18th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. J. J. Clark) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Last year the
Minister for Repatriation promised to give sympathetic consideration to making available free of charge specially equipped motor carsfor limbless and paraplegic ex-servicemen on a basis similar to that which has been approved by the British Government for British ex-servicemen. Many Australian limbless ex-servicemen are now in doubt whether they should seek loans to obtain motor vehicles of the kind mentioned or wait for the Government to solve their problem. Can the Minister say whether the Government is prepared to follow the example of the British Government by providing specially equipped motor cars for ex-servicemen such as 1 have indicated?
– I recall that the honorable member for Wentworth raised this matter some time ago, as also did the honorable members for Griffith, Swan and Bendigo. Since then I have investigated the suggestion, and I have had the advantage of examining detailed information from the United Kingdom of the provision made for limbless exservicemen in that country. However, I am afraid that there is not much prospect of the Australian Government following the example of the British Government. In the first place there is great difficulty in obtaining motor cars, and, in any event, in view of the assistance that is already being provided for ex-servicemen in the circumstances mentioned it is considered that the Government would not be justified in incurring the expenditure of providing motor cars, even if they were available.
– In view of the statement made by the Minister for Repatriation that the great shortage of doctors in Australia has led to delays in dealing with repatriation cases, will the Minister state whether it is a fact that there are a number of doctors in Australia who have qualified in medicine at leading medical schools in Europe and that they are being prevented from practising their profession because of regulations governing the registration of medical practitioners in this country? Will the honorable gentleman consider the desirability of providing for the registration of such doctors with a view to overcoming the shortage of medical officers in his department?
– It is true that there is a general shortage of registered medical practitioners in Australia, and it is also true that there are a number of refugee doctors in this country who so far have not been able to secure registration in order to enable them to practise. I do not know that the Australian Government can do very much in the matter because the registration of medical practitioners is within the control of the States. In order to ascertain the exact position I shall confer with the Minister for Social Services, who is much better informed than I am on this subject, and I shall furnish the honorable member with such information as I obtain. Anything that the Australian Government can do to facilitate the registration of qualified refugee doctors will be gladly done.
– Kas the Minister for immigration had inquiries made by the officers of his department into the allegations made by the honorable member for Richmond in the House last week that landing permits were being given freely to Jewish persons of German nationality and that similar permits were being withheld from other intending German migrants? Can the Minister indicate whether there is any more truth in that particular allegation than there lias been in other allegations made by the honorable member?
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Griffith stated that I had made certain allegations. That is not true. On the occasion referred to I asked a question of the Minister for Immigration in which I sought certain information-
– Order ! No point of order is involved. The honorable member may proceed with his question.
– I rise to a point of order. There is a standing order which states that a question may not be founded upon another question. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, must be familiar with that standing order. The question asked by the honorable member for Griffith was prefaced by words which explicitly stated that it was founded upon a question asked by another honorable member. Therefore it was, I submit, out of order.
– The only other question that has been asked this morning was put by the honorable member for Wentworth, and it did not deal with the same subject as the question asked by the honorable member for Griffith. Therefore, the question of the honorable member for Griffith is in order.
– Last week, the honorable member for Richmond asked me a question in which he alleged that officers of my department had advised his secretary that the only German nationals who were being given landing permits to enable them to enter Australia were those of the Jewish faith. That was a serious charge, and I immediately asked my officers whether they had any information on the subject which I could impart to the House. I have now received a report from Mr. Wall, Commonwealth migration officer in Sydney, in which he says that the secretary of the honorable member for Richmond was asked what her recollection was of the discussion which took place about the application for the admission of Gerhard Bear, a German, who had been refused permission to enter Australia by the head office in Canberra. The lady said that when she had telephoned the Sydney office she was told that only German fiancees, and sons and daughters of persons already in Australia, could be admitted. My officer says that the recollection of the Sydney official, Mrs. Curran, who replied to Mr. Anthony’s secretary, is that the latter asked whether Bear could be admitted as a nephew of the applicant, and was informed that he could not. In a general conversation on the subject, the officer stated that only female fiancees, who were German nationals, were being admitted. Mr. Wall says that both the secretary of the honorable member for Richmond and Mrs. Curran were emphatic that Jews were not mentioned in the conversation, but the secretary of the honorable member for Richmond had an idea that she might have made some reference to them in her note to the honorable member, but exactly in what connexion she could not recall. Mr. Wall says that Mrs. Curran is a very reliable officer. The disclosure that Jews were not mentioned in the conversation, and the fact that an allegation was made in this House that my officers advised the secretary of the honorable member for Richmond that only Jews were ‘being admitted, proves that the honorable member’s statement in this instance was f.a.q. of his allegations generally.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim that he has been misrepresented?
– Yes, I have been misrepresented in the answer which the Minister has just given. Last week, I asked a question about the migration to Australia of persons of German nationality. I had made personal inquiries into a specific case. The Minister asked me to make out a factual case, rather than state a hypothetical case, and he would deal with it. I then explained that this was a factual case that referred to a man named Gerhard Bear, and I pointed out to the House that my secretary, under my instructions, had made inquiries at the Department of Immigration in Sydney, and had been given certain information. I read that information to the House in the exact form in which it was transmitted to me. The information allegedly given to my secretary by the department in Sydney was that only certain persons were being admitted. I use the word “ allegedly “, because they denied-
– The honorable member is not entitled to debate this matter. He is only entitled to say how he has been misrepresented.
– I am not debating the matter. I am merely explaining how the Minister misrepresented the situation. The information given to my secretary was typed for me and I read it to the House in the exact form in which it was sent to me. It was that the only persons entitled to come to Australia from Germany were the female fiancees of persons already in this country, and that persons of Jewish faith - the word “ Jewish “ was specifically mentioned - were given special treatment.
– The honorable member should leave it at that.
– That was the reason for my asking the question.
– The question that I am about to ask is based on an advertisement that appeared in the week-end newspapers relating to a Labrador mink coat which was offered for sale in Australia at £2,175. Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether such mink coats are imported, and if so, from which country? Would such items be classed as luxury items, and, if so, would they involve an allocation of dollars ? Will the right honorable gentleman reconsider any such allocation with a view to making those dollars available for the importation of spare parts for tractors, so that, despite the laughs and sneers of metropolitan members, the Government’s production drive can be further advanced ?
– I have heard something about a fur coat being offered for sale in Sydney at £2,175. I assure honorable members that no dollars will be made available for the importation of mink coats from hard currency areas. Although I do not know from where this coatcame, it may he one that has been held by a retailer or a wholesaler in one of the continental countries and sent to Australia for sale.
– We cannot hear the right honorable gentleman’s reply.
– If honorable members would cease interrupting they would be able to hear what the Prime Minister is saying. Quite a lot of discourtesy has been shown by some honorable members this morning while Ministers have been answering questions.
– No dollars are being made available, or have been made available in recent times, for the importationof a mink coat of this description.
– It may be last year’s model.
– I shall cause inquiries to be made into this matter to ascertain whether dollars which should not have been made available, have been made available for this purpose. I shall inform the honorable member of the result of those inquiries.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. I point out that in the press to-day there appears a report that Brigadier-General Travis, General Officer Commanding the United States Pacific Air Command, has given an assurance that in the event of another war America will immediately send strong military aid to Australia. The press report also states that Brigadier-General Travis is in Australia on a goodwill mission, and hasbrought with him a staff of fourteen officers and men.
– Order ! What is the honorable member’s question ?
-Can the Prime Minister give to the House any information about the nature of this goodwill mission? Is this distinguished American officer here at the invitation of the Australian Government? If he is not here at the invitation of the Government, will the Government, in view of the statements that he is here on a goodwill mission, afford him every facility to discuss with Australian representatives the subject of Australian-American co-operation in respect of problems in the Pacific area? Is the right honorable gentleman able to give to the House any information on this important subject?
– Brigadier-General Travis occupies a post in the American Intelligence Service and it is not usual for public statements to be made about the work of such organizations. All I can say in answer to the honorable member’s question is that the fullest facilities have already been provided for the discussion of matters of common interestbetween Australia and the United States of America and also the United Kingdom and other Pacific countries.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the statement in this morning’s press attributed to Brigadier-General Travis, General Officer Commanding the United States Pacific Air Command, that there is no danger of the United States “pulling out “ of the Pacific area, and that there was no doubt that the United States would come to the military assistance of Australia if required. Can the right honorable gentleman say whether the American Government has given any assurance that it will not withdraw from the Pacific area, and that it will come to Australia’s assistance in the event of a future “show”?
– Having regard to the discussions which are going on with various countries, a question of the kind just asked by the honorable gentleman is quite improper. It is quite certain that no officer of the United States of America Government, as an individual, can give any assurance on behalf of the President or of the legislature of that country as to what the United States of America is likely to do now or in the future. No army officer and, indeed, no American congressman, as an individual, would have the right to do that, because that right lies entirely within the province of the American Government. All I can say is that the relationships existing between the Australian Government and the various American services and leaders of that country - I might go so far as to include the President of the United States of America - are excellent, andI see no reason why our relation; with America should be adversely affected in any way by the discussions which the Minister for External Affairs has been conducting in respect of a regional basis in the Pacific. The Government is keeping that aspect in the forefront in all its discussions. My own view is that having regard to the need to maintain world peace, American intervention, should trouble arise in the Pacific, would obviously be necessary ; and I believe that the American Government would give very serious consideration to such a matter.
Albury Facilities - Wage Increases
– Will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General state the present position in relation to the erection of a new automatic telephone exchange at Albury, and when it is intended to commence the remodelling of the Albury post office?
– Negotiations are proceeding, and I expect that they will be finalized shortly, for the erection of a new automatic telephone exchange and the installation of up-to-date equipment at Albury. It is proposed to commence as quickly as possible the remodelling of the Albury post office and the provision of up-to-date amenities for the staff employed there.
– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that wage increases were granted recently in the Postal Department, but that there was some delay in the payment of those increases? Is he also aware that the postal workshop group at Sydenham near Sydney threatened to stop work unless it immediately received the wage increases, and it received them, whereas employees of the mail branch who made no such threat are still waiting for their higher payments? Why does the Government set a premium on indus- trial blackmail in this way, and what steps is the Government prepared to take to meet the just claims of workers who prefer to stay at work rather than to disrupt the community?
– The question comes more within the province of the Prime Minister’s Department, which controls the Public Service Board, than that of the Department of Labour and National Service. I have heard nothing of the incident to which the honorable member has referred. By consent awards, extensive wage increases have been granted to members of the Public Service. I am speaking of those who are in the lower divisions. On two occasions substantial increases have been granted in the higher ranks by the Public Service Arbitrator, and many millions of pounds have been expended as a result of those increases. I have no knowledge of any delay that has occurred in the making of payments. There might have been some physical delay connected with the computation of the amounts due. The awards covering the lower divisions were arrived at by consent before an arbitrator ; that which deals with the higher ranks was made by the Public Service Arbitrator. I shall examine the point raised by the honorable member concerning the threatened strike which allegedly led to payment of some employees and the fact that payments were not granted as readily to others who had. not threatened to strike, and I shall inform the honorable member of the result.
Air Accident in New Guinea.
-Does the Department of Civil Aviation propose to prosecute Guinea Air Traders for alleged breaches of regulations associated with the crash of a Lockheed freighter at Lae on the 18th April, 1948, in which 33 natives were killed ? Will the Minister for Civil Aviation state the reason for the delay of nearly one year in informing the House of the findings of the officials who investigated that crash, which is the worst disaster yet to occur to an aircraft within the jurisdiction of his department? Will he promptly table the findings of those officials in order that they may be discussed by honorable members? Is the delay in releasing the official report as well as the failure to initiate a prosecution due to disclosures in that report which might reflect adversely upon the administration of the Department of Civil Aviation?
– This week I received information from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, to which the matter mentioned by the honorable member was referred some time ago, and, if I am given leaveto do so, I am prepared now to make a statement which will clear the honorable member’s mind onthe subject. No justification whatever exists for the implication contained in his question that the official report on this disaster reflects in any way upon the administration of the Department of Civil Aviation.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether the socalled great circle direct route from Perth to Melbourne hasbeen forbidden to passenger aircraft by the Department of Civil Aviation? If so, why? In view of the great reduction of time effected by the use of that route, will: he consider recommending to the Australian National Airlines Commission that some DC4 aircraft should follow that route weekly? Is there any likelihood of the DC6 service which previously operated from Perth to Melbourne on a temporary basis being established on a permanent basis?
– So far as I am aware, no directions have been given that forbid aircraft operating between Perth and the eastern section of Australia flying the great circle route. However, I shall have inquiries made into the matter, and obtain the fullest possible information for the honorable member. The DC6 aircraft were used between Perth and the eastern part of Australia when they were available, but these aircraft were purchased for use primarily for the Pacific service. There may be occasions when that type of aircraft will be available for flights between Perth and the eastern States, but the Australian National Airlines Commission has not sufficient numbers of DC 6 aircraft to operate a regular trans-continental service with them. Therefore, I am not able to give the honorable member any hope that DC6- machines will fly that route regularly. The commission will continue to use DC4 aircraft on that service.
-The Government of New South Wales has granted to the Commonwealth for twenty years, a lease of 6,500 acres on the Beecroft Peninsula, which is required for the Nowra air station. The State had made that area wholly a flora and fauna reserve. Will the Minister for the Navy undertake to continue the absolute protection of flora and fauna in that area, except, of course, in the target area? The State has also prohibited grazing throughout that area since 1945 in an endeavour to reduce the risk of bush fires. Will the Minister favorably consider making a similar prohibition in that area and in adjoining Commonwealth areas?
– I shall ascertain from the Department of the Navy whether the honorable member’s representations for the protection of flora and fauna in the area to which he has referred can be acceded to. He may also rest assured that the department will do everything in its power to carry out the wishes of the State Government. When I have discussed the matter with the department, I shall in form the honorable member of the decision.
– Some months ago, when 1 was investigating the shortage of tyres for heavy plant and equipment, I was given the extraordinary excuse that the men required to handle them in the process of manufacture in Australia were opposed to making them. Is the Prime Minister aware of the serious shortage of large tyres for replacements? Does he know that this shortage is preventing all classes of heavy machinery, including graders, from being kept in operation in Australia, and that the shortage is becoming an increasing menace to maintenance of operations by local authorities and private users? Will the Prime Minister have the matter investigated in an endeavour to overcome this unfortunate opposition to the manufacture of heavy tyres, and the employees’ preference for making only such classes of tyres as they desire, because their attitude is involving authorities and producers in heavy losses ?
– The honorable member will understand that the control of the distribution of tyres is no longer a Commonwealth responsibility.
– I referred to the labour problem.
– The honorable member stated that the employees disliked manufacturing heavy tyres, and preferred making light tyres. Whilst the honorable member may be correct in saying that such a dislike exists, I remind him that that information was supplied by the manufacturers themselves. Apparently, the work is heavy, and if the employees can obtain lighter work without making heavy tyres, they prefer to take it. I realize that it is most important that heavy tyres should be available for tractors and agricultural machinery, and I shall confer with those responsible to ascertain whether assistance can be given, or labour provided in order to enable heavy tyres to be made.
– Is it a fact that at the recent conference held at Lapstone Hotel, government motor cars and cars iii red by the Government travelled in all 90,000 miles carrying delegates and their staffs to and from the conference, to parties and on pleasure trips? Will the Prime Minister obtain a statement of the quantities of petrol and oil used and the total cost of the conference?
– Naturally I am not able to say what distances were travelled by motor cars used for the conveyance of visitors from other nations to the Lapstone conference. I know that twelve or thirteen vehicles were used for that work. I should have thought that it was the duty of a country that is endeavouring to cultivate friendly relations with other countries to ensure that the representatives of those countries should be properly entertained while they were here on official business. I shall ascertain whether it is possible, without undertaking too much detailed work, to prepare an estimate of the mileage travelled by those motor cars. I shall do my best to secure the information for the honorable member. I want it to be clearly understood that, no matter what cost was involved, I, as the leader of the Government of Australia, consider that it was my duty to ensure that distinguished visitors from other countries were properly cared for while they were here.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has observed that it has been reported to-day that the Chinese cruiser Chungking, formerly the British cruiser Aurora, which was presented to the Chinese Government, has been handed over to the Communists? Has he also observed that the British battleship Royal Sovereign, on returning from Russia, was without its anti-aircraft gunnery equipment? Is lie now prepared to discuss with the Imperial authorities at the next Imperial conference the complete and utter unwisdom of disclosing any information about land, sea and air armaments to questionable international characters?
– I have not seen the statements that the honorable member has 3a id appear in the newspapers this morning. The only information that I have gleaned from the newspapers to-day is the result of the cricket match in
Sydney, and that was not of an international character. Very much could be said about the supply of equipment and materials by the United Kingdom and the United States of America to what were regarded as the friendly governments of other countries, and a great deal could also be said about the uses to which some of that equipment has been put. Something could even be said in regard to Unrra relief that was provided for certain friendly countries. There can be no question but that, in some instances, such gifts have been misused or misapplied. I know from my own knowledge of the circumstances in China, that some of the material supplied to the then Government of China has fallen into the hands of the Communists and has been used by them. The story is a very long one, and I do not propose to attempt to deal with it now. The water that has run under the bridge cannot be brought back again. All that can be done by the United Kingdom, Australia and allied nations is to endeavour to ensure that such things shall not happen again.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture concerning a published announcement attributed to the Australian Wheat Board that arrangements have been made for the sale of a considerable quantity of Australian wheat to New Zealand at the prevailing world price. What is this price, and what is the price that New Zealand paid for wheat it obtained under the wheat agreement of 1947 ? How much wheat is still to be shipped to New Zealand at the low price provided for in the 1947 agreement, and what is the total cost to the Treasury up to date of recouping to the growers the difference between the price New Zealand paid under the agreement and the world parity price ?
– I suggest that the honorable member place his questions on the notice-paper and ask in addition whether the farmers of Australia lost anything at all in respect of the deal.
– Yesterday, the Minister for Information gave an undertaking that the Minister for Shipping and Fuel would cause inquiries to be made into the circumstances in which petrol has been used to convey people to certain meetings of the Liberal party and the Australian Country party. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel whether he will request that inquiries also be made into the truth of a statement that between 60 and 70 trucks, together with departmental buses and private cars, are to be used to transport holiday-makers to the Trades and Labour Council picnic that is to be held at the Cotter River to-day. It has been stated that the function will he opened by the Minister for the Interior and that the Minister for Immigration, the Minister for Works and Housing and other members of the Parliament will be present. Will the Minister, in due course, make a full statement to the House regarding the quantity of petrol that is to be made available for this purpose?
– I shall bring the honorable gentleman’s question to the attention of the Minister for Shipping and Fuel who, I am sure, will be able to provide an adequate answer. Honorable members opposite would feel much aggrieved if they were not provided with the transport that they require. I believe that the workers are entitled to the transport facilities that are being provided to enable them to attend whatever picnic is taking place to-day at the Cotter River. Honorable gentlemen opposite have their forms of recreation, and the workers are entitled to theirs.
Reports on Items.
– I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects : -
Motor Vehicle Bodies and Pressed Metal Panels for the manufacture of Motor Vehicle Bodies - Questions of temporary admission under By-law.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for the Interior is prompted by the delay that has occurred in the drafting and promulgation of ordi nances affecting the Northern Territory. Long before the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory was established, certain ordinances which had been drafted, and were ready for promulgation, were sent by the legal officers in Darwin to the Attorney-General in Canberra. One such ordinance relates to the adoption of children. There are now others dealing with such matters as workers’ compensation and the protection of mail men now operating the Royal mail between Alice Springs and Darwin.
– Order ! Will the honorable member now ask his question ?
– In view of this delay, will the Minister confer with the Acting Attorney-General with a view to appointing a legal officer to assist elected members of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory as the nominated members are now assisted, so that ordinances may be drafted and promulgated speedily?
– It is true that the promulgation of a number of ordinances, including some relating to the establishment of a land board, and other matters of importance to the Northern Territory was delayed pending the establishment of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory. It was thought that it would be in the best interests of the Northern Territory if all ordinances were submitted to the council for approval. In addition, the Government’s large legislative programme during the last sessional period of this Parliament necessitated draftsmen working overtime to cope with the volume of work. However, I can assure the honorable member that the ordinances which he has in mind are now being drafted and will be submitted to the next meeting of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory.
– I ask the Minister for Air whether it is true as alleged by the Chief of the Air Staff that only one Royal Australian Air Force aircraft in every 50 is suitable for battle? Also, is there any truth in the statement that our Air Force would be in a better state of preparation than that of any probable enemy should war break out next week? If so, how can those two statements be reconciled?
– I have not seen either of the statements to which the honorable member has referred, and I do not think that I should be called upon to reconcile statements that I have not seen. However, I shall make inquiries and provide the honorable member with an answer to his question at an early date.
– Can the Minister re presenting the Minister for Transport inform me whether there was any obligation on the motor car industry to fulfil outstanding approved applications for motor vehicles when the issue of permits passed out of the hands of the Commonwealth? I ask this question because I have several such cases in my electorate.
– There was no responsibility on the Commonwealth to continue distribution once it relinquished control of permits.
– I have received from the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely : -
The urgent necessity of securing the full, spontaneous co-operation of the medical, dental, pharmaceutical and nursing professions, of State and hospital organizations and of voluntary sickness benefit associations with the Commonwealth Government to ensure a successful and satisfactory national health service.
There are several precedents for the disallowance of proposed motions for the adjournment of the House to discuss matters that have already been debated during the same session. In the present instance the matter proposed to be raised was the subject of discussion last December during the second-reading debate on the National Health Service Bill 1948. It will be remembered that on that occasion an amendment was moved by the then Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison) which covered almost completely the subject now sought to be raised.
I quote the tenth edition of May, at page 241, as follows : -
The Speaker is bound to apply to these motions the established rules of debate and to enforce the principle that subjects excluded by those rules cannot be brought forward thereon ; such as a matter underadjudication by a court of law, or matters already discussed during the current session, whether upon a previous motion for adjournment upon a substantive motion, upon an amendment or upon an order of the day.
I therefore rule the proposed motion out of order.
– I rise to order. This House is placed in a very difficult position in the conduct of the business of the country because of the Government’s failure to comply with the provision of the Constitution which lay? down that there shall be a separate session of the Parliament each year.
– Order! There is no point of order involved.I have given my ruling on a matter that has been placed before the Chair. I have ruled in accordance with the Standing Orders and no point of order may be raised upon my ruling.
Honorable members interjecting,
– I do not desire any complications to arise on this matter. When a ruling has been given by the Chair no point of order may be raised upon that ruling. Once the ruling has been given that is the final decision of the Chair, and the ruling may not be canvassed in debate.
– I have already presented you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, with a second letter.
– When the giving of notice of a formal motion for the adjournment of the House is contemplated by an honorable member certain courtesy is due to the Chair. In order that such notices of motions may be placedbefore the Chair in a proper manner, honorable members should comply with the established practice of the House by giving reasonable notice and allowing the Chair to see them. In such circumstances the Chair would be enabled to give proper consideration to them. That procedure has not been followed in this instance. The letter of the right honorable gentleman has just been handed to me, and I propose to read it. These are its terms -
I desire to inform you that to-day I shall move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz.: -
The urgent necessity of implementing immediately a successful and satisfactory national health scheme.
The subject-matter of the proposed motion is such that due notice of it should have been given to the Chair.
– May I speak to the ruling that you have given, sir? It is within my knowledge that on several occasions notice of motion for the adjournment of the House has been writtenby honorable members in the chamber and has immediately been handed to the Chair. So long as the subject-matter of the proposed motions complied with the Standing Orders and the terms were such that debate could properly take place on them, the Chair invariably accepted them. With due respect for yourruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I suggest that it would be a denial of the rights of private members to refuse them an opportunity to move the adjournment of the House if they have complied with the Standing Orders.
– Order! I believe that I can short-circuit the discussion of this matter.
– I will bet you can.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) to withdraw and apologize for the reflection he has just made on the Chair.
– If my remark was offensive, I withdraw it.
– I will not accept an apology in that form. I ask the honorable member to rise in his place, apologize to the Chair and withdraw his remark without any reservation.
– Will you indicate to me, Mr. Deputy Speaker-
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! The Chair needs no assistance from honorable members in maintaining order. The honorable member for Parramatta has committed a serious breach of the Standing Orders by reflecting on the Chair in the remark that he made a few moments ago. He is aware of the remark to which I refer. I call upon him to withdraw it unreservedly and to apologize for having made it.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I withdraw the remark and apologize to the Chair for having made it.
– The matter mentioned in the letter which I have just received from the right honorable member for Cowper, and to which I was referring before I was interrupted, deals substantially with the same matter as that dealt with in the notice that he gave earlier. As I ruled against him in that regard, I must also rule against him in relation to this second notice.
Honorable members interjecting and the right honorable member for Cowper having approached the Chair,
– Order ! Honorable members are not entitled to trifle with the forms of the House for the purpose of interrupting discussion. I certainly do not propose to receive notices of motion in the form of the additional communication which the right honorable member for Cowper has just handed to me. If the right honorable gentleman desires to give notice of any further . formal motions for the adjournment of the House he must do so in proper form. Having glanced at the notice of motion which the right honorable gentleman has just handed to me, I rule it out of order for reasons similar to those that I gave when disallowing his two previous notices of motion. In any event, I find difficulty in reading the handwriting of the right honorable gentleman.
Honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! One honorable member has just interjected that the document which the right honorable member for Cowper has handed to me may be a medical prescription. The notice of motion apparently refers to the National Health Service Act.
– It refers to the regulations promulgated under the National Health Service Act.
– Order ! Apparently this notice of motion is designed to enablethe right honorable member to deal with the same subject as he proposed to deal with under his two previous notices of motion. In respect of the preceding notices I have ruled that the subject-matter is not one that can be discussed by this means at this stage. The Clerk will call on the next business on the notice-paper.
– I rise to order. For the guidance of honorable members, will you, sir, refer the House to the standing order which requires honorable members to give prior notice of their intention to move the adjournment of the House? So far asI am aware, the forms of the House do not require that notice of motion need necessarily be given in writing or that notice of intention must be given to the Chair. According to my reading of the Standing Orders, any honorable member has the right to move the formal motion for the adjournment of the House if he ca n obtain support for his motion from the prescribed number of honorable members.I suggest, therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you should inform honorable members in what respect the Standing Orders conflict with our impression of the correct procedure.
– Order ! The Chair has already been overindulgent to honorable members in this matter, and it does not propose to allow any further discussion of the ruling. Honorable members are aware that the Chair is not obliged to deliver at a moment’s notice expositions of procedure on hypothetical cases. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) has requested me to explain the application of the Standing Orders. I point out that it is his duty, and that of all honorable members, to make themselves familiar with the Standing Orders so that they may not transgress unnecessarily. I have merely ruled that motions of which notice has been given by the right honorable member for Cowper are out of order in that they relate to a matter that has already been debated during the present session of the Parliament, and that, therefore, honorable members are not entitled to discuss them any further. The Clerk will call on the next business on the noticepaper.
– Is an honorable member not entitled under the Standing Orders to raise a point of order? You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, said a moment ago that honorable members should make themselves familiar with the Standing Orders so that they may not exceed their rights in this House. My advice to honorable members is that they should read Standing Order 38-
– Order !I do not wish this matter to be pursued any further. Honorable members are aware of the requirements of the Standing Orders. A particular practice has been followed in dealing with notices of motion for the formal adjournment of the House. I shall examine the precedents and make it statement later. However, I have some knowledge of the practice that has been followed in the House, and in the rulings that I have given to-day I have merely followed established practice. In any event, I point out that the matter of procedure has not arisen directly this morning. I rejected the three notices of motion presented by the right honorable member for Cowper, and ruled them out of order, not because of the way in which they were presented to me hut because they related to a subject that had already been debated during the current session.
– I give notice of disagreement with your ruling, sir.
– Order ! The honorable member must do so in writing.
– I shall put my motion in writing forthwith.
Debate resumed from the 1st March (vide page 777), on motion by Mr. Chambers -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. White had moved, by way of amendment -
That all words after “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ the bill be withdrawn and referred to a Select Committee for report as to whether the bill meets the requirements of the territories concerned, and to seek advice upon the best methods for restoring local government and civil administration for the welfare of the native population and for the economic development of Papua and New Guinea”.
.- The bill provides for placing the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system and also for the establishment of ajoint administration for New Guinea and Papua. Those are the principal purposes for which the bill has been presented to the Parliament. I propose to say something at the outset concerning the decision to place New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. Considerable discussion of the wisdom of that decision took place in the course of the debate last night, but I consider that a great deal more has yet to be said about it. It appears to me that in its approach to the problem of New Guinea the Government has displayed a similar doctrinnaire, academic and windy attitude to that which has characterized its approach to every major problem of government. Members of the Opposition who have already taken part in the debate were subjected to interjections from Government supporters, and particularly from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen). We have been asked whether wo approved of the annexation of New Guinea by Australia. I do not particularly care what language supporters of the Government choose to use for the expression of their views, but I ask them and the members of the Government that they support, whether they contemplate any period, even in our life- time, when New Guinea will not be under the strict control and administration of the Australian Government and the Australian people? What is all this talk about trusteeship? Why do supporters of the Government object so indignantly tothe suggestion that New Guinea might be annexed? Why will the Government not face up to the realities of the situation and recognize the strategic consequences to Australia’s future of our administration of these territories? ft is an inescapable fact that Australia, for as long a time as we can see ahead, will continue to hold New Guinea and administer it. Any Government which does not shape its policy before the councils of the world on that assumption would be false to its trust. I have read the discussions which took place on this subject in the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, and I note that Australia came under fire because it was proposed to have a joint administration for Papua and New Guinea. Surely that is an eminently sensible arrangement. The two territories are largely contiguous. Their joint area is180,000 square miles, and the white population is only about 9,000, with a native population of approximately 800,000. Nevertheless, because Australia proposed to establish a joint administration for the two territories, members of the Trusteeship Council, sitting in a place remote from the area concerned, and possessing very little practical knowledge of the problems involved, were able to cross-examine Australia’s representative about what Australia proposed to do. The representatives of countries so remote as China, Costa Rica, Iraq, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America took part in the discussion. As the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) pointed out last night, Australia stands in no need of injunctions and admonitions from other countries in order to ensure that it will govern dependent peoples in a humane fashion. We are inheritors of the great British colonial tradition which has brought orderly government, prosperity and health to millions of native people in many parts of the world. Australia has done everything possible to improve the conditions of the native population of New Guinea; yet the present Government not only accents the proposition that Australiahas only a shadowy tenure in those territories which are so indispensable to us, but also that our administration may properly he probed by nations which have no close association with us or with the territories concerned. The Melanesian people who inhabit New Guinea are a very different race from the Polynesians, and are not so forward in their development in many respects. Persons may be familiar with the conditions and habits of coloured people of one race without possessing the knowledge that would enable them to speak with authority about the coloured people of another race. Any attempt to apply the same principles to the two races could easily drive us into great error. During the discussions in the Trusteeship Council, which are reported in the Current Affairs Bulletin of the Department of External Affairs, some delegates criticized the wage rates being paid to native labourers in New Guinea. Superficially, those rates may seem to leave some room for criticism, but it is necessary to examine all the circumstances. Already, there has been dislocation of an unsatisfactory kind because of the sharp increases of wage rates. We were told by delegates to the Trusteeship Council that we should apply the principle of equal pay for the sexes. , Such an attempt to apply to jungle tribes doctrinaire notions which are contested hotly even in highly industrialized communities is so fantastically unreal as to raise doubts of the value of an organization where proposals of the kind can be seriously advanced. New Guinea is indispensable to Australia’s defence, and to the future prosperity of the white peoples in this part of the world. Any Australian government which does not assert vigorously the right of Australia to administer the Territories of Papua and New Guinea will fail in its duty. I am by no means satisfied that we have in the present Australian Government a body of men who recognize the importance of asserting Australia’s case vigorously and strongly in the councils of the world.
Reference has been made to the strategic importance of New Guinea, and we still have a vivid recollection of the part which it played in the defence of Australia during the recent war. We view with growing alarm events now taking place in Asia. Day after day, developments in India, Burma, Malaya, China and Indonesia suggest that Communist forces, which for so long worked by infiltration and propaganda, taking advantage of the chaotic conditions arising out of the war, now believe that the time is opportune to establish themselves openly in power. Only this week, we read a solemn warning on the subject from the Prime Minister of India. In Malaya, at this very moment, there is a race against time between the authorities and the Chinese Communist forces engaged in terrorist activities in that country. Indeed, observers in Malaya have said that unless the Communist menace can be checked quickly, it may well bring about the collapse of the British regime. In Siam and Burma the rapid success of Communist forces is bringing about a consolidation of the Communist position. Not only does the maintenance of our tenure of New Guinea become of even greater importance to Australia, but also the maintenance, for our own security, of our close associations with those other governments, representing the white peoples who have interests in the Pacific, becomes a prime necessity. To a degree that has been recognized by the establishment in recent years of the South Pacific Commission. I am glad that Australia took a prominent part in the formation of that commission. However, having regard to the direction in which the Government’s foreign policy has turned in recent months, I shall refer to the membership of that commission. It comprises representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Holland, Australia and New Zealand. The commission first met here in May, 1948. It met a.gain in October, 1948, and I understand that a further meeting is planned for May of this year. So we have in being a body which deals with some of the problems which arise in the south Pacific area. In addition to problems of research, it will deal with subjects relating to health, which involves nutrition, and economic and social development. One can imagine that a body representative of those governments, constituted for the purposes that I have mentioned, could in the process of time concern itself with other and even weightier problems, such as the defence of this area.’ It has an opportunity to do useful work, and I for one hope that it will sustain its efforts. The significant point is that when our Government alines itself with an organization to deal with problems of economic and social development in this area, it links itself with the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Holland and New Zealand, the governments of which are represented on the South Pacific Commission. It is worthy of comment that those are the governments that were linked with us during the war years in the A.B.D.A. Command, that is the American, British, Dutch and Australian body on which representatives of our services participated. It organized the war strategy in countries in the south-west Pacific areas. That was a recognition of the need for a close link with those peoples, so that problems of economic and social development, and defence, could he contrived and organized. But when we come to the application of a foreign policy for this country, in the day-to-day events which have to be dealt with, we find that so far from linking ourselves with the governments of the countries that I have mentioned we are linking ourselves with the governments of countries whose interests may, in the future, run contrary to our own. Last night the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) spoke with the authority of one who a generation ago fought for Australia’s right to administer the Territory of New Guinea, and with the ripe wisdom and experience gained from a. life-time spent in the public service of this country. The right honorable gentleman stated that our “clear choice should be to maintain a determined policy to hold this part of the world for the white peoples of the world, particularly the British race. But we cannot at the same time reject the assistance and co-operation of those who have similar interests to ourselves in this area, in order to seek the tenuous and shadowy co-operation which may be given to us by unstable governments which have only a precarious hold of the administration of their own countries. I speak in particular of the Indonesian people. If we look at the record of the Dutch in their- colonial administration of Java and the islands of the Netherlands East Indies, and compare that with what we ourselves have attempted to do in New Guinea, we cannot stand on very firm ground if we allege that theirs has not been a successful policy of administration. When the Dutch came to the Netherlands East Indies there were about 6,000,000 Indonesians in Java; to-day there are approximately 50,000,000 Indonesians in Java, and the Dutch claim, with a good deal of force, that that spectacular population in crease has been due largely to the introduction of orderly government, which instituted health measures for the alleviation of disease, and made provision for inoculation, against disease. Associated with this remarkable growth of population has been a rapid increase of prosperity, until to-day we find that Java-
– We are discussing New Guinea, not Java. The honorable member should not dwell at length on the affairs of Java.
– I shall have no difficulty in linking what I have to say about the Netherlands East Indies with what I regard as a sound policy for our own territories of New Guinea, and Papua. As a result of developments that I have mentioned, the Netherlands East Indies has become one of the richest areas on the surface of the globe. When we turn to the Territories of Papua and New Guinea we cannot point to anything like that spectacular record. Although I do not know where the full answer to this problem lies, it cannot be denied that there has been an amazing increase of population in Indonesia under Dutch administration, and there has been a tremendous growth of the wealth and resources of those islands. As I ‘have mentioned earlier, there are less than 10,000 white people altogether in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea, whereas the native population totals nearly 1,000,000. Although I have not the latest story, up to a few years ago it was quite seriously questioned by authoritative observers whether the native population was actually diminishing. Of course, that does not mean that Australia has not been able to bring about useful changes in these areas. Fifty years of contact with the’ Europeans have wrought many changes. The natives of New Ireland, who were among the most nota’ble cannibals in the south seas as recently as the late ‘eighties, are now peaceful traders and gardeners, and along the road that runs down the east coast of the island from the pretty township of Kavieng, prosperous European copra plantations alternate with neat but picturesque native villages. Undoubtedly the coming of the white man brought law and order, but we are not blind to the fact that great areas remain undeveloped. There is much yet unknown about these territories. All we know is that they havegreat potentialities for future development and that the problem of their development is part of the general problem of development which we have in Australia. I wonder whether the Government has given any thought to the possibility of diverting to these islands some of the volume of migrants coming to Australia. Such a proposal may at, first glance seem foolish, especially when we need migrants in such great numbers, but at a time when our housing position is so acute, it is worthy of serious thought. Consideration might well be given, then, to the diversion to the territories of Papua and New Guinea of some proportion of the migrants coming to this country.
– Do our immigration laws apply there?
– I understand that there are restrictions on migration to the territories, but I do not know whether they are as stringent as those which apply in this country.
– The White Australia policy applies there.
– The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) assists me by saying that the White Australia policy applies there. If that be so, some of the white migrants coming to this country might well be diverted to New Guinea. Such a proposition is not as foolish as it may appear to be at first blush. New Guinea has resources which are of great value to the Australian economy. Most tropical products can be readily produced there, but many of them are not being produced on any considerable scale at present because the handful of population imposes an obvious limit to what can be handled. I understand that such items as tea, coffee, cocoa, peanuts, tobacco, cotton, rubber and rice can be satisfactorily produced in New Guinea. Australia at present imports some of these products from abroad and utilizes valuable exchange for that purpose. So, by diverting some proportion of our migrants to New Guinea we should not merely be strengthening the defence of New Guinea but also encouraging the production of the valuable items which I have mentioned. If we are to maintain our right to hold these territories, we cannot allow to continue indefinitely a policy which results in the number of whites resident there being limited to only 10,000 persons. Whether we divert some of the migrants who are coming here, or encourage Australians now resident in this country to go to New Guinea, or resort to a combination of the two procedures, we must do a great deal more in the future than we have done in the past to develop the resources that are available in these rich islands. At present gold represents about two-thirds of the total value of the exports from the territories. Only a fraction of the remainder is represented by the valuable items which I have mentioned. A search is at present being conducted in Papua for oil. Traces of oil have been found and we have recently had an opportunity to learn how intensively the search for oil is proceeding. We are hopeful that oil willbe discovered in sufficient quantities to be of great value to this country. I mention these things to confirm my statement that New Guinea comprises an area not merely of great strategic importance but also, if Australia is ever to attain to national greatness in the years ahead, one which will be able to supply us with rich tropical products which will add to our self-containment and enable us to improve the standards of living of our people.
Some criticism was made last night of the reference in this legislation to the abolition of the slave trade. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) made some very powerful comments on the unhappy way in which reference to the slave trade had found its way into this legislation. I agree with the honorable gentleman that to project into legislation of this kind abald statement that the slave trade is to be abolished is. to say the least, maladroit drafting on the part of the Government and very undiplomatic phrasing of an important measure which is to come under the close scrutiny of the Trusteeship Council.
Surely a little more elaboration was required than the mere recital of our determination to abolish the slave trade. 1 have yet to learn that the slave trade has existed in these territories at any time since they have been under the administration of Australia. If Australia has never permitted the slave trade to exist in these areas why, in 1949, should we solemnly proclaim that the slave trade is to be abolished ? The “ C “ mandate, the document under which Australia was given control of this territory at the conclusion of World War I., contains a provision prohibiting the slave trade. The New Guinea Act of 1920, which adopted the mandate, contained a similar provision.
– That provision is con tained in section 36 of the 1920 act.
M r. HOLT. - I am aware of that. 1 do not want to misrepresent the position. The Minister implies by hisinterjection that we are merely repeating in this bill what was stated in the legislation of 1920. I accept that.
– The same guarantees are given in this legislation as were contained in the 1920 act.
– I take it that that is the Government’s justification for the inclusion in this legislation of the reference to the slave trade. But the legislation of 1920 adopted, or made specific reference to, a clear prohibition set out in the mandatory document at that time. The mandate power was required to make a prohibition of the slave trade in the mandated area, and that was done in that legislation; but the trusteeship agreement which we are asked to adopt under this legislation, being annexed as a schedule to the bill, contains no reference to any undertaking of this kind because, I assume, those who drafted the trusteeship document knew that the slave trade did not exist in any of these mandated areas. The Government would have acted sensibly in this matter had it omitted any reference whatever to the slave trade. Such a reference is not required of it under the trusteeship document. It is not any answer to say that the position required some mention in 1920 and, therefore, we are mentioning it again in 1949. The situation has changed con siderably since those days . At a time when, as I suggested earlier, this matter will come under review annually by the Trusteeship Council, which is certainly not at a loss for words or slow to probe into these matters, we are unwise, to say the least, to put up as we would raise a flag this reference to the abolition of the slave trade.
Honorable members opposite, including some members of the Government itself, exhibit a rather naive approach to the problem of colonial administration. First, the word “ colonial “ has, in their eyes, some sinister significance. They get a mental picture of oppressed native peoples struggling to assert their independence and being held down by an oppressive power which exploits their labour and squeezes the wealth of their resources from them. That is no exaggeration of the view which honorable members opposite take of this matter. It is only on that basis that one can explain a great deal of the comment and propaganda which the Government and its supporters have put out from time to time. But, of course, the fact of the matter is that in most of these areas which come under the administration of a mandate power there is no nation in the sense in which we use the word. Yesterday, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) concluded his speech by saying, “ We can, as white Australians, look after a black nation “. If the word “ nation “ means anything, the term “ black nation “ implies the existence of a body of people who have combined to form a national entity possessing the attributes of nationhood and, presumably, are in a position to undertake the responsibilities of nationhood. How could any man in his senses apply that description to the Mandated Territory of New Guinea? I do not know how any man in his senses could really apply it to the people of Indonesia where there are hosts of different tribes who speak scores of different dialects and languages. To speak of such people as a nation is an utter abuse of language. In respect of the peoples of New Guinea area I shall quote for the benefit of honorable members a passage from the Pacific Islands
Year-book, for 1944, the latest edition issued. That publication refers to New Guinea aborigines in these terms -
Generally speaking, the New* Guinea aborigine is of a good type, well built, and, when civilized, very amenable to discipline. As a rule he is fairly stolid, though flashes of brilliance are found amongst members of some of the tribes. In every island the different brunches or tribes appear to be innumerable, and even at short distances it is found that great physical differences occur in the types: while tribes only ten ur twelve miles from each other often speak totally different dialects. The result is that interpretation is very difficult for travellers or lor the natives amongst themselves, but throughout the territory the use of “ pidgin “ English has become so established that even the Germans spoke ‘ pidgin ~” English to their labourer*.
The point I make there is that of variety. Another passage in that publication reads -
The natives of New Guinea and the adjoining Bismarck Archipelago are loosely described as Papuans, or Melanesians; but no generic term would adequately cover them because they present an extraordinary mixture of racial types and languages. There are dark-skinned, hook-nosed people in the Sepik River region; many communities of an apparent Polynesian type, light-skinned and straight-haired; and an extraordinary range of people of a negroid appearance, with thick lips, crinkly hair and skins ranging from black to light brown. There are some tribes of very big people; and other tribes described as pygmies. In the far interior of the mainland of New Guinea, within a few hundred miles of each other, there are people (discovered only in the ‘thirties) almost us fair as Nordics, and there are the queer little Kukukukus, jungle nomads, under four feet in height. The fact that there are scores of different languages, has created a special administrative problem.
I quote those statements because, quite obviously, honorable members opposite when they speak not only of the people of New Guinea, but also of the peoples of other islands in the Pacific area, have an utterly unrealistic idea of what goes on in those areas and of the make-up of populations there. When one hears such cries as “ Indonesia for the Indonesians “, or “ Asia for the Asiatics “, and when honorable members like the honorable member for Parkes claim’ that a white people can look after a black nation, one gets some notion of how unreal is the whole approach of such people to this matter. That brings me back to the point to which I referred earlier, namely, the need for closest co-operation in these areas with other white peoples who have interests to protect and resources to safeguard similar to our own. Whilst Australia controls approximately 90,000 square miles of Papua and 90,000 square miles of New Guinea, the Dutch hold about 180,000 square miles in what is known as Dutch New Guinea. Surely, our future interests in those areas are linked with those of the Dutch. If a threat to Australia arises in those areas it will be a threat also to the interests of the Dutch. If New Guinea is to be seized the Dutch will lose just as we shall lose ; and just as we have our problems of administration in New Guinea the Dutch have similar problems not only in New Guinea, but also in other parts of the Pacific. When we read the passages I have just quoted from the Pacific Islands Year Book, and realize how different are the native peoples in those areas and how they cannot hope to communicate with each other or hope to develop self-government within any measurable period, at least not in our life-time, why should we assume that conditions are so widely different in the areas controlled by the Dutch? I admit that the Polynesian people are more highly advanced and more readily capable of self-government; but it is suicidal folly for us to adopt the cause of the Indonesians and in doing so to attack the interests of the Dutch in those areas. The sooner the Australian Government realizes that fact the better. I have made these comments because our present policy can only antagonize those whose interests lie with us. On the administrative level, we are trying to co-operate with them in bodies such as the South Pacific Commission, but on the political level we are giving them rebuff after rebuff. The policy is so clearly suicidal and stupid that I am certain that the people of Australia will not. support it indefinitely. The sooner the Government amends its policy and throws in our lot with those with whom our best interests lie, the sooner is our security likely to be safeguarded, and the development of the islands promoted.
– This bill is concerned with trusteeship, and in considering the legislation it is necessary for us, and for the people of Australia who are listening to the broadcast of the debate, to realize and remember that the purpose for which the nations came together was to maintain international peace, remove threats to peace, suppress acts of aggression or breaches of the peace and develop friendly relations among the nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights. But more than that, the nations came together for the purpose of solving problems of an economic, social and humanitarian character, and promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, In as much as this bill intends to carry out those purposes and principles, I must support it.
I am opposed to the annexation of territories and the exploitation of native peoples that has followed annexation in the past. Such exploitation is occurring even now in certain of the Pacific territories. People who leave Australia to settle in the territories boast of the conditions under which they will live. We repeatedly hear such remarks as, “ There will not be much work to do, because there are plenty of servants, and they cost next to nothing “.
– That does not apply to New Guinea.
– It does apply to New Guinea.
– It does not. The honorable member should go there.
– Everybody works hard in New Guinea.
– Yesterday I received a letter, and one extremely interesting paragraph in it has such abearing on the point which we are discussing that I shall read it to the House. lt is as follows : -
She o ire red to lend me her cook, purchased when twelve years of age by a postal official and “ loaned “ to any friend who promised to return her as arranged, without any wages - “ Oh, that would spoil her for us if you paid her any wages “.
When such things happen, is it any wonder that we read of revolts in the islands and other territories of the East? In considering this bill, we should regard as paramount the interests of the inhabitants of the territories, including measures to provide for their just treatment and protection against abuses. At present, our hands are none too clean. We have offended against the native peoples. We still offend against the aboriginals of Australia. Our treatment of them cannot be called just. They are constantly subject to abuses. Perhaps we now have a better plan for Papua and New Guinea, which will come under trusteeship supervision, and the prospects for the people of those territories may be improved.
I am not interested in the use or development of the territories as buffers for defence purposes. There is too much talk of defence and prospective wars. There is too much talk of war, too little talk of peace, and too little preparation for living together and learning to respect human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all peoples and all races. There is too much of the attitude of mind that brings about war. In this debate, great emphasis has been laid by Opposition speakers upon what may happen to us. Some attention has been given to the wealth of the territories under discussion, but little regard has been paid to the welfare of the native peoples, whom the white people have used as servants and often ruthlessly exploited. If this bill is the means of freeing even some of those native peoples, it will be a step in the right direction, and, therefore, I support the measure. I am convinced that security for such people is necessary to ultimate world peace.
– In common with the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) who spoke last night, I, through the courtesy of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), had the opportunity to spend some time in New Guinea recently, and I believe that the experience which I gained of the country and the people during that visit entitles me to offer some comment upon this bill. I shall begin by examining the so-called justification for the introduction of the measure, which provides for handing over the Territory of New Guinea to the trusteeship of the United Nations. If I interpret the remarks of the Minister correctly, it is contended that the justification for this action rests in the principles underlying the formation of the United Nations and the methods which have been decided on to realize them. The principles, briefly, are that all peoples, no matter what their condition may be, should, have the right ultimately to self-determination, and that any dominance of the weaker or undeveloped people by stronger peoples should be only to the extent and for the purpose of the development of those weaker peoples to the point where they will be able to govern themselves. Those principles will be carried out by the allocation of mandates to certain members of the United Nations, which undertake to conform to certain definite standards laid down in the Charter of that organization. As I understand the position, that is the justification for the introduction of this bill. But we should remember that many members of the United Nations are not particularly welldisposed towards Australia, to say the least of it. When we study the bill, we are. immediately impressed with the fact that we propose to place the ultimate determination - not the immediate determination, certainly - of our own policy in relation to those two territories in the hands of a body on which are represented many nations that have little time for our way of life or our plans for the defence of our country. Those members will have the final voice in deciding certain matters of vital importance to Australia. Therefore I feel that, howevery strong the theoretical arguments put forward in support of this bill may be, the fact remains that it proposes that Australia shall surrender certain rights, which amounted almost to sovereign rights, in the territories before World War II. at the demand of a body which, however magnificent it may be in theoretical conception, nevertheless, up till now, has shown itself to be most innocuous and certainly not capable of standing as a bulwark to Australia. The question that must arise in the minds of people who apply themselves to the problem is: Are we to support to the limit the theoretical conception behind the United Nations at the possible expense of the safety of Australia ? Obviously a very serious risk to Australia is entailed. I believe that honorable members on both sides of the House will concede that the territories of Papua and New Guinea represent the forward defence lines of Australia, commonly known in military parlance as FDL’s. Is it not a fact that within recent weeks the Government has defended its attitude towards Manus Island on the ground that that base is essential to the defence of Australia? Did not the Government reply to certain critics who said that some arrangement should have been made with the United States by saying that it was the task of this country to develop that area for itself because it was essential to the defence of Australia? Has it not even referred to Manus from time to time as “the Scapa Plow of Australia”? We must ask ourselves how far we can go in the development of defence bases such as that in our forward defence lines if our decisions are to be subject to the final approval of a body on which there are representatives of nations holding views very much at variance with our views on fundamental matters. In dealing with that question the Minister for Defence contended that we were protected by Article 4 of the Fourth Schedule to the bill. That article states -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good government and defence of the Territory. . . .
The article has been carefully phrased to state “ defence of the territory “, not “ defence of Australia “. Article 1 of the Fourth Schedule also states -
The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory which it considersdesirable to provide for the defence of the Territory and for maintenance of international peace and security.
Are our measures for the development of those forward defence lines of Australia to stop short at the measures that are necessary simply for the defence of the territory itself? As I envisage the defence cf Australia and the use of our territories for defence, I envisage something much more than would be necessary simply for local defence in the territories. I cannot imagine that certain members of the United Nations if they are to have the final decision in the matter will sit idly by and allow Australia to build up forward bases and develop the area as it should be developed.
In commenting on the Opposition’s attitude to the trusteeship, certain supporters of the Government have introduced the question of annexation. I reply to them by stating that the Opposition’s attitude does not necessarily involve annexation. I believe that the policy which should be pursued can well be carried out under a system similar to that which previously existed in Papua and New Guinea. The Minister for Defence stated bluntly last night in this House that he would not agree to the annexation of any territory. That may appear to be a very fine concept, particularly when it is thundered out within the security of the walls of this chamber. But it would ‘be an entirely different matter if, as the result of the pursuance of that policy in years to come, Australians, including women and children, were forced to die on our own soil. Then it might be realized that the question of annexation is only a minor matter in relation to the greater question of Australian security. I state clearly that I am prepared to take any step that U consider to be necessary to ensure the security of Australia, for that places upon us a greater obligation than does any wider and more indefinite concept. The Opposition’s attitude has been criticized by some honorable members as being, in some indefinable way, in opposition to the White Australia policy. I dismiss that criticism briefly by stating that I cannot see how the application of our policy to those territories would be any greater infringement of the White Australia policy than is the operation of that policy in Australia itself, where we have an aboriginal population. Certain honorable members contend that various provisions of the bill are very desirable from the point of view of the development of the territories as they should be developed and that therein lies a second justification for the measure. But is there anything in the bill that is desirable for the development of the territories that could not be carried out without Australia handing over the ultimate control of the territories to some outside body? Let us examine the situation. Provision is made in the bill for the establishment of a legislative council, an executive council, advisory councils for native affairs, native village councils, a public service and a judicial system. There is nothing in the world to prevent us from going ahead with those proposals if we consider that they are all necessary - and I do not agree that they are - under the existing system. We could implement those proposals for the benefit of the territories generally without placing ourselves in a position in which we must report to an outside body every year and seek approval of our actions.
I refer now to the defence value of New Guinea to Australia. It is particularly important that there should be a full realization of that value. Prom time to time, we are told that the territories are essential to the defence of Australia, but I doubt whether the full importance of their defence value is generally appreciated. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) last night referred to New Guinea as a “ buffer “ for Australia. I cannot think of a more fitting term than that. World War II. provided us with a striking example of the capacity of the areas that we are discussing to absorb the strongest blows that can be aimed at us. That capacity arises from the fact that the terrain of New Guinea generally provides the finest type of defence that any country could wish for. It provides an infinitely better type of defence than anything that we could develop by our own work. The type of the terrain in New Guinea and Papua, the complete lack of communications, the diseases that are rampant there, and the almost total absence of local food supplies contributed, in my opinion, at least equally with our own feats of arms to the early Japanese defeats. That remark is not intended in any way to belittle the magnificent efforts made by our own men early in the New Guinea campaign. Anybody who has been in the territory knows that the factors that 3 have enumerated had a very material bearing upon the early Japanese defeats and afforded us a breathing space in which to marshal our full forces to throw the enemy back. In many instances, the mountains and the jungles defeated the Japanese. The enemy was unable to stand up to conditions in the territory, whereas our men were not beaten by those conditions. That fact, in conjunction with the far superior fighting qualities of our men, enabled us to win the struggle. The fact that in the early stages of the New Guinea campaign thi9 buffer was sufficient to take all of the sting from the initial Japanese attacks shows clearly the great importance to us from the defence viewpoint of the terrain of the country. If that fact of itself is not sufficient to justify the retention by Australia of complete control of the development of the area, I do not know what is. There are other lessons to be learned from the experiences of the la9t war which emphasize the need to retain our control of New Guinea. The Japanese made many mistakes in their campaigns but perhaps the greatest of them was their action in committing their troops to the jungles, swamps and mountains of New Guinea by their landings at Rabaul, Buna, Salamaua and Lae with the intention to force a passage across New Guinea to Port Moresby. By so doing they committed themselves to the task of overcoming a great obstacle to the success of their plans. It was one which they would have by-passed if they had known the true position. Milne Bay lies at the south-eastern end of New Guinea. It has a magnificent harbour and is an ideal site for a base. At the time when the Japanese made their first landings on New Guinea they could have walked into Milne Bay without a shot being fired, because we had neither men nor rifles with which to defend it. It was only later, when the Japanese tactics became apparent, that, just in time, we stationed men there to defend it. Had the Japanese not made the mistake of committing their troops to the difficulties of the mountains and jungles of New Guinea and they had established themselves immediately in Milne Bay, their next step would have been a landing at Townsville, because it would have been possible for them completely to by-pass Port Moresby, in which event our troops and fortifications there would have been of no value to us. Had the Japanese followed that course, there would have been no names in the history of the war such as the Kokoda Trail, Buna, Salamaua, Lae and Rabaul. Instead, Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Sydney would have appeared in it. Using Milne Bay as a base, the Japanese would have been able to attack the eastern coast of Australia with bomber aircraft and to launch “a major attack upon it. Because of the Japanese tactics, New Guinea acted as a buffer. The enemy spent his force in its jungles and mountains. The territory could, however, have been an advanced enemy base from which the eastern cost of Australia could have been attacked. I believe that that will be the role assigned to New Guinea in any future conflict in which we are engaged, if an attack upon us comes from the north, as it is likely to do. That mistake, having been made once, will not be made again. Never again shall we have the advantage of the jungles and mountains of New Guinea acting as a buffer. On the contrary, the territory will be used by an enemy as a jumping-off place for attack on this continent unless we retain our right to prepare N ew Guinea for the defence of Australia, not only for the defence ofthe territory itself, to a degree that will enable us completely to deny the whole of the territory to an enemy. In spite of specious arguments to the effect thai the bill does not deny us our rights in New Guinea, that we may still proceed with defence preparations there, with work on Manus Island and so on, it cannot be denied that, under the terms of the bill, we shall not be permitted to develop the territory to the stage that is essential for our defence. I regard thic measure as- the final act of madness of the Government in itd attitude towards our northern neighbours. Our policy in Indonesia has alienated a most powerful friend, and there is a likelihood that in the near future a potential . enemy will be substituted for that powerful friend. In Japan we have recently thrown away the right, earned by our soldiers’ feats of arms, to have an effective voice in the decisions that have yet to be made regarding the future of Japan. The Korean situation is becoming worse every day. It threatens to boil over very shortly and possibly to involve the whole of the Far East. Communism is growing in Japan. Recently the startling information was published that at the recent elections in Japan one in every ten Japanese voted for communism. That is the situation that is developing to the north of us, but the Government has reduced our forces in that area to a negligible quantity. I suppose that the reason for so doing was that it was believed that we could always rely upon the United States of America, but that country, for good reasons of its own, is reducing the strength of its armed forces in Japan and thereby creating grave difficulties for Australia. Recently a senior officer of the United States of America occupation forces in Japan said -
You Aussies have not been much help, but you will probably kick about the fall in American occupation strength. We have always believed that we could rely on at least one Australian Division in the zone of 20,000 square miles you technically control. Now we learn there are only 2,000 Australians here, plus one air squadron.
That is the position which has developed, as a consequence of the Government’s policy, in an area to the north of Australia which is of vital importance to us. Acting as though its policy in regard to Indonesia and Japan had not done sufficient damage, the Government has brought down a measure which must, in my opinion, seriously undermine our capacity to develop our forward defence lines, as represented by the territories of Papua and New Guinea. I condemn the bill completely.
– This bill cannot be considered apart from strategic considerations and the foreign policy of this country. The measure first makes provision for approval to be given to the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. It then provides for the establishment of an administrative union of the territories of Papua and New Guinea. Provision is then made for the establishment of administrative machinery and for the vesting of substantial executive and administrative power in the administrator. Then there are clauses dealing with the establishment of an Executive Council, advisory councils for native matters and native village councils. Provision is also made for the establishment of a public service and, by means of a Legislative Council, for the law-making body of the joint territory. I do not think that there can be much argument against the general provisions of this bill Most of them are already incorporated ins legislation. For example, the terms of the measure relating to administration, the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, are to be found in principle, although in different form, in preceding legislation. The only two new matters with which the bill deals - apart from placing New Guinea under the trusteeship - are the establishment of the Advisory Councils for Native Matters and the Native Village Councils, which will deal with local affairs, but only in the sense that they will advise the administration upon matters affecting the welfare of the natives. That, if I may say so, is a good provision in itself, but it is only a minor matter in the complete picture that this bill presents. Similarly, the establishment of a special school to aid the administration of that area is praiseworthy, but none the less of minor importance. The attack on this bill, therefore, must be within a small compass namely, whether the Government should ever have permitted the placing of New Guinea under international trusteeship. That is the real gist of the attack, and upon it much has been said by previous speakers which I do not wish to repeat. I shall satisfy myself with a few preliminary observations on the matter. First, it is my conviction that the map of the world is now being re-drawn and that the strategic considerations affecting the world must now be recast. To-day, we are confronted by a march of events in Asia which will condition the affairs of the world for at least 50 years. At one time, it was said that the affairs of the world were determined in Europe, and that in truth was so even up to the outbreak of World War II. ; but now the centre of gravity of world affairs has shifted to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and what will take place in the world to-morrow is being determined by events in those areas to-day. It is not sufficiently realized that the tremendous upsurge that has taken place. in the whole of Asia in the space of only ten years - the outbreak of World War II. may be taken as the datum line - has produced revolutionary changes in an area which has more than half of the world’s population, contains more than half of the world’s natural resources, and in which the vital influences of a new sense of nationalism are driving the world forward to a new destiny. So, in this bill, we are directing our attention, quite properly, to the provisions which place New Guinea under the control - because that ultimately is what it means - of the United Nations. I have stated, on more than one occasion, my approach to the United Nations, and I need not recapitulate it now. I have charged the Government, and I charge it again now, that, in its approach to strategic matters and to international affairs generally, it loses all sense of what it should do by being carried away by ideology. The truth is that we have given the Territory of New Guinea away for all time, and in dealing with a subject-matter so intimately connected with our foreign policy, we should realize that the principal obligation of a. parliament is to provide for the foreseeable future.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– It is one thing to engage in philosophical thinking, but whilst our approach to this matter cannot be divorced from such thinking, none the less our primary aim should be, by our collective wisdom as a parliament and by the utilization of all our resources, so to direct policy as to ensure that in the foreseeable future this country shall be kept free from aggression. That seems to me hardly to require stating, hut apparently it has to be stated and restated, particularly as far as the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) is concerned, for the great tragedy is that the foreign policy of this country has been over-weighted by one man whose feet are not on the ground of reality and who, in the pursuit of his goal of internationalism, appears to forget completely the vital interests of Australia. The fact that our foreign policy is a one-man policy was evidenced only yesterday when the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) was asked whether a statement would be made to this House dealing with a subject-matter to which the Minister for External Affairs, apart from a reference to Indonesia, had given no attention whatever in his speech. The subject-matter to which I refer is what is taking place in Asia now and its tremendous significance to this country. In reply to that question the Prime Minister said that no statement would be made at the moment and that he would make one when he thought fit. That means that the Prime Minister will make no statement at all. It is quite obvious that, apart from one or two honorable members, nobody on the Government side takes any real interest in foreign affairs. It is significant indeed that in this debate only a few Ministers and the honorable member for Partes (Mr. Haylen) have made speeches from the Government side. One member after another on the Opposition side of the chamber has spoken during the debate but they have induced no further contribution to the debate from the Government side. It is a very serious reflection on the Government that the conduct of the foreign policy of this country should be left entirely in the hands of one man, and that because of his solitary actions the Government should have committed the country to a trusteeship that, I venture to say, will in the end prove to have serious consequences for Australia.
During the course of a recent debate, honorable members on this side of the House spoke about the dangers to our White Australia policy that are inherent in the countries to the north of us, of which New Guinea is one. I cite, as an example of the complete lack of reality of the Minister for External Affairs, the occasion when he quoted an alleged statement by the Prime Minister of India. Pandit Nehru, as being, in effect, in support of the White Australia policy. Less than 48 hours had elapsed before that statement by the Minister was contradicted by the Prime Minister of India. Either the Minister had misunderstood Pandit Nehru’s statement or, for the purposes of argument in this House, had pretended to misunderstand it. Only in the light of events in Asia can we see the true significance of the Trusteeship Agreement which is a part of the schedule lo this bill. When the trusteeship system was first considered at the San Francisco conference, Australia took a leading part in the discussion. The view then advanced by Australia was that trusteeship should go even beyond what is at present contained in the Charter which, as the briefest examination will show, goes far enough. But when the Charter was finally approved there was no obligation upon this country to enter into a deed of trusteeship concerning New Guinea, and if, in fact, it did propose to enter into such a deed, there was no fixed form of deed; it was to be a matter for negotiation. Therefore, I hold the Minister for External Affairs personally responsible for the Government’s having entered into this agreement, for which there was no justification whatever, as an examination will reveal. I do not desire to be misunderstood, but 1 arn not one who does not believe that we owe a. very distinct and wide obligation to the natives of Papua and New Guinea. None of us who remember the days of the last war will deny that we have a moral obligation to promote the welfare of these people and, in a wide sense, to act as trustees on their behalf. But under the terms of this deed of trusteeship we no longer exercise any sovereign power over this territory. We are merely administering it, drawing our authority from the United Nations. I should have thought that there was a distinct conflict of interest between the Charter and Australia’s vital interest in New Guinea. Papua and New Guinea are quite distinct from any other trust territories concerning which similar agreements have been made. New Guinea, we should remember here and now, is of vital significance to the future maintenance of the security of this country. 1’t was only when the Japanese, through sacrifice and a great expenditure of blood, had been driven back from the vicinity of Port Moresby that any relief was felt about the safety of this country in the last war. What appeared then to be a very imminent danger, and one that we faced for the first time in our history, can threaten us again. Is there any one in this House who will deny that? While such a possibility exists, and while we have not sovereign control over this vital strategic area of New Guinea, the
Government, by having entered into this agreement, has been guilty not only of foolishness but also of grave dereliction of duty.
Under the Charter, there was no moral obligation to enter into the agreement. Article 77 of the Charter provides that the trusteeship system shall apply tb territories that are within certain categories and in respect of which agreements were subsequently made. We all know that an agreement was made and was brought before this Parliament for what was in effect “rubber stamp” approval. The Minister for External Affairs, together with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman), who seem to have been aiding and abetting him in this matter, made these arrangements without any prior consultation with the Parliament. We should not have entered into this trusteeship agreement until the whole matter had been debated in this House. The House was presented with an agreement merely for formal acceptance.
It seems to me important to draw attention to the different approach that was made to this problem by the United States of America. Under this trusteeship agreement we have surrendered all sovereign control of the Territory of New Guinea. We have said that it is now a trusteeship territory, which means that we are merely the trustee for it. Trustee on behalf of whom? Not on behalf of ourselves, although we have vital strategic interests there, but on behalf of the United Nations, and obligated to carry out the objectives set forth in the Charter. I should have thought that it was axiomatic that, whilst we have a distinct obligation that we must perform to the indigenous population of New Guinea, we have nonetheless, as a white people, an overriding interest to ensure that our stragetic interests shall be maintained in that territory. We have delivered these interests to the United Nations because, under Article 2 of the agreement, we are merely the designated authority to exercise the administration of the territory. True, we have powers of legislation and administrative “jurisdiction over it, as if it were “ an integral part of our territory “ ; but these words were introducedjust as a matter of form following attacks that were made upon the agreement by the Russian representatives at the United Nations. For all practical purposes it is no longer our territory.
– Was it ever our territory ?
– Unquestionably it was. It is true that we acquired it from the League of Nations. But unless the Minister for Defence, who has just interjected, has been asleep for the last fifteen years he must know that the League of Nations has been dead during that period. Perhaps he, too, has been “ dead “ for a similar period. I repeat that for all practical purposes it has been our territory. By having entered into the trusteeship agreement we have undertaken more far-reaching and exacting obligations than we shouldered when we administered New Guinea under mandate from the League of Nations. We are obliged to cooperate with the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations in discharging the functions of the council set out in Articles 87 and 88 of the Charter. Article 87 provides -
The General Assembly and, under its authority, the Trusteeship Council, in carrying out their functions, may:
consider reports submitted by the administering authority;
accept petitions and examine them in consultation with the administering authority;
provide for periodic visits to the respective Trust Territories at times agreed upon with the administering authority; and
take these and other actions in conformity with the terms of the trusteeship agreements.
Article 88 reads as follows : -
The Trusteeship Council shall formulate a questionnaire on the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of each trust territory, and the administering authority for each trust territory within the competence of the General Assembly shall make an annual report to the General Assembly upon the basis of such a questionnaire.
As I have pointed out, officials of the United Nations can police the agreement by conducting investigations in the territory at any time they choose. It is true that under the agreement we gain power to adopt measures to defend the territory. But what purpose will be served by adopting measures for the defence of the territory if those measures may be subjected at any time to investigation and review by an international body, which may quite easily include representatives of possible enemies of this country? What would be the use of taking defence measures in such circumstances? One lesson that we learned during the recent war was that we had made a mistake prior to the war by having allowed too free access to our defences by representatives of nations which ultimately proved to be our enemies. Yet the Trusteeship Agreement requires, in explicit terms, that we must again do so. By having entered into this agreement we have surrendered our sovereignty to the United Nations. We have assumed responsibility, as the administering authority, for a large portion of New Guinea, and all our actions in that territory may be called into question by the United Nations Assembly - as, indeed, they were quite recently.
Let us consider for a moment what is likely to occur and what has already happened in relation to another territory in the South Pacific, which is much further removed from the control of the United Nations. I refer to Indonesia, recent events in which have called into operation the machinery of the United Nations, with the result that that body has dictated to the Dutch Government what it may and may not do in that country. At the time it seemed to have been forgotten by the present Government, which sponsored the interference of an international body, that Indonesia is contiguous to the territory with which we are now dealing. If a petition were lodged to-morrow with the General Assembly or the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, praying for its interference in the territory that we administer in New Guinea, the United Nations would be perfectly entitled, under the Charter, to interfere in our affairs in that territory. In other words, by having made this agreement, the Government has delivered to the United Nations our interests in New Guinea, and in the meantime we have to accept the responsibility for administering that territory. When we consider the matters that I have stressed against the background of current events in Asia, the possible consequences to this country become self-evident. As I pointed out before the suspension of the sitting, the centre of gravity in world affairs has shifted from Europe to South-East Asia, and the catastrophic events that have occurred in that area in recent times have a very direct bearing upon the security of this country. To-morrow, or ten years hence, New Guinea may well become of vital consequence to the people of Australia. Every action taken by the present Government along the road of “internationalism “, as the Government chooses to term its policy, has carried us farther from security. Western influence is diminishing in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has been withdrawn from India and Burma, and it remains in Malaya only in a truncated form. The authority of Holland in the Netherlands East Indies has been reduced to a minimum, and in the South Pacific region we are the only remaining white race. By its policy the present Government has virtually conferred on certain peoples, including some who have never fought for liberty and others who, even to-day, are destroying liberty, the ultimate direction and control of an area that is vital to our security. Compare the policy of the present Government with the realistic policy adopted by the United States of America. Of course, I realize that the word “ realistic “ is disregarded by supporters of the Government, who adopt the view that the implication of a “ realistic “ policy is not quite cricket “. In their view we should never be quite realistic about anything. However, I was about to point out that the Americans, who to-day, have the prime responsibility for maintaining peace, at least in this part of the world, were not prepared to enter into international agreements of the kind to which we have become a party. They stated that r 11 ey were prepared to place enemy territories which had come into their possession during the war under international trusteeship, but only on the condition that, they retained control of strategic areas and could decide who would be permitted to inspect those territories.
They realized the importance to the security of the western coast of their country of the Pacific islands which they had occupied during the war. By contrast, the Australian Government appears utterly to have failed to realize the importance of New Guinea to the security of this country.
It is quite clear that Australia need not have entered into a trusteeship agreement in respect of New Guinea. We could have declined to do so because the area is of special significance to Australia; and no one could have denied our right to hold that view. Of course, the present Government did not adopt that attitude. We could have discharged our obligations to the natives of the territory just as effectively as similar obligations are discharged in other British dominions, and ultimately we could have given the self-government. However, I stress the fact that the purpose of the trusteeship agreement was not to provide for the defence of New Guinea or of Australia, but to have the subject territory administered in such a fashion that it could ultimately be handed over to the natives to govern. I should have thought that the implementation of any such plan was primarily a matter for Australia, the nation that is most competent to decide when and how such a process ought to be accomplished. However, the pass has been completely sold by the trusteeship agreement, with the terms of which we all are now acquainted. Nevertheless, I point out that even had we decided to enter into a trusteeship agreement we need not have entered into such an agreement as that which we actually made; we could have made an agreement similar in form to that made by the United States of America. I repeat that we have sold the pass, and have handed over to an international body the Territory of New Guinea, for which Australian men and women died only a few years ago. Even if supporters of the Government regard the agreement into which the Government entered as a discharge of its paramount obligation to defend this country, I cannot imagine that the people of Australia take such a view. Undoubtedly the Government made the agreement in pursuance of the international objective of the United Nations and on the assumption that that organization was quite capable of maintaining the peace of the world. Of course, if that hypothesis be correct, all that has been said by honorable members on this side of the House is beside the point. I agree that if the United Nations can maintain the peace of the world no purpose can be gained by criticizing the present arrangement: on the contrary, it should be supported. But until it has been shown that the United Nations can preserve peace we should not surrender any of our sovereignty in this part of the world. The question then arises, what could the Government have done as an alternative? It could have sought to establish in the Pacific and Indian Oceans a counterpart of the North Atlantic Pact. Such nations as India, Pakistan, the Netherlands East Indies, Burma and the United States of America have a common interest in the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Why did not the Minister for External Affairs, and the Minister for Defence - who has a peculiar obligation in this matter - direct more of their energies to serving the vital interests of Australia by seeking to develop such a nebulous pact instead of trying to pursue their ideologies? I believe that the interests of Australia can be best served by the making of a PacificIndian Ocean pact consisting of nations with a common interest and bound together to ensure peace.
– But honorable members opposite attacked the Anzac Pact.
– Oh, yes, the Anzac Pact. As a matter of fact, we have never heard much about the Anzac Pact since Queen Victoria’s table was dragged out for the signing ceremony.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- One of the most fascinating things about the present members of His Majesty’s Opposition in this Parliament is that one can never tell from their actions while they compose the Government what they will advocate when they are the Opposition. From 1919 to 1941, except for a brief interval during which the Scullin Government was in power, anti-Labour governments administered New Guinea as a mandated territory under an arrangement which deprived Australia of the right to fortify it.
– We have since learnt by experience.
– That may be, and I shall have something to say about that later. At the moment, I am discussing how members of the Opposition behaved when they were the government. They are now pretending that the arrangement agreed to for the administration of New Guinea destroys Australia’s sovereignty over that territory. They ignore the fact that in Article 22 of the Mandate it is made perfectly clear that the League of Nations had sovereignty over New Guinea, and conferred that sovereignty under mandate on His Britannic Majesty. Under the trusteeship, the old mandate system has been greatly strengthened, and I propose to quote sections of the agreement which make this clear. Nevertheless, honorable members opposite protest that something has been done which threatens Australia’s sovereignty. Let us look at the chacarteristics of the period in which honorable members opposite were prepared to accept the mandate system that denied them the right to fortify New Guinea. In those days there was an Asiatic power, Japan, which possessed the third most powerful navy in the world. It could concentrate in the Pacific a stronger navy than could either Britain or the United States of America. To-day, there is no Asiatic power with a navy equal to the Australian Navy. The second characteristic is that, when the mandate system was in operation, Japan was in possession of islands as far south as the equator, and it was widely known that it did not observe the mandate requirement which forbade the establishment of naval, military or air bases. Yet honorable members opposite accepted the mandate system then, and condemn the present arrangement now, although, instead of Japan being in possession of the islands stretching down to the equator, those islands are in the possession of the United States of America. Moreover, there is no Asiatic power left with a navy worthy of the name, and the United States of America possesses all the bases between Australia and Japan. In spite of this, because we accept a trusteeship which gives us the right to fortify New Guinea, we are supposed to have sold the pass ! Let us study the nature of the trusteeship which is supposed to endanger our safety and our sovereignty. Article 4 of the schedule, which sets out the trusteeship agreement, is as follows : -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good government and defence of the Territory and for this purpose will have the same powers of legislation, Administration and jurisdiction in and over the Territory as if it were an integral part of Australia, and will be entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications as it deems desirable, SUCh laws of the Commonwealth of Australia as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the Territory.
For the life of me I cannot see the difference between such an arrangement and complete sovereignty over a colonial territory except that - and the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) became very excited about this last night - we are obliged to furnish reports to nations some of which might be considered backward.
– I named those countries which I consider are backward.
– However, they include the United States of America, which on other occasions the honorable member seems to regard as forward, jo his objections are not very real. Article 7 of the agreement emphasizes the defence system. It states -
The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory which it considers desirable to provide for the defence of the Territory and for maintenance of international peace and security.
Thus, the trustee nation may take all measures which it deems desirable for the defence of the territory. Yet we arp told that the trusteeship system will permit of endless espionage and the undermining of our sovereignty ! As to where real sovereignty will reside, let us consider the oath which the administrator will be required to take. It is in this form -
I do swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the office of Administrator (or Acting Administrator, or Deputy Administrator) of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and I will do right to nil manner of people according to law. without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; So help me God!
It will be seen that the administrator swears allegiance, not to the United Nations, but to the King, which is a clear recognition of the King’s sovereignty. The agreement also provides that the administering authority shall take into consideration the customs and usages of the inhabitants of Nen Guinea, and respect the rights and sat guard the interests both present anc future, of the indigenous inhabitants of the territory. It is further provided that the administering authority shall promote, as may be appropriate to the circumstances of the territory, the educational and cultural advancement of the inhabitants. Certain other guarantees are included for the protection of the natives, and no one who is worthy of membership of this Parliament would deny those guarantees. Certainly, the honorable member for “Warringah (Mr. Spender), to do bini justice, did not attempt to do so.
Stress has been laid, upon what honorable members opposite have described as the realism of South Africa, which has been held up for our admiration, in virtually having annexed the former German territory of South-West Africa. Field Marshal Smuts was, more than anybody eke, the author of the mandate system, which was a compromise between the Wilsonian idea of peace without annexation and the idea of total annexation which was pressed at Versailles by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes). The honorable mem’ber for Barker admires that plea for total annexation. The right honorable member for North Sydney, however. did not annex the territory and so his verbal frenzies at conferences are of very little importance by comparison with his acceptance of the territory under mandate with all the limitations on our rights to fortify it that were laid down in the mandates system of 1919. What he said amounts to little by comparison with what he did. The compromise in the mandates system was between the Hughesian point of view of annexation and the Wilsonian idea of peace without annexation, and Smuts was its chief author. Yet Smuts was the first statesman to be condemned by the Mandates Commission for the way in which he had administered a mandate. In the course of a native rising at Bondelswarts and Bull Hoek many natives were killed. After the rising the Mandates Commission condemned South Africa for the way in which it had administered the mandate. That, of course, was a crucial point in respect of which South Africans of Dutch origin are most sensitive. After all, the whole conflict between the British’ and the Dutch in South Africa up to the time of the Boer “War had to a large degree turned on the Afrikaaner attitude towards the natives. “When an Afrikaaner talks about imperialism he does not use the term in the sense that Communists and other people of that kind would. The Afrikaaner has in his mind the central doctrine of Cecil Rhodes’3 thought that there should be equality for all civilized men regardless of their colour. The British hoped that their point of view would triumph in South Africa and that a more liberal attitude towards the natives would result. It never did. Condemnation of the administration of their native affairs policy in South-west Africa is a very sensitive point with South Africans. The reasons why South Africa is annexing, or is taking steps which virtually mean the annexation of, South-west Africa have nothing to do with defence. Is it seriously suggested that any South African to-day fears Germany in any circumstances? Of course not. It would be impossible for South Africa to pursue in its neighbouring territory a more liberal policy than it follows in its own. One of its serious objections is that Great Britain, which administers the protectorates of Bechuanaland and Swaziland, pursues a policy that is better than that of South Africa and is thus provocative of unrest among the South African natives. The honest carrying out of the terms of the mandate in South-west Africa would be provocative of unrest among South Africa’s own natives. The South African Government could not subscribe to all these declarations about what it would do for the natives and then not carry out the spirit of those declarations in its own territory. Let us have done with all this rubbish about South Africa annexing South-west Africa solely for defence reasons. Its action has nothing at all to do with defence but everything to do with its internal colour problem.
I want to deal with the statement that instead of accepting a mandate or trusteeship, we should annex the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, thus giving us the complete right to fortify and to administer it as though it were an integral part of the Commonwealth. In defending their suggestion that the territory should be annexed honorable members opposite have chosen completely to ignore the international repercussions that annexation would entail. We have been told that the United States of America has been far more realistic than we have, but I point out that the United States has not annexed any territories. It has accepted a trusteeship of the Carolines, the Ladrones, the Marianas and other islands. Our annexation of New Guinea, as advocated by the honorable member for Barker, would cause the most serious embarrassment to all the western powers. It would bt merely playing into the hands of those who, in trying to win the allegiance of people’s minds in Europe, spend their time representing the western powers asimperialistic and devoid of any sincere intention to bring about international co-operation. Annexation would add exactly nothing to our rights in this trusteeship territory because we already have a complete right to fortify it, to take whatever measures we deem fit for its defence and to administer it as though it were an integral part of the Commonwealth of Australia. On the contrary, there is everything to recommend the procedure whereby we are to report to some international body on the native policy we pursue there. In the working of the mandate system during the period between the two wars it was usual for the powers represented on the Mandates Commission to appoint to the commission the very best colonial administrators at their disposal. For many years the British representative on the commission wa* Lord Lugard, who was probably the most enlightened colonial administrator in all history.
– Hear, hear!
– Lord Lugard’s comments on New Zealand administration of its mandate over Samoa, of South Africa’s administration of its mandate over South-West Africa, and of the administration of other mandated territories had a most important influence in bringing about reforms in native policy and in improving the methods by which those territories were administered. There is no reason to suppose that the powers represented on the Trusteeship Council will not continue to appoint experts from their own colonial administrations to examine from time to time the reports that are submitted to it. These reports that will deal in the main with the methods by which the trust has been earned out as far as the people in the trust territories are concerned. There is no difference between placing the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system and colonialism except the obligation to report which throws on the administering power the onus of striving always to carry out a native policy of the highest possible standard. It would have been a very good thing for the Australian aborigines had we been obliged to report from tune to time on our treatment of them to some commission of experts in colonial administration. It might have been a good thing for the States, which are responsible for certain territories, and for the Commonwealth, which is responsible for the Northern Territory, had such an obligation existed. For the last 30 or 40 years, in such circumstances our native affairs .policy might have been vastly better than it is to-day. I do not suggest that such a reform should take place. The aborigines of Australia come within our sole jurisdiction. I merely say that the obligation to report to an international body which we accept under the trusteeship system makes for improvements in native affairs policy.
– Reports are made in respect of Papua notwithstanding thai we do not hold that territory under mandate.
– That is true. Papua was perhaps fortunate in having the services of one of our most capable administrators, one who would rank with Lord Lugard in colonial administration, hut that is not true of all the territories under our control. Obligations that arise from the trusteeship system are those which the Australian Government should readily accept. I repeat that nothing in this proposal endangers our safety or derogates from our .sovereignty except the obligation to report. The destruction of that obligation would give rise to the suspicion that we dared not have the searchlight of international opinion and inspection on our native policy, and would play right into the hands of those who are trying to represent us as imperialists, as well as others who are endeavouring to appeal to Asiatic sentiment by representing us as reactionary on colour questions.
– The purpose of this bill is to approve the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system, and to provide for the government of the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who defended the bill, submitted that members of the Opposition had forgotten events that had occurred when the political parties which they support governed the country, and the League of Nations assigned New Guinea to Australia under the mandate system. . He pointed out that, under that arrangement, we were forbidden to fortify the mandated islands, and contended that the Government thai was responsible for accepting the mandate under those conditions had sacrificed the interests of Australia. What he did not say was that every country that accepted a mandate had to agree to the conditions relating thereto as laid down by the League of Nations. A country either refused a mandate or accepted the conditions accompanying it. Consequently, if Australia desired to take over the Territory of New Guinea, it had to accept the conditions in the Covenant of the League of Nations.
That position had entirely altered at the end of World War II. The League of Nations had ceased to exist, and Australian forces had won the Territory of New Guinea from the Japanese army. Under the trusteeship provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the countries that held mandates could, within their discretion, bring them under the Trusteeship Council. Such countries could adopt one of three courses. First, they could annex the territories. The honorable member for Fremantle stated that such an action would have had a bad effect throughout the whole of the eastern world. Later in my speech I shall deal more fully with that matter. The second course is the one envisaged in this bill, and the third is the one that the Government of the United States of America adopted in respect of the former Japanese mandates to the north of Australia. The honorable member for Fremantle has stated that, in his opinion, the agreement that Australia proposes to adopt entitles us to make provision for the. defence of the islands. Why, then, did the United States of America make another kind of agreement that enabled it to proclaim certain strategic areas, and, for security reasons, prevent the entry of unauthorized persons. We are told that we are entitled to erect fortifications and defence buildings, and construct aerodromes in the territory that we place under the control of the Trusteeship Council ; but what the honorable member for Fremantle did not mention was that every member State on the Trusteeship Council definitely would have the right to send its representatives to inspect our defences in the territory. That is the great difference between the agreement that ‘the United States of America has made and that which Australia proposes to make. For that reason, we should strongly object to the Government’s proposal.
– Did not the honorable member want Manus Island to be taken from the control of Australia ?
– I shall deal with that matter in a. few moments.
– The honorable member will need to, too !
– The chain of islands to the north of Australia is vital to the defence of this country. The various islands provide a series of stepping stones from Asia into Australia. The honorable member for Fremantle has tried to brush aside the idea that to-day there is any potential danger to Australia, and he has compared our position now with what it was in 1919. He has pointed out that after World War I., Japan, which had the third most powerful navy in the world, occupied some of the islands north of the equator. I remind the honorable member that in 1919 Japan was an ally of the British Empire, but after little more than twenty years it attacked both the United States of America and the British Empire. We may have a similar experience with Soviet Russia, which was our ally in World War II., but which, since the war, has done everything in its power to embarrass the democracies and bring other nations under its rule by the most dubious and devious methods-
– Does the honorable member suggest that Russia’s naval power to-day is equivalent to Japan’s naval strength after World War I. ?
– No, I do not, but I do suggest that, to-day, it is probable that air power has superseded naval power to a large degree. The island stepping stonesthat those Asiatics, who became the first people to attack Australia, used in their southward progress, could again be employed by an aggressor to attack this country. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Davidson) pointed out this morning that Japan made a woeful mistake, from its point of view, in allowing its armies to be bogged down in the jungles of New Guinea where disease inflicted as many casualties on them as the number that they suffered from conflict with our armed forces. The honorable member said that, had the Japanese occupied the harbour of Milne Bay, they could have bombed Townsville and probably landed troops and established bases on the Queensland coast. The airlift into Berlin provides an indication of the manner in which aircraft may be employed on a large scale, and I believe that in a future war, the Navy may play a minor part compared with that which a powerful air force may play in the- hands of an aggressor. Australia must maintain the greatest possible authority over the islands to the north. We are not obliged to place New Guinea under the general trusteeship system, or even under the strategic area trusteeship system. If we are to enter into any arrangement with the United Nations, the agreement should not be one whit weaker than the agreement that the United States of America has made for taking over the former Japanese mandates. It is all very well to say that we have sovereign rights over New Guinea, but Article 75 of the Charter of the United Nations establishes an authority for the administration and supervision of such territories as may be placed thereunder by subsequent individual agreements. That means, for instance, that the United Nations will supervise the manner in which we treat the native inhabitants. No one will deny that everything possible must be done to raise the standard of living and cultural level of those people. As the honorable member for Fremantle agrees, the Murray administration in Papua compared favorably with the administration of Lord Lugard in other colonial areas of the British Empire. Consequently there can be no suggestion that Australia would not rule this territory just as well if it were exercising an unfettered authority as it would if it were tied down by the conditions of a trusteeship agreement. Although, in order not to offend the eastern peoples, it may have been desirable to place New Guinea under a trusteeship agreement, the agreement should not have been less strong than that under which the United States of America is now administering the ex-Japanese mandated islands in the Pacific. That agreement was the first trusteeship agreement to be signed. It was signed because the United States of America was in a position to say to the other nations which were members of the United Nations and which objected to its terms that if they did not like it they could reject it and the United States of America would annex the islands. That agreement was agreed to unanimously. Such a precedent having been established, why did we make the trusteeship agreement in respect of New Guinea less strong than the American agreement? The agreement under which Australia is working provides that we are to be responsible to the General Assembly of the United Nations. But strategic area trusteeship agreements come within the jurisdiction of the Security Council. If a great Power objects to anything that the Security Council proposes to do, it may exercise its power of veto. Under a strategic area trusteeship agreement we should have been in a much stronger position than we are now. The honorable member for Fremantle referred to those who inspected mandates for the League of Nations. He explained how competent they were to do so and what authority their opinions carried throughout the world. The honorable gentleman did not, however, explain that the composition of the United Nations Trusteeship Council is very different from that of the comparable League of Nations organization. The Trusteeship Council is composed of member countries of the United Nations which are administering trust territories, of such of the members mentioned by name in Article 23 of the Charter as are not administering trust territories, and of as many other members elected for a three years’ term by the General Assembly as’ may be necessary to ensure that the total number of members of the council shall be equally divided between the member countries which administer trust territories and those which do not. It is composed of representatives of a.ll kinds of nations, irrespective of whether or not those representatives are qualified to perform the important tasks that fall to them. The worst feature of the bill is that the agreement throws open our defence system and strategic bases to the north of Australia to inspection by powers which may eventually be hostile to us. It would be ridiculous to suggest that because the nations which are members of the Trusteeship Council are also members of the United Nations none of them may be enemies of Australia in the future. The representatives of the nations which are members of the Trusteeship Council will have the right to inspect our fortifications and bases in New Guinea. If some of those nations were eventually to become involved in -a war against us, they would know what they were up against and could make the necessary preparations. That would be impossible under the terms of a strategic area trusteeship. The trusteeship agreement in respect of the Japanese mandated islands that were conquered by the United States of
America, which was agreed to unanimously, provides that the Americans may specify certain areas as being closed for security reasons. “While those areas are closed, there is no possibility of an enemy obtaining information about the defences and fortifications which have been constructed in them. The Americans adopted a realistic attitude by insisting that the islands should be strategic assets and not liabilities. The “United States of America is much farther away from a potential enemy than is Australia. If it was necessary for the Americans to insist upon such a strict trusteeship agreement in respect of this chain of islands, it was ten times more necessary that Australia should do the same in respect of New Guinea and that we should not have this watery agreement of which the Parliament is now asked to approve.
The honorable member for Fremantle talked of the bringing of South-west Africa into the Union of South Africa, but I did not hear him mention the secret clause of the Yalta Agreement, signed in 1945, which gave the Kurile Islands to the Russians. Have the Russians made the Kuriles the subject of a trusteeship agreement and have the representatives of any member nations on the Trusteeship Council been allowed to inspect defences there? Australia must adopt a realistic attitude. The Australian people must understand that we may in the future be fighting against one of the most powerful nations in the world and that, if that occurs, we shall not be able to fight successfully if all the nations which are members of the Trusteeship Council have been allowed to inspect our fortifications in New Guinea. “What of Latvia., Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Roumania? Have we any right to go into those countries to see what is happening in them? Are there any trusteeship agreements in respect of them? Have they not been completely annexed and conquered by Soviet Russia? “We must ensure that that shall not happen in respect of the islands to the north of Australia, which must be made as secure as possible.
Tn the course of my speech, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said that I had advocated the transfer of the trusteeship of Manus Island from Australia to the United States of America. That the Americans should take over Manus Island, as was recommended by a congressional naval sub-committee, was apparently suggested to the Australian Government in March, 1946. According to the reply to a question that I addressed to the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), that was when the first formal negotiations commenced for the handing over of Manus Island to the United States of America.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Lazzarini). - Order! The honorable member must come back to New Guinea.
– The second schedule to the bill refers to the north-eastern part of the island of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Admiralty Islands, and the outlying groups. Manus Island is one of the Admiralty Islands. I submit, therefore, that I am in order in referring to it. If the transfer of the trusteeship of Manus Island to the United States of America had been effected, and if the Americans had continued to maintain a great defence base there, adequately equipped with the necessary aircraft and other material for the defence of Australia, not one Australian would have objected to it. The Australian people generally would not have opposed our handing over of an island to the greatest white power, the United States of America, thereby interlocking that power into the defence potential of this country. Consequently, I regret, as I am sure the people of Australia will in the future, that the Government did not meet the request of the United States of America or the recommendations of the British chiefs of staffs. There were no military reasons why Manus should not have been handed over to America, and all the talk about what the island was before the last war is nonsense. Before the war Manus had a population of 100 Europeans, and it was not used by Australia at all. Only after the United States of America had realized the great value of its harbour and the suitability of its terrain for the building of huge runways for aircraft, and had shown that it could be used as . a means of defence not only of the eastern but also of the northern approaches to Australia. Did Australia take any interest in the island at all? The island would be of no use only if the Western Australian coast were attacked. If we had allowed the Americans to remain on Manus that island would have been an enormous bulwark in the defence of this country. But what happened ? We refused to meet the request of the Americans that they be permitted to remain there, and then we allowed all the fortifications, buildings and airstrips on the island to deteriorate for some years. Now we are attempting to reconstruct the defences of Manus on a very much smaller scale than that on which Americans had built them.
Our lukewarm attitude to this island does not lessen its great strategic value. Defence installations on an island of such strategic importance should be kept absolutely secret and secure from potential enemies. Under this agreement, however, we shall allow our potential enemies to come in and inspect that territory as they please.
– In fact, we are to give them equal rights with ourselves.
– That is so. Cons*quently, this bill is detrimental to the security of Australia. It makes one wonder what the Government is doing to defend Australia. It has handed over our rights to the defence of New Guinea, which is a most necessary bastion in tha prevention of an attack on Australia, as the honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) said last night. We can ?ee that no real system of defence is envisaged in this measure. That is why one wonders what the Government is thinking about, and what the future of this country will be in its hands.
– The opposition to this measure that has been expressed so far by the Liberal party and the Australian Country party in this House relates, as I see it, to the fact that the Australian Government has accepted a mandate under the Trusteeship Council and also.
I suppose as a corollary to the first argument, that the Government did not annex the whole of that mandated territory outright and make it a part of the Commonwealth of Australia. The honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) last night spoke at great length.
– The Minister was not in the chamber while I was speaking.
– The honorable member tried the patience and tempers of other honorable members “with long and tedious extracts from a book that he had recently bought, and the pages of which were turned for him by the party whip. He told us of all the virtues of annexation. He even prided himself upon the discovery of a new principle - that the security of the nation was the supreme law, and that because of that law the Australian Government ought to annex the whole of this territory. I desire to make a few remarks upon the rather dangerous doctrine that the honorable member expressed. If it be right that a nation should annex any territory that it considers will be useful to it, or which it requires for its own future defence, where will aggression start and where will it finish ? The same argument of annexation as that advanced by the honorable member for Parramatta last night was advanced by Hitler when he seized Austria. Hitler used the word “ annexation “. The honorable member for Parramatta used it and gave himself an undeserved importance when he said, “I am not afraid of the word annexation. I think that we ought to annex the territory.” It is wrong in this modern world to advocate such a principle. It is wrong to hold that nations should, because of considerations of their own, annex territories and make them portions of their, own national domain. It is wrong for nations to do as Germany did when it annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia.
– Stalin also carried out some annexations.
– The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has said that Russia had no right to annex Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia. Roumania, Hungary and other countries. Then he proceeded, illogically, to argue that because the Territory of New Guinea was valuable for the defence of this country - and there can be no argument about that - we ought to annex it and not submit the matter to any worldwide organization. After World War I. we received from the League of Nations a mandate over what was then known as German New Guinea, an area which includes not only a part of the mainland of the island of New Guinea but also New Ireland, New Britain, Bougainville and the Admiralty Islands, the latter of which include Manus Island. Under that mandate we were empowered to do certain things, but we were also not permitted to do certain other things concerning the defence of the territory. Perhaps, because of our small population, nothing could have been done effectively to defend that area. Or perhaps more could have been done had the provisions under which we were given the mandate not existed. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), who was Prime Minister of Australia at the time when mandates were agreed upon, did splendid work for Australia in acquiring for it the mandate over all the territory, south of the equator, that had belonged to Germany. There can be no argument about that. Perhaps the right honorable gentleman would have wished to alter the terms of the mandate in certain respects but he was unable to do so.
Mr. Beale interjecting,.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr.Lazzarini). - Order! I shall not call the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) to order again. The honorable member has made one speech in this debate and I shall not allow him to make another by way of interjection:
– The right honorable gentleman might have wished to do other things, but finally the League of Nations settled the terms of the mandate for New Guinea, just as it settled the terms of the corresponding mandate in Palestine. The League of Nations functioned for many years, and collapsed because of the actions of certain European powers that could not get their own way, and so walked out of the league. But the collapse of the League of Nations would not justify our pursuing a policy of annexation. Carrying the argument to its logical conclusion, one could say that Australia ought to have the right to annex Dutch New Guinea because, under the Linggajati agreement and other agreements the Dutch will eventually set up the Federated States of Indonesia, which will be a portion of the Dutch realm, but it will be the Indonesians and not the Dutch who will govern Dutch New Guinea and the rest of the Federated States. It may be argued, on defence grounds, that Dutch New Guinea in the hands of a republican government in Java, could be a real menace to the security of Australia and that, therefore we ought to proceed, in the event of the Dutch surrendering their authority to the Indonesian Republic, to annex Dutch New Guinea. There is probably a very good argument, on defence grounds, in favour of Australia continuing to be in possession of places like Merauki, which was of great importance during the war and which, it could be argued, is essential to the defence of Darwin. It could be argued on the same grounds as those on which the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) and the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) have argued, that the Portuguese are not able to defend Portuguese Timor and that that territory ought to be included in the curtain of islands or defence apron in the northwestern part of Australia and equally that Dutch Timor should be a part of the defence system of the Commonwealth. I think it would be legitimate to argue those propositions from a point of view different from the points of view advanced by the Opposition in this debate. My view is that the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations might be asked at some stage to make Australia the mandatory authority in Dutch New Guinea. It may even he argued that some other territories-
– What would Indonesia have to say about that?
– I am importing into this debate another argument different from that of annexation and in my view it is vitally essential to our future defence. To the south-east of Bougainville there is a number of British islands entirely undefended because Britain lias no navy in the Pacific to-day. They were undefended before the war. They were even less defended than were Rabaul and certain other territories when “World “War II. commenced. So it may be argued, if there is any validity in the contention regarding annexation of the Territory of New Guinea, that Australia should take possession of those British islands in order that Australia may be defended, lt could be argued that Fiji, which is completely defenceless and in which Europeans are in a hopeless minority, might be handed over to some country that could defend it and that its occupation by the United States of America, by purchase, trusteeship or some other form of authority, would contribute to the defence of Australia. It could also be argued that certain other islands belonging to Britain or to some other power, or a part of the mandated territory which America now has north of the Equator, might be included in a defensive belt. If we intend to talk about the defence of Australia we ought to talk about it quite distinct from the provisions of this bill, which, as the acting Minister has said, proposes to set up .a single administrative authority without disturbing the international legal position in regard to the northern part of it. Papua, remains a part of Aus tralian territory. The other part is non occupied by Australia under mandate from the Trusteeship Council, but the two territories will be administered as one unit. I think there is a good deal to be *aid for the efficiency that will be gained from having one instead of two authorities administering the two territories.
– This bill gives approval to the Trusteeship Agreement.
– Precisely. If the honorable member reads the preamble he will find it in all the valid arguments on which the legislation rests.
– The Minister has not read the preamble.
– -I have read it. If the honorable gentleman follows my good example, he will find that all the arguments are in favour of the course that the Government asks the Parliament to endorse. The third argument that I advance is this : If we do not act with the United Nations, but depreciate ite authority so early in its history, and other nations follow our bad example in that regard, it will not be long before the United Nations will go out of existence. Whatever faults the United Nations may have, they are the faults and frailities of human nature, and are due to inherent, weaknesses, not in the organization itself, but in the member States. If wide not have the United Nations, if we do not have international co-operative effort in bringing peace and order to the world, we shall surrender ourselves to the inevitability of war. Either the United Nations flourishes or war eventuates. War may eventuate, even with the United Nations in existence, but it will not come because of any weakness of the United Nations. If, unfortunately, war does come, it will be because certain nations will not agree to act in concert with other nations in maintaining peace and unity in the world. If honorable gentlemen opposite scoff at the United Nations, and think that they are uttering statesmenlike phrases, they are merely deceiving themselves. That little daredevil from Parramatta last night threatened war against every one. I am considering entering him as a contender for Joe Louis’s title of heavyweight boxing champion of the world. At any rate, the United Nations has to be tried. Bernard Shaw has said that we would have had socialism long ago had it not been for socialists. It has been truthfully said that we would have had
Christianity long ago had it not been for certain Christians. There is so much contention and division among those who should be united that the world is a very poor place. It is easy to sneer and scoff at the United Nations. Those who attempt to make the world a better place should be supported. Their efforts will not be helped by the suggestion, that has been made by honorable gentlemen opposite in this debate, that the authority of the United Nations should be ignored or treated with contempt and that we should go our way and annex the Territory of New Guinea and make it a part of the Australian Commonwealth, regardless of what the United Nations says, or even what it does. We were told last night that a great Empire statesman, Field Marshal Smuts, wanted to annex German South-West Africa, but we were not told also that Dr. Malan - whose name was not even mentioned - wanted to take South Africa out of the British Commonwealth. The theory is the same in each instance. Perhaps Dr. Malan wanted to go farther and to act more quickly.
– He wanted to annex England.
– A lot of people want to annex various things. The honorable member for Parramatta wants to annex the new Bradfield electorate and the honorable member for Warringah, too, has ideas about annexing certain places.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Lazzarini). - Order! The bill has nothing to do with annexing Bradfield.
– The truth of the matter is that Field Marshal Smuts was a very weak reed on which to rely last night, because, if honorable members accept his dictum, they have to accept what Malan said, and not many honorable members will associate themselves with his sentiments. The bill is a good one. Too many red herrings have been drawn across its trail in regard to what might or might not have been done with German New Guinea and what might be done with it in the future. Let us carry out the authority given to us under the mandate of this international organization that we call the United Nations, and let us remember that we did seek the mandate and did get it. We at least were given this appreciative notation by the Trusteeship Council, that it appreciated the action of the Australian Government in having submitted in advance of its legislative action its proposals in detail for the administrative union of the territories of Papua and New Guinea. If all the countries in the world were to act similarly there would be better prospects of peace in the world.
– Before it was submitted to this Parliament?
– Precisely. It had to be submitted to the United Nations first because it was necessary to draw up the agreement which the Parliament could be asked to ratify. The agreement is between Australia and the logical successor of the League of Nations, from which we got the mandate.
– The illogical successor.
– No, I mean the logical successor.
– The illegitimate successor of the League of Nations.
– The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Rankin) may have his own ideas about that, but the United Nations is the organization which the best minds assembled at San Francisco were able to bring into existence. At that conference, Australia was represented by a delegation representing all parties in this Parliament, and also of interests outside the Parliament. It was, I believe, the biggest delegation that had ever left Australia. When it returned, I did not hear from those honorable members opposite who were members of it any criticism of the kind that is being so freely expressed at the present time. The organization of the United Nations was formed, and the world wished it well. The world hopes that it will succeed. If it does not, it will be a bad thing for humanity. While it exists, we should respect it and act under its authority. The Parliament should pass this legislation which, whatever may be said on the subject of annexation, will undoubtedly promote the well-being of New Guinea and its inhabitants. It will do for New Guinea something which has never before been attempted.
– I had believed that, in the many years during which I have been a member of this Parliament I had experienced everything in the form of debate, but the role played by the Minister for Information (Mr. Calwell) to-day as an exponent of Australia’s foreign policy was something new to me. This is the Minister who so bitterly criticized the Dutch, who were our allies, that he immediately caused an international incident; who so outraged the Indonesians that he has turned the Indonesian Republic against Australia and its policies. Yet he has now become an advocate of peace. I have heard of Satan quoting the scriptures to suit his purpose. The arguments of the Minister for Information in this debate are a pretty good example of that. The honorable gentleman took the Opposition to task on the subject of annexation. It is always interesting to hear him trying to develop an argument. At such a time, the rules of debate mean nothing to him. He makes against the Opposition all the charges which he thinks will stick, and if he runs out of matter he is always capable of inventing new charges. He followed the same lines in regard to annexation. He said, in effect, “ If we were to annex New Guinea I do not know where aggression would start and where it would end. Why not advocate the annexation of all the islands which happen to be a part of the defence apron protecting Australia? “. While I listened to the Minister attacking the Opposition for its attitude in regard to the annexation of New Guinea, I could not help recalling that he had never uttered a word of objection to the annexation of Latavia, Lithuania and Estonia by Soviet Russia. He did not say that such action was to be deplored, and that Australia should not follow so bad an example. Far be it from the Minister, apparently, to criticize Soviet Russia. Indeed, he has done everything in his power to oppose the interests of our former allies in the Pacific, and to quarrel with the coloured peoples as well.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr. Lazzarini). - This is not a debate on foreign affairs.
– What I am saying has an important bearing on New Guinea. i am discussing a situation in countries contiguous to New Guinea. For the Opposition it is not a matter of annexation
– Then why use the term?
– When the League of Nations ceased to exist, those territories which were being administered under mandate from the league automatically became the responsibility of the mandatory powers. Therefore, our position in New Guinea was different from that of those nations which accepted trusteeships over territory taken from the enemy in the last war.
I always enjoy following the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) in debate. When he tries to discuss practical affairs, he wears the somewhat bewildered look of Alice in Wonderland. I propose to correct some of his statements because his information needs to be brought up to date. It is time he stepped out of the primary class and faced the cold realities of practical politics. He chided the Opposition with the fact that a nonLabour government had accepted a mandate over New Guinea that had deprived Australia of the right to fortify that territory. He said that we were now making a great fuss about the defence of New Guinea under the trusteeship, although we had ourselves accepted a mandate that forbade Australia to establish any defences at all in New Guinea. My answer to him is that the League of Nations laid down the terms and conditions of the mandate. . If Australia had not been prepared to accept those terms il would not have been given the mandate. Moreover, world conditions after the first world war were very different from those that exist at the present time. At that time the world looked to the League of Nations to preserve peace, although subsequently the league turned out to be an ignominious failure. After the first world war, international opinion was Such that the United Kingdom almost completely disarmed. This emasculation of Empire defences was one of the great contributing factors to the second world war. The honorable member for Fremantle has said that Japan was a strong nation after the first world war and held a chain of islands in the Pacific as far south as the equator. But at that time J apan was our ally, having fought with u3 in the war that had just concluded. Japan administered those islands under a mandate from the League of Nations. Contrast the world situation then with the situation at the present time when there are wars and rumours of war on all sides. Now, our one-time ally is conspiring to defeat the democratic nations. It is taking control of slice after slice of Europe, and its influence is extending in Asia and the Pacific almost to the very front door of Australia. The honorable member quoted
Article 3 of the Trusteeship Agreement as follows : -
The Administering Authority undertakes to administer the Territory in accordance with the provisions of the Charter and in such a manner as to achieve in the Territory the basic objectives of the international trusteeship system, which are set forth in Article 76 of the Charter.
Obviously, the honorable member has not read Article 76 of the Charter. He also quoted Article 7 of the Trusteeship Agreement -
The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory which it considers desirable to provide for the defence of the Territory and for maintenance of international peace and security.
He argued that the article gave Australia power to take all steps for the defence of Australia. I suggest that if the honorable member reads Article 7 of the agreement in conjunction with Article 76 of the Charter he will receive a shock. For the honorable member’s information I propose to quote from a recent book entitled Trusteeship in the Pacific, which was issued under the authority of the following eminent persons : -
John M. Ward, M.A., LLB., Lecturer in History, University of Sydney; author of British Policy in the South Pacific
I mention those names so that the honorable member for Fremantle, who poses in this chamber as an authority on international affairs, will be able to see how much he is out of step with those who are best informed on such subjects. The authors of the book, discussing strategic areas as mentioned in the agreement, state at page 76 -
Apparently the designation is to be made by ‘‘the States directly concerned” (Article 79) with the approval of the Security Council. This special dispensation means that a Great Power, with its veto rights on the Council, possesses virtual sovereignty in any strategic area of a trusteeship that it administers. The basic objectives of trusteeship, set in Article 76, are still applicable, subject to overriding strategic needs, but the practical position of the Administering Power is only just short of that of an annexing Power.
So that when the honorable member quotes Article 3 of the trusteeship agreement he must remember that Article 76 of the Charter prescribes that only a strategic area may be virtually annexed. So under the international trusteeship system the Government has no powerto refuse to supervisors appointed by the International Trusteeship Council permission to enter and inspect a trust country. No power lies with the Govern ment to prevent such inspection short of the provisions contained in Article 76 of the Charter. The honorable member for Parkes has no argument to advance in that regard. He merely skirts around the perimeter of this subject seeking to cover himself with a mantle of shimmer ing glory which has no substance. Itis with a great deal of pleasure that I brine to his notice a volume which will give him some real grounding in the subject on which he has chosen to speak with such little knowledge.
I propose to dwell for a few moments on the history of the mandate system We know that when Japan was givena mandate by the League of Nations over the Marianas, the Carolines and the Marshalls it immediately proceededto fortify those islands in direct conflict with the terms of the mandate. In the administration of its mandate over New Guinea, Australia played the game and sought to conform to the obligations imposed upon it by the terms of the mandate. Therein lay our greatest weakness, a weakness which I trust willnever again occur. Subsequently, countless lives were lost and untold treasure was poured into New Guinea simply because that part of New Guinea which we had held under mandate was undefended. Apparently honorable members opposite have failed to learn the lessons which the experiences of World War II. so forcibly brought home to us. They have no regard for the lives that were lost in defending New Guinea as a bastion of Australia. If the Government’s defence policy means anything, surely it implies that adequate steps will be taken to enable Australian resources to be protected with a minimum loss of life and expenditure of money. The mandates over New Guinea, Nauru and West Samoa which were formerly held by the
British Commonwealth have now been negotiated under the international trusteeship system, but with a difference. The United States has taken the Marshalls, the Carolines, and the Marianas under a special strategic trusteeship.
– It has not annexed them.
– No, but I shall show that the United States has ‘established virtual sovereignty over those islands which is as close to annexation as anything could possibly be. Australia, on the other hand, has brought New Guinea, Nauru and other islands under the international trusteeship system. The next important point that appears to me to arise from a consideration of this measure is the proposal for the establishment of an administrative union for the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea. I propose to deal briefly with that aspect of the bill. The desirability of such an administrative union has exercised the minds of public men in Australia for many years. As far back as the ‘twenties a royal commission was established to inquire into the possibilities of establishing such an administrative union, but in a majority recommendation it rejected the proposal and reported in favour of separate administrations. In 1089, when I was Minister administering External Territories, I appointed the Eggleston Committee to investigate the possibilities of such a union. Honorable members will recall that because of the richness of the resources of New Guinea and the large quantity of gold being won there the New Guinea residents were distinctly averse to an administrative union with their poorer relations in Papua. The committee accordingly submitted an adverse report. But the collapse of civil government in New Guinea in 1942 completely altered the whole situation between the two territories. The circumstances that then existed made it possible for Australia to assume complete control of the whole of the island as an integral part of the Australian administration. As honorable members will recall an administrative unit was established under the military government to administer both territories. The very fact that an administrative union was thus estab lished at that juncture made it possible for us to effect a permanent administrative union between the two territories if we desired to do so. The circumstance? that then prevailed made it much easier for us to bring about a permanent union than did the circumstances which made ii possible for the South African Government virtually to annex South-West Africa which it had held under mandate. “We shoud then have taken over complete control of the whole of Ne« Guinea and regarded it as part of the Australian set-up. I am in complete disagreement with the terms of the trusteeship agreement which was approved on the 14th December, 1946. When the League of Nations ceased to exist it was natural to expect that the Mandated Territory of New Guinea should revert to the Commonwealth which had administered it up to that time. Because of complications arising from the mandates held by Japan, it was difficult for the victorious allies in World War II. to annex the Marshalls, the Carolines and the Marianas covered by those mandates. The Atlantic Charter and the Cairo declaration committed the United Nations not to engage in territorial aggrandizement and made it impossible for the United States of America to annex those islands. The United Nations, as it is constructed to-day. cannot preserve peace in the face of a challenge by a major power. Indeed, outside of ordinary agreements on scraps of paper, which mean little to belligerent and selfish nations, it has no means for preserving peace. It soon became appa rent to those who watched the international situation that the world centre was moving closer to the Pacific. On this aspect of the problem I place on record the following extract from the London Times: -
The revolutionary movements in Asia as a whole are changing the world strategic and political map and the destinies of nearly a thousand million people are being shaped.
The Communists are either in the leadership or striving towards it.
The Times significantly added -
One lesson to be drawn in the face of the present disorders in Asia is that the western and other friendly powers, especially, those of the British Commonwealth, must plan their defensive strategy afresh from Japan to the Indian Ocean.
With those statements I think honorable members on both sides of the House will agree. Those factors should have been considered by this Government before it decided to place what was formerly our Mandated Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. But the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), who is a great internationalist and is in the forefront in respect of matters that affect most other countries, was so preoccupied that he was unable to grapple with the rudiments of a policy which affected the defence of Australia. On the contrary, the United States of America, being in a position to assess the movement of the centre of world affairs to the Pacific, obtained control over the Marshalls, the Marianas and the Carolines under international trusteeship which gave it virtual sovereignty over those islands. The Minister for External Affairs, who, by the grace of the smaller powers, is president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, has so far sold the pass that we have no security in an area which is of greater strategic value to Australia than the islands to which I have referred are ever likely to be to the United States of America. We have allowed our former mandated territory to go from our control by default. With what result we shall see as this debate progresses. When the United States of America applied for a strategic trusteeship over the islands formerly mandated to Japan Australia raised, no objection, Indeed Australia was a party to the agreement under which the American application was granted. Therefore, it cannot be said that Australia was not fully aware “of the implications of that application. The Minister for External Affairs, with his head in the clouds, was so intent on seeing peace radiating throughout the world that he closed his ears to the menace to world peace that was becoming increasingly apparent to those who studied the movement of world affairs. The United States of America effected a. compromise and obtained administrative control of the islands to which I have referred as a strategic area and to-day it virtually wields sovereignty over them. I quote again from the work Trusteeship in the Pacific as follows : -
The requirement in Article 83 (3), that the Security Council is to avail itself of the assistance of the Trusteeship Council in relation to political, economic, social, and educational matters, is so hedged about with qualifications as to be almost nugatory.
More important is the somewhat abstruse requirement in Article 84, which probably applies to strategic area trusteeships.
It shall be the duty of the administering authority to ensure that the trust territory shall play its part in the maintenance of international peace and security. To this end the administering authority may make use of volunteer forces, facilities, and assistance from the trust territory in carrying out the obligations towards the Security Council undertaken in this regard by the administering authority, as well as for local defence and the maintenance of law and order within the trust territory.
The writer proceeds -
Article 84 is to be regarded first as an open invitation to the administering power to useits trust area, whether strategic or not, for the implementing of its own defence policy.
I shall cite an example. On the 22nd February, 1947, the United States of America submitted to the Security Council a proposal relative to the control of territories formerly held by Japan. Article 13 affirmed -
The United States of America has the power to close the Islands for security purposes.
The Security Council accepted that agreement. I invite the House to compare that arrangement with the proposal contained in this bill. The United States of America need not report to the International Trusteeship Council or permit supervisors to visit the islands that it holds in trust. Therefore, the United States of America has virtual sovereignty over such islands. That arrangement is infinitely better than annexation, becausethe control of the islands is backed, not by one nation, but by the United Nations,, provided that organization has power. Australia would have been in a similar position had it taken New Guinea under astrategic trusteeship, as it might easily have done. In those circumstances, weshould have held New Guinea not only by virtue of our own strength and the support of the British Commonwealth, but also by the assistance of the United1 Nations. Such an arrangement would be,, in effect, stronger than annexation. However, we have sold the pass,, and1 allowed! the opportunity to slip. The United States of America has effected, not by annexation, but by agreement, what may be considered complete sovereignty over areas that it considers to be essential to its security.
What do we propose to do ? Our intention is to place a vital outpost under the International Trusteeship Council, not as a special strategic trust, but as a trust in the broadest and most general terms. Under such an arrangement, we must submit reports to the Trusteeship Council for examination and discussion, and permit supervisors to investigate the territory. At this juncture I shall read from Current Notes on International Affairs for January, 1949, a summary of the views of other governments on the administrative union of Papua and New Guinea. It is as follows: -
The Soviet view was that the administrative union as proposed would deprive the United Nations of the power of supervision or at least make it very difficult because of the provisions for common legislation, administration, labour regulations, fiscal arrangements, budget and land utilization. . In his view the bill did not permit native participation in the government and contained no provision to preserve the objectives of Article 76: notably, the plan was not the result of the freely expressed will nf the inhabitants.
I like that touch. Soviet Russia objected to the plan which the Australian Government had formulated, and which the Opposition is criticizing to-day for another reason, because it did not express the free will of the inhabitants of New Guinea
– The Soviet should know all about such a matter.
– When we consider Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Korea and the Kuriles, we wonder. But Russia is one of the members of the Trusteeship Council, to which we must report upon our administration in New Guinea. The extract from Current Notes on International Affairs gives the following additional information about the Soviet’s view of the bill : -
It gave no advantages to the inhabitants of the trust territory as compared to those of Papua and would result in the setting up of a common colonial regime. It would be impossible to envisage independence, when all aspects of administration were fused and the plan would in practice inevitably prevent
New Guinea attaining separate self-govern ment or independence.
I should like to demonstrate to the House the insincerity of some of the members of the Trusteeship Council to whom we must report and to whom we must gram free entry to this vital area in order to investigate the manner in which we are carrying out our trust. It is perfectly true that we shall be permitted to place defences in the territory, but I was always under the impression that the value of defences lay in the preservation of secrecy about them. Secrecy cannot be maintained if we allow, for example, the representatives of Russia to inspect our defences, as they can easily do under the guise of investigating the manner in which we are treating the natives of New Guinea. Another member of the Trusteeship Council which will determine whether we are fulfilling our responsibilities in the territory is China.
– Is the China that is referred to that portion of the country controlled by Chiang Kai-shek or that portion controlled by the Communists?
– I, too, am wondering about that, because I have no doubt that Communist China will be recognized, as Communist Indonesia has been recognized. Other members of the Trusteeship Council are Costa Rica, Iraq and Mexico. Until those countries have put their own houses in order, they cannot make an effective contribution to decisions about the manner in which we are carrying out the terms of our trust. We have an honoured name in respect of the administration of native peoples. The name of Sir Hubert Murray is one to conjure with in colonial administration. We have nothing to be ashamed of in our treatment of native peoples. Although our administration is one of the brightest spots in colonial history, our system is to be subject to criticism by countries such as Costa Rica, Iraq and Mexico and that totalitarian state, Soviet Russia. Could any proposal be more absurd and ridiculous in the eyes of thinking people? The United States of America realizes the absurdity of such a position, and has made a forward move by adopting the system of strategic trusts. The Australian Government and officers of our Department of External Affairs had their heads in the clouds when they airily passed over the possibilities of war, and their effect upon Australia. They are prepared to sell the pass in the interests of some ephemeral idea of peace, because that is all it is in the midst of warring factions in the world to-day.
New Guinea is vital to Australia. Approximately one-half of the island is Dutch New Guinea, which may possibly come under the control of the Indonesian Republic, the people of which will not be friendly towards Australia. Relations ire already strained. Communistcon.trolled infiltrators are likely, in a very >bort time, having regard to what has occurred in Burma, to swing the whole of the coloured races in the Eastern Peninsula against Australia. Papua and New Guinea constitute the remainder of the island. We can and we will be able to defend the area under our direct control, but we are subject to many limitations in respect of New Guinea itself -Should the Dutch, by some great chance, continue to hold their territory in New Guinea, T have no doubt that they will fortify the area for the protection of i heir people. The vulnerable spot, which will be open to a prospective enemy, will he that area of the island that is under trust. The destiny of New Guinea and Papua is indissolubly linked with that >f Australia.. The territory, which is virtually a part of Australia, is vital to our well-being. In the hands of an unfriendly power, the territory would be like a dagger pointed at our heart. That the two territories are vital to our defence was proved during World War II. The Japanese invasion of New Guinea caused ns great concern. Therefore, defence considerations alone dictate that we must retain complete control of Papua and Vew Guinea.
Let us make no mistake about it. Australia has a just claim to control New Guinea. We captured it from the Germans during World War I., and, since 1920, have administered it under a (i League of Nations mandate. We have faithfully carried out all our duties and obligations under the terms of that mandate. I believe that we have committed a major mistake in not insisting that we should hold New Guinea as a strategic trusteeship. We made a mistake when we failed to take advantage of the administrative union under military control, which was exercised when the League of Nations ceased to exist. The territory should then have become an integral part of Australia’s possessions. We failed on that occasion, and we failed a second time when we did not take adequate measures for the security of New Guinea. Now, we propose to hand over the territory to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, a body that will have an overriding power, because it will be able to tell us what we must do. The democracies have played the game, but, as the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) has stated, Russia has not done so. The Soviet virtually has a trust in Berlin and in the Balkans. Does it make reports relative to the way in which it is observing its obligations to the peoples of those countries? Does it allow supervisors to visit Berlin to see that it is carrying out its obligations under the agreements which give it control of that area? Does it permit investigators and supervisors to visit Korea and the Kurile Islands? Does it permit reports to be prepared and discussed? Those are matters of vital importance to countries which desire to preserve their identities. Those countries which are prepared to allow their interests to be frittered away and which refuse to fight for their rights deserve to lose all that they possess.
-Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
– The intention of this measure is not, as has been stated by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison), to give something away, but to place the administration of Papua and New Guinea on a new and proper footing. The manner in which it is proposed that that shall- be done is set out in the various clauses of the bill. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) dealt fully with a number of the provisions but generally speaking, the remarks of honorable members opposite have centred on the question of the annexation of this territory as opposed to trusteeship. ] agree with the honorable member for
Wentworth that we must deal with realities and that we must not do what the honorable gentleman accused the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) of having done, that is, talk round the fringe of the question. The main points that were raised by honorable gentlemen opposite concerned the desirability or otherwise of the annexation of the territory and what was called the giving-away of our sovereign rights over it. When it was shown clearly that the Government had not given our sovereign right away to the degree that had been suggested, honorable members opposite proceeded to deal with the powers of inspection of the territory which are possessed by the members of the Trusteeship Council, lt was suggested that the Government had sold the pass in New Guinea, but when it was pointed out that we were permitted to construct fortifications there and to do almost anything- that we like from the military stand-point objection was raised to the powers of inspection of the Trusteeship Council.
It has been pointed out that, under the mandatory system, the construction of fortifications in New Guinea was forbidden. We were, however, permitted to erect civil installations. Between the two wars, with the exception of the period of office of the Scullin Government, the anti-Labour parties formed the Government of Australia. What did they do to provide proper ports in New Guinea ? In the early days of World War II., when we were sending men there, the ships were compelled to anchor in the roadsteads, and Royal Australian Air Force men had to use motor boats to take their supplies ashore. During the period when Australia held a mandate from the League of Nations in respect of New Guinea and the Australian Government of the day had an opportunity to erect civil installations that would have been of military value in time of war, very little was done. We must face realities in regard to the defence of Australia. New Guinea is on the perimeter of our defence system, but it is necessary to provide for the defence of the centre as well as of the perimeter. We have been told that the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) was forced to accept a mandate in respect of New Guinea, because the alternative was to have nothing at all. Knowing that, under the terms of the mandate, it could not fortify New Guinea, what did the Australian Government of that time do to strengthen the defences of Australia? Up to the outbreak of war in 1939 what had been done to provide for the defence of the northern parts of this country? Honorable members opposite have alleged that under this trusteeship agreement we cannot institute proper defence measures or take adequate precautions outside of Australia, but when the parties to which they belong were in power and had the opportunity to take some positive action instead of merely talking about what should be done, very little was in fact done to ensure that we were provided with adequate defences. If New Guinea were the subject of a strategic area trusteeship agreement and we could take all the action that we desired to take from the point of view of defence, do honorable members opposite suggest that we should send there all the defence forces that we could raise? Should we not do something to provide for the defence of Australia proper ? One honorable gentleman opposite referred to the possibility of the Navy no longer being able to provide an adequate means of defence and suggested that air power would probably be the dominating factor in future conflicts. I point out to those honorable gentlemen who have been talking of the necessity to keep secret our defence measures in New Guinea and of our being able to take all the steps that are necessary to provide for our defence that, in the event of air attack, we should not get very much assistance from defence preparations in New Guinea. It would be possible to construct strategic airfields there, but we should discover that, in spite of all our activities in New Guinea, even assuming that we had all the powers that honorable members opposite suggest that we should have, unless adequate measures were taken for the protection of Australia they would not be of much use to us.
The bogy - I use the word deliberately, although honorable members.opposite may possibly accuse me of being unfair in doing so - has been raised of the possibility of Russian forces coming down through China, Indo-China, Burma or Malaya to Australia. I am of the opinion that if Russia wished to attack any nation in a future war it would not attack Australia, [f Russia was militarily successful in other spheres and was able to subjugate the forces of the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe, Australia would be merely a pawn in the game. Honorable members opposite have said repeatedly that Australia is not given the say in discussions relating to peace treaties and kindred matters to which it is entitled. Honorable members on this side of the House have pointed out that Australia, having taken a great part in the fighting in the Pacific, is entitled to adequate representation at all conferences in connexion with proposed treaties of peace with Japan and other countries, but we have not yet been able to secure such representation. I repeat that if another war occurred Australia would not be regarded by the Russians as vital territory.
When discussing this bill we must consider whether we believe in the principle of annexation or in the principle of international co-operation. If we believe in the principle of international co-operation we must be prepared to accept the fact that New Guinea should be administered under the international trusteeship system. I do not think that the honorable member for Wentworth was quite fair in his reference to the remarks of the honorable member for Fremantle concerning the fourth schedule of the bill, which set3 out the agreement. The main point made by the honorable member for Fremantle concerned Article 4 of the agreement, which was not referred to by the honorable member for Wentworth. Article 4 reads as follows: -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good Government and defence of the Territory and for this purpose will have the same powers of legislation, administration and jurisdiction in and over the Territory as if it were an integral part of Australia, and will be entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications as it deems desirable, such laws of the Commonwealth of Australia as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the Territory.
That provision gives great powers to the Australian Government. The honorablemember for Wentworth referred to Article 3. That is a separate article and does not override the others. It reads as follows : -
The Administering Authority undertakes to administer the Territory in accordance with the provisions of the Charter and in such manner as to achieve in the Territory the basic objectives of the international trusteeship system, which are set forth in Article 76 of the Charter.
It is clear that, under the trusteeship system, a country to which trusteeship is given is under an obligation to carry out the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. The honorable member for Wentworth compared the trusteeship agreement in respect of the ex- Japanese mandated islands in the Pacific with the agreement in respect of New Guinea. The two agreements are quite different. One is concerned with territories in which there is a large number of native people, and a condition of the agreement is that those native peoples shall be treated in a proper manner and given every opportunity to progress. The strategic area trusteeship agreement, however, is generally concerned with territories which the country administering the agreement wishes to occupy for the purposes of ite defence and to use as bases for naval and air force operations. The honorable member for Wentworth was hardly fair to the honorable member for Fremantle in dealing with the matter as he did. Article 7, to which the honorable gentleman referred, reads as follows: -
The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory which it considers desirable to provide for the defence of the Territory and for maintenance of international peace and security.
The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) differed from the honorable member for Wentworth in his interpretation. I agree with the honorable member for Parkes that Article 3 is subject to Article 76 of the charter. Article 76 refers mainly to the developments in relation to the inhabitants of the trustee territories and does not refer specifically to powers affecting defence. The present measure makes full provision for the effective administration of the territories, the trusteeship of which has been given to Australia. I repeat, that I, for one, do not support a policy of annexation.
With other honorable members I should like to see a policy that would provide for the defence of this country wherever required, but I believe that to consider a policy of annexation, merely because such a policy is desirable for the defence of the country, opens up a very wide and perhaps unpleasant vista.
– New Guinea is our own territory.
– I remind the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) that the Territory of New Guinea was given to Australia under mandate.
– The honorable member should read the terms of the mandate.
– I have read the terms of the mandate. When the League of Nations went out of existence the mandate lapsed. The honorable member for Balaclava believes that when the mandate lapsed the territory became part and parcel of Australia.
– That is correct.
– I do not agree with that belief. The status of the mandated territory after the collapse of thi League of Nations is a matter of opinion. Honorable members opposite, however, have accepted the interpretation that the territory became part of Australia when the mandate lapsed and that, by entering into the present Trusteeship Agreement, the Government has given something away. I contend that when we, as a nation, became a signatory to the Charter and agreements of the United Nations we took upon ourselves the obligations to abide by what we had signed. By attempting to mislead the people into the belief that the Government, by entering this Trusteeship Agreement, has prejudiced the defence of this country, honorable members opposite are using words that have no practical application at all. We have not sufficient population in Australia to provide effective defence for Australia itself against any outside forces that are likely to come against us. When we are unable now to protect the territory proper of Australia it is stupid to say that we should be able to install defences in New Guinea of a nature sufficient to repel an invader. Honorable members opposite are attempting to play upon the feelings of the people and are not facing up as they should do to the practical position. The present measure does not glv,anything away. It does nothing monthan was done three years ago when the Trusteeship Agreement was reached. The bill is merely setting the seal on something that has already been done. It i.* similar to the signing of a parish register after a minister of religion has performed a marriage service. We are, in effect, merely putting our signature to a marriage that has already taken place.
– After the child ha.been born.
– Perhaps that i.<so. The United Nations agreed to om assuming the trusteeship of the Territory of New Guinea, and we have been carrying out our duties as trustee for the last three years. That trusteeship is » fact and only our signature is required. The bill, in effect, will give that signature.
– We should annul the marriage to which the honorable member has likened this agreement.
– Honorable members opposite know just as well as I dothat whatever they say or do in this House to-day will not alter this trusteeship that has been accepted by Australia.
– That is because the Government has the numbers necessary to force this measure through.
– Even if the Opposition were now the Government and it had the numbers it would have no power, if it rejected the bill, to give Australia full possession of this territory.
– It would give Australia back what it had before.
– The Opposition could do nothing more than the Government has done. The Government has not given away anything that is of value to this country. The great value of New Guinea to Australia is in the fact that we can ensure that no other power becomes established there. Its value does not lie in the defences that we might build there, but in the fact that we can keep out the nationals of other countries, who otherwise might enter and be able to take inimical action against us in the event of war.
– The Government, under the agreement, cannot stop other nationals from entering the territory.
– It can stop them just as easily under this agreement as it could under the mandate. I do not know whether the honorable member has read all of this bill, but if he does so he will discover that the Government can prevent the entry of other nationals into New Guinea. The Opposition has been trying to erect a wall that will prevent the people from seeing that the Government has not, in fact, given away something that Australia should hold. The fact is that Australia is now in as good a position, as far as New Guinea is concerned, as it ever was. In fact its position now is much better than it was under the mandate system, because it now has the power to take necessary defence measures in that territory.
.- The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) has referred to the difficulty that honorable members have in speaking on this measure with any degree of information or authority. I do not profess to be any exception to that general rule. It is obvious nhat what the honorable member for Barker has said in that regard is perfectly correct, since very few honorable members are in a position to give information on the Territory of New Guinea or to speak with any degree of authority on the subject-matter of this debate. That is a state of affairs for which the Government must take responsibility. Before such an important and far-reaching measure as the present one was put before the House a select committee should have been appointed from the Parliament to go to the territory and investigate conditions there so that this debate might have been entered into with some degree of authority. I shall preface my other remarks by saying something about the physical aspect of New Guinea at the present time. It is clear that some honorable members, and the people generally, regard New Guinea as a small island, or even as only part of a small island. As a matter of fact the territory in New Guinea for which we are responsible is a very great area.
It is as large as the State of Victoria. On the whole, it is a very rich country, not only in its soil but in almost every other natural resource. It has, for example, a great wealth of timber and has also what are perhaps the greatest reserves of water power in the world. It has great mineral wealth, including gold, manganese, lead, mica, and sulphur, the last mentioned of which does not exist in Australia. It has also great agricultural and grazing areas that are suitable for crops other than such typical tropical crops as copra and tea. It is potentially a very great food-producing area. The British Food Mission, during its visit to the area in 1947, drew the attention of the Australian Government to the possibilities of New Guinea, particularly mentioning that we should grow there vegetable oil nuts for the production of oils of which there is such a great shortage in Europe and in other parts of the world. The mission also suggested that we should grow rice and maize and raise certain kinds of hybrid cattle. The food possibilities of New Guinea are tremendous.
On the one hand we have this great territory and on the other we have a population there of only about 1,250,000 inhabitants, of whom a great proportion is native. Other honorable members have mentioned the number of white people in New Guinea, placing the figure at under 10,000 That means that we have a tiny handful of people in our north holding one of the most undeveloped wealthy areas of the world. But the conditions in which the natives find themselves at the present time are such that there is no possibility of them so increasing in number that we can either hold this country or justify our continuing to hold it. If we hope to continue in possession of this great territory, which is of the utmost defence importance to us, we must proceed with a programme that would increase population there and develop the country’s agriculture and industries. In other words, we must bring the country to a stage where it will be selfsupporting and which will justify us in continuing to administer it. Let us look at what the Government is doing, and has done, to meet this urgent problem. I say that the Government has approached this problem in a way that is typical of its approach to any similar problem whether in Australia or abroad. In the Territory of New Guinea we can see on a small scale everything that is bad in Australia to-day. For instance, we see there a greatly inflated public service that is about three times bigger than it was before the last war. We also see rising costs, just as, in Australia. To a great extent a feature of the economy of New Guinea is that its people are enabled to keep going, just as we are in Australia, because of the very high prices for their exports, for instance, copra. In every direction one looks one sees in New Guinea the same decrease in the volume of production, the same squandering of public moneys, and the same dependence of the population on government hand-outs or on public works. I can speak of the administration of the territory, as distinct from the present state of affairs there, with some knowledge. I have always admired the manner in which Australia has administered its responsibilities in New Guinea. As the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) stated last night, we have, to some extent, been a model for the world in our administration of the native peoples. There has never been any question of great exploitation there nor any need for “striking the shackles off the slaves’ legs “ or whatever the phrase was that the honorable member for Parkes used last night from his journalistic word-book. By and large, our record in New Guinea has been a good one and it is wrong for this Government to destroy the standards that have been built up there over a long period of years. Honorable members opposite have told this House and the people consistently of what they intend to do with exploiters, of the efficiency that they will institute in New Guinea, and of the new deal for the natives and so on. Under this Government, what honorable gentlemen opposite describe as evil has flourished to a degree never seen before in the history of Australia’s administration of New Guinea. It has remained for this Government to permit, in the administration of the territory, the greatest public scandal of our genera tion. There is great talk about the attitude of the United Nations, our responsibilities, and so on, but no honorable member of this House needs doubt that recent events in New Guinea will be made the subject of the most damning indictment of the way in which we have conducted ourselves in New Guinea in member of this House need doubt that the last few years. There has been displayed, indeed - and no one can deny it - considerable dishonesty, inefficiency and complete ignorance of the problems that confront us there. All those responsible, including Ministers and public officials, talk about the bad old days when we used to exploit native labour and the land in New Guinea and that sort of thing. There has been a sustained attempt by Ministers and others in this House to whip up class consciousness in New Guinea as it has been whipped up in Australia. I need say no mon about that subject, but the time will come when it will be perfectly clear who have been the exploiters in New Guinea. We have heard a great deal from the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) about a new deal for the natives of New Guinea, and the honorable members opposite who have spoken on the bill have used similar terms. Now it appears that the natives are to have every modern blessing - trade unions, the 40-hour week and model villages that they do not want.
– And “ Eddie “ Ward.
– And “ Eddie “ Ward, too, although it is doubtful whether they will have him for long.
– That is one thing that the administration has done on the positive side. On the other side, it has made open war on all those people who are developing New Guinea in a private way as planters, miners, and so on, and who were the explorers of it in the first instance. The Government has quite destroyed the possibility of their at present carrying on their living and increasing their standards and numbers in New Guinea. Before the war the territory had a flourishing and increasing trade. Its exports were valued at £3,700,000 and it imported £1,500,000’ worth of goods, nearly all from Australia. Now, the territory is “ in the red “ both as to the balance of trade and as to the plantations. The planters have very great difficulties. Obviously, during the war, many plantations were destroyed and neglected. That was unavoidable. But, added to that, great labour difficulties have been created. The Administration has done nothing to make those difficulties easier. The result has been, as we see in answers to questions, a constantly diminishing production from the territory, with fewer men employed and every indication that our regime is inefficient compared with what it was. If private industy is at a discount, the same cannot be said of officialdom. I invite honorable members, particularly Government supporters, to get in touch with the private individuals in New Guinea, who opened up country and contributed to the measure of prosperity it enjoyed before the war. They will be told that New Guinea is at present just an officials’ paradise. There are, I am informed, about three officials to every private individual and about three times as many as there were in 1939. The result has been such stagnation of that country as has never been seen before. The approach of the Minister has all too often shown complete ignorance of the needs of the situation. It has been impregnated with all that class bitterness and ignorance that he usually brings into this House in connexion with affairs in his own country. Not long ago, referring to the natives in New Guinea, he said, “ They have been contented since we have had a Labour government “. He was asked, “ What do they know of the Labour Government? “, and he replied, “ They read about it in the newspapers “. Any one who understands the faintest thing about the territory knows that not .1 per cent, of the natives is literate. To say that they read anything in the newspapers or anywhere else is to show a complete lack of understanding of the problem before the Administration of dealing with them. The accent has been far too much on the political side and not enough on the agricultural, economical, industrial and medical sides. There are in the bill certain provisions to set up local councils - a form of self-expression or selfdetermination, as it is now popular to call it. I heard with interest the Minister’s statement that minutes are to be kept of the proceedings in the village councils and that they are to be forwarded to the local authority, perhaps to be forwarded here ultimately. In what language are the minutes to be kept? Who will keep them ? Who will be able to read in those places? What will they talk about that will justify this utterly ridiculous procedure? This is the kind of red tape that is strangling New Guinea. If we are to get anything better out of the territory we must send to it from this place some men who will return with first-hand knowledge and real appreciation of the problems to be solved there. The first needs are agricultural, economical, industrial and medical. On the agricultural side, I only say that despite all the money that is being expended in New Guinea, I have yet to hear of any great developmental schemes. There has been talk of establishing tea plantations in New Guinea. In my view that would be one of the last things required. Teagrowing would have to be heavily subsidized. It requires highly skilled labour. The training of the labour would be expensive. Before they knew where they were the people in Australia would be paying a higher price for tea by way of subsidy even than they are paying at present. There is opportunity, as was said by the British Food Mission, for the growing of oil-nuts, maize, potatoes and crops of that sort. There is no sign at all that such enterprises have been put in hand, at any rate on a large scale, and, after all, the figures are there to prove that it has not. On the medical side, we hear a great deal about how much is being done, for the natives. But what is the position medically in New Guinea? At present, in the whole public service, there are only eleven medical men. That waathe figure last year. Let us not have any repetition of the nonsense that everything is being subordinated to the interests of the natives, because it is not. The Government is setting up committees and trying to make the natives politically conscious of a desire to govern themselves, which they do not want to do and are not capable of doing. This is not helping r.hem. 1 now desire to say something about the defence of New Guinea. It is obvious that some one will have to defend it if we are to continue to hold it. It will most certainly be threatened, because it i9 the last wealthy unsettled country in the world. We either have to defend it or watch it go from us. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) suggested that one great advantage of putting the Territory of New Guinea into trusteeship, is that we shall be enabled to defend it. Defend it with what? I want to know that because, when the honorable gentleman was pressed further, he said that he was-, quite sure that the Government could defend New Guinea and was, in fact, taking steps for the defence of its ports, airfields and so on. [ want to know whether that is right, because, if it is right in New Guinea, it is certainly not right in Australia. I should be surprised to hear that any one can contend, least of all the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), that in this country we could defend a single port against a second-rate attack or any attack. We have no navy, army or air force.
– Order ! That has no relation to the bill.
– I can relate it to the defence of New Guinea. Before the war we developed fine native units, officered by Australians. I am informed that not a single battalion of those troops is left. I can think of no better way of contributing at least to the land defence of that country than by the continuance of those native regiments. The natives like soldiering and are good at it. It is good schooling for them, [n their completely wild state they are ignorant of medical practices and hygiene. When they are trained they learn these things, and go back to their villages and spread their knowledge. That improves the standard of living in those parts-.
That is all I have to say. I agree with the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), who said, in effect, that we do not need New Guinea for its resources and that we have enough undeveloped resources of our own, but that we cannot afford to see any one else there. If we want to hold that country and to fulfil one single obligation that we have in respect of it let us scrap the footling policy which has not yielded production, progress or an increased standard of living. Let us have a policy that will develop the country and produce something in the way of food for the world. Let us do something more for the people than will be done by the footling issues of self-government, unions, the 40-hour week and the setting up of model villages that the natives do not want.
.- This bill is designed to take from the people of Australia what its young men fought for in two wars. I refer to the right to occupy such territories surrounding our coast as are essential to the defence of Australia. This is a most mischievous proposal. If we are to be able to defend New Guinea properly, we shall need to establish defences that to be effective must be secret. We can easily visualize conditions under which Russia, or some other country with similar ideals, determined to .achieve its ends regardless of who goes down beneath its feet, will, with the assistance of such countries as Costa Rica, Chile and the nigger republic of Haiti, demand at the United Nations that it should be allowed to send investigators through the territories. New Guinea is our territory. In the first place, we had only a mandate over it. The body that gave Australia that mandate was the League of Nations. The territory was overrun by an enemy and we paid 5,000 lives to re-establish ourselves there. Five thousand good young Australians died so that we should be able to re-establish ourselves there. I am perfectly satisfied that the man whom I look upon as the No. 1 busybody of Australia to-day, so as to popularize himself in the United Nations, rushed in and said, “Yes, Australia is prepared to hand over New Guinea and bring it under this show and accept whatever conditions you like to place upon us “.
– The honorable member is not entitled to refer in that manner to a Minister.
– I believe that the attitude of Dr. Evatt is responsible for the fact that we are at present holding New Guinea on such a flimsy tenure. I submit that I am entitled to refer to him as I have done. He does not hesitate to criticize honorable members on this side of the House.
– The honorable member is not entitled to refer to the Minister by name.
– I maintain that the Minister had no right to submit to the United Nations the question of the ownership of New Guinea. If we had stated firmly at the beginning that we were holding New Guinea under a lapsed mandate from the League of Nations, I do not believe that the United Nations would have had the colossal impertinence to say that we should continue to hold it only under a trusteeship agreement. As a matter of fact, the League of Nations was never of any value to the world. From its very inception, I maintained that it was a danger to world peace. It provided an excuse to many people, some of them traitors and others stupid, to justify the disarmament of the British Empire so as to leave us open to Hitler’s attack. Men like Chamberlain and MacDonald, as well as some in this country, were more responsible for the second world war than Hitler himself. Some of them used the League of Nations as a means to propagate their own ideas. The league was started by President Wilson, an idealist with no practical knowledge of affairs. He did not realize the dangers that would face the world if his ideas were adopted. He obviously had no knowledge of human nature when he entertained the belief that the nations of the world would abandon their own interests in order to subscribe to his ideals. People like those who inaugurated and supported the League of Nations are now trying to foist the United Nations on the world. If they have their way the world will again find itself in the desperate position which faced it in 1939. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) took the Opposition to task for not having done more during the twenty years that non-Labour governments were in office to provide forthe defence of New Guinea and Australia. As a matter of fact, although Australia’s defences in 1939 were in a bad condition they are in a much worse condition to-day. According to official figures, our militia force, at the present time, consists of 14,000 men. In 1939, we had seven divisions of militia, most of them at full strength.
– The honorable member must return to the subject-matter of the bill.
– I was referring to the defence of New Guinea, a matter which is vital to Australia. If the honorable member for Hindmarsh was entitled to discuss it, surely I am.
-The honorable member must connect his remarks with the bill.
– I am referring to the defence of New Guinea, which has everything to do with the bill. Two years af ter the outbreak of the last war, the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Dedman). who is now Minister for Defence, said in a debate in this House -
I should not have risen at this late hour but for a matter whichI consider to beof supreme importance. Certain constituentsof mine, members of the Militia Force, have received notice that they will be required for continuous military duty for the duration of the war. I have not made any bones about where I stand in regard to conscription.I am opposed to conscription.
– Order ! I do not think that what the honorable member is quoting has anything to do with thebill. The debate is not on defence, but on New Guinea.
– With all due deference to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker,I submit that the defence of New Guinea is intimately associated with the defence of Australia.
– The honorable member may refer to the defence of New Guinea, but not to the defence of Australia.
– Surely the people of Australia are responsible for the defence of Papua and New Guinea. Our young men are the only ones likely to go to the defence of New Guinea. Is it suggested that the Government will depend on the natives of New Guinea to defend that territory, or will it bring down some of its friends from Indonesia for the purpose? The present Minister for Defence went on to say that he was opposed to conscription on religious grounds.
– Order ! The honorable member may not continue on those lines.
– I rise to a point of order. I refer you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to Article 4 in the Fourth Schedule to the bill. It is as follows : -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good government and defence of the Territory and for this purpose will have the same powers of legislation, administration and jurisdiction in and over the Territory as if it were an integral part of Australia, and will be entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications as it deems desirable, such laws of the Commonwealth of Australia as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the Territory.
I submit, therefore, that the honorable member for Bendigo is entitled to refer to the defence of Australia because the defence of New Guinea must always be an integral part of the defence of Australia.
– I have not ruled that no reference may be made to matters directly associated with the defence of New Guinea. The article which the honorable member has quoted states that the Australian Government is to have the same power in relation to the defence of New Guinea as in relation to the defence of Australia, and the defence of New Guinea may properly be debated. However, the defence of Australia may not be debated.
-With all respect, I submit that the defences of Papua and New Guinea, which are indissolubly intertwined, have just as much to do with the defence of Australia as has the defence of Tasmania, and surely the calling up of men to serve in the Australian army is associated with the defence of Tasmania. If so, then it must also be associated with the defence of New Guinea.
– The honorable member is not entitled to dis cuss the defence of Tasmania, either.He may discuss only the bill before the House.
– Then I propose to make another quotation, which no one can deny has a direct reference to New Guinea. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is on record as having said that he would not send one man to defend New Guinea. Let those who had exploited New Guinea and its natives - the gold-miners and the planters - defend New Guinea, he said. That was the policy of the Opposition at that time. That Opposition has since become the Government. By accepting the proposal embodied in this bill the Government has shown that that is still its. policy. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) said that if it was proposed to annex the Territory of New Guinea on the ground of security, we should also demand possession of Portuguese Timor. In the first place, it should never have been necessary for us to talk about annexing New Guinea. We should not have been foolish enough to offer to hand it over to the United Nations, and accept the administration of the territory on its terms. As for Timor, 1 believe that Australia should have made a serious attempt to buy Portuguese Timor, which is vital to our defence. It is well known that Japan tried to buy it before the war. I do not believe that because Portugal is a weak nation, and half the world away, we should simply take possession of Portuguese Timor, thus creating an international incident, hut we should certainly try to buy it. I also believe that we should ask Britain to hand over to us the small islands which it possesses in the vicinity of New Guinea.
At the present time, we have not enough people to defend Australia, let alone New Guinea. If we were forced into war with a nation of any consequence, we should find ourselves defending, not the Brisbane line, but the Cape Leeuwin line, because that is about all we should have troopsenough to defend. In the event of a war with Russia, Britain would not be able to give us any assistance worth while. Strategically, Britain is very badly situated, and in time of war we should have to look to our own defences. Indeed, it is more likely that Britain would look to us for help than that we should be able to obtain help from Britain. However, we cannot defend New Guinea with a token army, an air force that is hardly fit to take the air and a navy which, although efficient, is very small. For political reasons, the Government is determined not to introduce compulsory military training for the defence of Australia and New Guinea.
– Order !
– I confess that I find it very difficult to understand the ruling of the Chair.
– The Chair has equal difficulty in understanding the behaviour of the honorable member for Bendigo.
– Our administration of New Guinea has been so beneficial, not only to the small white population, but also to the natives, that we are entitled to take over the territory which is of such importance to us. Administrators such as Sir Hubert Murray have succeeded in winning the trust and affection of the natives. The administrative and patrol officers under his control did a magnificent job. I believe that we have every right to assume complete control of the territory. I do not believe that we should ever have been foolish enough to permit the United Nations to have any say in the matter. We should never have placed ourselves in a position which will enable an enemy, backed by a few relatively unimportant countries, to force himself into New Guinea under the pretext of carrying out an inspection on behalf of the United Nations, and so to examine our defences and plan the destruction of an aggressor. Are we to invite a repetition of what occurred prior to the entry of Japan into World War II., when representatives of Siam, which subsequently sold out to the Japanese, were conducted on a tour of Australia and its territories and given access to vital defence information? Are we again to allow a potential enemy to threaten the future peace of Australia in that way? If we have again to fight a great nation, and it succeeds in establishing a foothold in Australia, it will not be as mealy-mouthed at some future world organization as have our representatives been at the meetings of the United Nations. Such a power would not send representatives to the world organization to say, “ We will annex Queensland or Western Australia “ ; rather would they say “ Queensland and Western Australia now form part of our sovereign territory”, and they would back their words by the force of arms if necessary. This bill is a disgrace to Australia. By agreeing to the placing of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system, the members of the Government have done a disservice to their country.
.- The House is discussing a measure to ratify the placing of a territory which is of the utmost strategic importance to Australia under the international trusteeship system. Because I object to such a proposal, I shall support the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White). Much has been said during this debate about the provisions of Articles 4 and 7 of the Trusteeship Agreement, which relate to the defence of the territory. I remind honorable members that Australia is one of the very few victor countries in World War II. which is prepared, without a semblance of even a verbal fight, to hand over to others a territory which is of the utmost strategic importance to it, and in which much Australian blood has been shed in two world wars. I ask honorable members opposite, particularly those responsible for having perpetrated this ignominious act whether the United States adopted a similar attitude in regard to the Carolines, the Marshalls, the Marianas, Truk, Guam, the Gilberts, and other islands which are not nearly as close to America as New Guinea is to this country. Of course, it did nothing of the kind. It now holds them under what is known as strategic trusteeship. Not one person from any country other than the United States is allowed, without special permission, to visit those islands, because they are used as a buffer to protect the United States. Yet, Australia is prepared to place under the international trusteeship system New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, which, constitutes the bastion of Australian defence. Some people believe that the United Nations will not interfere with our administration and control of New Guinea. .Clause 7 of the bill provides that Australia shall make an annual report to the United Nations on the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the Territory of New Guinea. That is quite right. We hope .to do everything possible to advance the living conditions of the natives there; but we do not believe that other countries, which have no real love for Australia, should be permitted to enter New Guinea and examine its defences under the pretext of making an inspection of the political, economic, social and educational advancement of me natives. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) asked what purpose could be served by rejecting this bill and withholding our approval of the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. If we are big enough to reject the bill and to refuse to ratify the placing of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system, the door will again be opened for further negotiation, with a view to bringing New Guinea solely within the control of Australia. In a sarcastic way, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) referred to what had been said by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) at the Peace Conference at Versailles, and to how the right honorable gentleman had failed to act upon his words. The honorable gentleman knows only too well that the right honorable member for North Sydney fought tooth and nail for the handing over of New Guinea to Australia. He was unsuccessful in his efforts because the odds were against him. The right honorable member for North Sydney had no option but to accept the decision of the makers of the peace treaty, who, in their wisdom or otherwise, decided that the mandate system should be adopted. At the conference of Versailles, be waged a wordy battle to the last ditch in an endeavour to make the territory a sovereign possession of Australia. I am sorry to say that the representatives of the present Government did not adopt a similar attitude in the negotiations which gave rise to the proposal in the bill now before us. Instead, when it was suggested that New Guinea should be placed under the international trusteeship system they registered but a feeble protest. When the representatives on the Trusteeship Council refused to agree to the proposal that Australia should have absolute control of New Guinea they knuckled under and dropped the proposal, notwithstanding the example set by the United States in regard to the islands that had been formerly mandated to J apan. When dealing with those islands, the representatives of the United States did not agree to place them under the international trusteeship system, thus allowing a potential enemy to enter them at will under the pretext of examining the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the natives. On the contrary, they applied for, and were granted, sole control of the islands as strategic areas. Article 7 of the Trusteeship Agreement provides -
I liken that provision to an admission by a guardian with a ward that his obligations are completely fulfilled once the ward is fed and clothed and sent to school. All guardians have an obligation to better themselves so that their wards may be able to enjoy a higher standard of living. What is the use of planning for the defence of the territory if we do not make ourselves strong enough to protect it? Of what use is it to spend millions of pounds on the defence of the territory if at the same time we have to allow the representatives of potentially hostile countries to enter the territory ostensibly to examine the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the natives, although we know that their real purpose is to examine its defences and to make plans for their destruction? It is within the bounds of possibility that such a potentially hostile power may at a subsequent meeting of the United Nations protest vehemently against such defensive preparations as we may commence and so prevent their completion. The honorable member for Hindmarsh also said that our principal task in New Guinea will be to keep others from entering the territory. How are we to keep people out of New Guinea if we do not make adequate preparations for its defence? Even if on paper New Guinea is regarded as an integral part of Australia, how does the Government propose to defend it? It can be defended only by force of arms. I recall to mind reports which appeared in the press only a few months ago of the alarming growth of population in countries to the north of Australia and how the governments of those countries were compelled to look elsewhere for the settlement of their surplus populations. I am gravely disturbed about what may happen in New Guinea. It is all very well for the Government to say that it will not permit unwanted people to settle there. How can it stop them, from doing so? How can we carry out our determination not to allow unwelcome people to enter New Guinea if we cannot back that declaration with the necessary power? We have to assess not the present value of New Guinea but the value it might represent to us say, 50, 100 or 200 years hence. If we hand over the territory to an organization of the United Nations it will no longer belong to us. What then will be our position 50, 100 or 200 years hence ? Undoubtedly we shall pay for our folly as time goes by. New Guinea constitutes the most strategic area in our near north. [ am totally opposed to the handing over of control of this territory without a fight to such countries as Mexico,
Paraguay, Costa Rica-
– And Russia.
– Yes, and Russia, which, like an octopus, has already spread its tentacles down through Malaya and is rapidly approaching closer to New Guinea.
The bill also makes provision for the establishment of a legislative council and other legislative and advisory bodies. In my opinion, the time is not yet ripe for the establishment of such forms of administration in the territory. Most of the natives of New Guinea did a magnificent job for Australia during the war years, hut quite a number are diametri cally opposed to our way of life. We should not run away with the idea that they all love this country. Far from it. As the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) has said, the only way to educate them to a stage at which they may be granted some semblance of self-administration is to allow white people to settle in New Guinea and instruct them in agricultural and other forms of industry. Whilst I admit that in the past there has been a certain amount of exploitation of the natives hy unscrupulous whites and that precautions should be taken to see that that is not repeated, I maintain that the natives have not yet reached a stage at which they can take an intelligent interest in their own political and administrative affairs. It Is the task of the Government to protect them. We should not say to people who desire to go to New Guinea : “You may not go there; the country belongs to the ‘ fuzzy wuzzy ‘ ; they will administer it themselves “. The time inot yet ripe for the creation of the proposed administrative instruments in the territory, but it is ripe for us so take a real interest in New Guinea affairs. 1 believe it to be the bounden duty of every member of this Parliament to respect the sacrifices made by our fighting forces in two world wars and to reject this bill with a view to re-opening the door for further negotiations and securing for Australia the sole right to administer and control New Guinea. As this territory i? of such strategic importance to us it it incumbent upon honorable members to reject this measure.
”. - in reply - 1 desire to intimate to the House that the Government is not prepared to accept the amendment which the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) has submitted, and I am sure that my statement does not astonish him. I was amazed when the honorable member moved his amendment, because, strange to say, I had spoken to him after making my second-reading speech, and he told me that the bill was a good one.
– I said that the padding was good.
– Evidently the honorable member has reconsidered hia attitude.
– Not at all. I shall have r,o make a personal explanation in order to clarify my position.
– Three important points have been brought out in the debate. The most important point was the complaint by members of the Opposition that the Government had not provided an opportunity to enable the House to discuss the Trusteeship Agreement prior to the introduction of this bill. I cannot believe that honorable members opposite are sincere in making such a statement, because the facts contradict them. On the 7th August, 1946, the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) made the following statement to the House: -
On the 17th January, 1940, the Australian Government declared its intention of placing the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system established by the United Nations. Similar declarations were made by the governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand concerning their mandated territories in Africa and Western Samoa respectively.
The United Nations Charter provides that ihe terms of trusteeship for each territory to be placed under the trusteeship system shall be agreed upon by the *’ States directly concerned “, including the mandatory power, and approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
– Does the honorable gentleman believe that that is the position to-day?
– I do.
– Then the Minister has not read the report of the debate in the Trusteeship Council.
– I have read to the House the points that the Prime Minister made in August, 1946.
– But that is not the position to-day.
– Order ! Honorable members must not interrupt the Minister.
– The Prime Minister also made the following statement: -
In his statement to the House oil the 13th March, 1946, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) indicated that the House would be informed of the Government’s proposals for bringing New Guinea within the trusteeship system. Consultation with other States which may be regarded as directly concerned is now taking place, and as yet there is no definite text which can be placed before the House. A draft agreement, however, has been prepared as a basis for our discussions with other governments. I shall read the articles of this agreement to honorable members at the conclusion of this statement, thus affording an opportunity for expression of views on the principle which the Government will be following in the negotiation of the agreement.
The Territory of New Guinea, in which so many of our men died in battle against the Japanese, is of such importance to the safety of this country that nothing but absolute control could bc accepted by any Australian government. Moreover, the welfare of the native peoples demands such control.
I now pass to another matter.
– The Prime Minister also said -
Eventually, Australian legislation will be required to give effect to the Trusteeship Agreement.
The Government has waited three years before introducing the legislation.
– The Prime Minister gave the House an opportunity on the 7th August, 1946, to discuss the subject of trusteeship.
– Not at all.
– Order ! The Minister is entitled to make his speech in his own way and must not be interrupted.
– On the 26th February, 1947, the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) made a statement to the House on international affairs, and said, inter alia -
The subjects that I propose to introduce will cover the activities of the United Nations, including the recent meeting of the Assembly, the decision of the Assembly in relation to such subjects as the veto; the proposed commission on disarmament and atomic energy; trusteeship agreements, particularly that relating to New Guinea;
– The Minister for External Affairs did not give any details about trusteeship on that occasion.
– Honorable members had an opportunity to discuss trusteeship. Last year, the House again debated matters relating to New Guinea.
– That debate occurred on a motion covering a definite matter.
– All the matters raised in the present debate have not been strictly relevant to the bill. Since August, 1946, members of the Opposition have known about the Government’s intention to introduce legislation to approve the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system, but they have only now complained that they have not had an opportunity to discuss the Trusteeship Agreement. Their attitude is illogical.
Some honorable members opposite have referred in a disparaging manner to the members of the Trusteeship Council. They have referred slightingly to China, Costa Rica, Iraq and the Philippines.
Mr.Archie Cameron. - And to Mexico.
– That is so. They described such nations as paltry countries, and their criticism generally was a grave reflection on other members of the Trusteeship Council, such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia. The representatives of all those countries meet at the conference table of the Trusteeship Council. I shouldlike to elicit the real reason why honorable members opposite have constantly reflected upon such countries as Costa Rica and Mexico and have omitted all reference to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
– May I ask the Minister a question?
– Honorable members opposite have complained that, under the trusteeship system, the control of New Guinea will be vested in such countries as Costa Rica, Iraq, China and Mexico, but I am sure the interests of Australia will be closely watched by the great nations that are also represented on the Trusteeship Council. The Opposition has also criticized the decision of the Government to place the Territory of New Guinea under the Trusteeship Council on the ground that this is the only country that has handed over a mandate to that organization.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member may not have said it, but other speakers have made that statement.
– Not one member of the Opposition has pointed out that other countries have handed over mandates to the Trusteeship Council-
– The honorable mem ber for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) made that point quite clear.
– I have no record of it. However, the British Cameroons and British Togoland, which Great Britain held under mandate, have been placed under the Trusteeship Council. France has placed the French Cameroons and French Togoland, which it held under mandate, under the international trusteeship system.
– But those areas have no strategic importance.
– Tanganyika, in central Africa, which is of the utmost strategic importance, has been placed under trusteeship. Great Britain, which held it under a mandate from the League of Nations, has accepted trusteeship over it. Therefore, it is apparent that Australia has done nothing unusual in acceding to the request of the United Nations that New Guinea should be administered under a trusteeship agreement. I cannot understand the reference of the honorable gentleman opposite to giving New Guinea away. We never owned it. We held it under a mandate from the League of Nations. When that organization ceased to exist, the territory was controlled by a provisional administration and later, when the United Nations established the Trusteeship Council, it became the subject of a trusteeship agreement. I cannot agree that Australia has lost anything by accepting the trusteeship of New Guinea.
– We now have the right to defend the territory.
– Honorable gentlemen opposite have continually harped upon our rights with regard to the defence of New Guinea under the terms of the present agreement. Before the outbreak of World War II. the position was that, under the mandate, we could not defend the territory.
– We did defend it during the war.
– We were not allowed to fortify it.
– When the Japanese struck at New Guinea there were approximately 2,000 Australian troops in Rabaul. A half of them were lost on the first day of the Japanese attack and the remainder were taken prisoners of war.
– The reason for that-
– It does not matter
About reasons. The fact is that we were controlling a territory which, under the terms of the mandate, we were not allowed to defend. We were not permitted to fortify it or to establish defences there.
– That was also the case during the period when the anti-Labour parties were in office.
– Honorable gentlemen opposite have challenged the Government in relation to the defence of New Guinea. Many of our brave lads sacrificed their lives in Papua and New Guinea. On the 23rd February, 1942-
– It was January, as a matter of fact.
– I accept the correction. The boys are dead and the precise date does not matter. The fact is that at the time of the first Japanese air raid on Rabaul our position was such that we lost a half of our force almost immediately and the remainder was taken prisoner when the Japanese landed. During almost the whole of the period between the two wars anti-Labour parties were in power in this Parliament. It must be admitted that during that period the Australian Government had complete control of Papua. What did the governments that were supported by honorable gentlemen opposite do when they had an opportunity to fortify Papua and establish defences there ? It is well known that the same conditions obtained there as in New Guinea and that when the Japanese struck there were no fixed defences at Port Moresby.
– There were coastal guns there.
– There were one or two guns.
– Why does the Minister not tell the truth?
– I am telling the truth. I was one of those who had to live in the trenches in that area for two months.
– Coastal guns were installed there before the war started. The Minister should know that.
– If the bill had been discussed on its merits I should not have referred to these matters. The main criticism of the measure by the Opposition has related to the defence aspect. I am confident that this Government will do more for the defence of Papua and New Guinea than all the anti-Labour governments did from the time when Australia accepted the mandate in respect of New Guinea until the commencement of World War II.
The usual line of attack of honorable gentlemen opposite when criticizing defence preparations in Australia is to ask how many men there are in the Army. One honorable member said that we had only 15,000 men in the Citizen Military Forces.
– Order! The Minister is not entitled to discuss that matter.
– I submit that my remarks are relevant to the bill because if the Australian Government decided to defend New Guinea it would have to send military forces there. Having regard to the present economic and man-power position in Australia, it would be stupid to do that. We cannot have a defence system that is based only on large numbers of men. We could have 100,000, 200,000 or even 1,000,000 Australians in uniform, but when the next war came one atomic bomb could wipe out the major proportion of them.
– It would be necessary to hit them.
– The honorable member for Balaclava has said that it would be necessary to hit them. I saw what happened to Hiroshima, because I was there soon after the atomic bomb was dropped on that city. I wish that every honorable member of this House could have been there at the same time as I was.
– I rise to order. You have already ruled, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on this matter. I suggest that a discussion on the effect of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima does not comply with your ruling.
– The Minister’s remarks are relevant to the question before the Chair
– All this talk about defence by honorable members opposite is just showmanship. There is nothing in it. The next war will not be won by masses of men. In the short but very fine speech which the honorable member for Bourke (Mrs. Blackburn) delivered she stated that in this, as in many other debates, honorable gentlemen opposite have done little but talk war. Their cry is, “ War, war, war ! The United Nations is of no use. The United Nations is finished. Dr. Evatt is a tragedy for Australia “. Those are the sentiments which they have expressed, but not one df them has yet suggested what could be substituted for the United Nations. No mem’ber of the Opposition has suggested what we should do if the United Nations organization were to be disbanded to-morrow.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– There have been certain criticisms of the administration of the territories that I consider to be unjustified. We must remember that during the war New Guinea was almost totally destroyed. Many of its old residences, and in fact almost all of its housing, were destroyed, as were many plantations. In some parts of Papua, particularly the Port Moresby area, there was, also great devastation. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) asked me to act as Minister for External Territories, I considered that it would be in the best interests of the residents of New Guinea and of Papua, which latter territory I had visited during the war, that I should go to New Guinea, meet people there and see what the conditions were compared with conditions during my previous visit in war-time. I went to Port Moresby, and also visited most of the centres in Papua. I then went to Sogeri and on to Madang, Wewak, Manus, Rabaul, Kokopo and other areas. Any person with an open mind must admit that a great deal of activity has taken place in New Guinea since the end of the war. It is untrue to say that the Administration is not doing an excellent job. Papua and New Guinea, of course, face the same difficulties as we do in Australia, and as the people do in every other part of the world, due of course, to the terrific havoc caused by the war. They have the same man-power and material problems as other parts of the world. Many of those who had the finest knowledge of the territories are missing, and have not been heard of since the war. Therefore, it is not a matter of continuing from where we left off in 1939 when war broke out in Europe but almost of starting all over again in those territories.
This Government has given every assistance to those associated with the territories. As honorable members know, vast sums of money have been spent through the War Damage Commission. In fact, millions of pounds have been paid out to those who suffered lost through the war, in an attempt by the Government to rehabilitate them. Planters have received money from the War Damage Commission so that they may reinstate themselves, and it is gratifying to know for instance, that where copra production was about 12,000 tons in the first year after the war it is now back to about 45,000 tons annually.
– It was about 70,000 tons before the war.
– Of course it was., but although that tonnage was being produced most of it was accumulating on the wharfs because it was not saleable, and the price of copra, unfortunately, fell to the very low level of £4 10s. a ton.
– That was only the average price.
– Average or not, the prices fell, and many owners were in fact not able to sell their copra at all. The position is different now. I discussed copra production with the planters at Koitake and Rabaul and they told me that they were happy about the agreement that we are now trying to reach with the United Kingdom Government whereby the planters will be assured of a satisfactory price that will make copragrowing profitable for them.
– That is different from what planters have told me.
– I do not know what planters have told the honorable member. I desire to be frank about this matter. The planters in both areas that I have mentioned expressed the opinions which I am now giving to the House. I have no desire to mislead the House. The planters gave me to understand that if we were able to enter into an agreement with the United Kingdom Government on the basis that I had explained to them, they would be quite satisfied.
– I have a letter here-
– I could bring in half a dozen letters and read them to the House, knowing that what they contained was not accurate. I do not necessarily mean letters from New Guinea, but from individuals in the Army who perhaps consider that they have been “ pushed about” a bit. I do not refer in the House to such letters because I know that their contents are not accurate or justified. The Prime Minister received a’ letter that he forwarded to me only the day before yesterday. That letter was from a Mr. Paul, who is the secretary of the Rabaul Planters Association. It paid a tribute to me for the way in which I had met the planters and for the discussions that I had had with them.
– That is all right.
– No letter has been received from the planters to say that they did not approve of our policy. The planters, I may say, were very concerned about the price that they will receive for copra in the future.
– What has the Government done for the planters?
– The agreement that we are now negotiating with the United Kingdom, and which is now receiving the consideration of that government will, I have every reason to believe, be accepted by the growers of New Guinea as satisfactory. Shipping is one of the major difficulties in New Guinea and Papua. At the conclusion of the war practically all the small craft that were used in island trade had been completely destroyed, and it was very difficult at the cessation of hostilities to replace those vessels. Up to date the Government has been able to provide a certain number of ships, and it is now negotiating with the Australian Shipbuilding Board to see whether it would be possible to build a larger type of vessel, say about 500 tons, for use in the territories. One honorable member opposite said, during the second-reading debate, that there were only eleven medical officers in Papua and New Guinea. That is incorrect. At the present time there are 21 medical officers in Papua and New Guinea, although there were fewer than that at the end of the war. I have every reason to believe that in the very near future the numberof medical officers will be increased to 35 or 40.
– To how many people have these medical officers to attend?
– The number of European residents is about 6,000.
– And there are 1,000,000 natives !
– The nonindigenous population is about 9,000. Another speaker on the Opposition side said that there were about three public servants in Papua and New Guinea to every private resident there. That is a stupid statement to make. The actual figures are that there are 1700 public servants in the area from Port Moresby to Rabaul,out of a population of 9,000.
I do not consider it necessary to debate the matter at greater length, as there will be further opportunity for discussion at the committee stage. Under the trusteeship system, with a union between New Guinea and Papua, and with united public services and an administrator anxious and ready at all times to give every assistance not only to the European residents, but also to the natives, and who will have all the interests of the natives at heart, I am confident that great progress and prosperity will come to these areas. 1 trust that it will not be long before we have unified ordinances, unified service, unified laws and good fellowship between the Papuan section of the community and the New Guinea section. Many honorable members opposite have said that we are trying to keep out of New Guinea people desirous of going there. It was only natural that during the war and immediately after the war, when accommodation and other necessary facilities were lacking, people were prevented from going there. But, since facilities have become available, I know of no instance of any person who has applied to enter New Guinea and is of reputable character having been prevented from going there.
– Including Hancock and Gore.
– And Farrell.
– That is cheap.
– Order !
– What does the honorable member for Balaclava know about New Guinea?
– I have been there.
– Unless the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) keeps quiet he will not remain here.
– It should be clearly understood that to-day no attempt is made to keep any one out of the territory who has real business to take him there. I believe that if we are to get from the territory the best of which it is capable it will be necessary to tempt many Europeans to settle in it. The natives are not ready just yet to develop the country to the extent to which it should be developed. Therefore, I am confident that every facility will he given to those anxious to go to the territory and work in it. I hope that the time is not far distant when the present method of taking up country in New Guinea will be superseded by a system similar to that suggested by the honorable member for Balaclava whereby the Administrator will make a survey of the areas that may be taken up. Of course, there must be negotiation with the natives. There can be no such thing as merely possessing oneself of land in Papua or New Guinea. There must he the full consent of the natives. What I have in mind is that, instead of a person interested in taking up land having to go through all the processes, the Administrator will interview the native councils and indicate that applications have been made for land in certain areas, the making availableof which would be in the best interests of the country. I hope that the bill will soon be passed, that its passage will cast into the past the many difficulties that the people of Papua and New Guinea have had to contend with and that we shall have a happier period there in the years to come.
– May I speak to the amendment now, or do you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, consider that I have already spoken to it? In my second-reading speech I did not move the amendment, I only gave notice of an amendment.
– Order! No. The amendment is the question before the House.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Mr. White’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr. DeputySpeaker - Mr. J. J. Clark.)
Majority . . 12
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 (Definitions).
– I think that in this clause there is one thing that should he attended to by the committee. There should be a clarification of the meaning of the term “ elector “. “ Elector “, according to this clause, means -
A person qualified and enrolled as an elector of the territory in accordance with the Ordinance.
That is to be read in conjunction with clause 36, which says -
The Legislative Council shall consist of 29 members, namely: -
We do not know from either clause 36 or clause 5 just what the Government has in its mind in regard to the term “ elector “. Particularly as this applies to New Guinea, we do not know whether there are certain constructions upon the agreement between the Australian Government and the United Nations Trusteeship Council that would limit, or perhaps extend, the area of electorship in the Territory of New Guinea and, consequently, Papua, because it is perfectly clear, according to the bill, that, whatever is the qualification of the elector, it must apply with equal force to both territories. There should be no diversity between the qualification of an elector in the Commonwealth of
Australia, the six States, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, on the one hand, and the territories of Papua and New Guinea, on the other. If that is the mind of the Government, there is no reason why the bill should not say so. As clause 36 reads, it would appear that the Australian Labour Government proposes to introduce into the territory some qualifications and extensions of qualifications, perhaps, that would be inconsistent with the electoral laws of the Commonwealth of Australia. If the Minister in charge of thebill (Mr. Chambers) can give an assurance that that is not so, we may be satisfied, but that would not get over the fact that if that is the intention of the Government, there is no earthly reason why it should not be stated in the definitions.
The second matter upon which I wish to address the committee, and to which I referred in my second-reading speech, is the fact that reference to “ provinces “ is struck out. In the previous bill it was clearly the intention of the Government to divide the territories into provinces for administrative purposes, but in this bill the Government has denied itself the right to do that. I should like to know the Government’s reasons for denying itself that right.
.- I also should like to know what the definition of the term “ elector “ is or is likely to be. Thebill has in various forms been before the Parliament now for about nine months. The original bill was brought down in July last year, and the present bill is almost identical with the original bill. Therefore, the Government ought to have some idea of how it proposes to define an elector. I have examined the statistics for the Territory of New Guinea, and I find that, according to the latest census figures, there is a population of 9,439 non-natives. Of that number 8,000 are Europeans, of whom 160 are Germans and 280 citizens of the United States of America. Are all Australianborn citizens to be given the right to vote for the Legislative Council, or will some be disqualified? There are in New Guinea 1,000 Asiatics who were not born in the country, including 650 Chinese. Will they be qualified to vote? Only three out of 29 members of the Legislative Council are to be elected, so that the elected members will not have much say in the framing of legislation. Even after the council arrives at a majority decision, the Administrator may disregard it. He is to enjoy the power to veto. Nevertheless, the qualification of electors is important, and before this clause is agreed to the Minister should explain the situation. The clause merely states that an elector means a person qualified and enrolled as an elector of the territory in accordance with the ordinance. Thus, in effect, the Government will be empowered to define the qualifications of an elector, and the Minister should now be able to explain what the Government has in mind.
– I desire to make the same point on slightly different ground. The Commonwealth Electoral Act, which governs the election of members to this Parliament, sets out in detail the qualifications of electors. The qualifications are not defined in any rule or regulation issued under the act, but are contained in the act itself. Indeed, I do not know of any State statute, or any British act which has a provision corresponding to the clause we are now discussing. I do not know of any other piece of legislation which provides that the qualifications of an elector of any legislative body shall be defined in a regulation or rule, rather than in the enabling act itself. It is extraordinary chat an elector should be defined, not in a part of the act, but in some out-of-the way regulation. Honorable members are familiar with the way in which regulations or rules are issued. They are promulgated by the Governor-General in Council, which means, in effect, that a Cabinet Minister, at the behest of some departmental officer, submits the draft of a regulation. Then, the GovernorGeneral, sitting with perhaps only one Minister, puts his stamp on the regulation, and it becomes law. Later, in accord ancc with the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act, the regulation is submitted to the Parliament and, in certain circumstances, may be disallowed. However, if it is not disallowed, it automatically becomes law. As a matter of fact, it is very difficult to have a regula-tion disallowed. It is difficult, under the Standing Orders, to have a regulation even debated. If a very important pari of this legislation is to be embodied, not in the statute, but in regulations issued under the statute, the Parliament will be denied some of its law-making rights. 1 know of no right more important than that of prescribing who or what an elector shall be. Why cannot the qualifications of an elector be set out in this bill as they are in the Commonwealth Electoral Act? Why is the definition of the prospective electors of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea to be postponed until the making of a regulation at some time in the future, will be put through in a hole-and-corner method, and later laid on the table of this House? I ask the Minister to give an assurance that a provision will be inserted in the bill, if not at this stage, then when it is before the Senate, setting On the qualifications of an elector of the Legislative Council. If he is not able to give an assurance on that point now, let him consult with his advisers so that we may, in due course, be fully informed on this point.
– I wish to correct the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) on one point. He said tha; an ordinance could be promulgated by the Governor-General in Council with only one Minister present. The honorable member should know that one Minister inot enough to constitute a meeting of Hi.Executive Council.
– Oh, well, perhaps it inecessary for two to be present.
– The honorable member at first said one. Already, his estimate has gone up by 100 per cent. No ordinance has yet been prepared to define an elector of the Legislative Council. In my second-reading speech. I said that it would probably be twelve months before the council would be elected. That is understandable, because the laws and ordinances of the two territories must first be unified, and that will take time. In the meantime, the qualifications of electors will be determined.
An ordinance will be prepared, and sub mitted in due course to the Parliament. Honorable members need have no doubt that they will be afforded an opportunity to debate the regulation.
.- The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) has raised the very question which I expected him to raise. He has said that this legislation will not become effective for about twelve months. We are all familiar with the method by which ordinances are made, and can be disallowed by either House of the Parliament. Once an ordinance is promulgated it has the force of law until it is disallowed. If an ordinance is promulgated fixing the conditions for the election of a legislative council in New Guinea the council couldbe elected before any opportunity occurred for this Parliament to consider the ordinance.Inthe meantime, the political complexion of the Parliament might change as the result of a general election, and the ordinance, when submitted to the Parliament, might be disallowed. For that reason, if for no other, this legislation should define an elector, and it can be done just as easily in the first instance as in the last.
.- The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) answered my objection with a piece of hair-splitting when he reminded me that it was necessary for two Ministers to be present at a meeting of the Executive Council.
– I was merely correcting the honorable member.
– It does not matter whether one Minister or two must he present. My point was that the process of regulation-making was entirely perfunctory. The Governor-General calls a couple of Ministers together, and the regulation goes through. Usually, as we know, the Ministers themselves are not fully seised of the purport of the regulation. They accept the say-so of departmental officers, one of whom I see sitting behind the Minister now.
Mr.Chambers. - That is not unusual.
– Admittedly, the pressure of work is so great that the Ministers must take the say-so of their depart mental officers, and, if the officers are trustworthy, there is not much wrong with that. However, it is for that reason all the more important that the Parliament should be vigilant, and zealous to retain its overriding authority. I repeat that there should be no difficulty in setting forth in a separate clause the qualifications of electors. The definition could be taken out of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, and the necessary alterations made in 30 seconds with the stub of a pencil on a piece of paper. The Government prefers, however, to include the definition in a regulation which will be accepted by the Parliament without proper scrutiny or debate. In any case, during the weeks or months between the promulgation of the regulation and its acceptance by the Parliament the regulation will be law - good orbad. it may be argued that this matter is not important in itself, but the important principle is involved, namely, that substantive matters ought to be included in statutes and not left to regulations.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 -
Approval is given to the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the inter national Trusteeship System by means of, and upon the terms of trusteeship embodied in. the Trusteeship Agreement.
.- This clause is the piece de resistance of the bill. It appears in that section headed “Part II- The Trusteeship Agreement for the Territory of New Guinea “ and gives approval to the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. The debate on the second reading of the bill has emphasized the fact that the action of the Government in handing over the territory which we took from Germany in 1914, and over which our troops fought in the last war, was illadvised. It was due to the enthusiasm of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) for the United Nations, which he has put before the Empire, and before his own country. In my opinion the right honorable gentleman has betrayed his trust. The Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), who is deputizing for the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) said to-day that we had had an opportunity to deal with this subject on an earlier occasion. We had no such opportunity. He then began to quote what the Prime Minister had said on this subject in 1946, but he did not read the vital paragraph, to which I drew attention by way of interjection. I indicated that the Prime Minister had said that legislation would be brought down in due course to ratify the proposal. The legislation now before us is the legislation to which the right honorable gentleman referred and that is why we protest against it to-night. In order to make a further excuse the Minister in charge of the bill said that the Minister for External Affairs who had discussed this proposal at a meeting of the United Nations had mentioned it in the Parliament. It is true that he did so, but he glossed over it. He gave us no details of the proposal. That shows how hard pressed is the Government on this matter. My sympathy goes out to the Minister for the Army for he has had to take the place of the Minister for External Territories who has exercised a dictatorship over New Guinea for many years. He said that a debate had taken place previously in the Parliament in relation to New Guinea. T point out that that debate arose from a private member’s motion which I had submitted drawing attention to the maladministration of the territory, the lack of a proper native policy and the neglect of production there. One could now add to those charges the serious errors in policy, to put the charge in its mildest form., of the Minister for External Territories who is not with us tonight. The Government has made a crass mistake in relation to New Guinea which has caused the utmost bewilderment in the caucus. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who can always make a good case out of nothing, endeavoured to explain that under the trusteeship we would be better off than we were before. It is true that under the “ C “ mandate granted to us after World War I. we could not fortify the territory. The Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) has shown his utter ignorance of the history of the territory. The longer h.3 spoke the more he displayed his cras? ignorance of what ha3 taken place there. In the manner to which w are so well accustomed, he asked, “ What did honorable members opposite do when they were in power “ ? Obviously he does not know what has been achieved in NewGuinea during the last 40 years. He and other honorable members opposite know little or nothing of the work of men like Sir Hubert Murray, General McNicoll. Mr. Page, the brother of the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page), and hundreds of other civil servants who have rendered meritorious service to the territory. Mr. Page and other officers of the territorial service might not have lost their lives had the Government properly provided for the defence of New Guinea. It is obvious that members of the Government do not know what has happened in New Guinea. The Minister for Defence - spare the word “ defence “ - said thai no government had ever been appointed in the mandated territory. I invite him to read the Pacific Island Year Book of 1935-36, at page 276, where he will find the following : -
An important change in assisting the Government of the territory was brought about in May, 1933, when a new system was introduced, providing for a measure of selfgovernment and also giving the unofficial community a voice in the administration, through the legislative council. . . . The amending New Guinea Act, which was passed by the Commonwealth Government in November, 1932. and which made provision for an executive council and a legislative council was brought into operation on May 2, 1933,-
The Minister for Defence does not even know, in 1949, what happened then. The extract continues -
Under this amending Act, the executive council, which is to advise and assist the Administrator, is to consist of nine members appointed by the Governor-General, eight of whom shall be officers of the territory and be known as official members.
At the top of the list of members of the Executive Council is the name of Mr. H. H. Page, Government Secretary. Then follows the names of Mr. H. 0. Townsend, Treasurer; Mr. E. W. P. Chinnery, Director of Administrative Services and Native Affairs; Mr. E. T. Brennan, Director of Public Health; Mr. G. H. Murray, Director of Agriculture; Mr. G. G. Hogan, Crown Law Officer, and several others. The Pacific
Islands Year-book gives details of the membership and activities of the council, yet the Minister for Defence, who is charged with responsibility not only for the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, but also for the whole strategic concept of our defence, says that in the past, no government has operated in the territory. The Executive Council of New Guinea was abolished when war came and the country was placed under military administration. In this bill the Government proposes to resuscitate this local governing body which we established in the ‘thirties. The Minister for the Army who, unhappily, has had this bill thrown into his lap, asks how we can defend New Guinea. Taking a leaf from the book of the honorable member for Fremantle, who said that whereas under the mandate we could not defend it, we can do so under the trusteeship, the Minister asked, “ What is the use of defending it ? “. He added that in these days of atom bomb warfare we could not defend New Guinea against a power using the atomic bomb even if we had 1,000,000 men there. That number was, of course, a slip of the tongue. At least it was a slight exaggeration. The honorable gentleman then proceeded to say that one atom bomb might wipe out the whole of our force.
– I did not say that; i said that it would wipe out the major proportion of the force.
– I shall be generous and say a dozen bombs.
– Order! The honorable member must not depart from the provisions of the clause now before the committee.
– One of the schedules to the bill relates to the defences of the territory and therefore I am quite within my rights in addressing myself to that subject. The Minister said that a power using the atom bomb might easily annihilate a large defending army. If that is the fatalistic attitude of the Government, and if atomic warfare is to be the deciding factor, why have an army at all?
– I said that atomic bombs might destroy our defences. I did not refer to numbers of men.
– I invite the honorable gentleman to try to get the Russians to believe that. The Russians believe thai numbers count. If there is danger to Australia to-day we shall need all the man-power we can obtain. Of course, there is a danger as the uprising in Asia, spurred on by the Communists at the Kremlin and assisted by traitors and fifth columnists in Asiatic countries and in Australia, comes nearer to our shores. The danger that faces ut to-day is the result of lack of man-power. If this country had a population of 50,000,000 or 100,000,000 we should not need to look at a territory as remote from us as New Guinea in the same way. The Minister for Defence and the Minister for the Army have told us in effect that the advertisements seeking recruits for the Royal Australian Air Force and the Army are unnecessary because an enemy using the atomic bomb could wipe them all out. Certainly a future war on a global basis would bring about indescribable horrors, but by no means can any one say that there is peace in the world to-day. We have some good imitations of warfare in China, Greece Burma and other places. In placing New Guinea under the’ international trusteeship system the Government has acted stupidly. The honorable member for Fremantle, who endeavoured to make a good case for the Government’s action, said that under the “ C “ class mandate we could not defend New Guinea, but that under the Trusteeship Agreement no such limitation was placed upon us. The Minister in charge of the bill did not know that Opposition members were fully seised of that fact. The honorable gentleman said that no defensive measures had been taken in New Guinea. He and others who served in New Guinea should know that artillery units had been established at Port Moresby before the war. The garrisons at Ambon and Rabaul, which were overwhelmed by the enemy, were sent there by the present Government. Defence consists not merely of guns, coastal defences and garrison troops; it also involves proper preparations for the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and the making of airports and landing grounds to enable forces to be flown to strategic points without loss of time.
– I remind the honorable member that the second reading of the debate has been concluded.
– Unfortunately, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) was not present in the chamber when, in the earlier part of my speech, I refuted some of his stupid remarks. I recommended him to read the Hansard report of my speech. He did not even know that a legislative council had been established in New Guinea and that it had functioned from 1933 until Japan entered the war. If we agree to the proposal in this bill to place New Guinea under the international trustee ship system we shall make a grave mistake. We have been told that an annual report will be required by the United Nations in relation to the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the natives. Every year we shall be called upon to disclose to Russia, China, Costa Rica and other nations the fullest information regarding what is taking place in New Guinea. That information may well he given to a potential enemy. Such a report would not have been necessary had we annexed the territory outright. When the League of Nations foundered and the mandates system went by the board New Guinea should have immediately become a sovereign territory of Australia. The Government has no right to give away what is virtually our northern frontier. The Minister in charge of the bill said that Togoland and Tanganyika had been handed over to the Trusteeship Council. Those protectorates are of no strategic value to the defence of any particular country. They may be rich in productive capacity but they do not constitute the bastion of the defence of any country. On the contrary, New Guinea is virtually our northern frontier, for the protection of which we have fought in two world wars. Notwithstanding its strategic importance it was virtually given away three years ago, but only to-night are we given an opportunity to say whether or not we agree with that action. The amendment which I proposed to the motion for the second reading of the measure, which was to the effect that the hill be withdrawn and referred to a select committee having been defeated, I take the opportunity afforded by the consideration of this clause to re-register my protest against this proposal. We should he recreant to our trust as representatives of the people in this democratic assembly if we did not register our strongest protest against it.
.- I listened with great attention to the references made by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) to the Trusteeship Council. I tried to ascertain what objections the honorable member had to the terms of the trust. I should have liked to hear him analyse the Trusteeship Agreement and point out in what respect it is remiss, but he made no reference to its terms. The honorable gentleman was Minister for Trade and Customs in a government which very faithfully carried out its trust to the League of Nations. It was universally admitted by the League of Nations and the great powers that during the twenty years in which non-Labour governments administered the Mandated Territory of New Guinea they pursued an excellent native affairs policy, and faithfully carried out the terms of the mandate. Now the honorable gentleman says that the present Government, in doing exactly the same in relation to its obligations to the United Nations, is endangering the safety of this country. He did not tell us, however, how he thinks that the Trusteeship Agreement endangers the safety of Australia.
– We shall have to report even to the Russians everything we do in New Guinea.
– The honorable gentleman seems to imagine that there is something sinister in the fact that Russia happens to be a member of the United Nations and that as reports regarding the economic, social and educational advancement of the natives in New Guinea will be presented to the United Nations, the Russian delegates will presumably read them. The suggestion is made that reports will be submitted to the United Nations relative to the defences of the territory and that those reports will he debated by that organization.
If the honorable gentleman will refer to the actual text of the Fourth Schedule, he will find that that is not so. The text of the agreement is very strong in according full authority to Australia. The defence provision in Article 4 reads -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good government and defence of the Territory and for this purpose will have the same powers of legislation, administration and jurisdiction in and over the Territory as if it were an integral part of Australia, and will be entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications as it deems desirable, such laws of the Commonwealth of Australia as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the Territory.
The modifications to which reference is made are not those that the United Nations deems desirable but those that the Australian Government deems desirable. From which provision do honorable gentlemen opposite draw the con clusion that our defence rights are somehow whittled away by the United Nations, and that Australia will be compelled to report its defence measures to that organization? The only one that could possibly be misinterpreted as having such a meaning is Article 6, which reads - The Administering Authority further undertakes to apply in the Territory the provisions of such international agreements and such recommendations of the specialized agencies referred to in Article 57 of the Charter as are, in the opinion of the Administering Authority, suited to the needs and conditions of the Territory and conducive to the achievement of the basic objectives of the trusteeship system.
In other words the agreements of Unesco, the World Health Organization and the other specialized agencies of the United Nations that have a humanitarian objective are to be taken into serious consideration by the administering authority. But even on such a matter as that, we are not bound to apply the authority of the United Nations in the territory. Honorable members opposite, who have referred to Soviet Russia in this connexion, may as well admit that the Russian Government found serious objection to the agreement which Australia has made, but on different grounds from those which honorable gentlemen opposite have taken to the bill. The Russians regarded this proposal as an old annexation written as a new trusteeship. The agreement, where it does provide for the making of reports to the United Nations under Article8 and the obligations which the Australian Government has agreed to discharge to the organization, consists almost wholly of guarantees to the native population. The honorable member for Balaclava has stated, quite rightly, that in the two territories, the Australian Government has always pursued a very liberal native policy based upon the best colonial traditions of such administrators as Lord Lugard.I am not suggesting that there was never anything wrong with Australia’s administration in the territory, and I consider that the Australian Government, over many years, should have spent a little more money there instead of endeavouring at many points to make it selfsupporting. Nevertheless, Australia stood very well with the League of Nations and other countries, and I do not believe for a moment that if the Opposition parties assume office as the government they will amend this legislation. The international repercussions of such an action would be extremely serious. Australia would then be the only western power that regarded international law with contempt.
The United States of America, whose virtues are frequently quoted in this House by members of the Opposition, has accepted trusteeship under the United Nations. Honorable members opposite say that that form of trust is very different from that which is proposed in this bill in relation to New Guinea. Of course it is ! What is the significance of the native populations in those purely strategic islands that the United States of America has taken over ? Some of the islands are not populated, but they possess an important strategic value. Are we to be asked to believe that, if the United States of America had a mandate in which there were 1,000,000 native people, instead of a number of strategic atolls, it would have emphasized defence to the exclusion of the references that we have made to the need for international supervision of native policy? I am not aware of any action by the United States of America to annex any territories that it has taken over as trust territories. There was a certain point of view in the American War Department, hut it found little support in Congress and no support from the President himself. There is a continual pretence in this Souse, that because the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) happens to be the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Australia is the only country that values that organization. I can agree with members of the Opposition, in their general argument concerning international defence and the maintenance of international peace, that the United Nations should’ be regarded realistically as an organization that is not working, but I am amazed when the United States of America and Great Britain are held up to us as virtuous, but that, somehow or other, when they appear on the Security Council, they are not virtuous. The United Nations is taken as an abstract entity, and the countries which compose it, still happening to be those recommended to us by members of the Opposition, are regarded in that capacity as useless. We may have some objection to the United Nations from a defence stand-point, but it passes my understanding that members of the Opposition, who, when they formed the government of this country, faithfully carried out every humanitarian obligation that the League of Nations imposed upon Australia should now criticize this clause. The mandate system of the league was a success. International cooperation in world health under the League of Nations was also a success. Trusteeship is a perpetuation of one of the agencies of the league, carried over into the United Nations, and I think that it justifies itself. Therefore, the Government is on sound ground in continuing the policy that honorable gentlemen opposite previously pursued, with this difference that, whereas under the mandate system we had no defensive rights in the territory, we have defensive rights under the international trusteeship system.
– The honorable member expressed those views in his secondreading speech.
– Honorable members opposite may object to those statements being repeated.
– It is tedious repetition.
– I have not heard any honorable member opposite analyse the sections of the Trusteeship Agreement to which the Opposition has objected.
– We did analyse them.
– Order! Members of the Opposition must not interject.
– Honorable members opposite and Government supporters have participated in this debate in the ratio of four to one, and I have noticed the complete paucity of the reference of honorable members opposite to the actual terms of the agreement. We get the most amazing implications woven into the agreement, but no references have been made to specific words in order to justify such implications. Therefore,I contend that except for the modification that confers complete sovereign rights on this country in respect of defence, the proposal is simply perpetuating the policy that the Opposition parties pursued very successfully for twenty years from 1921 to 1941.
– The clause under consideration reads as follows: -
I refrained from taking part in the second-reading debate because I heard so many hypocritical statements by Government supporters that I considered that I should be well advised to tack myself to my seat. When I criticize the Government supporters, I exclude the honorable member for Bourke (Mrs. Blackburn). Although I disagree violently with the views that she has expressed on this subject, I realize that she has spoken from her heart and with “deep conviction, as her late husband also did. Therefore, J exclude her from any caustic remarks that I may make about the Government. Honorable members opposite are neither more nor less than a gang of hypocrites who speak with two voices. Not 2 per cent. of them believe in this bill. I have positive proof that they do not agree with the principles of this legislation. Last year, I caustically criticized the failure of the Government to allow the United States of America to retain Manus Island as a defensive bulwark for Australia. After Japan entered the war, the Labour Government cringed to America to save us from invasion. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) announced that the Government proposed to place New Guinea under the Trusteeship Council, I said that such a policy did not make sense, and the Minister for Defence (Mr. Dedman) and the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) looked across at me, indicating plainly that they agreed with my view.
I shall now tell the other part of the story in order to reveal the hypocrisy of the Government. This will be the first occasion on which I have been guilty of repeating in the chamber a statement that an honorable member has made to me outside of it. In normal circumstances, I do not believe that such conversations should be repeated here. I propose to break my rule in order to prove the hypocrisy not only of the Government, but also of the Minister for External Affairs himself. The occasion was a send-off to the Minister for External Affairs before he went abroad in 1946. The Prime Minister bade him farewell, and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) joined in the felicitations to him. I, in the course of conversation with the Minister, said, in effect, “ This trusteeship does not make sense to me”, and he told me that he did not believe in it himself, but that he was forced into the arrangement by pressure from the smaller countries. It hurts me to repeat a conversation that took place outside the chamber and I hope that circumstances will never again compel me to do so. I should rather cut off my right hand than offend in that way, but I have done so in order to prove that members of the Government are a gang of hypocrites and that the Minister for External Affairs himself is a hypocrite who does not believe in the principles of this bill. I challenge honorable members opposite to rise in their places, consult their consciences and deny that statement. I do not believe that 2 per cent. of them will be prepared to do so.
– Poor old “ Chil “.
– The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) knows thatI despise the wretched things that the Government has done here. I urge the Government to have some consideration for the feelings of the relatives of Australian servicemen, who lost their dear ones in New Guinea. Have honorable members opposite no shame? People are saying. “ Is there no tar and are there no f eathers with which to hunt them out of the Parliament ? “ Honorable members opposite know that they deserve the criticisms that I am uttering.
– The honorable member for the Northern Territory will be hunted out of the Parliament at the next election.
– Then I shall go out with my guns blazing in true naval style.I shall not cringe or be a hypocrite. Earlier, I mentioned the word “ shame “. The philosopher Aristophanes, who lived in 400 B.C. and wrote the humorous tale of the frog, defined “ shame “ in the following words : - “ Shame is the apprehension of a vision reflected from the surface of opinion - the opinion of the public “. Shame now seems tobe the role of the Labour Government or rather the Government is trying to make the Australian people ashamed of the manner in which this country has treated the natives of New Guinea during the last twenty years. How dare it do such a thing, posing as the representative of the Australian people?
Why is this clause included in the bill ? It reads as follows: -
Approval is given to the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the International Trusteeship System by means of, and upon the terms of trusteeship embodied in, the Trusteeship Agreement.
What is the background to that clause? The Minister for External Affairs, in order that he might be elected as president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, wanted to obtain the votes of the smaller nations. Those nations would not be worth twopennyworth of gin in a war. They could not fight their way out of a paper bag, even if the bag was wet. I am reminded of thebook, The Mad Doctor, written by the famous Australian author, F. J. Thwaites. The representatives of those smaller nations are -the people to whom this mad doctor has cringed. The right honorable gentleman has had bestowed upon him the glorious Grand Cross of the French Legion of Honour, although he has denied such honours to the great general who fought for him and who was his stooge. The Labour party must play up to its masters. There is a swinging vote in Australia and honorable members opposite must cringe to the leftists and the Communists to secure their votes. They dare not despise them. They know that if they do not obey their masters they will be lost. You may well hang your heads in shame.
– Order! The honorable gentleman must address the Chair.
– I have given the reason why the clause has been included in this measure, and every honorable gentleman opposite knows it. They dare not go against their masters.
Let us see what is really at the bottom of this business of inferior peoples being controlled by superior peoples. For years a pseudo-science has been growing up. [t was started by Professor Elkin in Sydney. I refer to the pseudo-science of anthropology. I do not wish to be too critical, but I say that very few people are fitted to be anthropologists. A gang of men, having failed to obtain university degrees, for which a knowledge of higher mathematics and languages is required, have put themselves forward as anthropologists. They have joined the Department of External Affairs and the Department of External Territories, where they are permitted to indulge in this pseudo-science. They are the people who have been at the elbow of the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Ward) and have forced the issue. They have the ear of the Government. That is the only other reason that I can suggest why this wretched clause is contained in the bill and why we have sold our birthright in New Guinea. I cannot mention anthropologists without referring to Doctor Stanner, who fully understands the effect of the impact of the neolithic man on the white man. Dr. Stanner came to the Northern Territory and did a marvellous job there, but he was not wanted in New
Guinea. It is obvious that a man of Dr.. Stanner’s outstanding ability was not wanted by the Minister for External Territories, because he knew too much and would not submit to the nonsense of the half-baked anthropologists who are controlling New Guinea. I contend thai missionaries and not anthropologists arewanted there. The sooner these pseudoanthropologists are dismissed and Dr.. Stanner brought back, the better it will be and the sooner we shall be able to have a true anthropological outlook in connexion with the natives of New Guinea. When honorable members opposite are in Opposition after the next general election, the new government will need to start almost de novo in New Guinea.
It is common knowledge that there are 1,000,000 squatters in Malaya. They are Chinese who came from China and each took up 2 or 3 acres of jungle land there. They have been squatting there for years and living off 3 acres of paw-paws and bananas and a few pigs. They have been living on the country. They have no security of tenure; they are simply squatters. They are now being subjected to blackmail, just as some honorable members of the Parliament have been subjected to blackmail. Some of the Government’s senior mad doctors know all about blackmail.
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must use parliamentary language.
– Now there are gangsters coming down from Russia to operate among these Chinese squatters.
– I rise to order. The reference to the Minister for External Affairs as a “ mad doctor “ is objectionable to me. I ask that it be withdrawn.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Chair has already dealt with that matter by requesting the honorable member for the Northern Territory to use parliamentary language.
– These Chinese squatters are being blackmailed by gangster Chinamen from Sinkiang, who are a serious menace in the Malayan Peninsula. We have given New Guinea away to people with the same ideology as tho.*<» gangsters. Not only are they blackmailing these peaceable squatters who befriended Australian prisoners of war in Malaya, but they are also, in order to obtain food or money, blackmailing the Chinese foremen of the great mining companies there and murdering Australians and Englishmen. Needless to say, no action has been taken by this Government to send a force to Malaya, as the United Kingdom Government did quite recently. The honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) pointed out last night how the British Government throughout the years had given away its authority in Africa and India. The Attle’e Government gave Burma its freedom, which was a grievous mistake. The Attlee Government sent Sir Edward Gent to make peace with the people of Malaya, after giving them their freedom. I propose to speak no ill of the dead. It is unfortunate that Sir Edward Gent, while on his way back * to the United Kingdom to report to the British Government after having made a mess of Malaya, was killed in an aeroplane accident. In Malaya he went around shaking hands with all the inferior people and saying, “You are fit to govern yourselves. Here is your country. Carry on “. We know what happened. The gangsters, cut throats and murderers moved in, and British regiments had to be sent back to restore order. This Government looked idly on. The British Government called Sir Edward Gent back in order to ask him what he meant by making such an ass of himself. However, .the poor fellow was killed in an aeroplane accident, so we shall never know how he might have been chastised.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order .’ The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) has spoken with great feeling. That is understandable. The honorable gentleman served with the Australian Imperial Force in Malaya. He was a prisoner of war in Japanese prison camps for a number of years1 and suffered torture and indescribable indignities at the hands of the enemy. He now sees his efforts, and those of thousands of men like him, whittled away by the New Guinea Trusteeship Agreement. If the honorable gentleman spoke with some warmth, his reasons for so doing are understood at least by honorable members on this side of the chamber. I now propose to say something regarding the nature of the agreement that ought to have been entered into by any Australian government, irrespective of its political complexion. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) made a gallant defence of the Government, in the course of which he said that during the debate for every four Opposition speakers only one Government supporter had spoken. The members of the Labour party are in the majority in this chamber. It is an indication of their interest in this vital matter that for every four members of the Opposition only one of them has sufficient interest or sense of party discipline to defend the Government’s actions.
– We are responsible people. Honorable members opposite can say anything they like.
– The honorable member for Fremantle claims that he is a responsible person. I have never heard so much irresponsible drivel as the honorable gentleman uttered tonight. In the course of his speech he manipulated articles and clauses and twisted facts so that even a Philadelphia lawyer could not have understood him. In addition to manipulating facts, figures and cla.uses the honorable gentleman said that the United States of America might have insisted upon annexation if the State Department had had its way, but that Congress was against such action. The true position is the reverse of that. In a book entitled Trustee/ship in the Pacific, it is clearly pointed out that it was the Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America who insisted upon annexation and that the State Department resisted them because it felt that it was bound, as the Australian Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) was bound, by the international obligations that had been entered into. Those who are responsible for the military security of the United States of America, that is, the Chiefs of Staff, were in favour >f annexation. However, there was an alternative to annexation or ordinary trusteeship. Two important articles were written into the Charter of the United Nations at the instance of the United States of America. They are Articles 82 and 83. Article 82 reads as follows : -
There may be designated in any trusteeship agreement a strategic area or areas which may include part or all of the trust Territory to which the agreement applies, without prejudice Co any special agreement or agreements made under Article 43.
Article 83 reads -
All functions of the United Nations relating to strategic areas, including the approval of the terms of trusteeship agreements and of their alteration or amendment, shall be exercised by the Security Council.
The United States then insisted that in respect of any trusteeship in which it had any hand at all - and the only trusteeships with which it was concerned were the Carolines, the Marshalls and the Marianas - must come under the definition of Articles 82 and 83 and be classified as strategic trusteeships. That means that such trusteeship territories were not open to inspection by the representatives of other nations. The Americans took the very action that we should have taken in respect of New Guinea. If any country in the world to-day is entitled to claim that an area over which it has been given control is essential to its defence and security, that country is Australia and that area is the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. We should have fought, at those international conferences, with all our vigour to do what the United States did. But we gave the whole thing away. We sold the pass. We lodged the title deed of New Guinea in the Trusteeship Council, to be administered by countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Iraq and the Philippines. We are responsible to the members of that council for the way in which we discharge our obligations under the trusteeship. It would not be so bad, however, if it ended there. If all we had to do was to report it would not matter, because there is nothing that Australia is likely to do, with or without trusteeship, annexation or no annexation, of which any Australian would need to be ashamed. Our conscience in colonial administration is clear, and for the last 30 or 40 years, in fact, since federation, we have a very high record in that respect. We have no fear about how we shall carry out the trusteeship, but there is a fear that whatever defences we undertake in these territories will be quite open for inspection by our potential enemies, because of the tragic kind of trusteeship to which our Minister for External Affairs has committed us. The United States of America may close the Marshalls, the Carolines and the Marianas to any outsider at all. No national of a possible hostile power could go to those areas to inspect the defences that the United States of America is installing. But Australia may spend millions of pounds in defence in Manus Island and in New Guinea, and every part of the defence work done will be open to inspection by Russians, Filipinos, Costa Ricans and anybody else who represents a nation on the Trusteeship Council.
– That is all rot 1
– It is not all rot: Let us examine some of the reports already made to the Trusteeship Council in respect of New Guinea. I have here a report that had been furnished long before this particular matter had been considered by the Parliament. ] would remind the House, as previous speakers have done, that the Trusteeship Agreement was entered into in December, 1946, and this Parliament is now debating at this late stage something that is an accomplished fact. I have here a number of examples of the kind of questions that the Costa Ricans and Mexicans are asking us. Before I give them to the House 1 desire to quote a passage on the subject of strategic areas from a book entitled Trusteeship in the Pacific. It is a book that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) who, I know, is a diligent student of international affairs, should read. The book is edited by A. H. McDonald, Professor of Ancient World History at the University of Sydney. It states on page 30 -
The United States draft was approved unanimously practically unaltered.
I point out at this stage that trusteeship is not imposed upon any power administering a territory as was the case with mandates. The trusteeship agreement is drawn up by the nation itself and submitted for approval to the Trusteeship Council. The passage continues -
Here again the main reason appears to have been the American threat to withdraw the area from trusteeship and to annex it on the basis of military conquest if fundamental changes were insisted upon.
So the Americans, in the last resort, would have withdrawn from- the Trusteeship Council and have annexed the islands by military means rather than agree to a trusteeship such as Australia has accepted. Let us look at the interfering inquisition that is now being imposed upon Australia. I shall quote examples of the questions asked by the Trusteeship Council. About 280 such questions were asked of Australia in respect of its administration of New Guinea, and in spite of the valiant efforts of the Administration to answer every inquiry, more than 80 questions were left unanswered because no answer was possible. Even the Australian Government was unable to provide answers for them. Here is a sample of the questions^ -
What family living studies or other surveys of cost of living have been made? Are cost of living indices regularly prepared and published? Give a brief account of the methods used?
Here are some more of the questions asked -
What provision is made in the press, by broadcasting, films and other educational media and public services generally to promote the interest of the inhabitants of the Territory in current developments of local »nd international significance?
That was question 139. Now we have question 187, which was -
State what methods are in use in towns
Hud villages for disposal of human and animal excreta.
These are the questions that a dignified country like Australia has to answer to the people of Costa Rica and Mexico who have never in their lives seen a septic sewage disposal system. Australia is required to tell these people what it is doing in respect of such matters in New Guinea. I could go through all the questions, most of which are equally objec tionable, but shall not weary honorable members with them. I move -
That the words “the International Trusteeship System by means of, and upon the terms of trusteeship embodied in’, the Trusteeship Agreement “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “Security Trusteeship under the Security Council “.
If this amendment is agreed to there will, at least, have been a bona fide opinion recorded in this Parliament that Australia is entitled to the same trusteeship considerations as have been extended to the United States of America in respect of territory that is not so important to that country for defence reasons as New Guinea is to Australia. Although much more could be said on this subject, this is not the occasion to say it. I have moved that amendment with no great hope that the Government will accept it after it has sold the pass and given the title deeds of the property away. I have no hope that, having done that, the Government will demand the recall of these-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has taken some pains to tell us that in recent days he has discussed matters relevant to this clause. Then, to show how much education is wasted on some people, he did not even discuss the clause. The problem, and indeed the difficulty facing the Opposition in relation to this clause, which is one of the strongest in the bill, is whether there shall be trusteeship or no trusteeship for New Guinea. We have heard a lot of impassioned nonsense about selling a pass that we did not own. I understand thai the honorable member for Richmond owns a considerable amount of real estate in northern New South Wales, and he ought to know that we cannot sell things that do not belong to us. The main problem of the Opposition is that its members have become isolationists. They have talked about annexing this territory. For Australia to annex it, as suggested by the exuberant honorable member for Richmond, the defeat of the war aims of the democracies would be necessary. Whether honorable members opposite like it or not, that is the cold fact. The war was fought for a peace without annexation or aggrandizement by conquest.
– That was proclaimed by Mr. Churchill.
– Yes, it was proclaimed by Mr. Churchill, for whom honorable members opposite have great praise. The honorable member for Richmond and other honorable gentlemen opposite have stated that we should annex New Guinea.
– I did not say that.
– They say we should have handed portion of the trusteeship territory to the United States of America, while we still had in the north of New Guinea the undefended Dutch New Guinea. The question of the defence of New Guinea was resolved by the Americans when they took) their action regarding the Carolines, Marshalls and Marianas. It ill befits the Opposition to attack the Government in relation to what I consider to be valid criticism of the Dutch, and then to launch all-out and all-day criticisms of the United States of America for preserving our security thousands of miles nearer to a potentia lenemy than New Guinea was. The Opposition’s whole attitude is unrealistic. The honorable member went on with a dramatic recital of what happened in New Guinea as far as our own forces there were concerned. [ listened to that portion of his speech with respect, but in the next breath the honorable member talked about selling the pass. He is certainly not supported by the people of Australia. No matter what the sacrifices made in New Guinea were they were made with an ally beside us. There is no conflict on Pacific policy between Australia and the United States of America. Does the Opposition think that it is a bad thing to have a common point of view with the United States of America on Pacific policy, when it babbles about strategic trusteeships rather than the trusteeship provided for in the bill? The Opposition has talked in hyperbole about the whole matter. Let us be practical. Is it not good to know that the United States of
America has armed these islandswith airstrips for planes that can bestride the Pacific in our defence? Yet honorable members opposite talk nonsense about what might happen in New Guinea. Even at the weakest point of trusteeship we are given the power to erect defences in New Guinea. If the rabble-rousers and sabre-rattlers opposite had their way we would seize New Guinea and say to the rest of the world, “ What are you going to do about it? “ If honorable members opposite have made any study of the various documents regarding this issue that are available in the Parliamentary Library, it was only recently, and the period of digestion has yet to be completed. The undigested scraps that we have heard from the honorable member for Richmond show that the Opposition has made no long study of the matter.. That honorable member started his speech by attacking the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). It is an amazing thing that the Opposition seems teteam up in attacking this brilliant member because they realize that in a few terse sentences he can knock their arguments down.
Mr. Bowden interjecting,
– The ironbark-eater from Gippsland joins in. I shall noi hold any discussion with the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) that requires common sense. The honorable member for Richmond said that the honorable member for Fremantle had quoted a lot of clauses, but he himself juggled with clauses and got the whole lot spinning round the chamber in a feat of legerdemain the like of which has not been seen for many a day. The conclusion I draw is that whatever the honorable gentleman learned about New Guinea only recently has not been of much benefit to him. Certain clear points emerge. Either honorable gentlemen opposite want us to annex the Territory of New Guinea and thereby proclaim to the world that we are the equals of the undemocratic countries or they accept this proposal. 1 concede that we have some sacred rights to the territory which we have earned by sacrifice; but that does not say that we should annex it. It is lamely said that, as the League of Nations no longer exists, the United Nations should step aside and let us have the former Mandated Territory of New Guinea as an integral part of the unified New Guinea, which includes Papua. What benefit would there be in annexing the territory? Why do honorable gentlemen opposite talk about annexing New Guinea, which, I remind them, consists not only of the territories concerned in this bill but also Dutch New Guinea, other than for the reason that they desire to indulge in outdated sabrerattling? When 57 democratic nations join the United Nations and by virtue of their votes set up the Trusteeship Council, is there any warrant to talk with a sneer of Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Peruvians or any one else? Sabre-rattling and warmongering must come to an end. This clause is crystal clear. In the deliberations of the United Nations no one dreamt but that trusteeship would come to New Guinea. It will be successful. The fact that the United States of America should be criticized for having put our blanket of safety 2,000 miles closer to a potential enemy in Asia is remarkable. The learned gentlemen opposite, whose learning is newfound, talk about security and strategic trusteeships. Such talk in connexion with the plan that is to come into operation for New Guinea is so much nonsense. It is stupid for honorable gentlemen opposite to try to whip up public fury with slogans about giving away our birthright in New Guinea. We had no birthright in New Guinea. New Guinea came to us by the conquest of Germany. The United Nations stands for the removal of tension between nations. It is idle for honorable gentlemen opposite to talk about island specks in the Pacific like the fortresses in the Carolines, Truk and other places. In those places there is no native problem, and a trusteeship that is merely a strategic trusteeship is applicable. The Trusteeship Council allows their fortification. They were used by the Japanese. Can one blame our valiant allies, the Americans, for wanting to fortify them? We should be thankful to the Americans for fortifying them. We should he realistic and appreciate that the spearhead of our defences has been taken 2,000 miles farther from us. In New Guinea, however, we have the task of lifting the standard of the natives. That was the task given to us by the League of Nations. We were charged with developing that country in a democratic way in order that eventually the black people there may reach the highest possible standard under the tutelage of the white man. The statements, made for political purposes, about the defence of New Guinea do not apply. The defences have been moved farther forward. I can not understand the basis of the claims of honorable members opposite that we should annex New Guinea. If the fear is in their mind that Russia might probe the administration in New Guinea, I remind them that we have nothing to hide. If they believe that any fortress can be hidden from potential enemies, they have learnt little from the last war, the war before it and even from the Trojan War. I marvel at their contention that we must annex New Guinea in order to defend it. The Trusteeship Agreement provides for the necessary fortification of New Guinea, in any case. Bui honorable gentlemen opposite perform an amazing somersault when they say. on the one hand, that we should give Manus Island to the Americans in order to take a defence burden from our shoulders and, on the other, that New Guinea is a strategic area that we should annex for defence purposes. I remind them that we do not own the whole of the mainland of New Guinea. There is first British New Guinea. Then we have that part of the mainland and the islands that come under the Trusteeship Agreement. Then there is Dutch New Guinea. What the Australian people ought to keep in mind is that “ trusteeship “ means a great deal. The literal meaning of “ trusteeship “ is strong “ Annexation “ is a sinister word. It reeks of the rattling of sabres and it belongs to the past. We must conclude that the whole opposition to this clause is expressed in antagonism not to what has been done in New Guinea but to the decision by votes in the United Nations on trusteeships. Trusteeships are a substitute for mandates, which fell into disuse because of the disappearance of the League of Nations. One of three courses had to be taken, and, in my opinion, the best was taken. The courses were annexation, trusteeship or the taking over of the mandate by the United Nations itself. By a series of discussions and elaborations the Trusteeship Council found a formula for the settlement of the New Guinea question. It would be wrong for us, a young country, which has been assailed in the East for not having developed our own territory, to be reaching out for islands when we have no money to spend on them.
– Why not give them away then?
– That is about as intelligent a remark as I could expect from the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt). I imagine that both in service and in brains he has little to give away. I am talking seriously about a serious subject. I yield nothing to the Opposition in my regard for the service and devotion of the Australian troops and their American allies, but I shouldbe chary of using them as a stalking horse to advance the plea of “ Let us annex this country “. Honorable gentlemen opposite may say, “ We are through with the United Nations ; let as run to the Americans to look after us “, but that is appallingly absurd and it shows that the Opposition has neverbeen sincere in this debate. The whole case of the Opposition has rested on personal attacks on honorable members on this side of the chamber. The contributions of honorable gentlemen opposite to this discussion has been meagre and their conclusions absurb.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The Government has made a colossal blunder. If what we have just heard from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) is the apology for the blunder, it is a most pathetic apology. All honorable members with goodwill for Australia and regard for the service rendered by its men in two world wars must have listened to his claptrap with disgust. The amendment proposed by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), which the Government ought to accept, aims at placing the Territory of New Guinea, not under the trusteeship system as intended, but under the strategic trusteeship system that, with the approval of the Security Council of the United Nations, has been adopted by the United States of America in relation to its trusteeships. No honorable member can be satisfied with the Government’s proposal. I believe that all Government supporters, including the honorable member for Parkes, are disgusted at what has happened. That is why we have had such a flimsy reply from the honorable member for Parkes, who floundered in trying to build a case on personal references to honorable gentlemen on this side. I believe that world problems and difficulties will be transferred into the Pacific area. I am quite satisfied that the trend of events in international affairs to-day, with the tragedy that has taken place in Japan and Korea. which has been overrun-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! This is not a debate on international affairs.
– I am talking about the importance of New Guinea and showing why we should have a strategic trusteeship and not the one proposed. Korea has been overrun by Communists. The Communists are sweeping like an avalanche over China.
– Order ! Korea and China have nothing to do with the clause.
– I am worried that the whole of the world’s problems seem to be moving from Moscow to Australia.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable member must confine himself to the clause before the committee. The clause does not permita debate on international affairs.
– I have no desire to discuss international affairs.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is doing so.
– No; I am pointing to the Government’s lack of appreciation of the importance of New Guinea because of the circumstances that I have just referred to. New Guinea will be our bastion in the circumstances that T am endeavouring to bring to the notice of the Government, which does not appreciate their importance. By this proposal the Government will place the Australian people for many years in great danger of attack. The clause provides for approval for the placing of the Territory of New Guinea under the international trusteeship system. That will, hamper our opportunity to develop the defences of New Guinea. We are to have a certain minor authority under the trusteeship system to set up certain defences, but if honorable gentlemen read the other provisions of the trusteeship system, they will realize that any other nation will have the opportunity to spy throughout New Guinea and find out exactly what we are doing to defend it. As other speakers on this side have said, the United States of America would not stand for that; but this Government proposes foolishly that Australia should stand for it. The United States will not allow any person into the islands over which it has strategic trusteeship except by special permission, but we 9hall have to admit freely into New Guinea whatever representatives other nations like to send there. The Government’s proposals are the opposite to those that the United States regards as essential to the strategical protection of all its obligations in the Pacific. The Government has fallen down on its job, and has placed Australia in a very difficult position. I cannot allow the clause to go through without voicing my protest. New Guinea and the islands adjacent to it were acquired by Australia during the first world war. For a time during the second war we lost them, but by our efforts, and those of our allies, we won them back. After the first world war, we administered New Guinea under a mandate from the League of Nations. Then the league died, and the territory came back to us. It is Australia’s duty to defend it. Our contention is that New Guinea should not be held under a trusteeship as defined in this clause, but should be held under a strategic trusteeship which we would have the right to administer without supervision by the Trusteeship Council. New Guinea is a bastion for the defence of Australia. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment, and try to undo the damage which has already been done.
.- The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) twitted the Opposition for pressing the Government to take more definite action in regard to New Guinea because the war aims of Churchill and Roosevelt, as expressed on our behalf, included the principle of no annexation after the war. At that time, we all subscribed to the policy enunciated by those statesmen, and had it been applied there would be very little force in our present argument. But we are dealing with circumstances which exist in 1949. I ask the honorable member for Parkes, and those who support him, whether Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia were included in the war aims as defined by Churchill and Roosevelt? Were Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary included? Was the Communist onrush in China, Malaya and now in India foreseen at the time the statement of war aims was made? Of course, those occurrences were not visualized at thai time, and those who are responsible for the security of Australia cannot ignore recent developments. Therefore, we have to point out the vital need for Australia to maintain control over the strategic territory of New Guinea, which lies between Australia and Asia. That point was developed during the second-reading debate on the bill, and I do not propose to go over it again, but merely to submit two points for the consideration of the committee. I regret that the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) is not here now. He was in the chamber earlier, and will, perhaps, be here later. I regret hi? absence, because I do not like to make charges against any one in his absence. I charge the Prime Minister with having misled the Parliament and the people as to the consequences of the actions taken by the Government in connexion with the trusteeship issue. Earlier to-day, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers) told the House that this was not the first opportunity we had had to deal with the trusteeship issue. He reminded us that in August, 1946, the Prime Minister made a statement to the Parliament and that, from that time onwards, honorable members had the opportunity to deal with the issue.
– Order! The honorable member cannot in committee refer to a second-reading speech.
– I do not propose to do so. [ am discussing the clause now before the committee. On the subject of the trusteeship, we were given an assurance by the Prime Minister in August, 1946, and I quote his exact words as recorded in volume 188 of Hansard, for the 7th August, at page 2584 -
Eventually Australian legislation will be required to give effect to the trusteeship agreement and to make the appropriate amendments in the New Guinea Act. As the General Assembly will not meet until September at the earliest, it will not be possible to bring the necessary measures before the Souse during the present session. ff those words mean anything they mean that Australia could not be committed on this issue of trusteeship until the matter had been determined by legislation in this Parliament. The Prime Minister’s language was clear and unequivocal. The statement was made, not by a back bencher, but by the Prime Minister himself. The legislation now before the Parliament is the first the Government has brought down dealing with the subject since the Prime Minister made his statement, and this is the first opportunity the Parliament has had to decide the issue in accordance with the assurance then given by the Prime Minister that eventually legislation would be required to give effect to the trusteeship agreement.
– He tricked us.
– Yes, in the words of the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White), he tricked the Parliament and the people of Australia. The fact that he tricked us is brought out in an official document issued by the Government. I refer now to the publication, Current Notes, issued by the Department of External Affairs, volume 20, issue No. 1, at page 92, in which is published a report of the discussions which took place in the Trusteeship Council when it was dealing with the proposal for a joint administration of Papua and New Guinea. The representatives of China and the Philippines raised this very issue. They said, in effect, that Australia could not determine the matter until the issue had been dealt with by the Australian Parliament. They might nol have known of the undertaking given by the Prime Minister, but they knew the common practice in the democracies of the world. The reply of Australia’s representative, given in December, 1947. a little more than a year after the undertaking by the Prime Minister, is recorded as follows: -
It was stated in reply that the agreement did not require ratification and entered into full force on its approval by the General Assembly on 13th December, 1940. In Australian constitutional practice, ratification where required was an executive and not a legislative act Legislation was necessary only to give effect in domestic law to an agreement binding Australia internationally. In this case, ratification was not necessary as the agreement had been proposed by the Australian Government and approved by the General Assembly and entered into full force from that date.
When we are told that we should have protested earlier against the action of the Government, I throw the statement back in the teeth of those who make it. The Prime Minister gave a solemn assurance that legislation was necessary to give effect, to the agreement. That legislation is now before the Parliament, but Australia’s official representative on the Trusteeship Council said that the agreement was in full force from the moment that the United Nations adopted it. The second assurance of the Prime Minister concerned this fundamental consideration to which he referred. I quote his remarks as recorded on page 3853 of Hansard of the 7th August, 1946, a? follows : -
Australia will have complete and exclusive power in controlling the administration of New Guinea and that the only limitation uponthis control is the obligation to carry out the duties imposed by the charter.
I again refer to the official report of the proceedings of the Trusteeship Council as reported in Current Notes. The report includes a summary of proceedings before the council when Australia brought up its proposal for the joint administration of Papua and New Guinea. At that meeting, the representative of Australia was placed in the humiliating position of being in the dock under cross-examination by the representatives of a variety of countries including, as an ironic travesty of justice, Soviet Russia, which had overrun many of the Baltic countries and several other European countries as well. Notwithstanding that record it assumed the right to probe into our administration of New Guinea. We have been assured that Australia merely advised the Trusteeship Council as a matter of courtesy of its intention to unify the administration of Papua and New Guinea. However, the report of the discussions in the Trusteeship Council make it very clear that the council regarded itself as having a very direct interest and authority in the matter. In the concluding recommendation, it was stated that the council would review the matter of an administrative union in the light of the conclusions previously expressed, and also in the light of the views expressed in tie council. It is obvious from the discussions in the Trusteeship Council that the matter is by no means closed. Australia’s decision to form an administrative union is not regarded by the council as binding. It reserves the right to review our action. My contention that the matter is not to be dealt with finally by this Parliament is supported by the view put forward by our representative at the meeting of the Trusteeship Council. Australia was pressed to refer the matter of the union to the International Court of Justice, and our representative in the dock had to come back with counter proposals. He said -
It would be premature to refer the question to the court when the legislative processes have not yet been completed, and the final form of the bill was unknown.
He said in effect, “ Let us get the bill through first, and then, if you like, refer the legislation to the International Court of Justice “. The bill referred to is still before the Parliament. Our representative also advanced the argument that reference of the matter to the Court of International Justice at that stage might tend to preclude the redrafting of the hill. In other words, an indication was given of what kind of bill should be brought down to bring about an administrative union, and that if we were to refer the draft of the bill to the Court of Internationa]
Justice opportunity might be given for the reconsideration of the objections which those countries might have to the redraft. At page 87 the report says -
Some representatives would have liked iv sec a phrase added to this operative clause requiring the Australian Government to refrain from action to implement the Bill ‘before its. review and report to the Council, and when this sub-section was considered in the Council, the President stated it was hia understanding that the Government would not in the meanwhile act and present the Council with a “ fait accompli “.
In other words, we were told that the council did not want us to pass the bil! until the Court of International Justice had had an opportunity to deal with ii in order to assuage the representatives of Costa Rica and other countries represented at that meeting. The President stated that it was his understanding that the council would not he presented with a fait accompli. We have committed ourselves, in the course of these arrangements, to supervision foy the Trusteeship Council, to periodical inspection and to inquiries such as the 283 pui to us in a questionnaire by people who. quite obviously from the nature of thi certain questions they asked, have no idea of conditions in this relatively savage and undeveloped part of the world. Our actions undoubtedly have to meet with the approval of the Trusteeship Council.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The further one goes with the examination of this clause, the uglier it become?. I suppose that every reasonable member on both sides of this chamber will agree with the proposition that full control of New Guinea as an integral part of thi Australian Commonwealth is strategically and vitally necessary to this country. I use the words “ integral part of the Australian Commonwealth “ ‘because they are the precise words that were adopted at the Versailles Peace Conference and agreed upon, even by President Wilson, who was a great protagonist - indeed, a fanatical protagonist - of the mandate principle. In that connexion, 1 refer the committee to another pas sage which appears in the book, Mandates, Dependencies and Trusteeships, by
FI. Duncan Hall, from which I quoted last night. At page 123, the author says-
President Wilson’s general line was that the choice of the States to be named mandatories must remain an open question. But at times ho spoke as if he took for granted that the occupying States were to become the mandatories. What he had to say, for example, on 27 January about South-West Africa showed that he regarded South Africa as the inevitable mandatory. But it indicated also another point that was to be of interest 27 years later to Field-Marshal Smuts - still the great leader of his country - when South Africa was to raise the question before the United Nations Assembly of the union of South-West Africa with South Africa. The ultimate union of this territory with the mandatory would seem, President Wilson said, a “ natural union “. [ emphasize those words. I remind the committee, by way of interpolation, that Professor Birdsall, who is an eminent authority on this question, and who was present at the peace conference as a delegate, suggested that “ “Wilson certainly agreed, implicitly, to an eventual grant of some sort of title to the possessor nations “. We reach this, that with reference to “ C “ class mandates, even President Wilson, who was opposed to the European and British delegates, including Field Marshal Smuts and others, agreed to the proposition that South-West Africa and New Guinea must necessarily become annexed to the two adjoining countries. In other words, he accepted the proposition that they should ultimately be the subject of a “ natural union “ with the two adjoining countries, the Union of South Africa and Australia respectively. I continue with the quotation as follows: -
It was up to the Union of South Africa to make it so attractive that South-West Africa would come into the Union of their own free will, and, he (President Wilson) declared, if successful administration by a mandatory should lead to union with the mandatory, he would be the last to object.
This and similar passages show that President Wilson did not take the doctrinaire view that the “ natural end “ of a mandate was independence, since what mattered was the “true wishes” of the people; and these wishes, when they could be ascertained, “ might . . . .perhaps lead them to desire their union with the mandatory power “. From this followed logically the President’s adoption of the idea of the administration of “ C “ mandates as an “ integral portion “ of the mandatory’s own territory.
T have quoted those passages because I have suggested that any reasonable per-
Mr Beale. son who approaches the consideration of this matter in an objective way cannot deny the proposition that the fullest control of the Territory of New Guinea as, an integral portion of the Commonwealth of Australia is strategically and fundamentally necessary to us.
The question that then emerges if whether the trusteeship, which has been brought about by the action of the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt), amounts to something les9 than full control. The answer to that proposition was supplied by the single reference which I made last night. I remind the committee thai Article 76 of the Charter of the United Nations sets out the basic objectives of the trusteeship and that Articles 4 and 5 of the Trusteeship Agreement into which Australia has entered are subject to the basic principles set out in Article 76 of the Charter. Paragraph d of those basie objectives provides that we must so administer the territory as “to ensure equal treatment in social, economic and commercial matters for all members of the United Nations and their nationals “, and also equal treatment for the latter in the administration of justice. Is it suggested that a condition like that which has been imposed upon us does not derogate from our sovereignty? Is it suggested that, having that obligation cast upon us, we are free in the defence of the territory to close its doors against those whom we do not wish to admit. We are bound to admit every national of the members of the United Nations and to grant to them equal terms in social, economic and commercial matters. In all respects the nationals of other members of the United Nations are to have equal rights with us. Is it suggested that all the members of the United Nations should have equal rights with us inside the Commonwealth of Australia? Of course it is not! I say, without any desire to give offence, that the nationals of most of the other members of the United Nations are foreigners to us. In Australia, we govern and direct our own affairs as we please, yet in respect of a strategic country like New Guinea, the Minister for External Affairs, by his action at the United Nations, has cast upon us the intolerably onerous condition that we should extend equal rights to every member of the United Nations . That brief statement should answer completely the comment made by thehonorablemember forFremantle (Mr. Beazley) and others that the trusteeship does not really amount to anything less than full integral control. It clearly amounts to something much less than that. In fact, it amounts to such a derogation from our sovereignty and control that, in time of war, or nearwar, when an enemy is approaching our gates, when infiltrations are taking place, and when - if I might use the expression - the red tide is flowing south towards our borders, this country will be put in a position of peril.
With me, my country comesfirst. Its preservation is all that concerns me. My country, and its danger, are the only considerations that matter to me.I feel that every honorable member in this chamber feels the same. Apart from the overriding strategic and national obligation, can we justify our refusal to hand over this territory to the control of the United Nations on other grounds? I say that the answer to that question is “ Yes “. I doso, first, because in 1919 a compromisearrangement wasreached in regard to mandates. In those days, there were antagonistic “points of view among the delegates at the peace conference. The representatives of the British Empire wanted complete control of strategic and fundamental areas, but President Wilson, the starry-eyed idealist, wanted the mandate systemdespite the fact that his advisers counselled him against it. A compromise arrangement was reached, and “ C “ class mandates came into being. It was implicit and clearly known to the representatives at the peace conference that such a form of control would result in the ultimate absorption of New Guinea into Australian territory, and of German SouthWest Africa into the Union of South Africa.
The second reason that entitles me to say that we are justified in refusing to hand over the control of New Guinea to the United Nations is that after the League of Nations became as dead as the dodo Australia was no longer under any obligation to hand the Territory of New Guinea to any othercountry, or to administer it for the benefit of any one else, apart from the moral obligation to administer it for the benefit of the natives. If that were not so, why did we pour our blood and treasure into the defence of New Guinea ? The League of Nations no longer existed, and, subject to our moral obligation to look after the natives, we became entitled to administer the country as we thought fit. Notwithstanding that, in 1946 the Minister for External Affairs, witha flourish of trumpets, handed the territory over to the United Nations. South Africa, on the other hand, realizing that war ends all existing arrangements and necessitates a fresh start, said, in effect, “The possession of German South-West Africais vital to us, and must come under our control “.
The third reason that justifies us in. refusing to hand over to the United Nations the Territory of New Guinea is that our war experiences from 1939 to 1945 have proved conclusively that complete control of New Guinea as an integral part of the Commonwealth of Australia is essential. When our representatives went to Lake Success and used the phrase “ integral part of the Commonwealth of Australia “, our representative on the the Trusteeship Council - I suspect that he was a Russian - objected, and added a qualification. The Australian delegates should have replied, “We refuse to accept the qualification. New Guinea is an integral part of Australia. Those are the precise words that were used in1919. Ifyou do not like it, we shall annex New Guinea “, but instead of taking a firmstand, they rolled over on their backs like puppies, and, as the result, we havegot into this shocking mess. In my opinion, this clause constitutesa betrayal of this country.
– I do not propose to relate the history of mandates, but I shall emphasize two points. The firstis that, in entering into theTrusteeship Agreement, the Australian Government was morally boundto obtain the best agreement possible.It failed to do so. It is all very well for the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) to say thatthe present agreement confers completely sovereign right on this country in respect of the trusteeship. To support his contentions, he read Article 4 of the Fourth Schedule to the bill, which states -
The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace, order, good government and defence of the Territory and for this purpose will have the same powers of legislation, administration and jurisdiction in and over the Territory as if it were an integral part of Australia, and will be entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications as it deems desirable, such laws of the Commonwealth of Australia as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the Territory.
He also read Article 7 of the Fourth Schedule, which states -
The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory which it considers desirable to provide for the defence of the Terr’itory and for maintenance of international peace and security.
The honorable member considers that Australia will have completely sovereign rights in the territory. Does any country which has sovereign rights report to an outside authority and open its military installations to inspection by members of such a body 1 Of course it does not ! That would be a complete negation of sovereign rights.
The United States of America has obtained a strategic area trusteeship over former Japanese mandates in the Pacific, and that is the principal reason why I support the amendment which the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has submitted. If the committee accepts that amendment, we shall have an infinitely better agreement in the interests of the defence of Australia than we have in the present proposal. The United Nations approved, unanimously and almost without alteration of the United States draft agreement for strategic area trusteeships. One provision in that agreement states that the United States of America, as the administering authority, may from time to time specify certain areas as closed for security reasons. Those areas are vast. The United States of America fortified them during the Pacific war. If we are to make effective use of New Guinea in the defence of Australia, we need a strategic area trusteeship and not the present nebulous arrangement. The honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale) has referred to Article 76 of the Charter of the United Nations which provides that all members of the United Nations shall receive equal treatment in social, economic and commercial matters. The effect of that provision will be that Australia will have no commercial rights in New Guinea superior to those of the other members of the United Nations. The strategic area trusteeship, which the United States of America has obtained, provides that each member of the United Nations shall be accorded treatment no less favorable than that granted to any other member except the administering authority. The administering authority, in other words the .United States, is given certain preferential treatment compared with that accorded to other members of the United Nations, and, consequently, it holds a much stronger position in relation to its trusteeship territory than Australia will hold in relation to New Guinea. In those two matters, the Government has let this country down badly. We have not obtained a strategic area trusteeship, or incorporated in our agreement a provision granting to us preferential treatment in New Guinea compared with that accorded to other members of the United Nations. For those two reasons, 1 strongly support the amendment.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Mr. Anthony’s amendment) stand part of the clause.
The Committee divided. (The TEMPORARY Chairman - Mr. H. P. Lazzarini.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the clause be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. H. P. Lazzarini.)
Majority . . 13
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 7 (Report to the General Assembly of the United Nations).
– I should like the Minister acting for the Minister for External Territories (Mr. Chambers) to give the committee some information about this clause. It reads as follows: -
The Minister shall make to the General Assembly of the United Nations the annual report required by the Charter of the United Nations on the political, economic, social and education advancement of the inhabitants of the Territory of New Guinea.
Clause 8 reads as follows: -
It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Parliament that the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea shall continue to be Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth and the identity and status of the Territory of Papua as a Possession of the Crown and the identity and status of the Territory of New Guinea as a Trust Territory shall continue to be maintained.
Clause 9 reads -
The Territory of Papua and the Territory of Newv Gunea shall be governed in an administrative union to the extent and in the manner provided by or in pursuance of this Act.
If the report is to relate to the political economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of New Guinea it will concern the common policy of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea. Should the seat of government be in Papua, any investigation that was made by supervisors appointed by the Trusteeship Council would result in an invasion of the Australian Territory of Papua. Is it envisaged that inquiries will be made in Australian territory? If not, is it the intention that the supervision shall be exercised only in relation to the Territory of New Guinea ? If that is so, and if the seat of government is in Australian territory, how can a proper investigation be conducted without the supervisors entering Australian territory, when a common policy must be evolved for both territories? If what I surmise is correct and if the investigations that may be made by the Trusteeship Council supervisors will lead to inquiries being conducted in Australian territory, there will be a possibility of espionage occurring in that territory. The defences that we are permitted to establish in New Guinea under the Trusteeship Agreement may be subject to some form of examination by the supervisors of the council, which would, of course, render the whole defence system nugatory. But that could not obtain in relation to Australian territory, because we are entitled to close such territory and thus prevent any possibility of espionage occurring there. Under the terms of the Trusteeship Agreement, would it not be possible for Australian territory to be invaded on the pretext that inquiries were being made by members of the Trusteeship Council?
.- The report referred to in the clause will deal with New Guinea only and will not relate to Papua. I do not follow the honorable gentleman’s line of reasoning. Article88 of the Charter of the United Nations reads as follows : -
The Trusteeship Council shall formulate at questionnaire on the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of each trust territory, and the administering authority for each trust territory within the competence of the General Assembly shall make an annual report . . .
– In this instance there will be an administrative union. That will cause complications.
– It will not complicate the matter at all. The report will deal only with New Guinea.
-If the Trusteeship Council decided to send out a supervisor to inquire into a matter that was dealt with in the report, and if the seat of government was in Australian territory, how could inquiries into conditions in New Guinea be conducted without inquiries also being made into conditions in Papua? There will be a common policy for both territories.
– The inquiries would he made, if the council so permitted, within the Territory of New
Guinea. The wording of Article 88 is very clear. It is provided that the administering authority for each trust territory, and not the members of the council, shall make an annual report. There is no reference to members of the council making investigations or compiling the report. I do not think that there will be any difficulty about complying with the terms of the Article.
Clause agreed to.
Clause8 (Declaration respecting the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea).
.- This clause relates to the merging ofthe Territories of Papua and New Guinea into an administrative union. It was alleged in the first instance that the bill was designed only to deal with the merging of the two administrations. The two territories had different forms of government which were abolished during the war and now a temporary civil administration, based on Port Moresby, is operating. The Government has inserted in the hill a provision validating the giving away of the Territory of New Guinea to the Trusteeship Council. 1 extracted from the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) by means of a question that the Soviet view is that it would be impossible to envisage independence when all aspects of administration were fused and the plan would in practice inevitably prevent New Guinea from attaining separate self government or independence. That is behind the main part of the bill.
A former administrator of Papua, Sir. Hubert Murray, who was a man we all admired, a great anthropologist, a great civil servant and a great citizen of the world, opposed the merging. In 1939 he wrote a very interesting treatise upon the subject, which the members of the Government should read. In it he gave reasons why the territories should not be merged. I always considered that a closer relationship should have existed between the two territories, although they were so unlike. Papua did not have the same productivity as New Guinea. The Mandated Territoryof New Guinea produced approximately 70,000 tons of copra and £2,000,000 worth of gold annually. while Papua produced approximately £100,000 worth of gold and 9,000 tons of copra a year. Now it is proposed to merge the territories and, I presume, to base the administration on Port Moresby. Port .Moresby is in a dry area and many people believe that a better site could be found. Rabaul, which was the capital of the mandated territory, was almost destroyed in 1937 by a volcanic eruption. Lae is not suitable in many respects for a capital, nor is Wau. Many people consider that, for strategical and other reasons, Milne Bay would be a better place for the seat of administration. The determination of that issue would be a good reason why consideration of this bill should have been postponed.
– There is nothing in this clause which deals with the location of the seat of administration.
– The administrative union must have a capital. That is one matter which should have been considered. Another reason for opposition to the union is that it will give the Trusteeship Council greater power to pry and probe into our affairs, as I showed by means of a question which I addressed to the Prime Minister in the latter part of last year when I asked why the bill dealing with this matter that had been on the notice-paper had been removed from it. I am sorry to say that the Minister for the Army (Mr. Chambers), I am sure unwittingly, misled the House. He said -
A bill for the foregoing purposes was introduced into this House and read a first time on the 18th June, 1048 . . . the Parliament was prorogued–
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable gentleman is not entitled to make a second-reading speech at this stage. He may deal only with the question whether or not the two territories should be merged.
– That is what I am talking about.. I am sorry that I cannot make you understand, Mr. Temporary Chairman.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Chair does not consider that the honorable gentleman is dealing with that matter.
– What I was trying to say a moment ago when you interrupted me, Mr. Temporary Chairman-
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Chair did not interrupt. It called the honorable gentleman to order.
– The merging of theterritories will create difficulties, because they cannot be administered as one without giving rise to international complications. There will also be economic difficulties. The Minister in charge of the bill has stated that the planters are satisfied with the prices that they are receiving for their copra and that they told him recently how happy they were. I have received a letter from an influential planter which contains the following passage : -
As you know, the New Guinea planters have had a grievence for some time concerning the price of copra.
– That has nothing to do with the merging of the two territories.
– I submit that it has.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Chair thinks differently.
– If I cannot discuss the matter on this clause, I shall discuss it on another. I do not intend to let the bill slip through without making some protests regarding matters concerning the administration.. This merging of the administrations has not been properly considered by the Government and the proposal should be reported upon again by those who are competent to report upon it. Sir Hubert Murray was opposed to the proposal, and no honorable member would suggest that his opinion should not be considered.
I shall conclude my remarks on this clause by reading the following extracts from an article in the Pacific Islands Monthly : -
Can we hope to Bee the end of Wardism in New Guinea!
In other words, they are hoping that the Edwardian era has gone for all time. The extract continues -
Every one connected with Papua and New Guinea is heartily sick of the fumbling and inefficient administration established by the Chifley-Ward regime, and hopes sincerely that it will be replaced by something of a different character before the end of 1949. Tha hundreds of officials in the territories who have been carrying on the administration are not to blame for the conditions .there. They necessarily take their inspiration and direction from the top. It is not their fault if the top is addle-pated, and they are without the guidance of a clear-cut and soundly based policy.
I shall not weary the committee by reading the rest of the article, but I commend it to the Minister’s attention. It is pertinent. I consider that this proposal to merge the administrations is premature and should he delayed.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 9 to 24 agreed to.
Clause 25 (Establishment of councils).
.- This clause relates to the establishment of advisory councils for native matters. Such councils existed formerly in the territories, and I am sure that this amplification is merely padding out the hill, and is intended to indicate that the Government intends to continue the system and to try to improve it. I approve of that intention. Those councils are needed, but the Minister might inquire into some of the foolishness connected with the administration of native affairs. I refer to the proposed expenditure of £100,000 for a native village at Hanuabada as a “ show “ village. At least, that sum was allocated for that purpose. The natives protested against the proposal because the village was to consist of houses of a type that the natives do not want. Most of the natives have been taken into the public service and have given up fishing and gardening. Before the war, the number of casual and indentured labourers in employment in Papua, including government employees and police, was 12,500, and of that number 850 were employed by the Government. The balance of 11,650 were employed in various industries in the territory. To-day the number of casual and indentured labourers in Papua is only 9,300, of whom about 4,000 are employed by the Government, including police, leaving 5,300 employed by private enterprise. Many of these natives are pottering about Government House in Port Moresby doing odd jobs, and are now dependent on tinned food brought from Australia. They should be allowed to grow their own requirements and follow the pursuits of agriculture and fishing as before. That is something that the Minister might well examine. He might also consider whether the more distant tribes, who have not been catered for like the natives of the tourist village that I have mentioned, whose villages were bombed and destroyed during the war, should not receive more medical attention .
– They have improved medical attention now.
– I have a question on the notice-paper in which I ask whether the medical services are still inadequate. We should do more for the natives medically and educationally, and, instead of giving them as much money as we do, we should provide them with material things. When the natives get too much money they do not know what to do with it. Let us give them live-stock, garden seeds and the means of making their living by production.
– The Government has improved the medical services in New Guinea, and I think that all honorable members, even those on the Opposition side, would admit that there ha< been a great advance in those services.
– Only around Port Moresby.
– A statement wa.made in the House to-day that there were only eleven medical officers in Papua and New Guinea. There are, in fact. 21 medical officers, and I have reason to believe, as a result of representations thai I have made to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell), that in the very near future we shall be able to increase the number to 40. Every honorable member realizes how difficult it is to obtain the services of medical practitioners even in Australia. The Government is encouraging the natives to go back to their agricultural and fishing pursuits and. undoubtedly, that encouragement is bearing fruit. But like many other people, the natives, during the war, learnt a new way of life. Their diet changed considerably and they have, for a period, tried to maintain that change, but I saw when I went to New Guinea that an attempt is being made to get the natives back to the land and to the native diet to which they were previously accustomed. Every effort is being made to develop the territory and give to the natives such amenities as those mentioned by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White).
.- I should like to make some remarks on behalf of the employers in New Guinea who are endeavouring to carry on the economic life of the territory. At times they have been slandered in this Parliament and outside of it, and I desire to put on record the official point of view of those whose duty it is to report to the Parliament on such matters. I quote from page 21 of a report of the Territory of Papua for the period July, 1946, to June, 1947, which was compiled by officers of the Department of External Territories, as follows: -
Throughout the year commendable efforts were made by the majority of employers to provide reasonable conditions of employment, but difficulties associated with supplies and shipping prevented full observance of some of the requirements relating to employment. However, those difficulties are gradually being overcome.
I place on record that statement by the government officials whose duty it is to inspect the plantations and supervise the conditions of employment in Papua. They have stated that, in their opinion the employers in the Territory of Papua have made great efforts to overcome difficulties and to provide reasonable conditions of employment and amenities for those they employ. Those employers are labouring under grave disadvantages. They are a great distance away from Australia and are subject to all the present vagaries of shipping and other transport. In addition, at the present time, they have had imposed upon them, because of the policy followed particularly by the present Minister for External Territories rather than by his officials in New Guinea, conditions which make it virtually impossible for them in some cases to operate their plantations. Paragraph 21 of the report states -
The shortages in labour are due mainly to the increased demand for labour in other a venues of employment, particularly in connexion with the work of administration.
The planters complain that the Administration absorbs such a vast proportion of the available labour that there is insufficient labour left for the production of copra, rubber and the various other products of the territory.
– The Administration has nearly half of the whole labour force.
– There is in the report a series of paragraphs relating to the conditions of employment. A very sympathetic note is apparent in this report of the officers on the difficulties faced by Australians and other Britishers who are endeavouring to carry on in Papua. I hope that the Parliament will recognize all those difficulties, and will show a more sympathetic disposition towards those who are trying to hold this territory for us.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 26 and 27 agreed to.
Clause 28 (Official minutes of meetings).
– I have been reading, with gradually mounting disgust, Division 3 of this measure, which includes the clause now under discussion. The division provides for advisory councils for native matters and native village councils. This clause is an example of the nonsense that is being promulgated in this measure. It reads - (1.) Minutes of each meeting of an Advisory Council shall be kept and copies thereof shall be forwarded to the Administrator. (2.) Copies of the minutes shall be transmitted to the Minister by the Administrator as soon as practicable after each meeting.
I do not believe for one moment that this clause would have been included in a measure of this kind had it not been for the obligation placed on us by the Trusteeship Agreement. This is one of the results of interference from outside concerning our administration of native affairs. Let honorable members examine this division and they will realize how foolish it is. Clause 27 states - (1.) An advisory council shall consist of such number of native members and such number of other members as is provided by Ordinance. (2.) The number of native members shall be at least a majority of the total number of members . . .
Clause 26 (2) states that any matter - may be brought before an advisory council by any member of the Council, by any native, by any Native Village Council . . .
How many members will an advisory council consist of - five, or three? Whatever number it consists of, there will always be a majority of native members. Do native members understand the fine points of the English language as used in the minutes of council meetings? If an advisory council, in a remote area, for instance, consists of three members there must be two native members and probably one officer. That officer would have to prepare the minutes in English. The minutes could not be in pidgin-English or native dialect. Who is to check whether the minutes are correct or otherwise? Any matter brought forward to (be council by a native is to receive consideration, and any matter brought forward by a village council is to be referred to the Administrator. This represents a great waste of time on matters of simple native administration and gives a fair example of the nonsense contained in this bill, Australia has a long record of splendid native administration. We have gained for ourselves a wonderful reputation and have produced administrators like Sir Hubert Murray in our own Territory of Papua. Now our administration is to be held up to ridicule by the appointment of councils of this kind. This provision would never have found its way into the measure had it not been for the interference of some South American Latin -States which are poking their fingers into our administration of our territories when they are unable to keep their own house in order. Therefore, I view this provision with mounting disgust. The Minister should tell the committee just how these minutes are to be kept, what they will consist of, and in what language will they be recorded. He should also tell us whether the native members who will be in a majority on these councils will be sufficiently educated to understand the intricacies of the English language. I should like to know from him also, because he will be the final recipient of these elaborate minutes, whether, if they are recorded in pidgin-English or native dialect, he will be able to under- stand them. The whole proposal is bo much undiluted nonsense, but it is a fair sample of the difficulties which will arise when we enter into these negotiations.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Twentyfourth Report on the Commonwealth Public Service by the Board of Commissioners, dated 1st February, 1949.
Ordered to be printed.
Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Annual Report by the Trustees for year 1947-48.
The House adjourned at 11.17 P.m
The following answers to questions ‘ were circulated: -
n asked the Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
r asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Fuel, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Fuel has supplied the following answers : -
January-March, 1948 Quarter -
Queensland - three disputes: (a) involving Innisfail and Mourilyan Harbour only - loss seventeen working days: (b) involving Cairns only - loss one working day; (c) involving Queensland ports, loss average twenty working days, including few days from next quarter.
New South Wales - one dispute involving Port Kembla only - loss, one working day.
Victoria - one dispute involving Melbourne only - loss, one working day.
April-June Quarter -
Queensland - one dispute involving Gladstone only - loss, one working day.
New South Wales - two disputes: (a) involving Port Kembla only - loss, one working day; (b) involving Newcastle only - loss, one working day.
Victoria - none.
July-September, 1948 Quarter -
Queensland-one dispute involving Bowen only - loss, one working day.
New South Wales - one dispute involving Newcastle only - loss, six working days.
Victoria - none.
October-December, 1948 Quarter -
Queensland - none.
New South Wales - none.
Victoria - two disputes: (a) involving Melbourne only - loss, one working day; (b) involving Melbourne only - loss, one working day.
Total of the above disputes is twelve.
e asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice - 1. (a) Is Australia bound by decisions of. the International Emergency Food Council? (b) If so, who signed such authorization? 2. (a) Has this body any statutory authority? (b) If so, when and how did the Commonwealth Parliament approve participation?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1. (a) and (b) Under the constitution of the International Emergency Food Committee of the Pood and Agriculture Organization individual member governments undertake to implement only those decisionsor recommendations with which they signify their agreement. This committee succeeded the International Emergency Food Council to which the honorable member refers and regarding whichI gave a full statement to the House on the 8th May, 1947, in reply to a question by the honorable member for Corangamite. 2. (a) and (b). The International Emergency Food Council has no statutory authority.
t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply and Development has supplied the following answers: -
Present personnel - 109. Administrative expenses.- 1940-41, £1,552; 1941-42, £18,844: 1942-43, £39,891; 1943-44, £80,375; 1941-45. £80,944; 1945-46, £76,514; 1946-47, £68,307: 1947-48, £66,797; 1948-49, £65,000 (estimate). 5. (a) Ships constructed by board. - Thirteen “ A “ class, 9,300 tons dead weight (steam); two “B” class,6,000 tons dead weight (steam); eight “D” class, 3,000 dead weight ( steam ) ; two “ E “ class, 700 tons dead weight (diesel). Ships on order by board : Ten “ B “ class, 6,000 tons dead weight (four steam, six diesel) ; one “D” class, 3,000 tons dead weight ( passenger and cargo - diesel ); one “ D “ class, 3,000 tons dead weight (cargo - steam ) ; two “ D/A “ class, 3,000 tons dead weight (cargo-diesel) ; three “E” class, 700 tons dead weight (diesel) ; two other vessels, 3,000 tons dead weight (diesel - for subsequent sale to Union Steamship Company of New Zealand Limited). The above figures relate to merchant vessels. A large number of service craft, several floating docks and special service equipment were constructed to the board’s design and under its supervision during the war years.
g asked the Minister representing the Acting Attorney-General, upon notice -
Will he furnish a list of fees paid to outside counsel, together with names and daily rates, in connexion with the (a) Land Sales Control Inquiry, (b) the Lutana Inquiry, (c) Garden prosecutions, (d) New Guinea Timber Royal Commission, and (e) prices prosecutions from 1946 to 1949, where same in total exceed £500?
– Information so far as at present available is being obtained. The honorable member will appreciate that some of the proceedings to which he refers are not yet complete and the figures asked for by him are accordingly not yet available.
y asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
l. - On the 18th February the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Davidson) asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General the following question: -
My question refers to the system of classification of applications for telephone services under which priorities, based on the essentiality and the nature of the business of the applicants, are allotted. Under this system I understand that primary producers are allotted priority No. 3, and are thereby put in very much the same position as people of much less importance in the community such as, for instance, bookmakers. Will the PostmasterGeneral consider a re-classification of such applications in such a way as to provide that primary producers will be awarded priority No. 2 because of the essential character of their business? Such a priority should apply particularly to primary producers adjacent to the cities wo suffer as the result of the present system.
The Postmaster-General has supplied the following information in reply to the honorable member’s question: -
In common with the practice observed by other telephone administrations, a system has been adopted in Australia under which priority is allotted to applications for telephone services according to the extent to which the facilities are required in the interests of the general community. Provision is also made for a degree of preference to be given to cases where a service is needed for urgent medical reasons. The priority system, which is applied uniformly throughout the Commonwealth, is designed to meet the present abnormal position and will be discontinued when the department has overtaken the huge list of arrears of applications and is again able to complete requests within a reasonable period. Primary producers are included with other businesses in Group 3, the two higher groups covering public undertakings such as fire brigades, hospitals, doctors, police, ambulance services and services required by ex-servicemen for business purposes. Many primary producers fall, of course, within tie latter category. It is considered that the existing scheme is equitable and pays full regard to the essential activities of primary producers. The priority ratings are reviewed from time to time in the light of changing circumstances, and the honorable member may be assured that the claims of those engaged in rural industries will continue to be kept closely in mind. The department has taken vigorous and realistic steps to meet the unprecedented demands for telephone services. Enormous supplies of materials have been ordered from overseas and local sources, and these are arriving in substantial quantities. Many additional men have been recruited, and the progress in connecting services, which is already double that of the pre-war period, will show a progressive improvement.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 March 1949, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1949/19490302_reps_18_201/>.