20th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Edward Mattner) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave- 1 understand that last Thursday I committed a breach of the rules of this chamber. I now apologize for so doing.
– The honorable senator’s apology is accepted.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have been advised that His Excellency the Governor-General has received from the private secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second the following reply dated the 27th February, to the resolution of the Senate which was transmitted to the Queen on Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne : -
The resolution contained in your telegram of to-day’s date has been laid before the Queen who desires me to convey her sincere thanks to the members of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia for their loyal message of allegiance and their congratulations on Her Majesty’s accession.
– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether it is a fact that the textile labelling legislation passed by the Parliament last year has not yet become operative because the necessary customs regulations have not yet been completed? If that is so, can the Minister inform the Senate when the regulations will be gazetted so that protection may be given to both, tie woollen industry and the general public?
– The various States have issued textile labelling regulations, but they are not quite in conformity with those issued by the Commonwealth. Naturally, it is highly desirable that there should be uniform labelling, both for imported goods and for goods manufactured in Australia. 1 expect that a final conference between Commonwealth and State representatives will be held this month in order to achieve this measure of uniformity.
– Did the Minister for Trade and Customs hear it announced during the 1 o’clock news session to-day that a recession in the textile industry in the United States of America had brought about some unemployment in that country? If so, will he obtain relevant information and present it to the Senate in order to show that any unemployment in the textile industry in Australia is due to a recession in that specific industry, and is not, as has been alleged, due to any action taken by this Government?
– I did not hear the 1 o’clock news, but the point made by the honorable senator is well taken.
– Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware that the order of exemption No. 26 made in pursuance of the Banking Act of 1945, which appeared in the Commonwealth Gazette of the 21st February, 1952, has prevented (lie companies named in Group A of the Schedule from providing financial assistance to ex-servicemen who wish to enter ballots for blocks of land? Is the Minister aware that ex-servicemen will, unless his Government relaxes its control of credit in respect of land settlement, or makes special provision to assist exservicemen financially, be prevented from entering ballots for blocks of grazing land in pastoral leases known as Thurrulgoonia, Tinenburra and Noorama, soon to be opened for selection in the Cunnamulla district of Queensland?
– I am not familiar with the details of the order mentioned by the honorable senator, and I find it difficult to follow the purport of his question because I do not know the circumstances. The general direction which the Commonwealth Bank has issued to trading banks makes fairly liberal arrangements for the lending of money for the development of agricultural properties. The money made available under the War Service Land Settlement scheme has been appropriated by the Parliament in accordance with an arrangement entered into between the States and the Commonwealth.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether, in view of the fact that about 1,400 exservicemen competed in a ballot for eleven blocks of land in New South Wales last month, the Government will endeavour to accelerate the rate of soldier settlement before it embarks on any extensive scheme to settle immigrants on the land.
– I understand that ballots in respect of land for returned soldier settlement are conducted by the St.ite governments, the Australian Government having no direct authority in that matter. It is the policy of the Government not to interfere with the functions of the States. The obligations of the
Australian Government cease after it has made money available to the State governments and I suggest that the honorable senator should take this matter up with the government of the State concerned.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs missed my point, which is that 1,400 ex-servicemen recently participated in a ballot for eleven blocks of land, although the Government has announced through the press its intention to settle thousands of immigrants on land in various parts of Australia. Will the Minister ensure that exservicemen shall be given priority in obtaining blocks of land before immigrants from other parts of the world are settled?
– I did miss the honorable senator’s point, but I do not think that it is necessary “for me to give him an assurance. However, if he wishes for one, I do unhesitatingly give an assurance that the Government will discharge its obligations to ex-servicemen before it enters into any other commitment to settle people on the land.
– Oan the Minister representing the Minister for Health say whether it is true that in Victoria life-saving drugs, which are made available free to patients in private hospitals and to those undergoing treatment in their own homes, are not free to public hospitals for the treatment of in-patients ? If that be so, and having regard to the difficulties of hospital finance and the great cost of life-saving drugs, will the Minister investigate the possibility of making the drugs available free to public hospitals ?
– I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for Health, and a reply will be furnished in due course.
– Having regard to the huge expenditure involved in the production of defence equipment will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Production say whether a survey has been made in order to learn what instrumentalities in Western Australia may be turned over for use in the production of defence requirements ? Some time ago, I mentioned that Chamberlain’s Industries Limited, which were at present manufacturing tractors, might be employed on defence production.
– I cannot immediately give any particulars of defence undertakings in Western Australia, but I shall take the matter up with the Minister for Defence Production, and ask him to furnish a reply to the honorable senator.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer request his colleague to take steps to rectify the unfair, position that citizens in receipt of superannuation payments, who have saved the Commonwealth large sums of money by themselves making provision for the payment of what are, in effect, age pensions, nevertheless are required to pay social services contributions, from which they cannot expect to derive any benefit?
– The matter that the honorable senator has raised has been the subject of previous questions and of debate in the Parliament. It is true that persons in receipt of superannuation payments are required to pay income tax and social services contributions in respect of those payments, but, from, the point of view of taxation, such persons arc not in a different position from those who saved or invested money during their lifetime and now, in the latter years of their lives, are living upon their savings or upon income from their investments.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
What existing Commonwealth Government loans have been issued in respect of which interest derived therefrom (ft) is completely free from income tax; or (&) is taxable at a rate or rates lower than normal rates of taxation ?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
None, except war savings certificates and savings certificates in respect of which the increase in value is exempt from income tax.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, is prompted by the suggestion that at an early dato the Parliament will be called upon to discuss the sugar agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland, and also by discussions that have taken place in the Senate about the inability of housewives in the southern States to obtain adequate supplies of sugar. I ask the Minister whether the Government will use its best endeavours to ensure that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited or the Queensland Sugar Board shall make available to people in the southern States ample quantities of refined sugar? At the present time, people in those States are buying unrefined sugar at the price applicable to refined sugar.
– The Commonwealth is in almost daily contact with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited with a view to ensuring the equitable distribution of sufficient quantities of refined sugar to meet the requirements of this country. The company has done a magnificent job in relation to the distribution of refined sugar. There are certain physical difficulties which it has been beyond .the power of the Commonwealth and the company to overcome. One very serious handicap is a lack of refining facilities in Victoria. I assure the honorable senator that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited and the Commonwealth are leaving nothing undone that can be done to make adequate quantities of refined sugar available.
– When any new sugar agreement is being negotiated with the Queensland Government, will the Minister for Trade and Customs consider having Devonport and Burnie included with Hobart and Launceston in the list of ports to which supplies of sugar are delivered freight paid?
– I should be glad if the honorable senator would make such representations to me as he considers to be pertinent to that matter.
– Will the Minister ascertain from available records, or by some other means, how many sugar consuming industries, if any, are subsidiaries of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, and whether any such industries have suffered from a shortage of sugar in recent months?
– I shall be very pleased to make the inquiries that have been suggested by the honorable senator.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, with the statement that towards the end of last year some myxomatosis virus was released to farmers in Western Australia with the object of assisting them to exterminate rabbits, which have plagued that State for a considerable number of years. The virus was released to those farmers after representations upon the matter had been made by honorable senators, including myself. So far, there is no evidence that the virus has destroyed any great number of rabbits in Western Australia.
– Order ! What is the honorable senator’s question?
– In view of the fact that the myxomatosis virus that was released in Western Australia has, so far, had very little effect upon rabbits, compared with results that were obtained by the virus in Victoria last year, can the Minister inform the Senate whether the virus which was released in Western Australia was of the same strength as that which was released in the eastern States last year? If it was of the same strength, could the Minister advise the Senate if the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is carrying out any experiments in order to find and breed suitable insects to carry the disease from one rabbit to another? I specify rabbits here-
– Order ! I have previously suggested that senators could couch their questions in concise language. Senator ‘Scott’s introduction to his question was entirely out of order. All that the honorable senator need have done in order to obtain the information that he desired was to ask his question. I request honorable senators, in asking their questions, only to seek information and not to attempt to make secondreading speeches. They should not give information and their questions should be framed in as concise a form as possible.
– I am not in a position to give an answer to the question that was asked by Senator Scott. I suggest that he should refer that interesting subject to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, from whom, I am sure, he will receive the enlightenment that the question warrants.
– I desire to preface a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer by stating that finance companies, building societies, banks and State governments are now restricting the amount of finance available for the construction of houses and that there are still tens of thousands of people without homes. In view of these facts, will the Minister request the Treasurer to take action to release additional credit in order to make possible a greater building programme for the benefit of those who urgently need homes, the erection of which is being prevented by the Government’s financial policy?
– As I have said in reply to similar questions, the amount of finance available for the construction of houses is the amount that was determined, not by the Australian Government, but by the Loan Council, on which the State governments are represented. The amount that has been made available closely approximates the amount that can be spent, having regard to the materials and the men that are available for construction purposes. I venture the opinion that the number of houses that will be built this year will be greater than the number built last year.
– Reference was made in this chamber last week to the failure of the Agricultural Bank of Tasmania to proceed with its housing programme. Will the Minister representing the Treasurer make every effort to present a statement on this matter to the Senate before it rises this week? My reason for asking that question is that the Premier of Tasmania is endeavouring to exploit the situation by saying that the responsibility lies with the Commonwealth Government.
– I am not aware of having given any assurance that I would make a statement to the Senate.
– I am asking the Minister whether he will make a statement?
– I shall ask the Treasurer whether he is prepared to do so. I understand that the Premier of Tasmania informed the Chairman of the Loan Council that the Agricultural Bank of Tasmania proposed to borrow £500,000 and that, upon receiving that sum, the bank would be able to carry out certain commitments that it wished to fulfil. The Agricultural Bank of Tasmania is one of the institutions that come within the provisions of the gentleman’s agreement relating to Loan Council arrangements. The Premier of Tasmania need only inform the Chairman of the Loan Council formally that certain matters are in course of completion, and acquaint him with the terms and conditions under which the loan will be raised. The matter will then come before the Loan Council in the ordinary way.
– Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware that large numbers of qualified tradesmen have been displaced from the building industry are now seeking employment elsewhere? Is he aware that there is now an adequate supply of basic materials for the building of houses? Will he discuss with the Treasurer the possibility of easing the restrictions on bank advances for home building? I remind the Minister that this matter has nothing to do with the Loan Council.
– The truth is that there are still many thousands of vacancies for employees in the building industry. Figures that I saw as recently as this morning show that employers are unable to get the labour that they require.
– That is not so in Tasmania.
– I am speaking of the overall figures for the Commonwealth. I have not seen the figures for the individual States, but I cannot imagine circumstances being any different in Tasmania from what they are on the mainland. The honorable senator has asked whether restrictions on bank advances will be eased. A directive of the central bank provides that the trading banks may lend up to £3,500. The Government cannot do anything to alter that. The trading banks and the Commonwealth Bank have to decide on individual applications. As the press has already reported, the trading banks have invested approximately 22 per cent, of their finances in housing. The directive of the Commonwealth Bank allows for all reasonable financial arrangements.
– In the legislation passed during the regime of the Labour Government inaugurating a joint Commonwealth and State housing scheme, provision was made for the fixing of maximum and minimum rentals. The McLarty Government in Western Australia, is now increasing rentals of Housing Commission dwellings to a point beyond the capacity of many people to pay. Will the Minister representing the Treasurer say whether an agreement has been reached between the Commonwealth and Western Australia to increase the rentals of houses erected by the Housing Commission ?
– No agreement to increase rentals has been made between the Commonwealth and Western Australia. I know from correspondence that I have received from Western Australia that the Government there is doing no more than apply the formula in the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement for the fixing of rentals. In other words, the Government of Western Australia is doing what it is obliged to do under the terms of the agreement.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer say which banks in Australia will advance up to £8,000 for the building of a house on the same terms that building societies used to advance money, and still would do so were it not for the credit restriction policy of the Government?
– I am not aware of the conditions which the banks make with their individual clients, but if the trading banks are not making advances for housing it is not because of this Government’s financial policy. The direction issued by the Commonwealth Rank gives every trading bank authority to advance up to £3,500 for the building of a house on such terms and conditions as the bank decides.
– Which bank is making such advances?
– Every trading bank has the power to do so.
– But they are not doing it.
– All banks can do it, and it is utter nonsense for the honorable senator to say that no bank is making such advances. As has been pointed out, the chairman of the Associated Banks has stated that 22 per cent, of the advances made by trading banks are invested in housing propositions.
– Is the Minister for National Development aware of the existence of an agreement between the oil companies to maintain the octane rating of petrol sold from bowsers at a poor level, and that considerable “ pinging “ has resulted in a great many motor cars? If the Minister possesses authority to determine the quality of petrol that shall be sold from bowsers, will he consider prescribing that such petrol shall be at least of 75-SO octane rating?
– I cannot conceive that there is an agreement between the petrol companies to sell petrol of a certain octane rating solely for the purpose of causing “ pinging “ in motor engines. However, I shall cause inquiries to be made, and ascertain the precise provisions of the law in this respect. I will communicate with the honorable senator in connexion with the matter in due course.
– In view of the very serious deterioration of Australia’s overseas trade balance, will the Minister for Trade and Customs, at an early date, consider the advisability of further controlling imports in order to protect Australia’s economy?
– I am sure that the honorable senator does not expect me to indicate what the Government has in mind in this connexion. However, I assure him that the whole position is being thoroughly examined. We shall pursue whatever policy is considered best in the interests of Australia.
– The question that I shall direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture relates to the incidence of prices control in New South Wales, insofar as it affects Tasmanian potatoes. As the Minister is aware, New South Wales is the most profitable market for the sale of Tasmanian potatoes. Just prior to the end of the last sessional period of the Parliament, the attention of the Senate was drawn to the fact that the price of potatoes in New South Wales was increased at a time when the Tasmanian crop was almost finished. Will the Government conduct an inquiry to determine how Tasmanian potatoes can be freed from the restriction of price control in New South Wales? There have been persistent reports of black marketing of potatoes in that State.
– I shall be pleased to bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and obtain a reply as soon as possible.
– Honorable senators will recall that in November of last year the Minister for Repatriation, in answer to a question addressed to him by me, revealed that retrenchments had been effected at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital against the advice of medical authorities, and that as a result certain desirable features of medical treatment, as well as the diet of tubercular patients, had been curtailed. The Minister then refused to give an undertaking that there would be a change of government policy on the matter. Following recent disturbing reports from Heidelberg, I ask the Minister: Are the larger repatriation hospitals still short of staff, as the Minister, in November last, admitted them to be ? If so, will he indicate the nature and extent of the deficiencies and explain why such important hospitals are not provided with adequate staffs? What steps have been taken to remedy the staff shortage at the Heidelberg hospital that recently contributed to the tragic death of a helpless patient at that institution? Is it a fact that the wards at Heidelberg are still ‘dangerously short of staff, and, if so, why? Will the Minister indicate the number of staff personnel who left or were dismissed from the Heidelberg hospital since the announcement of the policy of retrenchment and also the number of replacements found? Is it a fact that in spite of the Minister’s assurance the diet of tubercular and other patients at Heidelberg has again deteriorated and is now reported to be worse than ever? Is the Minister aware that members of the staff at Heidelberg have- been threatened with instant dismissal should they discuss hospital conditions, and that patients are reluctant to discuss the subject for fear of reprisals? Are conditions at Heidelberg as bad as these official precautions suggest? Will the Minister now furnish to the Senate any information he has on this matter, and conduct a personal investigation to enable him to present a detailed report at a later date? Meanwhile, will he give an undertaking that the welfare of disabled ex-servicemen no longer will be sacrificed to alleged government economy?
– It is evident that I cannot immediately answer all the questions asked by the honorable senator. When, in November last, he asked a number of questions in regard to the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the diet of tubercular patients there, I gave him an undertaking that I should make personal investigations. Shortly thereafter I visited the hospital and interviewed every tubercular patient. At that time tubercular patients had a choice of diet and all of them expressed their satisfaction with the diet that was provided for them. I have not heard any complaints about diet since that date. The unfortunate death of the patient to whom the honorable senator has referred was investigated by the Coroner, who reported that it was not in any way due to laxity on the part of the staff employed at the hospital. If the honorable senator will place his other questions on the noticepaper, or let me have a written copy of them, I shall be only too glad to investigate the whole matter and let him have a report on it as soon as possible.
– I am sure that all honorable senators will agree that Canberra suffers more than any other city or town in Australia from the noise of motor vehicles with open exhausts. Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior aware of the large number of motor vehicles particularly motor cycles, which are being used with open exhausts in Canberra? If there is no law or regulation to prevent this unnecessary and most disturbing noise, will the Minister impose, some such restriction at the earliest possible moment? If the use of vehicles without silencers is already illegal, can anything be done to ensure that the law shall be enforced?
– I shall bring that matter to the notice of the Minister for the Interior.
– Can the Minister say whether it is true that, because of the acute shortage of rice, in Western Australia, the pearl sellers’ organization at Broome had to initiate negotiations direct with the distributors of rice in the eastern States in order to get supplies? Is the Minister aware that Australian, rice distributors, particularly those in the eastern States, receive the same price for rice in all capital cities? If that is so, could that be the reason why Western Australia is not getting its share?
– I shall discuss the matter with the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, and obtain from him a reply to the honorable senator’s question.
– The Prime Minis ter, in his 1949 policy speech, made the following statement: -
Over a period of fiveyears we shall raise loans totalling £250,000,000, the interest and sinking fund on which will be provided out of the petrol tax. The amount to be raised and spent each year will be conditioned by the availability of men and materials. Its general administration will be under a National Works Council. The work will include feeder roads; soil conservation, the development of rural housing, embracing the construction of groups of workers’ homes.
Can the Minister for Trade and Customs say what progresshas been made in the raising of this loan, and what amounts have been made available to localgoverning bodies? Is it not a fact that as a result of the financial restrictions imposed by the Government, the amount of money available to local bodies has been reduced instead of being increased, with the result that many feeder roads are almost impassable ?
– I cannot say just how much money has been raised, nor exactly how it has been expended, but I shall obtain that information for the honorable senator.
– On the 26th February I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation a question relating to the report that negotiations had been re-opened for a merger between Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines. I understand that the Minister has now received a reply to that question.
– My colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation, has informed me that an announcement on government policy concerning airlines will be made at the appropriate time.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
With reference to the reply given by the Minister in the House of Representatives on the19th February, 1952, in which he stated that Australia’s allocation of sulphur by the International Materials Conference for the six months ending June, 1952, is 58,200 long tons - (a) Does he mean that Australia will be able to import 58,200 long tons of sulphur during the period specified, or that Australia’s supply of sulphur, including locally-produced sulphur, will be 58,200 long tons; (b) if Australia’s total supply will amount to 58,200 long tons, how much of it will consist of imported sulphur?
– The Minister for Supply has furnished the following answer : -
– I present the third report of the Printing Committee.
Report read, and - by leave - adopted.
Messages received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the modification of the resolutions made by the Senate, and further intimating that the following members of the House of Representatives had been appointed to serve on the committee: - Mr. Bostock, Mr. Downer, Mr. Drummond, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Roberton, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Went worth.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
– I move -
That the bill he now read a first time.
This bill deals with the recent report that was made to the Parliament upon parliamentary salaries and allowances. Three other bills that relate also to that matter will be presented to the Senate. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I shall take the first three measures to the secondreading stage and shall make, on the last measure, a second-reading speech that will cover all of them. Honorable senators will be able, if they so desire, to debate each bill on the motion for its second reading and in committee, but it will save much repetition if, upon the fourth bill, I make a second-reading speech applicable to all of them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’Sullivan) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’Sullivan) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’Sullivan) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
I should like to address myself to the report that was made on the matter by the committee, of inquiry which was appointed in November last with the following terms of reference : -
To inquire into and report upon -
I do not propose to traverse the whole of the field that has been covered in the report. Honorable senators will have read it and will no doubt recognize it as a scholarly document which results from the first impartial investigation of this matter since federation. As is usual in matters of this nature, there was a great deal of uninformed speculation prior to the release of the report, and since the date of its release there has been some criticism of the recommendations. What perhaps is more surprising is that the critics addressed themselves generally to the recommendations of the committee without permitting their readers the very stimulating mental exercise of studying the related reasons which prompted the committee to put forward such recommendations.
I should perhaps at this stage refer to the personnel of the committee which made such a sound report on a matter which is both complex and delicate. The chairman was the Honorable Mr. Justice H. S. Nicholas, formerly Chief Judge in Equity in New South Wales. The other members were Mr. H. E. Richardson, a very prominent business man, and Mr. H. W. Buckley, a well-known chartered accountant and company director. Honorable senators opposite will know that Messrs. Richardson and Buckley have, over a number of years, given very generously of their time and energies to various governments, and that these past services, together with their service as members of the committee of inquiry into parliamentary salaries and allowances have been given in a completely honorary capacity.
The committee of inquiry spent approximately three months investigating the facts and had before it very complete statistical data relating to conditions in Australia and elsewhere, and also details of the salaries and allowances paid to members of Parliament and Ministers in other Commonwealth countries and in the United States of America. The views of the. public and of representative public institutions were also solicited and very frank statements of the financial position of members and costs associated with their office of members of the Parliament were obtained.
A perusal of the committee’s report goes quite a long way towards correcting many of the misapprehensions which exist about the functions of members of Parliament. Honorable senators will not agree entirely with the findings of the committee. There are, without doubt, some ways in which we, as individuals, consider that the report could be improved upon. However, we would not all bp in agreement as to what would be improvements in the report. In order to investigate this question, the Government appointed an impartial tribunal which was completely removed from political interest and was afforded every assistance in order to enable it to establish the facts. Moreover, the committee approached the question objectively. There is, therefore, no reason for departing from its recommendations, however much we as individuals feel that some of them are not what we would have wished.
There are one or two matters to which I feel that I should address myself. The first of these relates to what has been generally described by critics as a “ taxfree allowance”. These allowances are referred to on pages 12 and 13 of the report from which I quote: -
We recommend that each Senator and each Representative receive an allowance of £1,750 per annum, an addition of £250 per annum to the allowance at present received; this sum to be liable to a statutory deduction in respect of the weekly contribution to the member’s retiring allowance fund and to income tax. We further recommend that each member receive an annual sum not liable to taxation or to statutory deduction which would supersede any deduction for expenses now made by the Commissioner of Taxation. In thecase of a senator we recommend that the sum payable bo £550 per annum. In order to determine the tax-free amount to be paid to a member of the House of Representatives we recommend that electorates be divided into live groups and that each member be paid the amount tax-free set out below, opposite the number of the group in which his electorate is included. The electorates included in each group are named in Appendix “ B “ infra. The classification of electorates into live groups is that adopted by the Commissioner for Taxation for purposes of assessment.
Honorable senators will be aware that over the past twenty years the Commissioner for Taxation has divided electorates of the House of Representatives into five groups and has allocated to each of these groups, and also to all honorable senators arbitrary amounts which senators and members of the House of Representatives could claim as deductions for tax purposes without affording proof of expenditure. The committee felt that these amounts should not be left to the Commissioner of Taxation to determine but should be provided for by statute. The extent to which the special allowances represent a reasonable amount may be gauged from the findings of the committee, and in this connexion I quote from page 11 of the report -
It will be seen that we recommend that a member be allowed a sum additional to the parliamentary allowance which is to be taxfree and not subject to any deduction, and which will supersede the amount previously deducted for expenses. We found that in a number of instances the amount available to a member or senator after taking account of the expenses necessarily or actually incurred in the performance of his duties was less than half his nominal salary and in some instances was less than the basic wage. This conclusion was reached after a line had been drawn between those expenses attributable to a household or business and those attributable exclusively to the duties of a Member of Parliament.
It will be evident that if the committee found that, in some cases, the amount at present available to members is less than the basic wage after paying expenses necessarily incurred in the execution of their duties then the electorate allowances recommended are modest. It is, perhaps, most unfortunate that reference was made to the fact that these allowances would be tax-free. In point of fact, the allowances which are payable under the authority of the Parliamentary Allowances Act are designed to recoup the outofpocket expenses of a senator or a representative. In other words, they are payments to the member in the form of trust moneys to be expended by him on electorate responsibilities, and therefore it could not be argued that they form part of his assessable income.
Many honorable senators will no doubt say that it would have been preferable to continue the existing practice so that, for example, the salary of an honorable senator would have been £2,300, from which he would have been entitled to claim a deduction for the expenses necessarily incurred in producing that income. Whilst this approach commends itself, in point of fact it would not remove this question of expenses from the discretion of the Commissioner of Taxation, and in any case it is “ splitting a hair to assert that the giving of a salary of £1,750 with an expense allowance of £550 is in any way different from giving a salary of £2,300, from which £550 is an allowable deduction for taxation purposes. Australia is one of the last, if not the last, of the English-speaking countries to adopt this very sensible approach to the subject of reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses of members of Parliament.
I turn now to the matter of ministerial allowances. Honorable senators will have noted from a perusal of the report that the salaries paid to Ministers of the Crown at present are £300 less than the amount that was paid to them at federation, despite the enormous increase both in volume and complexity of their work. An interesting comparison relates to the increasing disparity between the salaries paid to permanent heads and those paid to Ministers. At federation, salaries paid to Ministers were approximately double those paid to permanent .heads, whereas at present the salary of only one Minister exceeds that of the permanent head of his department - the Prime Minister - the excess being £50 per annum. Honorable senators will know that all governments have been quick to do justice to permanent heads and to the Public Service generally.
There is no reason why the benefits that flow to the Public Service from arbitration, or from decisions of the Cabinet, should create unwarranted disparities between Ministers who are responsible for policy decisions and members of the service who are responsible for their execution.
The appropriation under the Ministers of State Bill provides for an amount equivalent to that suggested by the committee. However, the allocation of that amount shall be entirely within the discretion of the Prime Minister. It is interesting to note that, for the first time, Ministers shall receive a representational allowance. The Prime Minister has been in receipt of such an allowance since 193S, but it has been inadequate for the purpose for which it was intended. Associated with receipt of this allowance, however, is the loss by Ministers of travelling allowance in respect of full days spent in Canberra. This loss has been variously estimated at between £400 and £800 per annum. The usual crop of experts has been brought forward to testify to the enormity of the salaries payable to the Prime Minister, Ministers and members. One such expert very wrongly, but none the less authoritatively, estimated that an ordinary taxpayer would have to earn £27,000 a year in order to receive the same salary as the Prime Minister. There have also been other inordinate estimates of the salary that an ordinary taxpayer would have to earn in order to receive the same amount as a. Minister. The plain fact is, however, that the expert confused gross income in one ease “with net income in another, and, as a consequence, his reliability suffered to a very substantial degree. In point of fact, in many instances members, and perhaps Ministers, will be disadvantaged by the recommendations of the committee, because the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill, which is now before the chamber provides that the expense allowance paid under the authority of the various acts shall be the maximum allowable deductions from assessable income.
Honorable senators will have noted the recommendations of the committee in relation to pensions. The bill before the chamber gives effect to these recommendations in full. The effect of the bill will be to increase the amount of pension payable to a senator who has qualified for a pension from £8 to £10 a week from the time the senator turns 65, or to increase the amount of pension payable to the widow of a senator, under the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act, from £5 to £6 5s. per week from the time the deceased senator would have turned 65 had he lived. The provisions of the pensions legislation relating to the Prime Minister will apply to former Prime Ministers of this country, with effect from the 1st January, 1952, and will also apply to widows of former Prime Ministers. The special annuities acts which provide annuities for Dame Enid Lyons and Mrs. Curtin will be repealed. I commend the bills to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator MCKENNA ) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator 0’Su.li.ivan) proposed -
That the bill bc now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator 0’ Sullivan) proposed -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator O’SULLIVAN proposed -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 28th February (vide page SOS), on motion by Senator Spicer -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This is a bill to ratify the Treaty of Peace with Japan, which has already been signed by the plenipotentiaries of 49 nations, including our own, and Japan, and also to ratify the Protocol to the treaty, which has been signed by the plenipotentiaries of 27 nations, including our own, and Japan. The Opposition concedes at once that a Treaty of Peace with Japan is desirable. It concedes that such a treaty ought to be concluded as soon as possible. It acknowledges, too, that the terms of the treaty should not have their roots in feelings of hatred or revenge. There are good things in the treaty. It is good that it will put an end to the state of war. It is good, also, to find that Japan is to be punished severely. It is to be deprived of a great deal of territory which has been of great advantage to that country, and which was of incalculable value to Japan when it commenced its drive southwards in 1941. Under Article 11 Japan renounces all claim to Korea, Formosa, the Kurile Islands, the southern portion of Sakhalin and the adjacent islands, and many islands in the Pacific that it held under mandate from the League of Nations. What is of particular importance to Australia is that Japan renounces all claim to any part of the Antarctica area. Apparently this provision was included at the instance of Australia’s representatives at the San Francisco conference. Various other islands, also, are to be taken away from the jurisdiction and administration of Japan. Article 3 provides that Japan will support an application by the United States of America for trusteeship over the various mandated islands formerly held by Japan, including their territorial waters. That, of course, is a complete re-orientation of the position of Japan in the Pacific. It has the approval of the Opposition and, we imagine, the approval of all Australians. By Article 10, Japan renounces all claims to any territory in China.
Another feature that one must commend is that the treaty will put an end to the official occupation of Japan, requiring as it does that Australian occupation forces shall leave within 90 days from the conclusion of the treaty. At least we will be relieved of the expense of maintaining an occupation force. I am not to be taken as saying that I approve the non-occupation of Japan. I merely draw attention to the financial relief to Australia in that respect. There are, of course, other useful provisions in the treaty which will make for normal intercourse between countries in relation to international trade. The treaty deals with vital matters affecting such things as trade, fisheries, air navigation, copyrights and patents, contracts, negotiable instruments, insurance and re-insurance, all of which must undoubtedly be faced and for which provision must be made in a treaty of this kind. The provisions are reasonable and usual and are certainly not generally unfavorable to this country.
I do not propose to refer to the subject of reparations or to the complete freedom tr. engage in economic activities throughout the world and to enter freely into international trade that is accorded Japan under this treaty. I leave those aspects for criticism by other Opposition senators. The provision in the treaty that alarms the Opposition and has caused dismay and astonishment throughout Australia is contained in Article 5 (c), which reads -
The Allied Powers for their part recognise that Japan as a sovereign nation possesses the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence referred to in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and that Japan may voluntarily enter into collective security arrangements.
There is no provision in Article 5, or elsewhere throughout the treaty, that delimits the power of Japan to rearm in any of the important fields - the navy, army or air force. It is opportune for us to consider for a moment the Japanese nation with which we propose under this bill to enter into a treaty of peace. I say at once that if the Japanese have one outstanding characteristic it is their devotion to the service of their own interests to the exclusion of all others. I have merely to point to the vast advantages that have been gained by Japan down the years. It took part on our side, and on the side of the allies, in World War I. and although it rendered very little service to the cause of the allies - mainly ship escort service - its rewards were entirely out of proportion to those services. It came out of that conflict with control of the Carolines, the Marianas, the Marshalls and thousands of other islands dotted all over the Pacific. In short, Japan was on the side of the victors and it obtained more than a fair share of the spoils. After the outbreak of World War II. in 1939 Japan bided its time for more than two years, waiting to see which side was likely to be the victor, determining to come in on the. side which it gauged would enjoy the. fruits of victory, coldly and deliberately calculating where Japanese interests lay. There is no need for me to emphasize the horrible treachery with which Japan struck at Pearl Harbour in December, 1941, an act that was roundly condemned by the President of the United States of America and is still condemned at the bar of public opinion of the world. This is the nation with which we are about to enter into a treaty of peace. I do not propose to dwell upon the brutal inhumanity with which Japan conducted the war and treated its prisoners of war. I merely advert to it. This is the nation which made the. only assault that has ever been made on Australian soil, when it attacked Sydney and the Northern Territory and moved towards the coast of Northern Queensland and other parts of Australia.
Japan has an acute population problem. It has more than 87,000,000 people crowded in four tight little islands and its population is increasing at the rate of approximately 1,000,000 per annum. I regard Japan as I should regard a kettle that had been filled to the brim with water and set to boil. When it comes to the boil it must spill over. Those who study Japan and its problems, with its jurisdiction and control now limited to the four main islands, contained by the United States of
America in its immediate vicinity, with a terrific growth of population and unable to raise within its own provinces the commodities that it needs for the maintenance of its people, must inevitably come to the conclusion that Japan will spill over again as soon as the opportunity offers. Boom for expansion is Japan’s first great and urgent need. If it spills over, what more attractive prize is there than Australia, with its vast areas and open spaces, particularly in the north where the climate is most suitable for Japanese life and expansion? We have seen that the Japanese in the course of World War II. in their move southwards, had their eyes on this country. This is the prize they had in mind when they sought room for expansion. Many of the things that they need are to be found here. The second great need of Japan, as I see it, is for independent access to certain basic war materials - coal, iron, rubber and tin - which it largely obtained from China, Manchuria and Korea before World War II., but for which it must now look elsewhere. Its former sources of supply will continue to be cut off by the terms of this treaty. In Japan to-day the old war lords are being depurged and are taking a prominent part in national life. Those who were responsible for the militaristic aggression of Japan are now moving into key positions. One must face as a fact the industry, skill, determination and iron-clad discipline of the Japanese, not only in industry but also in war. We are dealing with a nation the policy of which has not changed one iota. The Japanese are not sorry for their conduct in the war. They are sorry only that their plans have been set back for, perhaps, two decades. The fact that there has been no basie change of heart on the ID art of the Japanese people or of those who control the destiny of Japan gives rise to a great fear of this treaty which the Opposition shares with very many people in this country. The Japanese were Hitler’s allies and it is interesting to note how well they absorbed Hitler’s theory of racial purity. Let me read from Mein Kampf, at page 275, something that Hitler had to say which, I submit, describes Japan’s outlook on the world to-day. Dealing with the need to preserve the racial purity of a people. Hitler wrote -
Everything on this earth oan he made into something better. Every defeat may bo made the foundation of a future victory. Every lost war may be the cause of a later resurgence. Every visitation of distress can give a new impetus to human energy. And out of every oppression those forces can develop which bring about a new re-birth of the national soul - provided always that the racial blood is kept pure.
That passage describes exactly the minds of those who will control the destinies of Japan in the near future. In the light of Japan’s record,, which I have briefly reviewed for the Senate, the Opposition believes it to be certain that, in the reasonably near future, there will bc a southward drive by the Japanese. I recall as a child being given to understand that the greatest menace to this country was from Japan, and so it proved to be. To-day, that same view is shared by every thinking man, woman and child in Australia. We all fear Japan and we have a real reason for that fear. In those circumstances it is very little wonder that the Government is frankly most unhappy about entering into this agreement without any delimitation of the militaristic activities of the Japanese. The Prime Minister said in his secondreading speech -
It has been made clear that the Government is by no means wholly satisfied with this treaty. . . . We in Australia - and this applies to the Government as well as to members of the Opposition and. I think, the great majority of the Australian people - cannot avoid some doubts at the prospect of Japan being restored to the family of nations without certain controls over its conduct in the future. Wo are not convinced that democracy has taken firm root in Japan. We are not sure that the Japanese can be fully trusted to steer a course in the future away from the aggressive military and economic policies that have threatened our very existence in the past.
How could the Government be happy in the complete absence of any safeguards against the resurrection of what it terms “ the aggressive military and economic policies that have threatened our very existence in the past ? ‘’ Tet the Government proposes solemnly to the Senate that Australia should enter into a treaty which will permit the unlimited rearmament and economic expansion of this defeated and now defenceless country! We are being asked to believe that the immediate threat of Communist aggression is of greater moment than the safeguarding of this country against the threat, immediate or ultimate, of a Japanese drive southwards. That is the Government’s case. I say deliberately that if this country is to know the misfortune of enemy attack, please God let our aggressors not be the Japanese; let them be of any nation other than the Japanese.
– Would the honorable senator prefer the Germans?
– Yes. I say deliberately “any other nation “.
– The Russians?
– Yes, I mean what I say. Only a year ago in this Parliament the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) stated that we had no potential enemy with the ocean-going power to launch an invasion of this country. The right honorable gentleman claimed we could be at complete ease in regard to any threat to this country in the immediate future. If we wore to be involved in war, it would be on the side of trio democracies, and the conflict would be far from our shores. I concurred with what the right honorable gentleman said on that occasion, because the allied nations had agreed that Japan was not only to be disarmed but also was to remain permanently disarmed. But the position to-day in the light of this treaty is very different. No longer can the Prime Minister say that we have no present or potential enemy with the ocean-going power to launch an invasion against this country. We have had some experience of the terrific industry and technical knowledge of the Japanese and of their ability to concentrate their efforts on a war machine.
– Where would they get their raw materials from in the next half century?
– It is true that the Japanese would be faced with the problem of securing raw materials, but once we concede them the right to unlimited rearmament we shall not be able to hold them. Inch by inch, yard by yard, and mile by mile, they will drive through. They will get back into China.
– How could they be stopped from doing that?
– I am coming to my alternatives. I urge the Minister to be patient and to permit me to develop my argument. I say that once Japan has been given the right to rearm without limitation, containment will no longer be possible. Japan will once again range the world, a sovereign and exceedingly powerful nation. Access to raw materials will be obtained by force of arms if necessary.
– Will other nations not be able to stop Japan ?
– That remains to be seen. I arn concerned at the moment with the opportunity that we propose to give to Japan under the terms of this treaty for active aggression.
– The Japanese are being invited to become aggressors again.
– Yes. The treaty completely disregards the instrument of surrender - the ultimatum delivered by the three Great Powers and accepted by Japan. It is also a complete repudiation of the. agreement which the eleven nations that were represented on the Far Eastern Commission made not only with Japan but also with each other. Under that agreement Japan was not to engage in industries that would further its war potential. Japan was to be disarmed and to remain disarmed. Extraordinarily enough, that agreement still stands. It is not cancelled by this treaty of peace. That is a most untidy position. The eleven nations agreed that Japan was to be disarmed and was to remain disarmed. Now those same nations are joining with 37 other nations in a treaty of peace with Japan which provides for the unlimited rearmament of that country. Surely there should at least be some reference to the agreement between Japan and the countries represented on the Far Eastern Commission. If the terms of that agreement are to be varied, that should be made clear in the treaty, but no reference is made to the matter at all. The document that we are now considering is also contrary to the conditions agreed to by representatives of British Commonwealth countries in the very precincts of this building in 1947. That conference agreed that Japan should be contained and should be kept disarmed.
The Government cites the Pacific security pact that is now being entered into between the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia hs the answer to critics of the Japanese peace treaty. We are told that we can accept the treaty without any qualms because we shall have the might of the United States of America behind us should the need arise. I submit that the Pacific pact will alter our present position very little indeed. It is a useful document, but it does not pledge the Pui ted States of America to rush to our aid if we are attacked. Article 4 states -
Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would lie dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger. . .
If Article 4’ ended there, we should have real reason to congratulate ourselves that we had a formally based assurance of aid from the United States of America in the event of attack, but the article goes on to say - in accordance with its constitutional processes.
– Is not the obligation that is placed upon America by the Pacific pact not the same as that imposed by the Atlantic pact?
– I am not sufficiently familiar with the Atlantic pact to compare the two documents. I merely draw attention to the use of the phrase “ in accordance with its constitutional processes”.
– How could America act otherwise?
– The point that I am making is that governments change in democratic countries. No government is necessarily bound by contracts entered into by its predecessor. One section of public opinion in the United States of America is strongly isolationist, and we have no assurances that within the next few years the isolationist policy will not become dominant. In these circumstances it is quite conceivable that, if Australia were attacked and consultation took place in accordance with the terms of the Pacific pact, the American Government would, in accordance with its “ constitutional processes “ decide that it had lost interest in foreign affairs and was concerned only with domestic policy. I believe in the goodwill of the United States of America towards this country. Recently I spoke of Australia’s debt of gratitude to America for all that its people had done for us, and, I believed, would continue to do, but when the Australian Government holds up the Pacific pact as the justification for the Japanese peace treaty, I say that the pact will not alter the present position one iota.
– Then why did the honorable senator say that it was a valuable document?
– It contains in writing evidence of the good relations that exist between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. Anything that furthers amicable relations between this country and America is valuable. I am speaking, of course, from the viewpoint of Australia. The Government hopes that a rearmed Japan will help to stein the tide of rising communism, but there is no certainty of that. Japan may join with Communist Russia and China, and embark on a new rampage throughout the Pacific. Thu Attorney-General, when introducing this measure, frankly acknowledged that we could have no assurance that that would not take place. The leader of the Communist party in Japan was reported in the Australian press last week to have said that he welcomed the Japanese pence treaty because under it the reactionaries would again be in control, and would re-establish a police state, and promote military aggression. Their actions, bcsaid, would drive many Japanese to communism and would provide many Japanese recruits for the Communist party.
It has been proved that one of the most effective instruments for the spread of communism is the development of Communist cells in countries which are to be undermined and attacked. This treaty will not help to check the rising tide of communism. Indeed, it will contribute to that rise. The treaty will be an incitement to other Asiatic powers to chance their arms. Why should not Communist China, when it is ready, have a “go” at the democracies? Looking at this treaty the Chinese Communist leaders may well say : “ If we attack we risk defeat, but even if we are defeated, the democracies will have to restore us to our former position. The burden of defending us will be. too great for them. Therefore, it is worth taking the chance “. At the most, an Asiatic power that might tie tempted to attack would run the risk of five or six years’ military occupation. It is well worth while to look at the United States of America, the dominating power in this treaty, through the eyes of Asians. They see that that country is shifting its defence line from its own western border right across the Pacific to the eastern shores of Asia. Under this treaty America is given the right to occupy the Kuriles, and other islands down through the Rykukus, to Formosa and the Philippines. In other words, while the Americans believe they are acting to contain the spread of imperialistic communism, and to protect their own shores, the Asians see America as a new imperial power. I do not say flint they are right, or that the United States of America has imperialistic ideas, but I am pointing out bow, in all probability, the people of Asia look at the matter. They see other imperialistic nations dropping out, and the. Americans moving in. America has secured “mandates over numerous Pacific islands; it is containing Japan, and is expanding its naval, military and air power, as well as its trade. Asian people see America, not as a protecting influence but as a threat. We should have regard to that fact when we. are considering whether or not we should support this treaty.
– What do the Americans see when they look at Russia?
– I suggest that they see a nation which is waging one of the most insidious wars that has ever been waged in the world. It is an ideological war, in which the Russians are having extraordinary success, especi ally in getting people in other countries all around the world to work for them. I suggest that America has made the mistake of seeing too clearly that danger to the exclusion of the new clanger that it is recreating in Japan. It is placing the emphasis in the wrong place. It is, in effect, backing the wrong horse.
– Does the Leader of the Opposition think that America should back the Russians ?
– I do not wish the honorable senator to misunderstand rue. Much as we admire the Americans, and great as is our gratitude to them, we cannot help being critical of America’s policy in Asia. It is agreed by every one who has studied the matter that America failed dismally in its policy towards China. It backed the Kuomintang, which corresponded to the Fascist and military organization in Japan. The Kuomintang stood for the preservation of the established order, being opposed to land reform and to self-government for the people. The Americans will themselves admit that if they had backed the people’s movement in China, and encouraged their efforts to achieve land reform, China would probably be nonCommunist to-day. The Chinese at heart are not Communists, but the Communists, with the help of the arms taken from the Japanese and handed over to them by the Russians, have captured the nationalist movement, the land reform movement and every other movement for reform in the country. They have militarized those movements, and adapted them to the purposes of communism. We should not refrain from criticizing the policy of America towards China or towards Japan, especially when we see that it involves dangers to Australia. No one will deny that America literally forced this treaty on its allies, who are all unhappy about it.
– That is not so. We did not have to come in.
– Let me put the position as I see it. In the speech of the Attorney-General there is a passage which repudiates the whole argument of the Government in defence of the treaty. Apart from that passage, the speech is almost identical with that delivered in the House of Representatives by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). I invite honorable senators to consider these words, which appear in the speech of the Attorney-General, but which did not appear in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs -
The presence of United States troops in Japan will be in accord with the United States- hi pan Security Treaty, signed on 8th September. The preamble to this Treaty lays down that. Japan is tu avoid any rearmament which (enid be an offensive threat or serve other than to promote peace and security in accordance with the purposes and principles nf the United Nations Charter.
What better proof is there of the accuracy of my statement that America forced the other nations to accept a treaty under which they have no right to delimit the anning of Japan, or to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council or the General Assembly of the United Nations? However, America itself, on the same day that the other plenipotentiaries signed the treaty, entered into a private pact with Japan, requiring that country to agree, with America alone, not to establish offensive armaments.
– ls that not all to the good ?
– It is a very good thing, not only for America, but for the rest of the world, also; but why has Australia not obtained the benefit of that covenant?
– It has.
– I invite the honorable senator to point to any provision in the treaty, which the Government is now asking us to ratify, delimiting the right of Japan to rearm.
– What is the need for it, in the treaty if such an undertaking has been given to America?
– Let us assume that the isolationists secure control in America. Who, then, would enforce the covenant entered into between Japan and America ?
– Who would enforce such a covenant if it were entered into with Australia?
– If Japan committed a breach of the covenant Australia could take the matter to the Security Council of the United Nation or to the General Assembly.
– What would the United Nations be worth without the support of America?
– The United States of America is not the only member of the United Nations. My complaint is that while America has received an undertaking from Japan not to rearm for offensive war, America used its weight to force the other nations to accept a treaty which contains no such undertaking. As a matter of fact, I should like to see the provision about offensive armaments made specific. I should like the treaty to state just what constitutes offensive armaments. While I do not think or suggest that Government supporters want to further the interests of Japan or to injure Australian security, I do say that our plenipotentiaries failed at San Francisco.
– He was appointed by a Labour Government.
– Had it been left to the Labour party no representative of Australia would have signed this treaty permitting Japan the right to unlimited rearmament. I go further and say that that would not have happened if Australia had been represented by a man like Mr. William Morris Hughes or by a man like Dr. Evatt. The Australian Government’s plenipotentiaries were outmanoeuvred, over-borne, and perhaps over-awed by the more experienced and more dominating diplomats of the United States of America.
– - Australia should have given a lead.
– I agree with Senator Grant. I remind the Senate that at one time Australia’s voice counted for something in the United Nations, and its viewpoint was regarded with respect. The primary duty of an Australian Government is to ensure the security of this country. All else depends upon the faithful performance of that duty. The duty of the Australian Government, faced with this position, was <at all costs to insist upon the delimitation of Japanese rearmament, even if Australia were the only nation represented at the conference that contended for it.
I should like the Minister to tell us, when he replies, whether the Australian plenipotentiaries who were at San Francisco last September knew of the pact between Japan and America, or whether it was kept secret. If they did know of it, they had a complete answer to the argument that Japan should be permitted to rearm, because the Americans were leaving the country, and we could not impinge upon the sovereignty of Japan when we had permitted it again to become a sovereign power. The truth is that, under the security pact between Japan and America, Japan itself will be occupied by American troops for so long as, in the opinion of both Japan and America, it is necessary for those troops to stay there. That means the opinion of America alone. “When the San Francisco conference was held, the Americans proposed, not to get out of Japan but to stay there. They were making n treaty with the Japanese under which they would be permitted to remain in Japan. The Japanese were prepared to concede that Japan should not rearm. In their very constitution, they abnegate war and anything connected with it. They say that never again shall they arm or be at war. If Australia had fought at San Francisco as it should have fought, probably it would have come out of that conference with the support of the great majority of the nations, all of which, as the Minister told us in his second-reading speech, are as uneasy about this treaty, owing to the lack of limitation of Japanese rearmament, as is the Australian Government. Those nations wanted a lead. What Australia wanted was there for the asking and the fighting for.
– If Russia were to attack in Europe and if Japan were left undefended, who would hold the fort in what is called the Far East?
– Let me make it perfectly clear that the Australian Labour party does not propose that Japan shall be undefended. We have no objection to the Japanese being permitted to reach a stage at which they can defend themselves, but we have a very vital objection to their being permitted to build aircraft carriers, long-range aircraft and long-range submarines, or to pile up atomic weapons. We say that, at the San Francisco conference, the representatives of the Australian Government should have disagreed with everybody else on earth rather than agree to unlimited Japanese rearmament. What harm would have been done if Australia had stood alone and adopted that attitude ? What harm would have come from delay? A nation may ratify the treaty and bring it into force between itself and Japan at any time within three years. Was not it worth while to fight for the insertion in the treaty of a clause delimiting Japanese rearmament, when, as I have proved, it was there for the obtaining? The United States of America, under its pact with Japan, has the advantage of a provision of that kind, but the other 47 nations have not. If Japan engages in offensive rearmament, those nations will not be able to raise the matter in the councils of the United Nations as a breach of an obligation to them. Only the United States of America will be able to do that, and we may see the da,y when it is not prepared to do so.
The Minister, with a great show of confidence, asked the Opposition what alternative it would suggest, in the events of 1951, forgetting those of 1945. He issued a challenge that I readily accept. The alternative course that was open to the Australian Government at San Francisco last September was completely to refuse to agree to a treaty that permitted the unlimited rearmament of Japan, and to point out that Japan was prepared to agree to limitation of rearmament, and that America was prepared to continue to occupy Japan. Nothing would have been lost as a result of the delay caused by that action. What alternatives are open to the Government now? We say that the Parliament should refuse to ratify this treaty. In any event, do not let this be one of the first nations to ratify it.
– If we do not ratify the treaty, we shall remain at war with Japan.
– We shall do so, for the time being. Another alternative course is for the Government to ask for another meeting of the Allies, in the light of the disclosures of the agreement between the United States of America and Japan, and to insist that the benefit of a covenant similar to that applicable to America be given by Japan to the other allied nations. There is no vital hurry to ratify this treaty. I think Australia is the second country in the world that is proposing to ratify it.
– The American Senate is in no hurry to ratify it.
– That is so. We should fight for the benefit of the covenant to which I have referred, not only for ourselves but also for all the other nations. The first alternative is no longer open to the Government, but the others are. If the Government throws them away, it will have still another course open to it, that is, to make immediate representations to the United States of America about what, in the view of Australia, constitutes offensive armament by Japan. I hope there are some honorable senators opposite who will see to it that this bill does not become law until those further alternative courses have been tried and exhausted, but I ask the Government, if the treaty be ratified, to make immediate representations to the United States of America about what, in its view, constitutes offensive armament, so that the Americans may understand clearly that we do not want Japan to have long-range aircraft, long-range submarines, aircraft carriers or atomic weapons.
We oppose the treaty primarily because it gives Japan an unlimited power to rearm. Other honorable senators on this side of the chamber will criticize the provisions of the treaty that relate to reparations, and also the lack of provision for control of the economic development of Japan. Some features of the treaty are good and desirable because they will facilitate the resumption of international intercourse. I do not want any honorable senator to under-rate Japanese economic recovery. Many of our men went there and they saw the degree to which the Japanese have rehabilitated themselves. During the last war, although there was some strategic bombing of Japan,
Japanese military installations and dockyards were not seriously damaged, and many of the great Japanese industries were not harmed at all. People and places in Japan were damaged by the dropping of atomic bombs, but no real industrial damage was done. General MacArthur, a wise man, realized that his troops were about to enter Japan and, therefore, did not destroy the installations that he wanted to use. Relatively little damage was done to the industrial part of Japan. The Japanese have got back to where they were. They are working hard and well.
– They are setting a very good example to us.
– I agree with Senator Kendall that, from the industrial viewpoint, they are setting a very good example. Japan is a force to be reckoned with. I fear that in the near future it will be a force that will have to be reckoned with by Australians. I believe that most of us in this chamber to-day will live to rue the day when we were a party, directly or indirectly, to the unlimited rearmament of Japan.
– I had to listen to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) because I knew that I was the next speaker, but I pay him the compliment of saying that I should have listened in any event to the very fine arguments that he presented in support of the propositions of the Australian Labour party. During the course of my speech I shall endeavour to answer those arguments.
This bill seeks to ratify the Japanese peace treaty. The Leader of the Opposition raised only the issue of Japanese rearmament, and I shall confine my remarks to that issue. As the honorable senator said, the treaty traverses a number of subjects, but, as he left most of them to be dealt with by his colleagues and devoted himself entirely to the subject of Japanese rearmament, I shall do likewise. I do not apologize in any way for this treaty. The Government has shown a certain uneasiness about the provisions in relation to rearmament, but I can see no reason at all for uneasiness in that respect. I support the ratification of the treaty for three main reasons. I
Say, first, that it is a just treaty; secondly, that the ratification of the treaty will ensure in every respect the security of Australia; and thirdly, that we have to ratify it, whether we like it or not.
For a long time, I, like many other Australians, was somewhat perturbed about the nature of the treaty that we should make ultimately with Japan. Like many Australians, I harbour the very strongest feelings about the Japanese. On many occasions, like others of my fellow countrymen, I have felt that nothing could be too bad for that barbarous race. At various times since the war with Japan began, 1 have felt that we should conclude a revengeful peace with the Japanese. I want to make it perfectly clear that in regard to Japan I have felt in the same way as everybody else. But when I come to discuss a peace treaty with Japan, I have to ask myself whether I am prepared to consider it subjectively or objectively. I have to ask whether I should be justified in allowing my personal feelings towards the Japanese to influence me in my consideration of a peace treaty. I have come to the conclusion that I must regard the matter entirely objectively, and that my personal feelings do not matter at all.
I have said that this treaty is a just treaty. By a “ just treaty “ I mean one under which both parties consider that, substantially, justice has been done. History contains hundreds of cases in which harsh treaties have provoked new wars. For thousands of years mankind has fought, and signed peace treaties that were peace treaties in name only and which have provoked further wars. During a war between the ancient Romans and the tribe of Samnites Herennius, the leader of the Samnites surrounded the Romans. They surrendered and he sent a message to his father, the leader of the tribe, asking what he would do with them. The father sent a message to Herennins telling him to kill all the Romans. When Herennius received the message he thought that there must be a mistake so he communicated with his father again. His father then sent him another message which told him to release all the Romans with honour. He thought that his father must be a little mad and, therefore, he did neither. The Romans did not return to Rome “with their shields or upon them “. He divested them of their arms and they returned in disgrace to Rome without them. The Romans never forgot that and, in due course, returned and killed every member of the tribe of Samnites.
For thousands of years this problem has been before mankind: what sort of treaty should we make? Should it be a harsh treaty which will provoke a further war or a just treaty which can be signed by both parties with a feeling that justice has been done? In the treaty which was signed after the Franco-Prussian war the Germans imposed harsh conditions, and the French did not forget them. In 19.19, when the Treaty of Versailles was prepared, the French imposed harsh conditions on Germany, and the Germans did not forget those conditions. Oan any honorable senator deny that the Treaty of Versailles paved the way for World War II? Is it not time that we changed our attitude in regard to so-called peace treaties? In this generation a country that commits an act of unprovoked aggression is named as an international criminal. Is not the nation that endeavours to force a harsh treaty of peace on another nation equally as culpable as that which commits an act of unprovoked aggression?
– The honorable senator’s remarks will not assist the recruiting drive.
– I have done my share in the recruiting drive. In order to preserve the peace a treaty must provide justice for both parties. I do not rely only on history to support my argument that this is a just treaty. Each of about 47 nations which have ratified or are about to ratify it has accepted the proposition that this is a just and proper treaty. The only nations which have not accepted it as such a treaty are Russia, which contends that the terms are not harsh enough, and India which contends that they are too harsh. The United States of America and Great Britain, the most important of the nations concerned in the treaty, for obvious reasons, have mutually agreed on its terms. Japan has accepted it as a just treaty.
The Leader of the Opposition alleged I hat the United States of America had dominated the negotiations in connexion with the. treaty. I suggest that that is not a fact. Great Britain played as great a part in the drafting of the treaty as the United States of America did. Mr. Kenneth Younger, who was at one time the Under-Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Great Britain, was one of the representatives who signed on behalf of Great Britain the treaty that we ure discussing. On the 26th November, 1951, as a private member of the House of Commons he said -
I would like to take up the honorable gentleman on the point he makes about our not having had much to do with the drawing up of the Treaty. As he probably knows, the linn I draft was compiled from two drafts which were compared with each other, one produced by us and the other by the United Slates. 1 think the honorable gentleman will find thai, the Treaty is the result quite a= much “f our draft as of that nf the United Stales.
Those words were spoken by a gentleman who. of his own knowledge, knew who had prepared the draft.
The Leader of the Opposition has implied that Great Britain and the Dominions did not desire the treaty to be framed in its present terms. In other words, he has contended that Great Britain was not prepared to allow Japan to rearm. A speech which was made by Mr. Herbert Morrison in the House of Commons sets out very plainly the view of Great Britain in regard to the rearmament of Japan. In the report of the parliamentary debates of the House of Commons dated the 26th November, 1951, the following statement by Mr. Morrison appeared: -
In conclusion, I would say that, broadly speaking, what we had to decide, was whether tin’s should be a harsh treaty, one which imposed restrictions, severe conditions, penaltics, post-treaty control; or whether it should he what we call a liberal treaty which is not a bad word in this case - with a small “ 1 “. I admit it is a risk; one cannot be certain. There are three possible courses for the future of Japan One is as a Parliamentary democracy. I hope that will be the case. That is. social progress, free trade unions, a modern Labour movement, a modern Co-operative movement - all these latest improvements in society. It could go Fascist; it could go Communist, quite easily.
I believe the best bet - and it cannot be any more than the best bet; and I am not asking anybody to bet about it, because I do not believe in gambling - is that she is most likely to come in with the free democracies and the more peaceful nations if we say to Japan, “ Come into the club. If you come into the club there are certain rules about ibo club which you will have to accept, and you will’ understand them “. But if we say to Japan, “ Yes, we will give you peace but we will give it only subject to irksome conditions, penalties and fines and post-Treaty controls and what not”, then I believe that Japan, and almost any other country of the world in similar circumstances, would dodge those conditions as soon as she possibly could.
I believe that, fundamentally, the best chance of real peace and progress is upon the lines of this Treaty.
That is the view of Mr. Herbert Morrison who was the Foreign Minister in the Government of the United Kingdom, so it is nonsense for the Leader of the Opposition to state that Great Britain was not in favour of the rearmament of Japan. Mr. Morrison has given the lie to that proposition. Not only are the United States of America and Great Britain in favour of this treaty, and not only do they regard it as just, but about 47 other nations also regard it in that way. Many of them fought Japan and some of them are closer to Japan than Australia is. Canada is much closer to Japan geographically than is Australia, and it has ratified the treaty which it regards as just. If we do not accept the proposition that this is a just treaty we must reject it al together.
The Leader of the Opposition stated that the Communists in Japan would like to have the treaty ratified. I join issue with the Leader of the Opposition on that matter. Every one of the 22 Communists in the Japanese Parliament voted against the treaty. Three hundred and seven votes were cast in favour of the treaty in the Japanese Parliament and 47 against it. The votes in favour of the treaty comprised those of 222 Liberal members, 48 Democrat members, 24 Rightist Socialist members, three Social Democrat members, seven
Farm Co-operative members, one Kozei Club member and two Independent members. The votes against the treaty were cast by three People’s Democrats, two Independent members, sixteen Leftist Socialists, 22 Communists, and four Labour Farmers. As I have said, a total of 307 votes were cast in favour of the treaty while 47 were cast against it, including the votes of 22 Communists. Yet the Leader of the Opposition stated that the Japanese Communists were in favour of the treaty. I have endeavoured to show that the United States of America, Great Britain and the other nations concerned regard this as a perfectly fair and just treaty.
– Just to whom?
– Just to both sides. It might be pertinent to inquire into the views of Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands with respect to the rearmament of Germany. All those countries are very close to Germany geographically and every one of them has recently signed an agreement for the formation of a huge European army more than 25 per cent. of whose personnel will be German.
Remembering (lie countless bitter lessons of history, the tragedy of Versailles, that 47 countries have already ratified, or have expressed their intention to ratify the treaty, and that Russia is the only country opposed to it, are we to ally ourselves with Russia and refuse to ratify it? Are we to perpetuate the mistakes of history? Surely this is the best treaty that could be signed in order to maintain friendship. This is the first condition precedent in respect to ratification, and it is one reason why I support that course.
Another equally important reason why I support ratification is that it will guarantee real security to Australia. Many people in this country are asking, quite rightly, how the ratification of the treaty will provide security to Australia. The opponents of ratification have, carefully avoided the issue. In point of fact, our security will be guaranteed by the United States of America by means of two very important international agreements, namely the Pacific pact and the security treaty between the United States of America and Japan. The Leader of the Opposition has attempted to throw cold water on the Pacific pact by stating that America would be. denied the right to assist Australia. Article 4 of that pact provides that, in certain circumstances, the United States of America shall assist Australia “ in accordance with its constitutional processes “. Those words mean merely that the United States of America binds itself to assist Australia if Australia is subjected to an unprovoked attack. The phrase “ in accordance with constitutional processes”, means no more or less than that the Americans must obey their own constitution. Indeed, the United States of America did help us during World War II., in accordance with its constitutional processes. It is quite idle for the Leader of the Opposition to suggest that those words would exercise restraint in relation to the provision of assistance to Australia. If the United States of America wished to declare war on any country in pursuance of the terms of the Pacific pact it would have to do so having regard to its constitutional processes. I shall not deal at length with the provisions of the Pacific pact, because that subject will be debated fully in this chamber. But can honorable senators opposite suggest a better form of security for Australia than the security that that pact provides? Do they suggest that any other country could provide for our security to the degree that the United States of America can guarantee it? I should like honorable senators opposite to address themselves to this aspect of the matter.
The second international agreement to which I have referred, the treaty between the United States of America and Japan, is contingent upon the treaty of peace with Japan coming into force. The Leader of the Opposition has suggested that the treaty might last only for such time as the United States of America does not adopt an isolationist attitude. I point out that that observation applies equally to any other treaty that that country enters into. It is not relevant to the question of whether we should or should not ratify the treaty. The following are some of the provisions of the security treaty between the United States of America and Japan: -
Japan grants, and the United States ot America accepts the right upon the coming into force of tho Treaty of Peace and of this Treaty, to dispose United States land, air and sca forces in and about Japan. Such forces may be utilised to contribute to the main tenance of international peace and security in the Ear East and to the security of Japan against armed attack from without, including assistance given at the express request of the Japanese Government to put down large-scale internal riots and disturbances in Japan, caused through instigation or intervention by an outside Power or Powers.
During the exercise of the right referred to in Article 1, Japan will not grant, without tile prior consent of the United States of America, any bases or any rights, powers or authority whatsoever, in or relating to bases m the right of garrison or of maneuver, or transit of ground, air or naval forces to any third power.
This Treaty shall expire whenever in the opinion of the Governments of the United States of America and of Japan there shall have come into force such United Nations arrangements or such alternative individual or collective security dispositions as will satisfactorily provide for the maintenance by the United Nations or otherwise of international peace and security in the Japan area.
Surely an international agreement that gives the United States of America the right to maintain forces in Japan in perpetuity must guarantee the security of the Pacific, and therefore the security of Australia. I believe the international agreements that I have mentioned are supplementary to the proposed Treaty of Peace with Japan, and should be read in conjunction with it. Taking the three documents as a whole, I do not believe that any one could deny that Australia’s future security will be assured by the United States of America, the only country whose assurances are worth more than a scrap of paper.
What would be the position if we did not ratify the treaty? Although the. Leader of the Opposition stated initially that a quick peace was a very good thing, he subsequently suggested that we should postpone ratification of the treaty. We must remember that Japan has already ratified the treaty, and that forty-eight other nations have either ratified it or are about to ratify it. If we do not ratify the treaty we shall continue to be in a state of war with Japan. If we were to decide that we should not ratify it at this stage, but should negotiate with Japan for the inclusion of harsher terms, and subsequently Japan refused to negotiate with us, would we have to send an armed force into Japan in order to force the Japanese to agree to harsher terms? Could we obtain the assistance of any other country for that purpose? Is it likely that Japan would agree to our demands, knowing that the rest of the free world had ratified the treaty? Those factors are all pertinent to the major issue. I do not, believe that Australia could ever make Japan agree to harsher terms than those of the treaty. Nothing that we could do would force Japan to agree to the inclusion of harsher terms. Therefore, we would be standing alone. We would certainly incur the permanent hatred of Japan and provoke a great deal of mirth amongst the free nations of the world. Ultimately we should be forced to accept a treaty in the form of the present treaty.
I shall now address myself to the major propositions of the Leader of the Opposition. Honorable senators opposite have claimed that the treaty is at variance with the policies that were agreed upon originally by the Far Eastern Commission. I have before me the terms of the basic post-surrender policy for Japan which was adopted by the 62nd meeting of the Far Eastern Commission on the 19th June, 1947. The following is an extract from that policy : -
The ultimate objectives in relation to Japan, to which policies for the post-surrender period for Japan should conform are: -
These objectives will be achieved by the following principal means: -
Both the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Dr. Evatt) and the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber have attacked the proposed treaty because its terms are at variance with the terms of the post-surrender policy that was formulated by the Far Eastern Commission. By a curious coincidence, that argument has been used by Russia also in attacking the treaty. A similar line of approach was adopted by Mr. Gromyko who represented Russia at the San-Francisco Conference in September, 1951, when he is reported to have stated -
This draft likewise contradicts the decisions of the Far Eastern Commission which, as far back as 1947 in the aforementioned documents, “Basic Post-Surrender Policy for Japan”, set forth the task of ‘ completing the physical and spiritual demilitarization of Japan by measures, including total disarmament, economic reform designed to deprive Japan of the power to make war, elimination of militaristic influences, and stern justice to war criminals and requiring a period of strict control “.
Sitting suspended from 5.J/5 to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended I was replying to the arguments that were advanced by the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon against the ratification of the treaty. It is true that the policy enunciated by the Far Eastern Commission, to which the honorable senator referred, was based on a complete demilitarization of Japan during the immediate post-war period. The Leader of the Opposition argued that the treaty with Japan is out of order because it is at variance with that policy. When the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Dr. Evatt) referred to the policy of the commission in relation to the treaty he said -
It is contrary to international justice for ns to become a party to the tearing up of these decisions.
The decisions to which the right honorable gentleman referred were the decisions of the Far Eastern Commission. This afternoon the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) submitted a similar argument as a reason why the treaty should not be ratified. I mentioned earlier in passing that at the San Francisco conference in September, 195 1, Mr. Gromyko had also submitted that argument as one of his major reasons why the Japanese peace treaty should not be signed. The argument is perfectly good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. It is quite true that the commission laid down a policy with respect, to the disarmament of Japan; but it is not true to say that that policy was ever intended to be incorporated in any peace treaty. The policy of the commission was expressly intended, and it was so accepted by the nations concerned, to be at all times subject to a final peace treaty. As a matter of fact, to the Far Eastern Commission’s post-surrender policy which was stated in a paper dated the 19th June, 1947, to which I have already referred, a condition was added by Australia which was subsequently accepted by the nations concerned. The condition read as follows : -
The policies laid down in this paper ure subject to and without prejudice to discussion* which will take place during the negotiation of the peace treaty with Japan and the provisions of the peace treaty with Japan.
In other words the condition laid down that the policies of the Far Eastern Commission were of a. temporary nature and were subject at all times to the decisions of the peace treaty and the policies laid down in the treaty. I submit that both Mr. Gromyko and the Leader of the Opposition are quite wrong in suggesting that we should adhere to the policies of the commission because when the present Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives was Minister for External Affairs, he, with the consent of the other nations concerned, added the condition which I have just read which makes the decisions of the commission such as to be without prejudice to the peace treaty. I cannot understand why the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber should submit an argument which is so legally fallacious, without foundation and devoid of reality.
Dic Leader of the Opposition has suggested that the Labour party is prepared to accept the proposition, that Japan should be entitled to rearm for defensive purposes. I should be most interested to hear from the authorities on military armaments among the members of the Opposition just what is meant by defensive rearmament. Long-range bombers, which he condemned, are just, as much defensive as offensive armaments. We have long range bombers for the protection of Australia and for no other purpose. In these days of modern wartare it is unreal to talk about defensive or offensive armaments. There is no distinction between the two.
– Tell us something about the treaty.
– The party to which Senator Sandford belongs agrees to the defensive rearmament of Japan. Every soldier knows that when war comes to his country attack or offence is the only means of defence. That principle has been demonstrated for the last two thousand years, but apparently the Labour party is not yet aware of it. The Opposition must realize that the defensive rearmament of Japan would cover all forms of armament, even the atomic bomb.
The final and most important proposition advanced by the Leader of the Opposition in support of non-ratification of the treaty, was that the present treaty would revive Japanese militarism and thereby prove a menace to the security of the Pacific. The truth of both elements of that proposition must be established by honorable senators opposite. They must establish that this treaty will not only revive Japanese militarism but will also menace the security of Australia and of the whole of the Pacific area. I am prepared to admit that any country that has large armed forces, and I do not exclude countries such as the United States of America, Canada and India, constitutes a menace to the security of other countries. That, however, is not the point. What we have to ask ourselves is whether a rearmed Japan will constitute n real menace to the security of Australia.
– Ask that question of 80 per cent, of the Australian people.
– The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives is reported to have said that the Labour movement of Australia, both political and industrial, is strongly opposed to the proposal that Japan should be permitted to rearm.
– There are others besides the members of the Labour party who think likewise.
– That is so; undoubtedly that view is shared by the people of Russia. At the San Francisco conference in September 1951, Mr. Gromyko used a similar argument to that used by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, and by the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber in criticism, of this treaty. I shall read Mr. Gromyko’s words in order to show that they are on all fours with the proposition that has been submitted by the Opposition in this Parliament. Mr Gromyko is reported to have said -
The draft does not contain any guarantees against the restoration of Japanese militarism, against the conversion of Japan into an aggressive State. The draft does not contain any guarantees for the security of the countries which suffered from the aggression of militarist Japan. The draft creates the conditions for a revival of Japanese militarism and the danger that Japanese aggression will recur.
The question whether Japan can rearm, is debatable. I do not know where it could obtain the necessary steel land other commodities for that purpose, except from some of the allied nations. The argument that was advanced by the Leader of the Opposition can be answered by the statement that irrespective of the conditions of the peace treaty Japan will eventually rearm. During the last 2,000 years nations which have been subjected to harsh peace treaties have in due course rearmed. We have seen nations in those circumstances rearm in our own time. I instance the rearmament of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles. Let us be realistic about this matter.
– Then why have a peace treaty?
– Japan will undoubtedly rearm either with or without, the consent of Australia and irrespective of any controls that Australia may impose upon it. If we incur the everlasting hatred of the Japanese by means of a harsh treaty, and if we encourage them to nourish feelings of revenge against us, it is more likely that they will use, their arms against us rather than in our support, tike the British Socialist leader. Mr. Herbert Morrison, I believe that this treaty is fundamentally the best chance of real peace and progress. I need not remind honorable senators opposite that Mr. Herbert Morrison, who has had more experience of foreign policy than has any honorable senator in this chamber, ala:] happens to be a member of the political party to which Opposition senators adhere so faithfully.
Finally, I remind the Leader of the Opposition that he has very conveniently overlooked the most important factor that we have a guarantee of security from the Pui ted States of America which is contained in the all-important documents to which I have already referred - the Pacific pact and the security treaty between Japan and the United States of America. No one can deny that under those two international agreements, which are in a sense supplementary to this treaty, Australia has complete security against acts of aggression by any nation. One can only conclude therefore that the Opposition’s arguments on this measure are specious, devoid of reality, and based on party political considerations only. Honorable senators opposite, are attempting to frighten the people in the hope of securing votes. The Australian Labour party is the only political party in the English-speaking democracies that has attempted to oppose, the ratification of this treaty. Honorable senators opposite should be proud of that record ! I share the feelings of many members of this Parliament and of many people outside the Parliament, towards the Japanese. As I said this afternoon, I have a deep personal feeling of hatred for the barbarism of the Japanese race, but I should be neglecting my duty if I were to permit my personal feelings to influence my consideration of this important problem. I have endeavoured to be objective.. I may have failed to !>< so.
– The honorable senator is trying to “ square off “ with his conscience.
– I am trying to obey the dictates of my conscience. Any one who allows his own personal feelings to colour his judgment in a matter of vital national importance such as this is does an injustice to himself and to his country. As I have said, the two vital conditions that must be complied with before we can agree to ratify this treaty have been fulfilled. The first condition is that it should be a just treaty, and by “ just “, I mean just to both parties. I think I have shown that the treaty complies with that prerequisite. Secondly, the treaty should not be prejudicial to our own security. That, too, I have established. Therefore I believe that the treaty should be ratified. I congratulate the Government upon having brought to finality the difficult negotiations that this treaty has involved. “With all my heart. I support the bill.
– When we are. asked to agree to ratify the Japanese peace treaty, we are for all practical purposes, being asked to allow history to repeat itself. Six years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the very arguments that we have heard used to-day in support of the ratification of this treaty, were being used in Europe in favour of permitting Germany to rearm ; and Germany did rearm. In those days, the peoples of the allied nations were told that Germany should bo rearmed as a bulwark against Russia, but what happened? Russia took the side of the Allies. To-day we are being told that Japan should be rearmed to provide a bulwark against Russia. Our top level advisers on international affairs apparently expect us to accept, ex cathedra. certain pronouncements on foreign policy one day, and completely contradictory pronouncements the next. Consequently we are forced to rely on our own judgment, and my judgment is similar to that of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). 1 believe that a rearmed Japan will be a much greater menace to Australia than a disarmed Japan. Admittedly there is an element of risk either way, but that cannot be eliminated. I put it to the Senate and to the people of Australia that Japan will be a far greater menace to Australia in the future than it has ever been in the past. Let us recall some of the authoritative pronouncements on allied policy towards Japan that have been made over the years. The Potsdam Agreement of 1945 provided -
There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence nf those who have received and misled the Japanese people into embarking on world conquest, for Ave insist that a new order for peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.
There were no reservations or qualifications and no loophole for a. change of front. The statement was dogmatic. At the end of 1946, General MacArthur said -
No Japanese Army. Navy or Air Force will ever l«; authorized. No rights of belligerency will ever be conferred on any Japanese force. . . . These sub-human barbarians will never again raise their heads among civilised nations.
As the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, Japan’s renunciation of war as an instrument of foreign policy was actually written into the Japanese constitution in 1947. The relevant provision states -
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as the sovereign right of the nation and threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph a land, sca and air force, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the State will not be recognised.
Now the American imperialists say that that must be repealed. What does the peace treaty mean? Briefly, it provides for unrestricted Japanese rearmament, unlimited expansion of the Japanese Navy and Air Force, full development of Japan’s ship-building industry, unlimited trade expansion, most-favoured-nation treatment in relation to trade and hence a threat to Australian manufacturers, remilitarization of Japan, and, finally, inadequate compensation for former prisoners of war who were in the hands of the Japanese. The treaty was signed without the approval of
China and Russia. both of which supported the Allies in World War II., and in contradiction of the Cairo, Yalta and Potsdam agreements, as well as the policy of the United Nations. I join issue with Senator Vincent who claimed that this treaty did not constitute a threat to Australia’s security. There will never be peace in this world under capitalistic governments. Peace will come only under Labour governments which are directly responsible to the workers who make all the sacrifices on the battlefield and who in the ultimate analysis pay for all wars. We shall never have complete security for Australia, or a peace treaty that will do justice to this country, until Labour has been restored to office. The Minister said in his second-reading speech -
United States troops will continue to have the use of military bases in Japan itself, and will remain for a period, at present undetermined, in effective occupation and control of many of Japan’s island territories. The presence of United States troops in Japan will bc in accord with the United States-Japan Security Treaty, signed on the Sth September.
That is the substance of Article 6 of the treaty. In considering the work of the United Nations surely I am entitled to assume that some weight can be placed upon the opinions of Professor W. B. Crocker, Professor of International Relationships at the Australian National University, who delivered the Second Royal Memorial Lecture at Melbourne on the 28th November, 1951. The gathering was presided over by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir John Latham. Professor Crocker, I remind the Senate, assisted the present Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Dr. Evatt) and others to establish the United Nations, and is well qualified to speak on the subject. He said -
In short, international organisation as represented by the United Nations system is not different in principle from the League system. The dominance of England and France in the League has given way to the dominance of the United States of America in the United Nations’; Latin America and Asia count for more just as Europe counts for less; the frame of mind has been more serious and more elated in the United Nations, but also cruder and hastier; as for the system itself, it is the League system amplified with modern loud-speakers.
In effect, lie said that, for all practical purposes, the United Nations organization is an organization of the United States of America. Discussing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the professor said -
In t1/ North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the body on which the security of the West now depends, the United States predominates, just as it predominates in the United Nations Organization.
A few days ago exception was taken in this chamber to a statement that I had made, but Professor Crocker, who was present when the United Nations organization was being established, says much more emphatically and convincingly than I could do, that the soldiers in Korea are fighting for American imperialism.
The purpose of Article 6 of the treaty, as was pointed out by Senator McKenna, is to set up an American military base in Japan. The treaty has been signed by -19 nations, but the military base will l»e controlled by America, just as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which was set up under the United Nations, is controlled by the United States of America, which put in 33.46 per cent, of the capital. When Senator Vincent supports this treaty he is supporting something which is antiAustralian and anti-British, and I make that statement without any desire to be offensive to him. His attitude, in effect, is that Australia is something less than the United States of America. When Australia’s representative, without any mandate from this Parliament, signed the treaty, we handed Japan over to the American financiers and capitalists who control the Government nf the United States of America. They are interested in developing countries like Japan where there is cheap slave lb bour which can be used in competition with more highly paid labour in Australia and in America. The present Australian Government is prepared to ignore British policy and tradition, and become a “yes “ government for the convenience of capitalists in America who control the Government of that country.
– That is the Russian line.
– I ask honorable senators to examine the evidence impartially. The documents are available for perusal. Honorable senators who base their opinions on statements by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) are not using their own judgment; they are merely accepting as correct the statements of others when, in point of fact, those statements are not correct. If I can be proved wrong, I am prepared to admit my error, but I am disposed to accept the statement of Professor Crocker rather than the statements of the Prime Minister. I cannot imagine that the professor would make such a statement in the University of Melbourne unless he was able to prove what he said. Honorable senators opposite base their reasoning on what they are told by Ministers, but I base my reasoning on facts.
I quote from paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the treaty as follows : -
Japan will promptly enter into negotiations with Allied Powers so desiring, whose present territories were occupied by Japanese forces and damaged by Japan, with » view to assisting to compensate those countries for the cost of repairing the damage done, by makins: available the services of the Japanese people in production, salvaging and other work for the Allied Towers in question. Such arrangement shall avoid the imposition of additional liabilities on other Allied Powers, and, where the manufacturing of raw materials is called for. they shall be supplied by the Allied Powers, in question, so as not to throw any foreign exchange burden upon Japan.
War damage is to be repaired by cheap Japanese labour for the profit of American capitalists who have invested money in Japan, and this is to be done in preference to employing more highly paid labour in other countries. Thus, the treaty has been designed to advance the interests, and strengthen the power and prestige of American financiers and capitalists. It was not designed to promote peace. Under present conditions, the capitalist economy cannot be maintained except by preparing for war, or by war itself. Without that, there would be unemployment on such a scale that governments could not cope with it. A noted American economist, speaking in March, 1949, said that there would be an economic crisis in 1953, and that the only thing that was keeping the American economy going was preparation for war. If there were no war preparations there would be an unemployment problem worse than before 1939 . It is obvious to any one who reads the American newspapers that the Korean war has saved America from an economic crisis. Before war broke out in 1939, there were between 10.000,000 and 12,000,000 unemployed persons in the United States of America, between 7,000.000 and8,000,000 in England and several hundreds of thousands in Australia. When war broke out, those who wore dispensable before the war became indispensable. The last thing that enters the minds of the capitalists is to reorganize their internal economy so that there will be no need to prepare for war, or to capture the markets or the territory of other countries. The alternative to such a reorganization is to go on preparing for war until, in all probability, another war breaks out unless the workers in various countries take a stronger stand than they have taken hitherto. We are already beginning to feel the effects of economic warfare.
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that the remarks of Senator Cameron are, not relevant to the subject before the Chair.
– I have listened withgreat interest to Senator Cameron, and he is, in my opinion, in order.
SenatorCAMERON. - Economic warfare is making itself felt in Australia through the importation of Japanese goods. If these importations are not controlled, as they could be controlled by the Government, the effect will be that many Australian industries, upon which the workers depend for their livelihood, will have to close down, or the workers will have to accept the standards of cheap Japanese labour. Already, with the blessing of this Government, Australia is suffering from economic infiltration by the Japanese.
We are being asked to allow history to repeat itself. Dr. Paul Einzig is one of the leading authorities in Great Britain on international finance and banking. In 1939 or 1940, in this cham ber, I quoted from a book that he wrote in 1987, in which he said that if war broke out and thousands of Englishmen were killed, the British Government would be just as responsible as Hitler would be. In 1941, Dr. Einzig wrote a book entitled Appeasement Before and During the War. in which he said, much more emphatically than in 1937, that the Government and the bankers of Great Britain and the Government and the bankers of the United States of America did more to make Germany a military force than Germany itself was capable of doing. Dr. Einzig, who has an international reputation, has written eighteen or nineteen books on international finance. Let me say that he isby no means a supporter of Labour. In the early 1930’s he wrote a book entitled The Economic Foundations of Fascism, in which he more or less supported fascism in Italy and the Nazi regime in Germany. In the preface to his book, Appeasement Before and During War, he wrote -
It is my contention that the tragic error of judgment of those who in the past believed in the possibility of inducing Hitler by means of appeasement to abandon his aggressive designs, have a large share in the responsibility for the present war. . . . The camp of appeasers was a very mixed company indeed. It included those who had become converted in favour of fascist and Nazi doctrines; the pro-German and anti-French elements; those who felt that in the past Great Britain had been by no means above reproach: those who regarded Hitler as a bulwark against communism; bankers and business men anxious to retain their profit on trade with Germany; non-register pacifists who would have preferred slavery under Hitler to war; wishful thinkers who had succeeded in persuading themselves that Hitler’s latest demand was positively the last and its satisfaction would dispose of the danger of aggression; and a number of cowards pure and simple who would have conceded Hitler anything rather than risk their very, very precious skins.
According to Dr. Einzig, Germany did not pay1d. in reparations. He wrote also -
As and when Germany discharged her political indebtedness to her former opponents she increased her commercial indebtedness abroad. And when it came to the final reckoning this commercial indebtedness was defaultedupon. Consequently, it is true to say that the German nation paid no reparations to the Allies.
That will happen in relation to Japan if this treaty be ratified. “We cannot rely upon anything that is .said on the higher international plane. The excuses that were advanced for default by Germany will again be advanced for default by Japan. Dr. Einzig continued -
While the Allies were satisfied with book entries and purely fictitious transfer of payment, Germany collected her reparations in the form of goods- with intrinsic value. While the net result of the reparations set up by the Treaty of Versailles was an incrca.se of Germany’s actual wealth, the obvious result to Germany from 1939 onwards was a rapid decline in the natural wealth of the conquered peoples. . . . Whatever the intentions of the Allied statesmen may have been, in practice the result of their collective wisdom at Versailles was that Germany was let off reparations completely. … It is evident that the system by which Germany paidrepa rations at the expense of her foreign creditors was proceeding with the knowledge and approval of the British authorities.
That kind of thing will happen again. Then Dr. Einzig referred-
– Order ! I have looked carefully through the measure, and I cannot find in it any word about the Treaty of Versailles or about reparations by Germany. I have allowed the honorable senator to make passing references to those matters, but now he must confine his remarks to the bill.
– I am trying to view the present in the light of the past. T am asking honorable senators to consider what happened in the past, because I suggest that that which happened then will happen again in the future. If the treaty is read closely and critically, it, will be seen that it contains all kinds of reservations and qualifications that will enable America again to dictate to Great Britain and Australia what shall be done. What reliance can we place upon the judgment of prominent Americans who said at one time that Japan should never be permitted again to rearm and who say now that Japan should be allowed to rearm? I give them credit for being sincere, but their change of attitude suggests to intelligent people that, at least, they do not understand the position and do not appreciate the dangers to which Australia will be subjected if Japan is rearmed.
Do not let us imagine for one moment that Japan will attack Russia, or even China. It will follow the line of least resistance and, if the opportunity offers, attack AustraliaLong before the outbreak of the hist war, I met many Japanese students in this country. They all said. “Japan must expand”, and suggested that the Japanese should be permitted to occupy the northern part of Australia. Many Australians said that it would be a good thing to develop the resources of Australia with the aid of Japan. In 19+3, in a newspaper controversy, I pointed out that if we had agreed to allow Japan to occupy the northern part of this continent, our position during the war would have been a great deal worse than it was. If Japan had attacked Australia before it attacked Pearl Harbour, the possibility is that we should not be here to-night to discuss this treaty.
Why shut our eyes to the clangers of Japanese rearmament? The Japanese have not changed their policies in the slightest degree. They want to increase their military strength and, if they do so, it is possible that within two or three decades TheY will succeed in doing what they failed to do in 1945. The opposition of honorable senators on this side of the chamber to the treaty is justified in the light of experience and in every other way. In 1945, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), according to the Melbourne press, expressed himself as being absolutely opposed to Japan being re armed again. I cannot quote the exact, words that were used then by the right honorable gentleman, but he said, in effect, that if Japan were rearmed, in twenty years we should be in a very different position from that of 1945.
– Russia and China were allies then.
– Russia has never attacked Australia, but Japan has done so. It was said that Russia would attack Great Britain and the Western democracies, but the reverse was the case. The dogmatic statements of honorable senators opposite are based, not on knowledge, but on prejudice.
– Are the statements of the honorable senator that are published in the press not based on prejudice?
– I try to rise above personal, political and racial prejudice, but I cannot say the same of honorable senators opposite. If I say a word in favour of Russia, it is suggested by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) that I am a Communist. “When I say that Russia has never attacked Australia, I am stating a. fact. When. 1 say that Japan has attacked Australia, T am also stating fact. Honorable senators opposite are creatures more of prejudice than of reason. In my opinion, they do not study these questions to the extent to which they should do so. Japanese professors and labour leaders have expressed themselves as being opposed to the rearmament of Japan. Their influence was so great that a provision to that effect was written into the Japanese constitution. American imperialist capitalists have given orders that the constitution is to be repealed. What are we to think of men of that kind ? Can we trust them or rely upon their judgment?
– You trusted them seven years ago. If you had not done so. you would not be here to-day, you silly old fool.
– I did what Senator Kendall did. I made the be of the situation as I found it. When the present Government parties left this country practically defenceless-
– I rise to order. I heard Senator Kendall refer to Senator Cameron as a “silly old fool”. That remark was offensive to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– Order! If Senator Kendall made that remark, I ask him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it without any reservation.
– I do not take great exception to the remark. Elementary psychology teaches us that, by a process of mental projection, the honorable senator has attributed to me traits that he possesses. He is using innuendo and insult as an excuse for argument. If Japan is rearmed and Australia is attacked posterity will curse this Govern ment, and it is more likely that that will happen than not because all preparations for war, whether in Japan or elsewhere, are a challenge to war. The only question remaining to be answered is when and where the war will begin.
The rearmament that has been ordered by the United States of America will probably result in the future position being even more dangerous than the past. I cannot see how any intelligent Australian can justify the ratification of this treaty. All the evidence necessary - on which to base a judgment is available and Australians had a terrible experience during the years 1939-45. Yet honorable senators opposite have advocated the arming of these people who have slaughtered Australians thereby making it possible for them to engage in slaughter again. I cannot understand honorable senators adopting that attitude. The Government and its supporters have now made statements which are directly opposed to those which they made in 1945. If this treaty is ratified and there is economic warfare between Japan, aided by America, and Australia, there will be a great deal of industrial strife in this country. Honorable senators should not be under any illusion. The average Australian is not prepared to submit to the economic infiltration that took place before the war and which has started again as a result of the de facto ratification of the treaty. The Government is not sufficiently courageous to submit the ratification of this treaty to the people by a referendum. It knows that its proposal would be defeated. If the Government ratifies this treaty it will act without a mandate, in defiance of the people, and in the interests, not of Australia, but of American capitalists.
– I rise to support the signing of this treaty. Before I gave this matter consideration I rather thought on the lines adopted by Senator Cameron, but when I recognized the cold facts T changed m,y mind. Honorable senators opposite have contended that there would be less to fear from an unarmed Japan than from an armed Japan. That is quite right. It is common sense. But will there be more to fear from an armed Japan in twenty years’ time than there is to fear from Russia in 1953 or 1954? The attitude of Japan in twenty years’ time may be problematical. Only a prophet could foretell the attitude of Japan in twenty years, but any one could foretell the attitude of Russia in 1953 or 1954.
– -Russia was our ally in 1944.
– Yes. Japan was our ally in 1914 and provided an escort for our ships, which illustrates how futile it is to foretell what action a nation will take in ten or twenty years’ time. Japan was with us in 1914, but was against us in 1941. It may be with us in the next war. Italy was our ally in the first World War and fought against us in World War TI. The lesson of history in regard to Japan is that it is problematical on whose side it will be, but we know whose side Russia is on. We must not let emotion enter into our consideration of this matter. I loathe Japan. I spent many months in fighting against Japan. Our people have suffered tremendously at the hands of that nation. I do not really want Australia to sign a treaty with Japan. If I allowed myself to be swayed by my emotions, I would loathe the thought, but we have to face the facts and do our best for the people of Australia. The Opposition’s attitude is based on emotion. Let us quit emotion and examine the cold facts. Let us endeavour to ascertain the courses that arc open to us. There are only two of them. One is to sign and the other is not to sign. The policy of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) appears to be that we should not sign the treaty yet, but should wait and argue for a little while and ascertain whether we can get something better. But we should still have to make up our minds sooner or later whether we would sign. Let us examine the course of refusing to sign the treaty. That would result in our remaining at war with Japan. How long should we remain at war; for ten or twenty years or forever ? I do not know. Forty-seven other nations intend to sign the treaty. Are we to argue about it? Suppose that we go on arguing until the other 47 nations have signed the treaty. We should then be in a very weak position. We should be the only nation that was out of step.
Opposition senators claim that Australia should not sign the treaty because Japan should not be allowed to rearm. I should not say that we would be absolutely alone in refusing to sign the treaty because Russia and its satellites do not intend to sign it. India also has refused to sign it because it considers the treaty to be too harsh. However, if Australia refused to sign we should be alone among the Communist nations. In other words, we would be in the Communist camp. The very best reason for not signing the pact is that Russia will not sign it. What Russia, does not want we should want. What is Moscow’s objective? It is to try to divide the democracies and this treaty provides a very good opportunity for it to further that objective. Japan is vitally placed strategically both in the cold and in the hot war. It has tremendous manufacturing potentialities and great man-power. Any nation that gained and maintained control of Japan might control Asia and, in controlling Asia, it would be well on the way to control the world. Therefore, Japan is extremely vital to us.
If we do not keep Japan on our side Russia will walk into that country. If Japan is to be kept unarmed it must be defended against Russia. Who is to do that? The United States of America, has announced that it will not do so. Therefore, if Australia is to keep Japan unarmed it must defend Japan without assistance. That would Le an impossible task. At a moderate estimate, it would take over 100,000 men to defend and occupy Japan and prevent it from being rearmed. We have had extreme difficulty in producing a couple of battalions of men to fight in Korea. It would be impossible for Australia to produce a force of the size necessary to occupy Japan. Even if we could provide the man-power, could we afford the money? The departure of 100,000 men from Australia for the occupation of Japan would result in the financial ruin of this country. Inflation would be rampant. Such a proposition could not bc considered. But supposing that we could and did occupy Japan. What would he our position in relation to Russia? As
Australia and Russia would not have signed the Japanese peace treaty, Russia might assume that it had the right to share the occupation of Japan with us. That would put us into a pretty pickle. Would we welcome Russia as an ally to help us to keep Japan unarmed? If we refused Russian assistance what would he the result? It would probably be war with Russia. We should either have to accept Russia as an ally or offer resistance. Then we should be left alone without any friends in a war against Russia. There is another line that Russia might adopt. If we refuse to ratify the treaty, Russia could very well say, “We will ratify the treaty and allow Japan to rearm. What is more, we will provide arms to enable Japan to rearm, as we have provided arms in Korea”. What would we do then? Would we say to Russia, “ You must not supply arms to Japan. If you attempt to do so, we will stop you”? We are such a small nation that I doubt very much whether we could stop Russia from supplying arms to Japan. I believe that Russia wants us to keep Japan in bondage, because suppression breeds communism.
I do not agree with the statement of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that the Communist party in Japan welcomes the treaty, because, as I have said before, I believe that Russia’s aim is to prevent the treaty from being ratified. We must not be unmindful of what occurred in Germany after World War I. I am convinced that the depressed conditions of those days were responsible for Germany commencing to prepare for World War II. Just recently, the representatives of the United States of America, Great Britain and other European nations agreed to the rearmament of Germany. I contend that the impact on European nations of the rearmament of Germany will be similar to the impact of the rearmament of Japan on Australia. In both instances, the Allied powers have agreed to the rearmament of their enemies of only a few years ago. As the free nations of the world have agreed to permit the rearmament of Germany, I can see no logical reason why we should refuse to ratify the treaty of peace with Japan, the terms of which will enable that country to rearm. As the United States of America has already helped democracies throughout the world to rearm, conceivably it will make gifts of arms to Japan. Are we to say to the Americans, “ We will not permit you to supply arms to Japan”? It is inconceivable that we could become involved in a war against the United States of America. Obviously, the United States of America would reply, “We will not stop “. As a very small nation, we do not cut much ice in these matters. We are almost alone in our views about rearmament. It would be futile for Australia to resist the decision of the major Allied powers to permit Japan to rearm.
By refusing to ratify the proposed treaty we should probably lose all of our friends, and we could not then expect any assistance from them in connexion with a war that might develop with Russia. I concede that there is a grave danger associated with what Japan’s attitude might be in ten years’ time or twenty years’ time. Because of that country’s lack of resources and poor defences at present, I do not think that Japan could menace us before that time. 1 would gladly support any action to eliminate that possibility of danger in the future. But I point out that, unless Japan is permitted to rearm, protection must be provided for that country by other nations. . The United States of America will not provide protection, and we cannot provide it. Either we ratify the treaty or change our colours and join the Communists. Our hands are being forced by circumstances. I consider that it is better that we should accept the problematical chance of war again with Japan in ten years’ time or twenty years’ time than be forced into a war with Russia within the next few years.
– Senator Wordsworth has stated that we should quit emotion and study facts. I shall do just that. Of all the nations that have ratified or announced their intention to ratify the treaty none has more cause than Australia to fear the future outlook of the Japanese. Geographically, we are closer to Japan than are other allied nations, and we have every reason to fear the implications of the proposed treaty. It is a remarkable document. I believe that the probability of future trouble with that country arises not so much from what has been said in it as from what has been left unsaid. My first objection to the proposed treaty is that it will complete a circle, and not a very happy circle at that. I well remember the emergence of the Atlantic Charter which required the unconditional surrender of our enemies of World War II. In common with the majority of people of the free countries of the world, I applauded that decision. I point out that, that decision was arrived at by representatives of democracies without consulting their parliaments. I honestly believe that the majority of the people of those countries believed that that decision was a correct one, but whether or not the requirements of unconditional surrender could be termed a harsh peace that may lay the foundation for future wars, is a matter for individual thought. I stress that at that time nothing but unconditional surrender would suffice to whet the appetites of the free peoples of the world, lt was reasonable to assume that that spirit would be evinced when the time came for the signing of treaties of peace with Germany and Japan. A number of agreements followed, culminating in the Potsdam Agreement. The terms of those agreements tended to modify the original decision that nothing short of unconditional surrender by our enemies would be acceptable to the Allied nations. We were able to demonstrate forcibly to the urban dwellers of Germany that the German army had been defeated in war, by displaying our tanks and troops in the main streets of Berlin. However, the position in Japan was entirely different, because, apart from the dropping of the atomic bomb, the Japanese mainland had not been invaded. The Japanese Government was still relatively intact at, the time of the surrender of that country. Without casting aspersions on the people who were responsible for subsequent agreements, I am convinced that the terms of those agreements made it clear to the -Japanese that we were endeavouring to preserve the lives of our troops. Although the Japanese did in fact submit to unconditional surrender, they have pointed out frequently since then that their generals failed them in the field. History had repeated itself. After their defeat in 191S, the Germans claimed that the population behind the armies was not strong enough to support the troops in the field. I should like to remind honorable senators of the terms of the new Japanese constitution that was drafted by the United Nations. Article 9 reads -
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, hind, sea. and air forces, as well as other war potential will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the State will not be recognised.
Just as Japan can take the view that tho.ee words do not express what the Japanese meant, so, by implication, will it be able to claim that the proposed treaty gives them every right to rearm without limitation. From the word “ never “ we come to almost the infinite in relation to armaments. I wonder whether in 1942, John Foster Dulles or any other representative of the democracies would have had the audacity to propose that Australia should agree to a document such as the proposed treaty, and say, in effect, “ These people are not so bacl as they have been painted. It ha3 all been a grand mistake. We should consider setting about rearming them “. All of us can throw our minds back to the dark days of 1942 and the two succeeding years. What is the difference between the Japanese people of 1942 and the Japanese people of 1952? What is the difference between the system under which Japan was governed then and the system under which it is governed now? What is the difference in the geographic and military situation that obtained then and that which obtains now?
– The Japanese women now exercise the right to vote.
– That is precisely what I am afraid of. My mother used to say that women should never he allowed to attend football matches or to vote at elections.
Time is a great healer. Undoubtedly time has dulled the memories of the members of the Government and of the Opposition and of many people whose relatives and friends suffered at the hands of the Japanese. It is perhaps as well that the passage of time dulls memories of anguish and suffering. What has changed in Japan except that for the first time in its history it has been occupied by a conquering force which has endeavoured to inculcate in the minds of the Japanese people some of the ideals of western democracy? When we sent an occupation force to Japan we pinned our hopes on the results that it would achieve. In legal form the occupation of Japan was international, but in actual fact the occupation was carried out by American troops because the United States of America was the only nation which had available both the military force and the transport to occupy Japan quickly. It is true that there was an element of allied troops in the occupation force, but the occupation of Japan was largely carried out by American troops. It is vitally important for us to remember that at the cease fire the position of Japan was not as bad as it might have been, having regard to the fact that it had agreed to unconditional surrender. Unlike Germany whose navy had been smashed and whose leaders who were not immediately arrested and thrown into gaol committed suicide, Japan was practically untouched. Apart from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima the mainland of Japan was scarcely marked by enemy action. I learned recently that the forces of the United Nations have dropped more bombs on Korea than were dropped by the Allied forces on Japan during the whole of the war. The Japanese Government was relatively intact. We acted upon the terms of the Potsdam Agreement - I use the term “ agreement “ advisedly. There were language difficulties to be overcome by the conquering allies. Because the United State-3 of America and other allied countries did not have sufficient knowledge of Japan and its language the Japanese Government was kept relatively intact. Despite the brilliant leadership of General MacArthur the occupation force had the greatest difficulty in dealing with oriental implacability and in trying to foist western ideas upon a nation which did not want to accept them. On every occasion on which a directive was issued its effect was to some degree cushioned to suit the Japanese people. The Japanese did exactly what an Australian government would have done in similar circumstances. No direct orders were issued by the occupying force to the Japanese; all of them were filtered and reticulated through the Japanese Government.
The aims of the Japanese occupation are largely forgotten, as also are many of the objectives for which we fought the war. I was highly amused by Senator Wordsworth, who, after having appealed to us to forget emotion and to get down to the facts, made a most emotional speech. The first aim of the policy of the occupation was to limit Japanese sovereignty to its four main home islands and such minor outlying islands as may be determined. The second aim was to effect Japan’s complete disarmament and demilitarization, including the elimination of the authority of the militarists and the influence of militarism from Japanese life.
– From what directive is the honorable senator quoting?
– I am quoting not a directive but the aims of the occupation policy. The third aim was to encourage the Japanese to desire individual liberty, to respect fundamental human rights and to form democratic and representative organizations. The fourth aim was to afford the Japanese the opportunity to develop an economy which would permit the peace-time requirements of the population to be met. Mixed up with these broad objectives were the democratization of Japan, the smashing of the Zaibatsu, and land reform about which we have heard so much in the Far East. All of these objectives were highly desirable, but what was the experience of the occupation force when it took control of the country? Its first major task, for which it did not bargain, was to bring about the economic recovery of Japan. When the occupation force took control of Japan its comma riders said, “It is not our job to resuscitate the economy of Japan. That is the task of the Japanese people”. At that stage the attitude of the Japanese towards the occupation force became apparent, and it has been consistently maintained. Oriental implacability and the glorious determination of the Japanese people to resist the doing of any act made it imperative for the occupation force to strain itself lo feed and clothe the Japanese people. The members of the Japanese Government made no move to help; they did not care two “hoots” about the position of the ordinary man or woman in the street. They did nothing to hasten the recovery of their country. This ridiculous position placed almost intolerable burdens on thu conquerors. In spite of entreaties and directives the economic position of the Japanese people became steadily worse until finally the occupation force, instead of dealing with broad principles, was forced to take steps to alleviate the starvation that was rampant in the country. The demilitarization of Japan was by far the most successful of the measures in the programme. It was comparatively easy for the Allies to smash the shipyards, destroy arms and armaments and remove officials from high military posts, but only history will tell how well the attempt to democratize Japan has succeeded. I shall have some comments t:o make upon that subject before I conclude my speech.
Japan, throughout its history, has been an undemocratic country in which power has been exercised by a small group. After the surrender it was not in a mood to embrace the ideals of the Western democracies. We cannot develop a democracy merely by drawing u p a constitution and saying to the people concerned, “You must accept this constitution and embrace the ideals embodied in it “. Democracy in the Western countries has developed slowly and laboriously over hundreds of years. In British coun tries democracy ha3 been attained only after 700 years of struggle and strife. Can we reasonably draft a constitution for the Japanese people and say to them, “ You must accept this. In the last four or five years we have given you an example of what democracy means “ ? What sort of an example of democracy an occupying force could give to a conquered people, I do not know. Can we expect to say to the Japanese people with any hope of success, “ Accept the principles written in this constitution and you may enter into the comity of nations “? The constitution under which the Japanese were living at the outbreak of the war was drafted in 1SS9. It did not guarantee civil rights and civil liberties. On the contrary it gave the Government of Japan power to curtail them, and placed great powers in the hands of small groups which enabled them to smash those very ideals. In the early days of the occupation the directives issued to the occupation force more or less concerned the economic recovery of Japan. I am speaking now particularly of directives that were issued in the latter half of 1945, in what we might term the punitive period. Those directives only established basic conditions which depended for their success on governments of the same type as thosewhich had wielded power under thi undemocratic constitution of 1SS9. Had there been in power in Japan a completely new government, composed of young people with new ideas, who had suffered in the field of battle against us and who had some experience of Western democracy, a. different situation may have arisen. In those circumstances it may then have been possible to draft a constitution which would have made more easy the democratization of Japan. The Japanese Government refused to draft a constitution for the Japanese people and the task had to be undertaken by the occupation force. What was the attitude of the Japanese people to the constitution that was drafted for them? If we were placed in similar circumstances and a constitution was submitted to us for acceptance, its provisions would be fully and hotly debated. The Japanese people did not intend to help themselves. They leaned heavily on the occupation force. When the constitution was given to them, they accepted it meekly with very little debate and with very little interest. Yet it is a good constitution. Probably there is none better in the world. It is based on a wealth of democratic experience and legal and political knowledge. In theory, it is as near as possible to perfect. This peace treaty bears no relationship to Japanese history. It has its origin solely in the present-day alinement of powers. The American policy in Japan since the end of the war has been completely anti-Communist. The Japanese Government to-day is antiCommunist, and I hope that it will continue to be anti-Communist, but the manner in which we are handling Japan’s problems leads me to doubt that very much. Unfortunately the over-zealous pursuit of an anti-Communist campaign in any community sometimes leads to a complete suppression of all leftist elements, at least some of which are necessary in any democracy. In fact, no parliament can be truly democratic unless there is an opposition. In Japan, the Americans set out to expel Communists “from all key positions, and from such vital services as the teaching profession. The result of that campaign was, virtually, to suppress completely the left-wing movement which could have provided such a good opposition in the Japanese Diet. In an endeavour to smash the Zaibatsu, the occupying forces came up against an almost insoluble problem. The Zaibatsu system was the capitalist’s dream, or even beyond the dreams of the most avid capitalists. No country, however capitalistic, had been able to develop such a centralized control of commerce and industry as had been developed in Japan by the Zaibatsu. In few nations did the captains of industry stand so far above the ordinary man in the street. The smashing of the Zaibatsu system was made all the more difficult for the occupying forces by the fact that that system had prevented the development of a middle class and when the Americans tried to smash the Zaibatsu they found no middle class with sufficient experience to handle commercial and industrial undertakings. There again ,ve had evidence of the oriental mind. The Zaibatsu sat back and said, in effect, “ See what you can do about it “. To-day, the old members of the Zaibatsu are sitting quietly by. Immediately the occupation forces move out, they will move in and take up almost where they left off at the end of the war.
We looked hopefully to land reform to change the outlook of the Japanese people. Probably land reform is the most crying need of Japan as it is of almost every other Eastern country and it is true that an honest attempt at reform has been made by the Americans. The lot of farm-workers who hitherto had lived almost in serfdom, has been improved. Some of them have been able to aspire to land ownership, but no real contribution has been made to a solution of the problem that is presented to us by the fact that Japan cannot feed its own population. Therefore, whilst we pursue our first objective of containing the Japanese in their home islands, the problem of feeding them must remain unsolved. I believe that the ground has been prepared for a bloodless revolution in Japan. Between 1854 and 1945 Japan changed from an eastern nation to a western nation in certain respects, but that change was sponsored by the Japanese leaders. It was not forced upon them from outside. An influential section of the Japanese people wanted Japan to be westernized, but made no attempt to change the masses of the Japanese people. The ultimate result was an amazing mixture of advanced western ideas in commercial and military matters, and completely eastern ideas in social and cultural life. The bloodless revolution that we are trying to bring about in Japan is not what the Japanese people have shown themselves to want. It is not being pressed upon them by a conquering nation. During the past century, the Japanese have taken from western civilization only the things they have wanted. Japanese leaders were very quick to copy western armies, navies and air forces, but they did not assume the penalties and responsibilities that go with the western conception of civilization. The Japanese
Government has shown clearly at all stages that it has no desire to do anything about inculcating in the minds of its people the thoughts, ideals, aims and objectives of the United States of America. That is proved by the fact that every major reform in Japan since 1945 has been brought about by a directive from the head-quarters of the occupying forces. Japanese leaders have accepted the directives with oriental resignation, but without any enthusiasm. Surely if a nation genuinely wished for changes in its form of government and society, it would sponsor whatever reforms it considered to be worthy, instead of merely waiting for directives from an occupying power. Whatever the merits or demerits of the occupation may be, the ultimate determining factor must he what the Japanese themselves desire, and not what America, .Russia, Australia, or any other nation desires. I am confident that, following the pattern that they set in the last century, the Japanese will take from western civilization only those things that they want. Their behaviour will be conditioned by the world situation. They will be influenced by the strength of Russia, the strength of the United States of America, and by the geographic position of their homeland. If the aims of the occupation have not been achieved - and I submit that they have not - why are we being asked to ratify this rea tv , Some speakers have been honest enough to admit that the treaty is being ratified not because the hopes and aspirations that we held when Japan was defeated have been realized but in the hope that Japan will fit into the pattern of international events as we see it. I believe that Japan is anti-Communist at present, but we must realize that Japan is menaced by Russian bases. The Japanese homeland could be bombed - and atom bombed I regret to say - from airfields on Russian wastelands, whereas Japan would have little opportunity for retaliation because of the great distances to the main Russian centres of population and industry. Japan knows, too, that American policy - I remind the Senate that T lauded American policy in this chamber a few nights ago - is that Europe must come first. Modern warfare has shown that the first rush of an aggressor nation can swamp adjacent countries. The Japanese cannot be blamed for not wanting to be expendable. They know that American foreign policy is concerned primarily with Europe, and that in the event of a global war, the only troops that would be made available for the protection of Pacific countries, including Australia, would be those that could be spared under a global strategic plan. The Japanese know, too, that there is a better than even money chance that their homelaud could be occupied by an enemy,, and left occupied until global strategy finally determined that it should be freed. The fact stands stark and clear that, from the beginning of the occupation of Japan until now, the Japanese have shown a complete lack of enthusiasm for the directives that they have been compelled to accept. Although I do not think for one moment that it is probable, Japan could conceivably say, “We shall not accept rearmament. If America is afraid that Russia will invade us, then let America protect us “. Unless the Japanese make a more enthusiastic contribution to their own economic recovery they could not be much worse off whoever occupied their homeland.
I come now to the important things that have been left unsaid in this treaty. Statistics show that between 1870 and 1930 the population of Japan increased from 33,000,000 to 64.000,000, and that by 1949 the figure had reached 80,000,000. The total area of Japan is 150,000 square miles, and experts tell us that not more than 30,000 square miles can be cultivated. There are 8,000,000 persons unemployed in Japan, and 1,750,000 babies are born each year. Even if there were no more births, which is most unlikely, Japan would have to find 8,000,000 jobs for boys as they grow up. That is- taking no account of the girls, and with the advance of democratic ideas it is probable that women will take an increasingly important place in Japanese industry. Notwithstanding this tremendous pressure of population on a limited space it is now proposed to confine the Japanese to their nome islands, and if that attempt is persisted in there must be war, no matter what treaties are signed. Hitler talked of living space, for the Germans, but for the Japanese increased living space is a vital matter. The internal situation will always dictate a country’s foreign policy. The Japanese will be forced to act, and sooner or later a leader will arise to demand that the present policy towards Japan be changed. While the problem of living space for the Japanese remains unsolved - and this treaty does not solve it - -the threat of war must remain.
– What would the honorable, senator do? Does he suggest that Japan’s former possessions should be restored?
– That is a problem for the Government, which has accepted this treaty against the advice of the Opposition. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), speaking in the House of Representatives as a loyal supporter of the Government, said that we should not blame the Government for the treaty because there was no chance to discuss it. Australia’s representatives were sent to San Francisco, and had no alternative but to sign the treaty.
– After eleven months of discussion?
– Mr. John Foster Dulles hawked the peace proposals around the world, but we were given no chance to discuss them. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself admitted that it was not the treaty that he would like, but he claimed that there was no chance of getting 47 nations to agree to any better peace treaty. Australia, more than any other country, is interested in the future of Japan and of the Pacific nations. I agree that we should maintain close relations with America, but we should not he dominated by that country. We should be a partner with America, and should be able to offer advice about Pacific problems generally, particularly about those that affect the south-west Pacific. I trust that all the fears that have been expressed about the treaty by honorable senators on this side of the chamber, as well as by some on the other side, will prove to be groundless. I hope that my own doubts are without justification. I sincerely hope that I will be proved to be utterly wrong. I do not believe that Australia should have signed the treaty just because the other nations were signing it. We should have withheld our signature if we believed the treaty to be faulty. I hope, Mr. President, that the future of your children and of mine will not be jeopardized because of this treaty. Above all, I sincerely hope that no future Australian government will ever become so subservient in a matter so vital to the welfare of Australia.
– I rise to support this treaty, anc! to speak of one or two matters which should receive some consideration. Not nearly enough has been said in this debate about the great debt of gratitude which we owe to the United States of America. I am deeply concerned over some of the remarks made by members of the Opposition about America. If we recall the dark days of the war, we must concede that America saved Australia at that time. During the days when we dreaded what the future might hold, when the Japanese were approaching the mainland of Australia - perhaps we in Queensland recall those days more vividly than some who were farther away - it was the might of America which stopped the Japanese, turned them back, drove them out of the islands and finally conquered Japan. I am not decrying for one moment the willingness of our other allies to help us, nor am 1 attempting to minimise the magnificent part played, in the campaign by the men of our own armed services: but I repeat that it was the armed might of America, its enormous industrial power, its almost unlimited financial resources and its huge reservoir of manpower that forced the Japanese to accept defeat. We in Australia saw something of those enormous resources which were brought here, and put into use in defence of this country. I remind honorable Senators that in those dark days, when disaster seemed very close, we Australians were well content to accept American leadership. We trusted American leaders with the lives of our troops, and everyone will agree that the trust was not misplaced.
Later, when it caine to framing peace terms with the defeated enemy, the United States of America did not attempt to wield the big stick or to say, “ This is the treaty, and you must accept it. Some honorable Senators opposite have suggested as much, but they are wrong. There was, in fact, conference after conference at which there were numerous discussions of proposals that could be placed before the legislatures of the countries concerned. In all those discussions the allied countries participated on a democratic basis, so that every nation had an equal voice in the framing of the treaty. Much time and thought were put into the treaty. It may be taken for granted that there has never been a. perfect peace treaty, and it would be a miracle if, with 4S nations involved, a perfect treaty had been drawn up on this occasion, but at least every nation concerned has had its say. All have presented their views, and those views have not been suppressed or brushed aside. They have been weighed and considered, and those that were favourable have been incorporated in the treaty. Out of the conferences and discussions has emerged the treaty which we are now discussing. Admittedly it is a compromise. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) said of it -
All of us are aware of its shortcomings, all of us have misgivings about it one way or the other.
That is inevitable in the case of a compromise treaty, but at least it is a workable instrument to which 4S nations have subscribed It is not my purpose now to discuss arguments for and against the provisions of the treaty. I was in the New Guinea area during the war, and saw something of war’s grim realities. As one who fully realizes the tregedy that war brings to many lives I can only pray for peace, as I believe all honorable senators do. I welcome any treaty that will bring us even slightly nearer to the achievement of peace.
I want to place upon record our recognition of the achievements of the armed forces of this country, which during the last war, wrote a chapter of gallantry, courage and achievement. To-night, we record our recognition of what the men and women of those forces did for us. I wish to record also our recognition of the debt that we owe to the United States of America. I deplore the fact that some honorable senators opposite have decried that great nation. We owe a debt to theUnited States of America, not only for having saved Australia but also for having accorded to the allied nations the right fully to participate in the formulation of the Japanese peace treaty. I believe that the grant of that right toAustralia was a recognition by the Americans of the part that was played by the Australian armed forces in the war in which Japan was defeated. I am proud that Australia was able to make several valuable contributions to thetreaty. That point has been overlooked by honorable senators opposite. I support the bill.
Senator SANDFORD (Victoria) [10.1SJ. - Honorable senators on this side of the chamber have been criticized for opposing this treaty. It was made clear by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that the Australian Labour party realizes that this country cannot remain indefinitely technically at war with Japan, and that a peace treaty must be signed some time. We take exception, as do the great majority of theAustralian people, to the provisions of the treaty under which Japan will bepermitted to rearm without limitation. Although honorable senators opposite profess to be excited and enthusiastic about the treaty, they realize that the Government has made a blunder. Knowing that the majority of the people of this country are definitely and irrevocably opposed tothe treaty provisions that relate to the rearmament of Japan, they are, to say the least, very uncomfortable. Thesecond reading speech of the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) was full of doubts, fears and hesitations. At the beginning of the speech, the AttorneyGeneral said -
All of us have misgivings about it in oneway or another. The governments of somecountries believe that the treaty is too harsh. Others of us- -
I do not know whom he meant by “ us “ - feel that it is too soft. We in Australia - and this applies to the Government as well as to members of the Opposition and, I think, the great majority of the Australian people - cannot avoid some doubts at the prospect of Japan being restored to the family of nations without certain controls over its conduct in the future.
Ite went on to say -
We are not convinced that democracy has taken linn root in Japan. We are not sure that the Japanese can be fully trusted to steer a course in the future away from the aggressive military and economic policies that have threatened our very existence in the past.
The Government, despite the fact that it entertains those fears, ha3, in a weak- kneed manner. acquiesced in the signing of this treaty and in its ratification by thi* Parliament. The treaty will be ratified by the Parliament, unfortunately for Australia, because the Government has n majority in both Houses. The present Government parties, when in Opposition, vew very fond of advising Labour governments to hold referendums upon various questions. I am certain that, if the Government sought the opinion of the Australian people upon this treaty at a referendum, 99.9 per cent, of the electors would vote against the provisions under which Japan will be permitted to rearm without limitation. I realize the difficulties that confront the Government. I know that it is in a dilemma, and that it lini.-it do something. Our complaint is that when the draft of the treaty was produced by Mr. John Foster Dulles, this treasonable Government did not utter one word of protest against it.
– What does the honorable senator know about that matter?
– I am not talking about South Australian wheat. I am talking about something that requires the exercise of a little intelligence. Therefore, it will pay the honorable senator to keep quiet. The people of Australia looked to this Government at least to enter some protest against the terms of the treaty. Are honorable senators opposite, so soon after the cessation of hostilities with the Japanese, enthusiastic at the prospect, of a rearmed Japan? Let me remind the Senate of other doubts and fears to which the Minister gave expression in his second-reading speech. He said -
On the other hand, I will admit that honorable senators could quite legitimately enter tain fears that a revived and once more powerful Japan, assisted in its recovery by a tolerant and benign peace treaty, might in due curse itself either embark alone on fresh adventures of aggression or, at the worst, might voluntarily join forces with and give direction and impetus to Asian communism, and, in fact, use it in another attempt to achieve hegemony over the whole of Asia and the Pacific. I agree that we are faced with a dilemma.
He said later in his speech that perhaps the most important provision of the treaty is Article 5 (c), under which the Allied powers recognize “ that Japan, as a sovereign nation, possesses the inherent right of individual or collective selfdefence referred to in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and that Japan may voluntarily enter into collective security arrangements “. The Minister did not say with which country. Japan could enter into those arrangements.
The Government is taking a chance that Japan has been democratized, but it is stupid to believe that a country like Japan can have become democratized in so short a period of time. Apparently, the view of the Government is that Japan is now a “ good boy and that, because an occupation force has been there for some time and we propose to permit Japan to rearm without limitation, the Japanese will join the Western democracies. But, as honorable senators on this side of the chamber have pointed out, from the geographical viewpoint the natural alliance for Japan as soon as it has become fully rearmed, is with Asian countries, and very likely with Communist Russia. What could we do to prevent Japan from allying itself with Communist Russia or with other Asian countries ?
– What can we do now ?
– This weakkneed, treasonable Government could, at least, have entered a protest-
– Order! The honorable senator will withdraw the words “ treasonable Government “.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr. President, I withdraw the words “ treasonable Government “. But I still think that the Government is treasonable, and I do not think that I can be asked to withdraw my thoughts. The Minister, referring to Article 5 (c) of the treaty, said -
This clause in fact restores to Japan the right to re-establish its army, navy and air force, and this right is made subject to no restrictions.
I wonder how honorable senators opposite would feel if they were the parents of boys who suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese. The Government realizes that it has acted wrongly. A note of apology was apparent throughout the AttorneyGeneral’s secondreading speech. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), in the second reading speech that he delivered when the measure was before the House of Representatives, referred repeatedly to the fears that the Government entertains about this treaty. It is amazing that honorable senators opposite have acquiesed meekly and without protest in the clauses of the treaty that relate to the rearmament of Japan. The Government did not enter a protest against the draft of the treaty that was produced by John Foster Dulles. Our Ambassador in the United States of America, Mr. Spender, did not enter any protest against the treaty at San Francisco.
– He did.
– Your turn will come later, Senator Wedgwood. Nobody can understand what you say when you interject.
– Order ! Senator Sandford must address the Chair, not Senator Wedgwood.
– I shall address the honorable senator through you, Mr. President.
– Order ! Senator Sandford will not address Senator Wedgwood, even through me.
– The Attorney General concluded in his secondreading speech by saying -
There is some chance that a democracy may evolve in Japan-
He is optimistic, to say the least - even though not necessarily a democracy on the American and European models. But whether or not this happens and we must at least give it the chance to happen the immediate problem we have to consider, from the point of view of the security of Australia and the stability of Asia and the Pacific, is the security of Japan, even more than security against Japan.
That amazing statement, so soon after the cessation of hostilities with probably the most ferocious and barbarous enemy that we have ever fought-
Housing - Water front Employment.
– Order ! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I now formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to refer to a subject which I raised at question time, and to which the Minister made a reply which was misleading. Within six months of the present Government taking office, the Commonwealth Bank, under Government instructions, restricted its credit policy. It restricted the amount of finance available to building societies and other organizations and also advised its clients that overdrafts had to be reduced. The result was that building societies which had been financing home builders found it difficult to obtain the finance necessary to continue their activities. As I have said, the bank gave effect to this policy on the instructions of the Government. But, even if the bank itself had instituted such action, the Government would have had power to override that policy. Therefore, the Government cannot avoid the blame by alleging that this action has been taken as a part of bank policy for which it is not responsible. The same policy has been put into operation by the private banks on instructions from the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, which could only have been issued after having been authorized by the Australian Government. The fact that the Government is competent to direct the banking policy indicates that the Minister was incorrect in the reply which he gave to my question.
I asked the Minister whether he would name the banks that were prepared to lend money for the purpose of home building and for other purposes. He said that anybank would do that. I inform the Minister that a private bank will make funds available only on the condition that they are repaid on demand. If one has sufficient security the banks have no objection to lending one a couple of thousand pounds. But if the banker is asked the period, of the loan he will reply that repayment must be made on demand. That is the reply which is received by people who wish to borrow money either to build houses or for any other purpose. I was in the office of a bunker when he rang the Commonwealth Bank in order to ascertain whether it had adopted this policy. He was told that that was so, and that loans would only be granted on condition that repayment would be made on demand. The Minister’s statement that any bank would lend money on the terms necessary for home building was completely untrue and misleading. The Government’s policy of restricting credit has caused many workers in the building trades to go to other industries. The Minister was incorrect in stating that all available labour and materials are being used in the construction of buildings. There are ample supplies of basic materials in Australia to increase the rate of housing construction, and they are being exported. Building materials are now advertised in the newspapers for immediate delivery. Dressed flooring has been advertised for immediate delivery in Melbourne. The only scarce material is locally produced iron. It is not now difficult to obtain tiles and imported iron. All the other basic materials and labour are in ample supply. It is only the Government’s policy of restricting credit that has brought about the curtailment of housing construction.
The Minister will probably say that more homes will be built this year than were built last year. Naturally ! But one-third more houses should have been built this year than were built last year. Housing construction has been increasing each year and will need to do so for another decade in order to supply all the wants of homeless people. The Government has stated that its credit restriction policy has been applied in order to drive people into essential industries. “Will the Minister dare say that home building is not an essential industry? - Hundreds of thousands of people are living in inade quate accommodation. Many of them are living in places which should have been or have been condemned. The statement that the Minister made to-day was false, incorrect and misleading. Honorable senators are entitled to expect something better from a responsible Minister than misleading statements of that nature.
– On the occasion of the debate on the motion for the adjournment last Thursday, Senator Wright implied that if a delay occurred in the shipment of apples and pears from Hobart the waterside workers would be to blame. Senator Wright said -
Although the union was, in recent weeks, given permission to hold a stop-work meeting to consider an increase of the number of registered personnel, the meeting under the influence and leadership of Mr. Roach, refused to make any decision upon the matter until a collateral irrelevant complaint had been satisfied..
That statement is not true. Senator Wright stated that there are 632 permanent registered waterside workers in Hobart, but transfers have increased that number by 9S, so that there were 730 registered waterside workers in Hobart on the 1st March. The working strength was 732. Senator Wright made that statement for the purpose of belittling the waterside workers. The honorable senator said that the decision of the waterside workers on this matter had been delayed until a decision had been made on a collateral irrelevant complaint. For over 50 years the waterside workers have been loading and unloading railway trucks on the wharfs. For some unknown reason that work was taken away from them and given to outside employees. I understand that the people who employ these nien receive 10s. 6d. an hour for each man, whilst they pay the men 5s. 6d. an hour. If this is so, the employers are having that work done at a rate below that which was paid to the waterside workers. Consequently, waterside workers are jealously guarding their rights and conditions and are endeavouring to have this grievance rectified. The shipping company concerned informed them that in future it would call on the waterside workers to do the work. During the following week, while 200 waterside workers received appearance money only, tin’s company still continued to employ outside labour. Naturally, that action aggra vated the grievance. That occurred, some months ago, and on ten different occasions since then the officials of the Waterside Workers Federation in Hobart have attempted to have this position clarified and the grievance removed, but unfortunately they have not been successful. Consequently, they placed the matter before the members of the union at a mass meeting held some months ago. That meeting decided that the union should not allow the enrolment of additional members until this grievance was satisfied.
Senator Wright stated that, under the influence and leadership of Mr. Roach, the meeting refused to make any decision. Mr. Roach happened to be in gaol when this decision was made and he had nothing to do with it. The men themselves made the decision and they intend to stand by it. Senator Wright stated that because of the shortage of labour the transport of the fruit crop would be delayed. That is not so. The fruit is mainly loaded from the trucks to the ship, but the men cannot work any faster than the winches will allow them to work. The delay has taken place not because of any shortage of labour, but because the winches have not operated fast enough. The workers who are jealously guarding their wages and conditions have been told that they have delayed the shipment of the fruit. That is not correct. I believe that the honorable senator has been raisinformed on this subject because I saw him reading his speech on the matter. I believe that it had been handed to him, and I should like him to correct it. He should not leave the impression in honorable senators’ minds that the waterside workers have refused to increase their number, because they have 98 more men than the number quoted by Senator Wright. It is said that before the end of the month transfers will have increased the number of men on the wharfs to 743. Waterside workers do not object to outside labour being called after all their own men have been employed, provided that it is paid the correct rates. They have only endeavoured to protect their interests.
– It is unfortunate that during one of the few occasions that I was absent from the chamber this evening, Senator Morrow commenced his reference to the subject-matter that I raised last Thursday. I heard him somewhat vehemently affirm that Mr. Roach had nothing to do with the decision to which I referred. It may be that I have incorrectly stated the name of the assistant general secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, under whose hands the decision to which I referred was made. Suffice it to say that the decision was taken three or four weeks ago, and it was definitely made under the influence of the assistant general secretary in Sydney. Unlike Senator Morrow, I have not had the privilege of enjoying the acquaintance of Mr. Roach and his colleagues - whether or not they receive the hospitality of the Long Bay gaol near Sydney. T am not concerned with the identity of tho particular person who was responsible for the evil influence that was brought to bear to misguide the waterside workers. But the fact is that they were so misguided as to refuse to come to a decision on a subject-matter for which they had been given leave to be absent from their work. I rather imagine that the purpose of Senator Morrow’s enthusiasm is to gain prominence so that he will be considered for the next Labour endorsement in Tasmania rather than his interest in getting the fruit away from Hobart. He has interpreted my remarks as a reflection upon the man-hour performance of the waterside workers. I was careful to abstain from any reference to that matter. Without criticizing any particular aspect of their work, I directed the attention of the Senate to the fact that there was an insufficiency of registered labour offering to handle the important fruit export trade that commenced in Hobart last week. A similar state of affairs caused handicaps and confusion last year. I thought that the matter should be brought to the attention of the Government, and I endeavoured to do so without attracting recriminations from either side of the chamber. I stated that if sufficient registered labour was not available for the requirements of Hobart during the fruit season, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board should recruit unregistered labour to carry out the work. Although we are a long way from Hobart, I hope that honorable senators will concern themselves about things that are important to the industry of Hobart. For some curious reason, during the fruit season, waterside workers at Hobart work only two evening shifts a week.
– That is in accordance with their award.
– In every other port in Tasmania they work four evening shifts a week. Their decision imposes a great handicap on the handling of fruit at the port. I affirm my previous statement in case anything that Senator Morrow has said should cloud the issue.
– Why does not the honorable senator withdraw his remarks?
– It is of no use for Senator Grant to gabble at me. If he has anything to contribute to the debate, others will listen to him afterwards, but 1 shall not do so. Senator Morrow stated that 743 registered waterside workers are available at present at Hobart.
– I did not say registered personnel. Do not misconstrue the position again.
– I do not wish to intrude all the details of our delightful city of Hobart upon this serene Senate. All who are familiar with conditions at the port of Hobart know that during every fruit season waterside workers from the mainland are glad to go to Hobart. There is quite a transference of labour. But even then the waterside labour available is not sufficient during the fruit season. Last year, as the royal commissioner in Tasmania, Mr. Burbury, reported to the Government, the main cause of congestion in the industry was the insufficiency of labour in terms of manhours. .By statute, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Board is bound to provide sufficient registered labour to cope with the exigencies of any port. That is the matter that I hope will receive the consideration of the Government.
– The trouble with Senator Aylett is that he selects some portion of what is said in reply to a. question and misinterprets it. It is rather an adaptation of an old adage to make it read : “ You should warn the Minister concerned that anything he says will be taken down in writing, altered, and used in evidence against him “. The honorable senator claims that I have said that there is no selective credit policy in operation by the Government. He should get his thoughts clear about the matter. The Government’s financial policy provides for certain action in the field of taxation, and in connexion with capital issues. As far as the control of- credit is concerned, the arrangements that are in force to-day are exactly the same as the arrangements that were brought into operation on the 27th November, 1950. The financial directive from the Commonwealth Bank to the trading banks is the same in principle to-day as it was then. For the honorable senator to make allegations on that score betrays his sad lack of knowledge of the position. The facts are that- that directive provides, as I said this afternoon, for a loan of £3,000 for the building of a home, or £3,500 for the building of a home plus the purchase of the land. It specifically provides that co-operative building and housing societies, and builders and building companies may be financed if they are unable to finance their working requirements. In 1950-51 the Housing Division of the Commonwealth Bank approved 3,400 new housing loans, to a total amount of £4,800,000. The Commonwealth Bank and the Commonwealth Savings Bank together provided £8,300,000 for co-operative building societies. Under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, funds totalling £26,500,000 were provided for the four States concerned. Recently the chairman of the Associated Banks stated that the banks had made, and are still making, large advances for the purpose of erecting homes. Long-term housing advances are more suitably arranged by fixed mortgages outside the banks.
– Did not the manager of the CommercialBank of Australia protest against that statement?
– The chairman of the Associated Banks made a complete rebuttal of a statement that was made anonymously by a bank manager, who went on record in Victoria as having made a certain statement. Over and above the advances made by the Commonwealth Bank, the Commonwealth Savings Bank and under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, the trading banks have advanced £137,500,000, or 22 per cent, of all bank advances to June, 1951.
– Repayable on demand.
– That clearly indicates how far the banks have gone in assisting provisions for housing. I do not think there can he any doubt that the budgetary policy of the Government has materially assisted in stabilizing the financial position in Australia. 1 am not one of those who claim that it was the sole contributing factor. This is a world-wide trend. Of course there is a demand for housing, under a more stable Government. Young people are now more inclined to protect their future by building houses. There is a greater level of prosperity in Australia than formerly. There has been a big increase in population, and there is a back lag of unfulfilled demand during the war years. The honorable senator has stated that men in the building industry are unemployed.
-I said that they had gone into other industries.
– That is quite incorrect. There are thousands of vacancies for employment in the building industry which cannot be filled because the men are not available. The number of houses built this year throughout Australia will be greater than during last year. There is now a greater availability of materials. I believe that, when available, the statistics will show not only a greater number of houses commenced, but also a greater number of houses built during the current financial year, as a result of a more orderly approach to this problem. I believe it to be true that many of the complaints that are made about housing are inspired only by the desire to discredit the Government. That attempt will fail because the building industry, by and large, realizes that its conditions are better now than they have been previously. The average Australian is no fool. Undoubtedly, the cost of building reached a height which was beyond the capacity of Australians to meet. There is not the slightest doubt that in the. building industry, as in many other industries throughout Australia, there is buyer resistance. People are no longer prepared to pay the prices which they paid in the past. They are aware that buildings can be completed more efficiently and economically than they have been in the past and, despite their great desire to house themselves assoon as they possibly can, they have confidence in the manner in which this Government is approaching the housing problem.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were pre sented : -
Lands Acquisiton Act - Land acquired for Postal purposes -
Beaufort, South Australia.
Nuriootpa, South Australia.
Public Service Act - Appointment - Department -
Commerce and Agriculture - B. F. Hussey.
Health -S. S. Alexander, M. A. Bundock, J. R. Cornish, C. M. Gilbo, G. A. McLean, L. Sefton, J. M. Thompson, S. D. Watsford.
Postmaster-General’s - D. G. Geddes. N. S. Middleton.
Repatriation - A. A. Page.
Works and Housing - T. G. Leonard.
Senate adjourned at 11.2 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 March 1952, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1952/19520304_senate_20_216/>.