20th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator theHon. Edward Mattner) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Supply Bill (No.. 1) 1951-52.
Supply (Works and- Services) Bill. (No. 1951-52.
Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1850-51.
Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1950-51.
Loan Bill 1951.
War Pensions Appropriation Bill 1951. -State Grants (Special Financial Assistance) Bill 1951.
– Since an announcement has been made that the Minister for External Affairs intends to visit the Far East, will the Attorney-General, who represents that Minister in this chamber, undertake that his colleague will do all he can to interview some representative of the Chinese Communist Governmentwhile heis in that area? Will the Government also guarantee that the proposed peace treaty with Japan will not be signed on behalf of Australia until we receive a full report from the Minister for External Affairs after he has returned from his visit?.
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable senator has referred, and I am not aware precisely of the countries that the Minister for External Affairs proposes to. visit.
The views of the Government concerning the proposed peace treaty with Japan have been set out very clearly in the statement on international affairs prepared by my colleague, which is at present being debated in the Senate. I think that the honorable senator will recall that on many occasions treaties have been signed, subject to subsequent ratification, and although I do not know, that procedure may be followed in connexion with the proposed treaty with Japan.
– To-day I received a very human and pathetic letter from a lady in Padstow, New South Wales, who is greatly perturbed at the Government’s proposal to increase telephone rentals. She is the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman and is completely dependent for the support of her husband, two children and herself on his war pension. Because of her husband’s state of health it is necessary for her to have a telephone, and she states that if she has to pay an increased rental for her telephone she will have to reduce still further the small amount of money available for expenditure upon clothing -and shoes for her children. Will the Minister for Repatriation say whether special consideration will he given to totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen to offset hardship roused by increased telephone rentals?
– Whilst I cannot assure the honorable senator that immediate action will be taken in the matter that he has mentioned, I can inform him that I am at present investigating the need to assist ex-servicemen who, because of severe war-caused disabilities, suffer considerable hardship through the absence of telephone facilities. As soon as investigations have been completed, I shall inform the honorable senator of the decision that has been reached.
– I understand that the building in central Hay-street, Perth, known as the Economic Stores is to be auctioned shortly and that the Commonwealth Bank intends to bid for it. Can the Minister representing the Treasurer, say whether, in the event of the bank being the successful bidder the building will be used by the bank as a savings bank, for general banking purposes, or both? In view of the size of this building, what portion is regarded as being required by the hank for its own purposes, and in what manner does the bank propose to utilize the remaining space? What arrangement does the bank propose to make with the existing tenants of the building ?
– It seems to me that whether or not the Commonwealth Bank intends to bid at auction for a building is an internal matter for the bank itself and not one on which a Minister could give any information. Even if the information were available I do not think it would be appropriate for a Minister to disclose the bank’s intentions.
– Has the Minister for Rational Development read articles written by Patrick Davidson and Michael Ramsden in the July issue of the Australian Monthly indicating that the Snowy Mountains project is a loafers’ paradise? If he has not read those articles, will he immediately do so, particularly as Davidson claims that in a period of. five weeks’ employment he lounged in glorious sunshine receiving £70 in payment? As Davidson claims that he went to the Snowy Mountains to get a story of hard work, but came back with a story of heart-breaking waste of labour and materials, inefficiency, stupidity, carelessness, and an all-time high in loafing, can the Minister state whether there is any foundation for those assertions ? Can the Minister also say whether it is correct, as stated by Davidson, that an ocean of materials surrounds the store containing great stacks of timber, warped through long exposure to weather, hundreds of fire-clay drain pipes mostly chipped, cracked or broken, stacks of broken fibro-sheets and perished caneite, rusted fuel stoves with parts missing, scores of sections of prefabricated houses, scores of twisted sheets of corrugated iron, hundreds of drums of petrol and diesel oil, an well as a bowser in its packing case? Is there any foundation for the statement by Davidson that an American drilling expert commented after watching work in progress at Snowy Mountains camps that he felt confident the project would never be finished because there was not enough money in the world to pay for it? In view of the serious allegations made in the articles, will the Minister institute an immediate inquiry, or appoint an allparty committee of the Senate to investigate and report upon the matter, with a view to safeguarding the carrying out of this essentially national project?
– There were two articles by journalists, spread over four pages of the issue of the journal mentioned. I have read them. I have also read information that has been supplied to me by the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Undertaking, who visited the project after publication of the articles. A considerable amount of work is involved in reading the articles in detail, and the relevant information. I have informed the commissioner that I will inspect the work in progress as soon as the Parliament rises for the forthcoming recess.
– It appears to be more urgent than that.
– I can only say that it is much easier to offer destructive than constructive comments in connexion with such a large national undertaking.
– The Government is doing that in connexion with Glen Davis.
– From the information that has been supplied to me by the commissioner, I am convinced that most extravagant terms have been used by the journalists in their criticism. The commissioner and his assistant have acted in a right manner without prompting by me, in that they made inquiries firsthand following publication of the criticism, and furnished relevant information to me promptly.
– If the allegations are true, they should have known about that state of affairs beforehand.
– Their action gives me ground for confidence in them.
– In view of the Minister’s unsatisfactory answer to my question, and in view of the serious allegations contained in the article to which I have referred, will the honorable senator immediately institute an inquiry into the matter and not delay an investigation by waiting until the Parliament is in recess ?
– I regret that the honorable senator considers my reply to be unsatisfactory. I believe it to be perfectly satisfactory. Whilst I shall do everything possible to ensure that my department shall be efficient, I refuse to be stampeded. The f acts will have to be ascertained and examined coolly and calmly. The commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority said in his report to me that the article to which the honorable senator has referred was a gross misrepresentation of conditions at the Snowy Mountains works. 1 shall deal with the allegations, but there is not going to be any panic about them.
– During the weekend I made an urgent request to the Minister for Shipping and Transport concerning a shipment of wheat for Tasmania that was held up at Port Adelaide. Will the Minister inform me of the present position in this matter?
– As a result of representations that were made to me by the honorable senator and other Tasmanian senators last week about the shortage of wheat in that State, I arranged with the manager of the Australian Shipping Board to send Dubbo to Port Adelaide. I regret to inform the honorable senator that the following reply has been received from Mr. C. Dewey, general manager of the Australian Snipping Board : -
Nine seamen walked off because officers spoke sternly to them when they refused to get out of bed and turn to. So they were dismissed. At ‘ the pick-up seamen were available, but they refused to offer.
It is significant that Mr. Elliott recently visited Port Adelaide and that a new secretary of the Seamen’s Union was appointed. He is a man from New South Wales, and since he has been in Adelaide he has been very successful in continuing the policy of rolling strikes. I greatly regret that this ship is being delayed, because honorable senators are aware that we are desperately short of shipping and that Tasmania is short of wheat.
– Why does not the Government do something about it ?
– I suggest that the honorable senator might be able to do something himself when the proposed antiCommunist legislation is introduced to this Parliament.
– In view of the irregularity of shipping along the Queensland coast, many importers experience great difficulty in obtaining their requirements. Frequently, consignments awaiting shipment at those ports are sold because of the long delays and infrequent visits of ships from the south. Will the Minister undertake to provide a regular shipping service to those Queensland ports ?
– As I have previously mentioned, this matter has received the earnest consideration of the Government. It is appreciated that the outlying ports of northern Queensland and Western Australia are suffering great hardships because of the inability of the Government to provide a regular shipping service. All that I can say in that connexion is that .representatives of the Australian Shipping Board have visited those areas, that they have conferred with representatives of the shipowners, and that they are continually working on a plan to provide an effective service with the limited number of ships available. As I have stated, the necessary plans reach the stage of near-completion when troubles arise similar to those experienced in Sydney this week. In that city Border, on her maiden voyage, was delayed for weeks for some trifling reason. That ship is carrying 5,000 tons of cargo for Western Australia. Recently, when we diverted to Adelaide for a cargo of wheat a ship that had been engaged on another run, we had a similar problem. I assure the honorable senator that the officers of my department and of the Australian Shipping Board are doing all they possibly can do to restore as soon as possible regular shipping services to the outposts of Australia.
Opposition senators interjecting,
– Order ! I heard an honorable senator interject that this is a land of shortages. There is no shortage of interjections. Unless they cease there will be a shortage of honorable senators in this chamber. Ministers must be heard in silence. Honorable senators regard their questions as of importance, and if they are to be treated as such these constant interjections must cease.
– Has the Minister for Shipping and Transport received any information indicating that the winter load-line for ships using the port of Albany, in Western Australia, may be altered in the near future?
– Senator Piesse and other honorable senators from Western Australia have drawn my attention to this vexed question, which particularly affects the port of Albany, and I have just received from my department the following report on the subject : -
The position is that the international loadline convention can only be amended bv unanimous agreement of all the parties, of whom there .ire over 50. When it was first prepared in .1929, Australia pressed for an amendment of the proposed boundary of the winter zone near Albany, but got little support from other nations.
Early in 1949, fresh information was supplied, and the British Government, which is the intermediary government for this convention, was requested to circulate to other governments a request by Australia for an amendment to extend the summer zone a short distance south of the south-west coast to allow a corridor for ships to pass round the Cape.
The latest information supplied by the British Government in January last was that some countries had not replied, whilst discussion was proceeding with others. Among the countries which had not replied were the important -maritime nations France, Norway and the United States. The view was then expressed that early agreement was not likely. The Government has not made any inquiry since January, as it is known the British Government are doing all they can in the matter and the disturbed state of the world is bound to cause delay in some quarters.
Australia cannot take any useful action on its own part because other nations will not permit their ships to commit a breach. of the convention to which they are bound by their own laws. The department will keep in close touch with the matter, hut it is not one in which the remedy lies in our own hands.
– As the International Labour Conference at Geneva has finally approved of the guaranteeing of equal pay for men and women, and as the Australian Government delegates abstained from voting on that important issue, will the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service define the attitude of the Government in that connexion? Will the Minister also state whether Australian women, will receive the same rates of pay and be placed on the same financial plane as men?
– The honorable senator will no doubt appreciate that the powers of this Parliament concerning that matter are limited. The question of the relative rates of pay for men and women, in this country is determined, not by the Parliament, but by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. It was a matter which received consideration from tha’ tribunal during the hearing of the recent basic wage case. If the honorable senator will place his question on the noticepaper I shall bring it to the notice of the Minister.
– During the last Parliament I was informed that the then Minister for National Development, had assisted the brick-making industry in Victoria, and that he also’ intended to assist the industry in New South Wales. Is the Minister for National Development aware that the brick-making industry in New South Wales has deteriorated substantially in the last six months, that it is now in a very bad state, that face bricks have almost disappeared and that the price of common bricks is rising almost daily? Will the Minister inform the Senate whether he intends to assist brick-makers in New South Wales, and if so, the nature of such assistance?
– The former Minister for National Development assisted the brick-making industry in Victoria_ by providing labour for the brick-yards. A special campaign to obtain available labour was arranged through the Department of Labour and National Service, and finally some men with special skill in the industry were recruited overseas. Similar assistance is, I understand, being organized for the New South Wales industry. My inquiries have revealed that that is the type of assistance which is required to increase the output of the brickyards in New South Wales. A division of my department has recently completed a survey of the brickmaking and tile industry. If the honorable senator is interested in the survey. I shall be glad to let him have a copy of it.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs take action to see that adequate precautions are taken at all airports to prevent the smuggling of narcotic drugs into Australia?
– The point raised by the honorable senator is a very important one. I assure her that the Department of Trade and Customs is taking every possible precaution to prevent the illegal entry of narcotic drugs into Australia.
– On the 27th June, Senator Tangney asked a question concerning the number of fatal accidents on the roads, particularly among young motor cyclists. At the last conference of Australian Transport Advisory Council, consisting of State and Commonwealth Ministers associated with transport, held in Hobart on the 27th and the 28th February, 1951, the following recommendations relating specifically to motor cycles,were approved: -
The council also approved of a number of recommendations concerning penalties for offences by persons in charge of motor vehicles, including motor cycles. The functions of the council are of a purely advisory nature, and legislative action to implement recommendations is a matter for State governments.
A general review of all State traffic laws is being made by the Australian Uniform Traffic Code Committee with a view to suggesting further amendments where necessary to meet modern motoring conditions, and also to attain uniformity as between States. Suggestions for the use of speed governors on motor cycles have been examined from time to time, but have not been recommended by experts as a practical solution of the speed problem. The principal objections to such devices have been - (1) excessive reduction of general performance standards, particularly in relation to hill climbing, to ensure a minor reduction maximum speed; (2) engine speed control encourages dangerous coasting without engine on down grades; (3) governors are readily adjusted and would need continuous inspection and test by enforcement officers; (4) unless incorporated in original manufacture fitment as auxiliary equipment would be unsatisfactory and the cost prohibitive.
The Australian ( Road Safety Council administered by my department is at present engaged in conducting a special analysis of road accidents concerning motor cyclists with a view to directing more attention through its public relations campaign to the need for the utmost care in handling the machines. The council is also playing a part in the setting up of a scheme within the Royal Australian Air Force for the training of motor cyclists within the service in an attempt to reduce the accident toll. On the educational side, the council is producing an instructional film for motor cyclists designed to convey to riders the correct methods of riding and safe road habits.
The council is also taking part in the organizing of a safety first day for motor cyclists throughout Australia, and motor cycle clubs and the trade are co-operating. Motor cycle training schools are conducted by several State road safety councils, and in addition to instructional talks from riding experts, practical tuition is given in a course of training lasting several weeks. Excellent results have been achieved, particularly in Western Australia.
That is a fairly comprehensive reply, but I desire to add that, of my own knowledge, I am aware that some States have already taken action to amend their traffic laws by increasing fines and penalties for breaches of them, and other action has been taken to reduce the number of accidents in which motor cycles are involved. However, the fact remains that the loss of life and serious injury to persons caused by motor cycles is still dreadfully high, and I shall be pleased to do anything I can to reduce this dreadful toll of the road.
– Will the Attorney-General say whether it is a fact that an attempt was made by unauthorized persons to enter installations at the Captain Cook graving dock, Garden Island, Sydney, which is under the control of the Department of the Navy, during last week-end ? If so, what are the names of the persons concerned in such unauthorized entry? In view of the precedent that would be created by any failure on the part of the Government to recognize the serious nature of such a breach of the-security regulations, will the Attorney-General inform the Senate whether salutary action will be taken against the offenders?
– I have seen reports of an incident in which some people are alleged to have indulged in some strange indiscretions. The matter is largely in the hands of the Minister acting for the Minister for the Navy, who will, I believe, make a statement in the House of Representatives concerning it.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General say what stage has been reached, in the development of television in Australia ? Is the public likely to be able to enjoy the benefit of television in the near future ?
– I shall be pleased to confer with the Postmaster-General on the matter raised by the honorable senator, and I shall obtain a reply for him as soon as possible.
Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
– On the 26th June, Senator Grant asked a question about mantles for Aladdin lamps. The Minister for Supply has furnished the following answer : -
I have made inquiries and I find that the present shortage of mantles for Aladdin lamps is due to shortage of shipping, and dock troubles in the United Kingdom. When this was known, representations were made by the company to the Department of Trade and Customs which granted permission for the importation of mantles from the United States of America. As at to-day the total of back orders held by the company is 93,526. To meet this and immediate future requirements 70,000 are due to arrive in Sydney from the United Kingdom ex SS. Esperance Bay on the 9th July and 52,000 are due in Sydney from the United States of America ex SS.Mirrabooka on the 13th July. Immediately on receipt the company has arranged for staff to work seven days and four nights weekly to despatch to local and interstate distributors. The company regrets the present shortage due to causes beyond its control, but is grateful to the Government for support and approval given to its application to import and feels that distribution of the two shipments referred to will remedy present shortages.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has furnished the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has furnished the following answers : -
. - by leave - The Auditor-General has been unable to certify the’ correctness of the Coal Industry Fund Account of the board for the years 1947-48, 1948-49, and 1949-50. This account of the board includes the accounts of the operations division of the board, which operated certain open-cut mines. The Auditor-General’s inability to certify the accounts was, in the main, due to the absence, in relation to two open-cut mines, of stores and costing records which would be satisfactory from an audit point of view, and to the absence of provision in the accounts for certain liabilities of the board in respect of re-contouring of surface land after open-cut operations and use of equipment not owned by the board. The board states that this failure of the accounting system was due to preoccupation with the task of winning additional coal supplies and the extreme difficulty of obtaining competent clerical staff in the country districts. Action has been taken to remedy the matters mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report. Details of the action are set out in the reports that have been tabled. To avoid any misconception, I add that these reports cover the period before the present chairman of the board, Mr. S. F. Cochrane, assumed office.
Motion (by Senator 0’Suxlivan) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to approve an agreement made between His Majesty’s Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and His Majesty’s Government of the State of Queensland, and for other purposes.
Bil] presented, and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) put -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
– There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to approve the sugar agreement made on the 27th June, 1951, between the Australian Government and the Queensland Government. The new agreement covers a period to the 31st August, 1956, and is the latest of a series of agreements dating back as far as 1915. These agreements have proved signally successful not only as a means of assisting the Australian sugar industry but also for protecting the Australian public against the wide fluctuations in world sugar prices, which are characteristic of the commodity. The form which agreements have taken during the past 30 years has been that the Australian Government has imposed an embargo on the importation of sugar, in return for which the Queensland Government has assumed certain responsibilities. These responsibilities include making sugar available in Australia at certain fixed prices; controlling production of cane sugar; accepting responsibility for losses arising from the export of surplus sugar, and contributing funds to the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee for the benefit of the fruit industry which uses large quantities of sugar.
The new agreement continues these undertakings in principle, but makes some variation in the details. The alterations involved are as follows : -
Apart from the variations in the actual terms of the agreement, it is necessary to point out that in considering the question of an increase in the remuneration to the sugar industry, it is also necessary to keep in mind the actual retail price which will result from an increase of the wholesale price and the profit which might reasonably bc allowed to retailers. The new retail price of 6 1/2 d. per lb. in capital cities will allow retailers an increase of their profit margin from £5 4s. to £7 6s. 8d. a ton. Another j point not covered in the actual agreement is that the agreement will be open for review at any time at the request of either government, except in regard to the provisions concerning the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee. The major portion of the increased proceeds resulting from the rise in price will, of course, accrue to the sugar-growers and millers, who have had to meet greatly increased costs over the last few years.
During the period 1933 to 1947 the retail price of sugar was 4d. per lb. in capital cities, whereas at the present time it is only 5d. per lb., that is an -advance of only 25 per cent, over a period of fifteen years, a period marked by substantially higher costs, particularly in the later years. As examples of cost increases, I point out that field - workers’ weekly wages have risen from £4 9s. 6d. in August, 1939, to £8 16s. 6d. in April, 1951, a rise of 97 per cent. In the same period mill workers’ wages have increased by 105 per cent., namely, from 2s. 3.3d. to 4s. 8. Id. an hour whilst canecutters, who operate mainly on piece work, have had their rates increased from 7s. Sd. to 12s. 3d. per ton of cane. The rates quoted are those applicable to the Queensland Central Sugar District.
Wages are not the only increases with which the sugar industry has had to contend. Material costs have risen by at least SO per cent, since August, 1939; the cost of sulphate of ammonia, despite operation of the Commonwealth subsidy, has increased by 114 per cent. ; and jute sacks and hessian, which must be imported, cost 7-Jd. each and 5d. per yard respectively in 1939, whereas at to-day’s prices they would cost 6s. 6d. each and 4s. per yard.
The domestic price for sugar has generally been regarded as the stabilizing factor in the economy of the sugar industry, although at the present time it is somewhat below the export price. I point out that out of the return from domestic sales, growers and millers have had to meet increasing costs of production, and whilst the return has been maintained up to date at a fairly stable figure, these rising costs have progressively absorbed a greater portion of the return. If no increase in price were granted, it is certain that costs of production would exceed the return from domestic sales. It is a striking tribute to the efficiency of the industry that it is able itself to absorb such a large measure of the rising costs of production. lt is unquestionable that some increase in price must be granted, and an analysis of the case for a price increase submitted by the sugar industry revealed that by allowing wholesalers and retailers slightly higher profit margins, the industry would be compensated for its increase in costs by a rise in the wholesale price equivalent to11/2d per lb. in the retail price. The decision to increase wholesale discount from 2 per cent, to 21/2 per cent, was taken following strong representations from wholesale merchants who emphasized the greatly increased costs which they now had to bear compared with former costs. For instance, they indicated that storemens’ wages had increased by 74 per cent, and wages of female clerks employed by wholesale grocers had increased by 10!) per cent, in the past five years. In monetary terms, the increase to wholesalers means that they will receive £1 6s. 8d. for handling one ton of sugar compared with the existing rate of 16s. 7d. per ton.
In regard to retail margins, the weekly wages of shop assistants have risen from £8 3s. in 1950 to £911s. in March, 1951. Paper bags have risen in price by at least 100 per cent, in the last twelve months. By fixing the wholesale selling price at £53 6s.8d. a ton, the equivalent retail selling price would he £60 13s. 4d. a ton. which would leave retailers a margin of £7 6s. 8d. a ton over the cost of the sugar compared with the present level of £5 4s. The Commonwealth Prices Consultant has advised that; the State Prices Commissioners agree with the new level of wholesalers and retailers’ margins.
The new agreement provides for the suspension of the annua] payment; of £216,000 to the Fruit Industry Sugar Concession Committee. Due to the fact that export sugar rebate has not been payable for some years, this committee has built up a substantial fund, totalling over £1,000,000, for providing assistance to the fruit industry. The committee can carry out its functions for some years without further contributions from the sugar industry. The Government has, therefore, agreed to the suspension of this payment until the funds standing to the credit of the committee fall below £500,000, when payment will be resumed until the expiration of the agreement.
In conclusion, I wish to say that the price of sugar in Australia has been more stable than the prices of most other products. The retail price of sugar in 1920 was 6d. per lb. and it has since fluctuated between 4d. and 5d. per lb. The new retail price after this bill has been approved will be 61/2d. per lb. Even at that price, consumers in Australia will be receiving sugar at lower prices than will consumers in most other parts of the world. The price of sugar as at January, 1951, expressed in Australian currency, was approximately 61/2d. per lb. in the United Kingdom; 7d. in Sweden; 9d. in New Zealand;10d. in the United States of America and Canada;1s. 2d. in France and1s. 6d. in Italy.
It is unnecessary for me to elaborate upon the economic value of this industry, not only to Queensland but to the whole of Australia. This is well known. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Courtice) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 28th June (vide page 626), on motion by Senator O’Sullivan -
That the following paper be printed: -
– I moved the adjournment of the debate on this matter when it was recently before the Senate in order that I might have an opportunity to peruse the contents of the report. For very good reasons, it has not been possible to have the report printed and circulated, but, thanks to the courtesy of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’Sullivan), I have been able to peruse it rapidly and also to see the departmental papers dealing with the subject-matter of the report.
This report has a little history. A number of honorable members and honorable senators from Tasmania, including myself, asked the Minister to refer this inquiry to the Tariff Board. It concerns the production of lavender oil at Bridestowe, Tasmania. I understand that it is the only industry of its kind in Australia and that it was being forced into difficulties because of the price at which lavender oil could be imported from abroad, particularly from France. Since the matter was referred to the Tariff Board, an appreciable change has taken place, in that the price of imported French lavender oil has soared from 30s. to 79s. per lb. Under these conditions the proprietor of the Bridestowe project has been able to market a satisfactory quantity of his product. I understand that he has expressed the view that, at the moment, he is not in need of tariff assistance. I am very happy to find that that is the case. I take the opportunity to thank the Minister for having met the request of the Tasmanians to refer this matter to the Tariff Board, and I express my appreciation of the inquiry made by the board. I also rejoice in the fact that the industry is able at present to stand on its own feet without extraneous assistance. I suggest to the Minister, and I think that he is ready to concur in my proposal, that he should express his readiness again to refer the matter to the Tariff Board should the situation alter for the worse, and, owing to a drop in overseas prices, the industry should again be placed in jeopardy.
. - in reply - I have no hesitation in assuring the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that if, through any change of circumstances, the industry is imperilled, upon representations being made to me I shall be pleased to refer the matter again to the Tariff Board.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Repre sentatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cooper) read afirst time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill deals with an amendment of the Post and Telegraph Rates Act 1902-1950 to adjust certain postal and telegraph charges. The increased rates proposed are necessary to meet additional unavoidable expenditure incurred by the Postal Department in providing, maintaining and operating services. I shall give to honorable senators an outline of the manner in which it is intended to revise postal and telegraph rates covered by the act and also explain briefly the reasons which have impelled the Government to take this action. The bill provides for the following alterations in the present tariffs : -
Letters: The existing rate of 3d. for the first ounce will be increased to 31/2d. The charge for each additional ounce will remain at 21/2d.
Lettercards : The existing charge of 3d. will be increased to 31/2d.
Postcards: The existing charge of 21/2d. will be increased to 3d.
Commercial papers, patterns, samples and merchandise: The existing rate of 2d. for the first 2 oz. will be increased to 3d. and the charge of 11/2d. for each additional 2 oz. will be increased to 2d.
Printed matter (including printed papers, circulars, catalogues, and books and publications not registered for transmission as newspapers or periodicals) : The existing rate of 2d. for the first 4 oz. will be increased to 3d. and the present charge of lid. for each additional 4 oz. will be increased to 2d.
Registered newspapers, periodicals and books not posted in bulk: The existing rate of l1/2d. for the first 6 oz. will be increased to 21/2d. and the present charge of lid. for each additional 6 oz. will be increased to 2d.
Registered newspapers, periodicals and other publications posted in bulk: The existing rate of 21/2d. for 16 oz. will be increased to 21/2d. for 8 oz.
Hansard: The existing rate of lid. for 12 oz. will be increased to 2d.
Telegrams: The base rate for ordinary telegrams will be increased from1s. 9d. to 2s. 3d. where the offices are not more than15 miles apart and from 2s. to 2s.6d., in other cases. The new base rate will apply to telegrams of twelve words instead of fourteen words as at present. The charge for each additional word will be raised from lid. to 2d.
Press telegrams: Interstate press telegrams will be charged one-half the rate applicable to ordinary telegrams. Intra-state press telegrams and those relating to proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament will be charged one-quarter of the rate for ordinary telegrams.
Lettergrams: The base rate of ls. Cd. for 30 words will be increased to 2s. for 24 words. The charge for each additional word will be raised from Jd. to Id.
Only the. main postal and telegraph charges are prescribed by the Post and Telegraph Rates Act, but the heavy increases in the costs of providing, maintaining and operating services have made it imperative to adjust other rates. This will be done by amending the relevant regulations or taking other necessary executive action. Honorable senators have already been provided with statements which indicate the main directions in which it is proposed to amend Postal Department tariffs generally.
I shall indicate the nature and extent of the extra costs which the department has had to meet. Honorable senators will recall that in July, 1949, the Government then in power took action to increase certain Postal Department tariffs for the purpose of bringing them more into harmony with progressively rising costs. In 1950 the Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony) presented a bill for a further revision of postal and telegraph charges, that action having been made necessary by the continued heavy rise in the costs of wages, materials, freights and mail conveyance. That bill was passed by Parliament, and increased rates came into force on the 1st December, 1950. The combined effect of both of those rate adjustments was to increase the overall charges of the Postal Department by 35 per cent, since 1941. During my secondreading speech on that measure in the Senate on the 16th November, I pointed out that the higher rates would not suffice to balance the department’s commercial accounts for 1950-51 and that a substantial loss would be recorded for the year. I added that, in the light of the rises in costs which were likely to continue, the rates would be reviewed at a later date. Unfortunately, it is now certain that there will be a heavy deficit in the commercial accounts of the department for 1950-51. It is expected that the loss will be approximately £5,000,000 and that, unless charges are varied to meet extra expenditure arising from higher wages and other additional costs likely to ensue during the next twelve months, the deficit for 1951-52 may exceed £12,000,000. I emphasize that these heavy losses are in no way attributable to any lack of economical operation of services by the administration. The Government is satisfied that the work of providing, operating and maintaining the wide range of facilities provided to the public is carried out efficiently, that recruitment of staff has been limited to the minimum consistent with the department’s obligations to the public, investigations having shown that the growth in the staff has not been out of step with the increase in the volume of business, that modern laboursaving machinery is being utilized and that streamlined procedures have been introduced.
The plain facts are that the department has 75,000 employees, in addition to 10,000 semi-official and non-official postmasters and assistants, and 6,500 mail contractors. Its staff has to be paid in accordance with arbitration awards, and the effect of wage increases may be judged when it is realized that every ls. rise increases the department’s yearly wages bill by about £200,000. The last basic wage judgment in October, and cost of living adjustments since November, have added about £8,000,000 to the annual wages bill of the department. In addition, higher payments for overtime, penalty rates, materials, freights and incidental costs have resulted from those rises in wages, and these items have added at least £2,500,000 to yearly working expenses. It is probable that there will be further increases of wages and of costs of materials during 1951-52, which may add at least £4,000,000 to the department’s working expenses for that year. I repeat that, although the department’s charges were revised in 1949, and again in 1950, the combined effect of those two increases was to raise the tariffs by only 35 per cent, above the general level which operated ten years ago. Honorable senators will agree that this percentage increase is low in comparison with the rise of more than 100 per cent, in materials and labour costs during the last ten years.
Let me illustrate the extent of the extra costs which the department has had to meet. Since 1941, costs of every item of equipment used by the department have increased very greatly. Here are some typical examples: Automatic exchange equipment has risen in price by 114 per cent.; underground cable has gone up by 200 per cent.; trunk aerial wire has also risen by 200 per cent. The cost of telephone instruments has increased by 174 per cent.; postmen’s uniforms by 114 per cent.; letter receivers by 238 per cent.; and paper for the telephone directories by 300 per cent. Concurrently, wage rates have more than doubled. For instance, the minimum salary of a telegraph messenger has risen from £68 to £231; a postal officer, whose maximum salary was £266 in 1941, now receives £572. A telephonist’s salary has risen from a maximum of £205 to £463, a telegraphist’s from £328 to £698, and a lineman’s from £290 to £602. Direct labour costs, of course, represent a very large proportion of the department’s total expenditure. Added to this is the heavy increase in transport, petrol and mail conveyance costs.
The increases of wage rates which I have outlined do not indicate fully the extent to which departmental expenditure has grown as a result of wage adjustments since 1941. Last year, I told honorable senators how the 40-hour week had inflated the department’s expenditure, its immediate effect being to increase the yearly wages bill by more than £1,000,000. I referred also to its effect on payments for overtime and penalty rates. This may be gauged from a comparison of the department’s yearly overtime bill, which has increased very greatly since the introduction of the 40-hour week. In addition, marked rises in costs of materials, freights and other items used by the Postal Department have occurred as a result of the shorter working week in industry, and these rises in costs have themselves contributed substantially to the basic wage increase and cost of living adjustments which have had such a serious effect on the department’s expenditure. In order to secure important items of equipment and essential materials which are not available in sufficient quantities from local manufacturers, and also to relieve demands on local sources for materials that are required in large quantities by other public and private users, the department has had to make purchases abroad at rates much higher generally than those for Australian products.
Honorable senators will agree that the Postmaster-General’s Department is in a position not different from that of any industry. The figures I have cited show clearly that during the last ten years its entire range of costs has risen by well over 100 per cent. To offset this additional expenditure, there, must be an increase of charges much greater than the 35 per cent, increase already made. The proposed adjustments represent substantially increased rates in some instances, but the general effect of the present variations, and those of 1949 and 1950 will be to increase the overall level of tariffs by less than 75 per cent. The fact that the department, facing costs more than double those operating ten years ago, expects to pay its way in 1951-52 with its overall charges only 75 per cent, higher, does not indicate any lack of attention of the principles of economical management. Nevertheless, increasing efforts are made to improve procedures, to eliminate weaknesses and to secure the maximum output from employees. I am glad to state that, in respect of the majority of employees, that is, telephonists, telegraphists, mail officers and engineering maintenance staffs, where the output can be measured effectively, it is at least as good as it was many years ago.
For the information of honorable senators, I shall now comment briefly on some of the maj’or changes in rates contained in the bill. The letter rate is to be increased by 1/2 d. but the new charge is only 40 per cent, greater than the rate applicable ten years ago. The Government considers that this is reasonable in the light of the extra expenditure now inescapably associated with the handling of mail matter. The rates for other mail matter are also to be increased. Articles such as commercial papers, samples, merchandise, printed matter and registered publications posted singly cannot readily be treated by mechanical means, and are particularly affected by higher rail and road conveyance charges. The new tariffs for these articles still represent a substantial concession on the rates for letters. The United States Post Office loses about 400,000,000 dollars annually on these classes of mail matter, and legislation now before Congress provides for a number of the charges to be doubled.
The special low rate which applies to registered newspapers and periodicals posted in bulk is to be increased, but the new charge will still represent a very marked concession, particularly to smaller journals. About 160,000,000 articles are posted in bulk yearly by metropolitan and country newspapers, publishers of periodicals and numerous non-commercial bodies, including churches, exservicemen’s associations and organizations of employers and employees. The existing revenue from 1 lb. weight of registered publications posted in bulk is 21/2d., but the average return from the same weight of letters is 7s., or 33 times as great. Even with the new charge of 21/2d. for 8 oz., the Postal Department will incur heavy financial loss in respect of bulk postings, but the Government feels that the concession should be maintained in order to encourage the spread of news and to prevent hardship to the smaller organizations which now avail themselves freely of the facility.
The existing rates for telegrams are insufficient to cover costs of transmitting and delivering messages, and the new tariffs will still be below the expenses incurred. However, the Government considers that an excessive charge should not be imposed for a facility used so widely by the people of Australia, who, on the average, send more telegrams than do the residents of any other country.
Before proposing the present increased charges, the Postmaster-General very carefully explored all possible means of effecting further economics in the Department in order to reduce the margin between expenditure and earnings. In every section, continuous attention is being directed to the relation of staff to working volume and, wherever practicable, scientific principles for the evaluation of work loads and the determination of staff requirements are being applied. The Government is satisfied that, although in such a large organization improvements are always possible, all available measures are being taken to improve efficiency and eliminate any causes of unnecessary cost. However, there is no prospect of such measures securing results which will be sufficient to reduce appreciably the wide margin between expenditure and earnings. Honorable senators who are constantly being approached for the provision of new and improved facilities in their States will agree that another alternative to increase charges which may at first suggest itself, namely, the serious curtailment of facilities, would not be justified, would cause serious inconvenience and hardship to thousands of Australians, and would hamper national development. It would also involve the dismissal of thousands of men who have been recruited and trained to a high peak of efficiency and lead to a serious loss of revenue. The Government believes that the solution to the financial problems of the Postal Department does not lie in a curtailment of services but in the raising of charges to an equitable level, having regard to existing costs. I hope that after considering the reasons for the proposals, honorable senators will agree that they are fully justified, and I have no hesitation in asking honorable senators to support the bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Armstrong) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 27th June (vide page 488), on motion by Senator Spicer -
That the following paper be printed: -
– I appreciate the opportunity which such a debate affords us to express our views on this most important subject. It also has the advantage that it enables us to hear, and to appreciate, one another’s views, and it serves a valuable purpose in enabling those of our constituents who listen to the broadcasts or read the reports of the debates to inform themselves on these matters. Incidentally, I am certain that the electors of Tasmania must have been most interested to learn the views of Senator Morrow on this important matter.
I propose to deal, first of all, with the proposed peace treaty with Japan, then with the projected Pacific Pact, and I shall also make some observations on the situation in Korea. It is pleasing to learn that a treaty of peace is proposed to be made with Japan in the not far distant future. Almost six years have elapsed since Japan capitulated, and I say unhesitatingly that, in my opinion, such a, period should not have been allowed to pass without making a settlement with that country. No nation that took part in the war against Japan should require six years in which to make up its mind and to complete negotiations with its former allies before concluding a treaty of peace. Of course, we have been told again and again that Russia is responsible for the delay, because that nation has taken so long to make up its mind. However, such conduct on the part of Russia’s representatives is not unusual, and we have long become accustomed to it. I believe that, long ago, we should have ignored Russia’s part in the making of a peace settlement with Japan, because, by delaying the settlement we are playing into the hands of Russia.
Whilst the actual terms of the proposed peace settlement may not please everyone, no peace treaty ever devised has pleased everyone concerned. Some criticism has been levelled at the proposed peace terms on the ground that they are not sufficiently severe, but I submit that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has furnished a real and practical reason why the terms should be framed in the form proposed. There is a very good reason why they should not be made any more severe than they are. Perhaps I can best illustrate my contention by reminding honorable senators of a little story from ancient Roman history. In the early days of the Roman Republic a tribe called the Samnites was at war with the Romans, and their field commander, one Pontius, succeeded in ambushing the Roman soldiers in a valley. Because there was no way of retreat, the Romans eventually surrendered. Pontius, who had had no experience of surrenders, communicated with his father, Herennius, who happened to be the political leader of the Samnites, and asked him what he should do with the prisoners. Herennius, who was an old and sage man, sent word back to his son to release with honour all the captured Romans. When Pontius received the message he thought that the course of action proposed was so irrational that he returned the message to his father for clarification. In reply, he received a further communication advising him to kill all the Romans. By that time, Pontius entertained grave suspicions of his father’s sanity and sought an interview with him. Incidentally, I point out that even at that time field commanders were not always on terms of understanding with their political leaders. At the interview, Herennius explained to his son that in the circumstances there was no middle course; the captives must either be honourably released or put to death. Unfortunately, Pontius did not take his father’s advice. Instead of releasing, the Roman captives with honour or putting them to death, he divested them of their arms and sent them home to Rome in disgrace. The citizens of Rome very rightly resented the dishonour cast upon them, and subsequently Roman forces returned, conquered the Samnites, and kept them in subjugation. The moral of the story is that when a nation surrenders there is usually only one prudent course open to their successful foes. Whilst I do not suggest that we should kill all the Japanese people, or that we should return their arms to them, I point out that grave difficulties would surround the imposition of any restraints upon the Japanese that we were not prepared to enforce in perpetuity. In view of the circumstances outlined by the Minister’s statement, I am of the opinion that the ‘terms suggested are as satisfactory as we could reasonably expect. Of course, they might have been much better had it not been for the attitude displayed by Russia in this matter.
I appreciate the importance of the matters mentioned by the Minister concerning the problems associated with the demand for reparations. So far as I can ascertain, the apportionment of reparations will be made in the usual manner; that is to say, it will be made having regard to the respective claims of the nations concerned. I should prefer that all nations agreed to reparations being made on a different basis, and I suggest that reparations might be made on a personal basis. If such a course were adopted, it would have regard to the loss and suffering sustained by individuals, irrespective of their nationality. Compensation to individuals might then be made a first charge on the reparations exacted from Japan. If that course were followed, Australian prisoners of war, and those of other nations, would receive some compensation for the terrible sufferings that they underwent, and the nations could then divide the remaining sum available for the payment of reparations in the usual way and in accordance with the claims of their respective governments.
I regard the proposed Pacific Pact as a most important security measure, as do many people. Indeed, I suggest that it is the most important security measure for Australia since Great Britain ceased to be the honoured mistress of the seas. Although details of the pact are not yet available, we shall doubtless hear more concerning them from the Minister for External Affairs in due course. However, one important and very obvious aspect of the matter on which the people of Australia will require more enlightenment is the degree of security that will be afforded to Australia by the proposed pact. The source of danger, of course, is Russia and its satellites. “We all know that a threat to our security can only come from the Asian mainland. Our trade routes across the Indian Ocean and through the Suez Canal to Europe and Great Britain must be protected. Does the suggested Pacific Pact envisage assistance from the United States of America should our security be threatened from the Indian Ocean? For instance, should Pakistan be attacked by a Russian satellite in circumstances which Australia considered endangered our trade routes across the Indian Ocean, would the proposed pact oblige the United States of America to come to our assistance? I hope that the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs will make a further statement on the aspects of the Pacific Pact that I have mentioned. We do not consider that there is any danger to our security from the direction of the Pacific Ocean. A threat can only come from Asia, across the Indian Ocean.
I propose now to deal with certain aspects of the Korean war which I consider to be of great importance. The Korean war will go down in history as one of the most difficult campaigns ever fought by a group of allies. It is what may be termed a politico-strategics struggle. Never before has politics cut across strategic considerations and the general nature of a campaign as it has done during the Korean conflict. I shall enumerate some of the peculiar difficulties that come readily to my mind. First, the allied nations do not all hold the same ideas about the conduct of the campaign. The United Nations include, for instance. Turkey, a courageous nation, the national characteristics of which are conducive to prompt action. On the other hand, the national characteristics of the Indians lead them to favour passive resistance rather than the active participation favoured by the bellicose Turks. Those are real problems. Sixteen nations are participating actively in the . Korean campaign. That, too, raises real difficulties in tactics and strategy. For example, the Royal Australian Air Force in Korea is using Mustang aircraft, whereas the American Air Force is using jet fighters. Some of the difficulties of administering the combined forces of sixteen nations must be almost insurmountable. What Napoleon meant when he said “ Give me allies to fight “ is clear from the conduct of the Korean campaign. The Supreme Commander of the United Nations forces in Korea has been set an impossible task. He has been asked to win a war without hitting the enemy where it hurts most - his lines of communication and bases. Such a war has never been fought before. We could not have won World War II. without first bombing enemy territory and then ultimately invading it. The Supreme Commander in Korea is not permitted to do either of those things.
I bring up those matters in the hope that all honorable senators will appreciate the real difficulties associated with the conduct of this “campaign. Because of. those difficulties we should all be most tolerant of what may at times appear to be lack of progress or initiative on the part of the United Nations forces. The campaign is an interesting experiment in modern warfare. Never in history has there been a military campaign without violent disagreement on strategy. We recall, for instance, the criticism of the Gallipoli campaign during World War I. In World War II. also, the disagreements on strategy were frequent. There was, for example, the question whether priority should ‘be given to the Pacific theatre or to the European theatre. There will always be such disagreements on the conduct of a major war and, of course, the Korean conflict is a major war. However, whatever disagreements there may be between us on strategy or on any other phase of the Korean campaign, there is one matter on which we in this chamber particularly should not disagree. We must not permit those differences to affect our determination to see the struggle through to the end. Frankly I have been amazed at some of the statements that have been made by certain honorable senators about the Korean war. It is just as much the war of honorable senators on this side of the chamber as it is of honorable senators opposite, and it is just as much Australia’s war as that of anybody else. It is a matter of considerable regret that some honorable senators, because of their disagreements on strategy, are willing to damn the entire campaign with faint praise. That should never happen in a national parliament.
Our greatest concern at present is, of course, the Russian sponsored peace offer. The situation at present is fluid and T shall not be dogmatic because any opinion I express now I may well have to retract within a day or two. However, the feature of the Russian peace offer that impresses me most is the fact that it is not different from that made by the United^ Nations a year ago and held open ever since. It is significant that the Chinese Communists have accepted the Russian offer in spite of the fact that they have consistently refused an offer in identical terms from the United Nations. The reason given for that refusal was that China feared for its own security. Presumably, the fact that an offer has come from Russia has satisfied China about the intentions of the United Nations forces. When the problem is resolved into those simple terms, the absurdity of the present situation becomes obvious and needs no further comment.
The question on every one’s lips is, “ Why has Russia called this sudden halt in the Korean campaign?” To answer that question we must endeavour to distinguish between Russia’s desire, if any, for a permanent peace in Korea, and Russia’s desire, if any, for permanent world peace. Although Russia’s present offer of an armistice in Korea may bt bona fide it does not follow that Russia is prepared either to assist in finding a permanent peaceful solution of the Korean problem, or to abandon the Soviet’s imperialistic aims.
Sitting suspended from J^.58 to 8 p.m.
– I fully expect that the terms of Russia’s peace offer will be made known through Russia’s ally, China. We must not lose sight of the possibility that the offer may not be bona fide. It may have been made merely for propaganda purposes, in- which event some people would call supporters of the Government war-mongers. Probably Senator Morrow and similarly minded people would also then condemn the United Nations. However at this stage we must believe that the offer is genuine, and act accordingly. We must enter into discussions with the Communists, in view of our repeatedly expressed desire for peace. If we did not do so there would be unleashed a flood of propaganda against the . objectives of the United Nations and against the alleged imperialistic aims of Ceylon, New Zealand, the United States of America, Great Britain, our own country, and other countries that are fighting in the cause of democracy. Let us consider a hypothetical circumstance. If it is proved that Russia is not genuine we must continue the Korean war with redoubled efforts, until Russia really wants peace. If it transpires that Russia has been bluffing and, in effect, wants the war to continue there will devolve on the United Nations a solemn obligation to prosecute the conflict to a successful conclusion as soon as possible.
I believe that it is quite probable that Russia desires peace in Korea. It is apparent that Russia does not intend a third world war to be commenced in Korea. If it were otherwise, Russia could have commenced another world war in Korea long ago by moving Russian forces into the combat. I consider that Russia now realizes its mistake in provoking the Korean conflict, which is developing into a very serious affair. The United Nations has about 500,000 men under arms in Korea, and the war effort there of the United States of America alone is equal to the effort that it put forward during the first year of the Pacific campaign during World War II. Many people still do not realize the immense effort that has been made by the United States of America in the Korean campaign. The airlift that is now being carried out by the air forces of the United Nations is equal to the Berlin airlift that was carried out several years ago.
In all probability Russia wants the United Nations forces out of Korea as soon as possible, because their presence in that country is restricting Russia’s global strategy. It is well known that Russia is establishing a large submarine fleet. While the United Nations forces are engaged in Korea, Russia is unable to establish submarine bases on the Pacific coast. A glance at the map of the world will show that Korea is most unhappily situated, strategically, in relation to Russia. In effect, Korea is a very convenient bridgehead for the United Nations forces to enter the backyard of comrade Stalin. I imagine that the knowledge that a very large United Nations force is active on the Asian mainland is unpleasant to the Russians. I am convinced that Russia is now extremely anxious to prevent that force from growing any larger. In my opinion Russia has given up hope of a Chinese army being victorious against the’ forces of the. United Nations and, as Russia is unwilling to fight at present, it is striving to further its objectives by peaceful means. As I have said before, I sincerely hope that the United Nations forces will not be withdrawn from Korea until the Korean conflict has been settled permanently and the United Nations is sure that there will not develop a third world war.
Although Russia may want peace in Korea, it does not necessarily follow that it desires world peace, because it is doing remarkably well in its global cold and hot warfare. Already about half of the countries of Europe have been subdued and Russia now dominates more than half of Asia. Furthermore, Russia has succeeded in diverting a very large American force to the Far East at a time when the United States of America would prefer to have that force elsewhere. Likewise, it is endeavouring to divert British forces to Persia. Russia has succeeded in keeping British and Australian forces occupied in Malaya, and French forces in Indo-China, and its fifth column is doing remarkably well in some of the democracies. Not one Russian has been killed.
– What does that prove?
– It proves that Russia is doing remarkably well.
– Does the honorable senator contend that democracy has failed?
– One may well ask on which side Senator Hendrickson stands. We must face facts. I consider that it would be possible for Russia to maintain its present tactics for a very long time. Its national character and its form of government are such that it could continue a patient method of warfare more or less indefinitely. Obviously our three-year defence programme will have to be extended. But can we preserve our internal economy, and high standard of living, while we maintain a large defence force? Russia well knows that the democracies would find it most difficult to do so. I accept the assertions of Mr. Truman, Mr. Attlee, and the leaders of other democracies that a third world war can be avoided. Even if its avoidance entails a State of readiness for war for the next 50 years, our defence preparations must be continued. If another world war could be averted for 50 years the United Nations would have achieved what has been a pipe-dream of men for thousands of years. A third world war would destroy man on this earth. I am not referring to the use of the atomic bomb. Probably something more terrible than that would enshroud us. The present inflation would be infinitesimal compared with the inflation, that would follow another world war. As evidence of the present inflationary trend, the cost of an American bomber aircraft during World War II. was about £45,000, compared with a cost of £2,000,000 to-day. Inflation will grow progressively and, I contend, would finally devour us if another world war materialized. I conclude that Russia does not want world peace. If it did, it could have peace in five minutes. Russia could say that it wanted world peace, and act accordingly. We must prepare and keep prepared. Those are my views on the recent suggestions made by Russia in connexion with an armistice in Korea. I consider that the United Nations must, as far as possible, proceed in the hope that the Russian offer is a genuine one. Even if it is, the United Nations must not withdraw from Korea in any circumstances until the security of Korea is assured and it is satisfied that there will not be another world war.
The war in Korea may be regarded as the first step towards the establishment of a real code of law for all nations. An aggressor nation now knows what to expect if it decides to break the peace. We all are aware that great evils come from wars, but I suggest that great good can also accrue from them. The War of American Independence produced great benefits for the American people, as did the Civil War in England in the 17th century. 1 believe that the war in Korea has conferred a great benefit on mankind because it is the first occasion on which the United Nations has used force to meet aggression, which is the only way in which aggression can be met. I consider that we have won the first round. We should now make certain that we also win the second round, if there is one.
Before concluding my remarks, I wish to pay tribute to the Australian forces who are taking part in the Korean campaign. All Australians should be proud of t.» Sorts of those men. Perhaps I can pay them no greater tribute than to say that they have fought in the very best Australian tradition. I mourn our own dead whose names should be honoured and commemorated in perpetuity, not only because they gave their lives for their country and their kith and kin, but also because they died fighting for the preservation of a sacred principle, which I may be permitted to call “ international democracy “. That is perhaps the only sentiment that will ever weld together the nations of the world.
– I do not wish to detain honorable senators for very long, because as has been said by some one greater than I, whilst we all hope that our speeches will be immortal, there is no reason why we should make them eternal. One fact has come to the surface from this debate on international affairs, and that is the necessity for the establishment of a foreign affairs committee. Whether we agree or disagree with the opinions that have been expressed by other honorable senators, we must nevertheless pay tribute to their sincerity and to the interest that they display in this matter. That is why I deplore the apparent tendency to make debates such as this more or less stop-gaps between the passage of one bill and another. The future of Australia is indissolubly linked with international affairs, and I do not think that the subject should be relegated to a secondary position. The speeches of all honorable senators show that sufficient interest and intelligence is displayed in such a discussion to warrant the establishment of a Senate committee on foreign affairs to take its place in the national life of the country, as does the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in the United States of America. For too long the role of the Senate in the government of Australia has been regarded as a minor one. I suggest that international affairs is one sphere in which the Senate could take the lead.
In discussing foreign affairs to-day, ii would be wrong to take a limited view and to have regard only to present affairs. To understand the position it is necessary to look back to the middle of the nineteenth century and to the rise of nationalism in European countries, because nationalism has bred most of the problems which confront the world to-day. During that period there occurred the rise of Germany as a nation, due largely to the efforts of Bismarck, and the subjugation of the- small countries of Europe one after another. That is not a new process. It has been going on for more than 100 years. The end of the nineteenth century witnessed the scramble for Africa, which led to war. The strange fact emerges thai at the end of the nineteenth century and during the Boer War the Dutch people were the implacable enemies of the British. A generation of British people had been brought up to hate the Boers and ultimately, the Germans. When World War I. broke out, the Dutch and the Boers were our friends. Now we look to a united Germany as a bulwark against sovietism.
A similar position arises with regard to Japan. Many of us suffered great losses during World War II. To have suggested at the end of that war that within a few years we should be almost respecting Japan as an ally and helping to rehabilitate her system of imperialism would have been > rash indeed. Yet that is what is happening to-day. I suggest that much more time could be spent profitably by honorable senators in the discussion of such problems in order that they might approach international affairs with minds better informed on the subject.
One of the most hopeful omens for the future is the establishment of the United Nations organization. After the end of World War I. the League of Nations was established with the same degree of optimism that marked the inauguration of the United Nations organization, but there was not the same degree of cooperation between the nations. Perhaps the main weakness of the League of Nations was the non-participation of the United States of America. After World War I. it was hoped that a general disarmament programme would mean the end of wars, but that, of course, was an illusory dream. The same forces which operated during the 1914-18 war were again let loose in Europe during World War II., with world-wide repercussions.
When I was in Europe, almost three years ago, I found nothing to indicate that the hatreds that were engendered in the people of the large European conntries since the rise of nationalism hai been quenched. After the loss of so many millions of young men and civilians in two world wars, it is saddening to me to find that we are now not only expecting a third world war, but are also in active preparation for it. It is a terrible indictment of the objectives for which we fought. As I went through Europe and saw armament factories busy again with the production of instruments of war, working seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so soon after the end of World War II., I was depressed. The complete destruction of cities during World War II. bewildered me because we in Australia so far, thank God, have been spared the horrors of total warfare conducted on our own soil, but the fact that we have been spared should not blind us to what can happen. Our greatest defence in the past has been our isolation, but to-day that has gone because the whole character of warfare has changed materially during the last twenty years.- It is strange that during a debate on international affairs all our concentration should be on war and preparations for war instead of on u consideration of the means by which we may keep the peace. Once again our thunder has been stolen by the Communists, who have forestalled all of us, by means of alleged peace conferences. The very word “ peace “ has become almost an object of suspicion.
During the later years of the- last century the scramble for territories led to mistrust in Europe and, ultimately, to war. To-day, the scramble is not so much for territories as for food. The whole of the present-day tension can be summed up in the word “ food “, because that is what the millions of people in Asia want most. It is the reason why they are pushing out to other countries. They must have food for their starving peoples. Our main concentration, and also that of others who are blessed as we are, should be on the production of food in order to assist the overcrowded countries of the world. Physical war is not the only kind of war in which nations can engage. When we consider the vast sums of money that have been spent on the destruction of human life and property, our minds should also, turn to a consideration of how little has been spent in the war against ignorance, poverty and disease. We should then realize how far away we are from all the Christian principles upon which a true nationhood must be based.
The statement presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) contains only two matters that he discussed at length. Perhaps that is a good feature. It deals mainly with the Japanese peace treaty, and also with the position in Korea. Pour years ago the then Minister for External Affairs was instrumental in establishing a Japanese Peace Treaty Advisory Committee, of which I was a member. It was an important committee because it brought together members of all political parties, from both Houses of the Parliament, and it was comprised of men who were expert in the various fields which would be affected by such a treaty. The committee was addressed by Sir Douglas Mawson, counsellors of the Department of External Affairs, persons connected with universities, and experts on Japan und the ideology of the Japanese people. Although it was only an advisory committee, it was the recipient of a great deal of valuable information which, since it was given confidentially, I am not at liberty to discuss in this chamber. Such a committee of representatives of all parties in both Houses of the Parliament, which had at its disposal the advice of experts on every aspect of the matters under review, could not but be of great benefit to this Parliament. The Japanese Peace Treaty Advisory Committee carried out a very important task. The Australian Parliament has a right to be represented at any talks which precede the signing of a treaty with Japan and we should be fully apprised of the terms of any proposed treaty before finality is reached. Australia, despite the smallness of its population, played a major part in the war against Japan. It is true that the Americans, because of the superiority of their numbers and equipment, played the greatest part in that conflict, but we must not lose sight of the fact that their superiority in numbers and equipment would have been of little avail if American troops could not have been fed by the people of Australia and if they had not received urgently needed medical equipment and serums from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Too little cognizance is taken of the fact that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories pro- vided all the blood plasma and serumsrequired not only by those under General MacArthur’s command but also by the troops in Egypt and those under Lord Louis Mountbatten’s command in SouthEast Asia. Australia has not received all the credit to which it is entitled for the magnificent part which it played in World War II. We all are aware of the heroic part played by Australians in the fight back along the Burma-road, and how our gallant soldiers conquered the jungles of New Guinea. Indeed, some honorable senators participated in those historic events. We remember, too, the toll of Australian lives on the death railway in Burma. Therefore, we are entitled to, and we should have, some voice in the settlement of the terms of the peace treaty with Japan.
I do not believe that Japan has become democratized nor do I think that we can trust the Japanese people any more now than we could trust them in the past. We all are aware that on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, when instructions had already been issued to the Japanese forces to strike against that great American naval base, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States was still in negotiation with the American Government. A great deal of the democratization of Japan is only on the surface. Correspondents at present in Japan have stated that the Japanese are using communism as a spur to obtain consent to all kinds of industrial demands upon the United States of America and other powers. We have to take a great deal of care in deciding whether Japan, completely rearmed against communism, will constitute a great menace to our security should it ever be overrun by the Soviet. That important decision should be made only after consultation between Australia and the other powers that played a major part in the downfall of Japan.
I come now to the consideration of the rearmament that is going on apace in Europe, the United States of America and Australia. We must consider very carefully the role that Australia can best play in the event of another world war. We have to decide whether, with our small population, we can assume all the burdens of rearmament and at the same time remain the granary of this part of the world. Can we undertake a huge rearmament programme and at the same time do all that we were called upon to do during World War II. but with increased intensity? We have to decide upon which aspects of defence we should concentrate, and having decided that vital matter we should proceed at once to do the job. To-day, Australia cannot cater for the food requirements of its civilian population. Accordingly, we can visualize the task that would confront us if we had to act as food providers for other nations. The solution of these problems will tax the ingenuity, not only of governments, but also of every person in the community. We cannot discharge our liability in the matter of defence merely by calling up a few thousand eighteenyearold youths, putting them into luxury camps and giving them a modicum of military training. The problem goes much deeper than that. Nor shall we solve the problem by bringing thousands of immigrants to this country, and, after having directed them to serve in a particular industry for two years or less, allow them to swell the population of our cities, and thus add to our dangers. Defence policy must be linked with immigration policy. Our cities now contain a very large percentage of foreign immigrants who, having accepted the hospitality of this country and having fulfilled their contracts to work in designated industries, many of them grudgingly, have refused to work in the country where they could engage in food production. I should be inclined to stipulate that all foreign immigrants should serve for five years in country industries, and I should accept as immigrants to Australia only those who arc willina; to assist in food production for at least five years. No community can present a united front against a common foe unless there is unity in its ranks. Disunity is being bred in Australia by the policy of this Government and of past governments which have permitted foreign immigrants to crowd into the cities. Foreign immigrants are ‘ usually able to save money more easily than is- the average Australian and many of them are obtaining houses and a stake in the country superior to those of people who were born here and have lived here all their lives. The problems of defence and immigration are interrelated, and must be tackled on that basis.
In considering the broader aspects of Australian defence, we must remember that Australia is a very large island continent which has a pitifully small population. Indeed, if all our people were assembled on our coastline there would be only three or four persons to each mile. Australia is deficient in defence bases where they are most needed. All honorable senators who have taken part in this debate have acknowledged that the greatest danger to Australia is likely to come from its northern neighbours. What we are apt to think of as the Far East is really our near north, for it is not far distant from Western Australia. No part of the north-west coast of Western Australia could be adequately defended to-day against even the smallest hostile task force. When ships in Western Australian waters need repair they have to be taken either to Sydney or to Singapore. It should be possible to repair them in a Western Australian dockyard. It is ridiculous that in a State the size of Western Australia, dockyards have not been provided. It is true that there is a small dock at Fremantle, but it is also true that we had a job to retain it a couple of years ago. Natural anchorages are also available. Although £2,000,000 was expended on the Henderson naval base after World War I., the work was not completed and the site is now used as a holiday camp. The machinery installed there is rusty and useless and the money that was expended on the base was absolutely wasted. We also have many natural ports. All honorable senators are aware of the immense value of the deep-water port at Albany. Although Albany is one of the best harbours in Australia it has been very little developed. Fine natural harbours also exist at Esperance and Geraldton. On the north coast there are excellent tidal harbours, but they, too, lack development. The development of these ports and harbours is beyond the capacity of the State Government.
Western Australia is a danger spot in the defence of the Commonwealth. Although in area it comprises one-third of the continent it has a population equal to only one-third of that of the City of Sydney. It is true that an enemy who landed on some parts of our Western Australian coastline would find it very difficult to move forces from the beachhead. Members of the Parliament know something of the difficulty in getting from Western Australia to Canberra. One of the greatest difficulties in the quick transport of troops and goods from east to west, or vice versa, is the lack of standard railway gauge. When travelling from Perth to Canberra one has to change trains at Kalgoorlie, Port Pirie, Adelaide, Melbourne and Albury. The disability that results from the break of gauge was amply demonstrated during World War II. In order to overcome that disability the Australian Government made a magnificent offer to the States to carry out the work of providing a standard gauge, but only the South Australian Government came into the scheme. The cost of the conversion to-day would be more than double what it would have been then. Many of the States viewed this matter from the aspect of State rights rather than from that of a great national undertaking. A grave mistake was made by the State governments which refused to enter the scheme. I appeal to the Government to strengthen the defences of Western Australia as a matter of urgency.
No longer does the fact that Australia is an island continent protect us from a potential enemy. As all honorable senators are aware, people living on the Western Australian coastline within two flying hours of Perth were killed during World War II. In spite of that our defences remain much as they were during the war and nothing has been done to improve our ports and harbours. During the war Fremantle was used as the head-quarters of the American submarine flotilla that did such magnificent work off the coast of Java. At times Fremantle harbour was so chock a block with shipping that one could walk across the harbour from north to south without touching water. As one ship after another came in laden with refugees from the
East Indies the harbour was so choked with ships that the last ship in almost invariably became the first ship out and at other times the congestion was so great and ships were berthed so close to one another that one ship had to turn round to allow another to move out of the harbour. The development of our ports and harbours should be undertaken as a national project. I trust that the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) realizes the importance of that work. It should be regarded as being as much a part of the defence programme as is the guided weapons testing range. No doubt the work being done at the rocket range is very important, but it seems strange to me that whilst it is always possible to find millions of pounds for warlike preparations, it is so hard to find money for the building of roads, harbours and schools. It is an indictment of human nature that the best brains of the community should be exercised on devising ways and means of destruction. Probably I am an idealist, but “Where there is no vision the people perish “. I am afraid that the peoples of the world are becoming increasingly materialistic in their outlook, with a result that they tend to view one another with suspicion.
In 1948, I was privileged to attend the meeting of the United Nations where I met some of the Russian representatives. I had tea with them, and I am still alive. They did not try to poison me. They seemed to me to be ordinary and quite sincere men and women. They were fanatics in their own cause, as we should be in the cause of democracy. It is so easy to give lip service to our cause, but we should be prepared to make sacrifices for it if necessary. The trouble with the world to-day is that the people of the various countries mistrust one another, and where there is distrust there is likely to be trouble. We should be prepared to recognize the fact that there is a point of view other than our own. We are not always necessarily right, nor need the other fellow be always wrong. We must learn to be more tolerant, and to develop a better understanding of the other fellow’s point of view.
I do not intend to dwell upon the conflict in Korea. Everybody is pleased that the end now appears to be in sight, and we pray that peace with honour will bo achieved. No one wants peace through the sacrifice of ideals, but we do not want unnecessary waste of life through a prolongation of the struggle. In the Korean war all concerned have suffered, those from the north as well as those from the south. We hope that terms can be worked out which will be acceptable to the democracies and to the. people of all Korea, so that they may set about the reconstruction of their country.
At the Paris meeting of the General. Assembly of the United Nations, which I attended in 1948, the present Leader of the Labour party (Dr. Evatt) presided over an assembly of representatives of 57 nations and I was proud to listen to the tributes paid to Dr. Evatt for his conduct of the proceedings. Those tributes were well deserved, because he discharged his duties with dignity and honour.
In the field of foreign affairs, our first allegiance is to Britain and all that Britain stands for. Australia could not survive for long as a free nation without the might of the British Commonwealth to protect it. Our next duty is to the United Nations, which is not concerned only with war. Always in the past the emphasis has been too much on war and too little on peace. The United Nations has done much to preserve peace, and through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization it has spread the benefits of education to countries which do not enjoy the same advantages as we do. In that work lies the greatest hope for the future.
I trust that before long honorable senators will have an opportunity to participate in a full-dress debate on foreign affairs, not a debate that is merely sandwiched in between discussions on lavender oil from Tasmania and sugar from Queensland. I welcome the report of the Minister for External Affairs, and I hope that it will not be long before we are discussing another one.
– I agree with Senator Tangney that the Senate should set up a foreign affairs committee. Last year I spoke at some length on this subject, but did not succeed in having a committee appointed. However, in association with one other honorable senator and eight members of the House of Representatives, I succeeded in forming what we described as a study group to promote interest in international affairs. We divided the world into ten sections, and each member has presented a- monthly report to the group on some phase of international affairs associated with the section allotted to him. That work has proved to be of great interest and value. I heartily support the suggestion that a standing committee or a select committee of the Senate should be set up to consider foreign affairs. Nothing but good could come from the appointment of such a committee.
The statement of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) deals with three main subjects on broad lines. I regard the Colombo conference as a subsidiary of the United Nations, and I do not propose to discuss it now, but I propose to say a few words about Korea. The situation there is very fluid, and as Senator Tangney said, we all hope that peace will emerge from the negotiations at present being conducted. There is an analogy between the Korean war and the Berlin air-lift. The need for the Berlin air-lift continued for just so long as it took Mao Tse-tung to win complete control of the mainland of China. I shall be interested to see what happens during the next few months in other parts of the world, if, as seems probable, hostilities cease in Korea. My own bet is thai trouble will break out somewhere in the Middle East, but I am not very good ai prophecy, and I do not like it, anyway.
I congratulate the Australian Government - not only the present one, but previous governments also - on refusing to recognize the Communist or Soviet Government of China. The Government of Great Britain did so, with the result that it has maintained diplomatic and consular representation at Pekin, Tientsin and Shanghai while British soldiers were being killed by the armed forces of the government to which its representatives were accredited. I am glad that the Australian Government was not moved by the fait accompli to recognize what I regard as a temporary government in China.
The third main subject dealt with in the statement of the Minister for External Affairs was the Japanese peace treaty. It is obviously impossible for the United States of America to continue the military occupation of Japan indefinitely. It is equally impossible for the forces of the United States of America simply to -walk out of Japan, and leave that country defenceless. Et is imperative that some form of defensive armament must be permitted to Japan, no matter what our personal feelings may be as a result of the last war. Instead of worrying about whether Australia will be invited to discuss peace terms for Japan, we should endeavour to make sure that a Pacific pact is drawn up, signed and sealed before any treaty is signed with Japan. Once a Pacific pact is in being we shall have a guarantee from the United States of America of support should Japan ever again attack us. Superficially, there may seem to be something attractive in the idea of having all the South-East Asian countries in a Pacific pact under the aegis of the United Nations, but I do not think it would be practical to include in the one pact people of so many races, colours, languages and religions, among whom, one might say, the only common denominator is starvation and misery. For practical purposes, the parties to the pact should be the United ‘States of America, Australia, New Zealand, and, perhaps, the Philippines. In its broad outline the pact should operate through the United Nations, in which I have the greatest faith and hope. That is all I propose to say on the statement prepared by the Minister for External Affairs.
Because this is the first opportunity that I have had to speak on foreign affairs I propose to say something about China. I preface my remarks by reminding honorable senators that Australia is geographically a part of Asia. I believe that peace in Asia is possible only when we have a stable China; and a stable China is possible only if there is an understanding of China by the other nations. With the possible exception of Russia, no nation has so far shown any desire to understand China. Very few people, including members of this chamber, have anything but a. faint idea of China, its history and people, or of recent developments. I lived in China for seven years from 1918 to 1925, which was a most interesting historical period. I travelled everywhere from Harbin to Kunming and from Shanghai well up the Yangtse to Chungking. I learned to know the people and to respect them, and one of my aims in life has always been to get our people to understand the Chinese people and to respect them.
– I hope that the honorable senator is not attempting to persuade us to believe in Chiang Kaishek.
– Senator Grant, who has had a great deal to say in thi3 chamber from time to time about China, has just mentioned Chiang Kai-shek. The honorable senator has referred on numerous occasions to the “ graft “ and “ squeeze “ that allegedly characterized the former Chinese administration of which Chiang Kai-shek was the head. However, I do not think that any honorable senator can truthfully suggest that even in this country corruption has not occurred amongst members of the Parliament and public servants.
– Undoubtedly, there is a certain amount.
– If we admit that there is a certain amount of graft and corruption in a country with a limited population such as Australia, what right have we to condemn the administration of a nation with a population of approximately 460,000,000 people because graft and corruption occur in that nation? Actually, I think that in China there is less graft and corruption in proportion to the population than there is in many European countries. I deliberately omit Australia, from the comparison because the inclusion of our own country in such a comparison would be invidious. The point is that, in my opinion, we have no right to say that the administration that was originally set up by Sun Yat Sen, and which was continued by his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, was completely corrupt. Nobody will deny that there was some corruption, because squeeze and graft have been recognized features of Chinese life since long before the Sun Yat Sen regime. Indeed, squeeze and graft still characterize the smallest everyday transactions.
For instance, if a man went to the tailor in China and ordered a couple of shirts, his houseboy would probably get 20 cents from the tailor for having allegedly advised his master to patronize him. We cannot judge nations by small things.
I propose to refresh the memories of honorable senators of the more important happenings in China since 1912. Some honorable senators may know more about China than I do, but I imagine that what T have to say may be of some assistance to most honorable senators in forming an opinion of developments and current trends in that country. When Sun Yat Sen led the revolution to overthrow the Manchu dynasty in 1912, which was the last of the Chinese dynasties, the country was virtually governed by a number of war lords who maintained their own private armies and waged continual internecine war. As the hostilities progressed the number of conflicting war lords became less, but three of them became well known names in contemporary history. The principal war lord in central China was Wu Pei Fu; in north China the dominant soldier was Yuen Shi Kai; and in north-east China the. principal figure wa3 Chang Tso Lin. As soon as the Republic was proclaimed Yuen Shi Kai declared war upon it because he aspired to control it. The patriot, Sun Yat Sen, voluntarily stepped down from leadership of the new national government because lie did not want the country to be plunged anew into civil war in the first year of the Republic, and allowed Yuen Shi Kai to become President of China.
The programme agreed upon by the fathers of the revolution, who were high-minded men and visionaries like the fathers of federation in this country, envisaged three distinct periods of evolution for China. The first was to be a period of military operations in which the old government was to be overthrown and the Republic established; the second was to be a period of trusteeship government, in the course of which the thoughts of the Chinese people were to be led gradually towards democratic ideas; and the third and final period envisaged the conduct of free elections with the ordinary democratic con cepts that we have known for so long. The fathers of the revolution also established a constitution. They set up five Yuans which were intended to provide institutions that would be the counterpart of the democratic institutions that we enjoy. There was to be an executive similar to our Cabinet; a legislative body similar to our House of Representatives; another legislative body similar to our Senate ; a High Court ; and another Yuan to comprise the civil service. All this organization had been planned many years before the revolution took place, just as the organs of government in this country were discussed and agreed upon before federation came to fruition. Unfortunately for the Chinese people, war broke out in 1914, and the introduction of these democratic reforms had to be shelved. In 1915, the Japanese impinged upon the sovereignty of the new Chinese Republic and took over Kiachow in Shantung. Japan then presented China with an ultimatum that has since become known to history as the “ Twenty-one demands “. Yuen Shi Kai, who was still President of the Republic, was removed from his high office as President of the Republic, but was enthroned by the Japanese as Emperor. Their idea was to establish another dynasty and so put an end to the newly formed Republic. Two years later, in 1917, what came to be known, for some strange reason, as the “ Secret Agreement “ was made between Great Britain, France and Japan. Under that agreement Japan was promised that if the allies won the war the other two parties to the agreement would give to that country, as a prize for its assistance during the war, the beautiful province of Shantung. The matters that I have mentioned are historic facts and are not merely my version of what occurred.
In 1918, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, this strange, secret agreement was actually incorporated in the treaty, and the whole of the lovely province of Shantung in the north-eastern corner of China was given to Japan without the Japanese having to make any threat to China. Following the Russian revolution in 1919, which was to have a great effect upon China in later years, Russia decided that it would revoke all its territorial and other rights in China under the various treaties made by the former Czars. While the Russians were making such good fellows of themselves with China, they sent Voitchinsky to China, and in Shanghai he began what was virtually the first “ Communist cell “. I was in Shanghai at the time, and I recall that Voitchinsky’s principal assistant then was Chou En Lai, who is now Premier and Foreign Minister in the Chinese Government. This cell grew very quickly, and in 1921 the Communists in China were strong enough to demand that they should be given representation at the Third Internationale, when it was convened. The Chinese patriots greatly appreciated Russia’s seemingly generous assistance, and even Sun Yat Sen was considerably impressed by it. In fact, he was so appreciative of it that he sent the now infamous Michael Borodin to Canton, where he was allowed not only to join the Kuomintang but also to become leader of the propagandist section of that organization. At the same time as Borodin was allowed to enter China, the Chinese patriots were persuaded to allow a Chinese Communist named Mao Tsetung to go to Moscow for training in Communist methods, who, on his return, was placed in a position of trust in the Kuomintang. Mao Tse-tung, as we all know, is now the President of the Chinese Communist Government. In retrospect, we can see how subtly the spider web of Communist infiltration was woven in. China.
About that time Sun Yet Sen died, and the Nationalist party was left for about six months without a really competent leader. During that period Chiang Kai-shek had been getting his men together and had been endeavouring to reform the Kuomintang, which had been undermined by Borodin and Mao Tse-tung. However, in the meantime the two major war lords left in northern China, Wu Pei Fu and Chang Tso Lin engaged in a major civil war which lasted eighteen months. By the end of 1922 Wu Pei Fu had emerged as the victor. It was then that the Communist-inspired strikes began. No doubt, members of the Opposition have heard the term “ Communistinspired “ before. However, I can assure them that those strikes that occurred in China, in the suppression of which I played some small part, were definitely Communist-inspired, just as have been the strikes that have occurred in this country recently. The pattern followed in the Communist-inspired strikes in China is worth studying because of its obvious similarity to that of the strikes that occur so frequently in this country. By the middle of 1926, Chiang Kai-shek, the present leader of the Nationalist party, had mustered his forces. He chased the Russian Embassy officials out of the country and told them not to come back again. He then commenced his now famous northern march in an attempt to unify the whole country and he did very well. He reached the Yangtse Valley in a line with Hankow, and had a good chance of amalgamating with Chang Tso-lin who, as I have said, was one of the northern war lords. Had that amalgamation come about, the whole history of China might have been different. However, about that time, the Japanese were coming into China. The invaders realized that an amalgamation of the two great Chinese leaders would not suit their plans, so Chang Tso-lin was blown up in a railway train while travelling from Nanking to Peking and the amalgamation never took place. After Chang Tso-lin had been killed, Michael Borodin and Leo Kharakan, having made such a mess of things, were recalled to Russia. Kharakan was shot, and for many years we did not know what had happened to Borodin. Senator Grant will be interested to know that I heard the other day from a diplomat who had been in Moscow that he had seen Michael Borodin in that city. Whether he has returned to China now I do not know. Russia then sent an Indian envoy named Roy to China. The following quotation from Bed Star over China, by Edgar Snow, whom no one can accuse of being anything but extremely left, will be of interest to honorable senators : -
Stalin led the Comintern which gave the Chinese Communists their tactical line and directives throughout 1926 and through the catastrophe of 1927.
That bears out precisely what I have been trying to say about the spider web that has been spread over China by the Russians. Between 1927 and 1931, there was a succession of minor wars. I was not in China at that time, but I had quite a number of correspondents, and many Chinese friends who knew’ what was going on. In 1931, floods in the Yangtse River, the Wang Ho and the Huau, brought severe privations to approximately 40,000,000 people. Many thousands were drowned and the remainder were starving because the floods had ruined their crops, ft is difficult to imagine 40,000,000 people starving, but that is what had happened throughout the Yangtse Valley up to the Gulf of Pechili. On top of that came the Japanese invasion and of the subsequent events most of us are well aware. When the Japanese invasion started, the League of Nations, which was still functioning, r.old Chiang Kai-shek to draw his forces back as far as the Yangtse Valley, and wait. Having given the Chinese leader that instruction, and, the instruction having been complied with, the European nations completely forsook China. Already Japanese divisions were settling in Manchuria which had been renamed Manchukuo; yet the Chinese people were told by the League of Nations to wait! By 1938, the Japanese had twenty divisions in China, and it was then physically and monetarily impossible for China to do very much about it. However, there was at that time in China a New Zealand engineer named Rewi Alley whom I knew. Me started a movement known as Indusco which became of great significance in the war against Japan. The aim was to establish throughout China, thousands of tiny workshops to make munitions. Some of these miniature factories were mere mud huts, perhaps 10 feet by 12 feet. The movement spread rapidly throughout the back blocks. The New Zealand engineer not only performed a magnificent task but he also showed the people of the world what the Chinese as a race could do through co-operation. Obviously, it would have been useless to build big factories to produce munitions because they would have been vulnerable to Japanese bombers. However, those thousands of small factories rendered a valuable service in keeping China’s fighting forces supplied with arms and munitions.
Senator Tangney has stressed the need for education. It is interesting to note that, between 1927 and 1936 in spite of the Japanese invasion and the lack of assistance from European nations, educational facilities in China increased more rapidly than in any corresponding period before or since. That expansion of China’s education system was carried out in accordance with plans laid down by Chiang Kai-shek, and the fact that the development continued in the midst of a war is an interesting sidelight on the Chinese national character. To-day, Mao Tse Tung is following the plans made in 1922 by Chiang Kai-shek to raise the standard of education in China.
I come now to the bombing of Pearl Harbour and to the sorriest and saddest part of the whole Chinese puzzle. From 1.942 to 1945, I. was in charge of an intelligence section, and I was intimately connected with South-East Asia, although I. was stationed for most of that time in the South-West Pacific Area. I knew what was going on in South-East Asia and I was able to see both sides of the picture. Honorable senators will recall that shortly after Pearl Harbour was bombed, General Stilwell, commonly known as “Vinegar Joe”, was sent from the United States of America to be chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek. When he reached China he persuaded Chiang Kaishek to give him command of the Chinese divisions that were to go through to Burma. That was about the time when the Japanese drove across from Siam and practically threw the British troops out of Burma. The Japanese decimated the Chinese forces under Stilwell. Then, instead of waiting for a more opportune moment, Stilwell persuaded Chiang Kaishek to give him the 55th Chinese Division, and with these fresh troops he rushed to the rescue - much too early or much too late according to how one looks at it. The consequence was that the 55th Chinese Division also was decimated. General Stilwell finally led about 100 men in the famous Stilwell march to Burma. He was a theatre commander and jobs like that should have been left to young captains or majors. In the meantime the part of the Chinese 55th Division that remained was without a theatre commander. Finally, Chiang Kai-shek refused to have anything to do with Stilwell. Honorable senators may bo interested to learn that in the Stilwell Papers, which is the published edition of Stil well’s personal diary, he refers to President Roosevelt as an “ old softie “, Lord Mountbatten as a “ witless glamour boy “, Chiang Kai-shek as a “ peanut “ or a “crazy little illegitimate”, and Lord Wavell as a “fool”. Nobody was any good except General Stilwell. Finally, General Hurley was sent out from the United States of America with the idea of placing Stilwell in a position of even greater authority, but Chiang Kai-shek refused to have Stilwell. Eventually both Hurley and Stilwell were removed and General Wedemeyer took over. He restored amity and efficiency, and when the war ended the allied forces were on the verge of forcing the Japanese in southern China into the water. The point I make is that had it not been for Chiang Kaishek, Japan might have had another ten divisions fighting against Australian and other Allied troops in the South-West Pacific. Without outside assistance, Chiang Kai-shek immobilized ten Japanese divisions for three years. The presence of those Japanese troops in other theatres might well have drawn the war out considerably.
At Yalta, Russia agreed to enter the war, but, as we all know, the Soviet entered the; war only just before the final blow was struck at Hiroshima. Russian forces were able to come down through northern China and Manchuria and behind them ‘came Mao Tse Tung and all his rotten rabble. As they came, they collected all the abandoned Japanese equipment and this enabled the Communist forces eventually to sweep down through China, and drive the Chinese Nationalists to Formosa. Shortly after the war ended, General Marshall was sent to China as an envoy for President Truman. General Marshall made it clear that while he recognized the Nationalist government, he would like to see an amalgamation of the Nationalist party and what was termed the agrarian party at that time. On no less than four occasions while General Marshall was in China, Mao Tse-tung was able to dictate his own terms to the Nationalists. Those terms were never acceptable to the Nationalist government and on four occasions open warfare flared up. On each occasion just as the Nationalist government was about to deliver the coup de grace to the Communists, General Marshall stepped in and said, in effect, “ No amalgamation, no more stores, no more money “. Although at that time we could not understand the reason for that attitude, the position was that in the years closely following the end of the war many people were removed hurriedly from the State Department in Washington because of their Communist tendencies, Communist ideas, or Communist affiliations. All that I have- mentioned is factual. My only personal observation is that I believe that the American State Department was fed by unscrupulous journalists like Professor Lattimore, who were working on the side of Russia. In turn, they fed President Roosevelt and subsequently President Truman.
– What proof was there that Lattimore was feeding Washington ?
– That is a personal observation, for what it is worth. All that is needed in China to-day is that European nations should get out completely. In the past we ran the customs and postal departments in China, and more or less ran the whole country. China has had a rotten deal from the European countries. Hong Kong is only used by unscrupulous traders under the British Government to get material through Communist China to Russia. There are no two ways about that, assertion. We should all get out and leave China to settle its own affairs, for about ten years. But can we imagine for a moment that Russia would get out and leave China alone? I do not think so. Russia is more likely to step in. Therefore, how can we all get out and leave China entirely at the mercy of Russia ? It is up to the democracies to assist the Nationalist government. I firmly believe that the Kuomingtang, or its successor to the Nationalist government, will be the ultimate government of China. I do not take much account of the present Communist government, because down the centuries people have gone into China and been absorbed and the Chinese have gone on in their own steady way. I do not believe that the present regime will last for many years, although I shall not endeavour to prophesy the duration of its ‘control. 1 believe that all of us want peace. My thoughts centre on the present generation. 1 do not worry about what will be the position when my grand-children grow up. I have studied Chinese history fairly extensively. For thousands of years there has been a steady pattern in that country in cycles of 800 years. At the beginning of the cycle a foreign conqueror, such as Gengis Khan, has entered the country. The first 150 years of the cycle has been devoted to assimilating the invader. The next 500 years has been a period of peace. This pattern is traceable to 4,000 years ago. Following the period of peace there has been another 1 130 years of war. In this cycle, the year 1850 was the end of a period of peace. The Boxer Basing in that year was the beginning of trouble, and there have been wars more or less continuously since. Therefore, another period of 500 years of peace in China should commence in the year 2000 and if in fact that materializes Australia will be at peace from the end of this century. .
.- Lt is apparent from many of the speeches during this debate that a number of honorable senators are impregnated with a conviction of the existence of communism. They have dealt largely with established communism and have expressed fears about its extension to various countries. They consider that such an extension constitutes a threat to the future of Australia, and they apparently consider that Australia’s defence programme is based on that fear. I shall mention some of the countries that have adopted Communist governments and others upon which communism has been forced. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was established in 1917, only 34 years ago. Senator Kendall has stated that he is not concerned about the welfare of his grandchildren as a result of the spread of communism in China. Tn 1917, many people in the free democracies firmly believed that the soviet republic system was only a temporary form of government and would be confined to Russia. They did not consider that communism would spread to other countries.
But what has happened? The free democracies did not rush in to free the Czar of Russia from the clutches of communism, but stood aloof. So to-day, when China is overrun by Communists the democracies prefer to stand aside. But even if the democracies were inclined to prevent China from becoming a Communist country, they would be unable to do so because they lack the necessary strength. After some years of Communist government in Russia there commenced “World War II. Latvia, a small country to the west of Russia then suddenly became communistic. Its population was only about 1,900,000. I have no doubt that that small country valued its democratic rights and its form of government. Doubtless, it placed the same value on its freedom as the people of this country place on their freedom. When Latvia was suddenly embraced in the grip of communism, was there any outcry from the free democracies? Was any pressure brought to bear on Russia to release its grip on Latvia ? No ! When something similar happened to Estonia, which had a population of 1,117,000 people, again the free democracies remained silent and inactive. Those two countries became communistic after Russia had firmly established itself as a Communist power. Prior to World War II. Poland had enjoyed a similar form of government to that of the free democracies. But what happened after it was overrun by Germany ? Poland was liberated from the clutches of the Germans only to be embraced by the Russian form of communism. Poland, having a population of 23,900,000, was then on the side of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Subsequently, Czechoslovakia, having an area of 49,000 square miles and a population of 12,409,000 people; also joined hands with Russia. Then Roumania. with an area of 91,671 square miles and a population of 16,409,000 people, either adopted sovietism or had sovietism forced upon it. What is the position of Yugoslavia to-day? With an area of 2-56,588 square miles and a population of 15,000,000 people, it may be said that Yugoslavia has not yet adopted a . communistic government; but it is very close to doing so. Within a short period doubtless there will be no difference between the present form of government in Yugoslavia and that of soviet Russia, fi we are to link all of the countries which are now under Communist control, we must turn to Asia. China, with an area of 3,032,663 square miles, and a population of 452,000,000, has become communistic. It was recently stated in this chamber that that is merely a temporary form of government, but I point out that the same statement was made in 1917, when Russia became communistic. It is very likely that those of us who are here in 34 years’ time will still be speaking of Communist Russia and Communist China. Those countries have adopted that form of government and between them they represent more than 1,000,000,000 people.
To complete the picture of established communism and the threat of communism, it is necessary to look at Asia. Burma, with an area of 261,7S9 square miles and a population of 16,000,000, is to-day indecisive as far as communism is concerned. India; with an area of 865,000 square miles and a population of 3147,000,000, is in a similar position. Pakistan, with 361,000 square miles and a population of 80,000,000, is to-day on the side of the free democracies. It is the responsibility of those democracies to do all that is in their power so to improve economic conditions in Pakistan, in India, and in the other Asiatic countries that have not yet adopted communism, that they will never do so. Ceylon, which has an area, of 25,000 square miles and a population of 6,000,000, is another of the countries which make up South and South-East Asia. I should not be surprised if, within the next few months, I read that hostilities had broken out in Ceylon as a prelude to the formation of a different government. Siam, with a population of 1.8,000,000, Indo-China with 27,000,000, and Indonesia, with 76,000,000, are the remaining countries of South and SouthEast Asia.
I think that all honorable senators will agree that it would be an easy matter for all of those countries which I have mentioned, within the next two or three years, to adopt a form of government similar to that which exists in China and Russia to-day. We look forward to action being taken to prevent them from following such a course. The matter has already received consideration by the Commonwealth of Nations. Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and the United Kingdom have deliberated upon the matter, have fully considered the threat of such an event to democracy and have endeavoured to bring about conditions under which the peoples of those countries will receive sufficient food. It is proposed to embark upon a scheme of agricultural improvement which will entail the expenditure of £2,000,000,000 within the next six years. The object is to increase the productivity of all of those countries in order that they may be able to feed their own people. Should not we ask ourselves why that action is being taken in 1951 ? Why was not something of that kind done ten, twenty, thirty or even 130 years ago? Is not the fact that such action is proposed in 1951 a serious indictment of the powers which, for a number of years, held India and the countries comprising Indonesia? It is notable that Holland is not mentioned in the list of nations which propose to rehabilitate and improve the productivity of the Asiatic countries. For many years, Holland has exploited Indonesia ; so much so, that when the Indonesian Government was established, Holland was able to inform Australia that it could send to Australia 25,000 immigrant*. Holland’s economy was built up at the expense of Indonesia. We have now come to the time when we must endeavour to assist those countries to improve their economy in order that they may feed themselves.
– They always fed themselves when the Dutch controlled them..
– The honorable senator knows very little about the subject. Those people lived in semi-starvation. The agricultural productivity of their countries has only to be compared with that of any other country to see that they are still the most backward countries of the world.
What is the future of Australia and of the other free democracies ? Can we continue to live in a world in which more than half of the population is under Communist control and the balance governed by a system of democracy?
– What has the Australian Labour party decided to do?
– The Australian Labour party will decide its own course without any assistance from the Murdoch press, which makes up the minds of honorable senators opposite. They then come into this chamber and prattle about what they have read in those newspapers. Not one original thought has been expressed by honorable senators opposite during the debate on this subject.
– The thoughts of the honorable senator are not original: they are history.
– It is sound history, .1 suggest. I invite Senator Robertson, and any other honorable senator opposite who is interested, to rise when I have finished and try to disprove my statements.
The matter of trade between the free democracies and the Communistcontrolled countries has been mentioned during this debate. When it comes to trade, communism assumes a different aspect and is then given another complexion altogether. It was quite wrong for the Attlee Government to sell precision tools to Russia, but it was quite in order for the Australian woolgrowers to sell their wool to Russia in 1950 ! At the wool sales conducted in Melbourne during November of last year, the biggest purchasers of wool were the Russians. I ask honorable senators opposite, where did that wool go and into what articles was it manufactured?
– Will the honorable senator give me the name of one Russian firm that purchased wool in Melbourne?
– I will refer the honorable senator to the newspapers of the day. Not only do I make that statement in the Senate now, but I shall also make it to-morrow morning. The newspapers refer to the pastoral finance companies which sold wool to the Russians. The honorable senator will find that what I have said is correct.
What is the future of this higgledypiggledy arrangement throughout the world? Many countries are communistic, whilst others arc what are known as free democracies, although they are really capitalistic democracies. The Asiatic countries may turn towards communism within the next few years. China may give them the lead, just as in Europe Russia gave the smaller countries the lead. What can we do about it? Australia, which has 8,000,000 people and an area of approximately 3,000,000 square miles, has to the north of it Asia and South-East Asia, the population of which increases at the rate of 20,000 a day. We are bringing to this country approximately 200,000 immigrants a year. If it means fighting those Asiatic countries in open warfare, we must understand our task in building up an adequate defence.
– I had thought that the statement read by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer), dealing with international affairs, would produce some lucidity in the subsequent debate and the contribution made by honorable senators opposite. It is true that on the first day of the debate that was so, but unfortunately to-day it has degenerated into a dull and dreary reiteration of the usual socialist-Marxist approach to the subject. Honorable senators opposite are extraordinarily lucky because they apparently have an ideological philosopher’s stone which needs only to be produced for a problem to be solved. During this debate they have sought to solve the problem of external affairs by that means and are obtaining answers that are worked out as neatly and as easily as can be. The problem of external affairs has been admirably expressed in the paper which was tabled by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer), who represents the Minister for External Affairs in this chamber. It revealed a lucid appreciation of the situation that exists in the world to-day. I had hoped that the terms of the statement would be adhered to in the debate which has taken place upon it, but, unfortunately, we have had to listen to Opposition senators talking about the external needs of Western Australia and the needs of the people of Indonesia, Korea and a few other places. Those matters are merely the manifestations of the deeper underlying problem which was so perfectly expressed in the paper. One of the most curious features of this debate was the contribution made to it to-day by Opposition senators, who considered the problem of external affairs purely and simply from the viewpoint of conditions that appear to exist in the Pacific. The problem that confronts Australia as a member of the. British Commonwealth of Nations, and as a partner in the United Nations, exists not only in Pacific countries but also in countries all over the world. Opposition senators concentrated on the problem as they see it in the Pacific, completely overlooking the fact that it is global in scope. It is not confined to one hemisphere, and it cannot be divorced from the problems that face other countries. Any honorable senator who attempts to divorce the problem of Australia’s external relations from the global state of affairs, and attempts to reduce it to a purely hemispherical level, disregards the needs of the Australian community and the communities of other British Commonwealth countries. It is obvious from the undertones that I detected in the remarks of Opposition senators that they are cognisant of the existence of global pressure but that they do not recognize its source. They do not understand the situation in terms of a world problem or of a military problem. They do not realize that what is happening all over the world is the result of the strategy of imperial Russian communism, that what is happening on the periphery of the vast empire of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is the result of Communist tactics, and that what has happened in Korea and in Persia is also the result of Communist tactics. They do not realize that what is happening in Western Germany, in ‘[ndo- China and in Malaya, and the disruption that has taken place in Indonesia are also part of Soviet tactics.
I have been struck by the almost continual sneering references by Opposition senators to the United States of America when only a few years ago every man. woman and child in this country was under an extreme debt of gratitude to the United States for the aid which it rendered to this country. If I may be permitted to reminisce, I remember sitting in a jungle camp one night in New Guinea watching a film which did not aid my morale or that of the Australian troops who watched it. It was a film of a dinner that had been given by members of a former government to General MacArthur. It portrayed the magnificent dinner that had been served to the assembled company, but what shocks me most now was the look of admiration on the faces of Ministers of both this chamber and another place as they paid their respects to General Macarthur. After the film had ended we retired to our wet, dreary, muddy bunks to contemplate the meat and vegetable stew that would be served to lis next morning. Those are the people who now talk about the imperialist United States of America which is trying to destroy the free peoples of the East. They are the people who talk about United States aggression in Korea, and the mighty dollar. How quickly they changed the views which they held ten years ago or less !
– The honorable semi tor and his colleagues have changed their views, too.
– I am quite willing to listen all night to Senator Hendrickson speak on customs matter.* upon which, I believe, he is an expert, but not to his views on external affairs. The Opposition has made a typical socialist approach to this problem of external affairs. They have confined their thoughts to the problem which, they say, faces them in the Pacific. The simple idea that seems to prevail in their minds is that if we are rid of the Dutch from Indonesia and the British from India and Sian, and establish a modern socialist state with trade unionism predominant the balance of power will be altered. They believe that Australia’s external problems can be solved by a mere stroke of the pen. the mere establishment of a system of what they call democracy. They forget that the parliamentary democracy under which they live has resulted from hundreds of years of struggle on the part or people who have devoted their lives to the furtherance of conditions under which such a system can exist. As Senator McCallum has vividly said, where the legions have been withdrawn from Asiatic countries a vast vacuum has been left. With the loss of British control of Burma that great rice bowl which produced enormous supplies of rice for India prior to “World War II. has been lost and . Burma has been left in a state of political atd administrative chaos. Since the withdrawal of the British from India there has been famine in many parts of the land. Siam is now in a state of continuous revolution and its rice is no longer available to feed the starving people of the East. Indonesia has been in turmoil since the withdrawal of the Dutch. During their occupancy of Indonesia the Dutch increased the population of that country from a mere feeble handful to 45,000,000 and they increased the productivity of the Indonesian Archipelago until it became one of tho most intensively developed areas in the world. They were forced to withdraw from Indonesia as the result to some degree of the action of a former Australian Government and its allies on the Sydney waterfront. Their withdrawal from Indonesia was to some degree caused by the gross intrusion of a government’ composed of men who were inexperienced in- foreign affairs.
Senator Grant waxed emotionally eloquent about conditions in China. Senator Kendall has reminded us, and I trust that Senator Grant listened to his words, that . the division that exists in China at present is by no means the result of British or American intervention during or since the war and that revolution has been going on in China for hundreds of years. The Chinese are a dynamic people. They have developed their hegemony without the aid of foreign powers and they arc working out their own destiny. We have been told at- some length by several honorable senators that the .position that exists in the world today is not the result of Russian pressure. I say that that is utter nonsense. This hideous hagiology that is spreading throughout the world to-day has its roots in Marxism and its associated “ isms “. I heard Senator Grant say a few days ago that he did not approve of Stalinism in very much the same way as he would tell a waiter that he does not like sippets in his soup. All the “ isms “ stem from the unthruthful gospel that was preached by Karl Marx and they all end in violence. All that Russia has achieved has been achieved by - violence. Since 194:5 Russia has contributed nothing to the welfare, happiness and peace of the world. The plain truth is that, since. 1945, wherever violence has occurred in. the world it has occurred at the- instigation of Russia. What is infinitely more dangerous is the fact that Russia has consoldiated its political and military power. Violence has occurred throughout the world as the result of the intervention of the “Bed” army or of forces directed and equipped by the “ Bed “ army. I do not need to go through the whole catalogue of violent acts to prove the; truth of that statement. I have only to remind honorable senators of what has happened since 1945: of the attempted invasion of Greece, of the destruction of the rice howl in Indo-China, of the incidents that have occurred, in Malaya and Korea, and of what is happening to-day in Persia and of the rapeof Czechoslovakia. All of this has occurred as a result of Russian intervention. Russia’s economy is a war economy.
If honorable senators will examine the history of the last five years they will find that where Russia has made advances it has done so to- secure the basic needs with which was is waged. Today, our frontiers are where our interests lie and not merely on the north coast of New Guinea. We are in no danger from a’ Pacific power nor do we contemplate danger from a Pacific power for many years to come; hut we are in danger of global power. Our lifelines to Europe or the United States of America may be out by intervention from the Middle -East, by the deprivation of oil from Persia, or by the loss of rubber from Malaya or as the result of the operations of ocean-going submarines. Rubber and oil are vital to us and the solving of the problem relating to them involves more than intellectual emotion. Some honorable senators and members of another place have frequently claimed that our voice should he heard to greater effect in the councils of the world now that we have attained the dignity of nationhood. I remind them that we are merely in the process of: becoming a nation and we must not forget that the responsibility of nationhood is the acceptance of the responsibilities that go with nationhood. T have detected in Opposition senators a reluctance to accept those responsibilities. They are willing to tali about them but no more. Not only, therefore, is our external problem a serious one, but it is also, unfortunately, connected with an internal problem within Australia. It must be manifest, as the Governor-General reminded us in his Speech’,’ that there is a dual problem confronting us: our external relations with other nations of our own race and traditions, with which our economy is inevitably harnessed, and the problem of solving our own internal economic problems which must be solved if we are to claim the dignity of nationhood. I ask for leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Presentation to the Governor-General.
– I have to advise the Senate that, accompanied by honorable senators, I this day waited upon the Governor-General and presented to him the Address-in-Reply to the Speech made by His Excellency oh the occasion of the opening of the Parliament. His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply : -
I desire to thank you for your AddressinReply which you have just presented to me.
Itwill afford me much pleasure to convey to His Most Gracious Majesty the King, the message of loyalty from the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, to which the Address gives expression.
The following papers were presented : -
Coal Industry Act-
Second Annual Report of the Joint Coal Board, for year 1948-49.
Third Annual Report of the Joint Coal Board, for year 1940-50.
Auditor-General’s Report on accounts of the Joint Coal Board for years 1947-48, 1948-49, and 1949-50.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Civil Aviation - L. C. Bechtel, C. Beech, A. A. Blaxland Hays. A. G. Burgoyne, F. H. Creedy, H. W.Cronin, W. W. Dodsworth, M. J. L.. Eddie, H. E.
Eraser, R. J. Harrigan, R. G. Harris, L. B. Hooper, P. M. Jones, T. Jones, C. O. Mason, O. de V. O’Reilly, R. R. Richards, C. R. Strickland. E. A. Talbot W. M. Thomas, R. M. Whitecross, F. H. Williams, J. L. S. Williams, C. W. Yeoman.
Interior - D. A. Ellison, J. C. Macartney, W. R. Rien, F. M. Upton.
Labour and National Service - M. N. Oxlade.
National Development - C. E. Gregory, C. A. J. Inman.
War Service Homes Act - Supplemental Agreement, dated 1st May, 1951, between the Director of War Service Homes and the State of Western Australia, varying the Arrangement entered into on 17th July, 1934.
Senate adjourned at 10.17 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 July 1951, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1951/19510703_senate_20_213/>.