we are prepared to accept greater responsibility than we have accepted in the past. We should not allow ourselves to be regarded as a little nation that is unable to do anything. Australia is a big country compared to most Asian countries. The Asian peoples look to us to see where we are going and what are our intentions.
I feel that the Australian Government can say to the United States Government: We accept that you have obligations at home, that you cannot be the policeman of the world and that we cannot expect your soldiers and your money to take over all the responsibilities of the world. We are prepared to do more in respect of civil aid and defence. For what we cannot do we will request your assistance.’ This would be a better course to adopt than saying to the US Government: ‘What are you prepared to do? When you tell us what you are going to do we will see what we are prepared to do.’ We are in this region and we have to stay in this region. American foreign policy is not necessarily our foreign policy. There are great similarities but the situation and reasoning can be based on different factors. When the honourable member for Yarra talks about the domino theory, what does he mean? It is a term that was whipped up by a newspaper and now everybody uses it. If he means that, if Vietnam is overrun and the Americans and the British pull out of Asia, there is not likely to be a move by the small nations of South East Asia towards some agreement with the great Communist powers, I think he is wrong. I think that the Australian people would think he was wrong and that most thinking people of Asia would think he was wrong. I would hope that he was right, but he has not so convinced me up to date.
However, I think that perhaps there is now some rethinking on the part of the Government. There has to be. There is a possibility that the Americans will change their policy and that because of internal reasons they may be forced to go home. We cannot blame them. We cannot point the finger at them, because many of those on the other side who came into the propaganda war did very little to support them and to help them. When I heard the criticism offered in this chamber this afternoon hy the honourable member for Yarra I was persuaded that he does not see any difference between what the Soviet Union did in Czechoslovakia and what the Americans did in South Vietnam. That was the little sting that came al the end of the speech. 1 do not think the Australian people or any other people will accept that view.
I would like to conclude by again saying that we in Australia have great decisions to make. I think we are highly regarded. We have to take advantage of the opportunity to play a greater part in this area in regional defence and regional agreements - not to interfere in frictions that may arise between Indonesia and others or between Malaysia and the Philippines, but to show, for example, that we are prepared to help and to make sacrifices for our defence, to assist in the defence of other nations. a( any time and. above and beyond that, to give them advice, assistance and technical aid and the things we can well alford lo give them if we develop this country io the point to which it can be developed.
Mr CROSS (Brisbane) f4.l2- The debate on the estimates of the Department oF External Affairs provides one of those opportunities when honourable members can deal with matters concerning Australia’s foreign relations without being tied down lo a ministerial statement or the great questions about which ministerial statements are usually made. I am heartened to follow the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), who said a number of the things 1 myself would care to say. I believe thai in lots of ways Australia should be more forthright in its expression of views on the things that are happening in this part of the world, f offer no criticism of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) or his Department for the general way in which Australian foreign policy Is spelt out, particularly in our relations with the United States of America, the British Commonwealth and the United Nations. But I do believe that the voice of Australia should be heard more often and more loudly on some of the greater questions similar to those raised by my colleague the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) this afternoon. 1 know that there was much criticism of the Labor Government that was in office towards the end of the 1940s when Dr Evatt was the Minister for External Affairs. He was a very forthright man and he sought to give leadership to the smaller nations of the world. Australia was regarded as a spokesman for the small nations, although in those days I think we described ourselves as a middle power rather more than as a small power. I suppose that was part of the aftermath of being one of the victors in the Second World War. In those days the Labor Government spelt out its attitude on a lot of these questions as to human rights and on the types of problems that we face today in Biafra and other parts of the world. This leadership from the then Minister for External Affairs transmitted itself to a whole generation of external affairs personnel, such as Sir Frederick Eggleston. We still see it today. I believe that the present Minister for External Affairs is a humanitarian man. I do not think that any of us who know of his work in the Territories and his work as Minister for External Affairs would think anything else.
All of us recognise that diplomacy is often conducted in a discreet and confidential way. These things must inevitably happen, and that when we talk to our friends we do not always make public our differences of opinion; hut nevertheless it is necessary for Australia to express its views forthrightly if it is not lo be accused of having double standards. Recently members of this House were unanimous in condemning the incursion of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries into Czechoslovakia. There was no difference of opinion. All of us stood together and passed what I believed to be a very reasonable resolution, regretting that this action on the part of Russia was quite contrary to the trend that seemed to have existed over recent years. Having taken this stand on Czechoslovakia at a time when, to many people, we were not terribly concerned about things that were happening in Biafra or Indonesia, we could well be accused of having double standards.
A similar position arises in relation to Rhodesia. I do not agree with many of the ideas of the people on the Government side who are referred to as the Rhodesian lobby, but I believe they have a great deal of justice in their claim that Australia is prepared to take a very strong stand when sanctions are imposed by the United Nations on Rhodesia whereas we do not take a similar strong stand in relation to what is happening in Czechoslovakia or elsewhere. We all know that every nation operates within the bounds of practicability. We also know that the Soviet Government has a right of veto which it would exercise and which it has exercised in the Security Council. Notwithstanding that, if we cease to speak out on some of these questions, it may be thought, however injustly, that we are applying double standards in our altitude to the world. The plight of Biafra has been dealt with by the honourable member for Yarra. The agony that the Ibo people, the number of whom is about the same as the population of Australia, are going through today should trouble the conscience of us all. I should like to add my comments in condemning the genocide that is being carried out in Nigeria.
At the same time I should like to express my concern at the situation in Indonesia. Indonesia is our nearest neighbour, lt is the only neighbour with which we share a common boundary in New Guinea. AH Australians, and I think every member of this Parliament, would wish the Indonesian people well. We know that they have been through many difficulties. Australia and India together took the Indonesian problem to the United Nations when the Indonesians were fighting for their independence. I do not doubt that there is a great deal of goodwill between the people of Indonesia and the people of Australia. I do not think any of us would doubt that the very astute diplomatic work performed by the various Australian ambassadors, who have represented us in Indonesia, the previous Minister for External Affairs, Sir Garfield Barwick, who is now the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and by the present Minister have been factors in the good relations that do exist.
Many of us are concerned about reports of genocide in Indonesia. We know it is said that it is part of the effort to put down a resurgence of the PKI. It may well be that there is an element of this in East Java and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago. There are also reports that genocide is spreading to a far greater extent than this and that people have been killed because they are Communists. I put it to the House that every Australian citizen would condemn genocide in Indonesia, as we have condemned genocide in Nigeria and other parts of the world. I hope that these reports about Indonesia are greatly exaggerated but I would also hope that the Government of that friendly nation would spell our more precisely than it has to what extent these things have happened within its boundaries. Although they might be internal matters, in the long run they have to be judged at the bar of world opinion. Australia is in a reasonably good position to take a stand on a lot of these questions, because in our territorial responsibilities in Nauru and in New Guinea our record has h:en a reasonably good one.
Now I wish to move on to some other aspects of the estimates of the Department of External Affairs. 1 would like to join with the honourable member for La Trobe and the honourable member for Yarra in paying a tribute to the capacity and ability of the personnel of the Department wilh whom I have been associated on my comparatively modest excursions to South East Asia. [ have found everywhere I have gone that these people are on good terms with the local diplomatic people and indeed with the members of the community in which they happen to bc living. 1 have also found that their opinions are very valuable and well balanced. I would think that the reports . they send home would be very largely well balanced and well constructed documents. .
There are some comparatively minor matters on which one could comment, and I. would like to refer to a couple of them. During the visit of a parliamentary delegation to South East Asia in 1966 I took the opportunity, while going around the teacher training colleges and the universities, to examine the libraries in these places, particularly those in the teacher training’ colleges which taught in English, to see what information on Australia they had. I know the present system is that any college or university which seeks a donation of books from Australia may approach the high commissioner or the ambassador concerned. Australia has given some very fine donalions to the libraries of some of the larger universities in countries in South East Asia.
For example, I think that the University of Singapore has a very fine library of works on Australia. But while very fine donations of books might have been made to some teacher training colleges and universities, there are others in which there might be some hundreds of students learning English and in which the library facilities are not good at all.
I remember going into a teacher training college in Sabah and looking at that section of the library which covers Australia. I found that it contained a copy of Woods’ Cobbers’, a copy of Mrs Aeneas Gunn’s We of the Never Never’, a copy of the Commonwealth Year Book for 1938 and a couple of other works of that vintage. With the large amount of assistance that we are giving to South East Asian nations 1 think that we could well have a system under which we made a standard donation to any teacher training college or university, which taught in English, throughout the South East Asian region. We could provide a representative collection which would enable people in these countries to be much better informed about Australia than they are at the present time. 1 think that we are doing quite good work in this field, but we are putting all our eggs into the one basket.
The next matter to which I want to refer is the quality of buildings in which personnel of the Department of External Affairs operate in some countries. Recently the Auditor-General’s report showed that an amount of $587,000 had been paid for a property in Paris, but that the property was no longer needed and that there may be some difficulties in disposing of it. Of course, there was the inevitable criticism of the Department that this should have happened. But while ‘an unfortunate purchase may have been made in this instance, I do not think that this should blind us to the fact that the standard of accommodation of personnel of the Department of External Affairs in many parts of SouthEast Asia leaves something to be desired. I do not think it is possible to lay down a standard as one might lay down a standard for schools in Queensland or for public buildings constructed by the Commonwealth Department of Works throughout Australia, because very largely what we do would have to be determined by what was done by other people in the area.
I know that we have built very fine buildings in the United States of America and in Djakarta in Indonesia. But there are other cities - ‘and I think Bangkok would be one - in which the standard of accommodation at the embassy left, and I believe still leaves, a lot to be desired. This matter has to be determined not only against the standard we might apply elsewhere but also against the standard being set by other countries. In other words, if some other nation goes to the capital city of one of our neighbours and builds a very fine embassy building, Australia cannot afford to have its diplomatic personnel housed in premises that are substandard in comparison with the premises of other nations.
– We are moving into new quarters in Bangkok.
– I am very happy to hear the Minister for External Affairs say that. I hope that this practice will be adopted in other countries. The Australian consulate in Noumea does a very fine job. I think that it still represents the United Kingdom and New Zealand in that country. But although the consulate is accommodated in quite a good standard of a building, it is situated in a side street. Although Noumea is a small territory I think it is important from Australia’s point of view and I think that the standard of accommodation of Australia’s representatives should be sound.
The last matter to which I wish to refer is the South Pacific Conference. In this time when we are obsessed very largely with the great questions of the world, when we send delegations to the United Nations and when we play our modest part on the world stage, I am pleased to note the amount of money that has been appropriated this year for the South Pacific aid scheme. I am pleased that the South Pacific area has not been forgotten. I, together with Senator Laught, was privileged last year to attend the South Pacific Conference rs an Australian parliamentary observer. I would like to express my view on the increasing and continuing importance of the South Pacific Conference.
I think that, in the large world around us, it is very easy to overlook a fairly small organisation like the South Pacific Conference. But that Conference provides the forum where very small territories of the South Pacific can meet together and discuss their development and put their points of view. No other such forum is available to them. When Nauru obtained its own independence it did not seek to be seated in the United Nations. It has not the size or the economic capacity to be able to afford to keep up with the Joneses, if I might use that expression. The same circumstance applies to many other territories in the South Pacific area. Many of their problems, which are problems of welfare, hygiene, buildings and the like, are too small for peace corps or United Nations agencies to handle with their large budgets and with the large number of personnel involved. Although these are territories with no great defence significance at present because there is no challenge, we cannot afford to forget them.
I am very pleased to see that the Australian Government has increased the appropriation for the South Pacific aid programme. I believe that Australia is in very good standing throughout the area of the South Pacific. This is not a matter of party political difference because both this Government and the preceding Labor Government of quite a long while ago felt the same way. There is a feeling that the South Pacific Conference has perhaps served its time and that some of these functions in the area could be carried out by larger bodies - perhaps by United Nations agencies - but having had the opportunity of going there and seeing some of these things, I am quite convinced that the South Pacific Conference has a very important role to play in the future.
– First of all, I would like to thank the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) for being present during the discussion of these estimates. It is something that I think should always happen, and I hope it will be taken as an example by others who seem to think that we come here only to talk and that nobody bothers to read Hansard. I thank the Minister for being present. I also find myself rather strangely in accord with the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F Cairns) on his comments with respect to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia which he termed an unwarranted and unjustifiable interference in the internal affairs of another country. He might have gone a little further and referred to similar unwarranted and unjustifiable interference in the internal affairs of Rhodesia on which not only Australia but many other nations have taken an entirely opposite point of view, because Rhodesia is a small country and Russia is one of the two strongest countries in the world today.
I am sorry that we have to debate the question of the Government’s action in relation to Rhodesia on the estimates for the Department of External Affairs, because it is not a proper occasion on which to debate it. I had hoped that the Government would have made a statement so that we could have had a full discussion on it. But seeing that this is probably the only opportunity we will have to debate the matter 1 propose to take the chance now. There. is a lot of difference in fact but there is not much difference in principle, between interference in the internal affairs of Rhodesia and the Russian interference .in the internal affairs of Czechoslovakia. Why should the United Nations have taken action against Rhodesia which is not a threat to world peace, which is not proposing to invade anybody and which is one of the three countries in southern Africa - or of the countries south of the Zambesi - where Africans themselves want to migrate in order to partake of the highest standard of living that is available to them? The standard of living is four times’ higher in South Africa than it is in other countries on the African continent. Yet South Africa always seemed to the the target for the barbed tongue of Mr Goldberg who, thank God, has left the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations and who has been succeeded by Mr Ball, who I think has a very wide knowledge of international affairs. Mr Goldberg was just a labour fixer before he was put into the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
– He was one of the greatest judges in the United States.
– I will grant the honourable member that, but he was not a great judge of international affairs, about which he seems to have been entirely ignorant when he was put into the job. The honourable member is becoming just as discursive as he was last night when talking about Commonwealth and State finances and what should be done for the States, when we all know that the policy of the Labor Party is unification and not federalism. 1 know that in this he followed his leader, but he was just as illogical as are the circumstances I am talking about, although of course they are more important in the international1 sphere.
Everyone knows that the African continent is now divided, like Caesar’s Gaul, into three parts. There is north Africa which is Arab. Then there is. central Africa which is a conglomeration of African tribes constantly fighting amongst themselves. We all know what is happening in Nigeria, and I do not have to expand on that. Not so many people know what has happened in the Sudan, where there have been more casualties caused by the Moslems in the north trying to eradicate the Christians and ordinary Africans in the south than there have been in Vietnam. Nobody in the United Nations ever mentions this. Who were the members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association who attended the recent meeting in Uganda and were not allowed to go to the north to see the 160,000 refugees from southern Sudan who are located there? Which one of them has ever said anything about this since he came home? Are they not interested?
These are the kinds of things that do not interest the United Nations either. Nothing is said about this in the United Nations and apparently nothing is done about it. The United Nations seems to concentrate on the Congo!lisation - that is about the best word for it - of Africa south of the Zambesi. Largely this is instigated by the Communists who want to create the same kind of chaos in Rhodesia, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and the Portuguese territories as all of us have seen, and have deeply regretted, further north. We all know of the tragedies of Nigeria, Congo, Chad and elsewhere. Does anybody in this Parliament want to see the southern part of Africa reduced to the chaos which exists in the Congo,
Nigeria and Sudan? If so, they probably support what has been happening and support the Government with regard to the application of mandatory sanctions on Rhodesia. These go right down to the field of sport, and here they are just as illogical. We find members of the Marylebone Cricket Club and other people in England criticising the team which was picked to play in South Africa because Mr D’Oliviera is not in the team. Yet Great Britain is the country that refused admission to Mr Bland, the cricketer, because he came from Rhodesia. Now Australia is taking the same kind of action and refusing to allow golfers from Rhodesia to come to Australia.
The Olympic Committee started bringing politics into sport at the behest of the Russians and the Africans of the centre. I deplore the bringing of international politics into sport. Sport is one field from which I thought we could exclude international politics. We did so during the Olympic Games in Melbourne and it was grand to see the youth of all nations fraternising. It made one hopeful that at some time we might arrive at Tennyson’s federation of the world and parliament of man.
But now we must face the existing situation. Many resolutions have been passed in the United Nations and have not been implemented. When I was in Rhodesia last year I found that not a single African, whether he was the Leader of the Opposition in Salisbury, in the ministry in the Transkei, a head man in Ovamboland away up in the north of South-West Africa, one of the ordinary African tribal chieftains or one of the ordinary African members of the community, wanted NIBMAR - no independence before majority African rule. They are not fools. They know what is happening further to the north of them, where there was at one time a one man one vote system and then a system of one man no vote, or, as in Zambia when I was there, after putting Mr Kapwepwe in as Vice-President, two votes for every voter on the role.
The African leaders in southern Africa are no fools. The average level of education of the African is not as high as that of Europeans, but the proportion of the budget of Rhodesia which is applied to African education is very high when compared with the proportion of Australia’s Budget which is applied to education. The African leaders all said: ‘What we want is equal educational opportunity and equal economic integration’. I said to one very important African leader: *Do your people want to intermarry with the Europeans?’ He said: ‘My people intermarry with the Europeans? No.’ It is sad that this point of view is taken on both sides, but at this stage of the world’s history it is no use trying to force integration until the various races of which a nation is composed are prepared to intermarry freely. So 1 said to him: ‘Under those conditions is not separate development side by side with equal opportunity the answer?’ In effect, he said yes.
We are faced with a very difficult sei of circumstances. In the Transkei, the Bantu homeland, there are 1,750,000 peope. I was told by our own newspapers and by various people before I went there that it was a police state. There are perhaps 2,500,000 people in Victoria and T think there are 6,000 policemen in that State and 1,300 more are needed. In the Transkei with 1.750,000 Bantu people there are 700 police of whom 350 are white. Some of the Bantus are magistrates. Soon there will be Bantu judges. They are taking over in the teaching field. They are taking over in the police force. In their own area they will soon be in the higher administrative positions.
But honourable members need not bother about what I think of all this. Let me tell the Committee what Dr H. Kamuzu Banda thinks about these matters. 1 have before me an article from the Melbourne ‘Age’ of 1 7th October 1 966 which reports a statement made by Dr Banda under the dateline Blantyre, October 1.6th’. This was after sanctions were first imposed in 1.966. The article reads:
President Hastings Banda said yesterday he was not going to support any resolutions on Rhodesia or South-West Africa, by the United Nations, the Commonwealth conference or the Organisation of African Unity. He was not going to support them because they could not be implemented, Dr Banda told the closing session of the annual convention of his ruling Malawai Congress party here. Dr Banda said . . . There are .tons upon (ons of resolutions at the United Nations which have not been and never will be carried cut, and the nations who propose them, particularly the African States, only reveal their total ignorance. . . . ] don’t waul to be a hypocrite. I could not boycott Mozambique, Rhodesia, or South Africa because there would be an economic breakdown and political chaos here if 1 do.’
May I ask the Minister whether Zambia, which has been most vociferous against Rhodesia, is one of the nations that have complied with the Security Council request. The answer is no, and the Minister knows it. I cannot see why we made this hurried decision, which is against principle and against many other things. It reminds me of what Mr Meany said in a Labor Day message in America. Referring to Vietnam, he said:
They denounce the bloodshed, they cry for peace, but they direct their protests only to Washington, never to Hanoi, and what is even worse, they hoot down and physically attack those who seek to reason with them.
The same thing applies very largely with regard to the southern region. Defence is the hand maiden of foreign policy. There are two regions of the world which are of vital importance to Australia - the western Pacific and South East Asia, and southern Africa which provides our only safe trade route to Europe.
I firmly believe that we should do our part to support southern Africa just as we have done in supplying troops to afford security to South East Asia. If we follow with economic and technological assistance, the region of South East Asia and the western Pacific, through co-operation and development, can achieve an increase in the standard of living which will set a pattern that other regions will want to follow. But it has to be free from aggression. The same applies to southern Africa. It could set a standard that the rest of the African nations would want to follow. Already in South Africa the standard of living of the African - this applies whether or not we like their internal policies - is four times higher than the standard in other countries in Africa. One million foreign Africans live there and probably there would be 2 million to 3 million if a close check were not kept on work permits. The standard of living in Rhodesia is three times higher than in other parts of Africa. So I appeal to this Parliament to look at these matters practically and realistically from the point of view of Australia’s future and not be weak and drag behind somebody else’s cart. We may think that we have hitched our wagon to a star; but we should have thought to close the tailboard oi the wagon, because we have fallen out. The Government’s action is wrong, and I hope that other members as well as a vast number of people in the community will tell it so.
– Australia has three associations in international affairs. One is the military alliance with the United States of America and the other two are associations which we hoped would exercise moral force in the world in the direction of international order, sanity and peace. I refer to the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Throughout the crisis between Israel and her Arab neighbours the United Nations manifested a characteristic which was very clear, lt was this: So long as the veto was exercised constantly by the Soviet Union, the United Nations was directed on one course. Whenever Israel complained of Arab incursions into Israeli territory the Soviet veto was used against United Nations action; whenever the Arabs complained against Israel the condemnation would go through. This, in small form, is what is happening in the world. The United Nations has become a completely biased instrument, and as long as it is a biased instrument it will be a menace to the world. By that I mean that the United Nations can spring into indignation over an issue like Rhodesia - I. do not support the Rhodesian Government’s racial policies- but it can remain dumb while .100,000 Yemeni Arabs become casualties of Egyptian action. The International Red Cross has pointed out, I think with proofs that go beyond dispute, that the Egyptian Government used poison gas in its action against Yemeni Arabs.
Everybody in this chamber knows that if in Papua and New Guinea the equivalent of what has happened across the border were to occur the United Nations would be galvanised into action. We know also that if the north of Nigeria were white the United Nations would be galvanised into action over Biafra. As it is the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and Egypt have been supplying Northern Nigeria with arms for the destruction of the Biafran people. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) and myself were at one time together in Nigeria. It appeared to be a country with a very great future. There were, of course, concealed tensions. The tragedy of Nigeria is that it was ever formed. The British went around the world at one time hawking their unwanted federations - the West Indies, the Central African Federation and Nigeria - all of which have fallen to pieces. Lord Lugard drew a line around the Niger basin and said: ‘This is Nigeria’, and into this net were drawn the Hausa and Fulani peoples from the north and the lbos and Yorubas from the eastern and western regions, just as Leopold of Belgium drew a line around the Congo basin and all sorts of diverse tribes were united under an imperial crown.
We may take this as a warning for Papua and New Guinea. The statement that Mr Paul Lapun has moved in the House of Assembly for the ultimate association of Bougainville and the British Solomons may remind us that a compact between Bismarck and the British Foreign Secretary back in the 1880s may not stick when the independence of Papua and New Guinea is finally achieved. A lot of these things, as well as questions of justice, need looking at before we unify people who do no: desire to be unified. I am nol prejudging the situation in Papua and New Guinea, however.
We have a horrible feeling that the institutions with which we are associated are becoming quite incredible. The British Commonwealth of Nations has no moral force in my mind if I know for a certainty in my heart that next January there will be a Prime Ministers’ Conference to which Milton Obote of Uganda and Gowon, the military Prime Minister of Nigeria, will toddle along to discuss the constitutional actions of Smith and that they will be seriously listened to, when everybody knows that whatever menace Smith represents he is not carrying out genocide - that he is not exterminating people.
When I was in Nigeria I used to listen to the Nigerian radio. It was a curious experience to have come from the north of Nigeria which has a Moslem culture and to hear the Nigerian radio attacking the central doctrines of Christianity. The tragedy of Nigeria was that in the north only 2% had education, but where the missionaries were about 70% had education. In the north the people had the right attitude toward a Federal member. The Federal members were often emirs and descendants of the prophets and when their constituents came to visit them those constituents prostrated themselves on the ground. When Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa visited the Sardauna of Sokoto, the Premier of the nothern region, he did the same thing. This has meant an absolute unity, a military unity, in the north of Nigeria. There was no doubt in my mind that there was a fear in Lagos, especially among the highly influential market women of Lagos, that the northern attitude to women, where women have no vote and are chattels, would be extended to them in an expansion of Moslem power. We get very stirred up about Communist atrocities. I think we should get stirred up about anybody’s atrocities, but an atrocity is wrong because it is an atrocity; it is not wrong merely because a Communist did it. We need to face the fact that in the modern world there is an Islamic fanaticism which is very often not convenient for us to discuss - ‘the appalling fanaticism of Indonesian pogroms against Chinese; the fanaticism of Northern Nigerian pogroms against lbos; and Cairo Radio with its demands for the extermination of every man, woman and child in Israel, an action which,-, however, is within the Moslem faith with Egypt in the Yemen. As well there are the. .events in the Sudan, about which the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) reminded us.
In the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 9th September this year appeared an account of the situation in Nigeria. It reads:
The International Red Cross representative, Heinrich Jaggi of Switzerland, has been charting the death spiral for months now, his organisation in Geneva seemingly powerless to help him stop it. lt started two months ago with about 300 deaths a day, then gradually grew to 6,000 a day - 42,000 a week - in July, and now has escalated to the point that not even Jaggi knows how far the curve has advanced.
Death through starvation is one consequence of war. When we were in Nigeria it was frankly said by figures in the Nigerian Government that they were keeping expatriate generals in command of the Nigerian Army because they knew very well that once their colonels were promoted to generals and had power over the Army, there would be a coup. But, notwithstanding their recognition of this fact, in 1962 they got rid of their expatriate generals and they got their coup. As a result we now have the situation that exists in Nigeria. One can read in the ‘Africa Survey’ and the ‘African News Digest’ in our Library of the deliberate skinning of people alive with broken bottles. The honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) has on the notice paper question 697 in which he characterises His Holiness the Pope as a smuggler, presumably because of his activities in sending food to Biafra. I do not suggest that the honourable member so describes the Pope in any derogatory sense. I do not have any doubt that the thing that galvanised Paul VI into action was the episode in which 600 people in a church were surrounded and all the men killed, all the women raped, and the children impaled on a picket fence. But all this will not stop Gowon from raising issues of Rhodesia at the next Prime Ministers’ Conference. Frankly, if this sort of thing goes on - the things in Uganda and the things in Nigeria - and these men go to the Prime Ministers’ Conference, I think the British Commonwealth of Nations would be a very good thing not to be associated with.
We must recognise that Gowon has been sensitive to moral condemnation. I think that if at the United Nations some of the scathing things were said about his Government which deserve to be said about it, there would be an effect on his actions. When the skinning alive with broken bottles episode became international currency Gowon was forced to say something. He - began with some faint noises to the effect that he could scarcely believe that his troops, liberating an area, would do such a thing. He moved to some kind of disciplinary action. The Nigerians have gone to great pains to show on television disciplinary action being taken in the execution of an officer who carried out some atrocities in the area.
We are playing internationally a game of expediency. If this is necessary, let us cry off all moral attitudes on everything. If it is necessary for us to be dumb when Cairo Radio makes its demands for the extermination of men, women and children in Israel, and we pretend that this is not a danger to peace, although it built up finally to a crisis, why worry to pretend that we have any moral basis in our action in other situations in the world? Australia has a very good record in certain situations. lt has a very good record in many situations in South East Asia. I appreciate the Government’s tightrope walking throughout the period of confrontation. I think Australian diplomats might be regarded as having performed some kind of minor miracle when, in the days of Sukarno, the Australian Embassy remained unburned. The American and British Embassies were burned, and it remains a diplomatic miracle that although we were in confrontation with Indonesia, some kind of first-class relationship was always kept open. Earlier, Australian action did help the people of Malaysia to decide their future, uncoerced by any form of terrorism. Such action within our region is effective Australian action but the moment we get into these international associations there is too great a tendency to go along. 1 think we are simply going along with the British Government over the question of Nigeria. 1 do not think the British Government can face the fact that its Nigerian Federation was an unmitigated disaster for the people within it, having regard to the way things have worked out. There is an obstinate tendency, come wind come weather, to follow the logic of providing arms to what the British recognise as the legitimate Government of Nigeria, regardless of what that Government does with them, while at the same time not providing arms to what the British themselves regard as the legitimate Government of South Africa, which at the moment does not appear to be doing anything with arms except normally to accumulate them for defence. I am not pro-South Africa’s racial policies or pro-Rhodesia’s racial policies. 1 am not pro-anything. All I say is that internationally we are being manoeuvred into selective indignation, where comparatively minor or at least not irretrievable disasters, such as Rhodesia’s racial policy, which is killing nobody, become a source of great indignation while we go along with things that are irretrievable disasters, such as the extermination of the Ibo people, because such action on our part obliges what Mr Wilson wants or obliges the traditional association in Prime Ministers Conferences. Sooner or later we must come back to a morally credible stand in the United Nations and in the Commonwealth of Nations.
– I find myself in some agreement with the statement by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) that the United Nations has become an instrument the views of which are biased in many directions. The honourable member cited many examples to prove his point and I can only agree with him. We can go a stage further and say, as I believe to be true, that double standards have applied - double measurements giving a completely illogical and unusual set of circumstances which not only members of this Parliament but people outside must find extremely difficult to understand. Later I will touch on this point again because in the brief time available to me I would like to refer to the position of Rhodesia and in so doing discuss the United Nations and, as well, try to define whether this association of nations - 150 or more in the world - is of value or of use to the world on the one hand and to Australia on the other.
In passing I unhesitatingly say that in my judgment the United Nations is an extremely valuable association of nations from several points of view. Firstly h is. as the League of Nations was before it. at least a common meeting ground for the vastly divergent views and interests of nations. All nations have their own problems and viewpoints. What better method can one find than to enable them to meet within the United Nations building in New York to discuss their problems, to take some heat out of the situation, and. for better or for worse, to make recommendations, mandatory or otherwise, to aid the security of the world? On balance, taking all the examples of errors and of judgments that were in our eyes bad, 1 maintain that the United Nations has been a substantial help in many instances of discord in the world since the Second World War. However, it seems right that we should touch on the matter of Rhodesia, which has been brought to much wider prominence by Russia’s action in invading, if that is the right word, countries around it - Hungary in the past and Czechoslovakia more recently.
Let us clear the air on this matter pf Rhodesia. Personally, I feel that the United Kingdom was quite wrong .in taking this problem to the United Nations. That is merely a personal judgment, but in my view the United Kingdom acted incorrectly. It can well be said, as the honourable member for Fremantle has suggested, that the United Nations was wrong in regarding the position in Rhodesia as a threat to world peace. I would agree with this suggestion. That Rhodesia is a threat to world peace is, I think, open to very grave doubt. My personal judgment is that the Wilson Government in the United Kingdom handled the problem very badly. The facts of the matter as I know them are that the principals parted company after their last meeting on HMS ‘Tiger’. They parted company on what issue? As I understand the position, they parted company because Mr Smith of Southern Rhodesia would not agree to make a statement avowing bis intention to allow majority rule within Southern Rhodesia in due and planned course.
I do not think that many members of the Parliament would disagree with the concept in this age and day - it is contrary to the concept of 20 years ago - that the United Kingdom has every right as a mother nation, if I may refer to it in that way, to give independence to one of its colonies when it believes that the time is right to do so and that the people in the colony have a sufficient degree of responsibility to accept independence. . In addition, the United Kingdom should be able to state the conditions for independence that it feels are right and proper. I am thinking here of a constitution that allows for majority rule eventually. My understanding of the position is that Mr Smith and Mr Wilson parted company on the issue of stating a clear and planned intention to incorporate the principle of majority rule in the constitution of that nation.
In some ways I suppose we become prejudiced, perhaps because we have friends in Rhodesia or perhaps because we have been there and have seen the good job that the white people have done for many generations in developing the land. But nothing can detract from the view that in this age we would be quite stupid to ignore the pressures in the continent of Africa, in South East Asia and in other areas for a national entity. The people in these countries have their own feeling of nationalism and their own ethos. As I judge the situation, this is the central argument. I have listened for some time to some of my colleagues expound on what I regard as fringe arguments. They are serious fringe arguments and cannot be dismissed lightly. But to me a fringe argument is that, once a mother nation has given independence to her colony, we, as members of the Australian Parliament, should interest ourselves in what occurs next. I agree that the Belgian Congo was a frightening example of what can happen when independence is given under bad conditions. There are many basic reasons for this, but there is not time now to debate them fully. However, by the same token, I consider that it is quite right and proper for independence to be given to countries once sufficient pressure has built up to ensure that their democratic rights are preserved and it can be seen that the people will have an entity as an individual nation. The pressure for this right is much stronger in the world today than are many of the ‘isms’. Nationalism, as I see it, is a much more real pressure in the world today in the hearts and minds of people than is Communism.
Perhaps 1 could pick up the point by saying that once independence is granted I would not expect conditions in the country always to be as we would wish them. We can readily think of many nations that have been given independence, some by Great Britain, in which the transition to independence has frankly been very bad. Sometimes there has been political instability; sometimes economic development has been very bad. But I say again that this is the business of those nations. The pressures that are present in those nations today, regardless of tribalism and factionalism, are real pressures and I think this Government is quite correct in taking the view that for one reason or another it should play along with the Security Council resolution. To do other than this would be quite incorrect. We cannot be associated in this age with any suggestion of supporting white minority rule. That is the first point.
My second point arises if we carry this argument further. I am afraid I cannot compete with many of my colleagues when it comes to travel through Africa, but the country in Africa that I do know is Kenya. What better example of the point 1 am making is there than Kenya? In Kenya we have the antithesis of the position in Rhodesia. Kenya has a racial society that embraces three nationalities. The people in the majority hold power in that they form the government and control the civil service. Nobody would say that the white settlers in Nairobi, or in Kenya generally, have other than praise for Kenyatta, a man who lives for majority rule in the nation of Kenya. They have praise for him on the one hand, but on the other hand they are realists. They say to their children: ‘We have made enough money in this nation to send you to universities in Australia. Go there, finish your education and find your life there or in some other country. We are happy here and we will see out our days here. We know that we cannot expect to retain our blocks of 2,000 acres or so in Kenya for a very long term.’ To me this attitude is real. 1 hope 1 am not being starry-eyed. When Kenyatta goes there may be’ trouble; but we cannot anticipate this. We cannot say that it will happen. That nation and many nations in Africa will go through their teething problems. They will go through periods when the are not democratic, in the sense that we understand the word. But to my mind this does not alter the central point and lh-. hinge of these arguments and that is that we. as a nation, cannot in the year 1 968 become associated, even by implication, with the propping up of a minority government because it happens to be white.
– You do if it happens to be black.
– No, that is wrong. Does Kenya have a majority government or a minority government?
– What abou! Nigeria?
– Nigeria looked like being one of the success stories of the grant of independence to an African nation, but regrettably it was not. It has fallen apart and probably this will happen with other nations from time to time. But in my opinion that does not alter the principal argument - that we must make a moral decision somewhere along the line.
– Make it a consistent line.
– Consistent from whose point of view? ls the honourable member for Bowman a member of Parliament for Rhodesia or for Australia? We have to arrive at our own point of view. We are members of the Australian Parliament, and I hope that we have the interests of this nation at heart. This must always be a strong implication in any decision that this Government makes. All I am saying is that I am quite convinced in my own mind that the Government, whether by implication or by direct action, has made proper decisions in the interests of Australia. With very, very minor qualifications, I am happy to go along entirely with that policy.
I would like to join with the honourable member for Fremantle in pointing out to the House something about which I find myself in complete agreement with him. I am referring to the juggling act. as it was termed by the honourable member, that has been performed by members of the Australian diplomatic corps - the officers of our Department of External Affairs - in Indonesia in recent years. The success of our policy in Indonesia was due to our not telling people what to do. It was not a policy of giving aid with tags attached. It was a policy bused on an understanding of that nation and a realisation of the national problems and national aspirations of the people. Very great credit indeed is due to all officers of the Department. Some of the best officers we have were in Indonesia at that time. Some were brilliant. I will not discriminate by mentioning them by name, but 1 think they were very good at their job. But how do we account for the rest of the exercise? The rest of the exercise, which involves diplomatic and foreign policy, must roughly follow a straight line. It cannot dart from one direction to another according to circumstances that arise.. The policy of the Australian Government on the issue of confrontation was second to that of no o.her nation at that time. Indeed, it was of very great credit to all concerned.
– -In my outlook on life I am an optimist. 1 have faith in mankind. I think we have some hope of progressing in the world. I have been an activist in the world peace movement. I have tried to have some tolerance and understanding of, and interest in, people and ideological matters. I have even found myself in agreement from time to time with honourable members of the Government side of the House. However, in the last few months great difficulties have been confronting the world. Fanaticism has risen in regard to certain issues and men cannot or will not see the other side of the story. For instance, there is fanaticism in Nigeria and Biafra. Fanaticism continues year after year with the result that no progress is being made in the dispute between Pakistan and India. Problems of fanaticism seem to exist in the Middle East, where there is the trouble between Israel and the Arab nations. We saw examples of the brutality and cruel intervention of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Czechoslovakia. We saw the human massacre - one might call it a holy war - of certain religious fanatics in Indonesia where certain people described as Communists were killed. We know that not only were Communists massacred in Indonesia but that people of the Nationalist Party, which is similar in character to the Australian Labor Party, were killed also. There is also a continuing example of brutality on the part of the most powerful nation in the world - the United States of America - which, because of face, continues lo bomb one of the smallest and weakest nations - a nation which is barely out of the stage of having a peasant economy. lt is because of- these things that I believe that we in Australia should be speaking more strongly, more morally and more openly in the international forums. We should be saying that we abhor war, that we abhor brutality, that we abhor thuggery and that we abhor fanaticism. We should be concerned with people. We should be concerned with those people who are worried about their freedoms, their liberties, and their right to live. Wherever we can we should raise our voices against fanaticism in an endeavour to bring tolerance and understanding into relationships between nations. We should do this even if we have to break diplomatic channels or break our ties with fellow Commonwealth countries and even if we are accused of interfering in what are called internal affairs, such as in Biafra. We should not wait to send food to that country in ships. We should fly that food in by aircraft. We have Hercules aircraft available and we should be using them.
During question time today the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) said that it was difficult for us to send food to Biafra other than by ship. Yet we can fly tanks and transport trucks in these aircraft. Why cannot we fly food? We should be flying food to that country in an effort to help the Biafran people. We should break any socalled rules of protocol. We should act. The honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) read a statement about what was happening in Biafra. The events were reported in an article in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on 9th September written by Lloyd Garrison. He was expressing the words of the Switzerland representative of the International Red Cross, Heinrich Jaggi, who has been charting the death spiral. He said it started about 2 months ago with about 300 deaths a day. then gradually grew to 6,000 a day in July, or 42,000 a week, and that it has now escalated to the point where not even Jaggi knows how far the curve has advanced. This is what is happening in Biafra. We know it is hap?pening. We know that women, children and even babies are dying of malnutrition and that others will be retarded for life. Yet the Government says that it can only send food by sea. We should be doing more. We should send it by air in our Hercules aircraft instead of using them for war. We should send food by air in those aircraft in order to help these impoverished people.
There are many problems, as I have said, throughout the world. The real issue is peace. However, there is continuing aggression in Vietnam and the cold war has opened up again as a result of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the forces of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries. We know that this invasion of Czechoslovakia could start another arms race. We know already that the United States of America is pressuring its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to spend more money on arms and to increase their military forces. Australia has condemned the stupid action of the Soviet Union. Forces were emerging in the Soviet Union that were trying to bring some sanity to world affairs. However it seems that even there in the Soviet Union there is this hard line, dogmatic militaristic group that is much feared.
– What do you mean by the words ‘even there*?
– Of course! Those forces are there as they are in the Pentagon. Militarists and dogmatists should be criticised whereever they are. They should be restrained. My own view is that this bard line, dogmatic, militaristic group is on lop in the Soviet Union. If we analyse their case, we see that it is over-magnified. We know that never since the Berlin airlift has the defence of West Germany and and western Europe been so weak militarily. We know that West Germany and Japan have been getting defence on the cheap. That is one of the main reasons why they have become two of the greatest economic powers in the world today. We know that the United States of America has been withdrawing its NATO forces from Europe to use them in Vietnam. Also, we know that for economic reasons italy and Britain have been forced to reduce their NATO forces. France has withdrawn altogether from NATO. The Soviet Union knows this. Yet it continues this action, this irrationalism and magnification of fear of its opponents. The Soviet Union, by rolling its armies into Czechoslovakia, has stirred the bucket of the warmongers. To meet this aggression, the answer by the warmongers is a call1 for more arms. Therefore, 1 condemn this Soviet action.
On the other hand I do not condemn all the leaders of the Soviet Union, because I believe we must strive for sanity and rationalism. Even though the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations took the action they did in Czechoslovakia, there are people in those nations who believe what they have talked about in the last decade. These people believe that the Soviet Union should live in peaceful coexistence and follow a policy of detente. This is what we must strive for. We must try to be rational. I was in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union last July and many of the things that I saw gave indication of progress. In fact, I was heartened by the moves that were taking place in Czechoslovakia. There was every indication that freedom was growing there and that the people were prepared to look at their past. Of course, one might say that one of the weaknesses of the Soviet Union is that it is not yet prepared to look at its past. It has not been prepared to examine deeply ils mistakes and the crimes that took place in the time of Stalin, Malenkov and Beria. Even Khrushchev, under whose control the Soviet Union advanced, is referred to as a funny little man. The people of the Soviet Union do not objectively look at what he did outside his country. They do not appreciate his efforts at the international level in breaking down the barriers of hate and fear between the East and West. Unless the Soviet Union is prepared to examine its past deeply and not sweep it under the carpet, and unless these past events are examined in schools, in universities and throughout the nation, this barrier to progress will remain. But this is the negative side. On the positive side there were forces that were honestly prepared to discuss problems openly. 1 feel despondent in some respects, though, as 1 said earlier. I am an optimist.
In the few minutes available to me, I have to jump from one point to another. What is the Australian position in regard to external affairs? What positive progress have we made? In fact, we have supported the brutality and the dogmatism of the United States by the participation of our forces in Vietnam. The Government says: ‘We will not stop the bombing until there is reciprocity’. Of course, we know the chauvinistic and jingoistic language of the Government. This can be seen in the pamphlets that were issued for the last election. The Government said: ‘Where do you draw the line against Communist aggression in South East Asia? Do you draw the line against Communist aggression in Vietnam now or do you wait until the Red advance has reached our shores?’ That was the jingoistic policy of the Government in the last election campaign. What has happened now? I quote from an official document published in the issue of ‘Incentive’ dated 13th May. The article comments on the Liberal Party’s attitude to the Vietnam policy, and states:
On 3rd May 1968, the Staff Planning Committee of the Liberal Party made the following submission to the Federal Executive on the Government’s Vietnam policy, indicating serious concern in the Liberal Party on this question.
The document also states:
That experience reminds ns that preconditioning campaigns can’t start too early, particularly when we look at the election timetable.
We would welcome early agreement and guidance on a broad campaign approach.
Without this, we cannot as the organisation plan for instance a literature campaign, as we could well before the 1963 and 1966 elections.
This is what the Liberal Party said. These are the fear mongers. They are the people who are trying to build up this hysteria and fear. The document went on to state:
As we see it:
After Vietnam, the American people will increasingly oppose United States military intervention in Asia unless the security of the United States is directly threatened.
The British retreat from Singapore appears final and rules out anything but token British participation in any South East Asian conflicts.
It would be unreal to assume that the United States in a mood of disillusionment about helping small nations in South East Asia, will accept strategic responsibilities in the Indian Ocean.
Thus Australia finds herself in an area from which Britain has absolutely retired and in which the United States will obviously make new assessments.
It would seem that, whatever the Vietnam situation may be, external security in a larger and perhaps more worrying context could be the key issue at the next election.
The Government now finds itself faced with this issue. Will it now bring forward more jingoistic issues or will it join with the Australian Labor Party to work for rationalism, sanity and tolerance? Will it condemn hysteria, hate and fear, whether in Australia or overseas?I ask the Government now to work unitedly to bring tolerance, understanding and peace not only among the people of Australia but among peoples of nations throughout the world.
– I was interested to hear the closing remarks of the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). In fact, I think there are few countries which have shown more tolerance and understanding in a very difficult world than has Australia. I would like to congratulate the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) on his very fine direction of his Ministry. I think Australia’s high standing in the world today is due in no small measure to him. One of the examples which I am sure the Minister would wish to quote with pride was the continued forbearance and tolerance that were shown when the Indonesian confrontation was at its height and Australia was abused and our people and our interests were scorned, mishandled and maltreated. Throughout, despite criticism, the Minister steadfastly continued to provide aid of a non-military nature to
Indonesia. As a result, the relations between this country and Indonesia are now very good indeed.
I do not want to canvass the problem of Rhodesia at length, but I would like to say that here arises my one point of difference with the Minister. I believe that the timing of the application of sanctions against Rhodesia, coinciding as it did with the frightful happenings in Czechoslovakia, was unfortunate. But 1 understand the situation and I can appreciate the pressures that were applied by Britain and many other countries that are members of the United Nations. A person in a position of responsibility must find himself in a very grave dilemma when deciding what should be done. But are these pressures sufficient? That is a difficult question to answer.
AsI said earlier, I will not canvass this problem at length asI have other matters to deal with. But I would like to say that I know consideration was given to the welfare of the country as a whole.I sympathise with Rhodesia. But I wonder if these are sufficient reasons. Has the time come for a country to be objective and to adopt a single standard of justice in international dealings? Could we not with advantage show the lead to the rest of the world?
I am sure that such a move would be beneficial. There might be some slight risk to the country but I feel that the risk would be more apparent than real. Despite the various committees, despite the United Nations and despite the League of Nations before it, the same motives govern international relationships now as when people lived in caves and wielded clubs. We have not grown in stature one iota since that time. Power is the only determining factor. Admittedly, this may have been masked for a few years. It may have been thought that people were becoming more rational, but obviously the events of the last few weeks have shown that this was Just an illusion. Nevertheless, some country must endeavour to give a lead in this matter. Why not Australia? We have a very fine record and we are held in respect throughout the world.
I do not but agree with some of the basic points mentioned by the honourable member for Reid. He said that we should be speaking more morally in the councils of the world. He also mentioned that he had faith in mankind. I do not think it is a matter of having faith in mankind. This is an irrelevancy. We all know that the simple and humble people of the world want only to live in peace and safety and to have a certain security, economic as well as physical. But these are not the people that we are dealing with. We are dealing with their rulers, lt is a psychological fact, especially in underdeveloped countries, that very often people who rise to power do so because of defects in their personalities. It seems that these people, to feel more secure in themselves, seek power as a form of selfjustification. Of course, these people are the worst equipped to use power. They always misuse it. This is probably more evident today than at any time in the history of the world.
This is despite the fact that we have the United Nations, which is an organisation that began with a fine flourish and with high hopes. People said: ‘Here we have a chance at last in this enlightened 20th century to secure peace for ourselves. Here we will have a real parliament of the world and in this way perhaps people will learn to communicate more readily with one another, to understand each other better and to mitigate international tensions, perhaps eventually eliminating war from the world.’ Yet today, such a short time after the inaugeration of the United Nations, the situation is far worse. Far from solving any problems of peace, war and international relations, this organisation aggravates the situation. I am afraid that this body is a blot on humanity. It gives a platform to demagogues, to irresponsibles. to mischief makers and to power seekers. In fact, the right of veto in the Security Council makes the strong countries stronger.
We must look at these situations objectively as they are and not as we would like them to be. The United Nations as it exists and as it functions aggravates international tensions instead of mitigating them. I believe it is time that someone was frank and faced up to the problem that will probably plunge the world into a situation far worse than any we have seen before. I think I have justification in saying that. A look at the world situation today will show that there has been no amelioration of the problems of the United Nations.
Look at the bare-faced criminal aggression which has occurred since the instigation of the United Nations. Hungary was invaded. Probably one of the worst examples v. as Tibet. Here China, on the flimsiest pretext of a historical nature, entered the independent country of Tibet and, not content merely to substitute its own form of government and to oppress the people, it systematically set out to destroy them. Tibet is not the only country where such a thing has happened. Genocide is going on in the Sudan today. Why do we not discuss the situation in the Sudan? Why are people so quiet about it? The Moslem Arab peoples of the north are brutally oppressing the negroid and Ethiopian peoples of the south who are Christians. Thousands upon thousands are being slaughtered at the present time.
The honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) mentioned ‘hat the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation to Uganda was not permitted to see the refugee camps. That is quite correct. I think the reason for this was that the Uganda Government is not capable of conducting these camps in such a way that it would be proud to let people see them. I spoke to refugees from the Sudan and there is no doubt that these people are suffering greatly at the very moment.
What does the United Nations do about it? Nothing. It does not take one bit of interest. And why not? Because nowadays it is the policy of most of the delegates to the United Nations to concentrate on furthering the cause of the Communist left and ignoring its deficiencies while highlighting any peccadillos on the part of the West. Naturally, in international relationships things happen that people would not in calmness and objectivity be pleased with but undoubtedly restrictions are imposed upon the West because pf the Christian ethics inherent in the philosophies of its people. There are no such inhibitions on Communist countries. They have successfully managed the affairs of the United Nations so that not one word is heard of the terrible things going on in the world today. The attempt at freedom by the East German people was crushed and no voice was raised. Now Czechoslovakia has again been crushed and the secret police have been brought into that country. I think that we should bear in mind the full significance of the activities of the Russian secret police. Now that Czechoslovakia is a Soviet satellite they will stamp out all liberalism and freedom very rapidly and brutally, albeit secretly.
What did the United Nations do when the situation became very strained between the Arab countries and Israel? It gave in to U Thant. We must remember where U Thant stands. He comes from Burma, a country threatened by Communist China. Communist China is at this very moment instigating revolt and rebellion for its own purposes in Burma. Naturally this man cannot be objective about these matters. He gave in to the request of a Communist oriented country to have a peace keeping force removed so that it could have an open slather. Fortunately the country concerned got its desserts. But now we find that the situation is boiling up again. In fact, we look in vain for any really successful efforts on the part of the United Nations to do anything worthwhile in this world of ours today. As I say, by virtue of the fact that respectability and publicity is given by the untrained, irresponsible and mischievous people who form quite a considerable part of the General Assembly and some of the Security Council of this organisation, the United Nations is now a world menace. The sooner we see it in this light the better.
I quite agree that very many valuable contributions are made by the United Nations in its other aspects - for example, the World Health Organisation, perhaps the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and many other fields including the multi-lateral aid organised by the United Nations. But these organisations are relatively inefficient. Admittedly, world bodies of this type are needed; but as they are organised now they are organs for politics and are inefficient. When we contribute our funds to the United Nations - they amounted to the best part of $8m last year - I question whether this money is being spent in the best possible way, especially when we see aggressive countries such as Russia and China, these enemies of humanity, they being the ordinary people of this world, not paying lc towards peace keeping operations organised by the United
Nations, with the result that the United Nations is insolvent. The organisation is in debt. There is no possibility of it getting out of debt unless the subscriptions of the various countries are increased. I for one would very strongly oppose Australia’s paying to the United Nations one farthing more than it is al the present time until we see some real evidence of goodwill, some real evidence of objectivity and a real willingness by people to discuss the problems of this world with justice and a single standard, and some sign that we are not a lot of animals fighting at one another’s throat.
-We have had it on the authority of the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) that the Government’s ignorance of events in Africa is as colossal as Mount Everest. The honourable member has attempted to correct this overnight by adding ten pages to the notice paper.
– If we answered all those, we would not be ignorant.
– I think that might be the idea of the honourable member for Moreton. On the question of Biafra we are an ill informed Parliament. Most of the information I have been able to gather on Biafra has been given in a few newspapers such as the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. This is the type of subject on which we are entitled to have a ministerial statement - not necessarily of ten pages - setting out some of the facts. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) will make a statement at the conclusion of this debate. Many other speakers have touched on the horrible events that have been going on in Biafra. As long as 2 years ago 30,000 of these Biafran people were slaughtered but nobody did very much about it.
In our external affairs policy we have developed the indolent habit of waiting for something to happen, to develop and to fulminate to a point where there is a public outcry, and then we say that it is too late to act. The only reason why it can be too late is that our Department of External Affairs is not as well informed as is the public that makes the outcry. I cannot accept that this is due to inefficiency on the part of the officers of the Department of External Affairs, of whom we have heard such glowing reports. It could be because of the limited resources of a small country, but I do not think this excuse can be used in the case of the massacres in Indonesia. I do not think it can really be raised in the case of Biafra because we surely have the goodwill and co-operation of the United Kingdom Government. The United Kingdom Government is as well informed as is any other European government, or perhaps any government in the world, on events in Biafra and Nigeria.
Honourable members here have stated that we should be airlifting food to Biafra. If we can send tanks away in planes, we can send food. If there is a problem of transport, there is always the parachute. We pride ourselves on our precision bombing. A question was asked today as to what would be a useful application of the Fill. In line with the habits which have grown up at question time, the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) turned this info a facetious question and gave no material answer. 1 would suggest that if all the things we have heard about the Fill planes are correct surely they are the ideal means of delivering flourbags and of pinpointing exactly where- you wish to drop them, whether or not you have mules to take the flour the extra distance. Of course, we might lose a plane, lt is a bit expensive to be using an Fill for a practical project. We must save it up for. something where we will do a lot of damage! Perhaps we will have to get some atom bombs to make the plane really worthwhile. We managed an airlift when Berlin was blockaded. We operated in impossible conditions of fog and had to cope with the interference and buzzing of other planes; yet we cannot get through to Biafra. The Pope can. Of course, he has a more efficient air force.
– He has angels as well.
– The Pope has something more than the greatest thing with wings since angels. Many other matters about Africa have been raised in the questions that have been put on the notice paper by the honourable member for Moreton. I will just touch on the Rhodesian question. The honourable member has mentioned in his questions that wc have not observed the protocol of international law in debates on
Rhodesia at the United Nations or in our public stand on the issues which were debated at the United Nations. This is a very notable and worthy interest in international law: and I have had cause earlier in this chamber to commend the honourable member for Moreton for raising this particular issue in relation to United Nations decisions on Rhodesia. As I pointed out to him during an adjournment debate in the last session, if he is to be consistent - I note that the friends of Rhodesia in this House are plugging at the point that we must be consistent in our international law - he should have placed a few pages of questions on the notice paper, even more than I have to date, about the legality of this Government’s actions and international policy in Vietnam. This subject he studiously avoids, just as do the Ministers, the Cabinet and the Government of this country. They will not come forward to give a legal justification for our stand in Vietnam. To give the Minister for External Affairs his due, 1 will say that he has promptly and thoroughly answered all the questions that are outstanding on the notice paper - up to yesterday, anyway - which I have put to him. Another Minister has not answered a question which I placed on the notice paper on 26th March. It refers to the matter which the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) raised, that is, the teaching of Asian languages in Australia. Apparently the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcom Fraser) does not consider that the question deserves a prompt reply.
– Did you ask him questions about the legality of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam?
– I did not ask that of the Minister for Education and Science. The Minister for External Affairs has been prompt and thorough in his replies to questions I have put to him on our involvement in Vietnam.
– He is a capable Minister.
– He is capable but in error. The point to which J object in his answers is that nowhere has he acknowledged the responsibility of this country to submit an international dispute to international arbitration. I am not very particular as’ to which international arbitration he chooses. For example, he may submit it, quire legitimately, to the International Control Commission on Vietnam or to some organ of the United Nations or to ths International Court of Justice. But this step has been studiously avoided by Australia and her allies in the Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos situations. lt is high time that we took the advice of the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) in matters in which we are directly involved. We are committing men and money at an unconscionable rate in a conflict of which increasing number of Australians and Americans are beginning to doubt not only the legality and morality but also the economic justification. It is not only a question of whether we should be there. It is also a question of what methods we are using to achieve our aims. A number of documents with which I have no doubt honourable members opposite are familiar have thrown this matter in doubt. Honourable members have only to refer to the publication entitled ‘Current Information Service’ which is published by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library and which they received in the last month or two. A few items in this publication bear on this question. There is an article on the Philippines, which is one of our Vietnam allies. lt refers to another article in the ‘Bulletin’ which states:
The Philippines still shows signs of being psychologically a colony; it has little self-identity, and thus indistinct and nebulous relations with other Asian nations. ‘Democratic politics in the Philippines serve to divert the nation rather than to direct it.’
This is typical of our allies. In fact, it is typical of Australia’s foreign policy. We are psychologically a colony, just as the Philippines is a colony. The publication refers to an article on United States foreign relations in Laos, which appeared in the ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’, lt states:
A French journalist reports that the US would find it difficult to justify the devastation its bombers have brought to the Pathet Lao-held territory in Laos, even if claims that ‘40,000 North Vietnamese’ are operating in the area are true.
An extract from the ‘Economist’ states:
Guesses as to the numbers of North Vietnamese Infiltrators into South Vietnam “are getting to be a bad joke.’ General Westmoreland said 15,000 in May, Mr Clifford, 20,000 a month from June to August. President Johnson 30,000 in July. Other war statistics are equally curious, and so not too much can be read into them.
The question which I put on the notice paper yesterday emphasises that point. Another article in the Library’s publication states:
The North Vietnamese are intensifying their aerial combat capabilities and military supply effort, and extending their ground control intercept network in hope for quick victory. They are using the bombing pause to replenish their MIG jet fighter force, to complete a major new air base, for road buildings, and expanding Haiphong port facilities.
In other words, we do not know the facts and the Government is reluctant to give them to us. I sincerely hope that in reply to the question I put on the notice paper the Minister will think twice about this policy of the suppression of truth from the Australian people.
– You certainly do not know the facts.
– If I do not know the facts it is of no credit to this Government and it is of no credit, to the honourable member for Barton who is interjecting. 1 want to condemn not only the Government’s failure to sponsor or to support initiative within the Commonwealth to end the genocide by warfare and starvation in Nigeria, but also its lack of interest in events which have not reached this acute stage of public awareness, lt is time that we became active in nipping these things in the bud - in doing something about them in advance. A lot of money is nol needed for this purpose. Dr Evatt showed that this is so. He did more perhaps than any single man in his time to turn the United Nations and the nations of the world towards humanity and towards the sort of justice which the honourable member for Moreton wants.
The honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) suggested that we want a parliament of man and a federation of the world. I agree with this. He also referred to Communist chaos in Africa, to South African teams being barred from the Olympics and to sportsmen being barred from Great Britain and Australia because they came from Rhodesia. I agree with him that the United Nations has been severe in some of these things. It has not used judicial procedures. 1 agree that one should not bring politics into sport. But I cannot go along with him in the case of South Africa because it was South Africa which brought politics into sport. The people whom South Africa wants to send to the Olympics are not representative of the South African people. I think that the Olympic committee was quite within its rights in objecting to South Africa’s admission to the Olympic Games on the ground that South Africa had brought politics into sport.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 till 8 p.m.
– We have been debating the estimates for the Department of External Affairs for 1968-69. The total amount of these estimates as shown in the Appropriation Bill is $63,950,000. A perusal of pages 32, 33 and 34 of the Bill will give some idea of the vast range of administrative responsibilities and also of various other activities shown under the heading of ‘Other Services’, such as contributions to international organisations and assistance towards development of other countries and relief of hardship in those countries. I pay a tribute to the efficient and dedicated way in which the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) and his Department have carried out their arduous and exacting task over the past year. I believe that Australia is on the right road. I believe we have established a place for ourselves in the world. I believe that as a country we are measuring up to the responsibilities which we are expected to accept and which it is our duty to accept.
One of the most important things that we have to do is build up goodwill and friendly relations in our region of the world. I have been reading today the Annual Report of the Department of External Affairs covering the period from 1st July 1967 to 30th June 1968. I did not have time to study it in detail, but, for those who are interested, Australia’s expenditure on international aid is given in detail on pages 58 to 67 of the Report. There is also a comprehensive section entitled ‘Australia and the United Nations’ on pages 36 to 49. Time will not permit me to deal with this report in any detail, but I think we* can feel proud that Australia is playing such an important, significant role on the world scene.
Three days ago the Minister made a statement on the occasion of the fourteenth anniversary of the signing of the South East Collective Defence Treaty in Manilla on 8th September 1954. He said in the first paragraph of his statement:
In the 14 years which have gone by since that day, the circumstances of the individual SEATO members and the world in which we live have changed. So have the problems which SEATO has to face and the steps it can take. But the need remains to stand together to maintain security in South East Asia.
If I may presume to do so I should like heartily to endorse those comments by the Minister. We are playing our part not only in SEATO; we are playing our part in relation to the ANZUS Treaty which we generally regard as our best protection against any possible future aggressor.
As I understand it, foreign policy rests on two main bases. There is a short term basis and there is a long term basis. In the short term the policy must be flexible and, if necessary, changed from time to time, but it must keep within the general framework of the overall long term policy, which is one of winning friends - of building bridges of goodwill and better understanding between this and other countries, particularly those in our own part of the world.
I want to make a few remarks, which may be regarded as a bit harsh, about certain aspects of international affairs. Australia is a substantial contributor and a faithful annual contributor to the United Nations. I have with me a copy of the Charter of the United Nations. When one reads Article 1 one cannot help feeling that it is a wonderful Charter to support. I do think we are right in supporting the United Nations. I hope the time will come when those nations which are not supporting the Charter or carrying out the obligations imposed on them under the Charter will come around to doing so. Article 1 states:
The purposes of the United Nations are:
To maintain international peace and security and to that end-
It then goes on to ennumerate various ways for achieving this aim. Then it goes on:
I know very well that nothing can be expected to be perfect in an imperfect world. However, the United Nations itself declared 1968, this present year, to be International Human Rights Year, and one would have expected that leading member nations of the organisation would have respected this declaration and would have shown the way to smaller nations. Instead we have had the trampling down of the rights of millions of people in Czechoslovakia, despite which the United Nations Security Council did not carry any resolution denouncing the action of the Soviet Government and certain of its satellites under the Warsaw Pact. I know very well the reason for this and I think most other honourable members know it. The power of veto has been used ruthlessly by the Soviet Government almost from the time the United Nations came into being, and certainly in many notable world crises that I can recall. The United Nations has not been supported as it should have been by the Soviet Government, which has failed to honour its financial obligations under the Charter.
The United Nations could, by invoking Article 19 of its Charter, deprive the Soviet Government of a vote in the General Assembly. A few years ago, if I remember rightly, a whole session of the United Nations was taken up in arguing whether or not the voting rights of the Soviet should be withdrawn. Clearly the Soviet Government had infringed Article 19, which declares that a member nation which is 2 years in arrears with its financial contributions may be deprived of its vote. The Soviet Government was not deprived of its vote. I fear that this was an indication of weakness. It also highlighted and underlined the powerful influence that the Soviet Government exercises in the United Nations.
We live, unhappily, in a divided world. I for one can see no immediate prospect of any improvement in the position while the Soviet maintains its present attitude. In this Universal Human Rights Year it has flouted the United Nations Charter by its actions in Czechoslovakia and yet it is still allowed to carry on as a member of the United Nations. It has failed to make proper contributions to peace keeping operations in the Congo and elsewhere. I deplorethe Soviet Government’s refusal to honour its responsibilities to the United Nations, of which it is a principal member, a leading member, a foundation member, and in which it is one of the biggest powers represented on the Security Council. I regret having to say this but I feel that I must say it and put it on record as my view. By reason of the Soviet’s actions and the actions of its satellites a double standard of morality is applied today by the United Nations in relation to world affairs. This is not good enough, especially in this year of human rights. One would have expected in this particular year of all years that the Soviet would have done its best to demonstrate that it was seeking to achieve some form of co-operation - that it was seeking a better world in which to live - but unfortunately this has not been shown by the Soviet,
I have in my papers a record of a long list of international treaties and agreements that have been violated by the Soviet since 1917. Time does not permit me to quote them. I obtained them officially some years ago. The list is by no means exhaustive; it could be added to. A number of people in my electorate have asked me to say that they are unhappy about the double standard applied by the United Nations Security Council in relation to Czechoslovakia on the one hand - no resolution being carried against the Soviet and its satellites which supported the invasion of Czechoslovakia - and, on the otherhand, the carrying of a comprehensive resolution of economic sanctions against Rhodesia. I do not propose to go into the Rhodesian situation. I merely say what my constituents have asked me to say and to protest in this Parliament against the double standard of the United Nations.
It is significant that the North Vietnamese Government supported the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet. It is notable that the Communist parties in Australia and most other countries, if not all other countries with the exception of the Warsaw Pact countries immediately concerned, denounced the invasion of Czecholsovakia. I hope that nobody wifi be taken in by this attitude of the Communist parties in other countries. The Soviet is the most powerful Communist country. It has nuclear arms and it is a leading member in the United Nations. It is letting the world down badly and is setting a shockingly bad example. I am amazed that it has the impertinence to send to members of parliament copies of the ‘Soviet News Bulletin’, from which I shall quote one or two paragraphs, knowing the background and the long series of acts of perfidy committed by the Soviet and which culminated recently in the illegal invasion of Czechoslovakia. In the ‘Soviet News Bulletin’ of 23rd August 1968, under the heading ‘Why Did Allies Armed Forces Enter Czechoslovakia?’, the following passage appears:
Tt is generally known that the Party leaders and statesmen of’ the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic have asked the Soviet Union and other allied states to render the fraternal Czechoslovak people urgent assistance, including assistance with armed forces. This request came with the appearance of a threat to the Socialist system in the country.
What perfidy! What a disgraceful statement from a leading member of the United Nations and a member of the United Nations Security Council) In the ‘Soviet News Bulletin’ of 27th August 1968, under the heading ‘Pravda About Events in Czechoslovakia’, the following statement appeared:
Moscow, August 22 /TASS/ The historic decision of Czechoslovak Party leaders and statesmen to appeal to the USSR - and other allied states for help was prompted ‘by the danger of fratricidal struggle prepared by reaction in Czechoslovakia’, Pravda writes in a lengthy editorial occupying two pages and entitled Defence of Socialism is Supreme Internationalist Duty’.
It is a sorry day when the Soviet Government sees its duty to be the leader of a number of small countries in the invasion of another small country and to station in that country, against the will of its people, tanks, guns and soldiers designed to keep those people in subjection, just as the Soviet is keeping in subjection millions of people in other countries in eastern Europe. I pray for the day when light may dawn again in Europe and when the enslaved peoples in those captive countries will be free to enjoy God’s earth and the blessings of this life that they have been denied for so long.
– On this occasion I want to speak of the principle of moral concern for the rights of other nations. Recently this country and, indeed, most of the world had its moral conscience outraged by the clearly unjustifiable armed intrusion of Russia into the domestic affairs of Czechoslovakia. Nothing could be more clearly contrary to the established canons of international law than this act of international thuggery on the part of Russia. This chamber condemned that act, this nation condemned that act, and so too did most of the world. But in a moment of calmer counsel we may care to consider this question: If Russia’s armed subjection of the Czechs’ legitimate movement for liberalisation is sufficient cause for us to articulate vigorously our moral indignation at this imperialistic venture of enforced colonisation, then how much more are we justified in feeling upon our consciences the searing band of injustice perpetrated against the rights of men and their nations in other places in this distraught world? I suggest to honourable members that we should not be narrowly selective and mechanical in the expression of our concern on issues which involve moral judgments. We must be consistent, honest and personally concerned wherever we find that moral standards have been flouted, especially where discrimination, suffering or the death of our fellow man is a product of this flouting of moral law.
It is wrong for Russia to intrude into the domestic affairs of Czechoslovakia. We were’ right to criticise Russia for this. But what of armed intrusion into the domestic affairs of the Dominican Republic in 1965? Can we consistently argue that Russia was wrong in 1968 but that the United States of America was correct in 1965? There is a parallel, a close similarity, in the circumstances of these events. If it is argued that the United States was right in 1965 in allowing itself to become involved in the internal affairs of the Dominican Republic, why has not a similar moral response launched us into the internal affairs of South Africa where democracy exists under the policeman’s baton? Let me quote the findings of a five-man working group of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The report states:
For persons opposed to the policy of apartheid the Republic of South Africa is tending to become a vast prison house.
The report adds:
For opponents of apartheid, the apartheid laws and the treatment of political prisoners and detainees is turning or has turned the Republic of South Africa into a police state and the laws and methods in question increasingly resemble those adopted under Fascist regimes.
Where have we recently expressed moral concern about the development of this situation in South Africa? Where has this chamber officially declared its moral concern as a part of the national policy of this country? Consistently whenever something has been stated on this subject it has been stated in a rather wan form. Indeed, there are even apologists within this chamber - fortunately, not on this side of the chamber - for the sort of racist discriminatory policies that exist in South Africa. Why not involve ourselves in Rhodesia where slavery’s manacles fetter the freedom and rights of the black man, whose imposed role is that of the servile lackey to the white man. A report on Southern Rhodesia released recently by the United Nations states:
The 4,150,000 Africans of Southern Rhodesia are subjected to conditions of slavery within the definition of the term in the 1926 Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and Slave Trade, according to a report prepared by Manouchehr Ganji, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights.
We have people in this chamber who are becoming indignant because some forms of minor trade embargoes have been applied against Rhodesia. This is a very wan type of retribution to take against a country which is responsible for shocking discrimination against the coloured people of the country.
Let us hearken back to the principle of non-involvement in the domestic affairs of other countries. What is our position and what is the position of the United States in relation to Vietnam? Clearly we have become bogged down in a terrible conflict, and our involvement is demonstrably wrong in international law. The atrocious ferocity with which this war is waged does neither side honour. It does us most dishonour because of our illegal involvement in it and the scale of our commitment there. It is appalling to note that whilst the public can be outraged and disgusted as they are certainly entitled to be - I endorse their feelings in this regard - by atrocities committed by Vietcong troops and troops of the North Vietnamese regular elements, little concern is expressed in our community about atrocities from our side and by the people with whom we are connected. In the issue of ‘Newsweek’ of 25th December there is a reference to a United States marine cutting off as souvenirs the ears of a dead Vietcong. I was so incensed by this terrible form of behaviour that I sent a telegram to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) asking what action we could take in the matter. I. said that surely we would not be associated with this terrible form of atrocity. The reply which I received, signed by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) on behalf of the Prime Minister, stated:
The allegations to which you refer would, if the incidents occurred, be seriously regretted by the American authorities who are known lo act promptly to ensure that the behaviour of their forces is in accordance with the highest international standards.
I do not doubt for a moment that the American authorities would be as upset about this incident as I am or as anybody else would be, but there are too many incidences of this sort of atrocity being committed by elements with which we are associated in the war in Vietnam. If we are concerned about moral principle and moral values and if we are concerned about what has happened in Czechoslovakia - we dashed well should be concerned - so too should we be concerned about the enormity of the atrocities which are occurring in Vietnam and with which we, unfortunately, are being associated. All we have on the Government side are apologists in this field.
We speak about Vietnam and about the intrusion in Czechoslovakia, but these things are minor compared to the terrible situation in Nigeria at the present time. Even the crisis in Czechoslovakia is a mini-crisis compared to the shocking conditions that have developed in Nigeria. Yet there is no discussion by the Government of the Nigerian situation. There is no enunciation of some official stand and no expression of moral concern about the terrible suffering from the genocidal mania which is obviously motivating the troops of the federal1 forces of Nigeria. This is an atrocious war of genocidal attrition and it is being waged relentlessly and ruthlessly by the Nigerian forces against the breakaway state of Biafra. In the last 12 months more people have been killed in this conflict than have been killed in the last 3 years of the war in Vietnam, yet all that we hear about from the Government is Vietnam. What about the shocking situation where more than 100,000 people have been killed in the last 12 months? Biafra is no pocket principality. It involves more than 10 million people. The situation is shocking. It is a blot on our moral conscience that we cannot bestir ourselves and take some initiative in this matter. 1 have raised the matter in a telegram to the Prime Minister and in a question in this House, asking that the organisation and resources of the British Commonwealth of Nations be mobilised so that we may take some action to bring about peace in this troubled area. After all, Nigeria is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I have suggested that we might use the resources and organisation of the British Commonwealth of Nations to deliver and distribute much needed food and medical aid in beleaguered Biafra. The only reply from the Prime Minister was the statement: ‘We could attempt to run a blockade but probably not successfully.’ That is all that our Prime Minister has been able to say in the House on this matter. His interest in it is minimal.
Our moral outrage on major international issues is carefully selected. We manipulate and regulate it with a great deal of care. We cannot be concerned about 100,000 people dying in Biafra but we can be upset about Czechoslovakia, where comparatively little has happened. We should be upset about Czechoslovakia but, my God, should we not be much more upset about the deplorable situation which has arisen in the Biafran-Nigerian conflict? As a Socialist I feel as a very sore burden the fact that the United Kingdom Government - a Socialist government - should be responsible for the supply of arms to the Nigerian federal forces. An oddly paired couple of accessories to this mass orgiastic murder of Biafrans are Russia and Britain. Britain is supplying about 15% of the small arms being used by the federal forces in Nigeria. One may rest assured that although the quantity is only 15%, the arms so supplied will be the most efficient and up to date means of mass murder capable of being obtained by the Nigerian forces. Russia is supplying modern aircraft so that the slaughter may be carried on more extensively. Lurking somewhere in the wings is France. All of these countries have a great deal involved in Nigeria. Great Britain is concerned about its oil interests. France is concerned that it may lose out somewhere along the line in respect of mineral interests in Biafra. Russia has a vested interest in the same direction. This is a most unhappy situation.
Surely our Government can make some expression of moral concern. Or does it reserve this for special occasions where special countries are involved? Nothing has been said in the Parliament by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) about the terrible inhuman use of noxious gas in the Egyptian-Yemeni war of only some 18 months ago. Let me read an article to indicate how terrible was the use of noxious gas. The article reads:
Egyptians for the first time in history used lethal nerve gases in an air attack on two Yemeni villages - at Hadda on January 4 and at Kitaf on January 5. More than 200 civilians were said to have been killed in Kitaf. In April, Egypt was reported to have used mustard gas against three villages held by Yemeni Royalists. Then, on May 10, Egyptian pilots flying Soviet-built aircraft carried out a gas attack on the village of Gadafa. Fifteen persons were killed.
It was on the same day that 73 were killed in Gahar, in the attack which the Red Cross investigated and confirmed. On May 17 Egyptian raiders returned to Gadafa for another poisongas attack which reportedly killed 96 persons sheltered in a cave. When Yemeni Royalists asked for Red Cross assistance, Egyptian bombers returned to the gassed villages and dropped high explosive bombs in an effort to obliterate traces of the gas raids.
On May15 Egyptian bombers attacked two Red Cross vehicles en route to the gassed villages. All the Red Cross equipment was destroyed and a Yemeni Red Cross worker was wounded. Yemeni Royalists reported two attacks during June in the Jaul region. There were said to have been no human casualties, but all livestock in the area reportedly was killed.
Czechoslovakia pales into insignificance compared with the horrors of what took place in this small war in the Middle East. We should be concerned about these things. After all, we are human beings. We have a responsibility. The honourable member for Ryan (Mr Drury) spoke about subscribing to the obligations under the United Nations arrangement. Surely we should have said something in the House and acted in the United Nations before now about the terrible use of noxious gas by Egyptian troops to press home their will against insurrection of the Yemen. What sort of moral standards are we applying in this country when, as I have mentioned, we can so carefully raise our moral ire in some instances and carefully subjugate it in other instances, when in fact the circumstances in both cases are similar? How terribly wrong it is for all these things to be done with callous inhumanity by men to their brothers. If peace and the rights of man mean anything to us we should be speaking out in fearless denunciation of this turpitude in international relations. It is an artificial inspiration to mount criticism against some, to ignore others and to defend a few whose standards of international morality are corrupted, wrong and oppressive to others. If this world of people is not to be destroyed in a turbulent vortex of hate, deception and naked aggression, the forums and resources of the United Nations must be more effectively marshalled to promote the’ quest for world peace. Australia oan play an important part here by renouncing the cynical gamesmanship of spheres of influence in world affairs and by determinedly working to develop the place and authority of the United Nations as an effective referee in international disputes.’
– I shudder to think of what would happen to this country if the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) ever became the Minister for External Affairs. It seems that his idea of involvement in external affairs is to send telegrams to various Ministers - to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and to the Minister for the Army (Mr Lynch). If he were the Minister for External Affairs he would go around the world clouting people with a weapon of moral concern. But it takes a lot more than that. He sent a telegram to the Minister for the Army because he had read that an American had cut off the ear of a dead Vietcong soldier. I read about this in the Press some months ago. lt seems to me that it would be a lot more painful to cut the ear off a live Vietcong.
– What a stupid argument.
– It is stupid, totally stupid, and I find it hard to follow. He postulates about genocide in Nigeria. He talks about our taking some sort of initiative to mobilise our forces. He sent a telegram to the Prime Minister.
– Does he pay for the telegrams?
– I do not think he does. I think the taxpayer pays for the telegrams. He speaks about mobilising our forces. He does not believe we should defend ourselves. So what forces should we mobilise? I reject that as a waffling sort of argument.
I want to place on record my concern at the Australian Government’s recent decision to support the United Nations sanctions against Rhodesia on the ground that the Unilateral Declaration of Independence represents a threat to world peace. I have read from time to time of the so-called Rhodesian lobby amongst Government backbench members. It is supposed to represent the right wing of the Government Parties. I want to say only that I have never been approached by any of my colleagues on the subject of Rhodesia. I do not believe there is such a thing as a Rhodesian lobby. Nor are we divided into wings as the Australian Labor Party is. If we were divided into wings as honourable members opposite are, I would much prefer to bear the label of right than left.
We have been assured by the Prime Minister that Australia will never take part in any display of force against Rhodesia, but I regret that we are now in the position of applying severe restrictions against that country. It is true that the Unilateral Declaration of Independence was an unfortunate mistake. I think one should concede this, although I believe that the Smith Government is not entirely to blame and was provoked by the British Prime Minister when, with a little more patience and understanding, a reasonable compromise could have been worked out. The military Government of Nigeria obtained its independence from Britain in a somewhat similar way. No sanctions apply against Nigeria today and the Nigerian Army is currently destroying the Ibo people of Biafra at the rate of 1,000 persons a day - men, women and children. All that the Biafran people, the Ibo, wanted was independence. I am sure that we must all be appalled to know that the Nigerian Army is actually receiving its military supplies from Great Britain. History has shown that when the British pull OUt from a colony the democratic system it sought to impose frequently disappears and Britain is remembered less for the benefits of training in parliamentary government and more for training in military skills.
Paragraph 13 of the sanctions order reads as follows:
Urges all States, Members of (be United Nations, to render moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom.
Some members of thz United Nations could easily justify the supply of arms and equipment - even Communist style freedom fighters or volunteers - under such a clause. Infiltration, subversion and murder have already commenced in Rhodesia and paragraph 13 is phrased like a typical Communist rallying call to one of its national liberation fronts. I should like to quote from a speech made in the Rhodesian Parliament by an African member, Mr Rubatika - I believe he is an Opposition member - during a debate on 30th August 1967 on the question of terrorist raids by guerrillas trained in neighbouring Zambia and Tanzania by the Chinese Communist Army. He said:
As far as my electoral district is concerned and all the electoral districts, all of us hate the chaos and disorder which happened some time ago. We stand in admiration of Government’s stand on bringing about law and order. If by any eventuality the while man-
I underline the word ‘white’ - should fall we must pay the price and I am prepared to tell them to shoot me because I am dedicated to a cause and I shall live and die by it.
That was said by an African member of the Rhodesian Parliament.
I do not hold the view that the African is genetically inferior to any other race. I think the South African policy of apartheid is likely to become quite impracticable. But it does seem obvious to me that the African is only just emerging from tribalism and that his ethical and social ideas and his standard of education are still so different from those of Western people that social and political integration now or in the immediate future are an impossibility. Equally he is not yet able to build a prosperous nation in the context of the modern world. We have seen what has happened in many African states when European rule has been withdrawn. I believe that Kenya will follow the same pattern as soon as Kenyatta, who is now, 1 believe, a relatively old man, disappears. 1 cannot wish the same fate for the Africans of Rhodesia, which is almost the only remaining prosperous country left north of the Union.
There is another side to this question. The Europeans in Rhodesia are trying hard to bring the Africans forward. They have been far from favouring an apartheid solution. But they are people with the same sort of background and character as Australians and they must bitterly resent the abuse and denigration that Britain and the United Nations have poured on them. Sanctions may damage them, but surely the effect will only be to strengthen the political extremists and drive them more and more quickly into the arms of South Africa. If this happens, whether the Rhodesians like it or not, they will be forced into an apartheid policy. In the meantime most of the material hardship caused by the sanctions will fall on indigenous Africans.. The United Nations is now completely prejudiced on all racial questions. The more it gets, its way over Rhodesia the more quickly will it try to apply the same sort of policy to Australia in its handling of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
Perhaps we could look at what has happened in just eight African countries when British, French or Belgian rule has been withdrawn. Firstly let us look at the Congo. There has been continual fighting there since independence in 1960. The death toil is hard to estimate but is now expected to run into hundreds of thousands. Next let us look at Tanzania. In a Communist led coup in 1963, over 10,000 Arabs were murdered in the first week and recent reports indicate that the remainder exist in concentration camps on the island. On the mainland a one-party dictatorship, implementing a Marxist-Socialist system, rules. Uganda received independence in 1962. In inter-tribal fighting in Uganda a death toll of more than 2,000 is reported. There have been many tribal clashes and there have been reports of cannibalism, which has been unknown in that country for many years. In Ghana there has been constant tribal fighting. At one time the whole governmental Opposition was in gaol. This sometimes is a satisfactory solution. A number died in gaol under suspicious circumstances. I do not suppose we need go too much into the history of Nigeria. The honourable member for Oxley understands what is happening there. It was in Nigeria that the Prime Ministers Conference was held to deal with the Rhodesian situation. One of my colleagues from South Australia attended that conference. Three days after she left that country the Prime Minister of Nigeria was murdered.
– Pep it up a bit.
– If this stuff hurts you fellows, that is understandable. In Gabon the literacy rate is 6%. After independence was granted to that country the first president served a prison sentence for cannibalism. Sudan has seen heavy and continual fighting between the Moslems and the negroes, with an estimated death toll of over 2 million.
– That is even worse than with the rats which used to chew the toes of the honourable member in Redfern in the old days. In Burundi the estimated death toll is over 25,000. In 1966. in one week, every member of both Houses of Parliament was executed. These countries - I have mentioned only eight - all have military dictatorships. They each have equal voting rights with Australia in the United Nations. There are many other examples we could look at. I appreciate the difficult situation which the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) and the Australian Government are now facing. The Labor Opposition seeks to make cheap political capital out of a complex international situation.
– They are failing.
– The Opposition is failing. I would like to place on record that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) enthusiastically says ‘No’ when some honourable member on this side of the House presents a petition against the action I am now referring to. Unfortunately the No’ has never been recorded in Hansard, but it is now. The Leader of the Opposition has none of the responsibility of making decisions that the Minister for External Affairs has. The Leader of the Opposition seeks to ingratiate himself and his Party with the left wing nations and movements throughout the world. I admit that I do not bear those responsibilities either.
– That is just as well.
– At least I have an opinion and I express it, and therefore I sleep better at nights. I regret the United Nations decision and the consequent encouragement it may give to irresponsible larrikin nations who advocate the use of force against Rhodesia. I find that Australia’s inconsistencies are almost impossible to defend. Unfortunately I have the job of defending them in my electorate.
– You are older than your father.
– Do not bring my father into this debate. He is enjoying his retirement. We are helping the Vietnamese who are under attack by Communists in Asia yet we are damning the Rhodesians, black and white, who are under attack by Communists in Africa. We deplore the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Russian armies yet we are prepared to welcome in Australia the Russian Army choir. Only last week it was announced that Australia would refuse permission for a Rhodesian sportsman to enter this country, yet this week I noticed an advertisement in the Adelaide Press stating that a Russian dancing company was beginning a tour here. I hope that when the next move against Rhodesia is foreshadowed in the United Nations we will display a truly independent Australian attitude and will dissociate ourselves from the action of the military dictatorships and totalitarian rulers who now, in my opinion, make a mockery of the ideals of the United Nations.
– It is always a pleasure to follow the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay). He seems to be far out when it comes to anything associated with foreign affairs and matters of conscience. The honourable member has had a good deal to say about a lot of subjects. He, of course, is a representative of South Australia in this Parliament. He had a great deal to say about freedom, democracy and all the rest of it, but he belongs to a political party which has damaged every aspect of Australian democracy by the kind of electoral’ system it retains in that State. He has become part of the Rhodesian lobby in this House. It may well be true that we are becoming inconsistent in our attitude to Rhodesia. Indeed, to a certain extent I think we are.
– Which side are you on?
– The honourable member for Barton should follow what I am saying, as he ordinarily does. Being a very intelligent person he knows when to come into this chamber to listen to a good debate, lt may welt be that it is rather inconsistent to single out Rhodesia and its handful of people from the rest of the world for the application of the full power of the wrath of the United Nations. The only comfort 1 can take is that so far we have refrained from the use of force. I do not think - 1 agree with the Wilson Government about this* - that there could be any possible advantage to the African people or to anybody else if we used military force to try to resolve the situation, lt is a test of whether the United Nations and world opinion can work in this context. It will be difficult to make them work. Honourable members may rest assured - I have no doubt about this - that throughout the world there are a large number of people who feel like this about the Rhodesian situation.
Are we being inconsistent in relation to Rhodesia in the light of the fact that we did. not do anything about Greece? This Government was the first into the fight when it came to recognising the new military dictatorship in Greece, lt is true, therefore, that we have double standards. In some areas we seem to have no standards at all. We are full of high blown rhetoric about the protection of democracy. I suggest that we should start to apply some consistent value judgments to world affairs, that, we should attempt to exercise in the world an influence which so far we have failed to exercise and that we should cease to be hypocritical and to talk about such things as democracy when we do not even apply them here at home. I hope that Australia will take a look at the world at large and see what we can do about the present situation.
What is the world like? It is my belief that my colleagues opposite and many of the commentators in the community and in the world at large - it would not be the first time that only one person was in step - are failing to see what has happened in history. The world now is different from what it was even 20 years or 40 years ago. For instance, we have seen the collapse of the imperial systems based on Europe. The systems that developed for 3 or 4 centuries are now gone. The countries which came under the rule of those systems are now left with incompetent and inadequate administrations. Perhaps inadequate is the kindest term to use. 1 refer to such places as Indonesia. It has happened in Burma. The same applies to the former French Indo-China territories. In fact, the power that once lay in Europe is gone. The European influence is gone. In fact, the world is such a different place that we have to think of some new way of facing up to things. I have some respect for the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs) in these matters. 1 think he is almost invariably wrong when it comes to world affairs, but at least he applies what appears to be a substantial intellect to the question.
It has been said that the Rhodesian situation is an attack on the United Nations. What is the United Nations? It is the convocation of the people of the world as represented by their governmental representatives. It can work only if its members make it work. Australia represents 1/1 24th of the United Nations. We represent about 7% of its operating power. If we do not speak up then who will speak up? If we are silent, who else may choose to be silent? If there is a question to be raised about Biafra, the Sudan or Suez then we ought to be in there kicking for action. I believe the world at large is not very much different to an aggregation of this community and the way in which we live.
In recent times it has been my privilege to travel a good deal on behalf of the members of this Parliament and the people of Australia. I have met a lot of the significant people of the world but not many nf them appear to be much different to us. If one meets the Foreign Ministers of Singapore, Indonesia, Great Britain or the Uni:ed States one finds that they think and feel in much the same way as we do apart from different sets of values arising, perhaps, from tradition. However, in general, they are seeking for some kind of coalescence of the world conscience. This, I believe, iis where Australia comes in.
I believe that the most significant thing to occur in the last 20 years has been ne collapse of the imperial system based on Europe. This has changed the whole focus of international affairs, lt is not of much good now appealing to London, The Hague, Moscow or Washington. The people there cannot do anything. It will only, be an aggregation of world opinion, as expressed through international bodies, which will produce any result. Of course, this will be slow moving. The United Nations is only about 20 years old. In history it is almost a child. It represents just a dot in the sea of time. I. am an optimist and would like to see it more effective. I think it is miraculous that it is still in business. It has achieved some results sometimes. It is a pity, of course, that only some people accept its edicts.
I think that in 1956 the United Nations, did have a substantial, influence upon the British and French in their withdrawal from the Suez area. But the fact is that the United Nations will work only if we make it work. Up to this point there has been no way of solving problems other than by military or. imperialistic action. Now we have to find some system of making collective world opinion work. The other significant factor in recent times has been the collapse of the world stature of the great nations - our great and powerful friends as they are called. 1 do not know whether they are great or whether they are even terribly powerful. They may well . be friendly. One may take them in any order one likes. No one can place any moral value upon the judgments of the United States Government any more. I do not. America is a great and liberal nation - part of it. It is a great and reactionary nation - part of it. It is an extraordinary congregation of people of all kinds of attitudes and differing constitutional procedures. It has been dragged by some turn of history completely out of its context and placed in the midst of a kind of new imperialism by which it finds itself beset. But no one can say it is the powerful and continuing friend of democratic governments throughout the world.
In Vietnam, America has placed itself in a tragic dilemma. In some South American countries and in the Caribbean, I believe it has acted in an irresponsible and almost inhuman way. How can anyone justify the attitude of the American Government toward Cuba, a tiny country which is battling for its rights? I have never had any great respect for the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It has achieved some remarkable advances in Russia. It is as bad in some ways as the Government we have here. It is worse in some ways in its attitude to democracy. But the fact is that Russia has no moral stature in the world today. It is of no use to look to the Kosygins, Brezhnevs and the rest of them for the observance of moral values at conferences. They do not have any. Most of their talk about moral values and humanity is plain hypocrisy. Recently, while passing through Geneva, I went to a meeting of people who were working for the res.oration of democracy in Greece. It was almost pitiful to hear the Russians at this meeting talking about democracy and so on. Most of us sal and listened because there was no point in stirring up the brawl there. Now their position is worse.
I have a great respect for the British Labour Government iti its attitude to the supply of arms to South Africa. But I cannot support it in its attitude to the supply of arms to Nigeria. I cannot believe that it is acting in good faith in the Middle East, where it is supplying arms to both sides. I think it is supplying fighter aircraft to the Jordanians and missiles of some sort to the Israelis to enable them to shoot down those aircraft. This means that the people who for so many centuries have been setting the pace in the world - the French, the British, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Americans latterly, and the Russians - no longer carry any weight when they turn up at international conferences. People are not even afraid of their military power any more. The military power of the Americans in Vietnam has been stalemated. The military power of the Russians is at a point of poise and I think that they may have reached the limit to which they are prepared to use their power. Of course, there was no one around to challenge them. One of the tragedies of the Czechoslovakian incident was that, before the Russians marched into Czechoslovakia, President Johnson did not say: ‘Do not let anyone unleash the dogs of war. If this had been said a few weeks earlier it might have had some influence on the actions of the Russian Government.
So it is up to us, I believe, to realise that the world at large is not made up of big battalions and battleships any more. It is a collection of people who will respond if they are given an opportunity to gather round. Around whom are they to gather? The problem, of course, is that most of the great nations of the world have surrendered their credibility. It is up to the smaller nations, of which I think we are one, to take their place. We hear pleas on behalf of the Biafrans, the Nigerians and the Sudanese. We have heard of the relations between the Israelis and the Arabs discussed. We know Vietnam is a continuing drag on Australia and this part of the world. A problem will come up next year in relation to West Irian. What are we to do about these things? We have to realise that the world has changed much. 1 believe it is possible for us now to exercise a substantial influence in the world at large. When I look over my lifetime I have reason to be generally optimistic about the state of the world. I was born in 1914 and 1 left school in 1932. I went out to teach in 1939 and was married in 1942. I can say that the world is a much better place today for most people than it ever was before. The tragedy of the last 20 years has been that this Government has failed to realise that Australia can exercise this kind of influence in the world.
I would like to remind honourable members of the position of the Labor Government from 1946 and 1949. These were the formative years of the United Nations. During this period Israel was coming into being and Indonesia was struggling for its independence. Dr Evatt, who was our representative at the United Nations and at one stage was President of that organisation, did not surrender to the big battalions of the Russians, the Americans or the British. If he had waited for their approval, probably Israel and Indonesia would never have been born in the same way as they were. So we have to realise that power does not make the world work any more. Rather, what makes the world work is one’s influence, based, I believe, upon one’s moral stature in the world at large.
I think that in the world at large we do exercise moral values which the rest of the world could well afford to adopt. I have severe criticisms to make concerning most of the things that this Government does over most fields. I would not regard its behaviour in foreign affairs as exemplary by any means. But what other country would give Nauru its independence? What other country would take the continuing steps, as I think we are taking them, slow, conservative and dilatory though they may at times be, to give Papua and New Guinea its independence? I suggest the answer is none. Which one of us would take up a pea rifle to prevent Tasmania from seceding from this country? We have a different set of values, and the rest of the world needs to adopt them.
Human beings are the most important things. Humanity is what matters. Military power and the aggregation of land into empires do not matter any more. There are 124 or 125 nations in the United Nations. There are five or six nations which are not members of the United Nations. So there are about 130 independent and- autonomous communities in the world. Of these we are larger in population than about 80. We are smaller in population than about 50. Of this 50, some 20 will admit that in power, stability, prosperity and potential influence in the world, we are more substantial than they are. With a dynamic external affairs policy and a decent government behind it, there would bc, I believe, at least 100 nations in the world which would accept the kind of official sponsorship of policies - I would rather not say leadership - that we can give if we care adopt them. This is what we have to realise. It is of no use to sit here and wring our hands and say that we cannot exercise influence, that we cannot get past the veto. I remind the Committee that Dr Evatt opposed the veto years ago.
We ought to work for a number of things. We should work for an international guarantee of borders. Even if it takes 20 or 30 years, this would be worth while. If this were achieved the whole world would collectively guarantee any particular border. We have to do something about the general challenge to sovereignty where humanity is at stake as it is in South Africa, Biafra, the Sudan or even perhaps in Rhodesia. We have to rally the conscience of the world. I believe there are 15 or 20 countries such as ours which would be in a position to do this. From my recent short experience at international conferences and so on, I believe that we have the necessary status, capacity and administrative drive, given the wit and the will of the Government to do it. All I ask is that Australia realises that the world needs someone at this stage - almost a clean skin, bin not exactly as we are - with an attitude to express on the world stage, free of all the trammels of the past. We must give away the idea that military power will solve everything. It will only cause more human misery and oppression than ever before.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Stewart) - Order! The honourable member’s tune has expired.
– The Committee is discussing the estimates for the Department of External Affairs. I thought I should say that, because, listening to the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), one could have gathered the impression that we were considering some esoteric exercise in biography. I listened with interest to the honourable member’s statement that he was born in 1914. He could have fooled me. Certainly, in terms of his ideas, I would say that he was middle aged at the turn of the century. The honourable member has a strong and very marked resemblance to a late actor. I was very fond of that actor, so 1 hope my remarks will not upset the honourable member. 1 refer to Wallace Beery. The honourable member talks with the same sense of effusion and gaiety as did Wallace Beery and with the same strong sense of humour. He has leant heavily upon his vivid imagination, which he disguises well under his magnificent crop of hair. He referred to the British Government’s policy on arms for South Africa. I do not want to upset the honourable member but, together with the honourable and gallant member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), I visited the Simonstown base in South Africa. I will not disclose completely what we saw there, but we did not see the police base that he suspects is there. What staggered the honourable member for Chisholm and myself was to be told that British ships come into Simonstown to be refuelled and revictualled
– It is part of their agreement.
– Precisely. May 1 alio point out to the honourable member that as part of that agreement the British Government supplies the South Africans with spare parts to fit out their ships. 1 spent a day at Waterkloof, which is probably the largest South African Air Force base. It is similar to any air force base in this country or in England. I was interested to learn that the Royal Air Force stages its aircraft through Waterkloof on the way to bases in the Indian Ocean. It is all very fine for my friend on the back benches to whip himself into a sense of synthetic indignation, but these are the facts of life. What I put to the honourable member for Wills, to all honourable gentlemen opposite and to those who criticise South Africa, is that they should look first at the relevance of the British Government’s policy in regard to South Africa. Having said that, 1 turn now to Rhodesia. I assure the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) that 1 will not be discursive. I hope that puts the right honourable gentleman at ease.
– I am quite untroubled.
– I will come clean. I want to put him at utter ease. The right honourable gentleman does not understand the Irish. I am Irish and I like a fight. I cannot nurse a grievance. 1 like to fight and get rid of it. My fight with the Government at the moment on Rhodesia is because this House was not treated properly. This afternoon I asked the right honourable gentleman when the Government had made a decision about Security Council Resolution 253. I can see inscribed at the crematorium over me ‘Row 253’. I am sure that all honourable members will be there whether they approve of the funeral or not. And what finer form of words could be put together? But this afternoon I asked the right honourable gentleman when the Government made its decision. I do not want to upset him, but he gave an answer which, frankly, I boggled at. He said: T do not want to disclose Cabinet practices or secrets but we made a cumulative decision’. I sat back here in my state of simplicity trying to figure out what he meant by ‘cumulative decision’.
– Does the honourable member not know what it means?
– No. I do not. And I doubt very much that the honourable member does. Cumulative decision? This is, presumably, heaping something bit by bit by bit? Can honourable members imagine the sight - members of the Cabinet sitting there in that blessed room, all contributing bit by bit by bit to the decision? I thought that this was remarkable. I appeal to the right honourable gentleman to tell us - I. do not think it would infringe any rule of Cabinet practice - when the Government made a decision. I regret that the reluctance of the Government to say when it made a decision on this matter and the mood of the Minister when he described it as being a cumulative decision has driven me to verse:
As God’s mills grinding slow
So they go
When the Cabinet makes a decision;
And we learn with regret
That no date can be set
Such deplorable lack of precision.
As Brown’s cows do they vote?
To prescribe for such arrant passivity
It’s clear as a vision
Only Cabinet incision
Can cure its cumulativity.
Again I ask the right honourable gentleman and the Government to come clean and say when the decision was taken. A question was asked in the other place yesterday as to when the report was sent. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) said:
I cannot give the date on which it was received by the Secretary-General. I am informed that on 24th August the Australian Government notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it was taking steps to comply with the resolution.
That is the first proposition: ‘I am informed that on 24th August the Australian Government notified the Secretary-General’ the Leader of the Government in the Senate went on to say:
I have also been informed that that notification was sent not by cable but by mail. It is significant that the Minister for External Affairs made a statement on 2nd September. It is clear therefore that the notification was despatched from Australia on 24th August, that an acknowledgement was given to the Minister for External Affairs and that he in turn made a Press statement in Canberra on Monday 2nd September.
It would be improper for me to criticise remarks made by an honourable gentleman in another place. But the inference from that answer plainly is that the report was sent on 24th August and received on the same date and for some inexplicable reason no report of its reception was given to the Minister for External Affairs to enable him to make a statement until 2nd September. I am not impressed with that at all. I hope that the right honourable gentleman will let us know firstly when the Government made a decision. Plainly Cabinet has to come physically to a decision at some time or other. It has to say: ‘We have decided in toto upon this’. Surely that is clear. One does not need to have ministerial experience to arrive at this conclusion. I hope that the Minister or the Government - this is not merely the Minister’s responsibility: it is a Government matter - will come clean and say when the decision was made and why the House was not given an opportunity to debate the decision.
The second matter I want to refer to appears in the Estimates. In the Estimates for this year this country is giving $108,000 for the purpose of peace-keeping in Cyprus. In a sense this is not exceptional. I do not complain about it. But I, not merely as a member of this Parliament but as a taxpayer, want to register my objection to the fact that this country is contributing money to peace-keeping activities on Cyprus when it allows, without protest it seems, Cypriot flagships to go into North Vietnam. There are five such ships. I hope the Minister for External Affairs and his Department will take note of them. They are the ‘Acme’, the ‘Agenor’, the ‘Anion’, the ‘Antonia II’, which strikingly resembles the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) who is leering at us from behind a microphone, and the ‘Marianth’. I ask the Minister whether he can find a settled mind to reflect on the fact that this year we, the Australian community, in our own dribs and drabs have found $108,000 to contribute towards peace-keeping activities on Cyprus and that we are repaid by Cypriot flagships going into Haiphong. The right honourable gentleman knows that I hold strong views about British flagships going into Haiphong. This matter appears on the notice paper and remains to be argued at some time in the future.
– I think it will take more than the honourable member for Moreton to stop British ships going where they want to.
– I would not be surprised about that, but I am sure that the honourable member for Wills will be at the helm with me. I put it to the Minister that Cyprus can control its flagships just as any other nation can control its flagships. Article 5 of section 1 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas of 1968 provides:
Each State shall fix the conditions for the grant of its nationality to ships, for the registration of ships in its territory, and for the right to fly its flag. Ships have the nationality of the State whose flag they are entitled to fly. There must exist a genuine link between the State and the ship; in particular, the State must effectively exercise its jurisdiction and control in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying its flag.
My proposition, I hope, is quite clear to the Committee. There have been and still are five Cypriot flagships going from various ports into Haiphong. I would be glad now to acknowledge a signal from any person that he approves the fact that, in relation to that circumstance, this country is contributing $108,000 towards peacekeeping activities on Cyprus. The honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) this afternoon, in most expressive phrases, spoke about the selective indignation of the world. That is very true. At least I hope I cannot be accused of being selective in my indignation. I think it is wrong for Cypriot flagships to go into Haiphong. I think it is unutterably wrong that, in view of that fact, Australia should contribute $108,000 towards peace-keeping activities on the island of Cyprus.
– The honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) invariably draws the attention of honourable members with his submissions. Tonight he made not one of his best speeches but, as usual, an interesting speech. What he said did not interest me as much as what he left out of his speech. Early in his remarks he criticised the United Kingdom Government for refuelling and revictualling its ships at the Simonstown base in South Africa, but he did not tell the Committee that in the last year the British Government cancelled a supply of arms to South Africa when it could ill afford to do so. The honourable member for Moreton did not tell the Parliament that in recent times the British Government cancelled or refused to accept an order from the South African Government to build one or two naval vessels and three or four merchant ships. As a result of the British Government’s refusal to build these ships because of the political conflict - again when it could ill afford not to accept those orders - the orders were placed with the French Government and the French Government fulfilled them.
I would have thought much more of the honourable member for Moreton if he had balanced his speech by putting these facts before the Committee. I regard - 1 believe we all do on this side of the Parliament, and honourable members on the other side should do so - the position of Minister for External Affairs as being one of the major ministerial posts held in this country or in any country, particularly in the Western world. Survival of the human race will depend on avoiding another world war, which would have a catastrophic end. The avoidance of a world war has a special relationship not only to nuclear weapons but to events in colonial and underdeveloped countries.
Today, in the consideration of the estimates for the Department of External Affair’s, reference has been made by various speakers to the present conflict in Nigeria. The matter was dealt with rather effectively by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley). He made reference to the thousands dying in Biafra, particularly women and children who are dying as a result of malnutrition. Tonight one speaker asked why we could not fly food into Biafra. Some fiddling little excuse was advanced as to why it cannot be done. Yet we find that there is no trouble in flying out Czech refugees from Czechoslovakia as a result of the conflict between that country and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Immigration authorities have stated to the Press that within the next 3 weeks or so some hundreds of Czechs will be flown to Australia. I regard it as more important to fly food to the people of Biafra than to fly Czechs out here. There is not the bloodshed, hunger or malnutrition in Czechoslovakia that is occurring in the British Commonwealth country of Nigeria. I will not accept the statement that immediate emergency aid in the way of food cannot be flown from this country to Nigeria.
– How would you get the aid in?
– The same way as you get the Czechs in here.
– No, it is the opposite direction.
– You can always find excuses for something you do not want to do. I have never been convinced that the trouble in the world today is the result of the teachings of Communism - the teachings of Marx. Lenin, Stalin and Engels. The real problem in the world today - and the Minister well knows it - is empty bellies. People in the impoverished countries are not prepared to put op with starvation any longer, and I do not blame them, because if my wife arid children were starving I would be a revolutionary too, as would 90% of honourable members in this chamber. If they were not. they would not have the guts of a louse. This is what Lieutenant.General James M. Gavin, a retired United Slates Army general, said in his book:
The probable nature of future war is a slow almost imperceptible transition of a bad economic and political situation into disorder.
How true that is. Was it not hunger and corrupt government that caused the’ revolution recently in Santa Dominigo, and in Cuba, Vietnam and Korea?
– The honourable member for Swan (Mr Cleaver) says no. He has never had the courage to stand up in this Parliament and refer lo the history of Cuba. He is a preacher and an evangelist who is pledged to tell the truth. Perhaps time will permit me lo tell a story about an evangelist for the benefit of the honourable member for Swan, f will tell the story as Clarence Darrow, a great American lawyer, told it.
– The honourable member is referring to the wrong member.
– lt was the evangelist who interjected. What did Darrow say about an evangelist? Darrow said that he was sitting in his office in Chicago and a man came and asked him to defend him. Darrow asked the man what he did and he said he was an evangelist. Darrow said: ‘What are you charged with?’ The man said: ‘Being the father of a girl’s unborn child.’ Darrow said to him: ‘Are you?’ He said: ‘I could have been, but it could have been many others.’ Darrow told this man what his fee was. The man put his hand in his pocket and he poured out, to use Darrow’s words, boodles of it’. Darrow said: ‘It immediately struck me that he was tickling the plate.’ I tell this story because the evangelist from Swan has often interjected when I have been speaking. Darrow said: ‘I told him there would be an additional fee for my investigators to go out and investigate the background of this girl’. The man poured it out again.
They found out that the little girl was promiscuous. Darrow wrote to the girl’s father and said: ‘If you persevere with the prosecution I will have to expose the background of your daughter.’ The prosecution was dropped. Some months afterwards as Darrow walked down a back street in Chicago he heard an evangelist’s voice ringing out from a hall: ‘As ye sow. so shall ye reap.’ Darrow walked into the hall and took a back pew. There was his ex-client. He said: ‘1 held the view then, and I hold it today, thai d-ep in the heart of every evangelist is the wreck of a confidence man.’ If the cap fits the honourable member for Swan he should wear it. LieutenantGeneral Gavin shows us the link between survival and poverty, and I repeat his statement because it is worth repeating:
The most probable nature of a future war is a slow almost imperceptible transition of a bad economic and political situation into disorder.
What is wrong with this economic situation? Why is there a chance that it will result in disorder? We should all know that all the world is not at the same stage of economic development. The most striking thing about the economic conditions of the world is not the economic progress and poverty within any nation but the vast difference in the wealth of some nations compared with others.
The average annual income of a North American is approximately $A 1,800 a year. But the average annual income for over 2,000 million people living in some other parts of the world, including South East Asia, is less than $80 a year. What is more, the gap is widening every year. The ratio has doubled in the past 30 years. In South East Asia more than one half of a peasant’s income is spent on food; but he gets less than 2,000 calories compared with over 3.500 consumed by a person in an advanced country. The peasant receives less than 10 grammes of protein compared with 40 to 50 received by a person in an advanced country. In clothing the peasant gets less than 5 lb a year, compared with 30 lb by a person in an advanced country. A peasant can use 200 to 300 lb of fuel compared with 10,000 lb used by persons in advanced countries. The peasant in the underdeveloped countries cannot stockpile from current needs, so when a drought or a flood is encountered millions of people die from starvation. A child born in India can expect to live for 30 years. A child born in the United Slates of America, Europe or Australia has a life expectancy of 70 years. In India, 15 out of every 1,000 new babies die in their first year, but only 2 out of every 1,000 die in their first year in Australia. There is more electricity in Australia and New Zealand than there is in the whole 01 Asia, excluding Japan. Yet when there are revolutions in these countries honourable members opposite have the temerity to claim that they are the result of an international Communist conspiracy. They cannot say that an international Communist conspiracy was responsible for the revolutin in Cuba because it was not linked to any other Communist country.
– They soon did link up.
– Yes, because the United States of Amercia cut off oil to Cuba. When the petrol strike was on in Australia a few weeks ago it nearly threw this country into chaos. When Cuba ordered fuel from the Soviet Union, the American oil refineries refused to refine it. As a result, Cuba nationalised its oil industry. That was the logical thing for a revolutionary government to do.
– What did the Czechs do?
– I will speak about the Czech situation when I know more about it. I will not go off half cocked.
– You generally do.
– No, I do not. The honourable member for Barton will not be here after the next election to go off at all, so he should start going off now. Only today I was reading in the Library that in the United States S20m has been spent on combating mental disease, yet the United States is one of the most advanced countries. If poverty could be eliminated in the United States, which is the most highly capitalised country in the world, this figure could be reduced by half because it is fear of impoverishment and insecurity that has resulted in this frightening expenditure to combat mental disease in the United StatesI hope that 1 have placed something on record tonight which is true and which cannot be thrown up at me in the years ahead. Is it any wonder that in the latest book by Sir Robert Menzies The Last of the Queen’s Men’ Sir Robert Menzies is quoted as saying- [Extension of time granted]
I thank the Committee for its courtesy. I would like to say something more about Cuba. The conditions that existed in Cuba - and T say ,his as a nonCommunistwere the same as the conditions that existed in Vietnam. In Vietnam 50% of the land was owned by 2% of the population. In Cuba 40% of the land was owned by a handful of people. The peasants were working the land in Cuba, as they were in Vietnam, for a bare existence. In the rural areas of Cuba there was a 90% illiteracy rate, while in the city areas there was 38% illiteracy. Is it any wonder that Cuba blew up? Is it any wonder that the whole of Latin America is on the verge of revolution? Is it any wonder that the great American statesman, the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy-
– I raise a point of order. Mr Temporary Chairman. I agreed to an extension of time for the honourable member because I wanted to hear him ‘ell us about our great Australian, Sir Robert Menzies. Instead he is talking about Cuba.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Failes) - There is no substance in the point of order.
– If the honourable member would listen he would learn. He has not learned much since he has been here because he has never listened.
– He was born dumb and has been losing ground ever since.
– I agree. Is it any wonder that when corrupt and rotten governments exist, like the one which we supported in Vietnam and like the Batista Government in Cuba, revolutions occur? I suggest that honourable members study a book called The Anatomy of a Revolution’ which is available in our library. It deals with events in Cuba and tells us that many children, particularly between the ages of 6 and 10, died at the time of the Cuban revolution, and that after their death hookworms the thickness of a pencil were frequently found slithering from their noses and mouths looking for a living organism on which to exist. The honourable member for Barton (Mr Arthur) may make a joke of these things. He will have to catch up with his conscience one day, if he has a conscience. The unfortunate people in these countries were exploited by a handful of rich and privileged persons and could not afford to pay for medical treatment for their children. Is it any wonder that we have a turbulent world when conditions exist such as those which have existed in Cuba and Vietnam?
This Government has the temerity to conscript our 20-year-old kids virtually as soon as they leave school and send them to Vietnam. There are many men interjecting here tonight who are of military age, but not one of them has made any move to enlist in the Army and go to Vietnam.
– I would like to commence my remarks by agreeing with the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who expressed his appreciation of the presence of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) in the committee during the debate on the estimates for his Department. We appreciate this and we appreciate also the ready attention that has been given to some of the contributions to the debate. I do not join with those honourable members who have been criticising the Government, and the Minister in particular, for certain actions that the Government has taken over the past few weeks. It is a difficult job for the Minister for External Affairs to administer his portfolio simply because it is vastly different from any other portfolio. It is different in a very real sense. It is seldom that the Minister for External Affairs can openly attack a particular country or make a dogmatic statement on particular issues, but Ministers in charge of other departments have opportunities much more frequently to make straightforward statements in connection with matters coming within their jurisdiction. The circumstances in which a country called Ruritania may be morally corrupt or economically bankrupt may be rare, but the circumstances in which our Minister for External Affairs is able to comment on those facts are even rarer.
Recently this Parliament passed unanimously a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, and if my remarks appear critical of some aspects of the Government’s handling of certain matters recently let me say that I put them forward as suggestions and I would like some answers in due course if the Minister will be kind enough to give us a statement at the conclusion of this debate. My criticism, as it concerns external affairs policy, is twofold. Firstly it has relation to our activities in the United Nations in 1966 and 1967 in connection with two resolutions for the recognition of Communist China which came before the General Assembly. Australia pointed out - and rightly so - that any proposal to change the representation of China is an important matter and would require a two-thirds majority in order to be accepted. This was duly agreed to. Then came a resolution on each of these two occasions requesting that a committee of member countries of the United Nations be appointed by the General Assembly with a mandate to examine the whole question of the admission of Communist China. On each occasion Australia opposed the resolution. The reasons for the opposition, as given by the chairman of the Australian delegation, Sir James Plimsol!, appear at pages 50 and 51 of the Report of the Australian Delegation on its activities at the General Assembly between 20th September and 20th December 1966. On page 50 of the report we find these comments:
Australia opposed the seating of Communist China because of its attitude to the United Nations, because of the dangerous policies Peking was following and because a resolution to seat it would be ‘an empty act not dealing with the substance of what has to be done to fit the mainland of China’ into . . . harmonious and cooperative relations with all its neighbours. . . .
For the Australian Government, the overriding consideration was that nothing should be done which would bring into question the right of the Republic of China to continue to be a member of the United Nations or which would set back grievously the prospects of peaceful co-operation in Asia and the Pacific and the building of conditions for peace, stability and economic expansion in that region.’
I quite agree with the arguments on the question of admitting Communist China at the present moment, but I cannot understand why the Australian delegation was not prepared to support a resolution which at least, if it were accepted, would have started some form of dialogue, some exploration of the field in which one could consider whether China should be admitted to the United Nations. I realise that we must play a hard game in circles such as the United Nations where people are playing politics and playing politics hard. I realise that one of the overriding requirements for us as a medium sized power at the United Nations must be to assess what our strong friends and allies are doing. But if we look at the voting on this resolution we see that the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Japan all adopted a different attitude from ours. The UK admittedly abstained from voting on the issue, but all the other nations I have mentioned- and I particularly mention the United States of America, New Zealand and Canada - were prepared to vote for a committee to examine this matter.
As I have stressed, one could not accept any proposition to abandon the people of Taiwan in order to admit Red China. I accept this implicitly, but 1 would like an explanation, which goes further than just saying: ‘We are opposed to the present attitude of Red China’, as to why we voted against this resolution in 1966 and 1967. Heavens above, one of the things we must strive for in this world - and this is why I disagree with some of the arguments heard here today - is to get a dialogue going in some way or other with nations even though we may be appalled by the actions of those nations. We are appalled by the actions of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in invading Czechoslovakia, but that does not mean that we should follow the suggestions of some people and sever all relations with them. In this day and age that certainly would be one of the worst things we could do. It is a tragedy that in this year of 1968, in which occurs the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this brutal attack on Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union should have occurred. 1 do not in any way, by the statements I have made tonight, suggest that we should be taking any softer line in our direct relations with these nations, but I cannot concede that there is justification for not establishing a relationship with them. We live in the world together. We may disagree with them. Their policies ad politics may be the very antithesis of ours but we have to strive to establish some form of relationship and, when it is established, to continue it. - The tragedy is that events such as these - the rape of Czechoslovakia, for instance - can occur in a year .in which we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in which we had hoped to establish machinery for the better implementation of human rights throughout the world. The conference in Teheran this year that -I attended with other Australians, the leader of the Australian delegation being the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen), simply was not a success. The final declaration that emerged from the Teheran conference could have been drafted without all the nations gathering together. This was not the fault of the Australian delegation. It was the fault of those who had no genuine desire to share any rapport in this direction. I hope that Australia nevertheless will strive for a genuine spirit in discussion of these matters and of the matters that 1 have mentioned that could emerge.
I turn now to probably one pf the most tragic circumstances in which a government can find itself placed, namely, the question of Rhodesia. I support the Government’s sanctions and the Government’s indication to the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it will impose mandatory sanctions on Rhodesia, but I do not do it with any form of pleasure..-
– I hope not.
– I do not. Anyone who examines the sorry mess today and appreciates that sanctions have failed could not help but agree with what I have said. The constantly recurring theme of those who support the case for Rhodesia is that they have legality on their side; but if we examine both the British argument and the Rhodesian argument we will see that they are, to say the least, hypocritical. Britain firmly holds the view that an act of rebellion occurred against the Crown with the Unilateral Declaraion of Independence. Rhodesia, on the other hand, says that she is a nation that almost achieved independence. The frequent recourse to legal arguments based on assessments of the constitutional status of Rhodesia before 1965 is really a political manipulation of so-called constitutional law. Let me cite, for example, the arguments of the British delegate to the United Nations in 1963. In 1963 in the Security Council Sir Patrick Dean went to considerable pains to expound what seemed to be the official British view on the legal status of Rhodesia. Based on this, Britain subsequently vetoed an attempt by the Afro-Asian nations to invite Britain, through the Council, to halt the transfer, of powers back to Rhodesia after the breakdown of the Central African Federation. In a long exposition of the British position, which echoed similar statements that had been made previously in other United Nations organisations, the British delegate said: the essentia) point which I make, with all possible emphasis, is that the freedom of the Southern Rhodesian Government to conduct its own affairs is no fiction but an inescapable constitutional and political fact
This was the viewpoint of the British delegate in 1963, yet after 1965 Britain changed her tune. Neither the official Rhodesian position on the legality of the Smith regime alter UDI nor the British stand in reverse should be accepted at their face value. Both are based on obvious political motivations and determinations, and each country has failed to take full account of the realities of an evolving constitutional situation. In essence the only fundamental question in the Rhodesian dispute is simply whether a minority regime should be able to dominate the majority of the inhabitants into the indefinite future.
In I960 a commission was set up, of which a well known constituent of mine - Mr Frank Menzies, brother of the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies - was a member. The commission included two of the wisest and most experienced administrators in the colonial service - Sir Donald MacGillivray and Sir Charles Arden-Clarke. The commission was so impressed with the need for immediate African advance at the Federal level that it recommended parity of representation of Europeans and Africans in the Federal government. This opinion evoked only criticism in Salisbury at the time but in the light of subsequent events it might, if the principle had been adopted by Rhodesia, well have averted the present impasse. A much bolder policy than that was produced in 1961. It provided for fifteen Africans in a house of sixty-five and should have been adopted. But the irony of the present position is that by its refusal to accept negotiated terms Rhodesia has failed to enlist the United Kingdom and the European dominions as allies against the intransigence of the African Commonwealth members and the declared will of the United Nations. Therein lies the tragedy of this particular situation, because, as I said before, although I believe that the Government was right in going ahead with mandatory sanctions, no-one could be happy with this state of affairs.
The whole state of affairs over Rhodesia demands serious rethinking. Few people can doubt that the present policy has failed. Economic pressure has simply not induced the desired political result. That policy had to be tried, but 3 years begin to amount to a conclusive trial. The United Nations has acted but it has not succeeded, and how ironical it is that the United Nations has acted in this regard - even though I support that action - when at the same time Czechoslovakia has shown the powerlessness of the United Nations to prevent or to condemn naked aggression against small states. The small states of Africa did not even rally solidly behind a principle so vital to them. It is therefore unlikely that effective United Nations action can be maintained against Rhodesia and extended to South Africa. What conclusion can we draw from this from Australia’s point of view? The only conclusion to be drawn is, firstly, that we were placed in an invidious position in having to support the sanctions; secondly, that the sanctions simply are not going to work; and, thirdly, can we do anything further about it? I would hope that the advisers within the Department of External Affairs would be striving to see whether there is any way in which Australia can quietly play a role in bringing about a settlement to this dispute. A settlement in Rhodesia would not be approved openly by the African states and the risk of achieving such a settlement could be great if it were publicly taken; but to take no new initiative may well be to betray the very African interests we are supposed to be holding out for, and the case for hanging on is less strong than it ever was. I would hope that the departmental officers together with the Minister would strive to see whether something could be done in this regard.
– Before this section of. the debate closes I should like to do the Committee the courtesy of saying that I have listened with close attention to the contributions to the debate on the estimates of my Department, and the various observations that have been made have been carefully noted both by myself and by the officers of my Department. We have had a debate which has ranged over a very wide field and it would not be expected of me to make invidious comparisons and say who I thought made a good speech and who I thought, did not make such a good speech. I certainly would not be so rash as to attempt that and my comments therefore will be of a general kind.
One thought that struck me was that so many speakers expressed, in different ways, their growing concern about certain developments in international relations - the growing up of a double standard, the growth of cruelty and suffering in various parts of the world and the tragic situation in Africa, in particular, which I took to be presented not only as an instance of this suffering and cruelty but as an outstanding example of what is happening in the world today. Various speakers, in drawing attention to this sorry state of affairs in the world, gave varying emphasis to different situations. Some paid more attention to this situation and some paid more attention to that situation. Certain developments were of greater concern to one speaker than those developments were to another. I mention that because I would put before honourable members the suggestion that if because of our different interpretations within this chamber of the significance of various events and because of our different application of political ideas to varying events we treat some incidents, episodes or occurrences with greater attention that we treat others, surely we will realise that the same sort of thing is happening in the world. Whereas it may be easy to arouse the deep concern of nations directly affected by an event and even move them to action, it is one of the realities of world politics today that it is extremely difficult to arouse a similar indignation on the part of the same nations over events which do not impinge on their own security or the welfare of their people. We have this perpetual struggle of trying to get some countries in Europe to become as deeply concerned about tragic happenings in Asia as we in Australia would be concerned. It is something of a problem perhaps to get some countries to be as deeply concerned about what is happening in Africa as some speakers tonight have been concerned. There is among nations today this element of what might be charitably called self-interest. They get far more concerned about something that threatens them - something that threatens their welfare or their safety - than they do about matters in the world at large. One of the lessons that we all must learn is the interrelation of world events. This is something which I can claim to have pressed perpetually upon the Australian public in any statements that I have made. None of us in the world today can live to himself alone. Insecurity in Asia affects anybody interested in security in Europe. Insecurity, poverty or distress in Africa affects anyone interested in those things in Asia. We cannot compartmentalise the world. We are interlocked in our fortunes today.
Another outstanding element in this debate seemed to be the references to the United Nations. Some honourable members spoke in condemnation of the United Nations. Some spoke more in sorrow than in anger, regretting the incapacity or seeming incapacity of the United Nations to deal with certain situations. Some went so far as to suggest that the United Nations was a failure. I think one speaker even said that the United Nations was a menace to the world today. I will not join in that condemnation of the United Nations. I would put this point to honourable members: In the debate today speaker after speaker has spoken of such things as the power conflict in the world. Honourable members have spoken of such things as a double standard.
They have spoken, sometimes rather vehemently, about the ignorance in the world, about the prejudice in the world and about the ugly things that are happening in the world. Do they not realise that if those things are present in the world they are present also in the United Nations? The United Nations has to try to function in the world in which it is placed. The United Nations cannot be better in any respect than the members of the United Nations. The United Nations is what its members permit it to be. The United Nations reflects completely the shortcomings of its members. If there is power rivalry among the great powers - the permanent members of the Security Council - that becomes a factor influencing the way in which the United Nations operates. If among the smaller nations there is suspicion and resentment, either against the great or against their equals, that factor also enters into the United Nations. In the United Nations today we find on the one hand the rivalries of power and the conflicts of power. On the other hand we find the resentments that are linked with racial questions and colonial questions. We find also the antagonisms that have been bred out of those resentments. We find the resentments and antagonisms that have been bred out of the ideological struggle. All these things permeate every debate of the United Nations and every debate of its principal organs. So, instead of suggesting that we can isolate the United Nations or that it is a failure, let us face the reality that we have an ugly world - a world in which there are many shortcomings. Nevertheless, it is the world in which we live. It is the world with which we have to deal. It is the world in which international relations must be conducted.
Some honourable members referred to Australia’s role in the world. Some speakers were good enough to say that they recognised the difficulty facing those who had to exercise responsibility in these matters and take the consequences of their actions. In this world of power, of racial antagonism, of ideological conflict, of resentment, we must play as wise and helpful a role as we can. Our ultimate objective is to see that we do not have another war. We do not want a major war or any war that may turn into a major war. We want a movement forward to deal with the great basic problems of economic and social advancement - problems which are likely to be the foundations of greater political stability and of eventual security for the small emerging nations of the world. This is what we want to deal with, but we must steer our course carefully because we live in a world which we have not ourselves made - a world with whose realities we must wrestle. So, if there is an occasion, as some speakers have suggested, for Australia to speak cut - to stand up, to be emphatic, to thump the table or to start smashing something - surely we must be extremely careful in choosing the issue, the time and the place. In the desperation of a Samson you can pull the walls down around your ears and dispose of your enemies while you dispose of yourself, but that is not a foreign policy that anybody would advocate. We must be careful about smashing things, opposing things, and even getting up and speaking out. We must choose the issue, the time and the place. There certainly has been no lack of speaking out. If more honourable members had had the industry - they certainly had the opportunity - to read the statement which I made at the plenary session of the General Assembly of the United Nations last year I do not think they would find a better example of speaking out plainly in the whole history of Australian diplomacy. But honourable members opposite have not read that statement. They may criticise ne for the side on which I spoke out, but 1 do not think they can criticise the conduct of Australian foreign policy for having failed lo speak out.
– You never speak out for the right things.
– Honourable members opposite want me to speak out in order to express their own particular prejudices. But my responsibility as a Minister in this Government is to speak out in order to propound the policies for which this Government stands. If ever the Opposition can convince the people of Australia that its far different policies are more likely to serve Australian interests, the Opposition as a government will then have the opportunity to speak out. But we did not become the Government in order to speak out in advancement of the policies of the Opposition which the electors of Australia have rejected. We were elected as a government to speak out to the world about the policies that the people of Australia thought would best serve their interests.
Another point about which we must be careful is that we should not enter into quarrels lightly. It is easy enough to get into lots of quarrels around the world. There would be no difficulty in picking up a new quarrel every week. Sometimes there are issues on which we must face what I would call the stage . of quarrelling, but mostly we get further in world affairs, no matter what our views may be as to where Australia’s interests lie, by trying to get other people to understand our point of view and by attempting, to understand their point of view. We get some sort of respect from them and they know that- we are people who speak plainly but who do not speak in an unmannerly .or brutal way. I would not accept on behalf of either my officers or myself the charge .that we are not willing to speak out, but I would say that we use a good deal of discretion about those occasions when we are firm and those occasions when we are prepared to yield a little, the test always being what will serve the interests of Australia best.
There was one point that I will mention in closing. This was raised by the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) who expressly asked for me to comment on a particular vote in the United Nations. The vote to which he referred was on a matter that could rightly be described as a question of tactics. There was no difference of opinion as to the objective, which was to maintain the position of the Republic of China and not to sacrifice the Republic of China by interpreting the use of ‘China’ in the United Nations Charter as meaning the People’s Republic of China. There was also no difference in the objective of trying eventually to move towards a position where we could enter some sort of a composition and understanding with the whole of the Chinese people. But as a matter of tactics we had to choose between setting up or not setting up this commission. In our judgment - I still believe it was a sound judgment of tactics and it was a judgment that certainly the majority thought was a sound judgment of tactics - we did not take the same view as some of our accustomed friends. We believed that our view on that question of tactics was a good view.
Reference has also been made to Rhodesia. I just want to put this point of view and to put it quite quietly: The situation in Rhodesia is not one that causes anyone in Australia satisfaction. It causes anxiety to all, both those who support the policy of the Government and those who may question it in one respect or another. But it is a situation into which we have come because of certain fundamental decisions that we made. One was that in our view the consitutional responsibility for granting independence to Rhodesia lies with the United Kingdom. Another, as a consequence of that, was that the setting up of the present regime in Rhodesia was in our view a unilateral declaration of independence and we do not recognise it. Indeed very few nations, if any, recognise it as a government with international status. Recognising that constitutional responsibility of the United Kingdom we responded first of all to a request by the United Kingdom to impose certain selective sanctions. Then the United Kingdom Government chose to refer this matter to the Security Council. In fairness to the United Kingdom Government, it was obliged to do so by the pressure put on it at a meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth of Nations in London. At that meeting, as has been disclosed to this Parliament, we took a view in opposition to the majority and did not think that the matter should be referred to the United Nations. But it was so referred and Britain had the competence to do so.
Having .been referred to the Security Council, even though one may question the fairness of its unwillingness to hear representatives of Rhodesia and even though one may go so far as to question whether this situation is in truth a threat to peace, one must recognise, whatever view one takes on those two questions, that the Security Council was competent to make its decision. Having made its decision calling upon members of the United Nations to observe certain sanctions, the question for the Australian Government really was: Do we obey or do we disobey a earl made by the competent authority that we have committed ourselves to obey? That is the situation. The question really is not: Do we think these sanctions are likely to bring about the hoped for result or do we agree with the particular form of the sanctions? The issue is fundamentally one of our relationship with the United Nations and our conduct as a member of the United Nations.
I again thank honourable members for their contributions to this debate. On behalf of my officers I would especially like to thank those honourable members who have been good enough to say words of commendation of the officers who both abroad and at home serve Australia so well1.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure, $14,217,000.
– It is not my intention to detain the Committee for very long in debating the estimates for the Attorney-General’s Department, but I would like to mention a matter that is causing grave concern to many thousands of decent Australian citizens. It is the believed practice of certain members of the Commonwealth security police, who are under the administration of the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen), in using bugging devices when carrying out their duties. My information, which is from a reliable source, is that certain members of the Commonwealth security police are using bugging devices when performing their duties, but at this point of time I am unable to say whether these devices are part of the equipment supplied by the Department and purchased out of the sum of $14,217,000 provided by the taxpayers or whether they are purchased by members of the Commonwealth security police out of their own incomes for use when performing their official duties. We have learnt from Press reports in the last few days that the Victorian Liberal Government has seen fit to introduce legislation to outlaw these modern bugging devices which can be used to intrude on the rights and privacy of the people. An example of the use of bugging devices was given recently by my distinguished colleague, the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). He said that a bugging device had been used at or in the vicinity of his home. Australians fought in two world wars to protect the freedom which we cherish so much, yet we find that the freedom and liberty of the subject is being whittled away week by week by this Government and, in particular, by the use of bugging devices by members of the security police.
I referred in my last speech to the Government’s intention to bring a lot of Czechoslovakians to Australia. I do not condemn this action if the people who are brought here are decent worthwhile citizens. I hope they are of this type.. However, I am doubtful, because included in the refugees who came here from Hungary were some of the most skilled housebreakers and burglars this country has known. Of course, we also got many decent citizens from Hungary; they and their offspring will be of benefit to Australia. It would be better if the security police were to double screen the Czechs who are fleeing their native land and are seeking to come ‘ to Australia. I say that because I believe that after a time it will be proved that a fair percentage of scum will have been allowed into Australia by the immigration authorities and by the security police, who are under the control of the Attorney-General. The security police, accompanied by interpreters, should be sent to Czechoslovakia to question these people about their background and their reasons for wanting to come here. The usual excuse accepted by the Government from such people is that they are fleeing from Communism. That is one of the principal reasons why the Government allows such people into Australia. They are admitted so long as they hate Communism. As the honourable member for KingsfordSmith (Mr Curtin) reminds me, this reason is worn out, old and dilapidated.
Another matter was raised in the Press in recent times which I would like the Attorney-General to clarify tonight for the benefit of the Parliament and the people of Australia. I am not sure whether it comes within his jurisdiction. I have heard that the Attorney-General’s Department intends to recommend to the Government that Commonwealth scholarships be withdrawn from students who take part in peaceful demonstrations and other action against the barbaric war in Vietnam. I ask the Attorney-General to tell the Parliament whether his Department has ever considered this matter and whether it intends to make such a recommendation. I . am referring to young Australians who, because of political beliefs, take part in peaceful demonstrations. This has been the right of people living under democratic systems throughout the ages.
I hope that the Attorney-General will answer these two important questions because they concern many thousands of Australians. When the true history of the Vietnamese war is written it will be seen that it is the students in Australia who are prepared to bear the cross in the hope that the peasants of Vietnam will be lifted to a higher plane than’ ever before in their history.
– Tonight I want to speak about the unknown, grey faced army of people who are agents in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I presume they are an industrious group of people who are consistently supplying secret reports on people and organisations in the Australian community. It is the complete secrecy with which the Organisation operates about which I want to speak tonight. Obviously, to be an effective security organisation, it must have security in its own ranks. There must be a degree of secrecy about its activities. But it is the total secrecy of what this group does which causes me concern.
I do not expect to be told who these people are. I do not expect their identity to be revealed to me. But I expect citizens in this community to have certain inalienable rights. If their integrity as loyal citizens of Australia is questioned in some way and, as a result, their employment or their position in society is jeopardised, then they ought to have some avenue of appeal against the secret reports of the Organisation which resulted in the withdrawal of the rights they had enjoyed in the past.
Australia needs a security service. I do not quibble at all on that point. I do not think there is a country anywhere which does not have a security service. However, there has been far too much criticism in the Australian community in recent months of the way in which the Organisation operates. The unfortunate thing which arises from this criticism is that as more questions are raised more doubts are spread in the community. In turn these doubts feed upon themselves and raise further questions. Therefore in the first instance, the Security Intelligence Organisation comes under rather damaging consideration by the public. Whether this criticism is justified or not I do not know, but this is the obvious result of the complete secrecy which surrounds it.
The second point I want to make - this is what gives me tremendous cause for alarm - is that people become frightened and intimidated. I do not know whether this is justified either; but the effect of the complete secrecy of the Organisation and of its actions, and the fact that no-one has a right of appeal against its decisions, is that people in all sorts of employment and in all forms of social activity suddenly become fearful and decide that it is better to keep their own counsel. This is an unhappy and unhealthy sort of development in any democracy. A strong, viable and healthy democracy requires development and fostering of a critical faculty within the people. Otherwise it will stagnate, wither and regress into some form of autocracy. This is the situation which is developing in the Australian community today.
As a member of the Labor movement I move in industrial circles quite a deal. I have been terribly distressed to discover the extent of the fear among Australian industrial leaders that their activities, statements and actions are being screened by the Security Intelligence Organisation. They fear that either their offices are being bugged and their telephones tapped or that their movements are being watched. Officials of some Federal unions have told me of instances relating to telephone discussions on major industrial issues. A Federal unionist told me recently about a discussion between an official in Brisbane and another in a city in a southern State about a major industrial issue which involved the Commonwealth. A senior official of the Government dropped a hint in a statement he made - he did so unintentionally, of course - to the effect that he had knowledge of this confidential discussion between the two union officials. The two men concerned swore that the information did not pass to any other person. Obviously the two men believed that on this occasion their telephone had been bugged. I repeat that this is a very unhappy sort of atmosphere to develop in any democracy.
I want to make some points about the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. There is no doubt that the extent of its activities in the Australian community has multiplied many times since 1949. A clear indication of this can be found in the fact that the allocation of finance for the Organisation in 1949-50 was only $228,000. In 1967-68 the allocation was over $2,750,000. This is a phenomenal increase in the allocation to this organisation. It would seem there are more agents than ever operating in the Australian community and that the nature of their work has expanded considerably. Undoubtedly a lot of this appropriation will be spent on highly complex sophisticated electronic bugging devices which are being used in the Australian community. I am saying these things to the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) especially. These are the sorts of fears that Australians have in their minds today.
People with responsible jobs have these fears. I think it is time that we developed in the Australian community some sort of appeal board so that people can seek some rectification of a situation brought about by reports of ASIO which may have some detrimental effect on their vocation or social standing, lt is a terrible thing that people are affected in this way by a secret organisation manned by people whom we do not know. Also, we do not know what their qualifications are, what their authority is or the extent of their operations. This organisation has virtually the power of preventing the future success of individuals in the Australian community. It is undeniable that there are public servants whose futures in the Public Service have been ruined on the basis of reports made by ASIO. It is not possible to discover how many people have been affected in this way. But it is possible to discover, by means of a statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), that some public servants have been affected in this way. In answer to a question that I asked him recently, he said that the number of persons rejected for appointment or refused promotion on security grounds was very small. It would not matter whether there were half a dozen or only one. These people have been set back in their progress within the Public Service because of a secret report.
In the question I posed to the Prime Minister, I made the suggestion that a tribunal ought to be established to consider appeals against decisions based on such reports. He said that the possibility of instituting a system of appeals from decisions based on security reports had in fact been considered but it was not proposed to depart from the present procedures. This tells us nothing. Why is it not proposed to depart from the present procedures? The evidence of the need to do so is overwhelming and compelling. Individuals in our community, as members of a democratic society, should have certain inalienable rights. One is the right to appeal against the decision of some administrative body which in some way impinges upon their rights and freedoms in our society, lt is all too clear that this Government has written off in this casual fashion, the suggestion that we should have such an appeal body in the community. A tremendous number of people who have sought naturalisation inthis community have had their applications rejected on the basis of security reports. This in itself is staggering evidence that such a tribunal should be established. From 1951 to 1965 388 applications for naturalisation were rejected on the basis of Australian security reports. In 1966 a further 37 applications for naturalisation were rejected on the basis of such reports. 1 am concerned about this. What is the evidence upon which these reports were made? Was it evidence supplied by a ‘democratic’ administration in Portugal or Spain where people, because they are militant unionists, though probably quite conservative in their social philosophy, are regarded and reported as security risks? This attitude is taken in these two countries because of the extremely reactionary administrations they have.
Is this the sort of basis upon which Australian security reports are made? 1 do not know. But I am concerned. I believe people who suffer as a result of these reports, whether they are public servants, academics, or immigrants to this country who cannot become naturalised, have a right to appeal against these reports. Are the reports made on the basis of dossiers supplied by the special branches of the State police forces?
God forbid that this should happen. I have seen the standard of some of the reports which have been supplied by the special branch of one State police force. I think it would be a horrible travesty of a person’s rights to base any decision on these reports. Having known the abilities and the .qualifications of people who have served in this field, I would be alarmed if ASIO took these reports seriously.
This raises a question about ASIO. What are the qualifications of the people who are full time agents of this organisation? After all, democracy is a very delicate instrument to operate, and blunt people in a nerve centre of the democratic structure of our society could easily blunt the performance of our democracy. I would like to know what the qualifications of these persons are. J would expect that an organisation such as ASIO would require fairly highly qualified people as agents. It would require people who would be able . to make subtle distinctions in political- philosophy between people who arc democratically left wing and people who are authoritarianly left wing, and between people who are conservatively right wing and authoritarianly right wing. The fact is that some people can be left wing - I am using this expression as it is used in the context of political science rather than in the journalese way in which it has been corrupted by the Press -on some issues and right wing on other issues; and some people can be extremely radical overall but in fact, in the ultimate analysis, stand for the preservation of the established form of society which we have. It takes a very carefully developed qualification on the part of the person who has to make the assessment to determine the differences, lt is quite easy to rush off emotionally and write up some person as a threat to security. God knows, we see enough of it in this chamber from honourable members on Ihe other side. This assessment is frequently made on the sole basis that such people are a threat because they have criticised or disagreed with one’s particular point of view. The less educated one is the more likely this sort of reaction becomes.
These are the queries which worry me a great deal. 1 would like the AttorneyGeneral somehow to develop a system in which there will be a right of appeal in the community and in which people will have some sort of right to find out what is going on. On the other hand, I think that members of the security organisation have a right to be shielded as much as possible from unfair criticism of the kind that I mentioned earlier. This criticism which develops in the community feeds upon itself. 1 suspect that in many cases it unfairly and unjustifiably worsens as time goes by. But the fact is that this trend will continue until the Minister does something positive to minimise this sort of thing. This would call for much more candour than we are getting at present.
Lel me say more on this point of qualifications. About 16 years ago ASIO advised the Prime Minister, then Mr Menzies, of a list of fifty-one names of supposedly well known Communists in the trade union movement, lt is a well known fact that a day later the Prime Minister had to come to this House and admit that five of those so named had no Communist connections whatsoever. This incident was due to a serious failing on the pari of ASIO. If this organisation made this kind of mistake on one occasion - this was found out only because the reports were made public - = how many times does it make this kind of mistake when we know nothing of ils reports and cannot throw up queries or challenge the conclusions at which it has arrived. I wish the Attorney-General would deal with these issues and try and do something constructive to provide a kind of release valve so that we will know what is going on.
Finally, let me say that one of the most shocking attacks upon civil liberties in this community has derived from the recent meeting of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral, which was held during our winter recess. It was decided that although the State governments would not be allowed to tap telephones, they would be allowed to use, under suitable safeguards - whatever that may mean - electronic bugging devices. This is frightening in the extreme. Frankly, this sort of bugging device should not bc given to State governments to use, and least of all to the police force of a State. The situation is critical enough as it is with ASIO using these devices. Perhaps it has to use them on occasions. 1 appreciate that a case can be made out for their occasional use by ASIO, but under no circumstances should this right be given to the police forces of the States. It would be a very serious threat to the basis on which our democracy is established if this power were given.
– I wish to add a few words in support of the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden). I think that the honourable member should be congratulated for having brought to the notice of Parliament a matter which is causing concern to all who wish to preserve the fundamental right of citizens to elementary justice. The honourable member said that a short time ago he asked questions of the Acting Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) regarding investigations by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation of Commonwealth public servants. The honourable member has already quoted the question so it is unnecessary for me to read it again. The honourable member received the following reply:
Since December 1949 the practice instituted under the previous Government has been continued whereby security reports are obtained before appointments are made in certain employment categories in the Public Service. The number of persons rejected for appointment or refused promotion on security grounds is very small.
The possibility of instituting a system of appeals from decisions based on security reports has been considered but it is not proposed to depart from the present procedures.
– What date was that?
– It was 13th June this year. The honourable member for Oxley also asked how many public servants had been refused promotion and how many had a right of appeal. I do not raise this matter in any political way. I raise it only to show the injustice that may occur. For instance, a demonstration took place some time ago outside the Prime Minister’s Lodge in Canberra. It was reported in the ‘Canberra Times’ that before the youngsters and others who were demonstrating there were thrown into the police van they were held by a policeman and photographed for all to see. I understand that the photographs were taken by security police or Commonwealth police. No doubt, many of these people were genuinely demonstrating because of their convictions, although others were probably, through youthful exuberance, participating in what they thought was a lively event in their young lives. But what will be the position in about 5 or 10 years’ time when one of these demonstrators is seeking promotion in the Public Service? The man adjudicating on the promotion might be a bitter type, perhaps a crusty old Tory like some honourable members opposite, and ASIO might report that the person concerned was arrested by the police outside the Prime Minister’s Lodge in 1968 and produce a photograph of that person being thrown into a van. Would reports and photographs of this kind be used against a person who was arrested for demonstrating when he was a boy? 1 will go so far as to say that there must have been some people who were refused promotion on flimsy grounds simply because the authority concerned took a very serious view of such an incident.
– That is pure conjecture.
– We do not know. Nobody knows. There is no right of appeal. I will quote an incident that occurred many years ago. A certain bank manager who is now dead came to me and said that one of his staff had been charged at a court with evading a twopenny fare. He said: M do not know whether the young man evaded it or not, but unless something can bc done he will find that when he is due for promotion in about 15 years’ time somebody will produce a report and say that he cannot be a bank manager as he was once convicted of evading a fare’. He asked whether something could be done about it. The point is that such incidents are held against people. The adjudicating person might simply be a nark or he might be a man of high principle or strong religious conviction who does not like demonstrators of any kind. The result is that an officer may be refused promotion to a higher position in the Public Service. This is unjust even if it occurs only once.
As the honourable member for Ox le mentioned, and I think it is general knowledge, a person does not have to be a skilled investigator t» be employed by ASIO. These people come from all sources. Not all of them are trained in police work. I have mentioned participation in demonstrations. T recall seeing a person from my electorate waving a banner one night outside Parliament House. I know that this girl’s family would have been horrified if they had known that she was demonstrating.
But the fact is that at some future date when promotion is due somebody may produce the old film showing this person waving a banner saying: ‘Down with Askin and the Liberals’ or something to that effect. People may laugh at what I am saying, but nobody knows who is refused promotion because of such incidents. There is no right of appeal and we arc told that a system of appeal cannot be instituted.
I suggest that the Government should seriously consider this matter. I know that during the Second World War some people were refused permission to buy land because of reports by the Security Service at that time, although such reports often proved to be farcical after a thorough investigation. ] know of one person who was refused the right to buy land at Five Dock. It appears that it was reported that the person should not be allowed to buy land near a military area. Hardly a rowing boat could get near the bit of land that he wanted to purchase. The report was probably prepared by ;i person from Western Australia who thought that Five Dock was a military zone.
In fairness to everyone concerned, I believe that there should be a right of appeal. This is particularly so in regard to public servants throughout Australia. It must be said that this is one of the most dangerous aspects of ASiO’s work as we do not know what men in the Public Service have been unjustly denied promotion to a higher position. I wonder whether those concerned are called in and told the reason why they have been refused promotion. 1 doubt that they are. 1 believe that all that they would know is that they did not get the job. A person could be condemned by someone who is genuinely horror stricken at the thought of a person being thrown into a police van outside the Prime Minister’s Lodge. It is beyond doubt that photographic records are kept. There must be some reason for this. I think that the honourable member for Oxley has raised very important issues tonight. First there is the question of the qualifications of ASIO officers and then there is the need for a right of appeal. Parliament has a right to know the actual number of public servants who have been refused promotion because of ASIO reports.
– It is contempuous of Parliament.
– It is, yes. To say that no system of appeal can be brought in is incorrect. I was a member of this Parliament at the time when a former Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, as he then was, named nien who, according to a report of the Security Service, were Communists. Inside 24 hours he had to withdraw some names publicly and apologise to the people concerned because the report had proved to be completely unfounded. Had those persons been public servants they could, under this system, have been refused promotion. They would have had no right of appeal. The Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) is a very highly skilled and qualified man of law. I hope that he can introduce the reforms that that are very necessary and desirable. The Australian Labor Party also believes that prospective immigrants who are refused admittance to Australia because of reports of this nature should have some right of appeal, too. I am one who thinks that changing circumstances, a change in a man’s thinking, his age and the events of time must be taken into consideration. I am not confident that investigators always take these factors into consideration. There are some people who, if they saw a person walking into a Communist bookshop say once a week, would be horrified to think that it could be used as prima facie evidence that one was a Communist supporter. But the person who did that may have been just interested in finding out what the enemy was saying. What would be the result in the Public Service if it was said that an ASIO report indicated that Mr Smith had been seen going into a Communist bookshop every week for 12 months? Would the Public Service accept his word that he was an avid reader of the opposition point of view and wanted to know what they were thinking? Personally I doubt whether it would, no matter how truthful a man might be. It is all right to say it cannot happen, but it can happen.
I know from my long experience in politics that guilt by association is an accepted principle of the Liberal Party. When we marched in 8-hour day processions, if a rather well known Communist happened to be there we were listed in Liberal propaganda as being Communist supporters. These things have happened. One can be charged with guilt by association. Everyone knows that it was just as silly for the Liberal Party to try to make out that if one marched in an Anzac Day procession with a former fellow soldier who happened to be a Communist one was dis.cribed as being a Communist. Election propaganda put out by the Liberal Party claimed guilt by association in such cases.
That could easily apply to the Public Service. I know that Public Service organisations have raised this matter in various spheres. 1 am surprised that there has not been a more vocal protest by the Public Service organisations and public servants themselves about private condemnation and the wrecking of careers as a result of reports, the substance of which nobody knows. Nobody knows what the evidence is, except one or two people and probably the Attorney-General. There is no right of appeal whatever. Not one member of. this Parliament knows what public servants career may well have been wrecked on evidence that is certainly not false but which could be prima facie evidence of guilt by association. The person concerned might have been as free of any sin in this regard as any person in this chamber. Therefore, I believe that the honourable member for Oxley raised a very important matter. I hope that the Attorney-General will answer in full the question that was asked by the honourable member for Oxley and will present to this Parliament some proposal for a right of appeal against decisions based on ASIO reports which could ruin the careers of many people.
– The main question that was raised in the debate on the estimates for my Department was the activity of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I will say a word about that Organisation in a moment. Two other matters were raised with which I wish to deal briefly. The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) referred to the subject of civil liberties and spoke about the use of bugging devices. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), who followed the honourable member for Hunter, suggested that the recently proposed legislation to outlaw these devices was an attack on civil liberties because it included some qualifications. I point out to the Committee that the initiative in suggesting legislation to prohibit the use of these devices came from the Commonwealth. The present
Government has shown that it is particularly careful to preserve civil liberties and. in this instance, to take an active part in extending civil liberties, lt was on Commonwealth initiative that the prohibition of the use of these devices was raised at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. 1 remind honourable members that at the present time there is no prohibition on their use. The police can use them freely and private citizens can use them freely, subject only to the general law of the land. Under the law of trespass one cannot go on to someone else’s property unlawfully and put bugging devices there and use them. Under the law of defamation one cannot obtain private material and use it in a way that is defamatory of other persons, lt has been the view of this Government’ that the present general law, which has been directed to the circumstances of a different age, is not adequate to protect the right to privacy of the individual. It was for this reason that the Government raised with the State Attorneys-General the question of passing some law to regulate or prohibit the use of bugging devices. This is a matter that is finally to be considered at the next meeting of the Standing Committee, but in the meantime a draft Bill on the lines of a general prohibition, with certain exceptions, has been considered. To speak of that proposed legislation as an attack on civil liberties is utter nonsense. It has been suggested that because there are certain qualifications in the Bill it is an attack on civil liberties. This is twisting the facts of the situation. In point of fact, this Bill is a step forward in advancing civil liberties, and everyone knows it.
The next matter raised by the honourable member for Hunter was that al some period I had been in favour of withdrawing the scholarships of students who were convicted of offences connected with demonstrations.
– I did not say that.
– The honourable member for Hunter referred to students who were concerned in demonstrations. All I can say is that I have received a very large amount of correspondence on this subject from irate taxpayers who express dissatisfaction at their lax money being used in giving scholarships to people taking part in these demonstrations. Although I have had lo consider the matters raised in these letters, I myself have never taken the view that student scholarships should be withdrawn.
The main matter that was dealt with by previous speakers on these estimates was the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I adopt the same attitude that all Prime Ministers have adopted since the establishment of ASIO. I shall not discuss in detail its operations and I am not prepared to confirm or deny any allegations about its operations. J point out to the Committee that this organisation was originally established by Prime Minister Chifley. I think he was right to establish it. It is governed in its present operations by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1956. Anyone who takes the trouble to read that Act will see that its powers and its objects are very limited indeed. The functions of the Organisation «.re to obtain, correlate and evaluate intelligence relevant to security, to advise Ministers and to co-operate with departments. Security is defined as meaning the protection of the Commonwealth and the Territories of the Commonwealth from acts of espionage, sabotage or subversion. That is all the Organisation does. It is typical of those who have launched attacks on this organisation to speak of it as a police force. They talk as if Australia had a kind of secret police. The honourable member for Hunter referred to it as the Commonwealth security police. If he takes the trouble to read the Act he will see that it has no police function whatever. It is purely an intelligence gathering organisation. All civilised countries in the world have this type of intelligence gathering organisation. Such an organisation is necessary for the protection of the country against espionage, sabotage and subversion. The Security Service is under my administration, and I can assure honourable members that because it exists they may sleep sounder at night in their beds than they otherwise would. I can also say that other developed countries with whom we have alliances would be most reluctant to share their classified information with us if we did not have a Security Intelligence Organisation to protect this classified information. They would regard the possession of such an organisation as absolutely essential, and it is only because we have such an Organisation - and indeed in any comparison with other organisations in the world it stands in high regard - that they are prepared to trust us as an ally with classified information.
– Does it work in co-operation with the Central Intelligence Agency?
– Is it not a kind of CIA?
– I refer honourable members who are interjecting to my remarks when I started to discuss the Organisation. It deals only with sabotage, subversion and espionage, and in so far as its work in that regard may require it to co-operate with any body or to make any investigation, I would hope that it would do so. I am not prepared to discuss the actual details of its operations. It is plain - and I think that everyone who has ever discussed this matter has agreed - that it is necessary in the case of such an intelligence organisation, which is also engaged in counter intelligence, that its activities should not be the subject of public debate otherwise its effectiveness would be completely removed. This is obvious. I suggst it is also obvious that those people who would have the most reason to have the Organisation abolished or to have its powers, reduced would be those against whom its intelligence or counter intelligence activities are directed.
I do not say that those honourable members who have spoken tonight have done so in any other spirit than in a parliamentary spirit and in a spirit of inquiry in relation to this Organisation. But I have read a great deal of publicity of a highly speculative and slanted nature in various publications which are directed to denigrating this Organisation. In the interests of Australia it is desirable that we should appreciate the high standard and the good service that this Organisation in fact gives, because those people who wish to have it abolished or those people who are troubled or hampered by its activities will try to denigrate it by insinuation, by speculation and by getting publicity and headlines about it. Those people who try to have it restricted are satisfying mainly those who are enemies of Australia against whom the Organisation’s activities are directed.
There is one aspect that was dealt with specifically and lastly by the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). This was the question whether security reports might have prevented a person from getting an appointment. I think this is a serious matter for consideration. I listened with interest to the remarks of honourable members on this point. I rest at this stage on the answer which the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) gave on 13th June 1968. In that answer he called attention to the fact that in few cases would security reports have prevented a person from getting an appointment. However, in dealing with a principle, whether the cases be few or many, the question arises whether public interest is best served in this case, paying duc regard to the rights of individual citizens. There are many factors either way to be considered in determining the question whether to give some form of appeal in this field. I appreciate the arguments that have been put forward, and I assure honourable members that this matter will be kept under consideration. But at this stage I have nothing lo add to the answer which the Prime Minister gave on the subject on 13th June.
– f would like to. know from the Attorney-General, if he will favour the Committee with a second reply. Will he state whether there is a real basic difference between the activities of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Central intelligence Agency. Will he explain the functions of both organisations? Cun he give us an assurance that (he Australian Security Intelligence Organisation does not spend public funds in interfering with the internal affairs of trade unions and by bribing people to do certain things on behalf of the Organisation?
The Attorney-General will recall that before this Organisation was established there was a special bribery fund from which one, Charlie Nelson, received the sum of £300 from the then Treasurer, Mr Fadden. The money was paid as a bribe to this union official in order to secure certain reactions from him. ) would like to have an assurance that this form of bribery, which was shown tip in that case, has not been continued by the present Organisation.
– Who set up ASIO?
– This Organisation, as we now know it, was set up by the Chifley Government under the control of a judge, whose place was taken by a military man. To be quite frank, I have not very much confidence in military men generally. I have not had the good fortune to meet Brigadier Spry, to my knowledge, although they say that you do not know whether you have met him or not. You could be sitting alongside him and talking to him and you would not know him. But, of course, this does not worry me. I cast no aspersions on the man. I repeat that I do not know him so I cannot say anything good or bad about him. But I want an assurance from the Attorney-General that telephones of trade union officials are not being tapped. The Minister has given an assurance that the telephones of members of Parliament are not being tapped. I said then, and I repeat it now, that I accept completely and without question the assurance given by the present Attorney-General. Although he belongs to a different political party, I have enough faith in him as a jurist, as a man of the law, as a man who understands the principles of British justice and civil liberties and as a man who has defended those principles all his life, to believe that he would not tolerate this sort of situation.
But I cannot help but recall that when the Bill to authorise telephone tapping was introduced into the Parliament an attempt was made originally by the then AttorneyGeneral, Sir Garfield Barwick, specifically to exclude from the authority vested in the security service the right to tap telephones of members of Parliament. I think that very properly the Government decided to omit that provision from the Bill, and it is not in the present Act. It was a proper omission because members of Parliament, in a sense, are not entitled to any greater protection than anybody else, and other people are not entitled to any less protection than members of Parliament - indeed, rather the reverse. I am rather suspicious of two things. The first is that telephone tapping is taking place of calls between trade union officials and, secondly, that telephone tapping is in fact taking place on a political level. 1 am not happy with the way the security service is engaged in infiltrating student organisations at the universities. I believe a good deal of the taxpayers’ money is being squandered by these people in chasing university students and the like.
– Have you any proof of that?
– Yes, we have proof of it. We have had admissions from people at the universities that this kind of thing is happening. I do not want to see this country, in its determination to stamp out authoritarian forms of government and the activities of people who are anti-democratic, having to adopt anti-democratic principles itself in order to fight these authoritarian movements. This could very easily happen, and if it does happen we will have lost our fight against totalitarianism. If we allow ourselves to be conned into adopting the very principles of totalitarianism as a means of fighting totalitarianism then we become a totalitarian country ourselves.
I remind the Committee of the time when Sir Robert Menzies, as he now is, returned from Egypt after his conference with Colonel Nasser during the Suez crisis. Sir Anthony Eden in his memoirs referred to letters sent to him by Sir Robert Menzies, who, of course, wanted to paint the worst possible picture of Egypt. Sir Robert Menzies said: ‘Egypt has all the characteristics of a police state.’ The first matter be listed to illustrate his point was this: ‘It condones the tapping of telephones.’ Sir Robert Menzies considered that the very act of tapping the telephone of a private citizen in any country represented the hallmark of the police state and he condemned it. But we did not know then that telephones were actually being tapped in Australia at the time. It was only after a great deal of questioning in this Parliament by me and by the former member for East Sydney, and others, that we learned from the then Attorney-General, now the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick, during the debate on the Bill to authorise telephone tapping that the tapping of telephones had been going on aU the time the Government was denying it. The Bill to authorise it was a Bill merely to legalise something that had been going on for some time.
I can well understand that in some circumstances a government may believe it must make certain denials, or at least refrain from giving definite answers to questions, but it seems to me that these downy-faced sleuths who are employed by the security service have asked the Government for far more power than they have needed, and the Government has granted that power.
We can get a fair measure of their activities when we look at the cost of those activities. A perusal of the Budget shows that the cost of this organisation is about ten times as much now as it was when it was first established. A tremendous sum of money is being spent by the organisation and 1 would like the Minister to give us his assurance that the service is not being carried on in the same way as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. I would like him to assure us that it is not tapping the telephones of trade union officials.
– Would there nol be ten times as many subversive people in Australia today?
– I am glad the honourable member for Kennedy interjected because he represents Mount Isa and 1 am reminded of what happened during the Mount Isa dispute. I have evidence of what occurred, but, like the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen), I do not intend to give the source of my information. If I did give the source of my information, that source would dry up. But I do know that the security service did interfere with telephone conversations to people in Mount Isa. lt did intercept letters to Mount Isa. It did intercept and report back to this Government on telegrams sent to Mount lsa. None other than my very dear friend the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) was able to tell me about the contents of a telegram that I sent to Pat Mackie which Pat Mackie never received. Honourable members opposite may laugh. They consider this very funny, but of course it proves my point. Here was a telegram that I sent to Pat Mackie and which Pat Mackie did not receive. Nevertheless the Treasurer was able to tell me about the contents of it. I also know that the security service had representatives at Mount Isa pimping on the people engaged in the industrial dispute that was going on at the time. This cannot be denied. I maintain that if this organisation intrudes itself into activities such as industrial disputes it is misusing its powers, and this is something that ought to be stopped.
– Two points made by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) seem to call for some comment from me. He asked whether there was any basic difference between the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America. Of course I am not prepared to compare the ASIO with any other organisation, whether in the United States, United Kingdom or any other country nor am I prepared to discuss the detail of its activities. But I can assure the honourable member that it closely observes the precise limits placed upon it by the statute under which it was authorised by this Parliament to act. It is very easy for people to make speculative references to what the organisation is doing and it is very tempting to reply, but I refrain from yielding to that temptation and all I will say is that I will follow the usual principle. But I do give the assurance that the organisation acts in accordance with the statute and not as was insinuated during the debate, in a political way.
The subject of telephone tapping was also referred to. As the honourable member knows, this is governed by another statute, the Telephonic Communications Interception Act. The provisions governing telephone tapping in this country would be as tight as provisions in any other country. It was only in about March of 1967 that anything approaching them was introduced into the United States of America. These provisions place very precise limits on the use of telephone tapping for security purposes by ASIO. But it would obviously be ridiculous to try to give any assurance in respect of any particular class in the community, and I do not propose to do so. I am not resiling from my earlier statement in relation to members of Parliament, but if I am asked to give an assurance about any particular set of citizens or any particular class of people in the community and to say that ASIO would not intrude into their affairs if the occasion arose under the statute and the security of the Commonwealth was involved, then obviously I could not give such an assurance.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Motion (by Mr Bowen) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I rise tonight in a rather unusual role - that is, to protect the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) against a bitter attack made on him by the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull). I thought that at least some members of his own Party might have risen but as they have not seen fit to do so I bring this matter to the attention of the House. I hope that the Minister will remember me kindly later for the defence 1 make on his behalf tonight against what I regard as being a bitter and unwarranted attack by the honourable member for Mallee. As honourable members know, there is some concern among wheat growers about the new wheat stabilisation plan introduced by the Minister for Primary Industry. Far be it from me to talk of disunity, but there does not seem to be much unity in the Government ranks on this question. 1 refer members to an article that appeared in the Melbourne ‘Age’ under the heading Wheat Growers Plan Protest’. The article is a report of a meeting in Bendigo, and it states:
Victorian wheat growers yesterday empowered a Federal MP to help them take their case against the Government’s wheat stabilisation plan to tha Prime Minister.
More than 700 growers attended the Stale’s largest wheat grower meeting for 30 years in Bendigo Town Hall.
That is the intelligent gentleman who is writing a reply to me at the moment - offered to try to arrange a meeting between the Australian Wheat Growers’ Association and a Government delegation including the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), the Treasurer (Mr McMahon), and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony).
We must go to the people behind authority - the Prime Minister can’t refuse to listen to our request,’ Mr Turnbull said.
He said many parliamentary representatives of wheat growers had been criticised over the plan.
People should realise the wheat plan was the doing of the Federal Government, Mr Turnbull said. 1 ask honourable members to listen to the next quote:
Don’t they realise that Mr Anthony is just a messenger boy to and from Cabinet?’ he asked.
The honourable member did not even use the phraseology of the Country Party. He could have called the Minister a billy boy, a wood and water joey or a rouseabout. He could have used any of these Country Party terms. He might well have given the Minister some prestige by calling him a courier, intermediary or consultant. However, he called the Minister a messenger boy between Cabinet and members. lust who was the honourable member speaking about? It was an amazing statement. He was speaking of the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party, the future Leader of that Party and the future Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, if we are to believe what we hear from that Party. He was speaking of the Minister for Primary Industry - a member of the Cabinet, a member of the first eleven, the sponsor of the new wheat scheme and the negotiator in Geneva when the Treasurer might well have taken the place of another Minister had he not gone to Geneva. The honourable member for Mallee spoke in this way of one of the most important men, so we are told, in the Country Party and the next Leader of that Party. I again remind members of what he said. He said:
Don’t they realise that Mr Anthony is just a messenger boy to and from Cabinet?’
That was an amazing statement. I wonder why some honourable members from the Government side did not defend the Minister who, after all, is a man with a high reputation for integrity and ability. I thought that some member might have acknowledged this. I am surprised that the honourable member for Mallee who has years of parliamentary experience behind him should, in an endeavour to escape the wrath of those wheat growers who do not like the scheme that has been sponsored by the Minister, launch into such a bitter and unwarranted attack on one of his distinguished colleagues in this Parliament and should do so before a gathering of 700 wheat growers - men who would die for the cause of the Country Party. What a shocking thing it was for him to drag down the future Leader of his Party.
Have we not seen the honourable member for Mallee rise in this Parliament when there has been some slight disagreement in the Opposition and speak of the grave disunity in the ranks of Labor members? Yet here was one of the’ senior members of the Australian Country Party attacking a most senior member of the Party at a public gathering at a time when solidarity above all things is needed in the ranks of the Government parties because the wheat scheme is causing so much dissension. He was attempting to undermine the scheme and was trying to destroy completely the prestige, honour and reputation of the man who sponsored the scheme. I was almost overcome when I read this report. I was so moved by the attack that I thought someone should speak tonight on the Minister’s behalf. This was a bitter comment on the part of the honourable member for Mallee. Even if the honourable member regards the Minister as being in the category of the messenger boy he should have given him a decent title - say a courier, an intermediary or a consultant. It is degrading to call him a messenger boy. After all when a person starts as a messenger boy we say that he is on the bottom rung of the ladder on his way up. At the gathering in Bendigo the honourable member for Mallee described the Minister as being on the lowest rung of the ladder. The Minister, modest man that he is, would not agree that he is just starting his career. He is well up the ladder, but at this meeting the ladder was kicked from under him by the honourable member for Mallee and the Minister was on the ground again.
No matter how strongly the honourable member feels for the wheat growers and no matter how much he may cry about the great losses they will probably sustain through this wheat scheme, I never thought that this roaring lion, now being tamed by the Opposition, would get up at a public gathering and attack the Deputy Leader of his Party and drag down his reputation for the sake, I suppose, of saving a few votes in the electorate of Mallee. His position must be tottering, so great will be the effect of the scheme on wheat growers.
Tonight, more in sorrow than in anger, I rise to place on record my regret at the attack by the honourable member for Mallee. I know that it may well be used against me, but I could not let a man who has risen to such a high position in the Country Party and is expected to be Deputy Prime Minister go unprotected against this premeditated attack on his integrity. I have recorded my expressions and I hope that the honourable member for Mallee will justify his statement and will tell us just what moved him to make such an attack. Perhaps he will do the decent thing and withdraw his statement or, at least, promote the Minister to a higher level than that of messenger boy to which he reduced him. So overcome was the honourable member for Mallee by the inroads made on his tottering vote by the wheat stabilisation scheme which the Minister introduced that he made this attack. I leave it at that; I think all has been said that should be said.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.19 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Air, upon notice:
What is the re-engagement rate for Air Force servicemen at the end of (a) a first engagement, (b) a second engagement, (c) a third engagement and (d) subsequent engagements?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Air, upon notice:
Will he consider making a helicopter available in Western Australia for rescue and other emergency duties?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
My Department is examining the possibility of positioning two Iroquois helicopters at Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce for defence purposes.
The use of Service helicopters is limited to defence tasks and urgent tasks of national importance for government departments and assistance to civil organisations in time of emergency when other resources, including Service fixed wing aircraft and civil helicopters, are not suitable or are inadequate for the particular task.
Should these aircraft be based at Pearce, the RAAF would give assistance wherever possible in such circumstances. However, it will be appreciated that with the relatively low speed of helicopters and the large distances involved in Western Australia, the ability to give timely assistance may be severely limited.
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics -15th October 1965
Polish People’s Republic - 20th June 1966
People’s Republic of Bulgaria - 22nd June 1966
Socialist Republic of Romania - 18th May 1967
Hungarian People’s Republic - 15th December 1967
A treaty of commerce extending mostfavourednation treatment, was signed with Czechoslovakia in August 1936. It has never been terminated but has, for all practical purposes, been superseded by the obligations of both countries as members of GATT.
Exchange of most-favoured-nation treatment
Consultations as required
Four year duration with provision forsubsequent termination ninety days after receipt by either party of written notice of intention of terminate.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s questions is as follows:
As at 30th June 1968, sixty-seven mailservices were in operation in the Federal Electoral Division of Oxley. During the past three years, the following variations have been made:
(i) On 9.1.1967 a new road service commenced between Brisbane and Kingaroy to replace curtailed rail services. This service provides for the distribution of mail between 16 post offices on the route and following its introduction amended time-tables providing earlier delivery were introduced on the following services:
Fernvale-Sim Jues Creek
On 1.7.1968 a new mail service was introduced between Gatton and Laidley to provide an earlier delivery of mails to Laidley, Previously, early morning mails were delayed for several hours at Gatton awaiting departure of the rail connecting service to Laidley.
Reduced frequencies were introduced on four services as follows:
Esk-Bryden mail service reduced from six to three times weekly from 1.7.1967, due to a decrease in the volume of mail carried on the service and a corresponding increase in conveyance costs.
Fernvale-Sim Jues Creek mail service reduced from six to four times weekly from 1.7.1968 due to high increased cost of operation.
Harlin-Grieves mail service reduced from six times to thrice weekly from 1.7.1968 due to the high cost of maintaining the service.
Yarraman-Neumgna mail service reduced from six to three times weekly from 1.7.1968 due to the low volume of mail carried and the high cost of maintaining the service.
Twelve services were extended to provide service to a greater number of residents, some services being extended on several occasions, effective from the dates shown:
Walloon-Glamorgan Vale 1.7.1965 - extension to Schubels box serving six additional residences. 1.1.1966 - due to closure of Haigs Lea Post Office service was extended to serve 31 residences plus a further extension to Berlin box to serve an additional three residences. 1.12.1966 - service extended to
Cochrane’s to serve an additional eleven residences.
Dayboro-Mount Mee 1.8.1967 - service extended to Forestry Reserve to serve ten additional residences. 1.1.1968 - extension to Pedwell’s box serving four additional residences.
Gatton-Mount Sylvia 15.4.1968 - extension to Eastaugh’s box to serve five additional residences.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 September 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1968/19680911_reps_26_hor60/>.