27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a report in today’s Press that the Australian Council of Churches has called on all Christians to boycott tours by South African sporting teams which are selected on a racial basis? Does he agree that the decision of the Australian Labor Party and the trade union movement to boycott such tours is gaining great public support from many influential quarters? If so, will he use his endeavours to convince the Government that these tours should not receive its support or approval and should be officially condemned?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI have seen the headlines about the decision of the Australian Council of Churches. Nobody denies the right of that body to express its view, but often I have been amazed at some of the decisions it has reached in many fields. However, I suppose that does not mean very much. The Australian Labor Party is also entitled to adopt an attitude, but I think it is a wrong attitude, just as I think the attitude of the Australian Council of Churches is wrong. I believe that the people of Australia overwhelmingly think that both attitudes are wrong.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: In view of the recent statement by the Prime Minister that the Government intended to liberalise trade with China, and having regard also to the statement made yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister that he now supports recognition of Mainland China, does the Government now support what the Australian Labour Party is trying to do in opening up new initiatives with China, or does the Government intend to display initiative especially in respect of trade and diplomatic relations with that nation?
At the conclusion of question time we will be confronted with a matter of urgency on this very subject. Senator Wright, who will be handling the matter on behalf of the
Government, will make the attitude of the
Government abundantly clear and 1 do not think I should anticipate it at this time.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that when the Senate Select Committee on the Container Method of Handling Cargoes was taking evidence, overseas shipping interests were stating that containerisation and other improved methods of wool handling would prevent increases in wool freights for at feast a few years? As sea freight costs determined by the Australia-United Kingdom-Europe Conference, in which the Government participates, have risen substantially since those statements were made and further sharp increases are threatened because of inflation and industrial disputes, what steps does the Government propose to take to prevent this further burden being imposed on the already hard pressed wool industry? ls the Government prepared to assist purchasers of our wool to find alternative shipping arrangements outside the Conference? Is the Government, which operates its own ships in the Australia-Japan Conference, satisfied that present wool freights are the best obtainable?
– I am quickly going through the various notes on shipping which have been given lo me by the responsible Minister. I shall do what 1 can to assist the honourable senator with some information which I have here. To the extent that that information needs to be added to I shall ask the Minister to do that for me. One or two comments I have might assist in this matter because we all have a vital interest in it. In late 1970 the Chamber of Commerce Export Council proposed a joint study of the overseas shipping policy between exporter groups and the Department, particularly the pros and cons of the conference system, Government support thereof and research facilities to back up shipper bodies in negotiations. The Department of Shipping and Transport has joined with other interested organisations, boards, export groups, manufacturers and growers, and in confidence there is a free exchange of views in that joint study group.
The initial meeting was held in February and a most encouraging response was received from the groups involved. Subgroups were established to pursue the study in depth and there is some prospect of a joint report coming out within a few months. Equally the Government is concerned to represent the position before the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in shipping aspects. Australian officials are participating in exploratory consultations with the OECD SecretaryGeneral at the present time. I do not think it would be sensible for me to go beyond that because I might well, out of my own enthusiasm for something to be done about this, say something which I am unable to back up with facts. I think the honourable senator will agree that T should properly refer the balance of his comments to the responsible Minister.
– In view of the concern expressed by the New South Wales Health Minister on the parlous state of hospital finance 1 ask the Minister for Health: What stage have discussions reached between himself, hospital funds and hospital authorities in the various States on solving this national problem? Will such discussions be subject to the same public exposure as are the proceedings of the national wage case?
– I affirm what I have earlier said, and what is the position, that the provision and servicing of hospitals is essentially a matter for the State governments. The Commonwealth’s position is one of rendering assistance and the ways in which the Commonwealth Government has assisted are well established and do not require at this stage any reiteration by me. The type of assistance rendered by the Commonwealth Government in assisting the States in the determinations which they have to make is a matter of Commonwealth concern. There have been discussions, but not on a formal basis, and they will continue. The outcome of those discussions must await not only the representations which are made and the consideration to be given by Government but also the final determinations which are made by the State governments in regard to their hospital finances.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. As 2 ships to service the Tasmanian run have been released by striking stewards will the Minister, in the event of the strike continuing, use his endeavours to have the shipping service to Kangaroo Island in South Australia resumed and so alleviate the disruption and hardship both to people and industry, particularly primary industry on that island?
– I am sure the Minister will do all he possibly can to bring about a solution in accordance with the honourable senator’s suggestion. In fact, when question time is over I shall refer the matter to the Minister.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it not true that Australian Government aid to Asia as distinct from private capital investment is still extremely low and that our record there compares unfavourably with that of other countries? Is it true as alledged by Mr J. B. Webb, Director of Community Aid Abroad, that Holland gives nearly twice as much to Indonesia as Australia, that West Germany gives more to Indonesia than we give and that Canada gives more to South East Asia than we give although geographically we are part of the region? Does the Minister agree with Mr Webb when he states that Australia has yet to undertake seriously an aid role in Asia appropriate for a wealthy neighbouring country?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI do not agree that Australia’s aid to South East Asia is significantly lower than that of other countries. Senator O’Byrne in dealing with the broad canvass of aid has dealt with Indonesia in isolation. I do not accept the statement that he makes. I shall set about getting a comprehensive statement relating to aid to South East Asia and produce the information in the Senate.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development refers to an announcement that the Australian Water
Resources Council has indicated a programme of research for the next 3 years and draws attention to the fact that research results coming forward from work already done justify this extension programme. Can the Minister say anything on the nature of these research results to which the announcement referred? Is information on them readily available? Do they in any way serve as guidelines for the establishment of water quality criteria on a national basis?
– The main projects that are involved in this programme include the study of the hydrology of small rural catchments, research requirements in urban hydrology and design of urban stormwater disposal systems, application of models to stream flow measurement, a field study of evaporation and investigation of evaporation reduction, the problems of developing underground water supply and river valleys, the conjunctive use of surface and ground water resources, artificial ground water recharge studies, a study of salinity problems to identify the nature and mechanism of corrosion, and compilation of Australian water criteria to serve as a guide on limits for the quality permissible for various beneficial uses. This is all part of the operation of the Water Resources Council and it is an interesting example of cooperative federalism at work. It is an admirable arrangement. It serves Australia extremely well. Its findings are valuable. I imagine that the past honourable senators have had an opportunity to see the Councils findings and I am sure that they will have an opportunity to do so in the future. The Council does a great job for the Australian people, particularly in the country where water is so extremely important.
– Can the Minister representing the Prime Minister advise the Senate or secure information on the requirement for an employee of a Commonwealth department, the Commonwealth Bank or a Commonwealth instrumentality when he or she receives endorsement as a political candidate for a Federal or State election? When would it be necessary for the employee to hand in a temporary resignation and if not elected when would he or she be able to resume his or her normal duties?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI understand that under the Public Service Act the practice is for staff to resign at least 1 month before the date on which nominations for the election close. On resignation the person ceases to be a public servant but, if he is not elected, he may within 2 months after the declaration of the result of the election apply for reinstatement. Sections 47C and 82B of the Public Service Act are the references to this aspect. I have not been informed, but I shall seek information relating to the situation in respect of employees of banks and other Commonwealth instrumentalities. When I have that information I shall make it available to the honourable senator.
(Question No. 872)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1010)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Main Pool: 165 ft x 60 ft and from 3 ft 6 in to 8 ft deep.
Diving Pool: 90 ft x 60 ft and 16 ft deep.
LearnersPool: Irregular shaped pool with main body of water 60 ft x 28 ft and 60 ft x 36 ft with depth from 6 in to 2 ft 6 in.
Deakin Pool (at King Street, Deakin)
Main Pool: 50 metres x 50 ft and from 3 ft 6 in to 5 ft 6 in deep.
Learners Pool. 50 ft x 30 ft and from 1 ft 6 in to 3 ft deep.
Wading Pool: 30 ft x 30 ft and from 6 in to 1 ft 6 in deep.
Manuka Pool (at New South Wales Crescent Griffith)
Main Pool: 100 ft x 40 ft and from 3 ft to 9 ft deep.
Wading Pool 50 ft diameter and from 6 in to 18 in deep.
Macquarie Pool (at Catchpole Street, Macquarie)
Main Pool: 50 metres x 50 ft and from 3 ft 6 in to 5 ft 6 in deep.
Learners Pool: Free form pool with total area of 1,600 sq ft and from 1 ft 6 in to 3 ft deep.
Wading Pool: 30 ft x 30 ft and from 6 in to 18 in deep.
Dickson Pool (at Cowper Street, Dickson)
Main Pool: 50 metres x 60 ft and from 3 ft 3 in to 6 ft deep.
Learners Pool: 60 ft x 40 ft and from 1 ft 6 in to 3 ft deep.
Wading Pool: 60 ft x 40 ft and from 6 in to 1 ft 6 in deep.
Deakin Pool - Rose Swimming and Recreation Centres Pty Ltd
Dickson Pool - Henry George Leslie
Macquarie Pool - James Percy Hunter
Manuka Pool - Owen George Taverner
The main conditions common to all lessees are:
to carry out all minor repairs to the buildings;
If the honourable senator wishes to inspect the full conditions of the leases they are available in the office of the Minister for the Interior.
(Question No. 1016)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
When will the Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection Ordinance, which the Minister advised me on 26th January 1971 was being drafted be in operation (Hansard, page 2352).
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
A draft of the proposed new ordinance is being examined. However, the ordinance, which will be very comprehensive in its application, is lengthy and complicated and it will be some time yet before a final draft can be expected. Its consideration is being expedited but it is too early to say with any certainty when it will be in operation.
(Question No. 1048)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Will Anzac Day, which falls this year on Sunday, 25th April, be observed in the Australian Capital Territory by granting a public holiday on Monday, 26th April.
The Holidays Ordinance 1958 provides that the twentyfifth day of April (Anzac Day) or, if that day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be observed as a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory.
(Question No. 920)
asked the Minister representing the Post masterGeneral, upon notice:
– The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 945)
asked the Minister for
Supply, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The funding arrangements and costs for the repair and overhaul of these aircraft are as follows:
The cost to the Australian Government for the overhaul and maintenance of components for a variety of aircraft was:
1969- 70- $20,131
1970- 71- $59,800 (to December 1970)
The cost to the Malaysian Government for the overhaul of Sabre aircraft components was: 1970-71- $50,000 (to December 1970)
(Question No. 955)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
(Question No. 966)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice: fi) Is ii proposed to restrict business hours at Townsville Telegraph Office to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays?
– The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– I inform the Senate that I have received a letter from the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) appointing Senator Branson as a member of Estimates Committee B in place of Senator Withers.
– As Chairman I present the report of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on Sunday observance in the Australian Capital Territory.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– by leave- 1 move:
That the Senate take note of the report.
The unanimous acceptance by the people of the Australian Capital Territory and by the Government of the report on the Sunday observance inquiry, which T have tabled, is unlikely. This is because philosophical issues on which we all make value judgments, are at the centre of the question my Committee has had to consider. The report makes recommendations about the use of leisure time by people in the ACT, including its many visitors, on Sundays and because these recommendations broaden the legal scope of possible activities, some groups may have misgivings about our report. Nonetheless, I say to the Senate, the Government and the people that I believe the report’s recommendations truly reflect the weight of evidence which had relation to the Committee’s terms of reference. More than this, the recommendations, if implemented, will ensure the creation of an atmosphere in Canberra in which there should be a wholesome enjoyment of leisure and the opportunity for the satisfaction of the needs of a wide spread of age groups, creeds and cultures. I point out that our inquiry was widely publicised, and it was held in public. Witnesses were keenly sought, and those desiring to be heard were heard and their evidence was tested. Finally, all the evidence, together with much relevant legislation and much research material on the question of Sunday observance in the 1970s, was examined and carefully weighed in the balance.
If the report is accepted in toto, I believe there will be written into the statutes of the Australian Capital Territory a set of rules for the observance of Sunday which, as time passes, will result in the achievement of the goal at which the Committee aimed. I believe that we have truly reflected what was in the minds and hearts of the public spirited people, from many spheres of activity, who proferred evidence to us. Attitudes, desires and rights of people change. The Committee became aware, early in the inquiry, of the desire of some sections of the community for change. It was equally obvious that all sections realised a change was not only understandable but also inevitable. Parliaments, governments and bureaucracies do not have to grant requested claims but surely they do right to grant them; or, as in our case, recommend them when they agree with the case put to them for those changes.
During the inquiry, there was mention for and against a ‘continental’ Sunday. We could obtain no acceptable definition of this widely used term, which has been bandied about for many years. My research brought to light an interesting quote from the ‘Hobart Mercury’ of Saturday. 13th October 1928, under the heading ‘The Mainland Day by Day - Melbourne’. It refers to a number of church bodies, whose names I will omit as I wish to ridicule or offend no one. The article pointed out that the church bodies deplore our drift towards a ‘continental’ Sunday. It went on to state:
Mr Hinkler’s arrival on a Sunday, the establishment of a Sunday train service between Melbourne and Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide, and Mr Clapp’s Sunday trains between Melbourne and the provincial centres . . . were adduced as evidence of ‘disquieting signs of a moral drift which imperils the State’. Unless something is done these things will end in a ‘continental’ Sunday. This shibboleth of the ‘continental’ Sunday had its roots in the early and mid-Victorian idea that a Frenchman was naturally immoral, the chief evidence of which was that he and his family made merry on cream puffs and well watered wine on their one weekly holiday.
Our aim has been to achieve the principle that the law and its administration should recognise the rights and responsibilities of persons and organisations to pursue, in a satisfying variety of ways, activities consistent with the observation of the day as one of spiritual, social and physical recreation and the enjoyment of leisure. We uphold the principle of the importance of church and family life, but we have also listened to the pleas on behalf of that heavy percentage of young people who are hostel or flat dwellers and we have recognised that the continually increasing large number of visitors flocking to our national capital must be given due consideration.
Yes, liquor will be more readily available, but I would point out that it is not the ready availability of alcohol or the proliferation of points of sale which causes the abuse of alcohol, and there has never been a law prohibiting its consumption on Sunday. The present law places members of i. censed clubs and their friends in a strictly favoured position and leads others to break the law in pursuing activities regarded by present day values as unobjectionable. Some of our recommendations are aimed at bringing an end to this favouritism and to legislate for all sections of the community. Other recommendations seek to provide legally more scope for both participatory and spectator sport and allow for the sale on Sundays of the type of goods that families and visitors require.
Lifting some restrictions may lead to increased Sunday employment; a matter to which my Committee gave close attention. In seeking a fair deal for all concerned in this matter and realising that various awards govern the rights of those who do work for wages in respect to overtime and hours of employment, the Committee has found it wise to include it its recommendations one which reads:
That legislation be enacted to provide against compulsory employment of any person in the capacity of an employee on a Sunday and, further, providing that refusal to work on Sunday should not prejudice employment.
T pay my personal tribute to all those who had any part in the inquiry culminating in this report and I am particularly grateful to my colleagues who have enabled me to produce a unanimous report. I stand by each of the recommendations we have made in the belief that, if put into law, they will help to provide, without amendment for many years, the means by which those who are in the ACT on Sundays may lead useful, happy, and if they desire, leisurely lives amongst their families and their friends.
– J have had the opportunity to glance only at the report which has been tabled by Senator Marriott. It appears to contain some very sensible proposals - I say with respect - for breaking down some of the very old restrictions upon what citizens might do on a Sunday. I am rather astonished at the description of the report as a Report on Sunday Observance in the Australian Capital Territory. Those words are redolent of the old words ‘observance of Sunday as a day of worship’. Our preaessors, in deciding upon the Constitution which governs us, have provided in section 116 of the Constitution:
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
It is clear that it is the obligation of the Commonwealth Parliament and of other authorities to make the legislative provisions and to take the administrative measures necessary to ensure that those who wish to observe Sunday as a day of worship may do so and that they may have the proper facilities to do so; and that those who do not wish so to do are equally free to do what they wish. The Commonwealth, as bound by the Constitution, should not seek to establish in any way any religion or irreligion in this Territory or in any part of the Commonwealth. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the interim report relating to the following proposed work:
– by leave - I indicate to the Senate that it is proposed that tonight Estimates Committees B and C will sit. At 2.15 p.m., after the suspension of the sitting for lunch, I shall ask for leave to move the formal motion. The draft motion is not quite ready. If carried, the motion will mean that tonight Estimates Committees B and C will meet and that the Senate will assemble at 10.15 p.m. for the adjournment. It is not proposed that the Senate sit tomorrow.
– I have received the following letter from Senator Turnbull:
I give notice that on Thursday, 22 April 1971, I shall move that the Senate at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 9.55 a.m., unless otherwise ordered, for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency, namely:
That it is in the best interests of Australia that we should immediately recognise the People’s Republic of China.
Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places).
– I move:
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 9.55 a.m., unless otherwise ordered.
I do so for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency, namely:
That it is in the best interests of Australia that we should immediately recognise the People’s Republic of China. 1 thank my friends in the chamber for supporting this motion to permit the discussion of this matter of urgency. The Republic of China is not China itself; it is really Taiwan. Two main issues arise. The first is the recognition of China, which is completely separate from the question of its taking a seat at the United Nations. 1 want to make that point quite clear because those two things can be dealt with separately. I am sorry that members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party are having a party meeting because I hoped to persuade them that they could support the first matter, the recognition of China, without getting too hot under the collar over its having 2 seats at the United Nations.
– The Australian Country Party will support the idea.
– I am aware of the Country Party but its members did not stand and support this discussion. They are a bit dicey about it. First, we have to deal with China. I have lived there and I wa3 there again 6 years ago. I intend going there again next year. There is no problem facing Australians who wish to enter China. They can get in when they want to on the same basis as any other individuals., except previously the Americans and now the Russians. You can get into that country without any problem if you want to; it is easy.
China is a country in its own right. It has a civilisation much older than ours and its people chose a philosophy of their own. Many countries have chosen their own philosophies and we do not argue with them; we recognise them. We receive representatives from Chile, Spain, Greece, Russia and so on. We recognise all these countries and we exchange ambassadors. But for some unknown reason the Government turns a blind eye when it comes to China because China is Communist. There are other Communist nations which we recognise. When one goes to China one realises what happy people the Chinese are. I think we will find that the ping-pong players from America and Australia who are visiting China will confirm what I say upon their return. Certainly the business people who freely enter China agree wilh what I say, that is, that the Chinese are a happy people.
Whilst Communism does not suit us and we do not support it, the Communist philosophy suits the Chinese people ai the present moment. Whether they will retain it is a matter for themselves. We have no right to dictate to them the sort of philosophy they shall enjoy. Political capital is made out of the fact that they are Communist. We see diagrams with big red arrows and the words ‘the Chinese are coming down here’. When one is in China and mentions this the people laugh and say: ‘Where is Australia?’ At the moment they really are not interested in Australia. It is not Communism which makes anyone interested in Australia, as many honourable senators present will know. The Japanese were not Communists but they came down and endeavoured to conquer Australia. It may well be that the Japanese will conquer us if not militarily at least economically. China will not advance this way because she is Communist. If she does come here it will be because she is a world power, as Japan was, and wants to expand. Let us not hear any more statements about the Communists coming down here from China. Those statements remind me of the old yellow peril. 1 suppose most of us in this chamber would remember this, although the young people would not When I first came to Australia I heard about this dreadful yellow peril. We were told that we had to be frightened of the Chinese and the Japanese because at any moment they were going to take us over.
I believe that it is immature of the Government, Ministers and members of Parliament to keep on referring to China as continental China, Red China or any other China you like except the People’s Republic of China, which is the name the Chinese have chosen for themselves. We would not like it if they made derogatory remarks about Australia. The People’s Republic of China is a country of 700 million people, if not 800 million. Nobody seems to know the exact population. While I am talking another million may be added to the population. So, this is a nation and a nation with its own civilisation and one that we should respect.
I think we should clear up some facts in regard to Taiwan because we hear from so many people that the people there are not Chinese, that they have the right to do what they want and so on. I ask honourable senators to remember that it was 400 years ago that the Chinese migrated to Taiwan. It was the kingdom of China and they were Chinese people who migrated there. In 1887 the Chinese Government declared Taiwan to be a province of China, but unfortunately in the war with Japan, in 1895, China had to cede Taiwan to Japan and Taiwan became Formosa. In 1945 Chiang Kai-shek was being defeated and soundly trounced. There is no-one in China or among what are called the old China hands who will not agree that Chiang Kai-shek was one of the most successful of the corrupt warlords of China. He was successful not only militarily but also in corruption. Yet he managed to gain sway. There is some worry as to whether he was not even treasonable during the war because, although he gave lip service to being on the side of the Western powers and the Chinese troops had their base in Chungking, they very rarely fought Japanese troops; they were far more interested in attacking Mao’s troops.
So, when Mao came forth from his wilderness he swept the country because the Chinese themselves had no faith whatever in Chiang Kai-shek. Very few Chinese - say 1 per cent at the most - would have any faith in Chiang Kai-shek. The only place to which he could go was Formosa. So he went over to Formosa. He was able to go there because when the war ended and Japan was defeated Formosa was handed over to the Nationalist Government that was in power in China at that time. Formosa was given to China as a trust and nothing was determined as to what should happen to it. Then Chiang Kai-shek arrived with his troops. He was not a welcome guest. The Taiwanese did not want him there. They did not want him at all. In fact, in 1947 there was the famous rebellion in which 20,000 Taiwanese were massacred by Chiang Kai-shek’s troops. I want to point out here that, the Nationalist Government having been given Taiwan as a trust, Chiang Kai-shek had sent troops over before he himself escaped to Taiwan. In 1949 Chiang Kai-shek actually went to Taiwan.
In 1950, the following year, without any legality he just arbitrarily appointed himself as President. He was the selfproclaimed President of Formosa or Taiwan, whichever you like to call it. The Japanese peace treaty was signed in 1951, but no legal status was given to Formosa or Taiwan. Its legal status was still undetermined. The sovereignty of it was not transferred to any power, So, we have here not a situation that Taiwan is a sovereign state at all but a situation that it is a Chinese province which the Japanese took over by war and which was left in a state of flux until Chiang Kai-shek arrived. Today in what is called ‘Formosa’ there are 12 million Taiwanese. Let the Government not keep on telling us in this chamber that these are free Chinese people. They are not. They are Taiwanese, and no-one knows whether they want to go back to Red China, as the Government calls it, or whether they want to stay with Chiang Kai-shek’s China. There are only 2 million of the Chiang Kai-shek Chinese on the island and those 2 million keep in subjugation the 12 million Taiwanese.
I do not care what it is called but the Australian Government calls that democracy. Can anyone believe that it is democracy when 85 per cent of the people are Taiwanese and are allowed only a 3 per cent token representation in their House of
Assembly, their Parliament? fs that democracy? Yet that is the Government which the Australian Government supports all along the line. As I have said so frequently in this chamber, if Chiang Kai-shek, as he says he will do every year, did land on China with 3 divisions, 2 of them would desert him immediately. So many of these people are Chinese. They believe in China and want to go back to China, so much so that there is a Formosan Liberation Independence League which we should be supporting as we support the people in Vietnam. There are 14 million people on the island of whom 12 million are Taiwanese and 2 million are Chinese brought over by Chiang Kai-shek.
The Americans keep on arguing that they should be given protection. Therefore, because the Americans do that, we have to do so too. It is of no use for the Government to say that we have an independent policy in regard to China. That is one of the absurdities of all time. In practice, as soon as America does one thing, we follow. It may have been incidental that American ping pong players went into China and then our ping pong players went into China. The Americans suddenly say: ‘We will relax trade with China,’ and then Australia says: ‘We will relax trade with China.’ It is just coincidence, of course.
– That is not true. We relaxed trade with Red China long before America did, so America can be charged with following us.
– f am not arguing with what the honourable senator is saying. I am pointing out that the Government said yesterday or the day before - I forget which - that it would relax trade with China. The Government probably has not the wisdom of Senator Little. If he had advised the Government that it had already relaxed trade it would not have made that statement.
– We do trade with the Chinese.
– Wc do trade with them but I said that we were relaxing trade.
– What is the difference?
– There will be more trade.
– That is not relaxing trade, that is increasing trade.
– Very well. It is not important whether we use the word relaxing’ or the word ‘increasing’. If you relax trade, you get more therefore you increase trade. Let us have a play on words if that suits the honourable senator. However the basic principle remains that, according to the Government, we want to have more trade but this statement has been made - this is what the argument was about - because the Americans said that they wanted more trade. We continue to hang on to America’s coat tails. We cannot have an independent resolution of our own, a will to live on our own, a will even to defend our own country. We have to rely on America every inch of the way. Now when we have an opportunity to make friends with a country with which we want to make friends and to trade, we hold back to see what America will do about Taiwan. That is why the Government will not recognise China.
I come now to the question of trade with China. We have the pathetic absurdity of this Government pleading with the Chinese: ‘Please buy our wheat, please buy our wool, but we will not recognise you. Perhaps if you were to buy a bit more wheat and a bit more wool we would recognise you.’ Is it not time that we got away from that? Is it not time that we said to the Chinese people: ‘We will be friendly with you’? Is not that the way to get them to trade with us - because they know that we are friends of theirs and that we want to be friends of theirs? If that were done trade would flow automatically. That is the first step that should be taken. We should not be crying all the way to China that we must have her support - that she must buy our wheat to keep our country people on the land and buy our wool to help our country people and to keep the Country Party viable. That is the wrong way in which to go about the whole business. We should recognise the Chinese as our friends and only then should we talk business with them. It is hypocritical and virtually unethical to demand support from a country which we do not even recognise. Let us try it the other way and we may find that a great deal of benefit will flow to us. I believe that if we recognise China first, trade will follow.
The question of the United Nations crops up as another issue in the field. Some people are worried that if we recognise China Taiwan will suffer. Let me tell the Government that if it is not very careful there will be no problem about that at all because indications are that Taiwan may be expelled from the United Nations. Whether China should be admitted to the United Nations and Taiwan expelled is known as the Albanian question. At the last meeting of the United Nations for .the first time on this question a majority vote was obtained - 51 to 49 with 25 abstentions. The Americans have tried to stall on the matter of Chinese representation in the UN by seeking determination of whether it is an important question for United Nations purposes. Australia supports the view that a two-thirds majority vote is required on the question of whether China can be admitted and Taiwan expelled because it is an important question. If that is defeated by a simple majority, the Albanian question no longer becomes an important matter and does not need a two-thirds vote. On the issue of whether it is an important question, 62 voted in favour of its being so regarded and 52 voted against, with 7 abstentions. At the October sittings of the United Nations only 8 countries need to change sides and vote for the inclusion of China on this important issue and the important issue is gone. Then it becomes a simple majority question as to the admission of China and the expulsion of Taiwan.
If there are any friends of Taiwan here it is time that they told that country to fight for its seat in the United Nations because it will lose it if it is not careful. Instead of worrying about the inevitable recognition of China the Taiwanese should be trying to foster enough friends to ensure that they keep a United Nations seat. At the moment they do not have enough. On a vote of 51 to 49 they could be expelled. If the important question issue is defeated this year, as I believe it may well be, Taiwan will be expelled. Taiwan should be busy seeing how it can retain its seat, rather than worrying about China’s getting on to the committee. The Canadian solution could be a face saver for the Government, the Australian Democratic Labor Party and any other group that opposes the recognition of. China.
– We do not need a face saver. We know where we stand.
– That may be so, but people do change their policies at times. I am not blaming the DLP. Everyone changes with greater maturity and knowledge. The point is that we should be helping our friends and seeing that China gains a place in the United Nations. If we can help to keep Taiwan as a member of the UN - which seems to be impossible - I think we should do so. The Canadian solution appears to me to be one that the Government can readily accept without losing its principles altogether. We entered the Vietnam war with a declaration of so many principles but now we are getting out of it without any principles. If we believed in the principles enunciated by the Government 7 or 8 years ago we should still be there and not withdrawing our troops. But we do not believe in those principles any more and are withdrawing our troops.
– Speak for yourself.
– Why do you support a Government that allows its troops to come out when you believe in those principles?
– What about Vietnamisation?
– -Vietnamisation must be the greatest laugh of all timePeople should realise that the moment American troops are below a certain level Vietnamisation will disappear like a flash. I do not want to keep on the subject of Vietnam. A question of principle is involved in not recognising Red China but it is disappearing with America’s acceptance. Probably the Government can lose a little bit of face but if it accepts the Canadian solution it will not lose too much face. For heaven’s sake let us be mature about this situation. Let us realise that we do not go crying for trade because of the position of our wheat and wool industries. Let us say: ‘We want to be friends with you.’ That is what I want to plead. We should get to know China. Honourable senators cannot know China if they have not been there. Six years ago after I had returned from China I said in this chamber that the first thing we should do is to send a parliamentary delegation there. This should be done so that we can get to know China. Honourable senators will go there and be surprised. They do not have to believe what people tell them. They can see for themselves. I know I will be given the answer: ‘They only show you the best.’ Do not we show everyone the best when they come here? Do we take them to Aboriginal hovels and let them see those? We do not worry at all. Of course China shows the best when we go there. The Chinese are proud of what they have to show.
I was amazed. As a matter of fact I shall give honourable senators an instance of medical equipment which I had seen at a fabulously wealthy hospital in Hong Kong. It had equipment made in Germany which gave a report on a blood test in 25 seconds. When I was in Shanghai I was asked to go and see the trade display. I said: ‘No, I will go and see the medical display, not the trade display.’ They had exactly the same type of machine and it was manufactured in Shanghai. I ask honourable senators not to under-estimate the Chinese. A delegation of all members of Parliament, including members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party should go to China and see for themselves what is going on there. I make this plea to the Government because it is essential. It is far more essential to do this than to send people there to talk about wheat, wool and other trade. We must get there first. .We must show that we want to be friendly. We will not get any trade or help from them if we do not do this. To my mind, the simplest way to do this is to send a delegation there and let the people of Australia-
– The honourable senator has taken that out of his resolution. He no longer considers that urgent.
– I took it out of the resolution for a good reason.
– I wondered why the honourable senator was discussing it.
– Because I wanted to discuss it. I have been discussing lots of points which are not in the resolution.
– I appreciate that. I was just reminding the honourable senator.
– I do not need reminding. I took that point out because I thought the words were redundant - that there should be one issue only and that the question of visiting should not be left in. The one issue is that we should recognise China. I took out the other words but I mention them now so that Senator Little will hear them. A delegation of members from both Houses of Parliament should go to China and see for themselves. Another reason why I took out those words was because people do not understand why I mentioned October. The reason is that there are 2 great days in China. One is in May and another is on 10th October. That is the time to show the Chinese by sending a delegation that we have come to support them.
– That is not the great day in Mainland China. That is the great day in Taiwan.
– There are people who are so immature that they do not realise that the Chinese have a great day. There is only one China.
– I know more about it than the honourable senator.
– I am happy to know that the honourable senator-
– They do not even celebrate that day in Hong Kong.
– Could the honourable senator make his speech afterwards? I want to finish. The point is that they have a day in China, whatever the honourable senator may like to call that China. The People’s Republic of China has celebrations in October. I suggest to the Government that we ask the Chinese Government whether it will receive a delegation from our Parliament during those celebrations. I think that we should go there without discussing wheat, wool and trade and ask for their friendship. If we do this we have a chance in later years of selling them more wheat and wool. I have raised this question because I think it is of vital importance at the moment. It is necessary that we arrive at a decision on this matter urgently. I hope that most honourable senators will support me in this view that we should give immediate recognition to the People’s Republic of China.
– In replying to the honourable senator’s motion that we should immediately recognise the People’s
Republic of China I draw particular attention to the word ‘immediately’. On the Government side of the chamber we have always affirmed our hope that Peking would one day be drawn into the international community. The establishment of lasting peace and security in Asia is possible only if the People’s -Republic of China is ready to co-operate. However, the Republic has yet to demonstrate that it is prepared to adopt constructive policies and live in peace with its neighbours. Communist China has repeatedly asserted the need for the overthrow of established states by revolution. Chinese experience has, it seems, led them to conclude that this is the only road by which Communists can obtain power and yet remain genuine Communists. Other means of gaining power - for example, through democratic elections and parliamentary means - are regarded as revisionist and futile. The universal validity of the Chinese pattern of revolution is proclaimed and is seen to be especially relevant for the predominantly agrarian underdeveloped world, including South East Asia.
Chinese support for revolution and insurgency is not only ideological but is also practical. This has been the case since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. After the North Korean assault on the Republic of Korea in 1950, China committed itself to massive intervention on the North Korean side, an intervention which was sustained beyond the protection of the North Korean borders. Subsequently China, has continued to lend support for the North Korean regime which sought to reunite that peninsula by force of arms. In Indo-China the People’s Republic of China has declared its active support for the so-called war of national liberation of the Indo-Chinese people, a term which includes the military conflicts in Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. It has declared that it is the reliable rear base area for that struggle. It has given both military and economic support for Hanoi for the prosecution of these conflicts. Also it has called for struggle until final victory is achieved and it has actively opposed any effort to reach a negotiated settlement at the Paris talks. It is not even clear whether its support for the so-called war of liberation of the Indo-Chinese people stops short of Thailand.
Recently Peking referred to the struggle in the Indo-China peninsula, a geographical term which might possibly be taken as including Thailand. Certainly it has been active in building roads across northern Laos in the direction of Thailand and has given assistance to Thai insurgency movements in the northern part of that country. Elsewhere in South East Asia, and indeed in south Asia, there is a similar picture. Communist China has called for a people’s war in Burma and has given support to insurgents in that country. It is broadcasting hostile propaganda calling for revolution and is encouraging subversion and insurgency in Malaysia and Indonesia. In the case of India it has called for revolution and it has lent active support to the Naga rebels. In the case of India too, the People’s Republic of China engaged in military conflict to assert its border claims against India.
More recently China has adopted a more constructive foreign policy and has sought to increase its international support. It has in fact been successful in gaining recognition from a number of additional countries. But it is noteworthy that none of these is within the Asian region. This is not surprising, as there has been little sign of a diminution of Chinese support for insurgency in the countries of Asia. I believe that this record of hostile intent and hostile practice does not suggest that the People’s Republic of China is yet willing to live in peace with its neighbours or to adopt genuinely constructive policies towards them. We fervently hope that the Chinese leaders will turn to more moderate courses. They have lately shown signs of greater interest in the development of understanding between peoples and in regularising their relations with certain Western and non-aligned governments.
Our policy review is continuing. But the conditions in which diplomatic recognition would be possible have not yet been realised. I would also like to draw the attention of honourable senators to a statement made in the House of Representatives by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) on 6th April. He then stated that China had acquired some greater international support and was showing more interest in representation in the United Nations. The Minister said that as a result Australia had its policies towards China under review, and in this respect we were consulting closely with the United States of America, Japan and other friendly nations which have also had their policies under review. These consultations are continuing. It would affect our credibility with our allies and our friends if we were to seek precipitately to detach ourselves and to take action to recognise a government which had adopted policies opposed to our interests for more than 20 years. Action of this kind would also be foolish because it would not be likely to lead to any changes in China’s aims and the means by which it has chosen to achieve them.
A further point that I wish to make is that for the last 20 years the Government of the Republic of China in Taiwan has shown itself to be able to live up to its international obligations within the United Nations and elsewhere. It is a country with which we, Japan and the United States and a number of other countries in the region, have developed close relations. It would indeed weaken our credibility amongst Asian countries if we were unilaterally to recognise the People’s Republic of China without seeking protection for the status and rights of the people of Taiwan. It has been stated before and it needs to be stated again, especially in view of what we have heard from Senator Turnbull, that Australia attaches great importance to the interests and rights of Taiwan as a member of the international community.
We cannot concur in action that would leave 14 million people - more than the population of Australia - to face Communist China without recognition or the support of friends. We must give great weight to the interests and views of our friends in Asia. It seems to me improbable that the people of Taiwan would wish to come under the dominance of mainland China. Their standard of living is one of the highest in Asia. It is certainly substantially higher than that of the people of mainland China. In exchanging Nationalist for Communist rule they would inevitably be reduced to the same level of existence as on the mainland.
I also ask honourable senators to consider the repercussions within other small Asian- countries of any betrayal of the people of Taiwan as a matter of international convenience or in response to pressures from the mainland. What lessons would the small Asian countries that border China draw from such an abandonment? Surely it would be to seek their own accommodation with Peking while they seem to have the opportunity. Any such accommodation would inevitably lead to pressures from Peking for further concessions.
One final point needs to be made in reply to Senator Turnbull’s first proposition. As the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) explained in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Government believes that the immediate problem for examination is not recognition of the People’s Republic of China but its possible admission to the United Nations. This order of priorities is the only methodical one. As has been said repeatedly, we are confronted with the situation that there was a shift in Peking’s favour in the voting at the most recent United Nations General Assembly. That, not recognition, is the problem to which we must immediately address ourselves. The first objective must be to find ways of protecting the status and rights of the people of Taiwan to representation in the United Nations. In that respect it is appropriate to advert to what fell - I think without any consideration at all - from Senator Turnbull’s lips when he referred to the Albanian resolution for the expulsion of Taiwan and the admission of mainland China. Senator Turnbull canvassed the validity of treating this matter as an important question. His submission in this respect was a plain subversion of the very terms of the Charter of the United Nations. Article 18 of the Chaner states’.
Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.
Article 18 goes on to state that these questions shall include - I will mention only the relevant ones - the suspension of the rights and privileges of membership and the expulsion of members. Senator Turnbull expressly acknowledged that a part of the text of the Albanian resolution was the expulsion of a member. It is mentioned in Article 18, as I thought, that the admission of new members is one of these important questions. I do not know how anybody who adheres to the constitution of the United Nations could seriously contravert that it is an important question within the terms of Article 18. particularly when the proposition from Albania was to exclude Taiwan and admit mainland China.
Senator Turnbull dropped from his original proposal any reference to the sending of a parliamentary delegation to China. As Senator Turnbull told us today, he has expressed this view on a previous occasion. Why did he not advance this proposition today in his motion? The tactic of dropping this proposition from his motion was possibly to secure some support in thin Chamber. It may be that the Australian Labor Party is not so ardently keen upon sending representation to China, whether it be in the form of Dr Patterson or of a parliamentary delegation. Anybody who suggests a parliamentary delegation to China at present shows that he has an absence of knowledge of the conditions there. It is impossible for me to see what this delegation would gain, other than to expose honourable members to . Chinese hospitality - designed to achieve Chinese purposes, with which we are not in agreement - or to expose them to Chinese propaganda. We should remember, too, that there is no real equivalent of our Parliament in China and that the institutions of the People’s Republic are in a state of disarray after the cultural revolution.
– How do you know?
– You are only assuming.
– The know-alls speak while I pause.
– You cannot make a speech.
– By reason of my knowledge at present, 1 venture to assert - on a much more reliable foundation of information than has ever been available to Senator Hendrickson or Senator Cant - that the country I am referring to is, in effect, being governed by improvised committees, subject to the direction of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The army, along with carefully selected cadres and officials, is playing the predominant role in these committees. On the other hand, the Australian Government has never sought to stand in the way of private individuals or associations which have sought to travel to the People’s Republic pf China for legitimate purposes. If Senator Turnbull wishes to travel to China - as he has avowed and I confirm - he can apply for a visa and no obstacles will be placed in his way by the Australian Government. Our position is. clear. The Australian Government welcomes contact that is likely to be fruitful and positive, but it sees no need to take official actions running counter to our established policies and obligations in the Asian region.
– We have been treated to a speech by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) which has been provocative and insulting towards the People’s Republic of China. It was so out of touch with reality that it was comical. I would hope - and I would suggest - that no-one should take those provocative remarks made by the Minister as illustrating the official attitude of Australia or even of the Government towards the People’s Republic of China. I could not believe that the Government would stand behind those insulting and provocative remarks which he made. The motion is based on the proposition that it is in the best interests of Australia to recognise immediately the People’s Republic of China. The Minister has suggested that we should not be precipitate, that we should not rush into such a move, that we should not do this immediately. For more than 20 years there has been a People’s Republic of China. We should have recognised the People’s Republic of China at the commencement of those 20 years. It is idle to suggest that there is any reason for delay. We know that Australia will recognise the People’s Republic of China and it will not be very long before it does. We should do it of our own accord, without waiting until our masters elsewhere crack the whip and we follow along as the satellite, as we have been described. It is in the best interests of Australia to recognise the People’s Republic of China.
The situation is that the Australian Government is maintaining that the lawful government of the whole of mainland China as well as Taiwan, well over 800 million people, is the Chiang Kai-shek Government on the island of Taiwan, the Republic of China. It seems unbelievable that any country could say internationally that that is the position. Yet this is what Australia is saying - that the true lawful government of those 800 million people is the Chiang Kai-shek Government on the island of Taiwan. That is an impossible, ridiculous and absurd position. The international claim by both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan is that there is only one China. That is common ground. They are both adamant that there is one China and one only. That has been made clear to the Australian Government, and the Government of Australia accepts that that is the position. On 3rd June last year the Minister representing the then Minister for External Affairs presented a reply to a question I had placed on notice. My question was:
Whom does Australia recognise as the ‘lawful government of mainland China?
The answer I received was:
The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following reply:
As the Australian Government understands the matter, neither the authorities of i the People’s Republic of China nor’ the government of the Republic of China accepts any ‘ formula of recognition which would deny its. claim to sovereignty over both the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan. As the honourable senator knows, Australia accords de jure recognition to the government of the Republic of China.
So in simple terms this Government is adopting the absurd position of saying that the government of those 800 million people on the mainland of China as well as those on Taiwan is the Chiang Kai-shek Government in Taiwan. How ridiculous that is……
The Minister stood here and said that the government in Taiwan has shown that it is able to live up to its international obligations in the United Nations and that that is why we should continue to recognise it. How absurd it is. How can that government live up to the international obligations of representing and speaking for 800 million people on the mainland? It does not represent them at all. It is childish to say that it accepts and stands up to the international obligation of representing the Chinese people. It does not represent them. Only a stupid incompetent government such as ours would say that the government on Taiwan represents the 800 million people on the mainland of China.
How much longer is this absurd situation to continue? How much longer is the Australian Government going to say to the world that the lawful government of those 800 million people is on the island of Taiwan?
It is in the interests of Australia and in the interests of the proper maintenance of that rule of law which should apply internationally as well as in domestic affairs that the government which is the true government of China should be recognised. If both the government on the island of Taiwan and the government of the People’s Republic of China maintain that there is only one China and that everyone must accept and act ‘ on that proposition, then the choice for us is clear - the lawful gov:ernment of China must be the government of the People’s Republic of China. .Taking into” account what was correctly said by Senator Turnbull, if the government on the island of Taiwan wants to change its position, let it do so. and then let us consider that in the light of the changed position. But while the government on Taiwan and the government of the People’s Republic of China say that .there is only one China and only one government of China, then that government must be the government of the People’s Republic of China. ‘ ‘ “
This is an Alice, in ..Wonderland situation. We trade with mainland China. The United Stales wa.nt.s_ to have more contact with China and the President of the United States speaks of the People’s Republic of China. What is it really but recognition when the Head of State of the United States speaks publicly of the People’s Republic of China? For myself I would say that the United States has recognised the People’s Republic of China. The exchange of ambassadors, the entry into the United Nations ;ind all these other things are important but they are outside the basic question of recognition. We have no excuse whatsoever for maintaining this absurd, intolerable, insulting and provocative position which was outlined by the Minister.
A great number of countries have refused to follow any longer the lead of those who want to exclude the 800 million people in China from the councils of the world, who want to refuse to accord them any kind of recognition and who want to maintain the pretence that they do not exist except to say that they are repreented by the government on the island of Taiwan. That impossible position is rapidly changing. Last October Canada recognised the People’s Republic of China. A month later Italy, Ethiopia and Chile followed suit. Belgium and Austria are expected to “do the same thing. There is a strong likelihood that some South’ American states. Bolivia and perhaps even Peru, soon will extend diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China. Britain, is in the. process of raising the level of its ‘representation in Peking. Malaysia and other States on the rim of the Asian mainland already have indicated that they will make certain changes in their posture towards China. Even, the Pope,- when” speaking’ iti Hong Kong during his. Asian tour, indicated that changes .were in store for Vatican-China relations. In recent weeks the United States has taken steps which promise to alter dramatically its relations with China.
However.- the Australian Government still refuses to face realities. This Govern-, men fs policy of refusing to recognise a nation of. 800 million people with -whom. . we ,have important trade relations surely is j political backwoodsmanship. For more . than 20 years it has persisted with a policy . 1 which has not -been in the interests of the people of Australia. This has been brought home to us. now by the fact that wheat sales to China, a matter of very great i importance to the economy of Australia and to a very large section of our population, have been -curtailed.
Over the last 10 years Australia’s exports to China have been worth $ 1,000m more than our imports from China. In the last financial year China purchased Si 26m worth of goods from Australia while we imported Chinese goods worth only $32m. More than 90 per cent of last year’s exports to China was wheat and its value was $1.1 8m, compared with S58m in the previous year. Nearly $4m worth of non-ferrous metals were exported last year compared with only $ 1 . 2 m worth the year before. Wool is another regular export to that country, amounting to the value now of $2.5m compared with $1.2m in 1968- 69. In addition we export metaliferrous ores and metal scrap, iron and steel, hides and skins, animal and vegetable oils. Despite this trading relationship with the People’s Republic of China our Government has stubbornly refused to accord that country diplomatic recognition.
The truth of the matter is that the Government has never really had a policy of its own towards China; it has held on tightly to the apron strings of the United States and blindly followed the dictates of that country. Now, when the United States is changing its course, and changing it rapidly, Australia apparently is unable to perform its manoeuvres sufficiently dextrously and is being made to look sheepish in the eyes of the world. The people of Australia have changed their opinion. Not even the ordinary person in the street can see sense in what the Government is doing. The newspapers have altered their position. The academic community has swung round heavily. From . every point of view the Government ought to have had enough sense to have come out and recognised the People’s Republic. If the Government had had enough intelligence, it would have seized upon a motion such as this and said: Yes, the matter is being considered’, and given itself the opportunity to change its position, and to change it with some appearance of dignity.
Instead we have the ridiculous picture of the Minister going on in a way that is likely to exacerbate the hostility of which he has spoken. I will not go through his remarks. He spoke about aggression by China. The notion of Chinese aggression against India has been exploded. If he were to read the recent book that was reviewed by Mr Pringle of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, he would find that there the notion of Chinese aggression against India was shown to be completely baseless after a thorough investigation. China has been moderate in its relations with its neighbours. It has had a long history of being imposed upon. I do not know of any other country that would tolerate the position in Hong Kong and Macao as China has. It ought not to be accused of aggression in the way the Minister has accused it. I think it is extremely regrettable that he has let his words fly in a way that may endanger our relations with this great country. We will recognise the People’s Republic of China - there is no doubt whatever of that - and we will recognise the People’s Republic of China very soon. I believe that the proposition advanced by Senator Turnbull - namely, that it is in the best, interests of this country that we should do so immediately - is unarguable.
– At the outset let me say that 1 cannot help digressing for a moment because last evening I was very attracted by the statements of Senator O’Byrne who said that we had entered -into a period of the brotherhood of man, that colonialism was dead and so on. If that were so, I could enter into this discussion with much more confidence. I believe that, if those principles were to be enunciated amongst the Czechs, the Poles, “the Hungarians, the Tibetans and the Indians, those people would be very pleased to .know that such was the case. But, of. course, we know perfectly well that such, is not the case and that we are in the same old world which, if anything, is more of a jungle today than it has ever been over the past centuries. 1 was interested, too, in listening to Senator Turnbull’s speech. This is the second such attempt he has made. I think he moved a motion along similar lines 3 or 4 years ago and was unable to get a seconder for it. He seemed to take the view that non-recognition of Communist China flowed from the fact that that country was Communist. Of course, that is not so. We have recognised other Communist countrist. He went on to say - he laid great stress on this - that all we needed to do was to make friends with Communist China and trade would flow and everything would be lovely. I was amazed to hear what Senator Murphy said about the invasion of India.
– You must have spent the whole morning being amazed.
– I have been very amazed. I am often very , amazed by statements that are made by members of the Opposition, especially when they get into the international field. I would take it that, if a country sent an invading army, armed to the teeth, into another country, ravaged part of that country’s territory and killed some of that country’s inhabitants, that would be aggression.
– We are doing that in Vietnam.
– 1 do not care what anyone else says. I do not intend to be led astray by talk about Vietnam. That can be answered very effectively. India is a country that has recognised Red China - in fact, almost to the point of nausea. Nehru in particular lent over backwards in trying to placate Red China. He did everything possible to try to make friends with Red China. And look where it got him. It did not alter at all the. fact that if it suited the convenience of Red China to invade the territory of India it did so. Whether India recognised Red China or not and whether India tried to make friends with the Red Chinese or not, if it suited their convenience to do that, that is precisely what they did.
As far as trade, about which we have heard so much, is concerned, the Chinese buy on the market that suits them best. I do not blame them for doing that. The next consideration that motivates them is that they can use. and on many occasions have used, that same trade as a political weapon. So, I for one have no confidence whatever in the contention that all we have to do is to try to make friends with them, to recognise them and to send people to Red China on friendly missions and everything will be just as it should be between our country and Red China. In my opinion the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Bury, summed up the position in regard to Red China very well when he said:
It has a strong influence in a number of Communist countries and some others. It has extended its support to insurgent movements in several countries both in and beyond the South East Asia region. It is developing an arsenal of nuclear weapons together with missiles. We accept that, perhaps more than any other government, that of China has great domestic difficulties. But it is necessary to point out that the isolation of China from the international community has been largely the result of its own international attitudes.
Surely nothing could be more true than that. In the conclusion of his remarks about China he said:
The Australian Government considers that the Republic of China is as much a fact of international life as is the People’s Republic of the mainland. There are more than 14 million people in Taiwan, more than in most member countries of the United Nations. The status and rights of Taiwan as a member of the international community must be protected.
I agree completely with that statement. I agree completely also with Senator Wright’s statement in regard to the Republic of Taiwan, undoubtedly one of the most prosperous regions in eastern Asia. If it is a condition of recognition of Red China that we must recognise her right to do as she chooses with the 14 million people on Taiwan, surely that is enough to give pause to any idea that we should recognise her.
We have heard a good deal about trade and about the fact that China no longer requires wheat from Australia. I point out that Red China and South East Asia have been caught up in what has been termed the green revolution’ in South East Asia inasmuch as the people of those regions are probably growing more food and, incidentally, more rice, now than ever before in their history. Some time ago one of mainland China’s spokesmen said: ‘We import wheat from Australia but we export rice to other counties. This arrangement is favourable to China. The export of one ton of rice pays for 1.8 tons of wheat’. Because there is a surplus of rice in South East Asia and because the available export markets for China’s rice have been restricted very considerably, there is not the need for China to import Australian wheat.
– But there is for Canadian wheat.
– We set up the Australian Wheat Board to handle sales of wheat. That was supported by all political Parties, so fa,r as I am aware. If that is not so, I will stand corrected. In my opinion it was a good move to set up a body to handle the export and sale of this most important commodity, a body freed entirely from political control. I think it must be conceded that up to date the Board has done a reasonably good job for the wheat growers of Australia. For a political Party to write to the leader of a Communist country and try to get the OK from him to buy Australian wheat, merely for the sake of gaining political advantage in Australia, has been described as being on a- par with a letter that Evatt wrote to Molotov, I think it was, prior to the Petrov trial.
– Here is the old Communist bogey.
– No, it is not. To send an emissary to Red China would only wake up the Chinese to the fact that they could play politics with the trade of this country. Surely no other construction could be placed upon it. If a political Party - a Party which is not the government of this country but is, in fact, the Party in opposition - goes over the head of the Wheat Board and visits a country such as Red China, then it must pinpoint clearly and beyond doubt the facility that is available to the Chinese to cause disruption within the borders of Australia and to play politics. That would be the result if the Australian Labor. Party- -were to send an emissary to. Red China. In my opinion it would be -.a- most reprehensible action. I sincerely hope that in the interests of the wheat growers and of this country generally the Australian Labor Party will not persevere with such a proposition. 1 repeat that recognition of Red China and her- admission into the United Nations involves all sorts of complications. Taiwan is one of them. Another, as was reported some time ago, is that China wants the power of veto. Those things must cause complications. For the sake of extending this emply gesture of friendship - that is all it is - to Red China we are supposed to throw away 14 million people in Taiwan.
– They are not all Chiang Kai-shek’s people.
– They are all enjoying the greatest prosperity of any Asian country, probably with the exception of Japan. Senator Turnbull has claimed that we should embark upon this course immediately. I think the Government is right in proceeding with the utmost caution.
Sitting suspended from 12.42 to 2.1.5 p.m.
– by leave-I would like to interrupt the debate for one moment to put down the procedure for the remainder of the day after we have disposed of the urgency motion and other matters. I move:
That Estimates Committees B and C meet from 8 p.m. until the resumption of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– The import of the. urgency motion moved by Senator Turnbull is that it is in the best interests of Australia immediately to recognise the .People’s Republic of China. Some umbrage has been taken at the use of the . word ‘immediately’. I believe that Senator’ Turnbull lias taken note of fast moving events in Asia today and has therefore used the word ‘immediately’. I hope he does not believe that any negotiations undertaken with an Asian country, in which the oriental mind and the occidental mind attempt to come together, would produce results immediately. The Canadians spent about 22 or 23 months in the salami process. I suppose it is a little out of context to refer to a salami process in Asian affairs. I have in mind the salami procedure of slowly slicing away until finally a . new arrangement for recognition of the People’s Republic of China was reached.
It must be remembered that Canada was one of the countries looking towards the recognition of the People’s Republic on 1st October. Senator Little clashed with Senator Turnbull about the various dates. Senator Turnbull pointed out that the October dates are interesting to both Chinese nations. The double tenth - 10th October - is important for the Taiwanese because it commemorates the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1911. The 1st October is important to the People’s Republic of China because it is the anniversary of the day on which it formed its Government. As Senator Turnbull rightly pointed out, the dates have some significance.
I thought that Senator Wright made a speech that was unusual for him because it seemed to fly in the face of what the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is saying in this field. In dealing with Asia today, and particularly the People’s Republic of China, in looking back over thousands of years of history one can get into trouble because events are now moving very quickly there. I donot believe for a moment that the pace can be maintained in the field of immediate recognition and associated fields. But there are certainly breakthroughs, if I may use thatterm. There is urgency. There has been greater change there in. the last few weeks and months than has ever been seen there before. During the period that most of the present members of this Parliament have been here great changes have occurred. Once we looked to the Communist world as a giant monolith. We did not envisage the present situation. I remember talking about 12 years ago, to a diplomat in Djakarta who forecast the separation of the great Communist giants, Russia and Mainland China.I did not believe him.I thought it was , wishful thinking. He pointed to 2,000 years of history, border clashes and the different attitudes of the 2 great giants. He said that they could not possibly agree and he was proved right in a very much shorter period thanI would have anticipated.
Turning to the European scene, people like Pompidou are travelling through Russia and the barriers are coming down between West Germany and East Germany. A thaw is starting between the United States of America and China. The Malaysian Tunku and Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore are starting to play golf together again. This is very significant in their relationships after all the bitterness that has passed between them. There has been bitterness between Indonesia and Singapore because of the hanging of 2 Indonesians in Singapore a couple of years ago. That bitterness is also thawing. These very important events must be noted.
I marked down what Senator Wright said as a change in his attitude. He said that he wanted to welcome the People’s Republic of China to the family of nations. Neither Senator Wright nor any other Government supporter would have said that when I came here in 1950. They have changed their attitudes. There have been tremendous changes, one of which is the’ collapse of the alliance between Russia and China. That could not have been anticipated 12 years ago. A newspaper commented the other day that even though Russia had sent an ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, to think that that would cement relations between them would be like asking the ReverendIan Paisley to take communion from thePope. Only a few years ago it would have beep unheard of, but it has happened. ,
International affairs are a kaleidoscope of action. If one small colour changesa move takes place right across the spectrum. Japan is making another emergence as a giant. Obviously it will move in to become one of the giants, certainly in the economic sphere and perhaps even in the military sphere. Although they cling to the old constitution and the limitation of arms, there is no doubt that the Japanese arc looking around very much more. They have signed trade agreements with Communist China not greatly different from those of previous years,as I understand it. This factor must be taken into consideration as it will impinge on all Asian countries. Probably the most important influence on the psychology of the People’s Republic of China and Asia is the withdrawal of the American presence from South East Asia. The giant has been sitting in this area. Whether it has been right is not the relevant argument. The relevant argument is on the effect it has had on the psychology of people in Asia. To some it may have seemed to be a protecting umbrella, but not to the People’s Republic of China.
The Prime Minister was taken to task for using 7 different expressions to describe China andI am frying to limit my terms. It is easy to refer to Taiwan and Communist China, but I understand that the People’s Republic of China is the correct title. Obviously relations between Russia and China have a bearing on the psychology of Asia. This dropping of the guard, collapse of the wall or the bamboo curtain - whatever fancy term may be preferred - could easily be influenced by the fact that the other great giant, the United States of America, is starting to move out of this zone. We do not anticipate that it will ever move back, unless there is extreme pressure. In Australian politics the inclination has been to classify people as Communists or anti-Communists, goodies and baddies, and so on. As Senator Turnbull rightly pointed out, recognition does not mean that Australia approves of the type of government that has taken over in China.
When a coup occurs in a country and there is a change of government, perhaps by revolution, generally the great powers of the world recognise the incoming government because it is in complete control. According to its lights it seeks to look after its people, to negotiate with other countries and to carry on foreign trade. For those reasons it is recognised. But this did not happen when the Communists took over mainland China and I think there were good reasons for that. It is one of the great countries of the world. As a result of World War TI it aready had a seat as a permanent member of the Security Council. They were the first people in the war. In fact if you examine China’s history since 1927 and from the time Chiang Kai-shek took over, to the invasion by the Japanese and the subsequent fight against them with the allies you find that they have hardly been out of a war. Honourable senators will remember that China was at the great conferences which were held at places like Potsdam, Yalta and Quebec during the war. We must realise that 700 million people have accepted the Communist way. This Communist way has gone through many facets. The great leap forward which was the result of a great propaganda machine was, as I understand it, a great leap forward in the course of which they almost fell flat on their faces. Something which the western mind cannot grasp is called the ‘cultural revolution’ where young people were allowed to demonstrate on the streets but China found it had created a Frankenstein monster. Now we receive reports that the damage done by the cultural revolution probably was not as great as was at first thought. We must come up against another fact and that is that China is a member of the nuclear club. Obviously it is an uninvited and junior member. Maybe in the field of technology and nuclear science China is a reasonably inefficient member of the nuclear club but there is no doubt and no gainsaying that it has nuclear weapons. Today in all the moving kaleidoscope which we have to view this has some important considerations.
What would be the attitude if we were recognising Red China or the People’s Republic of China today? What would be the situation which we are worrying about? The worry was pointed out by Senator Wright, maybe with over-emphasis but certainly correctly to a degree. These people are making all sorts of noises about what their neighbours should be doing. They are standing on the old Communist cry that the only way to get world Communism is by insurrection in other countries of the world and that that need not necessarily be done by outside aggression. This is very true. But in their aggression they have some peculiar ways. I think they claim tha: they have never been outside the old celestial empire. The Indian attack which was suddenly broken off was peculiar. I thought the invasion and taking over of Tibet which they claim to be theirs was a terrible thing. I think we are seeing the genocide of the Tibetan people. There is no doubt that China is doing this, ‘i wc are worrying about this situation, what would be the situation if China recognised a country like Australia which is indigenous to this area? Would not a situation then arise in which we could apply more pressure at a diplomatic level in the first place? 1 think wc are inclined to underrate the tremendous diplomatic moves which have to be made in this area on the question of recognition. Do we not have a great leverage and a greater say if we are. able to apply pressure to China?
My time is running out and I want to turn to the question of Taiwan because it has been mentioned. I hope this matter does not get out of context whatever the situation. I disagree with some of the comments Senator Turnbull made about the invasion when Chiang Kai-shek moved across to Taiwan. He said there was a great slaughter by Chiang Kai-shek troops. There was a great slaughter but the authorities under Chiang Kai-shek immediately stepped in and corrected the position by reprimanding in a severe way the general who was responsible. I do not defend these things. I merely say that I do not know that we will get very far if we go on tweedledee and tweedledum arguing who is right and who is wrong. After all, the 2- China question will finally be settled in a Chinese way by the Chinese people. I have said this enough times when speaking on Vietnam and such things. But while IS million or 14i million people of whom only 2 million came from the mainland in 1947 exist there is no suggestion as was put by Senator Wright that we will be handing them over to Communist control. I think the shame of our generation is that we have handed lots of people over to other people’s control. But while there are those 14i million people they should be allowed to trade. They should have the same rights and privileges as others. They should have the same rights to the pursuit of happiness - to use an American phrase - as every other person in the world.
The final analysis of this problem is going to be decided by the Chinese. For my own part I believe we have reached the situation in the United Nations, where no longer can one go on having a look at the very official side. If there are going to be 2 significant parts of a country which can speak effectively for that country then they ought to be heard in the councils of the world. There ought to be 2 Koreas, 2 Irelands and 2 Chinas in the United Nations. I emphasise that that situation will be worked out eventually by the Chinese on both sides of the Pascadores Because of that I do not think, as Senator Turnbull pointed out, that there is going to be a tremendous inevitability about this situation. Whatever our ideology, however much we orate and bang the table and say what ought to be done - how we would like to reshape the world from the events which are happening, point by point - we should take cognisance of the situation. We should move quietly into this area and recognise Communist China - or he People’s Republic of China - as Senator Turnbull has suggested.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) (2.31) - I must pay some acknowledgment to Senator Willesee as I have done on many occasions after he has entered into a debate on foreign affairs. The speech which he has just concluded is typical of the clear thinking in which he has engaged since my first memory of him in 1951. To me, his speech was an infinite relief after hearing some of the forensic speeches which have been made in the context of foreign affairs or allusions to that subject in the last 24 hours. I propose to deal with some of the points raised by Senator Willesee in a few moments. First, I must pay some acknowledgment to the mover of the resolution, Senator Turnbull. I say, I hope not unkindly, that by some peculiar coincidence last weekend in my fiat in Melbourne when I wanted some reading matter I reached for the bookshelves and took down the Voyages of Marco Polo. I thought that Senator Turnbull’s contribution to the debate in the context of mainland China was very much in the same sort of mystical and amazing way in which Marco Polo described the China of his day in the thirteenth century, about 600 years ago. I do not think that any point made by Senator Turnbull has validity. Nor am I prepared to accept what, was said by Senator Murphy as being valid. But I am prepared to accept as valid a great deal of what Senator Willesee said.
Some acknowledgment has to be paid, even in a condemnatory way, to the phrasing of the resolution moved by Senator Turnbull that we should ‘immediately recognise’. Those words mean that the Senate is being asked to bring pressure of whatever nature is possible on the Government of Australia today immediately to recognise Red China. As Senator Willesee said it is not possible immediately to recognise Red China. China has to enter into some recognisance or undertakings before we exchange recognition by exchanging ambassadors. Senator Murphy telescoped the lesson of the last 20 years into an instant concept. It seems to me he made an attempt to persuade the Senate that nothing happened in the last 20 years and that it is all happening now. That is totally wrong. The reason why the western world or, if you like, the United States, other countries and certainly our own country have refused to recognise Red China - or the People’s Republic of China - for the last 20 years Ls simply that before we exchange embassies or recogni- lion with another country three things have to be in existence. The first point is that one country wishes to accept recognition from another country, l.have never seen any evidence of the People’s Republic of China wishing to accept recognition from Australia. The second point is that there cannot be comity in terms of acknowledgment and recognition between countries unless they are each willing to accept the normal comity expected between nations. In other words, some sort of stability must exist between the nations that wish to exchange acknowledgments and. to. have ambassadors sitting in each other’s country. [ There is nothing in. . the . record of the last 20 years, of the. People’s Republic of China that would give, any assurance to any government of Australia, whatever its view, that it was possible to obtain and’ retain normal diplomatic relations, between 2 countries such as Australia and .the People’s Republic of China. There are all sorts of reasons why China may not wish to enter into ‘ what is described as the comity of nations, but certainly from the point of view of some countries - Australia is one of them- the People’s Republic of China through its ‘Government has not, by any of its attitudes in the last 20 years, displayed any of the characteristics that would lead any nation’ to” ‘trust ‘ft. Our own kinsmen in the United Kingdom were among the first in the last 20 years and after the Korean War to recognise the People’s Republic of China, or Red China as it is sometimes called. The United Kingdom sent a legation to Peking, but the People’s Republic of China did not even acknowledge its presence. For the last 20 years there has not been a United Kingdom ambassador in Peking. The United Kingdom representative has been sitting there as a charge d’affaires, unacknowledged and unaccepted for 20 years. The Government of India became so fearful of the chauvinism of the People’s Republic of China that it entered into treaty arrangements with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As Senator Wright mentioned this morning, the people of Burma are still alarmed at incursions of one sort or another.
What Senator Willesee hinted at, if T heard him correctly, was that the Chinese people have been preoccupied by their own internal problems and that this has been exemplified by the historical point that he mentioned - the great leap forward. Certainly it is best exemplified by what is known as the Red Guard movement. With this turmoil of the Red Guard movement in China it was obvious that over the last 3 years the Government in Peking was barely in control of its own country. Therefore, it would not be very wise to try to exchange diplomatic’ recognition” with a government which was not in control of its own country because it could not give any undertakings on behalf of its country.- If we “narrow the period down to 3 years we can say that until that time there existed none of . the circumstances in which one could expect ‘a normal exchange of ‘diplomatic civilities between 2 countries. ‘
The situation has now changed, probably for a reason that Senator Willesee was hinting at: Even if the honourable senator did not hint at the reason, I shall state it. The reason that it is changing is probably that it feels more sure of itself in its internal government, that it is beginning to feel some sort of strength flowing into its own economic sinews. It has lost ‘some - I do not put it stronger than that - of the suspicion that probably has “been existing in its collective mind over the last 20 years. We must bear- in mind, because of ‘ what has been said by various senators in this place from time to time about the United States of America, that in the roundabout way in which international relations are sometimes conducted for at least 10 years the United States has been in almost constant consultation with the Warsaw Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. These consultations are known as the Warsaw conversations. Notwithstanding what has .Been said, there has been a quite strong line of communication between the Government of the United States of America and the Government in Peking, but there has been very little give by either side, one way or the other. It is not true to assert, for example, that President Nixon has recognised the People’s Republic of China, any more than it can be said that the People’s Republic of China has expressed any willingness to exchange some sort of understanding with the President of the United Stales of America.
Notwithstanding this we must bear in mind the statement by the Minister for
Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) on 6th April - all honourable senators have a copy of the statement - in which he said, as Senator Willesee mentioned, that one of the problems and objectives of the Government of mainland China at present appears to be the maintenance of the security of its borders. This can be acknowledged, although 1 sometimes wonder where the borders of the People’s Republic of China really end. Maps produced in the last 10 years show that Mainland China extends its suzerainty to the ancient boundaries of the Chinese khans in the time of Marco Polo 700 years ago. So when the Minister refers to the maintenance of the security of its borders, I wonder what borders it is seeking to maintain. Also it seeks the incorporation of Taiwan, the removal where possible of what it regards as hostile influences in adjacent areas - this was remarked on by Senator Willesee: - and the establishment and maintenance there of governments responsive, if not subservient, to Peking. I do not think the Chinese people have lost these objectives.-
The Minister went on then to refer to the establishment of a strong bargaining position with the 2 super powers, the United States of America and the USSR, and the rejection of their influence wherever possible. The only significant thing that the People’s Republic of China has attempted to do is to establish a strong bargaining position with the 2 super powers. If she is to establish a strong bargaining position with the 2 super powers, what are the ways in which she can seek diplomatically to do so? The answer is very clear in my mind. The first step is on the one hand to weaken proposed areas of support that some parts of the world would accord to the USSR, and on the other hand to weaken support from various countries who owe some allegiance or support to the United States of America. In the final analysis this amounts to good diplomatic practice by the People’s Republic of China. When one is involved in the problem of international relationships and diplomacy it is necessary to state one’s position quite clearly. In the case of Australia we have to state our position quite clearly.
It would be almost fatal in diplomatic exchanges for Australia at present to concede unilaterally because of strong international bargaining by the People’s Republic of China positions which Australia would not wish to vacate under compulsion or persuasion at present. It is for this distinct reason that we have some initiative and some position of power and of influence. All of these things in the aggregate may not be very great, but they are important to the wellbeing of this country and to its future posture in the context of nations existing in South East Asia. Therefore I reject this motion out of hand because it requires a government to do something which I believe is totally impracticable in the first place, because it weakens any bargaining position that Australia may have, and because it fetters the Australian capacity for diplomatic initiatives and freedom.
I acknowledge the existence of a thaw in diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. I . think .it is important that this thaw should be. acknowledged. Indeed it is acknowledged in the Parliament. But I have lived: long enough to witness a so-called thaw in the attitude of the Union of Soviet: Socialist Republics in 1953 and the subsequent freezing that took place after Mr Brezhnev became the First Secretary of the Communist Party and to wonder what the attitude of the People’s Republic of China will be in another 5 or 6 years when Chairman Mao, the present great Khan of China, goes to the heavenly kingdom, and Mr Lin Piao and another group of men who are mostly Army men who have themselves embedded in the matrix of power in the People’s Republic of China take his place. Therefore I welcome the diplomatic initatives that perhaps lead to a thawing of the .relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Western world. When I acknowledge that thaw I approach it with some caution lest the attitude re-freezes. Therefore, I reject the proposal.
– Up to date we have heard an historical record of China. It seems to me that some of the speakers who have taken part in this debate are blinded by the historical records and are not prepared to view conditions as they exist in the world today. We have to deal with the problems of today and not what happened in Marco Polo’s time or what happened 2,000 years ago or anything of that nature. During question lime today the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, was asked a question about the People’s Republic of China. He declined to answer the question on the basis that an urgency proposal with respect to recognition of the People’s Republic of China was to be debated today and tha* Senator Wright, who would be the Minister in charge of that debate, would announce the Government’s- policy with respect lo the recognition of mainland China. Contrary to the Standing Orders, Senator Wright read a well prepared speech. I hope that when an analysis of that speech is made the Government will have second thoughts as to whether that is its attitude towards the recognition of the People’s Republic of China, because 1 think that that prepared statement contained pretty well every insult that could possibly be thought of to be thrown at the people of that great country.
– It was a factual history of the Government’s record.
– The honourable senator will have an opportunity to speak after me. He tried as much as he possibly could to interfere with Senator Turnbull’s speech. I suggest that the honourable senator should look after himself; I will look after myself. I have been doing it for a bit longer than the honourable senator has. What is not realised and what the Government will not face up to is the fact that we live in Asia, for good or ill, and our future is wrapped up with whatever takes place in this area. In the process we refuse to recognise the greatest force for peace that resides in this area. We constantly find reasons advanced why these 800 million people in China are not to be trusted and should not be welcomed into the community of nations, although Senator Wright early in his remarks said that the Government has always recognised that at some time the People’s Republic of China would be drawn into the community of nations. The Government has not always recognised that. I can remember many speeches made in this chamber that have shown that the Government’s policy is not in accord with the statement made by Senator Wright. Not only is his statement a prevarication of previous attitudes held by the Government towards the People’s Republic of China but it is too vague for anyone to understand. What is meant by the term ‘at some time’? Twenty years have passed and we have made no moves to recognise mainland China other than for the purposes of trade. What is meant when the Government says that at some time these people will be drawn into the community of nations? In the ‘Australian’, the national newspaper, this heading appears in this morning’s edition:
That is the Australian Country Party - to back recognition of China.
That heading is completely false in view of the article that follows. I am not too sure when Mr Anthony became a Minister of the Crown but it was not very long ago. One would not expect it to be very long ago because he is quite a young man. He was appointed to the Ministry to represent the Country Party at quite an early age. This article in the ‘Australian’ quotes Mr Anthony as saying:
I was the first Australian Minister ever to say that the People’s Republic of China should, sooner or later, be recognised.
What sort of statement is this? He uses the term ‘sooner or later’. I ask: Sooner than what; later than what? What is the Minister trying to say? What sort of statement is it when a Minister of the Crown makes a vague statement that sooner or later the Government will recognise mainland China? I just cannot understand these sorts of statements which are supposed to be statements of policy. Senator Wright, speaking on behalf of the Government, said that China will be brought into the community of nations at some time, and now Mr Anthony says that sooner or later we will recognise the People’s Republic of China.
If one looks more closely at the article - I do not know whom they seek to mislead - one will see that there was before the annual conference of the Victorian Country Party a proposal for the recognition of mainland China. But Mr Anthony did not support that proposal, despite the heading which appears at the top of the article. Mr Anthony supported an amendment to the original proposal. The amendment was in these terms: that efforts be made by the Australian Government to resolve the question of Taiwan’s membership of the United Nations . . .
So the first consideration of the amendment was the question of Taiwan’s membership of the United Nations. It was nothing to do with the recognition of mainland China and nothing to do with the Country Party recognising China, as the heading states. But tacked onto the end of the substantive part of the resolution are these words: and the recognition of Communist China.
That is the proposal which Mr Anthony supported yesterday at the annual conference of the Victorian Country Party.
Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said that not all the changes were taking place at this time, that there have been changes in the Australian Government’s attitude to mainland China over the 20 years that we have not recognised it. But when the Minister in charge of the debate on this urgency proposal enunciated the Government’s policy he accused the People’s Republic of China of wanting to create revolution in practically every country in Asia right around to India. Yet Senator Sir Magnus Cormack told us that there has been a changing attitude and that in that changing attitude there were two matters to be considered. I did not hear the second one to which the honourable senator referred, but the first matter to be considered was that both sides must play the game. Those are my words; they are not quite the words of the honourable senator but that is what he meant. He meant that both sides in a diplomatic exchange must abide by the rules. I do not think that ( have in any way abridged what Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said. But what did Senator Wright say about China’s attitude to the rest of Asia? He said that she has not been playing the game, but that she has been trying to create revolution in every country in Asia. Senator Wright must be taken to be the principal speaker for the Government on this subject.
I ask: As far as the Australian Government is concerned, where is the change of attitude by China which has, for example, enabled us now to follow the lead of the United States and send a ping-pong team to China and engage in diplomatic relations of this sort? Australia did not think of sending a ping-pong team to China before the United States decided to send one. The only foreign policy that Australia has is to follow the leader. The Australian Government sits down and listens to the newscasts of the United States in order to find out what policy it will adopt with respect to the other nations of the world.
Senator Wright went on to say that Taiwan’s position must be protected in any recognition of the People’s Republic of China. I think that the position of every country has to be protected, but 1 do not believe that we can protect the position that Taiwan has in the United Nations of being the representative, of the 800 million Chinese people on the mainland. 1 agree that there is a place in this world for the people of Taiwan, but it is ridiculous for anyone to think that the position which the Formosan Government has in the United Nations should be protected while, at the same time, the position of the 800 million people on the mainland should be disregarded. I agree that Taiwan must be protected, but we should be realistic and face up to the fact that the Government of the people of China is the governmnt on the mainland and not the government on an island off the coast.
In order to prevent, recognition of the People’s Republic of China the Australian Government has taken certain action in various world bodies. In 1968 a committee was set up within the Inter-Parliamentary Union to determine the - conditions of membership of that body. Australia secured a position on that committee in order to prevent North Korea, North Vietnam, East Germany and. the People’s Republic of China from being admitted to membership of the IPU. Australia took a leading part in the activities of that committee in order only to exclude the people of those nations from the. community of nations that is the IPU. This is the attitude that Australia has adopted towards the membership of the largest group of people in our own area of this world body. What I have said can be confirmed by an examination of the records of the IPU. I am not making idle statements.
Senator Wright also wanted to know what would be the effect on small Asian nations of the abandonment of Taiwan. We are getting ready to abandon Taiwan anyway and we are getting ready to abandon the other small nations, too. No matter what may be the feelings of certain reactionary people in this Parliament there is no doubt that within a very short period of time the Australian Government will recognise the People’s Republic of China. Regardless of the fears of Senator Wright and those people who prepared his. speech about .the attitude of small nations in Asia to the abandonment, of Taiwan it will be abandoned because, for the sake of trade, we will eventually and at a pretty early time recognise the People’s Republic of China. 1 support the motion which was moved by Senator Turnbull. 1 hope that it will force the Goverment to lake more positive action at a very early date’.
– Along with my colleagues on this side of the chamber, 1; oppose the immediate unconditional recognition of the People’s Republic : of .China. The Government’s policy on this matter is quite clear. lt . has already been enunciated by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) and other honourable senators who have participated in the debate. The Government’s policy is to work towards the situation where recognition is desired by both sides.
– You did not believe that a year ago.
– The - Government, is working towards this end in the hope that it will be. able to enjoy peaceful coexistence with all the nations in the Asian area. In answer to the interjection of Senator Mulvihill I would point out that Australia’s attitude depends on the attitude from time to time of the People’s Republic of China. When the People’s Republic of China shows that it can live peacefully alongside its neighbours and become a part of them I have no doubt that many of the Asian nations living alongside the People’s Republic of China will recognise it, although they do not do so at present. As Senator Sir Magnus Cormack mentioned, I am nol aware of any great wish by the People’s Republic of China to recognise other countries, including Australia. Therefore, why should we rush in and more or less beg the People’s Republic of China to accept us?
The same situation applies in connection with the recognition of China in the United Nations. Most nations which wanted to join a body such as the United Nations or, for that matter, any organisation would accept the terms and conditions laid down by that organisation for entry, but the People’s Republic of China has itself . laid . down what might be called impossible conditions, for entry into, the United Nations, lt wants the exclusion of Taiwan from the United Nations as well as a seat on the Security Council, which would ensure that nol only Taiwan but also any other country that was opposed to the People’s Republic of China would not have a seat in the United Nations. There- is no doubt that most nations would have recognised China long ago if she had’, been prepared to accept the conditions that every other nation had to accept in order to obtain entry into the United Nations. -One could be excused for wondering whether China really wants to be a member of the United Nations because she has laid down such impossible conditions about her entry. There is also, of course, the fact that she has a lobby in that body at present without having to abide by that body’s decisions.
I have been quite amused by some of the statements that have been made by the Australian Labor Party over the years, particuarly in recent times, in regard to Taiwan. I exempt Senator Willesee from that remark. 1 believe that he made a fairly reasoned speech a little earlier. I understand .that it has always been the policy of the Labor Party in the past to be the champion of the small nations. In fact, when Dr Evatt was President of the General Assembly of the United Nations he was referred to as the champion of the small nations. Despite this, a number of Opposition senators are prepared to abandon Taiwan and other small nations to support the bigger nations. I wonder whether this new philosophy of one vote one value is creeping into the Labor Party’s foreign policy and whether it believes that representation in the United Nations should be a matter of numbers and not nations.
This morning Senator Cant asked a question about the Country ‘ Party’s policy, and particularly about Mr Anthony’s policy, towards China. Mr Anthony has been accused of insulting China. At other times he has been accused of wanting to recognise China. On all occasions he has made much the same statement. The statement is: ‘We hope that in time we will reach a stage at which we can recognise China - there will be mutual agreement end mutual acceptance - but at the same time we are not prepared to sink our principles of foreign policy just for trade’. We would not do that for the very good reason that politics have never entered China’s trade policy, despite what some members of the Opposition might say.
The history of our trade with China, particularly in relation to wheat, is a very interesting one. In the last 10 years Australia has sold to China 20.21 million metric tons of wheat. Australia and Canada are the main suppliers of wheat to China. This 20.21 million metric tons represents 40.36 per cent of China’s imports of wheat during that period. Canadian exports were 17.24 million metric tons, which represents 37.2 per cent of China’s imports.
– What has been the position in the last 12 months?
– This is up to the year 1969-70, which is the last year for which figures are available.
– Give us the figures for the last 12 months.
– I will give those figures. Argentinian wheat represents only 9 per cent of China’s imports. France sells to China 7.1 per cent of China’s imports of wheat. A look at the total wheat exports of these nations shows that in most years 30 per cent of France’s total wheat exports have gone to China. That represents about 7 per cent of China’s imports. The figure for Canada has varied, but about 17 per cent of her exports have gone to China. Our figure has averaged about 36 per cent. For a nation that has been insulting another, as the Opposition will have us believe, for so many years our trade relations have not been so bad; the Wheat Board has not done a bad job. That emphasises what I said earlier: China will buy her wheat where she can get the best deal and where she can get the type of wheat she wants. The main reason why China is not buying wheat is that she has had a bumper crop of rice. Also, China has relied on income derived from export ing rice to pay for the wheat. This year she has not been able to sell rice because of a surplus of rice in all Asian countries. Until we get the full figures, which will not be released for another few months, we do not know what any other country is selling to China. The only thing that we know is that there has been a very small quantity of wheat, much less than in previous years, sold to China by Canada.
– It is 18 million tons extra this year.
– It is a very small amount. We have not the full figures for this year. In the few minutes that I have remaining I would like to reply to some matters raised by Senator Cant. He said that Australia was following the United States of America, by sending a ping-pong team to China and that because a United States ping-pong team went there we had to follow. No teams were invited to China until just recently. Once China agreed to relax her restrictions on teams visiting there, China invited a sporting team to visit there. China is a world leader in pingpong. She wanted to fry her teams out with the teams of other nations. China invited the Americans to play there. Our players were handy and they were invited also. It was not a case of Australia following the United States. The visit by our team was nothing to do with the Government. I am wondering whether Dr Patterson’s invitation has arrived. I understand that he has been waiting for it for a week or two. 1 think it is quite wrong to draw red herrings across the path, as the Opposition has done during the past few weeks, particularly in respect of wheat, in order to try to get a few more votes. Australian wheat growers have enough common sense to know where their future lies. It lies in the support particularly of this Government and of the wheat stabilisation scheme. They have supported the Wheat Board, which has been able to get markets overseas. This will enable Australia this year to sell about 350 million bushels of wheat on the world market. That will leave much less than 200 million bushels in stock. I have no doubt that, if the People’s Republic of China had. not had a bumper grain crop, a lot of that 200 million bushels would be going there. It might still go there before (he year is out. f believe that the Government is adopting a sound approach, by gradually reviewing the position in regard to the People’s Republic of China. We do not want to be begging for China’s recognition. I have not heard of any great interest on the part of the People’s Republic to look for friends and to look for recognition by other people. 1 oppose the motion.
– I regret very much that, because of other urgent and important commitments this morning, I have not been able to listen to all the debate on this very important matter. I heard most of Senator Turnbull’s speech, most of the speech of the Minister for. Works (Senator Wright) who led for the Government and part of Senator Murphy’s speech. Since then I have been engaged in other business and I have heard very little of the debate. I cannot accept that this motion deals with a matter of urgency. What is urgent about the recognition of Red China? At this stage I know of nothing that has taken place which would cause the matter to be regarded as one of urgency. 1 do not accept that the invitation of a few pingpong players to Peking is a matter impol.tant enough to cause the Senate to debate a motion such as this.
I would think that the recognition of Red China would depend a great deal on the admission of that country to the United Nations - an international community of nations and an organisation of which Red China has not been able to get membership up till now. I would think that recognition is something that would follow her admission to the United Nations. Are we to be conned into the idea that we should recognise a nation that is not acceptable to the nations of the world? Are we to accept a nation that will not conform to the principles of the United Nations and will not adhere to the charter of the United Nations, a nation that has breached every principle of the United Nations?
There is no doubt in the minds of thinking people, those without prejudice, about the Peking Government’s patently clear contempt for the principle of the United Nations Charter, its lack of commitment to the idea of national sovereignty, the peaceful settlement of disputes and nonaggression. The Peking Government, by both its advocacy and its actions, consistently has breached the peace principles of the United Nations, lt has sponsored and supported guerilla warfare across its boundaries against the governments of other countries. Can anyone dispute that? Attempts have been made to dispute it but it cannot be authoritatively disputed. The Peking Government has been involved in land wars in Korea and India and still lays claim to the island of Taiwan. It has used force in vain attempts to conquer Taiwan. Peking should renounce the use of force and acknowledge the right of other nations to live in peace, free of the threat of wars of national liberation sponsored by China, before it is admitted to the United Nations.
Senator Murphy, and I think one other honourable senator whom I heard briefly, deplored the fact that the Minister for Works, speaking for .the. Government, outlined the breaches by . Red . China of the peace of other countries - its rape of Tibet, its aggression against India, its war against United Nations forces in Korea. They deplored the fact that Senator Wright stated indisputable facts about the aggressive nature of Red China against peaceful countries. And we are expected to embrace this country that is not prepared to allow other countries to live in peace and to conform to the principles of the United Nations charter, lt is said that this is an urgency matter. I cannot see that it is.
– Would you say that Trudeau was wrong when he made a similar decision?
– I am not talking about Trudeau. 1 am talking about Red China at the moment. You will finish up talking about the red kangaroo if I encourage you.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order!
– What about your activities as Premier in Queensland when you got tipped out. You had all your rorts in Queensland when you were scabbing.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– Mr Acting Deputy President, who has the right to speak?
– I am giving you what you give me every time I speak.
-I will give you more than that.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– You were hounded out of the Labor movement. You are just a rotten scab.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– You will get more by the time you are finished.
– If anyone else said that I would be offended.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Mulvihill,I am asking you to withdraw that remark.
– Well,I won’t withdraw it. 1 have copped it from him on every occasion 1 have talked and I have never sought the protection of the Chair, from you or any other Acting Deputy President. If he wants to give it, he will get it back on every other occasion.
– You do not like the red-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Mulvihill, I am asking you to withdraw your remark.
– No. I will walk out then.I will never withdraw for him. I am completely partial. Nobody ever protects me here. 1 never ask for any.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Mulvihill, I am asking you again to withdraw your remark.
– No. I won’t withdraw it. I will walk out rather than do that.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I will have to name you.
– You are just as partisan as other people. I have never got protection from the Chair.
– Mr Acting Deputy President,I move:
That the services of-
– He has to be brought back. He can’t walk out.
-I assume that the procedure would be to send a request by the Usher of the Black Rod that Senator Mulvihill attend in his place.
– Do not do this.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I will have to order Senator Mulvihill to come back to the chamber.
– Mr Acting Deputy President. I regret that I was not in the chamber when this matter arose. Apparently there has been some altercation, in a verbal way, between Senator Mulvihill and Senator Gair. . .
– There was nothing at all. He needs a psychiatrist.
– I am told that Senator Gair has not asked for a withdrawal of what has been said.
– The Acting Deputy President has, though.
– If that is the position, Mr Acting Deputy President, it may be that the matter may be resolved in some amicable fashion.
– I rise to a point of order. Is Senator Murphy speaking to a point of order or to a motion or what? How does he come to have the floor of the Senate at the moment? Could I be informed?
- Senator Little, will you repeat that please?I have just come into the chamber.
– As a point of order, Mr President, I ask how Senator Murphy came to have the floor of the Senate at the moment. Is he speaking to a point of order, a motion or what?
– I will hear Senator Murphy for a while to determine whether he is speaking on a point of order or not.
– Mr President, it may well be that Senator Little’s question should have been directed to the previous speaker, the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), when he suggested that a message be sent or somebody be sent for. The question equally would be applicable in the procedural situation that has arisen. The President or anyone else occupying the chair is entitled to the assistance of honourable senators and I am endeavouring to give that at the moment. Senator Wright made a suggestion to the then presiding officer and I have suggested that perhaps the matter might be resolved. I can see that while I have been on my feet it has been resolved. Senator Mulvihill is in the chamber. There is no necessity for invocation of the officers in order to have him here, and we would hope that the matter might be resolved without further dissension.
– Mr President, the matter had proceeded beyond the stage to which Senator Murphy’s remarks refer. 1 would hope that Senator Mulvihill might, without the formalities, offer his apologies and withdraw. But if that is not availed of I must move, Mr President, that’ Senator Mulvihill be called upon to stand in his place in accordance with standing order 440. and make any explanation or apology he may think fit.
– Mr President-
– Mr President,’ if I may again- ?
– Order! I think I should hear Senator Wheeldon but I will let you proceed first.
– I understand that Senator Mulvihill is prepared to withdraw.
-Maj, 1 say something?
– Yes, I understand that Senator Mulvihill wishes to say something immediately which would resolve the matter.
- Senator Mulvihill has Dot risen. I call Senator Wheeldon.
– 1 rise to a point of order. My point of order is that while Senator Mulvihill was absent - from the chamber Senator Gair said quite clearly that Senator Mulvihill needs a psychiatrist. I submit to you that that is offensive.
– I said that in solicitude for him.
– Senator Gair admits he said it. I regard this as a gross reflection upon Senator Mulvihill and if Senator Mulvihill is to be called upon to withdraw-
– Order! That is not a point of order. You are raising a fresh matter which has no bearing on what we are now discussing.
– My point of order is this: I draw your attention to the statement by Senator Gair, and I believe it should be proceeded with as soon as we have determined the other matter.
– We will deal with one matter at a time. That is the whole point, as I understand it.
– Mr President, in the course of his remarks Senator Murphy said that Senator Gair had not asked for a withdrawal from Senator Mulvihill. I merely point out that Senator Mulvihill, almost in the course of making his remarks, left the chamber and therefore there was no opportunity for Senator Gair to ask for a withdrawal in the absence of the honourable senator. I would not like it to be thought that Senator Gair was accepting the statement ‘ by Senator Mulvihill and that ‘ Senator Mulvihill was withdrawing it unasked or unrequested. I do not know whether Senator Gair would have asked for a withdrawal; but, as a matter of fact, the opportunity did not appear to me to be there for him to do so.
– Mr President, I think the proceedings pf the’ Senate are more important than differences of opinion between Senator Gair and myself. So, in the interests of the legislative programme and progress, I withdraw.
– Mr President, I now ask that you require Senator Gair to withdraw the offensive remark that he made concerning Senator Mulvihill.
– I must say, Mr President, that when Senator Wheeldon spoke was the first time I had the slightest idea that anything of the sort was alleged to have been said. I did not hear it!
– Mr President, I admit making the remark, and I withdraw it. That does not stop me from believing it, though.
– Mr President, I ask that you require that Senator Gair withdraw that further remark, which is aggravating the situation. When he says: ‘I believe it’, that is a most offensive aggravation. I ask that you require him to withdraw that.
– Senator Gair, will you withdraw the qualification?
– Yes, Mr President: anything for peace and quietness.
– Mr President, there is another matter which arose during this confrontation and which I believe is more serious than anything else. In view of Senator Mulvihills statement that he is interested in this chamber proceeding properly and calmly, 1 am sure that in respect of his reflection on yourself when, from my recollection, : he accused you of being partisan, on reflection-
– He did not. The President was not in the chair.
– I apologise; i mean the Acting Deputy President who was in the chair at the time.- I think that, on reflection, Senator Mulvihill will be happy to withdraw such a reflection which, I am sure, on consideration he would not intend. But I believe that his attention and that of the chamber should be drawn to it.
– I think Senator Mulvihills withdrawal would cover all those things. Honourable senators, I must take this opportunity to warn you once again that altogether too much loose language has been used in this chamber over the last little while. You cannot get away with making these statements. They are made and made maliciously and with the intention of doing damage. You just cannot do that. If you would: observe a little more decorum in your remarks, I think you would get along very much better. I call Senator Gair.
– Now 1 might be permitted to make my speech without interruption. 1 can understand this rotten record of Red China-
– Order! The honourable senators time has expired. Senator Wright - In view of the circumstances. I move:
– I think there is a little confusion as to what time is involved.
Under the Standing Orders Senator Gair was allowed a quarter of an hour. What is the Minister moving now?
– I am moving to extend the time to the extent of the period occupied as a result of the altercation.
– So that Senator Gair will have a total of 15 minutes?
– I think that is all right.
– I do not think a motion for an extension of time should be so vague. If the Minister wants to move for an extension of time for Senator Gair,’ the Senate probably will agree; but we want to know what we are doing and how much time is .to be given. If Senator Gair had spoken for 13 minutes before the row blew up, we are prepared to give him an extra 2 minutes. But we want to know what the period of time is. We do not want vagueness.
– In deference to Senator Cant, if he* has expressed the general view, and in order to enable the debate to proceed, I will move:
That so much .of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Gair from speaking for a further 7 minutes.
– For my part, I wantto see Senator Gair have his full quarter of an hour. .1 think that proposition is fair and I would vote for that. The Minister now suggests 7 minutes. Could he find out whether that is the appropriate period? Do the Clerks have the necessary records?
– That is. the Clerks’ estimate.
– Let us get this clear. The understanding is that we are giving Senator Gair an extension of 7 minutes so that he will have 15 minutes, which is the time allowed under the Standing Orders. I personally agree with that.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I thank Senator Wright, Senator Willesee and honourable senators generally for their consideration.
– Do not bother to thank me.
– If the honourable senator will be quiet I will fit what I want to say into 7 minutes. I can understand why members of the Opposition become a little disturbed when we list the rotten record of Red China in the matter of aggression against peaceful countries such as Tibet. Red China is the country for which they want recognition. What will recognition gain? The matter of urgency submitted by Senator Turnbull says that it is in Australia’s interests. What benefits can we hope to derive from the recognition of Red China under existing circumstances? We will have its embassy here. That will further tax our security forces. They are fully engaged now in protecting the Russian embassy. If we have an embassy of Red China here we will have to increase the security staff. 1 believe that, the policy of the Democratic Labor Party, which I am privileged to lead, is well , known in this connection. If Red China feels that she is isolated today, if is because of her own conduct and nobody else’s. If she is unable to obtain admission to the United Nations, again it is because she does not recognise the United Nations Charter. 1 am sure that when she is prepared to do that the nations of the world will recognise her. I believe that that would be the time for Australia to give consideration to according her recognition. But we are asked to recognise her now, before she is considered fit and proper to be a member of the United Nations.
Red China demands, as a condition of diplomatic relations, acceptance of her claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and its 14 or 15 million people. Also Communist China’s endorsement of an inevitable world war for the triumph of Communism renders her unworthy of recognition or entry to the family of nations. Her uncooperative attitude in the matter of diplomatic relations is worth noting. She has refused to receive an ambassador from Britain although Britain recognised her in 1949. Britain is represented in Peking by a minor official who is treated with contempt.
So, we repeat and reaffirm our opposition to Communist China’s policies. We stand opposed to the recognition of the People’s Republic of China. She does not conform to the required standard of international conduct and continues to assert her sovereignty over Taiwan. Tn our opinion there is no movement by Communist China away from these attitudes, which would justify recognition. The mere admission to membership of the United Nations, unless on the basis of acceptance of the continued United Nations membership of Taiwan, would not satisfy the second requirement. Communist China has the means at her disposal. If she chooses not to use them, then let her accept responsibility for her continued position of international isolation.
– We suffer.
– Senator Cavanagh says that we suffer. 1 should like him and other people who share his view to tell me the advantages which will accrue to Australia by recognising Red China. I cannot understand how this motion could have been accepted, in the first place, as an urgency motion and, in the second place, by virtue of the fact that it is out of order - 1 do not mean so far as the Standing Orders are concerned - in the matter of sequence. Recognition of Red China can take place only following a determination by the United Nations that that country qualifies for admission to the international community.
– I rise to oppose the motion. I agree with Senator Gair that this matter should not be regarded as one of urgency but I disagree with him on other aspects of his remarks. Following my visit to China some 7 or 8 years ago I have advocated visits to that country. I have advocated also continuing trade and eventually recognition, but I do not think that recognition is urgent at the present time and 1 do not think that it would be wise for us to rush into it. I have advocated visits to China because it is necessary for us to get to know the people of China probably more than any other country and for them to get to know us. We cannot expect to gain or foster friendship and warmth with a country unless we set out to know its people and to help them to know us.
The propaganda which is put out by the Communist Government of Red China is designed to foster hatred. The Communists have painted pictures of we of the Western world as foreign devils. It does not matter where you go in China - I went by train into the more outlying- areas - there is intense hatred of the people of the West because the Chinese do not know us. They know only that our white skin makes us foreign devils.
– Did they change their views after the honourable senators visit?
– I did my best to get some response on a friendly nature from them. I smiled upon the people as I smile upon the honourable senator in the hope of getting a friendly smile in return, but I did not get any friendly response from the Chinese people in mainland China. The position .was- different in Taiwan. The attitude of the people of Red China indicates that the propaganda being put out by the Communist Government is very successful. I believe that the only way to overcome it is to send many visitors into that country in the hope eventually that we may be able to break down the hatred which exists.
– Was the Premier of China friendly to the honourable senator when she sought permission to visit?
– Indeed he was. He gave me a visa but no facilities were made available to me. However, that is another story. I got a visa and I travelled through China. While there I went through the Revolutionary Museum. The Museum is an exercise in intense hatred. The Director showed me all of the articles in the Museum which are designed to build hatred of the Western world. He would not tell me in English what they were but he would reply to my questions in Chinese and have his answers interpreted for me so that every Chinese person in the Museum would look upon me as an instrument of hatred, thus fostering in them a feeling of hatred. I do not wish to go back through the past of the Chinese people, as Senator Gair did, and say that they have a rotten record. I am willing to forget the aggression which they have practised if their personal tendencies, or even appearances, are towards a warmer, friendlier and more peaceful attitude. I think that attitude should be fostered and I would be the first to encourage it. It does not do any good to look to the past.
I deal now with the matter of trade. While in China I sought an interview with the Minister for Trade because I wanted to find out for myself the attitude of the Chinese people towards future trade with Australia. 1 was told by the Minister for Trade that China would continue to buy wheat and other articles from us if our prices were right and if we sought to buy more goods from her. When I asked him what kind of goods he had in mind, he said that there were several things that we could buy, and he mentioned particularly handicrafts. Many more articles are coming into Australia now from mainland China than was the case previously, and I hope that that fact eventually will convince the Chinese people that we are keen to have friendly relations with them and to continue trading together on a friendly, reasonable and properly thought-out basis. I am not sure that the wheat we have sold to China in the past has been a very economical exercise for us. I think that it has been heavily subsidised, but it is a good thing that we have been able to sell wheat to them and I hope that we will continue to do so.
I went through China by train especially so that I could look at agricultural conditions in the country areas. It was evident that in the south they grow rice and in the north they grow wheat. They are subject to the vagaries of the weather perhaps more so than are farmers in most countries. There are huge rivers which flood and they experience extreme droughts and serious fires. Nevertheless they can grow more rice than they consume but they do not grow sufficient wheat because of the difficulties associated wilh the weather, the flooding of rivers and so on. For that reason I think that they will continue to need wheat and I hope that they will resume trading with us in the near future.
One must congratulate the people of China on their efforts to make their country produce. It is a most laborious exercise because they have very few of the farming aids that we have to make agricultural pursuits easy, effective and economic. They work intensely hard, and for that I congratulate them. I praise the people and their Government for the development that they have undertaken in the construction of factories and in the manufacture of goods. They have done a very good job and for that reason I am not attacking the Government of China. I give credit where credit is due. 1 certainly hope that the developing attitude of warmth and friendship will continue.
I was amazed to hear Senator Murphy claim that President Nixon had said that America was recognising the People’s Republic of China. I understand that that is completely untrue. The President said that being friendly with China and encouraging people to go there did not involve recognition. On 16th April he said that it was premature to anticipate any change in United States policy of recognition or representation in the United Nations, and that that was very much in the future. I believe that eventually recognition will come. Like Senator Gair, I think that it should come after the entry pf mainland China into the United Nations when it has demonstrated that it intends to recognise the principles of the United Nations in maintaining peace and in settling disputes in peaceful ways.
I heard some amazing statements made by members of the Opposition. Senator Murphy said that we on the Government side claim that Chiang Kai-shek’s Government’ is the Government df mainland China! That is a distortion of. the truth. However, we do claim that Chiang Kaishek’s Government was the last freely elected government in mainland China. He “is now running the Government in Taiwan. If we do recognise Red China I hope that we will never claim that Taiwan is not a country which we should recognise. If Chian Kai-shek’s Government is still the freely elected Government in Taiwan I hope that we will continue to recognise it.
– When was the last election in Taiwan?
– I do not know what the situation is there.
– Neither does anyone else.
– I said if that is the freely elected Government in Taiwan.
– Elections have been held there certainly not less often than they have been in mainland China.
– That is true. There are no elections in mainland China. We intend to recognise both countries but we will not be bludgeoned into recognising Red China and massacring, if that is the word, the people of Taiwan. I was also amazed to hear Senator Turnbull say that the Chinese people, being Communists, would not want to come to Australia. Certainly people could come as representatives of a great world power. Probably that is right but they would come as representatives of a Communist power and we do not want that. We want to make sure that they have friendly intentions before we recognise them. The honourable senator said that he could not think of any other country which would tolerate the present situation in Hong Kong. That is an amazing statement because’ Hong Kong is of great value to mainland China for the entrance of overseas currency and as an outlet for its goods. The situation of Hong Kong certainly suits China very well indeed.
Senator Turnbull wants a parliamentary delegation to visit China. I would hope to see many people go there. My own visit illustrates that that country will admit people of any party, but.. it would be difficult to send a parliamentary delegation to a country which/has no parliamentary institution. It would’ ‘not’ be possible to have an exchange of parliamentarians because Red China does hot have any parliamentarians. I would hot like to see our representatives attempting to enter Red China at the time of the May Day or October celebrations. I Have seen enough of the propaganda exercises carried on in China. I think that the times of such celebrations should be the last times that our representatives seek to go there. At those times the people of China rally in their millions to demonstrate. They are scared not to demonstrate. I hope that that era is passing, but we should not visit Red China at such times.
I would foster friendship with the Chinese people. I do not agree with Senator Cant that we have sent a ping-pong team to Red China. The team , went there of its own will, and jolly good luck to it. I hope many more sporting, professional or other groups will visit China. They will find it an extremely interesting country and no obstacles will be put in their way. However, I do not believe that a parliamentary delegation should undertake such an exercise.
– The motion moved by Senator Turnbull is admirable. It says that H is in the best interests of Australia immediately to recognise the People’s Republic of China and I believe that the debate should be conducted on that basis. Senator Turnbull does not say that it is in .the best interests of China that we should recognise China but that it is in the best interests of Australia. I believe it is incontrovertible that it is in the best interests of Australia to accord recognition to the effective Government of China, which is in Peking. Considerable harm is being done to Australia and will continue to be done if we do -not recognise that Government. . Recognition does not. imply support -or approval or any particular, view of the nature of the government which is being recognised. Recognition of- a country and ils government is merely an acknowledgement of reality. If we say that we recognise that the Government of China is in- Peking we are doing no more -.hari acknowledging the reality of. the situation in China. The Government of .’ China is in Peking. The laws of China are made by that Government and all authority within China is exercised by it. Senator Buttfield has said that it is. not. claimed by the Australian Government that the Government in Formosa- led by the octogenarian immigrant from mainland China - is. the Government of the whole of China, but it is in effect the present policy of the Australian Government. By continuing to insist that the seat occupied by China in the United Nations be occupied by representatives of the Taiwan regime, and that the permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations be occupied by representatives of the Taiwan regime, the Australian Government is recognising the claim made by Chiang Kai-shek and his elderly supporters in Taipei that he is the government of the whole of China.
It is not an indication of an opinion one might hold about China that one recognises the Peking Government as the effective government of that country. Among the nations which recognise the Peking Government are a great many countries whose policies bear little resemblance to the policies of China. In fact, in many instances they are very antagonistic to the policies of China. Among the countries recognising the Peking Government arc Denmark, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; France, a member of
NATO; Finland, a neutral European country; Israel, a country very strongly aligned with the West; the Netherlands, a member of NATO; Norway, a member of NATO; Sweden and Switzerland, both independent and - neutral European countries; Italy, a member of NATO; and Canada, another member of NATO.
We have heard a great deal in recent days about the value of the Commonwealth of Nations. Among the Commonwealth countries which recognise the Peking Government, the government of the People’s Republic of China, are Canada, Ceylon, ‘ Ghana, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan,- Tanzania, the United Kingdom and Zambia. All those countries are. important members of the Commonwealth pf .Nations. Most of them have, very little political or ideological affinity with the Government of China but they accord it recognition. ‘
I -want to. refer to some of the statements made about China. It has been said that it should not be recognised or admitted to the United Nations - the United Nations is not mentioned in Senator Turnbull’s motion - because of its deplorable international conduct and its intervention in the affairs of other countries. I find it extraordinary that the Government which at present conscripts young Australians to fight in Vietnam in a war that is no business whatsoever of the Australian people and which engages in the butchery in Vietnam, has the audacity to say that China does not live up to our high standards. I believe that after our association as abettors, sycophants and hangers on with the Americans at My Lai we are’ in no position to reflect on the foreign policy of any other country in the world.
What are the allegations made against China? The Chinese Government subscribes to a theory of political revolution. It has never denied that. It says that it is in favour of world revolution taking place according to certain principles to which the Chinese Communist Party subscribes; but it has also said that it is opposed to interference in the domestic affairs of any other country. I believe that the history of China and the present Chinese Government shows that it has lived up to what it has said. Can any honourable senator name a country in which the present Chinese Government has intervened or to which it has sent troops?
– Have you ever heard of the Congo?
– Yes. I have also heard of Senator Hannan and I know of his delusions, so I will not dwell on them. The only countries into which China has sent its forces are India, and North Korea when it was invited to do so by the Governments of those countries. China issued a clear warning to the United States that if American forces crossed the Yalu River and thus threatened China it would send its forces to North Korea, and it did so. That was a very mild reaction compared to that of the United States in such countries as Cuba in which there were no foreign forces at all. Cuba has no border with the United States, yet the United States has said that it is entitled to decide the type of Government for Cuba. It was only after very clear specifications which had been drawn up by the Chinese Government were breached that its troops were sent into North Korea, and they were sent then at the request and with the encouragement of the North Korean Government. Chinese troops have been involved in Tibet. It is very difficult to judge what has happened in Tibet. I would not want to rely too greatly on newspaper reports because if their reports on Tibet are as accurate as their reports on Canberra I would not put great trust in them. In any event, whatever may have happened in Tibet the fact is that the Taiwan Government of Chiang Kai-shek makes precisely the same claims to Tibet as does the government in Peking. For many years the western powers had recognised China’s claim that Tibet is a province of China, Whatever the present government in Peking has done in Tibet is no different to what preceding Chinese governments have done and what the government of Chiang Kai-shek himself would do if he were in power.
The other occasion when Chinese forces have been outside China was when they were in India as a result of the complex dispute about the McMahon Line. Again, the territorial claims which were made by the Peking government are no different from the claims made by the government in Taipei. The position of Chiang Kai-shek on the McMahon Line is precisely the same as the position of the government in Peking. There is no difference whatsoever.
There is just as much difference between the Formosa government, which we recognise, and India over the question of the McMahon Line as there is between the Peking government and India. In the past year there has been considerable research by scholars into what took place in the armed dispute between China and India several years ago concerning the north eastern frontier of India. I would say that the balance of opinion amongst scholars is that in these circumstances the bulk of legal argument rests in favour of the Chinese and not in favour of the Indians. Whatever may be said about that situation, whoever was right or wrong on the issue, if China is an aggressive nation - which it is alleged to be - one can only wonder why it was content with merely occupying the limited areas which it claimed during the dispute. After routing the Indian Army why did it not go on and take the whole of India or as much of India as it wanted to occupy? It was in the position where it had completely flattened the Indian army and it could have taken as much of India as it felt like taking. All it took were those areas which were in dispute, areas which had been recognised by governments of the United Kingdom in the 19th century as being part of China.
The policy of the present Australian Government on the recognition of China is not based on any realities of the situation. The Australian Government knows that when it wants to sell wheat, wool or rolled steel to China it is not going to see anybody in Taipei. The Australian Government knows very well where China is. Sometimes the Government will call it Communist China. When Government supporters are at the South Kew Liberal Party Women’s Branch they will refer to China as Communist China or possibly Red China. When they are talking about wheat or wool they will call it mainland China. Now, with a touch of the French, it has become continental China. But whatever it is called the Government knows precisely where China is. China is a place which appears on the map. If we want to sell our wheat or wool we will go to Peking to sell it. We will not waste time trying to sell it in Formosa. The reason for continuing to recognise the comical government in Taipei is that the Government has believed that there has been some political mileage in doing this. The Government has been able to say that if we want to recognise the Chinese government we are advocating that the Red Guards should run amok in the streets of Toorak. This is the only reason the Government has had for refusing to recognise the government of China. The reason has been directed exclusively to the Australian domestic market, to little old ladies in white tennis shoes who become terrified whenever maps are prepared showing red arrows directed towards St Kilda beach from Cuba, Peking and the Congo which is the place which terrifies Senator Hannan so much. All these arrows are aimed at St Kilda beach as part of a vast international conspiracy. This has been quite a well-established pattern of reactionary governments.
It was not until November 1933 that the United States under the late President Roosevelt recognised the Government of the Soviet Union as being the Government of the Soviet Union. Stalwart professional patriots like his Republican predecessors Harding. Coolidge and Hoover had hung on to office by the same sort of red terror fears which the present Australian Government has been arousing for the past few years and is finding rather difficult to whip up at the present time. The foreign policy of the United States in the 1920s was part and parcel of the same mentality which led to the Palmer raids and the red scares in that period inside the United States. The reason why the United States Government refused to recognise the Government of the Soviet Union as being the Government of Russia was not that it did not realise it was the Government but that it wanted to use the fear of Communism for domestic consumption to frighten people into voting for it when polling day came around. This is precisely what the present Australian Government is doing. We are in an absurd situation where we find that at the present time countries in Asia which it has been claimed have suffered so terribly from the menace of Communist China, recognise China. India is one such country. Pakistan, Ceylon and Indonesia have recognised and have diplomatic relations with China as have Afghanistan and Nepal, whose esteemed ruler will be visiting us tomorrow. No doubt he could be asked the policy of his Government. I am sure that nobody would regard His Majesty the
King of Nepal as being in any way a Red yet he recognises the government in Peking as being the government of China and his country is proud to send ambassadors to represent him in Peking and receive ambassadors from Peking in his capital.
We are precluded from taking part in discussions concerning our interests in South East Asia which could lead to peace in this area in which we are vitally concerned because we refuse to talk and negotiate with China. It is not China which is suffering because of this. China constitutes one-quarter of the world’s population. It is a mighty power which is growing increasingly stronger. Australia is the country which is suffering by behaving in this peurile manner and refusing to recognise the reality which is no doubt unpalatable to some. For that reason I commend to the Senate the resolution moved by Senator Turnbull that it is in the best interests of Australia that we should immediately recognise the People’s Republic of China.
– I am sorry I do not have 15 minutes in which to reply.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! The time allowed for this discussion having expired, the Senate will proceed to the next business.
– Minister for Works) (4.4) - Notwithstanding the resolution we passed at 2 o’clock 1 ask the Senate for leave to deal with the formal notice in my name for reference of a matter to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. It will only take a minute and a half. I will also ask for leave to table certain tables.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I move:
Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Construction of a Tactical Trainer Building at ‘H.M.A.S. Watson’, South Head, Sydney, New South Wales.
The proposal involves construction of a 3- storey building of approximately 200 feet by 200 feet to house the Navy’s Action Information Organisation and Tactical Trainer. The estimated cost of the proposed work is S3. 2m. I table the plans of the proposed works.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Senator WRIGHT-I lay on the- table of the Senate the text of treaties- which are sei out in a list which I also table. There are 6 of them.
– For the information of honourable senators 1 lay on the table a statement by the Minister for Labour and National Service’ (Mr Lynch) relating to an employment training scheme for persons displaced by technological change, dated 20th April 1971, Although the statement was made in’ the House of Representatives on that date, by some inadvertence it was not offered. to the Senate on that date.
– Does the Minister wish the Senate to take note of that statement?
– If that is the Opposition’s wish, I shall do so. I lay it on the table and move:
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned
– Pursuant to section 8 of the States Grants (Advanced Education) Act 1969-70, I present a statement of approvals given during 1970-71 in respect of Commonwealth unmatched grants for acquisition of library materials in colleges of advanced education.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the annual report on the Territory of Christmas Island for the year ended 30th June 1970; the annual report of the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands for the year ended 30th June 1970; and the annual report on the Territory of Norfolk Island for the year ended 30th June 1970.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT ~ (Senator Laucke) - I advise honourable senators that the President has received a letter from Viscountess Slim, expressing her appreciation for the sentiments expressed and the tributes paid to her late” husband in the Senate on 16th February last and her thanks for a tape recording of proceedings, which has been a source of comfort to her and to her family.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a “first time.
– I move:
The main objects of this Bill are to clarify, to simplify and, in important respects, to mitigate the severity of, the law concerning assemblies of persons in areas of Commonwealth legislative responsibility. Much of the existing law on this subject is archaic, diverse, difficult to find and difficult to apply. If any law is to be effective in regulating human conduct in potentially discordant situations, it ought to be comprehensible, not only to those to whom it is directed but also to those who have the responsibility for its administration. The law ought therefore to be conveniently accessible; it ought to be expressed in clear and explicit language.
Mr President, this Bill makes provision for situations that are sometimes fraught with the risk of discord and, occasionally, with the risk, or worse, the actuality, of violence. In a democracy every citizen should be free, within limits imposed by laws designed to strike a reasonable balance between conflicting interests, to give expression to his views or to his sentiments by the process of peaceful assembly, lt must be recognised that the right to dissent carries with it, as one of its aspects, a right to use that process. To set the limits to which I have referred is seldom an easy task. Where the competing interests are in sharp conflict, the task is apt to be both delicate and difficult.
The nature of the task was described by a former Attorney-General of New Zealand, the Honourable Ralph Hanan, now deceased. He was a notable reformer of the law. In 1968, he said:
Both freedom and order are essentia). Freedom without order - which is’ virtually what the anarchists proclaim - is an impossible state except for hermits. There can be no meaningful freedom in society unless we have order. On the other band, order without freedom is tyranny ‘ and we will have none of it. Balancing the two is a perennial human problem, to which there is no perfect solution.
It is the task of government to strike that balance - to draw the line. And the line ought to be clearly and sensibly drawn. This will not happen if we concentrate on simplistic catch-cries about the need for law and order’ or the need for preserving civil liberties’. Such emotive slogans serve only to obscure the reality of the problem, which is to formulate just criteria for protecting social values of sufficient worth and durability to warrant the protection of the law.
Calls for law and order must not be allowed to deteriorate into attacks upon the right to dissent. Calls in support of the right to dissent must be heeded, but they must not be allowed to deteriorate into attacks upon the rights and proper liberties of other people. In a real world, there cannot be - and the law in its development has always recognised this - an absolute and unfettered right for groups of people to assemble together, or for individuals to roam without any restriction wheresoever they will into or over premises lawfully occupied by others. To admit such rights would ignore the legitimate interests of others. That those interests are entitled to protection is recognised in Article 29 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which it is stated that in the exercise of bis rights everyone shall be subject to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing recognition of the rights of others and of meeting the requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
The Right Honourable Lord Shawcross, Q.C., a former Attorney-General of the United Kingdom, in an article published in 1966, expressed it thus:
In short, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement must be qualified by reference to considerations affecting the overall public interest. I shall now attempt to define the principal considerations that seem to me to be relevant. First, the public interest requires that the conduct of people assembling for a’ common purpose shall not give rise to violence or to any reasonable apprehension of violence. “Second, the public interest requires that people who assemble in public places for a common purpose shall conduct themselves so as not to cause unreasonable obstruction to others.
A great judge once said that the commandment ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour’ is translated into the legal rule that you must not injure your neighbour. One way of doing such an injury is unreasonably to obstruct your neighbour in the legitimate exercise of the rights and privileges that he, as a member of the public, is entitled to enjoy. Third, the public interest requires that lawful occupiers of land and premises should be protected from intrusions upon their peaceable occupation. The technique of protest known as the ‘sit-in’ is such an intrusion. There is good reason to conclude that the sanction of the civil law - the action for damages for trespass to land - is inadequate to control this sort of behaviour and that a moderate criminal sanction is justified. Fourth, the public interest requires that the proprieties of international discourse should be preserved. Therefore, any nation that receives the official representatives of other nations should see to it that they are protected against harass- ment or intimidation by organised groups of protesters. This is more than a matter of mere propriety; it is an international obligation that Australia owes to the diplomatic representatives of other countries by virtue of its accession to the Vienna Convention of 1961 on Diplomatic Relations. Other countries owe the same duty to our representatives abroad.
Sir, I prefaced my remarks by saying that there are areas of Commonwealth legislative responsibility. I shall now define those areas. First, there are the mainland Territories of the Commonwealth, in respect of which this Parliament has plenary legislative power. Second, there are Commonwealth premises, whether in a State or a Territory. These are defined in the Bill as premises occupied by the Commonwealth or by a public authority or body, other than an incorporated company or association, constituted by or under a law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory. Third, there are what this Bill describes as protected persons and protected premises. Protected persons are the representatives of other countries or of international organisations, duly accredited to this country, and protected premises are premises, situated anywhere in Australia, occupied for official or private purposes by those representatives.
Certain events have caused attention to be focussed upon the field of law with which the Bill is concerned. 1 do not intend to convey that matters have got out of hand or that situations have arisen, either in the mainland Territories or elsewhere, that require the enactment of repressive measures. That is not the purpose of the present Bill. But incidents have occurred that have been disturbing and that have caused the Government to undertake an examination of the existing law - to look at its content and at its suitability to present-day conditions. In the result, the Government has decided that it should undertake the task of balancing the various interests - of making an effort to achieve a synthesis of freedom and order, as the objective has been described - in a suitable, modern statute covering, but expressly limited to, matters within the area of Commonwealth legislative responsibility.
I now refer to the State of the existing law. The view that the existing law is archaic and diverse is not mine alone. A committee of English lawyers, amongst whom were the Right Honourable Sir Derek Walker-Smith, Q.C., M.P., and Mr Charles Doughty, Q.C., has quite recently expressed the same opinion concerning the law in force in the United Kingdom. That law is neither as antique nor as diverse as our own law. The committee recommended that the law in the United Kingdom should be revised in order to simplify and clarify it, to help the authorities in maintaining order and to give participants in assemblies a greater understanding of their legal rights and liabilities. Under the present law, there are indictable offences of unlawful assembly, rout and riot. Unlawful assembly is an assembly of three or more persons with the intent to carry out a common purpose, assembled in such a manner as to give other persons reasonable cause to fear that the persons assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace. A rout is an unlawful assembly on the move, and a riot is an unlawful assembly that begins to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace.
The law as to unlawful assembly and riot differs from State to State; it differs also as between the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The present law is found in part in the common law, in part in old United Kingdom statute law of considerable antiquity, dating back to riot legislation of 3394 in the reign of Richard II, and in laws of the States and Territories. The common law offences of riot, rout and unlawful assembly remain in force in the Territories and in 3 States. These States are New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In 4 States and in the mainland Territories, United Kingdom statutes relating to riots are still in force. In 1967 most of those statutes were repealed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, 6 statutes passed in the years 1394, 1411, 1414, 1661, 1714 and 1793 are still in force. Certain of these statutes are also in force in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
The present statutory penalties for taking part in an unlawful assembly vary from imprisonment for one year to imprisonment for 21 years. At common law, the penalty is imprisonment or a fine, within the discretion of the Court. The statutory penalties for taking part in a riot vary from imprisonment for 3 years to imprisonment for 21 years. At common law, the penalty is imprisonment or a fine within the discretion of the Court. The penalty for failing to disperse from a riot is presently life imprisonment in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory; the penalty is 21 years imprisonment in Tasmania and in Western Australia it is 14 years. All these unsatisfactory features of the present law have been taken into account in the preparation of the Bill that the Senate is now being asked to consider.
The Bill will repeal the existing United Kingdom, State and Territory offences of taking part in an unlawful assembly, rout and riot, so far as those laws affect the Territories, Commonwealth premises and diplomatic and consular premises and personnel. The Bill will also mitigate the unnecessary severity of existing laws. A person may be guilty under the present law of the offence of taking part in an unlawful assembly, a rout or a riot although he did not himself commit a breach of the peace or so conduct himself as to give rise to an apprehension that a breach of the peace would occur. This aspect of the law needs, I think, to be modified. Under clauses 6 and 15 of the Bill, only those persons taking part in an assembly who commit acts of physical violence to persons or damage to property, or who so conduct themselves as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension that such violence or damage will occur, are to be guilty of an offence. The Bill will also reduce substantially the penalties applicable under the existing law.
Clauses 6 and 15 of the Bill will provide a maximum penalty of §250 or 3 months imprisonment or both for the offence of engaging in conduct that gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that an assembly will be carried on in a manner involving unlawful physical violence to persons or unlawful damage to property. This penalty will replace the present penalties of unlimited fine or unlimited imprisonment, 4 years imprisonment and 21 years imprison ment at present applicable in different parts of Australia for the offence of taking part in an unlawful assembly. ‘Clauses 6 and 15 will also provide a penally of $1,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both for the offence of committing an act of physical violence to another person or damage to property while taking part in an assembly. As 1 have said, the present penalties range from 3 years imprisonment to 21 years imprisonment under statute law and a fine or imprisonment in the discretion of the court at common law.
Clauses 8 and 17 of the Bill will provide a penalty of $500 or 6 months imprisonment or both for the offence of failing to disperse from a riot. This penalty will apply instead of the penalties of life imprisonment, 21 years imprisonment and 14 years imprisonment at present applicable for this offence. The law presently available to deal with persons taking part in ‘sit-in’ demonstrations in Commonwealth premises is inadequate to control this sort of behaviour. Only in New South Wales and Victoria are there provisions making it an offence for a person to refuse to “leave a building on being requested to’ do so. Accordingly, clauses 11, 12 and 20 make it an offence for a person to- refuse or neglect, without reasonable excuse,’ to leave premises within the scope of the legislation on being directed to do so.
The Bill provides objective criteria for determining whether an offence has been committed. For example, in determining whether the conduct of persons taking part in an assembly has given rise to an apprehension of violence, the test is whether the apprehension is a ‘reasonable’ one. Its reasonableness is to be decided by the court in the light of the evidence. The term ‘unreasonable obstruction’, as used in the Bill, is an act that constitutes, or contributes to, an obstruction of the exercise or enjoyment by other persons of their lawful rights or privileges where, having regard to all the circumstances of: the obstruction, including its place, time, duration and nature, it constitutes an unreasonable obstruction. Again, it is for the court to decide whether the obstruction is unreasonable. In addition, defences of lawful excuse or reasonable excuse, as appropriate, are provided for in the Bill. 1 turn now to a brief description of the broad framework of the Bill. Part 1 of the
Bill is mainly concerned with definitions. An ‘assembly’ is defined as meaning an assembly of not less than 3 persons who are assembled for a common purpose, whether or not other persons are assembled with them and whether the assembly is at a particular place or moving. This follows in essence the common law concept of what is an assembly. Part II, which consists of clauses 6 to 13, relates to situations that may arise in the mainland Territories and on - Commonwealth - premises both in the. mainland Territories and in the Slates. . . ‘ .
Clause 6. of the. Bill replaces the common law offences of taking part in an unlawful assembly, a rout or a riot or the statutory, equivalent - wherever there is one - of such offences. The clause, which applies in . a Territory, or on Commonwealth premises; . makes it a . summary offence to cause ‘ physical violence to another . person “ or damage to” . property while taking part ‘in an assembly. It is also a summary offence to engage, while taking part in an assembly, in conduct that gives, rise to a reasonable apprehension that such violence or damage will occur. Clause 7 deals with more- serious cases of violence or damage. It provides; that a person .who in a Territory or on Commonwealth premises, while taking part in an assembly, wilfully and without lawful excuse causes actual bodily harm to another person or damage, to an extent exceeding $200, to property, is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty, in the case of causing actual bodily harm, is 5 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty in the case of causing damage to property, is 3 years imprisonment. These are indictable offences.
Clause 8 will replace the present provisions, such as the Riot Act 1714, that make it an offence to refuse to disperse from a riot upon being lawfully commanded to do so. It provides that a member of the police force of the rank of sergeant or above may, in certain circumstances, give a direction to persons taking part in an assembly to disperse. Clause 8 applies where there is an assembly consisting of not less than 12 persons in a Territory and the assembly is being carried on in a manner involving violence. It also applies where persons in the assembly have conducted themselves in a way that has caused a member of a police force of the rank of sergeant or above reasonably to apprehend that violence will occur. The clause provides that, where a direction is given under the section to disperse and the assembly, to the number of not less than 12 persons, continues after the expiration of 15 minutes from the time of the direction, each of those persons who has, without reasonable excuse,-‘ failed to comply with the direction is guilty of a summary offence, punishable by. a fine not exceeding §500 or imprisonment., for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both. This is a substantial mitigation of existing’ statutory penalities.’ T
Clause 9 creates a- summary offence, of unreasonable obstruction. The maximum penalty is. $250 or 3 months imprisonment or both. Clause 10 will make it an offence for. a. person taking part in an assembly to carry , or . use a weapon or missile or a destructive, noxious’ or repulsive object or substance, in clauses 1.1. and 12, additional offences are provided in relation to Commonwealth premises and private.- premises. The clauses create offences of trespassing without reasonable excuse, unreasonable obstruction, offensive behaviour and refusal, without reasonable excuse, to leave pre. mises on being requested to do so. The maximum penalty for the offence of trespassing without reasonable excuse is $100 or I month’s imprisonment or both. The maximum penalty for the other offences created by clauses 11 and 12 is $250 or 3 months imprisonment or both.
The principal object of Part III of the Bill, as stated in clause 14, is to introduce provisions that will assist in giving effect to Australia’s obligation in international law to protect diplomatic and consular premises and personnel. Clause 18 will make it an offence to assault, harass, behave offensively towards, or unreasonably obstruct, diplomatic or consular personnel. Clauses 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20 cover the same ground, in relation to diplomatic and consular premises and personnel, as that dealt with in clauses 6, 7, 8. 10, 11 and 12 in Part II of the Bill.
There are, in addition, a number of general provisions in Part IV of the Bill.
Clauses 22 and 23 deal with matters relating to arrest and the bringing of prosecutions. Proceedings under the Act, except proceedings with respect to offences committed on private premises as set out in clause 11 of the Bill, may be instituted only with the consent of the Attorney General. Clause 24 will give a defendant charged with an offence against the Act punishable on summary conviction an entitlement to receive reasonable particulars of the conduct which is the subject of the charge. Clause 25 provides, in the context of the Bill, that the existing common law and statutory offences of talcing part in an unlawful assembly, a rout and a riot, cease to apply after the commencement of the Bill as an Act.
In summary, this Bill is designed to protect the civil rights of innocent persons, and the property of those persons, from unlawful and unreasonable conduct occurring in the course of certain assemblies. It sets out in a specific and simple manner, for all to see, the liabilities of those who engage in violent and unreasonable conduct in the course of an assembly. It repeals archaic, diverse and inaccessible laws. It modifies unnecessarily severe aspects of the present laws.
It is a first duty of government to protect the citizen against violence, intimidation and crime, but law and order must be linked with moderation, liberty and justice. It is the objective of this Bill to provide such a link. Mr Acting Deputy President, in commending the Bill to the Senate I wish to have it noted that the speech which I have just delivered was prepared by my colleague, Senator Greenwood, and I delivered it on his behalf.
– This Bill is an onslaught upon the rights of freedom of speech and of peaceable assembly in this country. It is in line with a number of other attempts to erode civil liberties in our community. The Opposition will resist this Bill and vote against it at every stage. I ask leave to continue my remarks, Mr Acting Deputy President.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Silting suspended from 4.35 to 1 0.17 p.m.
– I wish to inform the Senate that Senator Branson will be acting as Government Whip during the absence overseas of Senator Withers.During his term as Acting GovernmentWhip he will occupy Senator Withers’ seat inthe chamber.
Senate adjourned at 10.18 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 April 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1971/19710422_senate_27_s47/>.