18th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– On the9th February, I undertook to bring to the notice of the Treasurer a question asked by Senator Nash as to whether the Government intends to make an early review of the assistance being given to the Western Australian gold-mining industry. The Treasurer has now supplied me with the following information: -
On the 5th November last year I promised that a further review would be made of the gold-mining industry in Western Australia early this year. The review, insofar as it relates to the general problems facing the industry as a whole, has been commenced, but naturally it will take some time before a reexamination of the position of the individual mines can be completed. Much detailed work is involved in such investigation and I do not anticipate that the complete review will be finalized before the end of March.
– On the 16th Feb ruary, Senator Sandford asked a question concerning the supply of petrol for an additional 200 taxis in the City of Melbourne. As a result of my inquiries, I am now able to advise the honorable senator that the total number of vehicles licensed for hire work in Brisbane is 879, in Melbourne 1,175, and in Sydney 2,057: In each city the licensing authority differentiates between taxis and hire cars. In Brisbane there are 77 hire cars, compared with 525 in Melbourne and 479 in Sydney. Hire cars must be taken into account when considering the total number of vehicles available for hire. The public demand for car hiring facilities, the geographical features of a city, and the suitability of available means of public transport are all factors which have resulted in some Australian cities being more taxi conscious than others. It is therefore not reasonable to accept population as a basis when determining the number of taxis or hire cars to be granted motor spirit licences. My decision to refuse fuel licences to any new taxi operators is based on the fact that existing operators are severely rationed and in these circumstances it would not be reasonable to permit further taxi fuel licences to be issued at the present time. Those operators already licensed are not being permitted, because of rationing, to use the quantities of motor spirit they used before rationing commenced. There is an increasing demand for car hiring facilities, and to meet this position it has been decided to make small petrol increases available to existing operators. When making this decision the opportunity was taken to adjust many anomalies which had become apparent in city and country rations in some States when compared with similar rations existing in other States.
Senator AYLETT (through Senator
Nash) asked the. Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
What amount of petrol tax was collected in Australia during the financial year 1947-48 (a) on all aviation spirits, and (b) on all petrol used on road transport, both private and business?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer: -
The total collections of duty on petrol for the financial year 1947-48 were as follows: - (a) Aviation spirit, £1,120,641; (b) other petrol,£ 17,284,302. With regard to (c) the amount applicable to petrol used for road transport cannot be determined from the figures available.
– The announced policy of the Government is to establish television stations in all of the capital cities. As the population of Newcastle and the surrounding district is at least double that of the capital of Tasmania, will the Postmaster-General give an assurance to the Senate that the Newcastle district will be served with this new medium?
– After the 15th March the matter of the installation of television apparatus will be considered by the Australian Broadcasting Board. The policy of the Government is to provide, wherever it is physically and financially possible to do so, a broadcasting station in every capital city. This qualification is necessary because of the abnormal demand for the installation of telephones at present. Since it is possible to relay television similarly to broadcasting, I am perfectly certain that sympathetic consideration will be given to the claims of such a prosperous centre as Newcastle.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether, as stated by Mr. E. L. Miller in Sydney yesterday, between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of finest slack coal is stored underground at Hartley Main colliery awaiting removal ? Is the removal of this coal, which is urgently needed at the Bunnerong power house, being delayed because the Joint Coal Board will not give permission to Mr. Miller, the owner of the mine, to install certain machinery which at present is idle on the surface? “Was not the installation of that machinery, which is worth many thousands of pounds, authorized under plans approved by the former Coal Commissioner, Mr. Norman Mighell?
– I wish that I could select winners at the races as successfully as I am able to forecast the subjects about which members of the Opposition will ask questions on the basis of reports appearing in the daily press. Anticipating that the Leader of the Opposition, or one of his colleagues, would ask a question on the subject, 1 am in a position to give a full reply. Approval for the re-opening of Hartley Main colliery was given by the Commonwealth Coal Commissioner, Mr. Mighell, on the 27th November, 1945, in the following terms : -
This approval is given on the understanding that the Commonwealth Government will not be called upon to pay any subsidy in respect to operations at the mine, nor will it advance any funds towards its development.
Subsequently, during 1948, Mr. Mille: approached the Joint Coal Board for financial assistance amounting to £25,000 for the development of the colliery. After the examination, the board decided that at that stage it was not interested in the development of the property to produce 1,000 tons a day, which would cost some hundreds of thousands of pounds, because there are many other areas which can be developed more quickly and economically. The seam at Hartley Main is thin, and very heavy expenditure would be required both underground and because of the location of the mine for handling and transport facilities. On the 19th November, 1948, Mr. Miller issued notices of dismissal to a number of employees at Hartley Main and stated that he intended to install a Jeffrey loader on the 24th November to load slack coal. The board has made it clear that mechanization must be used to increase output and that it will not permit employees to be displaced. For this reason Mr. Miller was advised that permission would not he given for the loader to be installed until the board’s district mining engineer had been advised of Mr. Miller’s complete plan which he himself could finance for the mechanization and development of the colliery. These plans have not yet been received. The board is constantly pressing all colliery proprietors to mechanize their mines and increase output.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -
Reports on Items.
– On behalf of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Courtice), I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects : -
Long handled pruning shears.
Motor vehicle bodies and pressed metal panels for the manufacture of motor vehicle bodies - Questions of temporary admission under by-law.
Thioglycollic acid and ammonium thioglycollate.
Ordered to be printed.
Bill received from the House ofRepresentatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
As all honorable senators are aware, His Excellency the Governor-General, on the 11th January last, appointed a royal commissioner to inquire into and report upon certain matters relating to timber rights in the Territory of Papua-New Guinea. Those matters relate to the administration of the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward). The authority for the appointment of the royal commissioner was, in part, the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1933, and, in part, the inherent executive power residing in the Governor-General. The validity of theRoyal Commissions Act was considered some 35 years ago by the Privy Council in the case of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited against the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth. In that case it was held that theRoyal Commissions Act was invalid to the extent that it attempted to authorize a royal commissioner to compel answers to questions generally, or to order the production of documents generally. As a result of that decision, there is a doubt whether the present royal commissioner has power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the answering of questions by witnesses, or to order the production of documents. However, it was made clear by the Privy Council that if a specific act were passed by this Parliament, authorizing an inquiry into a specific matter related to the powers of the Commonwealth, that act would be valid.
The present royal commission is of great importance, and it is essential that there should be no doubt about the powers of the royal commissioner. I am sure that all honorable senators will agree that the royal commissioner should have all the powers required for the effective prosecution of his inquiry. This bill, therefore, proposes to strengthen the powers of the royal commissioner in the manner indicated by the Privy Council. It will place beyond doubt the commissioner’s power to require a person to give evidence or to produce documents. The royal commissioner is a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, and there is no question that the powers proposed to be given to him by this bill will be wisely used. On at least three other occasions bills such as this have been introduced to strengthen the powers of a royal commission. I refer to theRoyal Commission on the Meat Export Trade in 1914, the Royal Commission on Petrol in 1933, and theRoyal Commission on Wheat in 1935.
– There is no doubt that the passing of this measure is a matter of urgency, as the royal commission inquiring into timber rights in the Territory of Papua-New Guinea needs confirmation of its powers in order that it may continue with its work. The bill is designed to strengthen the powers of the commission, which was appointed earlier this year consequent upon certain legal proceedings that took place early in 1948. The validity of other royal commissions has been successfully challenged, and therefore it is necessary that a measure of this character be enacted so as to validate the inquiry. The evidence that has been submitted to the commission since its inquiry began has created great public interest, as did the court proceedings last year. Thousands of people throughout Australia are keenly interested in the inquiry, and there is evidence of growing public uneasiness regarding the scope of the commission’s terms of reference. A feeling is prevalent that the terms of reference are not wide enough and do not provide the commissioner with sufficient authority to probe all of the various matters that have been brought to the surface during the proceedings of the commission. In my opinion, this bill should have been introduced and passed as soon as the royal commission was appointed. The commission has been in operation since the 11th January and the Government, advised by its legal experts, should have been able to foresee then that the inquiry would reach the stage at which it has now arrived. It could’ well have anticipated the situation by introducing the bill as soon as the Parliament reassembled this year. It seems to me that the commissioner has not been fairly treated. As a learned judge, he must have known that his jurisdiction could be challenged by an interested party at any time. Members of this Parliament must decide whether the bill in its present form will arm the commissioner with sufficient power to enable him to examine all of the matters that have been raised in the course of his inquiry. A multiplicity of questions has arisen during the brief period in which the commission has been at work. Other questions go farther back. They date back to the early part of 1948, when certain legal proceedings were initiated. A number of matters that arose during those proceedings could well be investigated by the royal commission. They are of great public interest, and have caused doubts and suspicions in the minds of many people. It would be of no use for us to defer inquiries about those matters until the report of the commissioner is submitted to the Parliament, because then opportunities to secure redress of any wrong or to instigate further investigations would be lost. Now is the time to establish the widest possible scope of inquiry for the commission. I am sure that the commissioner would avail himself of such opportunities should they be granted to him. The whole situation should be clarified, and all doubts and suspicions should be allayed. The terms of reference of the royal commission, which are set out in the preamble to the bill, are confined to certain specific matters. In the first place, they deal with transactions involved between Raymond Parer, Harcourt Garden, Edward
Farrell, John Smith Garden, and Hancock and Gore Limited in relation to timber rights in the Territory of Papua-New Guinea. The terms of reference continue -
Those matters relate specifically to timber rights in Papua-New Guinea. Then the terms of reference carry the matter a little further and authorize the royal commissioner to inquire into -
Whether the Minister -
Finally, the terms of reference deal with an entirely different matter which widens the scope of the investigation considerably. They empower the royal commissioner to ascertain -
That opens up an entirely different line of inquiry and the Opposition believes that that line should be pursued further because of the doubt and mistrust that exists in the public mind to-day. For instance, the terms of reference make no mention of WilliamUrquhart, who, as we all know, was closely connected with the firm of Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited. If the royal commissioner is to make a full examination of the affairs of that company, he must have authority to take evidence from William Urquhart or to demandUrquhart to produce papers, relevant to this matter. But Urquhart is not mentioned in this bill. He was once an employee of the Department of Labour and National Service.
– I rise to order. I submit that Urquhart’s prior employment has nothing to do with the subject-matter of the bill.
– My task in relation to this matter is most difficult. The object of the bill is to facilitate the proceedings of the royal commission now inquiring into New Guinea timber leases. As the matter is sub judice, honorable senators should be careful when speaking on this measure to keep their remarks within the limits of the bill, and to refrain from saying things which might be calculated to influence people. I have no desire to limit the expression by honorable senators of legitimate views, or to prevent them from fairly criticizing the measure, hut care must be taken 1o avoid impinging upon the proceedings of the royal commission. It is only British justice that when the freedom of individuals is in jeopardy, or their reputations are being assailed, members of this Parliament should not make statements which might prejudice the interests of those individuals. As I have said, the aim of the measure is to facilitate the proceedings of the royal commission, and I am sure that the royal commissioner will have all the power necessary to reach a just conclusion on the matters now before him. Amongst other things, the royal commissioner is authorized to discover whether the Minister for External Territories is or was financially interested, either directly or indirectly, in Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited. I have no doubt that when the royal commission reaches that phase of its inquiry, an exhaustive investigation will be made. That, I am sure, may be left to the royal commissioner. Therefore I ask honorable senators to confine their remarks strictly to the subject-matter of the bill, and to refrain from bringing into the discussion names which may well be left out of it. It is not my intention unduly to limit the debate on the measure, but, when dealing with a subject that is sub judice, certain propriety must be observed.
– I appreciate your view, Mr. President, and I can assure you that I am endeavouring to meet your desire for the widest possible inquiry by the royal commission now sitting. How ever, I consider that by introducing this measure the Government is pursuing the opposite course. The bill confines the royal commission’s inquiry to such narrow limits that I fear that when the commissioner’s report is presented to the Parliament, there will still be much doubt, mistrust, and perhaps a sense of injustice, in the public mind.
– There will not be any more injustice than the honorable senator himself is trying to do now.
– I am not doing any injustice when I say that a certain person was employed by the Department of Labour and National Service. Surely it is not a crime for a man to work for a government department. I was merely pointing out that Urquhart, whose name, so far as I know, has not been mentioned before the royal commission, was employed by the Department of Labour and National Service. At any rate, up till the time that the measure was introduced Urquhart was the managing director, of the company mentioned in the bill.
– I rise to order. I do not think that you, Mr. President, were emphatic enough in stating your ruling.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not criticize the Chair.
– I respectfully ask that you inform the Leader of the Opposition (.Senator Cooper) quite clearly whether his references to certain individuals are in order.
– Order! I speak as I think from the Chair, and I shall not tolerate any attempt by the honorable senator to influence my conduct of the proceedings of the chamber. I resent such action. I repeat that the Chair makes its decision according to its judgment, and I shall not tolerate attempts by honorable senators to influence the exercise of my judgment. Concerning the reference made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) to certain individuals who are alleged to have been concerned in the matters that are now being investigated by the royal commission, I have already pointed out that, as President of this chamber, I find myself seriously embarrassed by the debate. As honorable senators are aware, the measure was introduced while judicial proceedings were still current. I trust that I have already sufficiently emphasized the nature of the difficulty that confronts me. Because of the general knowledge of the course of the judicial proceedings to which I have referred, and because of my earnest desire not to prejudice any of the individuals concerned in those proceedings, I have appealed to honorable senators to refrain from introducing extraneous matter and from making unnecessary mention of the names of individuals who may be concerned in those proceedings. The Leader of the Opposition has referred to a Mr. William Urquhart. As President of the Senate I know nothing of that individual. 1 have before me a .bill that is designed to facilitate the proceedings of the royal commission, and to ensure that the commissioner has adequate power to compel the attendance of witnesses who may assist the inquiry. One of the terms of reference to the royal commissioner requires him to investigate whether the Minister for External Territories was financially interested in Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited. As I understand the measure, its passage will enable the royal commissioner to compel the attendance of any person who may be able to assist his inquiries into the various matters which he is required to investigate, including certain aspects of the operations of Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited. It is not necessary, therefore, for honorable senators to canvass at any length matters, the details of which are being investigated by the royal commissioner, because that is the express function of the commissioner, who is an independent and impartial judge. The royal commissioner is sufficiently intelligent, I am quite sure, to summon before him William Urquhart or any other person who may be able to assist his inquiries. Members of this chamber must not attempt to usurp the functions of the royal commissioner. Our present task is to consider in what way we can best facilitate the proceedings of the royal commissioner. The Government, in introducing the measure now before the Senate, is apparently endeavouring to confer full and complete power on the judge who has been appointed royal commissioner.
– May I explain my position very briefly, sir? When you, Mr. President, first mentioned this matter to-day I interpreted your remarks as an appeal to members of the chamber to refrain from making statements which might prejudice the rights of the persons who appear before the royal commission; in other words, that you had made an appeal similar to that which you have just made.
– Order ! Does the honorable senator desire to add anything to the statement he has already made?
– Yes, Mr. President. As I have said, I interpreted your earlier remarks, Mr. President, as a specific appeal to the Senate generally to refrain from mentioning the names of individuals and as a request to honorable senators to confine their remarks to matters that are within the limits of the measure. I applauded your appeal, and I respect the spirit which prompted you to make it. However, subsequently it seemed to me that the Leader of the Opposition was endeavouring, when he spoke on the second occasion, to circumvent your ruling, particularly when he mentioned the names of certain individuals. That is the reason why I rose to order.
– The Leader of the Opposition may now continue his remarks.
– In reply to the comments made by Senator Large concerning my earlier remarks, I point out that it is not my practice to endeavour to circumvent rulings of the Chair. In debate I go straight to the matters which appear important to me, and I speak the truth as it appears to me. What I have said, concerning the activities of certain individuals who were connected with the matters into which the royal commissioner is now inquiring, has a direct bearing upon the measure now under consideration. Even the bill mentions the names of a number of individuals, such as Raymond Parer, Harcourt Garden, John Smith Garden and others.
– The honorable senator can talk about those individuals as much as he likes.
– Their names have been mentioned in previous proceedings, and I was simply pointing out-
– I rise to order. On behalf of the Government, I desire to make it clear, Mr. President, that I take no exception to reference being made to any individual mentioned in the bill, but in fairness to other individuals who may be concerned in the proceedings before the royal commission, my view is that their names should not be mentioned.
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) has raised an objection which is difficult for me to decide. I have endeavoured to make my position quite clear. I have asked honorable senators to refrain from mentioning any more names of individuals. The individuals mentioned in the bill are specifically included in the terms of reference to the royal commissioner, and reference may be made by honorable senators to those individuals. However, if honorable senators insist on introducing the names of other individuals I may have to intervene. Any honorable senator who takes part in the debate on this measure should endeavourto confine himself to the terms of the bill, which has been introduced, as I have already pointed out, in order to facilitate the proceedings before the royal commission. As ‘ President of the Senate I cannot prevent any honorable senator from mentioning the names of individuals outside the chamber, but from the standpoint of propriety and justice, and in common fairness to individuals whose liberty may be involved as the result of the current judicial proceedings, I appeal to all honorable senators to refrain from introducing into the debate the names of any more individuals. The Leader of the Opposition may continue.
– I think that the matters to which I have referred have a most important bearing upon the work of the royal commissioner. I shall not mention any more names of individuals, but I must point out that the terms of reference referred to in this measure do not provide for any investigation of .the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of an individual who appeared as a witness in the criminal proceedings last year, and produced some important documents affecting a Minister of State for the Commonwealth whose name is specifically mentioned in the bill. We do not know what happened to that individual. Officially, he simply disappeared. Unofficially, however, it has been said that he was seen in Melbourne recently, where he is carrying on business. The disappearance of that individual is certainly a matter which should be investigated, because the people of Australia consider that he is being kept away from the royal commission for a specific purpose. Although there may be no connexion at all between the disappearance of the gentleman that I have mentioned and other matters associated with the inquiry, there is a doubt in the minds of the public that will remain until this matter is cleared up. The inquiry also involves the administration of a Minister of the Crown. In this connexion I direct attention to the attitude that was adopted by Mr. Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, with relation to a similar case that occurred in England last October, Mr. Justice Lynskey was appointed to inquire, inter aiia, into certain rumours that were circulating concerning Mr. Belcher, who was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. The terms of reference in that case were particularly wide and drafted in such a way as to enable the tribunal to inquire into other apparently unconnected matters which might come to its notice and be considered to be within the scope of the inquiry. In that case Mr. Justice Lynskey had the fullest scope of inquiry. The case was cleared up and the people of the United Kingdom, who had taken a tremendous interest in the proceedings, were unanimous in their belief that everything possible had been done to probe the matters enquired into and to see that everything was brought out and was above board. That should be so in the present inquiry. I consider that the provisions contained in this bill are not wide enough. I therefore move -
That all words after “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ the bill be withdrawn until such time as the terms of reference of the royal commission are amended to provide for inquiry into and report upon the, following additional matters -
) (a) Whether the Honorable Edward John Ward has obtained or assisted in obtaining any contract, concession or benefit for Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited.
The circumstances associated with the appointment of William Urquhart to that company.
The conduct by the said William Urquhart of his position as Manpower Officer at Newtown and Glebe, and his financial affairs, including the operation of his various bank accounts since that time.
Whether there was anything improper in the circumstances of the association between the Minister and the said William Urquhart.
The circumstances associated with the disappearance of Ainslie St. Aubyn Kingsford, and whether there is any connexion between his disappearance and the matters within the scope of the inquiry “.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Goober’s amendment), be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Gordon Brown.)
Foes . . . . 20
Majority . . 17
Question so resolved in the negative.
. - I shall refer first to some of the remarks that were made by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) when introducing; this measure. He said that 35 years ago there was some doubt, legally and constitutionally, about the validity and jurisdiction of royal commissions appointed under the then existing legislation of 1902-33. We have just witnessed such an example of unctuous hypocrisy as would be difficult to find equalled in the, annals of the Senate, The powers and limitations of the royal commission were well known when it was appointed. The fit and proper thing for the Government to do was to have introduced this measure then, so. that we would not be hamstrung and stifled in the discussion of every facet of the bill. Now, some weeks after the royal commission has been appointed, this validating bill is. introduced. Why ? Chiefly, I submit, for the purpose of stifling discussion in this chamber. Nothing has been tentatively raised here that has not already been raised in four proceedings in the public courts of New South Wales. There have been two police court proceedings and two supreme court proceedings. No attempt has been made here to introduce anything other than what is common knowledge and common gossip, arising out of evidence already given in those courts. I quite agree that it would be most indelicate and most indecent to discuss here the merits of that evidence, and to say what may or may not he right or wrong. That is not the approach of the Opposition at all. This bill has been brought down in bad faith, and the terms of reference of the commission were drafted in bad faith. I am quite prepared to admit that honorable senators on the government side of the chamber are just as keen as I am regarding the integrity and prestige of members of the Parliament. Whether a Minister or a private member, a Government supporter or Opposition supporter be concerned, the most important thing is that there shall be left no vestige or remnant of any slur or suspicion on’ the name of any member of this Parliament.
Stenator Harris. - That is what this bill is doing.
– This bill is doing nothing of the sort. It merely seeks to validate a completely narrow reference which cannot possibly get at the matters that have been sworn to in evidence before the tribunals in New South Wales. I do not propose at this stage to suggest who should or should not be believed; but, in common with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) I claim that every matter that has been sworn to and counter-sworn to in evidence in the proceedings in the courts of New South Wales should be investigated, so that when this matter is finalized there will be no bits and pieces left over, and so that there will be no room whatever for any whisper or suggestion of a whisper of scandal concerning any member of this chamber or the House of Representatives. We on this side of the chamber have no desire to impede the passage of an enabling bill. As I have indicated it is customary on every occasion where there has been any doubt to make assurance doubly sure by introducing a specific bill to deal with each royal commission. That is but proper, and should have been done long before the royal commission was appointed and had commenced its hearing.
– Soon after 1935?
– No, when this particular commission was appointed. When introducing the bill the Minister said, with all piety, that he was sure that all honorable senators would agree with him that the royal commissioner should lie vested with all powers required for the effective prosecution of the inquiry. To that I say a hearty “ Amen “. But what hypocrisy! The Minister knows as well as I do that there are scores of other matters that have been sworn to during the proceedings in the courts of New South Wales, which are not mentioned in the terms of reference embodied in this bill. The name of J. S. Garden and that of the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) have been mentioned. Sworn evidence was given that Mr. Garden, while a servant of the Department of Labour and National Service, occupied a very peculiar position with relation to the Minister. Apparently, he had the free ‘ run of government departments with which he was persona grata and was regarded as a man of substance and influence. Are not we, the members of the National Parliament, entitled to receive some explanation of that most extraordinary set-up? However, there is no suggestion that that matter is even to be included in the terms of reference. Yet, we have the spectacle of a man, a paid servant of one department, having complete run of the office of a Minister in control of another department. Are we to accept such a position as being usual? Does not such a position call for some explanation? I am not speculating on what the explanation is, but members of the Parliament and the people are entitled to know exactly what that set-up was and how it came about. Yet we have the pious statement by the Minister for Shipping and Fuel that the royal commissioner should be given all the powers which he requires to prosecute the inquiry effectively. Why, hamstring the royal commissioner in the way I have indicated? Because this matter affects men in public life and holding public office the people are entitled to know the circumstances: in which Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited, after having lost one franchise, was able to acquire another very valuable franchise from overseas. Above all, the people are entitled to know how that company was able to obtain certain import concessions from a government department. Again, how did that company acquire its new managing director? We have the evidence of the
Minister for External Territories that-
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy President. I submit that the honorable senator is now dealing with matters which are not included in the measure, and, therefore, he is departing from the question before the Chair. Further, his remarks may prejudice the interests of persons who are now being examined by the royal commissioner, or they may influence the royal commissioner in his judgment. I submit that, as the royal commission is now sitting, it is highly improper for the honorable senator to pursue the line of argument he is now embarking upon. The honorable senator himself has described the measure as an enabling bill, and I submit that he must confine his remarks to the bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - The point of order is upheld. The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the bill.
– If you can tell me in what respect I am transgressing
I shall be glad to comply with your direction, Mr. Deputy President. I have no intention to raise any contentious matter, or any matter which could in the slightest degree influence the royal commissioner in his findings. The point I am emphasizing, although my remarks appear to he falling on deaf ears, is that the terms of reference should be widened. If I am not in order in discussing that aspect of the bill, I may as well not say anything at all. I am criticizing the narrowness of the measure. I have not offered any opinion at all with respect to the probity, or lack of probity, of any person whose name has been .mentioned in the proceedings before the royal commissioner. I have merely said that certain things which have been sworn to should be investigated by the commissioner. I have no intention to pass any observation upon any evidence given by any person before the royal commission.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The measure is simply a validating bill which consists of a preamble and four clauses. I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the bill.
– If the Government, regardless of our pleas, is determined to restrict the terms of reference to those set out in the measure, it entirely ignores the inevitable reaction on the part of the people who will have occasion to whisper, “ What a pity this, or that, matter was not settled “. I assure the Government that that will be the reaction of the people, and it will have only itself to blame for failing to widen the terms of reference. It still has time to do so, and I am merely asking it to ensure now that it shall not provide an opportunity later for any one to attack the scope of the proceedings. The preamble to a measure is not necessarily taken as part of the measure itself, but where ambiguity or doubt arises as to the precise scope or intention of a .measure the courts, very properly, are considerably influenced by the preamble. This measure is described as -
A Bill for an Act to facilitate the Proceedings of the Royal Commissioner appointed to hold an Inquiry with respect to certain matters in relation to Timber Rights in the Territory of Papua-New Guinea.
However, the measure makes provision in respect of matters which have no relation to timber rights in the Territory of Papua-New Guinea. For instance, it empowers the royal commissioner to inquire into and report upon whether the Minister is, or was, financially interested in Sydney Pincombe Proprietary Limited. I again urge the Government to widen the terms of reference because these proceedings affect not only every member of the Parliament but also the people as a whole. But, while refusing to do so, the Government with unctuous hypocrisy declares that it is trying to give to the royal commissioner every power necessary to enable him to conduct the inquiry effectively.
When he introduced the measure in the House of Representatives the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley), expressed full confidence in the royal commissioner. I share that confidence. The royal commissioner is a man of outstanding ability and integrity and within his limited terms of reference he will do justice to all concerned. However, the Government has not brought credit to itself in its appointment of counsel to assist the commissioner. Mr. Shand is a man of outstanding ability and integrity, and he needs no defence by me, but it is the custom when appointing counsel to assist a royal commissioner to select a man who has a completely open and detached mind with no preconceived or prejudged opinions in respect of the issues involved. Perhaps, it is not generally known that if is the tradition and practice of the legal profession, subject to the observance of certain formalities, and with certain exceptions, that a barrister should accept any brief which is offered to him. The fact that Mr. Shand accepted this brief is sufficient evidence that he himself saw no difficulty in doing so. However, in proceedings of this kind it is important not only that justice be done but also that justice shall patently and obviously appear to be done. Counsel appointed to assist a royal commissioner should be as open-minded and detached as the royal commissioner himself. Can it be said that a man who appeared in respect of this matter on four occasions in the courts and on two of those occasions submitted to the jury that they must determine which of two persons was lying, has an open mind on the subject ? The crux of the proceedings which have already taken place was acceptance of one man’s word and rejection of another man’s word. And it was the duty of this distinguished barrister to urge in court the acceptance of one particular view. Unless he is a superman, how can he now be regarded as having a completely untrammelled and unbiased mind and of being capable of directing the royal commissioner along an open course? At one of the trials the presiding judge addressed the jury in these words -
There can be no half measures. Itis definite perjury on the side of one or the other. Whoever has perjured himself, it is a dreadful act.
Mr. Shand submitted to the jury that one of those men was lying and he pleaded to the jury to accept one man’s word against that of the other. Yet, he is the gentleman whom the Government has appointed to assist the royal commissioner. I submit that it is completely impossible for him to assist the royal commissioner with a free, open and an prejudiced mind. But i t is typical of the Government that in its ruthlessness it just carries out what it thinks shouldbe done to serve its own convenience. I regret exceedingly that the terms of reference are to be left so narrow because it will be a great pity that even after this inquiry has been con- cluded, regardless of its outcome, people will have cause to say, “Well, it was a pity that this, or that, matter was not cleared up. I wonder what is behind it all “. Instead of clearing the atmosphere completely we are going to make confusion worse confounded. The whole of the blame and discredit for such a state of affairs must be placed upon the shoulders of the Government.
– in reply - I regret that members of the Opposition have approached this matter in the way that they have discussed it.I acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) and his colleagues have been very helpful at all times to me as Leader of the Government in the Senate. This is rather a delicate subject. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator O’Sullivan), who is a solicitor, knows that the inquiry is proceeding and, consequently, the matters before it are sub judice. Therefore, we must discuss this subject very carefully. The Leader of the Opposition went very much astray. Had the amendment he proposed been agreed to he would have been entitled to discuss the matters he attempted to deal with. He proposed that the terms of reference should be extended to include the following matters: -
However, the honorable senator’s amendment was rejected. He claimed that the proposed terms of reference were not wide enough. Although the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) made some comment on that point, he did not make any complaint on that score. The Leader of the Opposition and Senator O’Sullivan complained about delay in introducing the bill in order to give the royal commissioner the authority that he required. I remind the Opposition that a similar measure was enacted in 1914 in relation to an inquiry into the meat export trade. That bill was introduced by a government of the same political complexion as the present Opposition. Governments of a similar character also introduced measures of this kind dealing with royal commissions in 1933 and 1935. I do not know why the situation has not been remedied. That is a matter for the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, and there may be some valid reason why action was not taken years ago. It is significant that bills of this character have been necessary since 1914. The bill will enable the royal commissioner to make a more thorough investigation than is possible at present. It will enable him to compel witnesses to attend and to answer questions. I deprecate the discussion that has taken place, and I hope that the measure will be passed quickly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I consider that the Senate should dissociate itself from the remarks of Senator O’Sullivan regarding Mr. Shand. That gentleman has given such service to the royal commission that the Parliament would not be wise to allow remarks of that nature-
– I rise to order. I should like to know to what remarks of mine the honorable senator refers. I particularly took the precaution of saying that Mr. Shand’s position and standing in the profession were beyond reproach or criticism. I should like to know to what particular remarks Senator Arnold refers.
– The remarks that the honorable senator made were such as to leave in the minds-
– Order! I ask Senator Arnold to resume his seat. I consider that the matter should not be discussed at this stage, when the bill is being considered in committee. The time to criticize Senator 0’,Sullivan’s remarks was when he made them during the second-reading debate. I rule to that effect.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Ashley) proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
– In view of the fact that Senator
O’Sullivan has assured the Senate that he had no desire to make any disparaging remark-
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy President. At the committee stage, Senator Arnold took exception to some remarks that I had made in my second-reading speech. I want to know what those remarks were. I think that he has taken exception to his interpretation of my remarks.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Nicholls). - Exception must be taken at the time when the remarks are made.
– In view of what Senator Arnold said, I should like tomake a personal explanation. The honor.able senator ‘said that he thought that it would be fair for the Senate to dissociate itself from my attack upon Mr. Shand. I think that that is a fair interpretation of his statement, which can beverified in Hansard. Knowing thecharacter of the Senate, I took particular care to let it be known perfectly clearly that, in my opinion, and in the opinion of those who know Mr. Shand, he justifies the very enviable position of prestigeand dignity which he holds as a member of the bar in New South Wales.. I then proceeded to say that it was customary and traditional for barristers to accept briefs. My criticism was directed at the Government for offering him a brief in the circumstances in which he was situated.
– May I make a personal explanation, Mr. Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- A debate cannot arise from a personal explanation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill will give effect to the Government’s proposals for reductions of the rates of individual income tax which will be payable for the financial year 1949-50, that is, on incomes to be derived during the year ending the 30th June, 1950. A further bill to be introduced later will embody the complementary reductions in the rates of social services contribution. The estimated annual cost to revenue of these reductions will be £36,500,000, composed of £28,500,000 income tax and £8,000,000 social services contribution. Although the reduced rates are designed to benefit all individual taxpayers, the greatest percentage reductions will be granted in the lower and middle income groups. The proposals contained in the bill will constitute the fifth successive reduction made by the Government on taxes upon individual incomes since the cessation of hostilities in August, 1945. The annual cost to revenue of these reductions now totals £133,000,000. This figure has been calculated upon the levels of income at the particular times when the reductions were made. Calculated at the peak war-time rates of tax on the anticipated levels of income for 1949-50, the value to the community of the reductions in income tax and social services contribution rates would be approximately £200,000,000. As a result of the new rates, the limits of income which may be derived before incurring any liability for income tax will be raised by between £150 and £160.
Under the new scale, the amounts which will be free of income tax, as distinct from social services contribution, compared with existing limits are illustrated in a table which has been prepared. With the leave of the Senate I shall have the table incorporated in Hansard.
From the table it will be seen that the personal exertion rate of income tax, as distinct from social services contribution, in the case of a taxpayer without depend- ants, will commence at an income level of £501 instead of £351 as at present. The personal exertion rate is graduated to £9,000 at present, but under the proposed rates it will be graduated to £10,000. On the excess of income over that figure, the combined ceiling rate of 15s. in the £1 of tax and contribution will be retained at the present figure. It is proposed also that the property rate shall be graduated to an income of £10,000 instead of the present £5,000, the commencing point of £351 being retained. The reductions being effected in relation to the property rate broadly correspond with those which are proposed for personal exertion rates.
Although the rate3 on both classes of income are being reduced, the property rate will be higher than the personal exertion rate. The maximum difference between the rates occurs at an income of about £1,250, where the combined property tax and social services contribution is nearly one-quarter higher than the combined personal exertion tax and contribution. As in the case of income from persona] exertion, the combined rate of tax and contribution will be 15s. in the £1 on the excess of property income over £10,000. Salary and wage earners will derive the benefits of the reduced rates by lower instalment deductions, which will be made from their earnings on and after the 1st July, 1949. Those whose incomes are received from sources other than salaries and wages will have the reduced rates reflected in the provisional tax and contribution payable in respect of incomes of the year ending the 3’0th June, 1950. Company tax rates now in force are to remain unchanged.
It is considered appropriate, at this juncture, to consider briefly statements, frequently made, that the incidence of taxation in Australia is unduly heavy by comparison with overseas countries. Those statements appear to be most frequently based on a comparison of total tax per head of population in the countries concerned converted to some common currency. In my opinion, owing to the absence of adjustments for such factors as the values of currencies and the purchasing power of money, this does not give a satisfactory basis for comparison. Nevertheless, for what they are worth, Australia does not suffer by those comparisons. In the United Kingdom, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is reported to have released figures of total direct and indirect taxation per head of population in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and South Africa based upon the year 1948-49. The published figures disclose that the taxation per head of population is £69 in the United Kingdom compared with £66 in the United States of America, £47 in Canada, £46 in Australia and £44 for the European population of South Africa. These figures are confined to taxes paid to the central taxing authority and are expressed in sterling. Comparable figures expressed in Australian currency for the year 1948-49 would be as follows : -
It will be seen from that comparison that taxation per head in the United Kingdom and the United States of America is approximately 50 per cent, higher than in Australia, whilst Australia is in much the same position as Canada and only slightly higher than South Africa. In my view, a sounder basis of comparison of taxation in various countries, is to ascertain the proportion of a nation’s gross ‘production, that is, the total value of goods and services absorbed by direct and indirect taxation. This method of comparison overcomes the difficulties arising from the conversion of currencies of various countries to one common standard. The following table illustrates the percentages of national gross product taken in taxation:-
That comparison shows that the incidence of total taxation is lower in Australia than in any of the other countries mentioned, despite claims to the contrary. As Australian taxes were reduced from the 1st July, 1948, and further reductions are being made as from the 1st July, 1949, Australia should appear in an even more favorable light on the basis of this comparison when figures for 1949 and 1950 become available. Tables are being circulated comparing the taxes at the proposed rates with - (a) amounts payable at present in the United Kingdom and New Zealand; (&) the combined State and Federal taxes on income in 1939; and (c) the combined State and Federal income taxes for the year 1941-42 - just prior to the introduction of uniform taxation.
Schedules were also circulated when, the financial statement was delivered, comparing the proposed tax and contribution with the amounts payable at wartime rates and the amounts payable for this year. The schedules show that the reductions will range from 100 per cent, for the man with large family responsibilities and moderate income, to at least 25 per cent, for the man of considerable wealth. Those schedules, and these now circulated, speak for themselves. I commend this bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cooper) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
When introducing the Income Tax Bill, I indicated that the rates of social services contribution would be reduced as from the 1st July next to coincide with the reduced rates of individual income tax which are proposed for the financial year 1949-50. The purpose of this hill is to effect the necessary reductions in the social services contribution. At present, the basic rate of contribution in the case of a contributor not entitled to concessional rebates for dependdants, &c, commences at 3d. in the £1 and is graduated to a maximum of 18d. in the £1 at an income of £350. When the proposed rates become applicable, the range of graduation willbe extended so thatthe maximum of 18d. will not apply until an income of £500 is reached.The concessional rate of contribution payable by contributors entitled to concessional allowances inrespect of dependants; medical expenses, life assurance, &c., is to be reduced in conformity with thebasic rate. It is proposed that the new concessional rate will not reach itsmaximum of 18s. in the £1 until the income is £150 higher than at present.
It should be explained that, consequent upon the proposals, contained in this billy the method of calculating the concessional rate of contribution will be modified. The practical application of the schedule will be simplified but contributors will continue to receive the full benefits of the concessional allowances in respect of dependants, medical expenses, &c. For contributable incomes within the range of graduation, the rates will diminish as the concessional allowances increase, as is the case under the present rates. A table has been prepared showing the extension of the range of graduation of the contribution to its maximum of 18d. in the £1. With the concurrence of the Senate, I shall incorporate the table in Hansard.
I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cooper) adjourned.
Bill received from the. House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion bySenator Ashley) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is designed primarily to allow a measure of relief from entertainments tax in respect ofpayments for admission to games or sports in which human, beings are the sole participants and which are conducted by organizations not established or carried on for profit. The incidence of-‘ entertainments tax on such entertainments, has been the subject of representations from non-profit sporting bodies conducting amateur sport throughout. Australia, and these representations have been supported by a number of honorable senators. Under the existing law, the legitimate theatre, including stage plays, ballet, musical performances, and the like, is taxable at special rates which are lower than the rates applied to other classes of entertainments such as picture shows. The bill extends the scope of the lower rates so that they apply also to gamesor sports of the kind I have mentioned. The bill also provides for exemption from tax in respect of payments not exceeding1s. 3d. for admission to all entertainments which fall within the classes covered by the special rates. Previously, tax has been payable on all payments of1s. or more for admission to such entertainments.
The sports or games which will gain the benefit of the special rates include football, cricket, hockey, tennis, athletics, swimming, cycling, boxing and wrestling, provided always that the particular entertainment is promoted by a body not established or carried on for profit. The concession does not apply to horse racing and trotting, or to dog racing, coursing, or polo, whether or not they are conducted by non-profit organizations. The concession does not apply to entertainments such as dances, or roller or ice skating, except where the sole purpose of the entertainment is to conduct competitions, in dancing, ice or roller skating. There, has been, no change in the rates applicable to exhibitions or contests promoted for the financial gain of the promoters in boxing, wrestling, foot racing, cycling, motor car racing, motor cycle racing, speed boat racing, skating, dancing and billiards.
The bill also provides for the repeal of the rates of tax which have hitherto applied to payments of less than one shilling for admission to amusement devices of the kind operated at amusement parks, such as “ chair-o-plane “. “ dodg’em cars “ and the like. In 1944, the Entertainments Tax Assessment Act was amended to give specific authority for the collection of entertainments tax in respect of such payments. The amusements in question were very extensively patronized during the war period, when spending was on a heavy scale. The position then was that a substantial number of adult patrons spent amounts considerably in excess of ls. during each visit to the place of amusement, and it was, therefore, deemed appropriate that the law should authorize collection of tax in respect of such payments. Recently those amusements have largely reverted to normal peace-time standards, and once more the majority of patrons are children or youths. Individual patrons spend much less on such amusements than in the war years. Since this section of the legislation has served its war-time purpose, and because of administrative difficulties involved in the collection of tax in cases of this kind, it is proposed to amend the law so as to place these amusements on the same footing as other classes of entertainment by requiring payment of tax only in respect of individual payments of ls. or more for admission. Under the amended law, tax will not be chargeable to patrons of the amusements in question, irrespective of the number of amusements they may patronize, and regardless of whether they patronize a particular amusement more than once, provided that the payment for admission to each amusement is less than ls.
In addition, the bill removes the liability for -tax in respect of charges of less than ls. for incidental refreshments served at entertainments such as dances. Payment of tax has been required in respect of such charges by virtue of section 16 (1) (a) (ii) of the Entertainments
Tax Assessment Act 1942-1946. The removal of the tax on such charges, and on payments of less than ls. for admission to amusement devices, will ensure that tax shall not be payable upon individual payments of less than ls. for admission to any form of entertainment, unless those payments are made for permission to transfer from one part of a place of entertainment to another, such as a transfer from the stalls of a theatre to the dress circle. In cases of that kind the law will continue to require the payment of further tax on the additional payment. The proposed amendments will operate on and from the 16th February, 1949. In conclusion, I point out that the bill is confined to the allowance of the concessions mentioned.
Debate (on motion by Senator COOPER adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Ashley) read a first time.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
This measure has been introduced in consequence of the amendments proposed to be made to the Entertainments Tax Act specified in the bill which has just been explained to honorable senators. In moving the second reading of that measure I pointed out that the Entertainments Tax Assessment Act was amended in 1944 to include specific authority for collection of tax in respect of payments for admission to amusement devices of a kind operated at amusement parks even where those payments were less than ls. The relevant provisions are to be found in section 16a of the Entertainments Tax Assessment Act. Following upon the proposal to remove the tax from payments of less than ls. for admission to such amusements, section 16a becomes unnecessary and is being omitted. Liability for tax in respect of individual payments of1s. or more for admission to such amusements will arise under the general provisions of the law. This bill is concerned only with the removal of the tax from charges of less than1s. for admission to the amusements mentioned. The proposed amendments will operate on and from the 16th February, 1949.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cooper) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 10th February(vide page 108), on motion by Senator McKenna -
That the following papers be printed: -
Annual Session, Paris. SeptemberDecember, 1948 -
Report of Australian Delegation. Resolutions adopted.
Resolution on Berlin presented to the Security Council by Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Columbia and Syria- 22nd October, 1948.
– I have read the report of the speech delivered by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) on the 9th February, and I heard the statement made by the Minister for Health (Senator McKenna) in the Senate on the 10th February. I remind the Senate that it is approximately twelve months since the previous debate on foreign affairs. On that occasion we were presented with a lengthy and voluminous document which comprised approximately 230 pages of typewritten matter and consisted, for the most part, of a repetition of statements which had appeared in the press during the preceding six months. The statement that we are now considering is, in the main, an account of the activities of the United Nations during the period which intervened between the occasion of the previous debate and the preparation of the statement which the Minister for External Affairs delivered in the House of Representatives last month. The principal theme of the present statement is that
Australia should give unwavering support to the United Nations. As a broad aim I agree with that policy, but the experience of the last few years has shown that the United Nations can operate successfully only within certain defined limits. I do not desire that my remarks should be interpreted as a criticism of that body, because it has functioned to the best of its ability. At the same time, its operation over the last three years has revealed very clearly the serious limitations under which it labours. When the bill to ratify the establishment of the United Nations was passed through the Senate the preceding Labour Government emphasized that the new international body was tobe empowered to use armed force to compel obedience to its decisions. Unfortunately, up to the present no such force has been provided by the signatories to the Charter. Action is at present being taken by the democracies to implement regional pacts to protect their interests in certain areas. The reason why those pacts have been made is that the nations concerned realize that it is vital to their security that a military force should be provided and military plans made to defend their territory against aggression. Although those pacts are not part of the structure of the United Nations, I believe that they will afford considerable support to the organization, and that ultimately they will confer upon it a senseof power, which is at present lacking in the authority of the United Nations.
A review of the events that occurred in the period which elapsed between the end of World War I. and the beginning of World War II. leads us to the conclusion that the occurrence of World War II. could have been prevented if the democracies had taken resolute action when the German troops marched into the Rhineland in 1936. Probably not more than two divisions of troops would have been required to turn back the Germans. The information which has come to light since the war has made it clear that at that time Hitler was not at all certain of his ability to occupy the Rhineland.My own opinion is that a show of force then would have prevented the outbreak of World War II. Unfortunately, the League of Nations, whose principal function was to prevent aggression and threats to the peace of the world, had no military force with which “to support its authority. Its only coercive power was to impose economic sanctions, but even its moral and legal right to do so was disputed. It is admitted that in 1936 no democratic power was prepared to send troops to the Rhineland to restrain the Germans. At that time Great Britain was pursuing most actively its policy of progressive disarmament. In order to persuade other nations to disarm, Great Britain went to the limit in disarming itself. So sincere were its political leaders that they disarmed their country to an alarming degree. In any event, they were not prepared to send troops to the Rhineland, and German aggression was allowed to continue unchecked. Obviously, the body which should have borne the responsibility for halting German aggression in the Rhineland was the League of Nations, but, as I have already pointed out, that body was quite ineffective because of its lack of military force. The lessons of that time were uppermost in the minds of the statesmen of the allied powers when the United Nations was formed, and it was hoped to clothe the new body with some effective military force. Unfortunately, the course” of events of the last three years has demonstrated that the signatories to the United Nations Charter havenot yet seen fit to provide that body with an armed force to enforce its decisions. The United Nations, therefore, is just as weak in that respect as was the League of Nations. If the United Nations is allowed to continue without an international force its decisions will be disregarded by any nation that desires to do so. In this critical period of world history the foreign policy of Australia should not be decided solely by party politics. A standard has been set by the American democracy, where the bipartite principle of foreign policy is in operation. That policy was respected during and after the hardest-fought clashes of the presidential election. The Foreign Affairs Committee, which is a non-party body, deals with the whole of the foreign policy of the United States of America. I contend that we would gain extensively by establishing in this country a foreign affairs parliamentary committee, which would have a much truer Australian outlook on foreign policy than is possible at present, because Australia’s foreign policy under existing arrangements conforms with the view of the party that happens to be in office. I hope that all honorable senators will approach this matter in a non-party spirit. I am not criticizing from an Opposition point of view when I say that it would be well for Australia to adopt a foreign policy which is not that of merely one party but rather a policy representative of the whole of the people of Australia. That would result in the people of this country as a whole being more satisfied than they are at present.
Whilst supporting the United Nations, we should concentrate on giving unwavering support to the British Commonwealth of Nations. During the last two years many political and international changes of far-reaching importance have occurred. In the very troubled condition of world affairs to-day it is of paramount importance that the British Commonwealth of Nations should stand steadfast. This was particularly patent to me during my recent tour of the United Kingdom and Germany. I was impressed with the tremendous effect that the voice of a united British Commonwealth of Nations has- upon the rest of the world. At the British parliamentary conference that I attended in October last year, representatives of 37 parliaments were present. In addition to delegates from the older dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, there were also present representatives of the newer self-governing dominions of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, and representatives of southern and northern Rhodesia, Malta, Bermuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad, British Guiana, Windward Isles, Mauritius, Kenya, the Gold Coast, Nigeria and smaller places in the British Empire such as- the Isle of Man. I need hardly remind the Senate of the wealth of knowledge that it was possible to glean from those representatives from all parts of the world. The conference lasted for five weeks, during which time delegates had many opportunities to discuss problems peculiar to the various countries. I have no hesitation in saying that in addition to the benefit that was derived ‘by the representatives themselves, the overall feeling of goodwill between the delegates after the conclusion of the conference augurs well for the maintenance of .good relationships in the future. The delegates were representative of peoples of different colour, creed, way of life and political outlook in countries that are rich in man-power and resources. I was impressed with the tremendous influence exercised by representatives of different countries, having the same objective and working together to make the peace of the world a practical success. Since 1939 the whole pattern of t”he world has changed in relation to both territories and nations. At present the two great powers are the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Although the United Kingdom was subjected to a tremendous strain during the war period and is now encountering the problems of rehabilitation, I am confident that the British Commonwealth of Nations should be regarded as the third great power i,n the world. Throughout history the British Empire has always endeavoured to maintain peace, and during the past two hundred years it has been responsible for the uplifting of the peoples of many countries, embracing different races and creeds. It was to the fore in the moves to abolish slavery, to make the seas safe for shipping by liquidating pirates, and to keep the ports of the world open to fair trade. I believe that the British Commonwealth of Nations will now carry on the wonderful tradition of the British Empire during that period. The nerve-centre of this great organization is Great Britain itself. My opinion is that the best way to improve Commonwealth relations, and conditions throughout the world generally is to assist to accelerate the recovery of Great Britain. While I was in the United Kingdom I learnt of a statement that was made by Professor Lasky, who was Chairman of the British Labour party during 1945-46. When commenting on the condition of Great Britain eighteen months ago he referred to the United Kingdom as a third-rate power. Although that may have appeared to hiso at the time, I assure honorable senators that it is not so now. The United Kingdom has made a remarkable recovery. which is the envy of the world.
– Under a Labour government 1
– Do not let us get back to party politics; let us keep this debate on a higher plane.
– But the honorable senator is referring to the British Government.
– I am referring to the British people, which is a different thing altogether. It is not the Government that makes the people, but vice versa. The British people have shown by their faith and tenacity that they can still set an example to the world, and their optimism for the future is outstanding. It was evident that they “were prepared to work hard to increase production because they realized that that “was the only way that they could recover their position in world affairs. Men and women in that country told me that they were convinced that they had to produce more in order to live and be able to pay for the importation of food that they required to carry on. It was most encouraging to see the way that they had cleaned up areas in the cities that suffered so badly as a result of enemy “bombing raids ‘during the war. There was very little debris of any kind lying about. Everything ‘had been cleaned up in preparation for the time when they will he able to rebuild their cities and shopping areas. In places in Coventry, Liver- ‘ pool, and other cities which were badly blitzed during the war, gardens, parks and flower beds have been planted to beautify the localities pending the commencement of rebuilding operations. People who can face their losses, damages and dangers in that spirit are a very long way indeed from being a third-rate power.
Within a period of 30 years two world wars were fought on practically the same ground in Europe. In the main, World War I. was fought in Belgium, France, and portions of Western Germany. Those portions of Europe again became battlefields during World War II. If there is to be another such calamity - which may Heaven forbid - everything points to the next world war also being fought in those areas: Honorable senators nawe heard many- references to- the- Western Union. The, effect of that union, is somewhat similar to that of the North. Atlantic Pact ; its object is> to enable countries, in Western Europe to present a united front to a common enemy. Therefore, it. is essential that they come to some arrangement immediately rather than wait, to do so until the: outbreak of hostilities should become imminent. Otherwise, they will b& confronted with many difficulties in. welding their forces into a united whole. Thosefacts prompt me to ask what the Government?s policy is with respect, to- the Western! Union. Participation by Great Britain in- such a union, whether it be a military or an. economic union, is essential, if it, is to succeed’. Great Britain is again the nerve centre- of Europe,, and without its- assistance and! co-operation such a proposal would be impracticable’. I read recently in- the press that; Mr. Winston Churchill visited Belgium im order to assist the Prime Minister of that: country to> launch one of the first big meetings planned) with, the objective of implementing the Western Union, as expeditiously as- possible.. It may be argued that Australia’s interests are/ confined to the Pacific zone and that, this country should not have been concerned about the- Western Union:. Geographically, Australia’s interests are in the Pacific; but the: world’s danger spot, at, present is: the: western- European! zone.. Assurances toGreat: Britain of the fullest co-operation and’ help of other members: of the British Commonwealth of Nations would) deter- any would-be aggressor against the Mother Country. I narre no doubt that other countries within the British- Commonwealth, of Nations could come to am agreement immediately that should any one- of. them be attacked adi of the- others would go- to. its help. Such, an agreement would be a big factor in’ preserving peace, and in deterring any nation which might be tempted to- engagein hostilities in the belief that the British countries- would not unite to meet it.. Australia would bc directly affected should war break out in western Europe. I believe that in such circumstances whatever government might be in power in this country, it would give to the United King dom, and Britain’s allies the same measure of assistance as they provided in the two world wars. I do not need to. deal with Australians achievements in either of those conflicts, because our record in that respect is well, known.
When. I was overseas1 recently I had the opportunity to- visit western. Germany which appeared t© me’- to* present a very grave problem! to the* Allies) and other countries: in western Europe. Germany is divided into four- zones,, three of which, comprise western Germany; and are- underthe control of British, French and American occupation forces, whilst the fourth zone is. occupied by Russian military forces. Of the total estimated population, of 66,000,000 Germans-, 45,000,000 live ins. western. Germany. Incidentally, the total German population, to-day is approximately the: same, as it was- in 19.39-. When hostilities- ceased, the economy of western Germany had broken, down completely. The allied air force did a most effective job in bombing Germany.. Communications in western Germany; including’ railways,, roads, canals and telegraph and telephonic communications- were completely disorganized, and it became the responsibility of the Allies, partcularly the British and Americans, torestore order out of- chaos: in that area. For that, work the occupation! authorities experienced great difficulty in obtaining sufficient, technicians such as- railway, postal and telegraphic employees- because such personnel had been scattered throughout western Germany and many of them were- afraid to. apply for their former jobs– because-, they believed that they would be regarded’ as former Nazis. At that time the de-nazification movement was most pronounced. However, the British and American occupation forces sOon’ realized that the first requirement of the country waa the provision of food, clothing and shelter for the distressed inhabitants. At first,, the occupation was purely military in nature. When a reasonable degree of order had been restored the first requisite was to recommence production. However, the authorities found that they were hampered by the inflated! currency. Men and women would work for only a day or two. each week because they required all the time they could get to- “ scrounge “ around for food and shelter. They could not afford to stay at work for any reasonable period. In such circumstances the authorities realized that it was imperative to reorganize production as soon as possible. With that objective they reformed the currency drastically. That financial operation proved to> be very severe. All government balances were cancelled and all cash and bank deposits, insurances, debts and mortgages were devalued by 90 per cent. A new currency was issued at the rate of one Deutschmark to every ten Reichsmark, 140,000 million Reichsmark being written down by 12S,000 million Reichmark to 12,000 million Deutschmark. This currency reform was not accepted in the Russiancontrolled zone. However, its success exceeded the wildest expectations of the British, French and American authorities in western Germany,, because it immediately appreciated the value of the limited funds that were available in the country. People who had hoarded food and goods which they would not sell because the previous currency was worthless, readily placed . commodities on the market. Food, clothing and goods generally became available to such a degree that production was immediately stepped-up, and, as a further consequence, absenteeism was reduced substantially. From June, to October, 1948, secondary production increased to 66 per cent, of the volume of production recorded in Germany in 1936. I cite the year 1936 because that was the last year in which production was really undertaken on a peace-time basis. During the same period, agricultural production was increased to 80 per cent, of the output recorded in 1936. In passing, I point out that Western Germany will not again be able to equal its pre-war agricultural production because 25 per cent, of the best agricultural land in pre-war Germany, which has been handed over to Poland and Russia, has been excluded from the altered zones. In the period I have mentioned, the people in western Germany increased the production of foodstuffs to 75 per cent, of their domestic requirements. However, it is estimated that in the future western Germany will not be able to produce more than 50 per cent, of its requirements of foodstuffs even by using the most modern scientific methods. I was fortunate to be able to visit Berlin.. There is no doubt that Berlin is one of the great danger spots in western EuropeDuring the war it received a severe battering, and to-day in that city are to be seen square miles of rubble and shells of buildings. The city is divided into four sectorsand much friction exists between the Russians, who control one sector, and thoBritish, French and Americans, who> control the other three sectors. The fourpowers seem to be unable to work together amicably. Berlin itself is encircled by Russian-controlled territory, and theRussians enjoy a great advantage becausethe city itself is virtually an island in a Russian sea. Such a state of affairs must have been foreseen by the allied powerswhen Germany was divided into four zones. The Russians, in an endeavour to exercise sole control in Berlin, instituted their blockade. They refused to’ allow foodstuffs, raw materials or goods of any kind to come into the city from the allied zones in the west. Had the Russians succeeded in their blockade their success would have been of great value to them from a propaganda point of view, not only in Russia itself and its satellite countries, but also in western Europe. Therefore, it is most important that the air lift to Berlin be maintained. The Allies, by proving that they are capable of carryingout their commitments in maintaining theeconomy of the allied sectors of Berlin, will achieve a propaganda victory, not only in western Germany, but also in Russia and throughout the world, whilst, at the same time, Russian prestige generally, will suffer a corresponding setback. I was able to watch aircraft landing at Berlin. At the end of October, they were landing at the rate of one every three minutes. The aim of the authorities then was to land 6,000 tons of cargo daily, and I was informed that the daily strain upon the men and the wear and tear upon aircraft were equivalent to the effects of a raid by 1,000 bombers. Those facts will give honorable senators some conception of the wonderful effort that was being made by the men- engaged in the airlift. A number of Australians were aiding the British and American forces in the task and were doing a wonderful job. The flying, crews and the ground staffs deserve our highest praise for the way in which they kept the service operating in spite of everything that the Russians had done in an effort to stop it. Their cargoes included not only food hut also coal and raw materials for German factories. I was delighted to read in the newspapers recently that the airlift is now delivering 8,000 tons of goods to Berlin every day. I was told when I visited Berlin that the objective was to reach a rate of 9,000 tons daily in order that a substantial reserve could be established as a precaution against interruptions that might result from bad weather or other causes.
The deadlock in Berlin has had its advantages. One of the greatest of these lies in the fact that the prestige of the allies in western Germany has risen to a very high level as the result of the success of the airlift. Allied prestige has also benefited from the fact that plans for the rehabilitation of the area of western Germany that lies outside Berlin have been proceeding successfully. The western powers have been able to give effect to their schemes for the economic and political recovery of the western zone. They have been able to grant selfgovernment in a restricted form to the States that have formed the federation of western German States. Machinery for a provincial government that will function in a limited degree, excluding finance and defence arrangements, has been established. This has resulted in the application of democratic principles to the 45,000,000 people affected, who constitute the greatest mass of population in the divided zones of Germany. I asked the United States and British authorities whether they did not consider that it would he dangerous to encourage the development of democratic selfgovernment because of the risk that Germany would again take advantage of its benefactors and menace world peace. I was told that the experiment was worth-while and that, unless Germany could be built up as a bulwark against communism, the Allies might as well hand over to the Russians and get out of Germany. I agree with that view, even though the experiment is a costly one. Until the end of November, 1948, it had cost the United Kingdom Government £340,000,000, and the United States had expended a considerably larger sum than that.
The facts that I have recounted show that the western powers are making great efforts to rehabilitate Europe. They are trying to stimulate the recovery, not only of the United Kingdom, but also of Europe, including western Germany. The rate of recovery has been accelerated by the Marshall aid plan. About £1,160,000,000 in Australian currency has been devoted to the aid of the United Kingdom and western Europe alone. No expense is being spared to put those ravaged countries on their feet again as quickly as possible and make them an asset to the general world economy instead of a liability. All of this great work of recovery has been performed outside the United Nations organization. It seems to me that the United Kingdom and the United States of America have been able to function much more quickly and effectively by undertaking the work individually with the authority of their own parliaments than would have been possible if they had operated through the United Nations. I was informed that Germany would probably he able to balance its budget in 1953. If that prophecy bp fulfilled, the fact will reflect great credit upon those people in the United States of America and the United Kingdom who have concentrated their efforts upon the re-establishment of Germany. I had opportunities to see displaced persons in Germany, and I met many who had been selected for migration to Australia. They appeared to be exceptionally good types of individuals. Many of them had been forcibly ejected from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. When those countries were brought within the sphere of Soviet influence, these persons had been thrust out and sent to Germany. I also saw numbers of people known as “ horder crossers “ who had left the Russian zone because of their fear of Russian tyranny. There were 2,000,000 such individuals in Bavaria. The presence of those persons in such a small, depressed State must have a tremendous effect upon its economy. Many of the displaced persons in Bavaria are quartered in former concentration camps. The greatest difficulty lies in providing food and clothing for them. I met a number of Russians who had managed to get away from the Russian areas. They lived in fear and trembling that they would be sent back to Russia. Many of them suggested that the democratic countries should use the same tactics of fifth column infiltration in Russia as the Soviet uses in other countries. I pointed out to them that the democracies were much more lenient with Russian Communists in their midst than the Russians were likely to be with democratic citizens who might be caught in the act of engaging in fifth column activities in Russia. They told me about the immense camps in Russia in which about 12,000,000 slave workers were held. They said that the slave labour camps were still being maintained and also declared that tremendous numbers of peasant farmers were definitely opposed to Communist rule. About 20,000,000 families of peasant farmers work on Russia’s collective farms and, according to my information, the percentage of those workers in favour of Communist rule is very small. I had no means of checking the statements, but it appeared to me that the actual number of Russians who would vote in favour of communism if they had a free choice would not he nearly so great as we are led to believe.
As I have said, Germany has lost about 25 per cent, of its agricultural land and therefore a large proportion of its food requirements will have to be supplied by other countries in future.
– Has that land been transferred to other nations or has it merely gone out of production?
– It has been taken over by Poland and Russia. Furthermore, instead of absorbing the Germans who were living on that land, the Communists sent them back to Germany. Thus Germany not only lost the land but also was called up.on to feed and clothe those persons from its depleted resources. The official estimate is that 50 per cent, of Germany’s food will have to be imported.
– Who agreed to that land being taken away from Germany ?
– That was decided upon at one of the war-time conferences with Stalin, in the same way, I presume, as the western leaders agreed at Yalta to let Russia have the country surrounding Berlin. It was a war-time agreement.
– Which is not now working out very well.
– According to Poland and Russia, it is probably working out well, but according to the Germans who have been expelled from their former territory it is not working out well. During the war, when Germany was our main enemy, the arrangement probably seemed to be reasonable.
– Those Germans are now an encumbrance to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
– They are more of an encumbrance to their own people. They are in western Germany now but they will leave there eventually. At present they are a burden upon the economy of the United Kingdom and the United States, but they are a greater burden upon the economy of western Germany, particularly Bavaria. Food has a very great influence upon the promotion of world peace. Well-fed people who are assured of adequate supplies of food and clothing are far more contented than are ill-fed people who are faced with the prospect of semi-starvation year after year. Australia can do much to help towards world recovery by providing food for the starving people of Europe. It can do much more than it has done up to the present. We have been blessed with wide-spread prosperity for a number of years. We have had good seasons for our primary products, the prices that are being paid for them are the highest in our history, and we have emerged from the war very well equipped with secondary industries. Our secondary industries were undamaged and our economy remained unimpaired. We lost heavily in man-power and, of course, we spent huge sums of money on the prosecution of the v/ar, but, compared with the sufferings of other countries ours were negligible. To-day, the outside world is hungry for food and raw materials. There are markets for all that our primary and secondary industries can produce. The
Brims Minister ,(Mfr. Chifley) ,has admitted many -times that production in Australia .is mot .what :it -should ‘he., and (that , th -only way -to improve o.ur economy and ito (help less (fortunate peoples .overseas, -is to increase production. .It is :not merely a matter of :charity, because should another world catastrophe .occur, this country will be dragged into it however remote at .’might he .-from the conflict. If we make other nations prosperous iw.e -shall share the (benefits of their prosperity. .’It lis not a one-sided matter. It as a matter of -give sand .take. Throughout Europe there is a shortage ,01 consumer -goods. Chat is also >t-r.ue .of , this -country to some degree, :in that the .supply -.of consumer -goods is -not sufficient ito -meet , the punchasing power of -the Australian people. .However, <we can (cua-tail unnecessary expenditure ;and, by -increasing .production, assist other countries which ^suffered -.so terribly during World War II.
Mention has been -made of hA ‘‘Government’s policy of -full -employment. It is true ‘that the -percentage of Australians hi employment to-day -is higher -than ever before “in >our history, but we -are apt -to concentrate ‘too -much, perhaps, on employing the maximum number -of -people, rather than on improving production. The neal question is,-: “Ane we getting the number of -.units of production from .full (employment that ,w.e should -be getting “ ? According *to the Prime Minister., .other responsible Ministers, and State (premiers, there is universal .acceptance of the belief that we are not getting from full .employment the (production to which -we are entitled. The Government takes .ci-edit for .-much aof £he good fortune that -this country has .enjoyed; ‘therefore, it must also take the reponsibility for under- pro.duc.ti.on in .spite of Jull employment. The truth is, of course, that Australia’s economic bm.oyaxi.cy is dme in a large jn.ea.su re ip the high prices ruling .on .overseas markets for our primary products. We have had good seasons, and the calamitous situation of many countries resulting from the war has ensured a ready market for our primary and secondary -products. Irrespective of the government in power, the prices of our primary products .overseas would .still be high. ‘There is one means by which production could be increased, and i shall deal with that more fully when we are considering (the .financial statement, because .my remarks will he more appropriate .to .that statement than to the subject now ‘before the Senate.
Geographically, .Australia is, -of .course, a Pacific nation. ‘[Extension oj time granted’.) To ‘the west, our neighbours are the three self -governing dominions of India, Pakistan and Ceylon. ‘Those countries, particularly “India, ‘have vast man-power and natural resources. After discussions with delegates from those dominions, I -realize what great .strides “have been ..made in the development of their secondary industries, .and that, although their shores border the ‘Indian Ocean, their destiny is wrapped up largely in . t’he Pacific .zone. To the east, we have o.ur sister dominion of New Zealand and tlie great American nation which played such a prominant part in the defence of Australia .and the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. I was glad indeed to read a denial of press reports .that American troops were .to be withdrawn from Japan, but one cannot help ‘feeling that there might ‘have “been a grain of both in ‘those reports. It sv.ould “be a calamity for this country, and for other Pacific nations, if the American occupation of Japan and of certain .strategic Pacific ‘bases were to cease. It would be most difficult for Australia alone to attempt to defend 1]18 Pacific zone. I should like .to see .a Pacific Pact along the lines .of the North Atlantic .Pact. To £he north, -we have .the Hutch who .were o.ur .allies in World War II. In our .relations -with .the .Netherlands “East ‘Indies, the Government’ has spoken, :and still speaks, with two voices. Tine Minister for External Affairs has endeavoured itocreate .the impression that our .relations with the Dutch ai-.e .quite amicable, but his actions have given little .support *o that view, whilst the Minister for Immigration .(Mr. Calwell) has shown anything “but a friendly disposition to the Dutch.
Sitting suspended from -5^8 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting, I endeavoured -to- show that although .the Dutch were our allies during the war, the impression made on other countries by the foreign policy of the present Government has been somewhat confused.
– On what does the honorable senator base that statement?
– The Minister for External Affairs has frequently expressed the friendly sentiment of the Australian -Government towards the Dutch, but his actions have not been in accord with his words. Furthermore, the recent outburst of the Minister for Immigration in the House of Representatives has not strengthened the impression abroad of any friendliness on our part towards the Dutch. The attitude adopted by the waterside workers of this country to Dutch shipping has been anything but friendly. Some months ago the waterside workers decided what ships would be permitted to trade with the Netherlands East Indies and what vessels would be banned. Whilst these little internal pleasantries may be understood in this country, they are certainly not understood so readily abroad. For one thing, the Dutch cannot understand the attitude adopted by the present Australian Government, particularly in view of our common sufferings during the recent world war.
Our future security will depend largely upon what we do to provide our own defence, and whatever assistance Great Britain, which has now turned the corner and is on the way to re-establishment, can give us. However, for many years Great Britain will undoubtedly be preoccupied with affairs in Europe. The Government should work in the closest cooperation with the United States, New Zealand and Dutch authorities. The Government of the United States of America is insistent that Australia shall co-operate with tin1 Dutch, and before long it is hoped that the nations I have mentioned will make a Pacific pact, probably on similar lines to the North Atlantic pact, for the defence of the white countries in this part of the world. Unfortunately, in the time allowed to me I have been able to deal only briefly with the many aspects of the present state o* international affairs, which is a most. complicated subject. However, I desire to express the appreciation voiced by the people of the United Kingdom of the generosity of the Australian people who have sent some millions of food parcels to that country. In addition to the individual food parcels which have been sent to that country I understand that gifts of foodstuffs aggregating 50,000,000 lb. have been despatched. I can imagine no better way to create lasting friendship between our respective peoples than the action of so many generous individuals who have expressed in such practical fashion their appreciation of the courage displayed by thi’ British people during World War II. The friendship so established will be more lasting and real than any sentiment that has hitherto existed between our respective peoples. The gifts of food have been of inestimable value, and 1 can assure Australians that they have been distributed fairly and to the most deserving individuals and institutions. Finally. I again impress upon the Government the urgent necessity for implementing a foreign policy that is designed to promote the closest co-operation between this country, the United Kingdom and the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, while, at the same time, aiming at the fullest and most frank understanding with the United States of America.
– I think that all honorable senators must have enjoyed the travel talk delivered by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper), who has just concluded his speech. In fact, the honorable senator is beloved by all members of this chamber. However, while he was speaking I could not help thinking that it was a pity that the world has rolled on for the last 30 years, and that it is not as naive now as is the Leader of the Opposition. While he was on his recent tour abroad he undoubtedly met a number of interesting people and saw quite a lot of interesting things, but he has come back imbued with exactly the same political ideas as he had before he went abroad.
– Apparently the Leader of the Opposition is like the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) !
– I wish that Senator O’Sullivan would not interrupt me. He has no worthwhile contribution to make to my speech, although I realize that in interjecting he is paying me a compliment because those who are listening to the broadcast of these proceedings may realize that Senator O’Sullivan cannot reply to my statements and that he has to reply on interjections. Now that 1 have exposed his tactics I should be glad if he would refrain from interrupting me. The Leader of the Opposition desires to reduce all the incalculable factors of the international situation to a simple formula. He really believes that if we could only get all our friends abroad to pull together against Russia everything in the garden would be lovely. The state of international relationships to-day presents a most complicated economic problem. The picture is filled with the images of diverse and diverging economic interests in Great Britain, Trance and Germany struggling in desperate competition with each other. It is the bourgeoisie who are endeavouring to exploit the toiling masses of those countries. I do not propose to say anything about that now. but I shall do so later if time permits. While the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) was away we heard a great deal of criticism of the right honorable gentleman. He was referred to as the “ peripatetic Minister for External Affairs “, and the Opposition told us at length and in detail what they would do to him when he returned. It was said of the Bourbons that they learned nothing and forgot nothing, and many of the statements that we hear so regularly from honorable senators opposite remind me of that observation. They say the same things this year as they said last year, and, undoubtedly, they will repeat them again next year. The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) spoke at some length of the Government’s foreign policy, and whilst his speech was good to listen to - it was like listening to a symphony - for all the information it conveyed he might as well have spoken in a foreign language. The state of international relationships to-day is most complicated. Yet, notwithstanding the complexity of the subject honorable senators opposite have been in labour to simplify the problem, and they have brought forth a mouse.
– The Government’s foreign policy has not yet brought forth even a mouse.
– I do not mind bo much as long as it does not bring forth a rat. The only worthwhile members of the political party to which Senator O’Sullivan belongs have been Labour “ rats “. However, when I was interrupted I was referring not to rats, but to mice. The members of the Opposition have no real policy in international affairs; the only policy they can propound is one based on the antithesis of Labour’s positive policy.
– Australia’s present foreign policy is not that of the Australian Labour party, but that of the Minister for External Affairs.
– Apparently, Senator O’Sullivan is determined to interrupt roe. I do not object to a humorous objection, but I must say that his interjections are not humorous, despite the fact that the honorable senator himself is a big joke. I have said that the antiLabour parties have no policy of their own. They criticized the Minister for External Affairs for supporting the United Nations. I ask them now, do they advocate that we should pull out? I hear no reply from the Opposition.
– No, because T shall address my remarks to the President.
– In a word, their policy is to let things stand as they are.
– God forbid!
– God forbid that the honorable senator should stay as he is! Whilst I realize that he is quite incapable of improvement, I hate to think that his mind should remain as it is now. One redeeming feature of the honorable senator’s interjections is that they indicate that he is listening carefully. Unfortunately, he has not the mentality to understand what I am saying. When I was interrupted I was about to remark that, after all the clamour of members of the Opposition about what they would do to the Minister for External Affairs when he returned, it was rather amazing that only a handful of the members of the Opposition in the House of Representatives took part in the debate on foreign affairs in that chamber. I took the trouble to listen to some of their speeches, and, with the exception of a few contributions, I should not have thought it was possible for such a galaxy of talent to contribute so little. Take, for instance, the views that they expressed on the Indonesian question. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) said that he did not care two straws about the rights or wrongs of the matter. Just imagine the effect of such a statement on people in other parts of the world! Of course, I do not believe that at any time he ever cared the proverbial two straws what was right, or
Wrong, and in making that admission he was at least consistent. Some members of the Opposition in the House of Representatives said that in Indonesia the local Communists were united with the Russians in their efforts to drive out the Dutch. They mentioned that under the terms of the Linggadjati Agreement, which was made approximately two years ago, the Dutch agreed to vacate Indonesia. I shall not go into a discussion of that point of view, because the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) explained the situation very clearly. As a matter of recent history we know that, despite the Linggadjati Agreement, the Dutch attacked the Indonesians with 120,000 troops equipped with all the latest weapons, and let torment loose on the unfortunate inhabitants. The Indonesians who had made the Linggadjati Agreement were not Communists. That is quite obvious, because the Indonesian Communists are still fighting the Republicans in that country. The Indo nesian Communists complain that the Republicans represent the indigenous bourgeoisie, that is to say, the new-arising capitalist class of Indonesia. According to the Communists, the Republicans will be just as ruthless in their exploitation of the 70,000,000 citizens of Indonesia as were the Dutch. The tories of this country, who euphemistically call themselves “ Liberals “, say that is all part of a deep-laid Communist plot. Actually, the contrary is the case. The British areaccused of taking sides with the Dutch. They are not taking sides with the Dutch at all; the plain fact is that they aro giving loyal support to the United Nations. .A great deal of confusion has arisen in the minds of people in Australia and in other countries because of the ignorant and irresponsible statements made by ; persons who know nothing of the situation in the Netherlands East Indies. If I had time I should quote the views expressed by Dr. Jessup and Lord Henderson, son of the former foreign secretary and prominent Labour r identity, the late Arthur Henderson. The fact is that the British Government’s views on Indonesia coincide with those of the Australian Government, and the American Government is in agreement with the British Government concerning what should be done. Members of the Opposition are clamouring that we should support the Dutch, whether they be right or wrong, and the right honorable member for North Sydney has declared that if it is a matter of a fight between the blacks and the whites he is with the whites. Of course, he is seeking to resolve the difficulty into a simple formula, which cannot be done. We are dealing with the greatest upsurge of nationalism that the world has ever known. In this fight it will not be a matter fundamentally of black against white, because men like Patell, the Indian millionaire, will probably side with the white millionaires, and the black proletariat will probably fight with the white proletariat before it is all over. During this debate hardly a word has been said about economics. It is an extraordinary feature that in the realm of economics many people imagine that they are authorities and have a right to speak. If I were to walk out of this building, point to the so-called sky, and say, “ That is not the Milky Way, that is not Venus, and that is not Saturn “, I would probably be asked if I had studied astronomy. That is analogous to the attitude of the Liberals on foreign affairs. People who have never even read a book on economics insist on debating them. Ne reference has been made to oil, rubber, or tin, and during the discussion on Pales-tine, reference was not made to the oil pipes there.
– The honorable senator seems to have Dr. Evatt On the brain. It cannot be denied that the
Minister for External Affairs did more to fix up the affairs of Palestine than has any one else. I am accustomed to admitting any mistakes that I may make. Quite frankly, I thought that, after the British withdrew from Palestine, the Arabs would overrun the Jews, but time has proved that I was wrong in my forecast.
– Not for the first time.
– It is obvious that my Liberal friend opposite knows very little about politics or good manners. When it comes to a matter of etiquette, a knowledge of economics or anything else, the members of the Australian Labour party are far ahead of our friends opposite. The Opposition has claimed that we have already neglected the first movements of this upsurge, and that the trouble in Malaya has been caused by a few Communists who put a few rabbits in the hat and produced terrorists in their place. The Opposition has also suggested that if the European peoples had acted as they should have done, Asia would not be in such a turbulent state to-day. It has also been suggested that some of the Indonesians are Japanese puppets, but they do not tell us that the British should put the Dutch back into Indonesia. I remind the Senate that it would be quite impracticable for 9,000,000 Dutch people to continue to dictate to 70,000,000 Indonesians. In 1927, before the days of frequent references to communistic influences in Asia, the Dutch deported 1,000 Indonesians, together with their wives and children, to Dutch New Guinea. The French acted similarly in Indo-China, and the British in Burma. I point out that before the war some of the British companies operating in Indo-China and Burma, made profits of 400 per cent, and 500 per cent. I remember that in a pre-war year the Anglo-Burma oil company made a profit of 130 per cent., whilst the Anglo-Burma Tin Company made a profit of 103 per cent. When the Japanese moved in the Burmese said, in effect, “We may just as well have you as anybody else “. There is evidence that a similar movement is now taking place in the Far East. We have been told that just as the Germans may be built up in Europe to fight the Russians, so may the Japanese be again built up. Although I do not claim to be a military strategist, a glance at the map of Asia conveys much to me. From the northern island of Japan to the tip of Sakhalin, which the Russians control, is only about 3 or 4 miles. Then there is the Peninsula of Kamchatka, controlled by Russia, and the Kuriles, which were given to the Japanese by Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt, as a quarter of Germany was given to the Poles and Russians. If we look at the map of East Asia, and imagine that we are sooling the Japanese on to attack the Russians, it is obvious that the Japanese would play the same game as they did before, and the same game as the Germans are going to play. We have been told that General MacArthur has established democracy in Japan, and yet, on the other hand, we learn from newspaper reports that the Japanese are selling their own children into slavery for so many yen a head. I have studied the situation fairly closely, and I do not believe that the attempt that is being made to convert Japan into an American colony will succeed. The number of Communists in that country has increased by 600 per cent, since the last election. It is well known that communism cannot be stopped merely by the bringing about of worse conditions. I claim that the Australian Labour party acts as a brake to what Stalin may wish to do. In Japan to-day there are “ blackleg “ unions and no militant organization is allowed. The premier of that country has said that the prisons are full and that more should be built. There is no arbitration in Japan, and the workers have to get along as best they can. One-third of the people have no homes, and most of the others have to sleep like herrings in a barrel. There is no doubt in my mind that the Japanese, like the Germans, are trying to get square. It is true that the Germans are opposed to the Russians; they are also opposed to the French and the British. Although it was interesting to hear our friends of the Opposition say what the Germans are going to do to the Russians, I invite attention to what is happening in the east and in the west. Just as the old reactionaries are being propped up in Japan, so is something similar taking place in Germany. One of the men supposed to be breaking up the vast I. G. Faben combine into 75 separate companies is Gustav Brecht, a member of thirteen boards of directors working under American jurisdiction. Dr. Menzel, of Rhine-Westphalia, in the British zone, is reported to have said that of 82 senior police officials in Muenster, 57 are former members of the Nazi party. It is apparent that the world is changing; the capitalist system as we know it is down and out. Senator Cooper referred to the Western Union. What a heterogeneous mass of economic contradictions that is! It does not mater what the tories say. Let us consider, despite all of the talk, what is the position in the west. There were 57,000 more persons out of work in Great Britain lastDecember than in the previous December, and 267,000 were out of work in Belgium, despite the fact that we were told two years ago that Belgium was the first country to get out of the wood and that everything in that country was all right. In Switzerland unemployment is increasing, whilst in Italy about 2,500,000 are now out of work. It is quite obvious that the situation is very serious. So far as Australia is concerned, I suggest that we should get all the people that we can to come to this country as soon as possible. In addition to that, we should be careful to do nothing to antagonize the Asiatic millions.
In a leading article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently, it was claimed that we should not have’ sent representatives to the New Delhi conference. It was claimed that we should have said, in effect, “ We are white people and we do not care what the people in India, Ceylon, Burma, or China think”. The article also suggested that we should mind our own business. If the Dutch had minded their own business they would not be in the Dutch East Indies.
– And would we be here?
– It is a pity that they have not minded their own business. We who are living in the world to-day must recognize that we are all part and parcel of it, and that a great change is taking place. The same thing applies nationally. In the by-election of Kogarah, Mr. Treatt, the Leader of the Opposition in the State Parliament in New South Wales, publicly announced what he would do with the Communists if he were in power. Somewhat similar remarks were made some time ago by Mr. Hollway, the Premier of Victoria, and Mr. MacDonald, who is the Leader of the Australian Country party in that State. Yet when they were elected to office they fixed themselves up. Something similar happens in connexion with international affairs. Although Mr. Winston Churchill was a great leader in war-time, how did he get on with Stalin? Old Joe Stalin, that ruthless brilliant man, knew that the. military situation would turn into a political situation and he got part of Brandenberg, Upper Silesia and a fifth of Germany from them. These were the people who were running the country at that time. The same applies in England. Until the Labour party was elected to office, no constructive move was made. I say, therefore, to the people who are interested in trying to secure a better world, that they had better keep the Australian Labour party in power in Australia. It would appear that the Opposition judges Asiatics by their backwardness and their servility. If the Asiatic would rather have the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes than his own flag; if he takes any wages that are offered to him; if he is a Chinese and in favour of extra-territoriality ; and if he does not mind the whites coming to his country and setting up their own laws, he is civilized ! But that has gone -by the board.
The other night I met a woman in Macleay-street, Sydney. bile said to me, “ I have not seen you for ten or eleven years. The last time I spoke, to you 1 asked you what you thought of the statement of Sir John Latham, who had just come back from Japan, that there would be no war with the Japanese “. I said, “ He is a very intelligent man. I do not know if he believes in diplomacy or not, hut if he believes that he must be blind, stone deaf, and dumb, because the war is on again “. The United States of America is the greatest industrial country iu the world to-day, but when it conies to u matter of diplomacy-
– Ask Dr. Evatt.
– That is a wonderful compliment to pay to the Minister for External Affairs. I would not be surprised if the honorable senator shouts that out in his sleep, and when he loses his seat in the Senate I should think he would be able to get a job in a punch and judy show.
– With the honorable senator as the clown?
– The Americans wanted to put the Chinese families back where they were before the war, but that cannot be done. Therefore, the best thing that we can now do with China is to get behind the nationalist movement in that country, because it will not take orders from Moscow. Any one who studies communism will soon find out that the Communists take their orders from Moscow. That was all very well for the Australian Communists who used to go to Moscow periodically where they were given a little say in the Comintern and returned to this country imagining that they were important. But when the Communists assumed power in Yugoslavia and the Russians tried to determine what the Yugoslavs should produce and what they should sell and buy, men like Tito and Kardeli thought otherwise. When I was in Paris I met Kardeli who is Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia. Some people who are Communists say that he is not a Communist, but I believe that he is. If we build up our democratic system we shall find that other nations, even if they should fall momentarily under Russian domination, will still be strongly nationalistic in their outlook. They will want to develop their own countries as they themselves think best, and eventually, they will get their way. Ultimately we may be able to persuade such peoples to work along democratic lines. But what is the policy of the tories in this respect? Let any one read the programme of the tories in England; it is almost a joke. Only recently Churchill, when he took part in the by-election at Hammersmith went about giving the “V for Victory” sign, but the majority of the people in that electorate voted against his party. They did so because they realized that although Churchill was a great war leader he was not the man to re-organize the economy of England and Scotland. The economy of Scotland has been entirely neglected. Most of the people now living in the highlands of that country are old people. Over £300,000,000 has been expended on the generation of power in Scotland in order to provide light and heat to the peoples in the adjacent islands. At the same time, mining villages have sprung up like mushrooms. In the development of the mining industry in the “Old Country” all attenwas concentrated on the production of coal. Not one word was said about caring for the miners. I have seen some of those villages, and I have seen photographs of many which I have not visited. Much the same state of affairs prevailed in this country before Labour came into office. The Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) and other Ministers know what tremendous problems confront the Government in that respect.
I repeat that if we are to choose between intelligent men like Mr. Nehru and Mr. Patel, the democratic people of Indonesia and the Dutch imperialists, I shall choose - to be on the side of the democrats. The democratic section of the people in Holland, 9,000,000 strong, is against the present set-up in Indonesia. Recently, the Labour party in that country in conjunction with the Dutch trade unions demonstrated in Amsterdam as a protest against the sending of Dutch troops to the East Indies. Senator O’Sullivan, who is attempting to interject, knows that in backing the Dutch he is backing a loser. That is- the view of all people who think for themselves upon these matters. Even the London Times in a recent issue gave the advice that the only sensible thing we can do is to get behind the democratic forces in Asia. Otherwise the Communists will gain complete control of that continent. Statements made by certain members of this Parliament, such as that made by the right honorable member for North Sydney, when he said that he did not care two straws whether his opinion about the Indonesians was right or wrong, do a great service to the Communists. The Communists in Indonesia simply produce such statements to the masses of the people in that country and say, “ There, that is what they think about you “.
We must make an objective analysis of present-day capitalist society. Shall we continue to rob the native peoples of their wealth in the form of oil, tin, steel, iron and other goods, and in the process exploit hundreds of millions of people? It is a case of one class of society struggling to replace another class. A revolutionary movement is taking place throughout the world to-day, mainly because of the fact that two world wars have occurred in our generation. The whites have lost face in Asia. The ease with which Singapore was taken and the Japanese over-ran large portions of Asia undermined the prestige of the white people in Asiatic countries. But intelligent Chinese and intelligent Indians are not anti-white, and they will not be antiwhite unless the whites insult them. Our job is quite plain. In the national field we have done everthing to beat communism. If the Labour parties - call them the social democrats if you like - are taken out of the national field there will be no force left to fight communism; it is either ourselves or them. That is the problem in the national field. I learn that at the next general elections the Communists in New South Wales intend to nominate seven candidates for the Senate, including such champions as Sharkey.
– The honorable senator need have no worry about being re-elected.
– Certainly, I shall be re-elected, not because my name is Grant, but because the Chifley Government, with the backing of the Labour party, has done its job so well. I am confident that every Communist candidate who is nominated at the forthcoming general elections will forfeit his deposit. On the other hand, I have listened to what the Opposition parties have been saying for years. They have told us repeatedly what they would do. They have cried, “Pull the Communists on”. Those parties did so in 1917 and you, Mr. President, as well as many other members of the Labour party, including the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) remember with what result. They paralysed the country for years. The aftermath of the 1917 strike is still with us, because we often hear the sons of men who suffered in that strike refer to many df their fathers’ former colleagues as “ blacklegs “. Any fool can pull on a strike, but under present conditions, when man-power is scarce and the demand is so great, we must compromise. A similar policy must be applied in the international field. If the Labour parties in the various countries disappeared tomorrow, what would be left? Whatever the Communist “ line “ might be, if I were in favour of Stalinism I would have one programme, namely, to put the Labour party out of office; because it is the only party that can do anything in the real interests of their country. It is the only .party that is connected with the trade unions. For instance, the Minister for Shipping and Fuel can call the workers “Bill”, “Jack” and “Harry”, because he knows them. Members of the Labour party know the workers. In the international field, the Minister for External Affairs has done as good a job as the Prime Minister and the Labour party have done in our national field. I repeat that if I were in favour of Stalinism my sole objective would be to put the Labour party out of office and to put in the conservatives, who are now known as Liberals, because then the way for the Communist dictatorship would he made easy. The Opposition, parties have no real policy in either the national or the international field. Their policy is so much sound and fury signifying nothing. That is their only policy, nationally or internationally.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) gave hardly any credit to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) for the work he has performed on behalf of Australia. However, the nations of the world have recognized his splendid achievements. It is a striking tribute to the Australian nation that one of the members of the National Parliament should be elected President of the General Assembly of the United Nations which, perhaps, is the most responsible position that any individual could occupy in the world to-day. What is the reason for the existence of the United Nations? One needs to glance back only a few years to find that reason. Following World War [. the intelligent people of the world attempted to make another world conflict impossible. In World War I. thousands of young men lost their lives. Their loved ones missed them; their mothers were heart-broken at their loss. Following that conflict there arose a mass of world opinion which had for its purpose the prevention of another world war. That movement resulted in the establishment of the League of Nations. Every student of economics knows perfectly well that such an organization, in its efforts to prevent world conflict, is confronted with world-wide economic problems. About that time J. M. Keynes came into prominence. He wrote a memorable book entitled The Economic Consequences of the Peace Treaty, and students the world over derived great benefit from studying that work. In the peace movements which then gathered momentum in all countries, splendid work was done by the men and women of that time. I remember reading about a women’s conference which took place in Germany. Women from Britain, France, Switzerland, Holland and many other countries attended it. Despite the fact that some of the nations they represented were actually at war, that conference passed a resolution deploring war. They did so as women who had suffered the bitter loss of loved ones in war. The existence of the United Nations is attributable to the wonderful work which was performed by great bodies of peace-loving men and women during and following World War I. They really laid the foundations of the United Nations in which we are represented by our distinguished Minister for External Affairs. Only recently the French Government bestowed its highest civilian honour upon him. Yet, certain members of the Opposition parties in the House of Representatives endeavoured to belittle that honour. They asked how the Government reconciled the bestowal of it upon the Minister for External Affairs with the Labour party’s policy of opposition to titles. That honour was conferred upon the Minister for External Affairs, not by the Australian Government, but by the government of another country, and it was awarded to him because of his work in the preservation of world peace.
One of the subsidiaries of the League of Nations was the International Labour organization. That organization was established because it was realized that many of the world’s conflicts were the direct result of economic inequality between nations. Workers in one country were working longer hours and were receiving less wages than were those in other countries. That gave rise to international differences which had an adverse psychological effect upon workers even in Australia. The International Labour organization adopted the principle of the 40-hour week and tried to put it into effect in all countries. It is a noteworthy fact that this Government, which has the support of 33 members of the Senate, was one of the first governments in the world to attempt to implement a policy of full employment. In 1945 it presented to this Parliament a complete scheme for the establishment of full employment. In preparing for the future welfare of Australia, the Government has provided for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of pounds during the next ten or fifteen years upon projects designed to protect the people and raise their standard of living. It has done much to promote health and to provide amenities for workers in factories. As a part of its plan to promote the physical health of the people, it has provided for the expenditure of £40,000,000 upon a campaign against the scourge of tuberculosis. In Melbourne last Friday night I had the privilege of listening to an address by a member of the British House of Commons, Mr. Orbach, who described the revolutionary developments which have occurred in the United Kingdom under a Labour administration during the last two or three years. He told his audience how the British Government had provided for the care of the sick and. of workers who were injured in industry. Another member of the British House of Commons, Mr. Anthony Eden, is also visiting Australia. I have no hostility to Mr. Eden as a member of the British Parliament, but I am amused by the fact that he, as a member of the Conservative party of Great Britain, has been brought here by the Liberal party of Australia for the purpose of assisting it in its vain endeavour to recapture the treasury bench in the Commonwealth Parliament.
– He was brought here by courtesy of the Australian Prime Minister.
– I shall not discuss why he came to Australia and who invited him. I merely remark that the Liberal party in the United Kingdom to-day is about as strong as the Liberal party will be in Australia after the next Commonwealth election. The number of representatives of the Liberal party in the House of Commons could almost be counted on the fingers of two hands.
The Leader of the Opposition described the transporting of food to people in the western zone of Germany. The whole situation in Germany is contradictory. A few years ago we were endeavouring to starve the Germans into submission and they were then supposed to be our enemies for all time. To-day we are feeding them. Why are we doing so? There is a conflict of ideologies throughout the world. We have democracy upon the one hand and communism upon the other hand, and because the Communist party is apparently a dangerous element in Germany, we are feeding the Germans. The Leader of the Opposition told how the United Kingdom and the United States of America were sending 6,000 tons of food daily to Berlin by air. The rate will be increased soon to 8,000 or 9,000 tons daily. Aircraft loaded with food land at Berlin at intervals of three minutes. We are doing that simply because certain forces in society desire to save the German people for economic reasons. But the Labour movement throughout the world is the only force in society that can successfully counteract such dangers as those which are threatening Germany to-day. The Leader of the Opposition also discussed the situation in Japan. Elections are conducted in Japan on democratic lines, and some semblance of a parliament has been formed there. The western powers are planning to build up Japan’s industrial strength, and before long members of Australian trade unions may again be obliged to approach this
Parliament to seek protection from unfair competition from the sweated labour factories of Japan. The peoples of the world have had enough of war. They have decided that they will never again go to war for the sake of trade supremacy. We should remember what happened in the great industrial district of the Buhr. I assume that the Leader of the Opposition learned something about the wonderful Buhr Valley and its great manufacturing industries during his visit to Germany. We boast of our modern society after 2,000 years of Christianity, but 83,000 human beings were killed in the Ruhr in 21 minutes when allied forces blitzed the valley during World War II. We know what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and we even have bitter recollections of the losses that we sustained when our own territory was attacked at Darwin. The peoples of the world want to have no more conflicts of that sort. Australia’s Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is striving valiantly to preserve peace for them. He i3 overseas at present working in the cause of international co-operation. That man has done more to enhance Australia’s prestige in other countries than have any other twelve Australian politicians. To-day he occupies the exalted position of President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Members of the Labour movement, both in Australia and in Great Britain, are planning and working constantly in the interests of all of the peoples of the world. What has happened in Great Britain? The Churchills and the Anthony Edens have failed. Such men were sent to Eton and trained for political careers from their early ‘teens, hut notwithstanding their great educational advantages they have been outdistanced by members of the Labour movement, who have provided the House of Commons and the House of Lords with some of the finest brains in the British Empire: The people of Great Britain have absolute confidence in their Labour government. The visiting member of the House of Commons whom I mentioned earlier, Mr. Orbach, has not the slightest fear that the United Kingdom Government will not be returned to power at the next general election with a bigger majority than it commands now. A similar situation prevails in Australia. I do not want to prejudice the position of members of the Opposition in the Senate, who will be safe until 1953, but I do not believe that any person in Australia to-day thinks that the Opposition has more than a 100 to 1 chance of gaining control of the treasury bench. Why is that so? The reason is that the actions of this Government have won the wholehearted support of the people. Whenever the Government reduces taxes the Opposition complains that the reductions are not large enough, but the masses of the people appreciate the relief. I inspected the wharfs at Melbourne a few days ago. Last week about 60 steamers were in the port of Melbourne. Most of them were waiting to load goods for overseas ports. That indicates the prosperity of Australia under this Government.
People throughout the world have had enough of the old order. They realize that anti-Labour governments led them into a war in which 20,000,000 lives were lost, and countless millions of people were rendered homeless. Half of the former homes of western Europe have been reduced to masses of rubble, and thousands of the homes of our fellows in Great Britain also were destroyed. The Leader of the Opposition and other honorable senators who have been overseas recently must have witnessed evidence of the frightful effects of the war. The Minister for External Affairs, a former justice of our High Court, has played bis part in international affairs not as an individual but as the representative of the people of Australia. The decisions of the conference which he recently left Australia to attend will probably be inspired by the impartial and able manner in which he guides its deliberations. His conduct will undoubtedly add to the prestige of this Parliament, of which we as members have reason to be proud.
– We have heard some very interesting speeches dealing with various aspects of world problems during this debate. In discussing international relations, we should realize that we are not dealing with a matter affecting Australia alone.
We must consider the views of other peoples and the conditions in other countries. The importance of foreign affairs has loomed largely in this Parliament in recent years. People have learned to appreciate more keenly than hitherto the importance of our relationships with other nations. .If only we could visualize the world in the days when people were masters of their own destinies and could conduct their affairs according to their own ideas, we should visualize a state of affairs much happier than that which exists to-day, since different groups of people have started to take an interest in the behaviour of other groups. Unfortunately, we have learned to interfere with other people’s affairs. International affairs means the marshalling of the forces of one nation against those of another to protect what each considers to be its own interests, regardless of what other people may think. Consequently, for hundreds of years we have had wars - wars over trade and commerce or wars of conquest. As the result of all those conflicts, the world ‘has gradually reached the unhappy state in which we find it to-day. I shall not be so bold as some honorable members opposite, who have endeavoured to suggest to this Parliament, to the country, and to the world, a panacea for all international ills. Hearing certain people speaking over the air, or reading their views in newspapers, one might be led to believe that international problems could be solved quite easily by a foreign affairs committee. It has been suggested that an all-party committee of the Senate or of the Parliament should be appointed. The idea presumably is that such a committee could discuss international relationships calmly, and devise solutions of all the difficulties that confront the world to-day. That is an idle dream. World problems cannot be solved as simply as that ; but we believe at least that Australia as a civilized nation should give some thought to world’ problems.
Criticism has been levelled at the Australian Government. It has ‘been alleged that the foreign policy of the Australian Government is that of one man, namely, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), who alone decides Australia’s attitude towards world problems. That, of course, is only cheap political propaganda. Ever since Australia has fought in wars as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations it has had a foreign policy. The great nations of the world to-day should be devising ways and means to accomplish one great objective, that is, the elimination of wars.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) to-day gave us the benefit of the knowledge that he had gained during his recent visit overseas. All honorable senators will agree that the picture painted by the Leader of the Opposition was horrible and terrifying. We have only to think of the greatness of the city of Berlin a few years ago compared with its present state of devastation. What if a similar fate should overtake London and the other great cities of the United Kingdom? The great tragedy of warfare lies not in the destruction of material wealth such as bricks and mortar. Buildings can be restored. It is true that the great architects of the past who designed some of the most beautiful buildings in the world to-day have gone, but architects of the future too will produce works of art. The real tragedy of war lies in the loss of thousands of human lives. A few years ago I visited London and saw the results of war-time bombardments. From the point of view of town planning, greater destruction would have enabled the rebuilding of London as a fine city with more amenities for the people, but when one realizes the loss of life involved in aerial warfare one can only be thankful that the destruction was not greater. ‘ The great problem we have to face to-day is, “How can we, as a civilized nation and a part of a civilized world which still claims to be Christian, prevent another holocaust ? “ I was struck by some figures in the financial statement made in the Senate earlier to-day. That statement shows that Australia, a country of less than 8,000,000 people, will, in the current financial year, expend £60,000,000 on defence, £26,000,000 on war gratuities, £30,000,000 upon re-establishment and repatriation, £10,000,000 on war pensions arising from World War I., £9,000,000 on war pensions arising from World War II., £10,000,000 on war service homes, £59,000,000 on interest and sinking fund payments on war loans and £88,000,000 on social services, eligibility for which has been contributed to by wars. That is what war has meant to this country. That is the picture that confronts this young nation as a result of war. Yet the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, himself a former Prime Minister, returned to this country after his recent visit abroad talking about spilling atomic bombs on other parts of the world. Once we commence spilling atomic bombs on other people, we can expect some to fall on this country. No longer is Australia isolated from the other countries of the world. The advance in aeronautics has brought Australia to within a few hours travel of any part of the world. I myself travelled from the United Kingdom to Australia in 56 hours. Yet the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives talks about dropping atomic bombs as if that would solve any of the problems that confront us! There is another problem of great magnitude which must be approached in a different manner. We must seek the goodwill of the peoples of the world. In the old days, after a war one or two powers got together and formed alliances. There was, for instance, the Triple Alliance. It was found, however, that alliances did not prevent further wars, or alleviate the conditions of the great masses of the people. Probably the greatest necessity to-day is for a gigantic effort to raise the conditions of the vast multitudes of under privileged people throughout the world. One hears to-day an outcry against communism; but where does communism grow but in the poverty, misery and degradation of the people? Why did communism make its appearance in Russia? Prior .to the Russian revolution, the accepted theory was that communism would arise only in industrial countries, as the result of the exploitation of the workers ; but the great upsurge occurred in Russia, a peasant country. The Russian revolution was a direct result of the oppression of the great masses of the Russian people. They sought something new. Undoubtedly most of them were illiterate and knew little of world affairs, but they believed they had to save themselves. John Reid wrote a book on the Russian revolution entitled Ten Days that Shook the World. The revolution of 1917 did more than shake the world for ten days; its reverberations are still being felt in many countries. If peace is to be restored, and the oppressed peoples of the world are to enjoy some of the good things of life, nations must get together. World War I. was described as a “ war to end war” but within 25 years war again stalked across the world. Is that to happen again? If we are to escape it we must get together. After World WarI. we had the League of Nations, but the league had deficiencies, and was not permitted to play its part. I have heard the league described as the “ retired burglars union “. The implication was that the league consisted of nations which had exploited other countries for many years, conquered rich territories, and wanted to “ retire “ to enjoy the fruits of their victories. We also have a new organization called the United Nations. It is an assembly of free peoples. So far, of course, the conquered nations, Germany and Japan, are not represented, but it is hoped that it will not be long before they are granted membership. The Australian Government has agreed to support the United Nations. Member countries pledge themselves to do certain things. The main purpose of the United Nations according to the Minister’s statement is -
Is that not a very laudable objective for the Australian Government to be associated with? Another purpose is -
How often in the past has the old law of the jungle or the law of the mob prevailed? Nobody could wish that state of affairs to continue. The next objective is -
Let me digress for a moment. Honorable senators will recall that after World War I. the International Labour Office was established at Geneva under the aegis of the League of Nations, and that it was attended by delegates who represented employers, employees and governments of all nations who were members of the League of Nations. Their purpose was to discuss the great economic problems which confronted their respective countries. One of the most important matters debated at those conventions was that which is referred to in that portion of the United Nations Charter that I have just read, which aims, amongst other things, at improving the standards of living, maintaining full employment and ensuring economic and social progress throughout the world. Of course, we know that many of the governments whose representatives attended those conferences failed to implement the undertakings given by their delegates. They said that it was impossible to introduce full employment. The present Australian Government, which is endeavouring to give practical expression to its ideals in this legislation, has always stood for full employment, for the uplift of humanity and for the participation by the people of the world in the good things of life. The Charter of the United Nations also includes amongst its objectives the following: -
To ensure the political, economic, social and educational advancement of all dependent peoples, recognizing that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are a paramount trust.
Of course, they are the paramount trust for us who claim to be more highly civilized. After all, many of our people have had the advantage of a university education. Those who have had the opportunity to examine such matters, and seek to advance and uplift the conditions of the peoples in backward countries from semi-primeval conditions realize the sincerity of the efforts made by the present Government on behalf of the under-privileged. Yet in the House of Representatives one hears statements from members of the Opposition, and in the press one reads articles in which those ideals are referred to slightingly. Why? Simply because the Minister for External Affairs, who is charged with the responsibility of giving effect in Australia’s foreign policy to Labour’s humanitarian aims, happens to be a Labour man. When I attended the House of Representatives a few night ago to hear the right honorable gentleman expound the Government’s foreign policy I could not help thinking what an honour it was for Australia, which is such a young nation, that one of its sons should be chosen by the great men and women of this world as their leader. He was standing in the Parliament of the Australian Commonwealth, reporting to the nation on the activities of the organization to which the whole world looks for salvation and for protection against a repetition of the catyclysm through which we have recently passed. At the same time I could not help noticing the little people in the background, like foxes on the outskirts, who were sniggering because he was not of their political faith. If we are to do the great things that are expected of us, and to persuade the world to return to sanity, then it is idle for critics of the Government to attack it simply because its members are of a different political faith from their own. Is not the real cause of the conflict in the United Nations distrust; that the leaders of one particular ideology are afraid that those who speak for other sections of world opinion are not sincere in their utterances? Of course, we blame the representatives of Russia for their activities on behalf of the unsettled States of the world. In all justice I think that we should recall to our minds the fact that after World War I. Russia was attacked by no less than nineteen nations on many different fronts. The Russian people have not forgotten that, and naturally they are still suspicious of us. We must break down that suspicion. If there is to be an end to war, then all the nations must come together. It is idle to imagine that we can carve the world into sections and once more play the old game of international power politics and still live at peace. That game was played out before the Crimean War. In the light of the frightful suffering endured by the Russians at the hands of the Germans during the recent world war, it is idle to imagine that we can bring about international peace and contentment by forming small pressure groups.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to the spirit of thankfulness of the people of Great Britain for the part that Australia has played in succouring the wartorn people of their country. I remind the honorable senator that it is not only the people of Great Britain who are thankful to Australia for what we have done for them; the people of other countries also are thankful. Australia has played a magnificent part in succouring the victims of the recent war in Europe. It has carried out loyally its obligations under the United Nations Charter. It has assisted the United Nations, in every conceivable way. In particular, it has made substantial contributions to the relief of the suffering children of Europe, and it has earned the lasting gratitude of all those who suffered during the war. In addition to Australia’s gifts to the United Kingdom, we sent £30,000,000 to Unrra for distribution amongst war-distressed countries. That is no mean achievement for a nation of less than S,000,000 people, and it does not include the expenditure on international relief to which I referred earlier in any remarks. Australia has indeed played a magnificent part in the post-war world. In expressing their thanks for our generosity the people of Great Britain know that the Government and the people of Australia will continue wholeheartedly to assist them.
I remind the Leader of the Opposition, who sought to reflect upon the workers of Australia and other countries by referring to isolated instances of irresponsible acts on their part, that reforms are taking place throughout the world, and that in the process the worker is ringing true in nearly every country. I suggest that we should bear that in mind when we review the course of events in Indonesia and throughout Asia generally, where untold millions are struggling to achieve better social conditions and ti) assert their innate sense of nationalism. Because of the present upsurge of feeling the entire continent of Asia appears to be in turmoil, but I believe that eventually the United Nations will devise ways and means to solve the problems of the world. If that body fails to bring peace to the world, we shall undoubtedly revert to a state of chaos. Nation will eat nation, and I shudder to think what might be the future of the world. What a pity that those who plan and struggle to-day to take advantage of individual sections of the community cannot realize that they will strut the stage of this world for only a short time and that others will come after them who will plan for the future. If they could once assimilate that fact I think that we might make of this a better world. Instead of fighting to destroy one another we should get together to try to bring some happiness to mankind. The policy followed by the present and the preceding Labour Government has been directed to advancing the interests of the workers, not only in Australia but throughout the world. We should he proud that the man who is leading the idealists of the world in their struggle for the betterment of mankind is an honoured member of this Parliament. On behalf of this institution I extend to the Minister for External Affairs our congratulations on the latest honour that has been conferred on him by the great Republic of France for his great work in the cause of world peace.
– I congratulate Senator Sheehan on the splendid speech that he has justdelivered. His contribution to the debate set in clear -perspective the foreign policy of the present Government and pointed out the similarity between that policy and the ideal - towards which the peaceloving nations of the world are striving. Although the Opposition parties have criticized that policy at great length, not only in this chamber but also in the House of Representatives, they have been quite unable to offer any constructive suggestions for the improvement of our foreign policy. So barren was the Opposition’s argument that the main force of its attack was directed against the United Nations. Although, apparently, honorable senators opposite do not subscribe to the great principles enunciated in the Charter of the United Nations, and embodied in the legislation of this country and every, great democratic country, the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America accepted the Charter and endeavoured in every possible manner to carry it out for the welfare of humanity in general. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) expressed regret that the United Nations has not sufficient power of enforcement. That is merely an echo of what we have heard in another place and what the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) has said publicly on numerous occasions. The Opposition’s attitude is not to assist to construct a better policy, but rather to destroy a good one. Its attack is against a very fine charter of human rights, human law, a great Christian democratic set of principles which was drafted, not by the Australian Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), but by the greatest minds of this world, the leaders of democracy, who represented nations that had been responsible for the defeat of the totalitarian tyrant and who have a right to talk about freedom and human rights. When the Opposition challenges the United Nations it challenges not the policy of the Australian Labour Government, but a code of morals, ethics and international law that was evolved from the principles enunciated primarily by the League of Nations and later was improved and made a basic law for national observance by the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations did not come into being as a result of a number of legal gentlemen getting together and setting down what they, as individuals, thought was right. It was born in the two big blood baths that the world has suffered, and whilst the Opposition may not agree with the humanitarian principles laid down in that charter, which Dr. Evatt has carried out to the full, it cannot deny that the two major holocausts which have descended on the world within our lifetime have robbed children of their fathers and caused mothers to grovel in misery. When war struck they suffered not the economic misery that they had suffered during the long economic depression before the war, but the effects of an immoral, inhuman international tendency, followed by totalitarianism, which led one section of humanity, to rape and obtain by force from another section something that it coveted. The United Nations seeks to prevent this from ever happening again.
When we discuss these matters the Opposition always naively prefaces its remarks ‘by saying that international affairs are above party politics. Thus far, I commend Opposition senators, but immediately after that, what is the attitude that they adopt? Honorable senators who have spoken during this debate have said quite truthfully that there are aspiring leaders of this nation who say that we should use the atomic bomb. Why? Because they feel that it would not be dropped on them. In formulating the foreign affairs policy of Australia we have sought to protect not only the right of our own people - which is dear to us and is our first consideration - but also to establish a peace that will protect all humans of every nation, irrespective of their class or colour. We pray that they shall be spared the horrors of another war which would be even worse than the one just concluded.
The Opposition has belittled itself, this nation, and those who framed the Charter of the United Nations. The establishment of that organization is a step in the gradual process of establishing a proper international moral law. Let us analyse the approach of the Opposition. It claims that there is no power of enforcement. Despite the hypocrisy of the Opposition’s criticism, the British Commonwealth of Nations was never stronger than now. The great principles of democracy that were laid down by the various conferences that have preceded wars have been parried out by the British speaking people, and we have developed a family of nations, which is stronger than at any stage of British imperial history. Yet the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) returns from abroad and, speaking with his master’s voice, that of international finance, international cartels and the makers of secret international alliances, says that the formation of the British Commonwealth of Nations is not a great achievement and has weakened the British Empire. That is not true. In attacking our White Australia policy the Opposition used the language of the press. There is no law governing this matter other than the migration law, and every nation imposes restrictions on migrants.
The foreign policy of Australia is quite clear. We respect the laws of other nations and we expect them to respect our laws. We respect the right of persons of other nations to live, and as an earnest of that belief, we subscribe financially and in kind to other nations which need our help. That is evidence of a proper human interest, a proper Christian principle. So long as these international laws and the principles of the United Nations permeate the nations, the real value of the United Nations will be felt. Although we can not expect the backward nations to perceive them as early as some of the more advanced nations, when they become more generally understood, there will be a chance of maintaining peace.
Throughout the debate, despite the veneer that has covered the hypocrisy underlying the arguments of the Opposition, there has been a definite endeavour on its part to confuse the objects of the United Nations with matters relating to the conclusion of peace treaties. As honorable senators and the people of Australia know,, although the war finished some time ago, peace treaties with Japan, Germany and other countries have not yet been concluded. Let us not be misled by what the Opposition has put forward. The conclusion of peace treaties is not the responsibility of the United Nations. It is the responsibility of the nations that engaged in the war, and until they agree on peace settlement terms a peace settlement between this nation, its allies and the defeated totalitarian States cannot be made. To a degree the delay has been contributed to by Russia, which apparently is suspicious of the rest of the world, because that country has shown no indication of permitting a peace agreement to he made between the victorious and the defeated nations of the last conflict.
I agree with the honorable senators who have already spoken in this debate that there is a conflict of ideals in the world at present. Whether the Opposition likes it or not, the old capitalist, imperialist phase is passing. Although it was a weak feature after the first war, it tried to rehabilitate itself. It is sound Christian teaching that a nation cannot be crushed into the earth, whether it has ‘been defeated in war or the blood has been wrung out of it economically. Once that is attempted a blow is struck at the moral law, and the very foundations of all law known to humanity, the law drawn from the ecclesiastical law, which is just as applicable to international affairs as it is to the civil laws of a nation. That was the mistake that was made after “World War I. The Opposition likes to say that the failure was the fault of the League of Nations, which did not accomplish what it hoped to do. The league, however, did draw attention to the exploitation that took place and the sabotage that had been practised by ambitious international interests. It made a valiant effort, which was subscribed to by many member nations. Those who remained loyal to the League of Nations and endeavoured to carry out its principles, were the people who, in the last war, fought the dictators and the conditions that they were trying to impose on the world. I challenge the Opposition to say otherwise. Where did the failure come from? It came from persons who advocated the very policy that is now advocated by the Opposition. They said, “ You must have the power of enforcement, the power to strike”; in other words, “You must be able to start a war. It does not matter how you start it, but once you start it there is no need to talk about peace “. Big nations, in accordance with the view they took of their moral rights, interfered with conditions in the countries they subjugated not for the benefit of the peoples of those countries but in order to impose upon them economic or military tyranny. If the United Nations cannot agree upon peace treaties as the result of the recent war, is it not right that the great democracies should get together and uphold the wonderful democratic principals enunciated in the Charter of the United Nations? As Senator Sheehan said the fundamental principle of Australia’s foreign policy is steady and unwavering support of the United Nations, especially the purposes and principles declared in the Charter of the United
Nations. The United Nations Charter is not merely the constitution of an international organization. However, members of the Opposition parties wish to create in the minds of the Australian people the impression that the United Nations is merely an organization of people, a lot of “ Doctor Evatt’s “ as it were. On the contrary it is an organization which has the backing of member nations whose representatives are endeavouring to implement the charter agreed upon by all peace-loving nations. When we study international affairs to-day we find that Australia is playing a magnificent role in the international sphere. 1 n this respect the Labour party has an outstanding record, but I do not claim for the Labour party special credit for the work which Australia’s representatives have been able to accomplish at meetings of the United Nations. Were a non-Labour government in office in this country to-day its representatives at meetings of the United Nations would possibly do an equally magnificent job in endeavouring to implement the Charter of that organization. However, Australia is particularly fortunate to have as its representative at the United Nations a great jurist of the capacity of the Minister for External Affairs because he has a thoroughly open mind divorced from totalitarian influences. He is capable of analysing dispassionately the views of the representatives of other countries. For that reason he has gained their confidence to a degree which has influenced them to choose him as their leader in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Members of the Opposition parties also allege that countries within the British Commonwealth of Nations are not displaying a spirit of co-operation. The facts bely that charge. We know very well that the degree of co-operation now existing between Great Britain and thisisters and brothers of the British Commonwealth has never been greater. We know, in particular, the help which Australia gave to the Mother Country when it was in distress. When legislation to implement such assistance has been before the Parliament, honorable senators opposite have revealed a naive outlook. Invariably their attitude to such legislation could be summed up in the sentence, “ We cannot criticize this bill ; we agree with it in principle “. Of course, the United Nations cannot, with a flick of the finger as it were, in order to enforce its decisions, bring into existence a military machine such as Hitler thought he possessed when he devastated the countries of Europe and forced upon the peoples of those countries certain ideas whether they were acceptable or not to them. He thought that he could crush those peoples by military force. The United Nations cannot act in that way. I do not know whether the Opposition parties suggest that it should be able to do so. However, it does not desire to act in that way. Yet, the Opposition parties continually ask, “’ Where is the power of the United Nations?” Its power rests in its membership which includes Great Britain, France and the United States of America which are great democracies prepared to co-operate with us to the fullest degree although Australia is one cf the lesser members of the United Nations. That co-operation has not previously been developed to its present degree. Soviet Russia also is a member of the United Nations, although, at present, it is causing a lot of conflict. We do not know whether, ultimately, Russia will, in accordance with the arguments advanced by the Opposition parties, discard the United Nations organization as a failure.
– Russia is getting too much out of the United Nations. Why should it do that?
– Let us hope that Russia will not discard the United Nations. Of course, the Opposition parties always argue that nothing is any good if they cannot get something out of it. That was the principle which they applied when they were in office in this country during the depression years when people were struggling to live. They adopted the same attitude during the recent war when they accepted all policies from which they would derive some benefit. But our national morale is on a higher plane. I have sufficient faith in human beings to believe that our people and the peoples of other countries will rise above the idea that nothing is any good unless they can get. something out of it.
– That does not apply in respect of one side of politics only.
– In effect, member? of the Opposition parties have enunciated the policy which they would implement should they ever be returned to office in this country again. I repeat that the real power of the United Nations lies in the principle that should any nation break the international code set up and observed by all Christian peaceloving countries it will be” met with the full power of Great Britain, the United States of America and other great democracies which are resolved to carry out the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations. In such circumstances, the United Nations will be obliged, as a last resort, to rely upon the use of force. It is the duty of every country to do what is humanly possible, and to the degree that they are favoured by divine help, to prevent a situation that would involve recourse to . armed force from arising.
Having regard to the high principles of the United Nations, all Australians have cause to congratulate themselves upon the ability and eagerness of the Minister for External Affairs as our representative at the United Nations. It is not surprising that although his own country has been slow to recognize his great ability the other members of the United Nations have readily done so. Instead, the press of this country would rather devote their headlines to the activities of some Communist nincompoop, or the affairs of persons who, according to Australian law, are obliged to return to the country of their origin. Invariably, the press fails to give due publicity to the work of Australia’s representatives in the councils of the nations in expressing the thoughts of democratic Australians. I appeal to the Opposition parties to abandon the old immoral policy of strife and power and to support the policy, which they have often glibly commended in the Parliament, which is to let foreign affairs be above party politics and in the interests of humanity as a whole.
– After listening to Senator Cooke, I am not sure whether 1 am a fit and proper person to ‘be a member of the Senate, or whether I should regard myself as a Hottentot cannibal or somebody of that sort. It would have been better had the honorable senator concentrated his attention upon the question before the Chair, which is a motion that certain papers dealing with foreign affairs be printed. About ten .months have elapsed since the Senate has had an opportunity to dismiss Australia’s foreign policy. It is rather unfortunate that such opportunities are given to us only rarely, because many of the items dealt with in the papers now before us could individually provide an occasion for a full-dress debate. I am not blaming the Government on this occasion. However, we should 1»; given an opportunity to learn what is its mind with respect to foreign policy instead of being presented at lengthy periods with a travelogue dealing with events that have passed.
I was sorry to hear Senator Sheehan describe as ,an idle dream the request of the Opposition parties that the Government should set up an all-party committee on foreign affairs for the purpose of keeping ourselves and the public informed upon trends in our foreign relationships. I see nothing idle about such a proposition; nor is it a futile proposal. On the contrary, only by the establishment and active functioning of such a committee can we keep ourselves and the people informed on such matters; and being well informed, we shall be well directed with relation to the trends that are taking place in the international sphere. I see no “ idle dream “ in such a proposal ‘hut rather the prospect of having a well-informed and well thought out foreign policy. Apparently anticipating a remark that .might he made but which had not then ‘been made, although some ground exists for it, Senator Sheehan, having in mind no doubt the work of the Minister for External Affairs, also said that it was cheap political propaganda to say that Australia has a one-man foreign policy. I have no wish to deal with many subjects simultaneously, but if the honorable senator’s statement is justified I ask the Minister for Shipping and Fuel (Senator Ashley) to explain what is Australia’s attitude with regard to the integrity of Finland. “What are the prospects of the restoration of the independence of Latvia, an independent nation after World War I., to whose rapine and destruction wc have not been a party? Likewise, what i= our policy in relation to Estonia and Lithuania, and what is our attitude toward*, the proposed admission of Ireland and Spain to the United Nations?
– We do not want. Spain.
– 1 do not know. I have not been informed. I challenge the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, when he makes his closing speech, to state the policy of Australia on such matters. Upon what facts our policy is based? Surely -we are entitled to know the answers to those questions.
I extend my unqualified congratulations to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) upon the great distinction that he has brought upon his country by his election as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. That he is in world class as a brilliant jurist, an outstanding man of letters, and all round a man of exceedingly high intellect cannot reasonably be challenged. I do not attempt to deny that at all, and 1 add my congratulations to those that have already been expressed by other honorable senators. That the Minister is a nian of tremendous energy and capacity is also very well known. However, the purpose to which that tremendous intellect is directed and the results that it achieves constitute a matter upon which I differ very strongly from the supporters of the Government. I share the view of many Australians that perhaps our foreign policy would be much more in keeping with the average view of the Australian people and much more realistic and practical if it were handled by one who did not take such a proprietary interest in the formation and execution of that policy as does the Minister. It would be more satisfactory to us if it were carried out by a man with perhaps less academic distinction and with less flair for grandiose legalistic phrases and resolutions, but a man with more common sense, more nous, and a lot more humility. I believe that if it were carried out by such a man we could feel that, in the expression of our foreign policy, there was an expression of an enlightened, informed, intelligent public opinion. Can the Minister for Shipping and Fuel or any other representative of the Government stand before us in this chamber, much less before the people of Australia, and say sincerely, “ You have been informed antecedently of the general principles of our foreign policy”?
The details and the application of those principles must, of course, change according to the exigencies of time, place and circumstance. But one thing that is essential in any foreign policy is the permanence of its principles. Upon that ground, the foreign policy of Great Britain has become recognized as the sanest and soundest foreign policy in the world. It is no disrespect to other greater and bigger nations to remind the world that their foreign policies have been very substantially patterned in principle upon British foreign policy and the machinery which gives effect to it.
– Great Britain follows Dr. Evatt.
– I do not want to be rude, so I shall let that interjection pass. The people of Australia ure trying to follow our Minister for External Affairs, but they do not know whether he is coming or going. However, that is by the way. I am sure that the Minister is a man of extraordinarily outstanding ability, but unfortunately he is so far removed from reality that nobody can follow him. As I was saying, the most important element in a foreign policy is its permanence. Not only should it not be subject to the changes of governments as they come and go, but also, above all, it should not be subject to the whim and the caprice of an unpredictable and uncontrollable individual. Unfortunately that is what we are experiencing now. We had the example of a relatively recent change of government in Great Britain and we should have done well to profit thereby. After a long period of non-Labour rule in Great Britain, Labour occupied the treasury bench. But there was no change at all in the general over-all attitude, direc tion and pursuit of British foreign policy. That is what gives validity, strength and force to any foreign policy. British foreign policy does not get its strength and force from the particular Foreign Secretary of the day, whether he be Mr. Bevin or Mr. Anthony Eden. It gets its power from the well-informed mind of the British people. In matters of foreign affairs, they are taken into the confidence of their government, which feels that it can rely upon and be safely directed by a well-informed, enlightened public opinion. After all, if the holocaust of war comes, it is not a duel between the foreign secretary of one country and the foreign secretary of another country. The small men and women in the little country, city and suburban homes bear all the brutality, sacrifice and horror of war.
The Minister for External Affairs stated Australia’s policy on foreign affairs, in brief, as being unswerving loyalty and devotion to the United Nations.
– It is more than that.
– I shall quote the exact words of the Minister -
The first and fundamental principle of the policy of this country in foreign affairs is its steady and unwavering support for the United Nations, and especially for the pur- poses and principles declared in the Charter of the United Nations.
– What is wrong with that? .
– If we were living in a Utopia, nothing could be better. All men of goodwill earnestly hope and pray that the United Nations ih all be able to restore to a sad, harassed and sorrowing world some state of permanent peace. Many honorable senators opposite have had personal contact with the frightfulness, horror and ugliness of war. But even without such personal contact, any thinking man must know that war is brutal and filthy at its best. There is no romance, no glamour in war. The mothers, wives, sweethearts and children are the ones who know and appreciate that sad fact. I pray with all my heart that we shall never have the horror of another war. If there can be any consolation in the face of such horror, tragedy, and dissolution it is in the sympathetic mateship which arises out of facing common dangers, sharing common difficulties, and, above all, standing shoulder to shoulder when our country is faced with a common enemy. Those things remind us how essentially one we are in things that really matter. But surely we do not need a war to remind us of that! Can we not appreciate one another’s problems without having to be threatened with national annihilation?
I criticize the ineffectiveness, not the worthiness, of the United Nations. Please do not let it be said that I am sabrerattling, that I want another war. Nothing could be further from my heart. But we must be quite factual in our approach to these matters. In this regard, I refer to some remarks that were made by Mr. George F. Kennan, the director of the policy planning staff of the United States department of State. Those remarks were published in a journal entitled Vital Speeches of the Day, of the 15th November, 1948. He said -
It was clear that even outside the question nf international security, in all those myriads of other questions which normally have nothing to do with the problems of peace and war, an international organization could develop its full usefulness only if the world community could be relieved of the worst of those fears and tensions with which it had so long been plagued.
Three years have now passed, but these things have not yet happened. It has not yet been possible for the great powers to agree on a peace settlement. The international atmosphere has continued to be dominated by the most serious fears and tensions.
The world organization has therefore not had the opportunity to develop its full effectiveness, and will .not have such opportunity until the basic causes of international unrest have been removed.
This is not the fault of the organization itself, or of the idea behind it. It is the fault nf the conditions under which it has been forced to operate.
In these circumstances, it is the aim, and I think the duty, of this Government to proceed with patience and confidence - but also with realism - in matters involving the United Nations; to show itself a true friend and a powerful friend of the organization; to nurture it through these trying times of darkness and uncertainty, taking care neither to weaken it through neglect nor to break its back by overloading it with tasks beyond its capacities; and in this way to preserve its existence and its hope for that better day when a world relieved nf the nightmare of fear can settle down, as the great majority of lui man beings yearn to have it do. to the relatively happy tasks - of reconstruction and development.
Those are the sentiments of all people of goodwill, but I hark back to his point that the situation must be faced with realism. Honorable senators will recall that, when the Charter of Human Rights of the United Nations was being designed and drafted, it was suggested that, as the majority of people were of Christian traditional background or at least respected the Christian tradition, the preface to the Charter should begin with the words, “ That men. being created in God]; image and likeness . . .”. Then it proceeded to define man’s rights, devolving upon him from his Creator, and his duties to his Creator. That was immediately expunged because of the objections of the Soviet Union. There are nations which are not Christian, but which, nevertheless, without subscribing to our philosophy, respect it and honour the ideals embodied in the Christian philosophy. Here we have as a senior member of the United Nations a country which is built on hatred. The Christian philosophy is the philosophy of love. According to even Soviet authors, the Russian philosophy is a philosophy of internecine strife and deceit. Such a philosophy cannot work with ours. A philosophy of love cannot combine with a philosophy of hate. According to the eloquent expressions of the Minister for Externa] Affairs, matters of international dispute must be settled in terms of justice; but whose conception of justice? Russian philosophers say that justice is the will of the majority, regardless of human rights and moral values, but according to the western civilization, justice does not come from man. Man is endowed by the Creator with a right to justice, but a man who happens to be temporarily in a position of power is merely the agent dispensing the divine justice which is ours by right and not by man’s ordinance.
– Does the honorable senator believe that justice could be achieved by dropping the atomic bomb on some one else?
– Nothing would abhor me more than the dropping of another atomic bomb, but I am quite sure that the only way to ensure that another atomic bomb shall not be dropped is to have as allies powerful nations such as
Great Britain, the United States of America and the other democratic countries. Any further appeasement of Russia will make the dropping of atomic bombs inevitable.
– Christianity won St. Paul.
– Then he must have been a much softer man than Joe Stalin. I do not see any chance of Christianity having any effect on the character, inclinations or future of Joe Stalin. Whilst I can subscribe to the ideals of the United Nations, I cannot support it as an objective. Those of us who have bothered to examine this matter realize that the United Nations not only lacks power to make a peace, but also lacks power to enforce a peace. It is merely a voluntary society of nations which has drawn up a code of conduct to be observed in the settlement of international disputes now existing and international disputes which may from time to time exist. But what is the use of a code of conduct when we have a member nation which does not appreciate our philosophy and has no intention to fulfill its obligations even if it could understand them? Let us see where all this has taken us. The United Nations organization interfered in the domestic affairs of Spain. I am not here as a protagonist of the Franco administration in Spain. I do not know enough about it to speak dogmatically, but so far as I can ascertain, Spain does not have a fifth column in this country or in any other country. It is not exporting its ideology as the Soviet Union is Furthermore, should France fall, Spain would be the only non-red part of Continental Europe. Both America and the United Kingdom are anxious to cultivate better relationships with Spain. I should like to be better informed on this matter by the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, but I know that the United Nations interfered in the affairs of Spain at the instigation of the Soviet Union. Russia’s object, of course, was to overthrow the existing form of government, and to establish in Spain another soviet government. No explanation has been offered to the Australian people, let alone to the Parliament, of the motives of the Minister for External Affairs in adopting the attitude that he did towards Spain. We then had the spectacle of his interference in Indonesia. If international law counts for anything, Indonesia is still under Dutch jurisdiction. When the Netherlands East Indies was overrun by the Japanese, Dr. Soekarno, to whose rescue the Australian Minister for External Affairs went when the dispute with the Dutch arose, received his mantle of government from the J apanese Emperor. Dr. Soekarno is now president of the Indonesian Republic. On the 11th February of this year, the Daily Mirror published the following report : -
The Indonesian representative in England, Dr. Soebandrio admitted yesterday that members of his government had collaborated with the Japanese Government throughout World War II. He also admitted that they were decorated by the Imperial JapaneseEmpire.
As I have said, according to international law, the Netherlands East. Indies is still under Dutch jurisdiction. While those Indonesians were receiving their favours at the feet of the Japanese, the Dutch were fighting with us and keeping the Japanese from our shores. The Dutch people of the Netherlands East Indies are the one white hope standing between us and the hundreds of millions of coloured peoples to our north, whose goodwill, I believe, we shall have if the Communists do not proselytize them. The Dutch shed their blood with our soldiers, and their naval ships went down with ours. Incidentally too, Holland is taking a prominent part in the Western Union, and the other democratic countries of Europe welcome the support and friendship of the Dutch people. On the other hand, we, through our enterprising and brilliant Minister for External Affairs have intervened on behalf of the Indonesians against the Dutch. We are the nominees of the Indonesians - those collaborators of the Japanese - on the Good Offices Commission. Belgium is a nominee of the Dutch, and the United States of America is a nominee of both.
– What would the honorable senator do about it?
– I would mind my own business for a start. I would not violate international law. I would not think that because I had a book of rules in my pocket, I could change the face of the earth. At least I would remember with some gratitude the deeds of a people who had shed their blood in the defence of our country. I would also remember, although perhaps it would not be Christian to do so, that the Indonesian Government received its mandate from the Japanese while they were torturing and murdering our soldiers and civilians. By our unprovoked, idle and unwarranted interference in Indonesia, we have established a bad precedent which, some day, may rebound to our disadvantage. It could also operate to the very serious detriment of our sister dominion of South Africa. It could be a positive menace to us in relation to New Guinea because it is quite competent now for any nation which has a representative as energetic as Dr. Evatt, to say, “ We do not like the way you are administering the Territory of New Guinea; we shall investigate your administration and if necessary the United Nations will assume control of that territory “. In that way our northern bastion could be removed from our control, thanks to the work of our very active Dr. Evatt.
Let us examine what the right honorable gentleman has done in Palestine. I have been endeavouring to find one instance of a success by the United Nations against a big bully. It is quite easy to be successful in settling disputes among the small Latin republics of South America and the small British dominions like Ceylon. For instance, Hyderabad appealed to the United Nations against its absorption by India, but withdrew its appeal when it was, in effect, swallowed. That has been mentioned by the Minister for External Affairs as an instance of successful intervention by the United Nations. I do not know anything about the merits of the dispute, but there can be no doubt that the union of Hyderabad and India was the union of a shark and its prey. To claim United Nation organization intervention as successful is sheer piffle.
In Palestine, the Jewish state went directly against the directions and orders of the United Nations. I am not in a position to debate this matter very fully, but I do know that a former terrorist is now an elected representative in the Israeli legislature, and that the Jewish state is being urged as a member of the United Nations. One of the greatest philanthropists of our time, the accredited representative of the United Nations, Count Bernadotte, was foully murdered when attempting to solve the Palestine problem. Yet Palestine has been pointed to as an instance of successful intervention by the United Nations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The United Nations had nothing whatever to do with that except to aggravate the existing aggravation.
– It was the chairman of the committee who tried to settle the dispute.
– The individual who tried to compose the dispute was murdered - and the honorable senator knows that. Let us have a look at the situation in Berlin. I heard the Minister for External Affairs deliver the statement which he recently made to the House of Representatives on foreign affairs. According to the right honorable gentleman, he has nearly settled the Berlin dispute - of course, we know that, in fact, he has nearly settled everything! We have the spectacle of democratic countries turning the other cheek and the blind eye to the provocative conduct of Russia, whose aggressive actions in any other age would have resulted in war. Because the democratic countries want to preserve peace, and because they are considerate of the welfare of their peoples, whereas the Russian masters are not, they have “ taken “ the Russian acts of war and turned the other cheek. Why, even to-night thousands of young English and American boys are risking their lives to overcome the blockade of Berlin established by the Russians. Now our worthyMinister for External Affairs asks Great Britain and France to come into conference with the brigand who still has the spoils of brigandage on his back and his safe-breaking implements in . his hands. It is like a group of hank managers being called into conference with the man who has just robbed their safes, and still has his swag on his shoulders and his jemmy in his hands, for the purpose of passing pious resolutions against safebreaking. The attitude adopted by th Minister is just as sensible. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Trygve Lie, and the Minister suggested to the democracies concerned that they should enter a round-table conference with the pirate who was sitting on his swag, still clutching the implements of his piracy.
– What does the honorable senator suggest that the Government should do ?
– I suggest that Senator Cooke and other- individuals who utter such nonsense as he does should go to Russia and tell “Uncle Joe” that we have had enough of his provocative conduct.
– Of course, that would get us somewhere! What else does the honorable senator suggest ?
– That is a matter for honorable senators opposite to decide for themselves. We shall never get anywhere until Russia subscribes to our standards of decency. It is sheer nonsense for honorable senators opposite to ask me what I should do. For one thing, I would cease talking nonsense and become sufficiently realistic to realize that, while the members of the Russian Government continue to display their present attitude and the utter lack of principle which has characterized their conduct to date, we cannot rely upon the hopeful expressions of sentiment that are contained in the Charter of the United Nations. I am simply asking that we should be realistic in these matters.
Before he concluded his speech, Senator Grant inquired what the Opposition had to say in relation to oil, lead and zinc. T remind the honorable senator that we are discussing the motion to have certain papers relating to foreign affairs, including the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs, printed, and that in that statement nothing whatever was said about oil, lead or zinc. If I attempted to discuss those subjects I would be ruled out of order forthwith. The honorable senator also mentioned that in 1926 and 1927 a lot of Communists were sent to Dutch New Guinea.
– I did not say that they were Communists; I said that they were Indonesians.
– I am informing the honorable senator now that they were Communists. When he made that remark the honorable senator was discussing the Communist insurrection which occurred in Indonesia, and he gave as the reason for it, the fact that the people who had resisted the then Government of Indonesia were sent to Dutch New Guinea. It is common knowledge that during the war when our comrades on the waterfront were not working too well, the individuals to whom I have referred were sent from Dutch New Guinea to Australia to try to encourage our war effort because Mother Russia had then entered the war. Senator Grant also referred to Thorez, the French Communist, as Stalin’s agent. That is quite correct, because Thorez is Stalin’s agent.
– I did not say that.
– No, but the honorable senator referred to Thorez. and I am now informing him, in case he is unaware of the fact, that Thorez is Stalin’s agent, and that he is doing his utmost to throw France into a state of civil war. However, I trust that common sense will prevail in that country. The point is that if Russia persists in intruding in the affairs of other nations, as it has done in Spain, Germany, France, the United States of America, and even in Australia, are wc asking too rauch when we appeal to the United Nations to request the Russians to stop interfering in our way of life and to refrain from disrupting our harmony? We know that every time a major issue has arisen for a decision before the United Nations the veto has been used. Although neither Great Britain nor the United States’ of America has on any occasion resorted to the use of the veto, Russia has invoked it on 28 occasions.
In conclusion, while I hope and praythat the United Nations will achieve the noble ideals to which it has dedicated itself, and will become an effective influence in re-designing the relationship of the world, so as to introduce peace and harmony, I insist that we must be practical and realistic in our attitude. The will to peace, shorn of all pretence and affectation, is accompanied by tolerance, self-restraint and submission to the rule of international law, which is based on the generally accepted principles of truth and justice. Where that will is lacking no international organization can replace it. Until all who subscribe to an international ideal respect the principle of Christian justice, and our standards of truth and liberty, let the democracies, and particularly the English-speaking nations of the world, stick together, hope for the best and do their best, but be prepared.
Senator HASH (Western Australia) £ 10.38]. - It is apparent that members of the Opposition have formed the opinion that the United Nations has degenerated into a worthless institution, and that the reason for their opinion is that it cannot provide an effective military force to carry out its determinations. They also appear to believe that the Australian Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) has become - to quote their own words - an “ international, interfering busybody “. That seems to be the whole substance of their contributions to the debate. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cooper) began his speech by saying that he had read the statement prepared by the Minister for External Affairs, and that in his opinion it approximated more to a report on the activities of the United Nations. However, Senator O’Sullivan said that the Minister had virtually given us a travelogue. I mention that apparent contradiction as an indication of the lack of any really constructive criticism by members of the Opposition.
Senator O’Sullivan referred to a statement made toy the Minister for External Affairs at the very commencement of his address on international affairs. On that occasion, the Minister said -
The first and fundamental principle of the policy of this country in foreign affairs is steady and unwavering support for the United Nations, and especially for the purposes and principles declared in the Charter of the United Nations.
Senator O’Sullivan forgot to mention that the Minister also referred to the relationships existing between Australia and other members of the British
Commonwealth of Nations. A short time ago, I attended a meeting in Perth at which the Leader of tinOpposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Menzies) was tendered a civic reception on his return to Australia. In the course of the address which the right honorable gentleman delivered on that occasion he said that the policy of the present Government was not concerned with the continuance of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and 1 gained the impression from his remarks that he was suggesting that there was some heinous conspiracy on the part of some members of the present Government for Australia to break away from the British Commonwealth. Of course, such a suggestion is entirely false and stupid, and has no foundation in fact. Members of the Opposition in this chamber suggested during their contributions to the debate that the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives had made available to them some startling information concerning overseas affairs, about which the Minister for External Affairs apparently knew nothing. The fact remains that the Minister has told us that our relationships with the other members of the British Commonwealth have never been better. In any event we know that Australia has never at any time held back from fulfilling its obligations towards the member nations of the British Commonwealth. I do not imagine that any one will deny that. The records of Australia’s contributions to the war effort of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth during both world wars demonstrate amply that Australia has been wholeheartedly behind the British Commonwealth. The Minister for External Affairs also pointed out that Australia had repeatedly taken the lead in initiating and continuing the practice of co-operative consultation between Empire countries and that it was still doing so. It was_ significant that the Leader of the Opposition did not refer to that statement. The Minister for External Affairs also pointed out that great changes had taken place in the British Commonwealth of Nations. He mentioned that three new dominions, India, Pakistan and Ceylon, had been added to the British Commonwealth. It is important to remember that those new dominions comprise a population of over 400.000,000 people. The statement made by the King at the recent conference of Empire Prime Ministers in London to the effect that His Majesty was proud of the increased membership of the brotherhood of the British Commonwealth of Nations should not be forgotten, lt is obvious, therefore, that the suggestion made by members of the Opposition that the Australian Government is not much concerned with the British Commonwealth of Nations, but is more concerned with some extraneous organizations such as the United Nations, is entirely without foundation. It has never at any time been suggested that the title of the British Commonwealth of Nations should be changed. It cannot be disputed that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) has done everything possible for the British people during the period of economic strife and difficulty that has had to be faced since the cessation of hostilities. Reference has been made to the fact that this country has made available as a gift to the people of the United Kingdom no less than £35,000,000. Is not that an indication of the consideration that has been extended by this Labour Government to our kith and kin in the United Kingdom? It has been pointed out that correspondence now between London and Canberra is enormous compared with that of six or seven years ago. There is an indication - and I do not think that there is any reason to doubt the veracity of the statement - that there is a continuous correspondence going on between the Department of External Affairs in this country and Downing-street in London with relation to international matters. This Government follows closely the trend of foreign affairs as the scene changes from day to day. The great characteristic of the British Commonwealth of Nations is that the peoples of the Commonwealth act together. Has that not been borne out in the history of our time ? Is there any suggestion, or any reason to justify the suggestion, that the policy of Australia in foreign affairs will be any different in the future from what it has been during the past six or seven years? In 1944 the late John Curtin, who was then Prime Minister of this country, at a Prime Ministers’ conference in London, suggested the formation of a British Commonwealth Secretariat. That was rejected. Since then there has developed a more co-operative system between the various governments of the British Commonwealth of Nations, so that the efforts of the Opposition to educate the public mind to the idea that this Government is not as British as it might be are futile.
I shall say something with respect to the United Nations organization, because I was present when that organization was created, and heard the remarks of all of the principal representatives of fifty nations at that time. As I have said in this chamber before, the outstanding feature of the San Francisco conference was the genuine desire on the part of the representatives of all the nations there to bring about a better world, and to prevent the possibility of a repetition of aggression on any country included in that brotherhood of nations in the future. Despite the suggestion that the United Nations is a worthless institution, it has admitted additional nations since it was established in 1945. That, shows that the ideals and principles of the United Nations are worth while, that it is possible, as a result of their implementation by member nations, to prevent the possibility of another holocaust, so frequently referred to during this debate. It must be remembered that every member of the United Nations is bound by its pledges. It is not so very long ago that this Parliament approved of and became a party to pledges contained in the United Nations Charter. Why, scarcely more than three years after the organization was created, should there now be a suggestion that this organization is a worthless institution ?
We hear a lot about regional pacts, in which there may be some value. I visualize the advantage of a Pacific regional pact in respect of the defence of Australia. I likewise visualize the benefit of pacts such as the Western Union and other pacts that may be entered into. But what is to be the ultimate, result of the establishment of pacts among the nations? The opinion has been expressed that these pacts of nations might be regarded as ancillary to, or in furtherance of, the aims of the United Nations. I fear,however, that there may develop out of them a spirit of enmity. There has been over 2,000 years of civilization, and the world is much older than the Christian period. Those of us who have studied history know that long before the birth of Christ there were wars, internecine troubles, and strife, and that right down through the ages wars have been fought. Possibly some were fought in the interests of justice, but others were due to greed - the desire to get what belonged to some one else. Even at this stage, the possibility of eliminating war completely does not seem to be within the ability of the human race : a great deal more education is necessary. The United Nations is the vehicle whereby there is a possibility of bringing to the various tuitions of the world that education, higher standard of living, and emancipation of the people that is so necessary to give the people of certain countries a better outlook on life, and to realize that, although we live in a world comprised of people of different types, different colours, different tongues, and different creeds, there is always the possibility of some action being taken that will bring about a consolidation of brotherhood between nations, and thus, eventually, prevent the possibility of another war. But what do we find to-day ? There is a desire in certain parts of the world to utilize a defeated nation for the purpose of attacking another nation which helped in its defeat. That may suit the exigencies of the moment. We hear of what is termed political expediency. I do not want any political expediency so far as Australia is concerned. What I want, and what I believe the majority of the people of this country want, is that Australia shall stand four-square behind the United Nations principle and pledges, because I believe that that is the only way in which the conception of a peaceful world will ever be effected. Every member of the General Assembly of the United Nations has an equal voice and an equal vote. That voice and vote have been exercised in the General Assembly of the United Nations by all representatives of Australia, not only by Dr. Evatt. It is important to remember that no question comes before the United Nations on which Australia is. not compelled to express an early opinion or to vote. That is a duty encumbent upon all member states of the United Nations. Why do we want to shirk our responsibilities as has been suggested in this debate? I really cannot understand the attitude of the Opposition in this matter. Either the Opposition has no constructive ideas to place before the Senate in respect of international affairs, or it has a definite desire to belittle Australia’s Minister for External Affairs, Dr. Evatt. Whatever the idea of the Opposition may be, I remind the Senate that the preamble to the United Nations organization provides that every effort shall be made to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war by intervention in all cases of threats to the peace, acts of aggression, and situations likely to cause international friction. It is also provided that that organization shall adjust and settle all such cases, not arbitrarily,but in conformity to the general principles of justice. That is a new conception whichis something different from the power of might over right, but it appears to me that there are many people who would like to revert to the old system of might over right. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - 1949 -
No.15 - Trained Nurses’ Guild.
No. 16 - Hospital Employees’ Federation of Australasia.
No. 17 - Australian Theatrical and Amusement Employees’ Association.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Repatriation Commission - Report for year 1947-48.
Commonwealth Bank Act - Appointments - A. G. Elliott, D. J. H. Woods.
Commonwealth Public Service Act -
Appointments - Department -
Commerce and Agriculture - W. D. N. Johnson.
Defence - R. B. Dakeyne.
Interior - J. K. R. Doolan, J. W. Loorham.
Post-war Reconstruction - D. H. Case.
Supply and Development - E.R. Smith.
Treasury - T. G. Bunce, A.L. Cameron, R. J. Fraser, J. L. Miller.
Twenty-fourth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Public Service Board, for year 1947-48.
Defence (Transitional Provisions) Act -
National Security (Industrial Property) Regulations - Orders - Inventions and designs (14).
National Security (Prices) Regulations - Order- No. 3420.
Order - Control of new commercial motor vehicles and control of new motor cars - Repeal.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for - Defence purposes -
Corunna Downs, Western Australia.
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Postal purposes -
Blighty, New South Wales.
Carrum Downs, Victoria.
Dandenong Ranges, Victoria.
Mr Gravatt, Queensland.
New Norfolk, Tasmania.
Wudinna, South Australia.
Navigation Act - Regulations - Statutory
Rules 1949, No. 9.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Crown Lands Ordinance - Reasons for resumption of reservation of the Bagot Aboriginal Reserve.
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act-
Ordinances - 1949 -
No. 1 - Fish Protection.
No. 2. - Nurses Registration.
Regulations - 1 949 -
No. 1 (Apprenticeship Ordinance).
No.2 (Education Ordinance).
Stevedoring Industry Act - Orders - 1949, Nos. 1-3.
Whaling Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1949, No. 10.
Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 March 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1949/19490302_senate_18_201/>.