20th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron)’ took the chair’ at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether the Australian Government or the Australian Forces of the British -Commonwealth Occupation Force are to be represented at the ceasefire conversations in Korea. T point out that the names of representatives of th*»
Australian and United Kingdom Governments have not appeared in official statements of those who have been present at these conferences.
– I am not aware that provision has been made for the directrepresentation of any particular government at the discussions which are being conducted on behalf of the United Nations. Steps are being taken to put the negotiators in full possession of the views of the Australian Government which, I believe, will be the views of this House.
– Will the Minister acting for the Minister for Air advise the House? of his views on a recent report to the effect that the security of the Royal Australian Air Force establishments in New South Wales, particularly at Eastern. Area Head-quarters, near Penrith, are unsatisfactory ?
– I have heard that some individuals gained entry to the grounds of Eastern Area Head-quarters of the Royal Australian Air Force and that photographs of the establishment were taken. It was claimed that this was evidence of the lack of the existence of adequate security precautions. The grounds of this head-quarters establishment are quite extensive and the requirements of security do not make it essential that individuals should be entirely excluded from them. There are secret papers in the operations’ room and signals establishment, but these are guarded twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by armed guards of the Royal Australian Air Force. I understand that the individuals in question gained entry to the grounds, which contain gardens, trees, a few dogs, lamp posts, and other fittings which are not of a secret nature. I do not believe that this report is evidence of the lack of the existence of security measures, or of any neglect on the part of the Royal Australian Air Force. I believe that if anybody attempted to gain access to the secret papers in. this head-quarters they would find themselves confronted by a very tough proposition. I do not think it practicable to direct the Royal Australian Air Force to put a ring of guards around the head-quarters which would stop any meddlesome individual from getting into the grounds. That would be a waste of trained personnel. From my knowledge of the circumstances, I am still unconvinced that there is any lack of security precautions at this or any other Royal Australian Air Force head-quarters.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for National Development approximately how many part-time students under the Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme are attending the University of Melbourne? Further, is the Minister aware that university fees have been increased, so that now part-time students under the Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme can do only a fraction of the required subjects that they were able to do during the term of office of the previous Administration? Will the Minister consider a revision of the grant in connexion with the Commonwealth reconstruction training scheme to give such part-time students the advantages that were originally intended?
– I have not the figures in relation to that matter in my head, but I shall obtain them and see that they are supplied to the honorable gentleman. I shall submit the honorable gentleman’s suggestion regarding an increased grant to the Minister for National Development, who is in another place, and I am sure that he will give consideration to it.
– I direct to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture a question that arises from the fact that wheat-growers have contributed to thi Wheat Stabilization Fund £12,493,731 covering the No. 12 pool, £15,143,212 covering the No. 13 pool, and £11,500,000 covering the No. 14 pool - an aggregate contribution which approximates £39,000,000. Since the price of exported wheat is11s. a bushel in excess of the guaranteed minimum price of wheat for home consumption, I ask the Minister to take the necessary action to refund the sum contributed covering the No. 12 pool, which is obviously superfluous, in conformity with the terms of the wheat stabilization scheme.
– As the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture is not in the House at the moment, I shall ask him to treat the honorable gentleman’s question as being on the notice-paper and to give the honorable gentleman an answer in duc course.
-Will the Treasurer investigate the incidence of income taxation on tin production in view of the fact that the tin producers pay income tax on their capital?
– That matter has already been referred to the expert committee on taxation, and investigations along the lines requested by the honorable member have been carried out. I hope that action will be taken in due course.
Speech by Senator W. Morrow.
– I direct a question to you, Mr. Speaker, in your capacity of chairman of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee. I ask you if you heard what purported to be a re-broadcast of a speech made in another placeby a member of the Australian Labour party, Senator W. Morrow, which was re-broadcast over Radio Moscow last Sunday week? I say in explanation that this speech which was re-broadcast, or which was purported to have been r e-broadcast, was pro-Russian, proCommunist, and anti-United Nations.
-That is only the honorable member’s opinion.
– First of all I ask whether in fact there was an actual rebroadcast of a speech delivered by Senator Morrow in another place and, if that were so, whether it was not a breach of our parliamentary privilege which forbids rebroadcasting for political purposes of speeches made in the Parliament. If it were not so, I ask you whether you will bring this matter to the notice of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee so that some action may be taken in connexion with it ? I ask you also, if it were a true re-broadcast, how it is supposed that Radio Moscow obtained a report of the speech, in view of the fact that the only short-wave re-broadcast of proceedings of either House is made over a frequency so low as to render it quite impossible of being picked up direct by Radio Moscow? Are we to believe that Radio Moscow monitors all the broadcasts of our parliamentary proceedings on the off-chance of hearing somethinguseful, or is it not, in fact, more likely that the honorable senator advised the Soviet authorities that he was to makea speech, or, alternatively, that he furnished them with a copy of the remarks that he proposed to make? In any event, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, in your capacity
– I rise to a point of order. Is an honorable member entitled to ask in this House questions which relate to a member in another place?
– The honorable member is asking a question about what he believes to be a re-broadcast of a speech of an honorable senator. That is a matter within the province of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee, of which I am chairman.
– In any event will you, Mr. Speaker, in your office as chairman of that committee, investigate all the circumstances which surround this rebroadcast and the manner in which the speech came into the hands of those who re-broadcast it from Moscow? Would you then inform the House of the result of your investigations?
– I undertake to have the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee called together to investigate the matters raised by the honorable member for Henty, and I shall inform him as early as possible of the committee’s findings.
– I desire to ask the Leader of the Opposition a question following the one that I asked you, Mr. Speaker. It concerns a rebroadcast of Senator Morrow’s speech over Radio
Moscow. I ask the Leader of the Opposition whether Senator Morrow is a full member of the Australian Labour party? Was the speech, as rebroadcast over Radio Moscow, a correct report of the speech that was made by the senator? If it was a correct report, does the right honorable member and his party share the sentiments that were expressed by Senator Morrow which reflected on the United Nations and Australian forces in the field? If the right honorable member and his party do not share those sentiments, will they make a public repudiation of them?
– I rise to order, Mr. Speaker. Under what standing order can an honorable member ask a question of an honorable member who is not a Minister, the Chairman of Committees, or the Speaker?
– Order ! Standing Order 143 states -
Questions may be put to a member, not being a Minister, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the House, of which the member has charge.
So far as my knowledge goes, the Leader of the Opposition is in complete charge or the Labour party as its leader in this House and therefore I think that the question is in order. I may add that it is n matter for the right honorable gentleman to decide whether he will answer the question or not.
– As you have ruled that the question is in order, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to answer it. Senator Morrow is a member of the Labour party. I know nothing of the speech to which the honorable member for Henty has referred. I should like to ask the honorable member from what source he obtained the information on which his question was based. The attitude of the Labour party is one of undeviating support for the United Nations as has been stated and exemplified on many occasions. The Labour party believes in freedom of expression for all its members, although other political parties may not do so.
– I have received complaints from citizens of Hobart and Launceston that many famous overseas visitors who have been invited by the Australian Government as jubilee guests of the Commonwealth have been monopolized by certain societies or organizations which have sponsored their invitations. While admitting that such organizations have a responsibility to these guests of the Commonwealth, and in most cases meet their travelling expenses, I ask whether the Prime Minister would use his influence to ensure that such guests, as, for example, Sir Hartley Shawcross and Lord Jowett, will have an opportunity to address at least one public meeting in each State that they visit? That is so that humble John Citizen may share in the seeing and hearing of all distinguished visitors to Australia.
– I do not know what time will be available either to the Lord Chancellor or to Sir Hartley Shawcross. As the honorable member will realize, some visitors come here only for a few days and it is not possible for them to appear in all capital cities. Nor is it always the desire of a visitor to occupy his time in making speeches. I say that with some feeling, having suffered myself in my time from too much speech-making. If the honorable member has in mind Tasmania in particular, I assure him that that State is very seldom out of my thoughts.
– My question is directed to you, Mr. Speaker.From your own wide experience of Parliament Houses all over the world, you will no doubt have a knowledge of the security measures that are taken to prevent unauthorized people from entering them. In view of the highly confidential and secret documents, and other matters, handled by the Australian Government at Parliament House, will you consider putting into practice proper security measures to prevent unauthorized people from having free access to practically any part of Parliament House at any time of the day or night? Is it a fact that there are five public entrances to Parliament House through which any one may enter without any inquiry being made about his business? Will you consider applying proper measures during the day, and also tighten up security measures at night in relation to Parliament House?
– I assure the honorable member that this matter was considered by the Joint House Committee Inst year. Certain recommendations were made and agreed to. It is at present difficult to have those recommendations carried out because of the shortage of man-power. It is a fact that within my limited experience this is the only Parliament House of which I have any knowledge which is so easy to enter. I am speaking of visitors and not of members.
– Is the Minister for Defence Production able to say whether any progress has been made in the manufacture of Sabre jet fighter aircraft in Australia? Does the Government attach any credence to reports from Korea that the ‘Sabre has been proved to be inferior to the Russian M.I.G. jet fighter in manoeuvrability, gunpower and general efficiency ? If so, is it proposed to proceed with the manufacture in this country of the Sabre aircraft, which may well be obsolete by the time we are in a position to mass produce it?
– I ask the honorable member to place his question upon the notice-paper. If he does so, I shall supply him with a full report upon this matter. Apparently some confusion exists with regard to the type of Sabre aircraft that we have decided to manufacture.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Social Services, relates to the fund into which participants in the war service homes scheme pay an insurance premium. The War Service Homes Division discovered that, having met all commitments and having retained a sum of money that it considered to be adequate as a reserve, there was a considerable residue. That has now been transferred to a special trust account. In order to avoid increasing further the amount standing to the credit of the fund, the department has implemented a scheme under which rebates will be made to purchasers of war service homes. Will the Minister say why the money that is surplus to the requirements of the fund has not been utilized, as was recommended by returned servicemen’s organizations, to enable a war service home to be transferred, in the event of the death of an exserviceman, to the ex-serviceman’s widow, free of further obligation. I believe that such a scheme would be actuarially sound.
– Some of the statements that have been made by the honorable member are not entirely accurate. He has said that a scheme of the kind tha t he has mentioned would be actuarially sound. That would have been so a few years ago, when, according to the Commonwealth Actuary, there was £300,000 ir. the fund and only 26,000 war service homes were covered by it. To-day, there is £490,000 in the fund, but the number of war service homes has increased to 50,000. The honorable gentleman said that the rate of contribution was 1 per cent., but I believe that he was thinking of the basic rate for a brick house, which is ls. per cent. That is quite different from 1 per cent. The scheme that he has suggested would be, in effect, a scheme for insuring the lives of ex-servicemen who are buying war service homes. I do not think that that would be an equitable arrangement. Neither the widow of a man who was killed on active service, nor the widow of a man who died before he obtained a war service home would be covered by it. In any event, the whole of the fund would be absorbed if 500 deaths occurred. I do not believe that the amount now standing to the credit of the trust fund is excessive, but I shall be pleased to examine the matter and supply the honorable gentleman with a more detailed reply to his question.
– Will the Treasurer instruct the Commonwealth Bank to reduce interest rates on advances to the purchasers of war service homes, the buyers’ of homes which are erected under co-operative building schemes, and any working man who is trying to purchase a home in any other way, so that the maximum rate shall be not more than 2 per cent. If the Government proposes to increase interest rates generally, will the Treasurer give an undertaking that preferential treatment will be accorded to those persons who are eager to purchase their own homes?
– The points laised by the honorable member for Hoddle obviously involve matters of policy, which are at present under consideration, and will be disclosed in due course when the budget is introduced.
-Will the Minister for Social Services endeavour to have the telephone service of the War Service Homes Division in Melbourne improved ? I understand that it takes 48 hours to contact this division by telephone. I also ask the Minister whether there are any war service homes for sale in the metropolitan area of Melbourne. Does the Government contemplate increasing the amount of loan money available for the construction or purchase of war service homes in view of the fact that the amount of money that the division now makes available to applicants is considerably less than that which can be obtained from co-operative building societies? How many homes were built by the War Service Homes Division between 1946 and 1951?
– I shall take up with the Postmaster-General the subject of the telephone service at the War Service Homes Division in Melbourne. The War Service Homes Division has had greater success in the group construction of homes in Victoria than it has had in any other State, but I am not able to say whether any homes are available now. The War Service Homes Division not only contracts for the construction of homes. It discharges also mortgages or buys homes that have just been built, or purchases properties that have been built for some time, but now I do not know what homes it has available. I shall obtain that information and shall let him know. The answer to the third part of the honorable member’s question is “ Yes, it will be considered “. I shall inform him of the number of houses that were built by the War Service Homes Division between 1946 and 1951 by letter.
– By way of explanation of a question whichI addressed to the Treasurer, I point out that the State
Government of New South Wales makes an allowance to all shires and municipalities of 50 per cent. of the rates owing by pensioners provided that the shire or municipality is prepared to waive the remaining 50 per cent. As, owing to unsatisfactory financial circumstances, only seven shires in New South Wales have participated in this scheme will the Treasurer consider providing for the payment of 50 per cent. of these rates by the Australian Government so as to free pensioners of the necessity for paying rates ?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is “ No “.
-Can the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture say whether it is a fact that the South Australian Stock and Station Journal, which is the official journal of the South Australian Woolbrokers Association-
-Order ! The honorablegentleman appears to be basing his question upon a newspaper report.
– I am not doing so, Mr. Speaker.I ask the Ministerto say whether the journal to which I have referredhas consistently refused to accept advertisements by or to publish any letters supporting the post-joint organization wool plan?
– I was told last week that that was so, but I do not know whether my information is correct.
– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether he will make a statement to the House about the conference that took place yesterday between himself as the representative of the Commonwealth, and the State Ministers in charge of prices control in regard to an adjustment of the price of butter ?
– I had hoped to be able to ask for leave of the House to make such a statement at the end of question time, but, owing to typing delays, I shall not be in a position to make the statement then. ‘ I shall make it as soon as possible.
The statement will refer to certain discussions that I initiated with the six State governments and, perhaps, the degree to which I can deal with certain matters will be limited.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National .Service cooperate with the Minister for National Development with a view to arranging for a conference to be held during this week between representatives of the trade unions and other persons interested in the Government’s decision to close down the Glen Davis project and representatives of the Australian and the New South Wales Governments? If he is favorably disposed towards this suggestion, will he advise the trade unions concerned immediately?
– The Prime Minister made a statement upon this matter about a week ago in which he intimated that certain aspects arising out of the Government’s decision relating to the Glen Davis project were, at the moment, under examination by a committee of departmental experts and that Cabinet was a waiting the report and recommendations of that committee upon certain phases of the subject. It was intimated at that time that when the Government was in a position to announce complete details of its proposal it would be prepared to do so at a conference which the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions wishes to arrange to consider the matter. I do not know that anything has since occurred that would enable us to meet a deputation from the council before the House rises at the end of the week. However, I shall give consideration to the suggestion that the honorable member lias made.
– Is the Minister for External Affairs aware that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Holland, is reported to have said that the proposed Japanese peace treaty and the mutual a id agreement between the United States, Australia and New Zealand may be finalized within a matter of days? Has the Minister any information to give to the House on the subject?
– I have been informed that Mr. Holland has made a statement along the general lines that the honorable member has indicated. The facts, as I understand them, are that the draft of the proposed treaty in its present form is now being circulated to interested governments and I believe that the draft will be made public possibly within a matter of days. I should hope and believe also that the terms of the proposed Pacific pact would be finalized also in the quite immediate future, again -not impossibly within a matter of days.
– I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to a matter that I have raised on two occasions recently on the motion for the adjournment of the House and which other members of the Opposition also have raised. I refer to the proposed amendment of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act with a view to bringing the weekly rates of payments to recipients more into line with the present high cost of living.’ I ask the right honorable gentleman whether consideration has been given to this matter and whether there is any possibility that the necessary amending measure will be introduced before the Parliament adjourns for the recess.
– The matter that the honorable member has raised has not yet been before Cabinet. Having regard to the business before the House, I should not anticipate that it could be dealt with this week.
– In the absence of the Postmaster-General I ask the Prime Minister whether he can indicate when the committee that recently went overseas to investigate television can be expected to present its report? Can he say when the Government will reach a decision with respect to the establishment of television and related subjects?
– I am not able to answer that question, but I shall ascertain the position from the PostmasterGeneral and inform the honorable member of the result.
– In the absence of the Minister for Air, I ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider the advisability of granting free air travel in Australia to winners of the Victoria Cross in World War I. and World War II.? I understand from correspondence which I have received from the winner of that decoration in World War I. that several requests have been made relative to this matter.
– I shall have that matter investigated.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Supply. As a result of discussions on the possibility of an acute shortage of tinplate, representations have been made to me on behalf of the freezing and the meat canning industries. It has been pointed out that a shortage of tinplate could result in the closing down of such industries during the canning season, with a consequent breaking up of the teams that arcso necessary for the export and freezing season. Such a development would adversely effect the availability of essential supplies to the United Kingdom. Can the Minister indicate whether there are prospects of the maintenance of an adequate supply of tinplate for such vital industries?
– The matter of tinplate is causing the Government a good deal of concern, due partly to the rising demand for it and partly to the recent actions of the American authorities in curtailing our quota for the remainder of this year. At the end of this week, members of the executive of the Tinplate Advisory Committee, who include a representative of the meat-packing industry, will meet in Canberra, and I propose to discuss the position with them in an endeavour to work out ways and means of rationalizing the available supplies during this period of shortage. The honorable member for Corio may be sure that we shall do all that we can in that matter.
Mr. Wentworth having asked a question,
- (Hon. Archie Cameron) . Order ! The honorable member for Mackellar has named a particular person. Notice must be given of a question regarding the conduct of any individual outside this House.
– I rise to order.I have been particularly careful to observe Standing Order 151, and I have not said anything about Mr. Lewis personally.
– Order! I understood that the honorable member said that Mr. Lewis proposed to come here to interview the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
– That does not infringe Standing Order 151.
– Order ! I rule that it does. The question must be put on the notice-paper.
– In view of the alarming increase of the cost of living since the present Government took office, will the Minister for Social Services give urgent consideration to the advisability of immediately increasing age, invalid and widows pensions, and all exservicemen’s pensions by a ?1 a week? Is the honorable gentleman aware that owing to the inflated prices of most commodities pensioners are slowly starving to death ?
– The Government is acutely aware of the situation of pensioners and it is examining all aspects of the matter. However, I point out to the honorable member that money must be obtained before it can be paid out and that the amount that would be needed in order to carry out his suggestion would be about ?50,000,000. Obviously the proposal could not be considered apart from other commitments. Consideration will be given to it when the budget is being prepared.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that security police attended a meeting of age pensioners in Sydney recently. Is it a fact that seven such officers, headed by a Mr. Barnwell, were in attendance? Is it further a fact that the meeting was called for the purpose of establishing a fund with which to provide amenities for agc pensioners? If these are facts v.- ill the Minister take steps to prevent this fascist-like intrusion into the lives of old people who are merely trying to eke out an existence?
– So little do I believe that the honorable member’s statements are facts that I shall be very grateful if lie will give me any information that he has on the matter so that I may inquire concerning them. I can conceive of no reason why security officers of the Commonwealth should attend such a meeting. There is often a good deal of confusion 011 whether certain people are security officers or not,
– Is the Minister for Health aware that many pensioners throughout Australia have been receiving medical treatment from doctors who, in some instances, have not taken part in the pensioners’ medical scheme but who are continuing to treat such patients? As some doubt exists whether such doctors may prescribe for pensioners under the pensioners’ pharmaceutical benefits scheme, will the Minister confirm the fact that prescriptions may be issued in such cases? Will he also state what type of form should be used and whether any special information must be included on the form?
– The position is that a prescription issued by. any doctor will be dispensed free of charge provided that it is written on the appropriate form, which is exactly similar to the form that is used for free life-saving drugs, and provided that the words “pensioners’ medical service “ appear on the top of the prescription.
– Can the Minister acting for the Minister for the Navy advise the House when the aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. Melbourne will be commissioned? Will the Royal Australian Navy have a sufficient number of trained officers and men to man H.M.A.S. Melbourne without having to place in reserve other ships that are now in commission?
– It is not known when H.M.A.S. Melbourne will be in commission. It is undergoing a special technical overhaul and readjustment in dockyards in the United Kingdom in the light of experience that has been gained in the Korean war. I am confident that, if the present rate of recruiting for the Royal Australian Navy is maintained, we shall have no difficulty in manning the vessel when it is ready to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in Australia.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. By way of explanation, I point out that the New England Tin Producers Association, which represents the tin producers of northern New South Wales, has been making representations for some time concerning the unfair incidence of the local price against rising costs compared with the overseas sterling price. It liasinformed me that, unless there is an adjustment of the price, producers will be obliged to discontinue, or curtail, their operations. Have the representations that have been made on behalf of the New England Tin .Producers Association yet been considered? If they have not been considered favorably, will the matter receive early and sympathetic attention ?
– I am not aware of the course that has been taken during the last few months by the negotiations in respect of the price of tin. However, T know that even the local price of tin is very high. I should find it difficult tn believe that a tin gouger who had been able to carry on in the past would find it difficult to carry on under the present local price. However, I shall consult ibc Minister for National Development and obtain an adequate reply for the honorable member.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service state whether it is a fact that the Tasmanian Government has requested the Australian Government to arrange to provide a naval crew to man a Commonwealth-owned freighter, which, I understand, has been detained in Adelaide for a fortnight? If this is so, will the Minister advise the House of what action he proposes to take ?
– No such request as that mentioned by the honorable member nas come to my notice but I shall ascertain whether representations of that character have reached any other member of the Government. Perhaps, later on, I shall be in a position to convey more information on this subject to the honorable member.
– During the last Parliament I addressed a question to the Treasurer regarding pensions that were payable to officers who had been transferred to the Commonwealth Public Service under legislation which was passed at the time of the federation of the Commonwealth. The right honorable gentleman will be aware that, at that time, pension rates were assessed in order to provide a certain pension upon retirement. The Treasurer undertook, on two or three occasions, to review this matter. I ask him whether he has yet made a decision on it and whether he will introduce a bill before this sessional period ends in order to do justice to these persons.
– It has already been explained that the Government’s legislative programme will occupy the whole of the time of the House for the remainder of this sessional period. I shall examine the other aspects of the honorable member’s question in order to ascertain how the matter stands.
– I desire to draw the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General to the fact that many applicants for telephone services have been waiting for telephones for five years and longer although as many telephones are being connected each year as there are applicants for services.Will the Minister give urgent consideration to the question of altering the priority system of installing telephone services for private users to provide that No. 1 priority shall be given to all those applicants who have had their applications in for two yearsor longer?
– The PostmasterGeneral is not present to-day. I shall ask him to treat the honorable member’s question as being on the notice-paper.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Public Service Bill1951.
Post and Telegraph Rates Bill 1951.
Sugar Agreement Bill 1951.
Motion (by Mr. Eric j. Harbison) proposed -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.
. -The proposal is that the House shall sit from 10.30 a.m. to-morrow, and I take it - the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric j. Harrison) will correct me if I am wrong - that it will meet at the same time on the next day, the objectbeing to finish this week the business mentioned by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) last week. I do not wish to take up the time of the House to any great degree now, but I wish to put it to the House that it will have to deal before the end of this week, with two very important measures. One of those measures, the Constitution Alteration (Powers to Deal with Communists and Communism) Bill 1951, is designed to alter the Constitution, whilst the second, the Defence Preparations Bill 1951, which is of almost equal importance, proposes that great powers shall be committed to the Executive by the Parliament. The questions involved in these measures are of great importance and urgency, and in my view the time that is to be allotted for discussion of them will be inadequate. I do not propose to divide the House on this issue, because such a procedure would reduce the already limited time that we have available for the discussion of the measures. However, I wish to say quite definitely on behalf of the Opposition that the proposal to deal with two such vital measures in the time and under the conditions to be provided, is quite unsatisfactory in a deliberative assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I rise to make a personal explanation. During the course of the debate on the Sugar Agreement Bill on Friday, I attributed an interjection to the honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Brown). I replied to the interjection, but I have discovered that that honorable member did not make it. I now desire your permission, Mr. Speaker, to transpose the terse remarks that I made in reply to the interjection to the honorable gentleman who really made the interjection. I also apologize to the honorable member for McMillan.
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Ministers of State Act 1935- 1947.
Debate resumed from the 21st June (aide page 282), on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the following paper be printed: -
.- Sandwiched in between a survey of the war in Korea and the functioning of the more or less moribund Colombo plan, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has presented us with a statement on the. proposed peace settlement with Japan. It is with this proposed peace treaty that I shall deal. The treaty proposes the complete rearmament of Japan. If this disturbing thought were not enough, there is worse to come as the Minister’s statement shows. This treaty, when concluded, will make us an ally of Japan. If honorable members consider both sides of the Pacific pact they will conclude that this is the inevitable outcome of that agreement. Japan, in short, will get a peace that will give it everything. Australia will get a peace that will give it nothing. The line of Pacific defence envisioned in the Pacific pact is from the Aleutian Islands down to Japan, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. So we all are to be part of one set-up aud Japan is to be our ally again.
The metamorphosis of the Japanese has not escaped attention. Here is a paraphrase of what an English newspaper has said of it and of the various changes of face of the Japanese to suit their policy -
In the days of Gilbert and Sullivan they were the “funny little fellows”; in the RussoJapanese war they were the” courteous little fellows”; in the 1914-18 war they were the “plucky little fellows”; during the invasion of China they were the “ cheeky little fellows “; in the 1939-45 war they were the “fiendish little fellows”; and in 1951 they are to be the “ plucky little fellows “ again.
This peace with the “plucky little fellows “ is not acceptable to the Australian people, and the rearmament of Japan is opposed by the Australian Labour party. I shall not burke the issue that America is faced with a tremendous problem because of Communist aggression in China. But the decision to place an armed and alerted Japan across the path of the Russian colossus is, in my humble view, not the solution of the problems of defence in the Pacific or the formula for peace in our time. Anyway nobody on the Government side appears to believe in peace in our time. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has already, absurdly I think, put a time limit of three years on peace. I, and the Labour party, prefer to consider this draft peace plan in the light of what real protection it will give us in the case of war, and what consideration is given in the draft to the feelings of the Australian people. We made a real contribution to victory in the Pacific. We did our job in the Pacific war. We leaned on nobody. We raised 1,000,000 men and paid our own way. We discharged our lend-lease debts and asked for no Marshall aid. We took our place in Korea and our forces are still there. We have been, and are, not a bad ally, all things considered.
The Minister has made too much of the fact that the United States, having paid for the occupation of Japan, should be entitled to call the tune in the drafting of the peace treaty. Australia has already expended £25,000,000 on the occupation of Japan. Before the treaty becomes operative in September, the sum will be £30,000,000 - a considerable amount for a nation of 8,000,000 people. It makes a big hole in our finances. It amounts to almost as much as the amount of the dollar loan we got from the United States. We have had, at times, upwards of 10,000 troops in Japan. Our famous air arm, the 77th Squadron - the Mustangs of Iwakuni - were the - first effective air cover in Korea. General MacArthur himself told our CommanderinChief, General Robertson, that it was the best striking force in Japan. The British Commonwealth Occupation Force will be the only entirely British force to see the occupation out to the bitter end, and it is officered and manned entirely by Australians. Do not those considerations establish the right for us to have our say?
Our Ministers and plenipotentiaries have been far too humble in the face of the American drive for a settlement in Japan. There is nothing that the Americans detest more than a stooge, and our recent ambassadorial work under Mr. Spender come3 under that category. His crass statements have alarmed and humiliated Australians. “ Sweep- to Manchuria and use the A-bomb “ was one of the gems from his peace anthology. The present Minister is more experienced than Mr. Spender was in the same office, but I consider that his projected trip to the East, to quote his own words, “ in order to fill up the gap.* in my knowledge of the East”, should have been undertaken long since. Th, Government is falling over itself to sign this treaty, of which the public does not approve, because it does not understand it.
It is impossible for America or Europe to view the resurgence of Japan with, the same degree of horror as we view it in Australia. We are all forced to the conclusion that, despite all that we have done by feats of arms and loyalty to the United Nations, Australia’s special problems in the Pacific are ignored in this treaty. We are just another spot on the map at the mercy of international planners. The plan is almost a fait accompli, arid the Australian public is completely in the dark about it. But this debate, apparently, is the only opportunity to be given to this Parliament to discuss the broad terms of this treaty before it is signed in September at San Francisco. More alarming still is the fact that not many members of this House know very much about the treaty. The reasons why they know so little about it are, first, the secrecy of the Government on the matter, because this treaty involves the highly contentious and unpopular issue of a rearmed J apan ; and, secondly, there is no foreign affairs committee in this House whereby honorable members can be informed of the complex and complicated situation.
During the time the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) was Minister for External Affairs, there was in existence a very broad and successful committee informing itself of the position in Japan. A representative cross section of the people of Australia sat on that committee. When Mr. Spender took over the portfolio the Labour party asked for the appointment of a foreign affairs committee to deal particularly with the matter of Japan. Negotiations got to the point of naming the members on both sides of the House. At this stage the Minister dropped the idea. He said that if the committee were formed the Opposition would know as much about foreign affairs as did the Government. This might become the most important issue ever debated in this House but Labour has been locked out. This treaty, when concluded, may resolve many tremendous issues. It may well indicate the trend of the third world war and Australia’s chance of survival as a white democracy in the Pacific. Yet, the Minister said that speed is of the essence of the contract. After five years of waiting and wrangling we are now expected to accept this document and what it implies in the manner that the House might vote on a new footbridge over the Molonglo !
Despite the fact that we have been visited by Mr. John Foster Dulles, special envoy of President Truman, to “sell the plan “ to Australia and New Zealand, I cannot escape the feeling that Australia is being treated like- a Balkan satellite in this matter and not as a full participating partner in the war with Japan. We must take it or leave it, and if we take it there is the reassurance of a Pacific pact as compensation for acquiescence. I hope to deal with this matter later on and to show how many holes there are in this defence pact. It gives us nothing that we have not already got. We shall still he dependent on our own strong right arm. The first difficulty met with in this document is the difficulty of unanimity concerning the rearmament of Japan. Concurrently with the tardy executions of war criminals at Los Negros, we are asked to approve of the rearming of the Japanese, the resurgence of militarism in Japan and the return of the war lords to Tokyo. We have been told that Japan defeated and unarmed is a “power vacuum “ which, if not filled by us with the dragon’s teeth of arms, will be so filled by the Russians. Armed Japan we are told, will be a bulwark against Russia. It will be the willing partner of the Allies in any action against attack from Russia in the next 50 years. It will be the mercenary of the Allies in any war in which they are engaged - particularly in a war against communism. If this reasoning proves anything, it proves the utter imbecility of war. We, the free democracies, went to war against the nations of the anti-comintern - Germany, Italy and Japan, the declared opponents of communism. Now, one by one, we are arming these very nations against the communism which they set out to destroy. This is a pretty grim jest against the living and the dead.
If the rearming of Japan were an absolute defence measure and if, beyond doubt, it would be the answer to any proposed aggression from Russia, it could be accepted. Even the oddity, if not the positive danger, of arming an enemy but recently defeated, could be condoned if there were positive indications of that nation’s future loyalty. But at best this is a guess. What will happen if that is a horrible and grotesquely bad gues3? This rearmament could be a very bad guess indeed. And if’ it so turns out it is goodbye to white Australia as we know it. We might at this very hour be cancelling ourselves out as a free nation by our own hand and signature. In an article in the Sunday Sun of the 8th July, the opinion is expressed that we are making a bad guess. That article stated -
Before the ink is wet on the most generous peace treaty ever given defeated warmakers, the Japanese are openly throwing off both the trappings and realities of democracy.
They are quickly modifying or denouncing reforms introduced by General MacArthurto make Japan a democratic, peace-loving nation.
This is being done under the indulgent, averted or frustrated eyes of United States occupation officers.
One of the first things to go is MacArthur’s master-plan to separate the Japanese policy force into national and local bodies. This was designed “ Irrevocably “ to prevent an Interior Minister having power to transform Japan into a police State again.
Politicians in the Diet have signed the deathwarrant of the plan.
The Re-Screening Committee which recently got the Allied purge lifted from 60,000 wartime leaders, including arms-making war plotters, is making another demand.
This is for clearance from the purge of all members of the notorious Dangerous Thoughts Police up to the rank of section chief.
Occupation labor laws to prevent sweating of Jap workers and use of child labour are being assailed.
Tokio Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for: -
Reintroduction of longer working hours, beginning with a 10-hour day instead of eight hours;
Easing of ‘extravagant’ working conditions for female and young workers, includingabolition of the rest system and shortening of annual leave.
Under control ordinance by Occupation authorities reactionary and extreme nationalist organizations have to be listed. The Jap Attorney-General’s office admits that 600 such organizations are now listed. All bear a dangerous resemblance to pre-war terrorist and militarist groups.
Let us consider some of the obvious questions which arise in view of this statement. Will a resurgent Japan, in the long run, be an ally or an enemy of Australia? Suppose a re-armed Japan is successful in resisting any Asian adventure of arms. Suppose that it stems the tide of communism, in concert with the free nations. What then? Will the Japanese legions return to the rice paddies, the fishing hamlets, the benches and the lathes, or will some new leader dream again the dream of the Samurai and the conquest of Asia ? And who will win the second battle of the Coral Sea? Those are matters to be pondered before the House passes judgment on the ministerial statement of policy now before us.
We have to ask ourselves also whether military strength is the complete answer to communism. Has not the history of recent events in China shown us to the contrary? It surely was something more than force of arms that won success for a hundred thousand half-starved Communists in the caves of Yenan in North China against the organized millions and armed superiority of Chiang Kai-shek. It surely must have been more than the sword which made the Generalissimo virtually a prisoner in Formosa while one of his former generals, Mao Tse-tung, the peasant boy, sits triumphant on the peacock throne in Peiping. Is it not a fact that our backing of the wrong horse in Asia so often has driven us back on this miserable deal with the Japanese? If military defeat is not enough to ensure the permanent defeat of communism, then this peace treaty is not worth the paper that it is written on. I should like to see something more psychological in the peace treaty than the clashing of arms on arms. Democracy must possess more than the atom bomb in the war of ideas in Asia. It is always dangerous to tear up one treaty to make another.
The Japanese will have to renounce their own democratic Constitution to permit of the rearmament of Japan. Article 7 of that Constitution states that they shall not rearm’ in any way in the air, on the land, or on the sea, and that they shall renounce war for all time - not only during the operation of the surrender terms. In order to rearm, Japan will need to have a referendum, or, perhaps, it will be arranged in some other way, but it will not be the legal democratic way.
What will the Japanese think of the whole sorry business? Will they not be bewildered by the curious actions of democracy? What will the East think of it? It is important to maintain our prestige in the East. Under the Potsdam Agreement, we gave the Japanese conditional terms of surrender. We said that they must disarm entirely and foreswear the bearing of arms for all time ; disavow Shintoism as a State religion; cut up the land and give fair shares to the tenant farmers; break up the Zaibatsu, the interlocking monopolies of goods, shipping, banking, industry and communica tions that built the war effort in Japan; and disavow militarism, the feudal system, and the way of the warrior. We said that the war lords must be hanged, militarists purged, the Kempai-tai broken up, Emperor worship abolished, and the way of peace marked out for the penitent Japanese nation for ever. With the aid of 400,000,000 dollars a year, the Americans built up the Japanese economy. Democracy was outlined in broad principle, and it was up to Japan to see that it was established.
There is evidence that many Japanese genuinely accepted the new order. They were not the militarists, whom the treaty will shrive of their sins and bring about their return. At least 8,000,000 Japanese workers in the unions and organizations of the socialist party under Mosabura Suzuki have ‘expressed their hatred of rearmament. One-tenth of the Japanese people whose politics are roughly equivalent to those of members of the Australian Labour party, and who are definitely not communists, say that starvation and despair will result if Japan be heavily rearmed. Poverty and despair are fertile seed beds for the Communists, whom the peace treaty sets out to destroy. What will be the reaction of these people when the hated militarists return? Generals, admirals, colonels, captains anc? personnel heads are not made in a day. Concurrent with the lopping off of war criminals, 10,000 Japanese have been released from the purge and 109,000 others are to be released this year. What is going to happen to all these democrats ? In the rearming of Japan, the skulking militarists will return one by one. [Extension of time granted.”]
Japan is to make no repayment whatever for its bloody guilt. That is old-fashioned now. Japan is forgiven and may j’oin the United Nations. It is to pay no reparations, because it is too poor to do so. Not a penny is to be paid for our prisoners of war, not a cent for war damage in New Guinea, not a yen for the destruction of Darwin and not a cent for sunken ships or broken lives. Japan owes the United States of America 1,000,000,000 dollars for the occupation. Its trade ha3 gone and its empire has perished. Yet Japan is to rearm because some one has coined the cynical and rather absurd phrase that Japan is a power vacuum in Asia.
Turning from the very obvious problems of satisfying the anxieties of Australia in regard to rearming Japan, I cannot escape the feeling that Great Britain is not happy about this pact, although finally it has agreed to it in principle. What is going to become of Britain’s textile industry in the face of competition from the coolie labour of Japan? With no prohibitions on a shipbuilding programme, J apan will be a very active competitor of Britain. Poverty in Manchester and unemployment on the Tyneside are the fears that oppress the British Government to-day in relation to Japan. I think it is here that the reparations programme in Japan went wrong. When I led the parliamentary delegation to Japan I saw spindles in Japanese textile factories labelled “ R “ for reparations. The honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) who was a member of the delegation to Japan knows that 3,000,000 of the 11,000,000 spindles in Japan were to be used for reparations, but to-day they are all whirring at top speed and the raw product, American cotton, is not in short supply. Those things were done long before a peace treaty was thought of. In fact, half of the things that were done then were piecemeal moves in favour of Japan.
One of the Japanese virtues is indirection - not to let the honorable right arm know what the equally honorable left arm is doing. That worked perfectly in relation to Japanese shipping. I do not think the limitation of ships to 6,000 tons was ever fully observed. Big ships sunk off the coast were salvaged, and others were completed or repaired. Japan must have a strong merchant marine, and I have no doubt that the loyal subjects of the Son of Heaven attended to that matter under the benevolent eyes of the occupation. Many things that were done in order to smooth the path of occupation were really done for the eventual resurgence of J apan. It will not be long before those ships will be nosing into every seaport of Australia, carrying cotton goods, cameras and cheap tin trays and, with them, a threat to our secondary industries, our policy of full employment and our standard of living.
In view of these facts, there is a strong case for deferring the peace treaty with Japan. At best, it will be a patchwork arrangement. I note with respect the American report that 49 nations, including Venezuela and Terra Del Fuego, will sign the treaty. But more relevant is the fact that Formosan China, Communist China and Russia will not do so. They will be excluded because of obvious difficulties. But they are Japan’s nearest neighbours, and we must face the hard fact that history shows that usually nations go to war with their nearest neighbours and competitors.
The Pacific pact, which will bind the treaty with Japan into a more or less acceptable form for the British Dominions in the Pacific, is a subject for special discussion and can be touched upon briefly now. It can fairly be said that it gives form and substance to something that we already have - willy-nilly support of the democracies for each other in case of attack. Any war that breaks out will be to the north of Australia. Apparently we can expect to live in peace with Antarctica for the time being. Since the war scene would be in the north, our allies would be heavily engaged before the attack came to Australia. In that event, this country would have the same strategic role as previously. The cockpit of Asia is Indo-China, Siam, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia and the other islands and countries in the soft belly of Asia. I am convinced that those countries require and deserve rearmament and stable government more urgently than does Japan. One must return again and again to the problem of Japan - the brooding “bad boy “ of the Pacific, locked in the barrenislands of the Japanese mainland, teeming with 85,000,000 of people, armed to the teeth for somebody else’s war, bereft of trade in China, stripped of empire and expansion, and living in an economy that must have overseas trade to enable it to survive. Japan has all the tensions that lead to war rather than those that lead to peace.
The population problem that confronts Japan is alone sufficient to cause Australia to throw this treaty under the table.
The Japanese are increasing at the rate of 1,000,000 a year. The average Japanese farm is under one acre in size and the average small Japanese home houses at least ten people. Japan cannot feed itself and, for its existence, must make huge imports. Its population must tumble out of Japan and drop south through the populous islands, searching for the empty lands that remain. “Will not the next logical step after accepting this treaty bt’ the demand of Japan for living space? Does that not immediately involve Dutch New Guinea and our own territories of Now Guinea, Papua and north Australia? The cables have been strangely silent on this problem lately, but there is evidence that the matter has not been forgotten. Alarming statements in the past from the S.G.A.P. indicate that many people are not thinking as we are in this matter. White Australia could become grievously involved. So few people in Australia understand the situation.
The rearmament of Japan at this stage is a real barrier in Australia to the wholehearted acceptance of the peace treaty. The idea of Japan as an ally in any over-all security plan is repugnant to Australia. We should be. allowed time to test the genuineness, or otherwise, of the Japanese aspirations. I think that Australia believes this, and I imagined that the Government believed it also. There is nothing in its declared policy to indicate that it believed otherwise. Indeed, the Prime Minister, when he was Leader of the Opposition, stated the position clearly during the war. In 1943, th? Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial reported him as saying -
Did any one really believe that in twenty years’ time even if we beat Japan to her knees, we were going to lie a safe country on the borders of the Pacific with a vengeful Japan north of us. The truth was that the struggle would begin when the war was over. “ A vengeful Japan, north of us “ - the Prime Minister’s words in 1943; these “ plucky little fellows “ will help us fight communism - the new idea of 1951 ! Honorable members may make their choice. For the Labour party the decision is firm. It is inflexible in its continuing opposition to the rearmament of Japan in any form or under any disguise.
.- I listened with great interest but also with considerable concern to the statement that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) presented to the House. I believe honorable members will applaud the information that he gave to us concerning Korea and the Colombo plan which promises to be a real essay in statesmanship. But I must admit as one who can claim, unfortunately, a fairly wide knowledge of the Japanese, that the greater part of his speech, concerned as it was with the proposed Japanese peace treaty, filled me with profound uneasiness.
There is a danger in the present unbalance of power in East Asia of the democracies being stampeded into making false moves. In making a settlement such as is now .contemplated we inust look not merely to the present emergency but also to possible developments within the next 25 or 30 years, lt is true, of course, that for immediate purposes a free and re-armed Japan might form a counterpoise to Russian influence in the Far East and to Communist China. But if we accept that view we extinguish at one fell blow all hope of ever arriving at any understanding with the present Peking Government. China will be driven more firmly than ever into the arms of Moscow. No Chinese citizen, whether a supporter of Mao Tse-tung or of Chiang Kai-shek, could possibly view with equanimity the recrudescence of Japanese might. When we consider the horrors that the Japanese invaders have inflicted upon the unhappy Chinese people during the last twenty years, the millions of lives lost and japan’s record of spoliation in that longsuffering country, it is safe to say that no act could be more calculated to unite the diversities of Chinese opinion behind the present Communist regime than the re-arming of Japan. British, American and Australian policy should be designed not to consolidate but to dissolve, by careful diplomacy, the MoscowPeking axis. We should always bear in mind that it is possible that Mao Tse-tung’s motives and aims are not identical with those of the Kremlin. Perhaps one may be optimistic in cherishing that hope. Nevertheless, we must recognize that possibility. At this hour, before Mao Tse-tung has finally disclosed his hand, the democratic powers would be wiser to try to understand the multiplicity of social, economic and nationalist problems peculiar to the Chinese sub-continent and endeavour thereby to make more progress towards assuring Australia’s security rather than to contemplating the act which we are informed through the press is to be done in September next. That treaty will probably alienate every section of the Chinese people.
Furthermore, there is no certainty that Japan, after it has been given full sovereignty and independence and has been permitted to re-arm, will ally itself with the democracies. The Japanese record ever since the grand awakening of 1853 has been blatantly opportunist. Nor is there any real evidence to support certain American pretensions that since 1945 the Japanese have undergone a change of heart. Every honorable member, by now, shouldappreciate the fact that the J apanese are experts in the art of dissimulation. No one who has had long association with these people can possibly accept the American claim that within five and a half years, since the termination of the recent war, they have turned their backs upon militarism and have embraced liberal principles. How could a nation like the Japanese with such a colourful history and such a long record of successful achievements, and as steeped as they are in ancient myths and traditions re-orientate their outlook in so short a period? Such a feat could not be accomplished in less than two, or perhaps three, generations. Its accomplishment will depend, first, upon the willingness of the democracies to guide and educate the Japanese ; and, secondly, upon our ability simultaneously to assist Japan to solve its tremendous economic and social problems. I need hardly remind the members of an Australian legislature that democracy is a plant that has taken centuries to mature, through many vicissitudes, in the soil of Great Britain, the United States of America, and the English-speaking dominions. To impose it arbitrarily on a proud oriental people after the humiliation of defeat, and expect it in five years not only to take root, but also to flower, is a miracle that God could perform, but not General MacArthur. The Japanese are an ambitious, industrious, courageous and patriotic race. Their politicians, despite their satanic qualities, reflect those vices and virtues. I believe that if Japan is allowed unlimited rearmament and full sovereignty, the next phase will be demands - I emphasize demands - for the return of its lost territories and lost markets, and for other concessions. It will be the story of post-1929 Germany all over again. “We shall come to the position, in a few years, that the Japanese militarists, industrialists and politicians will find themselves at an eminence that the most sanguine of them in 1945 could hardly have dreamed of; strong enough to be courted by the democracies and by Russia alike, and they may play off one bloc against the other in order to further their nationalist aspirations. Never let any Australian man, woman or child forget that millions of Japanese still nurture in their hearts the faith that destiny has decreed them to be masters of Asia, and, in the Japanese mind, Asia includes Australia. .
What confidence can we repose in a Japan that is entitled to rearm? Where is the logic in placing fresh weapons in the hands of the gunman who, for four years, terrorized the whole of Asia and the Pacific? To restore Japan, out of fear of Russia, is simply trying to solve one problem by creating another. Mr. John Foster Dulles might have been right, if he was correctly reported, when he said in Sydney last February -
The Japanese regard Russia as their traditional enemy.
But do not let us delude ourselves into believing that the J apanese exude friendly feelings towards Australia. At heart, their antagonism towards British peoples is every whit as fierce as it is towards the Russians. What a bitter price for us in Australia to pay to see Russia held in the West and China contained in the East, if the result is to be a rampant, unreformed Japan! To yield at this juncture to American persuasions for rearming our recent enemy is simply placing a noose around our necks, and hand the rope to the hangman.
In considering this problem, let us be realists. The war, let us frankly admit, has answered none of the economic urges that set Japan upon a career of eonquest. In truth, the war has accentuated the basic difficulties of that country. Before 1941, its population was considerably lower than it is at present; it drew raw materials and foodstuffs from Manchuria, China and Korea ; and its mercantile marine traded to every part of the globe. Contrast that prosperous and affluent situation with the position of Japan to-day. Its population is increasing at the rate of 1,000,000 a year ; all of its overseas possessions are gone; its ships are few; and its exports are limited. Here we have formidable elements for an explosion. I submit that the task of America, Britain and Australia is to find a solution to those dangerous potentialities.
The peace proposals that the Minister for External Affairs has outlined are statesmanlike insofar as they provide, or indicate that they will provide, Japan with reasonable means of acquiring food to sustain its population, of providing markets for its manufacturers and of obtaining freedom for its shipping. But. I suggest that its manufacturing industries must be re-established not upon what in our eyes is virtually slave labour, but according to an industrial code similar to that in our own country and in the Western democracies. The peace treaty moreover should indicate some sympathy for the profound problem of Japan’s chronic over population; and I emphasize, above all else, that it should make some provision for the education of the Japanese people in the Christian faith. For unless, in process of time, Japan’s ancient superstitions give way to a nobler morality, the world cannot hope for any fundamental alteration of the Japanese character.
The peace proposals which have been outlined have gone too far, in some directions, and have not gone far enough in others. The democratic task, as T: see it, is to provide the Japanese with a rising standard of living, and simultaneously inculcate in their hearts
Christ’s teaching. Once those things have been done, it may be possible to persuade the Japanese seriously to embrace the virtue of democratic institutions. But a full stomach comes before forms of government, whether people be Asians or Europeans. Once those things have been accomplished, it may be proper to talk about the rearmament of Japan. It is not sensible to do so now when none of the prerequisities of a peaceful, reformed Japan have even been attempted.
We hear much in these days about the necessity for filling a power vacuum in Japan. If that is true, and I believe that it is true in a sense, I submit that Australia’s safety demands that the vacuum be filled by the democracies. This is not palatable, perhaps, to many people in this country because it will involve a continued contribution by the Americans, and also a continued effort on our part in the way of supplying, equipping and paying for an occupation force. Nevertheless, I feel that it is the only sure and safe way of approaching this problem. I quite agree that it is impossible to keep down a nation in occupation indefinitely. Accordingly, one must concede the merit of the argument for allowing Japan some armaments for police purposes only; but even limited rearmament implies a certain degree of supervision, and there should be no thought of evacuating Japan until terms such as I have tried to adumbrate have been fulfilled.
An attempt is now being made to assuage Australian objections to the proposed rearmament of Japan and to the restoration of its sovereignty, by the American offer of a Pacific pact. I do not wish to disparage the efforts of the Minister for External Affairs or those of his predecessor, Mr. Spender, towards that goal. After all, we must recognize the unpalatable fact that, if the United States of America is bent upon unlimited rearmament for Japan, no Australian Government can prevent it. I think that it is only fair, having made a careful study of the Minister’s statement, to say that a fairly effective protest has been made by the Australian Government during the last few months against the present proposals. But if the United States of America is bent upon that course, there is very little that we can do to divert it. Accordingly, a guarantee is the second best thing. However, I believe, with all respect to our American friends, that we should not overstress the pact once we have obtained it. We live, unhappily, in a century which is notorious for contractual infidelity. Who can predict the international’ scene ten, fifteen or twenty years from now? A change of government in Washington may bring about an entire recasting of present American foreign policy. It is conceivable that internal strains and stresses ten or fifteen years hence may make it virtually impossible for the United States Government to join with Australia or New Zealand in police action against the Japanese. We have the’ awful’ warning of President Wilson’s broken promise to France in 1919. He secured the relinquishment of France’s claim to the Rhineland with a pledge which, a few months later, was disavowed by Congress and the American people. No Frenchman of that generation will ever forget what, for him, was a great calamity. Let no Australian of our generation place too unflinching a faith in guarantees of assistance given by a foreign country.
A Pacific pact is a poor substitute for a Japan disarmed and under enlightened tutelage. Surely it would be wiser to try to prevent the circumstance of Japanese aggression from again arising than to sign a treaty which makes aggression probable and, simultaneously, conclude a defensive pact against a contingency of our own creation! From the unenviable predicament in which we find ourselves to-day there is a clear moral to be drawn. If Australia is to exert that influence in world councils which its security demands,
We must concentrate our efforts on quickly accomplishing the following things : - We must attract more people and increase our birth-rate. We must strengthen our defences and build permanent establishments on a scale that has never before been visualized in Australia. We must outstrip all previous records for the development of our natural resources. We must expand our industrial capacity. We must assume, frankly and boldly, a share of the responsibility for maintaining peace in the
Pacific, even though this may involve military commitments to friendly countries. We must acquire a profound knowledge of Asian peoples and make ourselves the best informed nation in the world on Far Eastern ‘affairs. That entails, amongst other tasks, the establishment of additional legations and a bigger consular service throughout the Far East. I believe that, if the Government initiates such a policy now - and there are signs that it is doing so - then in ten years’ time Australia will be in a better position to com iri mid acceptance of its point of view.’ As it is to-day, this Government is compelled to acquiesce in action which will be gravely detrimental to our security as a Pacific power.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I am sorry that limitation of time has prevented the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) from finishing the argument that he was developing. The Opposition wishes that his point of view would be adopted by the Government. Those honorable members who had the honour to serve on the foreign affairs committee that was established to consider the Japanese peace settlement by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), when he was Minister for External Affairs in the Chifley Government, will recall the presence on that committee of two honorable gentlemen who are now Ministers. One is the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric J. Harrison) and the other is the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen). It was notorious on that committee that, immediately there was a breath of a suggestion that the foreign policy of the United States of America was going to change in favour of Japanese rearmament, those two gentlemen were swift to click their heels and press upon the committee the point of view that it would be unreal to try to continue to hold Japan down. The Government, in its public pronouncements and even through the demeanour of most of its members and supporters - with the notable exception of the honorable member for Angas - has revealed a disposition to be entirely uncritical of the foreign policy of the United States. I say bluntly to begin with that in my humble opinion - and I am aware that it will make no difference to the United States - the foreign policy of that country is unreliable and immature.
An examination of United States foreign policy over the last seven years discloses evidence of a disposition to develop an irrational sort of crush on a nation and to adopt towards it a policy that is opposed to the permanent interests of the United States and the “West generally. American propaganda during World War II., as expressed in its literature on foreign affairs and in its ambassadorial memoirs, was strongly pro-Russian. This crush on Russia continued until the signing of the Yalta Agreement, which was a completely unwise agreement promulgated largely by the Government of the United States. The vacillations of United States foreign policy on Palestine, when it was poised between the Jewish internal influence in the United States of America and the desire for friendly relations with the Arabs in relation to oil, was the despair of the late Ernest Bevin, who was then the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary. Now we have transported into American foreign policy the MacArthur crush - the new crush on Japan. All these unstable policies are likely to be changed in a moment because of the fact that United States foreign policy generally is framed as a sort of pully-hauly between the President, the State Department and the Congress, the three factors in American government which frequently are at variance. We might also add a fourth factor, which operated at any rate during the MacArthur shogunate, that of the generals at variance with the other three factors.
I shall now summarize the main points that I wish to emphasize in relation to the proposed Japanese peace settlement and will endeavour to discuss them within the time that is available to me. First, T consider that Japanese foreign policy will be conducted solely in the interests of Japan. Any belief that Japan will act as a subordinate satellite for our convenience is wholly in error. Secondly, I believe that if Japan has to choose between continental expansion, which would bring it up against the Chinese and
Russian bloc, and southern expansion by sea into regions of weakness, such as the Philippines and the former Netherlands East Indies, it will choose the latter course. It will not engage, in our interest, in a suicidal charge against a formidable continental bloc that is capable of damaging it. Thirdly, I believe that the concept of a limited rearmament of Japan is wholly unreal. Once the occupation is withdrawn, we shall not be able to determine what Japan shall do about aerial, naval, or land rearmament. The story that we can give Japan the means of defending itself by allowing it to rearm on the land but not to put itself in a position to attack us by naval or aerial rearmament is based on an illusion. Fourthly, Japan has no permanent enemies and no permanent friends; it has only permanent interests. To rely upon any traditional hostility that we may allege that it entertains towards Russia would be to lean upon a rotten reed.
What is the history of Japanese foreign policy? It is, surely, a history of attachment to power groups that have been able to advance its territorial interests at the expense of other groups. If we recall the original Anglo-Japanese alliance of the late nineteenth century - an achievement of the Marquis Ito - we remember that it. freed Japan for expansion in Korea and for the elimination of Russian influence in Manchuria. The alliance was renewed in 1911. Japan attached itself again to the British bloc. Russia at that stage was a British ally and was no longer a target for Japanese enmity. The purpose of this arrangement was fulfilled when Japan gained the former German possessions of Kiao-chow, the Marshalls, the Carolines and the Ladrones. For the second time, Japan had attached itself to a bloc in order to gain territory from another bloc. Its third attachment had a purpose which failed, but it was clear. It attached itself to the antiComintern pact with Germany and Italy with the clear intention of gaining the Philippines, the Netherlands East Indies and Indo-China. In pursuance of its alliance with the anti-Comintern powers it sought to seize those territories.
When Japan attains its independence and the occupation forces have been withdrawn it will be confronted with two blocs - the western bloc and the Russian bloc. What will make it wish to give its adherence to the western bloc ? Is there any territory for it to gain from such an adherence? Will it gain territory in China or Korea by adhering to the western bloc or will it gain Russian territory? Japan knows that no American or British statesman would make such an agreement, implied or explicit. Secondly, except in the very initial stages of its rearmament it would have nothing whatever to gain from adherence to the cause of the Western Powers. But, in the event of a world conflict, what would it have to gain from adherence to the Russian and Chinese bloc% The confused Philippines and the confused Indonesian Republic are regions of weakness. These are the regions at which Japanese efforts will be directed. I consider it to be wholly unreal to suppose that Japan will attack continental Asia. Consider its strategic position vis-a-vis Russia. Russia possesses a great air force, which is likely at all times to maintain superiority over that of Japan, which has started so late in the armaments race.
Japan, the most vulnerable country in the world to atom bombing, can easily be bombed from Siberia. If it struck back it would destroy no Russian interest and would make no significant dent in Russian armaments. As Japan would be unable to inflict any great damage on a Russian adversary, but would suffer terrible damage at the hands of such an adversary, it would be childish to imagine that Japanese statesmanship would adhere to the western bloc at such great cost, with no reward in terms of territories. By adhering to the Russian-Chinese bloc, it’ would make available to itself areas of expansion as far south as the Philippines and the Indonesian Republic, which are not likely to be able to arm themselves in any measurable period of time for defence against Japan. Of course, Japan would not be able to take those territories easily. It would be opposed by the forces of the west.prn bloc, including the naval might of the United States in the Pacific. But that would be a much better proposition from
Japan’s point of view than would be opposition to the continental powers, which could inflict so much damage upon it. Japan was defeated in the last war, when it made the mistake of having no continental friends. It was at war with China and in a state of hostile neutrality with Russia while fighting the United States of America. It is not likely to place itself between that hammer and anvil again. It would be in a stronger position to adhere to its policy of southern expansion if it co-operated with Russia and China. In view of the precedent of the German-Russian alliance, it is quite likely that Russia would be willing- to leave Japan free for southern expansion in return for sympathetic neutrality.
Japan is critically lacking in war materiel. If it were our ally the necessity to supply it with war materiel would greatly reduce our own supplies. It would need coal, iron ore and all those materials which I mentioned during a previous debate and the lack of which constituted the reason for its attempts to acquire Manchuria. Those materials can be found in Manchuria. That is an additional Reason why Japan should adhere to the continental bloc that is geographically opposite to it. If the Japanese treaty must be formulated and if the Australian Government must accept the view of the United States of America, that Japan should be rearmed, at least let the Government be free from illusions. It has been said that a permanent occupation cannot be maintained. It is feasible to continue an occupation for 25 years. It has been said that that would be expensive. But it would not be nearly so expensive as would be resistance of the ambitions of the Japanese Government should that country decide to adhere to the ChineseRussian bloc. Apparently the United States of America is bent upon a policy in relation to Japan which is as deluded as was American policy in relation to Yalta and Eastern Europe and as vaccilating as it was in relation to Palestine. If the Government must consent to the United States of America having a free hand in negotiations with Japan, it should endeavour to persuade the Government of the United States of America and that very responsive phenomenon, American public opinion, to make American foreign policy more realistic.
– The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) mentioned two matters on which I should like to speak. They were Korea and Japan. Since the Minister made his statement to the House a profound change has taken place in the position in Korea. Cease-fire negotiations are now in progress, as a result of which certain considerations arise. For a year before the cease-fire negotiations commenced a large-scale war had been waged. Evidence of the extent of that war was best provided by the huge casualties that occurred. I use the word “ casualties “ to include those who became sick as well as those who were wounded in battle. American casualties in that year exceeded 74,000. Australian casualties approximated 1,000. The North Korean and Chinese casualties have been estimated at about 500,000. In addition, enormous casualties were inflicted on the civilian population and’ there was a general devastation of the country. So, by all standards, the war has been fought on a large scale. The United Nations became involved in that war ‘because it determined that a series of events similar to those that preceded the second world war should not occur again. In other words, it decided to discard the policy of appeasement. It was confronted with an act of aggression, but on this occasion was prepared to meet force with force.
On the 6th July, 1950, when the House was summoned to a special session at the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the present Leader of the Opposition, then the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, said -
I believe our duty, in the circumstances, is clear. No one can tell positively what the consequences of our action will be. Will it tend to prevent, or hasten, a third world war? We are in the midst of speculation when we consider those questions. We cannot possibly tell. We only know that the duty is cast on all members of the United Nations to take this very kind of action, and if we do our duty, then I believe that the consequences to the world will be more favorable than they would’ be if we were to turn our back on the United Nations.
Those were significant words. At the end of a year, although the position had been transformed some months previously by the intrusion of Communist China into the war, the United Nations was faced with three alternatives. After it has first appeared that the forces of the United Nations might be driven out of Korea and then that they would speedily end the war by their invasion of North Korea the picture was transformed by the entry into the war of the huge forces of Communist China. At the end of a year the conflict had become a war of attrition. It had become a war on a large scale, an end to which was difficult to foresee. Three alternatives then were presented to the United Nations. The first was that the struggle should be abandoned; that we should acknowledge our “mistake” as it was called, and withdraw from Korea. That rather remarkable point of view was freely expressed in this country by people of considerable prestige and authority. The second alternative was that the war should be extended to a full scale attack on Communist China, the risk being taken of a third world war being precipitated in the process. The third alternative was that the United Nations should persist with a limited war while making every effort to obtain a negotiated peace on satisfactory terms.
There was a dramatic turn of events when Russia suggested that negotiations should be initiated for a cease fire. ‘ This was a most remarkable state of affairs because Russia had provided the sinews of war for both North Korea and China. But for Russia the Korean question could have been settled long ago without resort to war. But for the enormous armaments of Russia, its propaganda, and its intrusion into the affairs of other nations, there would to-day be no international tension in the world and all nations would be able to rebuild in peace the devastation of two world wars. So it appears remarkable that the only country that was responsible for this state of affairs should suddenly suggest that the war should cease. What should be the attitude of the United Nations to this trend of events ? It is not known why Russia has taken this course. There may be internal stresses or internicine feuds in the Russion state of which we do not know. Perhaps China made it clear to Russia that it could no longer stand the strain and loss of the Korean war. It may be that there are internal stresses in the Republic of China. It may be that Russia recoiled from the mounting strength of the “West, or that it considered that its objectives could be better obtained by the perpetuation and extension of the cold war rather than from the consequences that might ensue from continuance of the Korean war. There are other instances in recent history of Russia having become more tractable when it has been firmly opposed. I refer to the Berlin blockade, to the civil war in Greece, and also to the Russian abandonment of the attempt to occupy the Azerbaijan province of Persia some years ago in the face of the attitude of the United Nations. We all are familiar with Stalin’s doctrine of advance and retreat at propitious times.
So, whatever reason Russia might have had for suggesting the peace talks in Korea, and whatever the outcome of the negotiations may be, our own attitude should surely be that whilst we welcome every opportunity to achieve a peaceful settlement in Korea on satisfactory terms, we shall not relax our efforts to maintain our fighting strength. In fact we in Australia should develop it so that we shall be worthy to be a powerful partner in the United Nations and shall be ready to meet to the best of our ability, both on our own behalf and on behalf of other countries of the world if necessary, the threat of force with equal force. We should not relax our efforts because o’f the hopes of peace that may arise from the negotiations in Korea. The fact that those negotiations have begun represents a great triumph for the United Nations. If the United Nations bad not resisted arms with arms it would now be in the same position as the old League of Nations. The world would have lost faith in it, and it would have followed the League of Nations into the discard.
I turn now to the proposed J apanese peace treaty. My views do not coincide with those that have been expressed by the three previous speakers. In my opinion the keynote of the Minister’s statement on the matter was the passage in which he said that what we require is not only security against Japan but also the security of Japan. The world to-day is divided into two great camps. On the one hand we have Russia and communism; on the other we have what is known, for want of a better term, f.s the West. The whole fate of the world will be determined by the interaction of those two forces. Surely the over-riding need is that the peace treaty with Japan shall be such as will not force that country into the opposing group. It appears to me that the main considerations and main principles should be based on that need, and that they are in the long run far more important than is the recovery from Japan of reparations. The recovery of reparations may have its importance, but other considerations are even more important. They are even more important in the’ long run than is the strict limitation of Japanese armaments. I may say though in this connexion that the recovery of reparations for our prisoners of war, which has been the subject of numerous statements in the House, will not be, I understand, prejudiced by the proposed peace treaty.
– Hear, hear !
– It is impossible for the United States of America, the United Nations or any nation, so to arrange the Japanese Peace Treaty or any other peace treaty as to give to us permanent security in the Pacific. We are not blind to that fact, but we must face the facts as they are. Every one in this House knows of the barbarities of the Japanese, in the last war. But we must look to the future. I contend that there will be far more chance of peace in the Pacific if we cause Japan to feel that, having paid the price demanded, it can come back into the family of nations. That would be a far wiser policy than is a policy of continuing repression. If Japan can again feel some of what has been called “ the dignity of equality “ eventually as a nation then we shall have put into the hearts of the Japanese people, irrespective of what form of government they shall have, some feelings of friendliness and have promoted a moral force. In the long run, those considerations would be far more powerful in their effects than preventions of rearmament will be. Japan could not develop such an attitude unless it were given power, under the peace treaty, to develop its economic life. Without such development Japan cannot have a peaceful and contented people. None of us know whether it can have them at all. But Japan cannot have a peaceful and contented people unless ‘it can develop its economic life, which includes its heavy industries and its great ship-building industry. The peace treaty is concerned not only with the subject of armaments; territorial limitations also are to be imposed under, it. I put it to the House that no peace treaty can be a permanent document. As the years pass conditions will alter and the results of the alterations will have to be met by fresh agreements. To my way of thinking it would be a greater and more realistic ambition to restore Japan to the comity of nations than to keep it forever smarting in a position of inferiority. That will be a wiser course to pursue if we wish to gain goodwill, co-operation and peace in the Pacific. Japan cannot be dragged forever at the chariot wheels of the victors.
There are practical measures of the utmost value and importance to our own security in the Pacific, which are embodied in the proposed Pacific pact. Whatever views we may hold about the Japanese and the possibility of their resurgence, we are, ourselves, a small nation. The only power which can enforce the terms of the peace treaty upon the Japanese is America. Whilst we, as a. free and independent people, feel that dignity of equality as a nation about which I have spoken, we can put our views to our great allies, but we cannot override theirs. If we impose a stringent treaty upon Japan how are we to enforce its terms? What is the use of stating that we shall impose stringent, farreaching conditions upon a country if we have not the ability to enforce them and if, which is more important, our allies have made it perfectly clear that they have no intention of enforcing such stringent conditions? In my opinion it is not only wise but also a matter of necessity that we adjust our views to the views of our allies, which are more calculated to bring about peace in the Pacific than would be any stringent, repressive measures that can be devised. The best guarantee of lasting peace in the Pacific is the contentment and happiness of the various countries in the Pacific area. No document designed to hold one of them, whether it be an ex-enemy country or not, in permanent subjection, could possibly achieve lasting peace. It appears to me to be not only unwise but also impossible for us to implement such a course of action. We should do well to heed the words of our great war-time leader, “In victory, magnanimity; in peace, goodwill “. Not only are those word? consistent with British policy in the past but they are also, I submit, a counsel of wisdom for us if we wish to have security in the future.
.- The speech of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), as he himself pointed out during it, did not deal with the whole range of international problems that faces us in common with the rest of the world, but was confined to a few outstanding international problems. I compliment the Minister upon having confined his speech to a few problems, because I believe that to be the correct procedure, rather than that we should be presented with a mass of statements, covering a whole range of problems, to which we should not be able to do justice in one short debate. But the intention of the Minister will not be fulfilled unless we have, a.f frequent intervals, statements on particular current problems. I believe that this House should be given statements by the Government, through the Minister for External Affairs, prior to the holding of discussions with other nations. I have repeatedly expressed, over a period of years, the view that we should have a statement of the ideas of the Government in relation to any forthcoming international conference so that we may debate it in this chamber before the conference is held. Too frequently have we had merely a report from the Governmenafter a conference has taken place, and after the Government and the governments of other nations concerned have made final decisions. I was interested in the Minister’s concluding remarks in which he said- :
I scarcely need to remind the House that there is no easy road to the solution- of international problems. First, we must ascertain the relevant facts. The issues must then be clarified and means of solving the problems found.
I remind the House that that statement is identical with the dictum laid downby the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) when he was Minister for External Affairs. That policy was criticized at times”, but I believe it to be- the only sure foundation upon which to build our international affairs policy and upon which we 6an conduct discussions with other nations.
The Minister dealt first with the Korean situation. There was no disagreement in the Parliament when the unfortunate Korean war broke out. The Opposition supported then, as it supports now, the participation of this country, as a member of the United Nations, in that conflict. We believe, as the honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) has said, that the fate of the United Nations hung in the balance when the Korean war started. It seemed to me then that the start of that war was the “ Manchurian adventure “ over again, and that it would have become another “ Abyssinian affair “ if the United Nations had not intervened. We have asked from time to time, since that war began, that Australia’s views be heard in the high councils responsible for its conduct; We did not ask that some committee should be set up to direct the course of the warfare. We did ask of the Minister and of the Government through the Leader of the Opposition that Australia’s voice should be heard and that Australia’s point of view should be put plainly to those in the United Nations responsible for the direction of the war. But we said that Australia’s view should have been put forward on what should perhaps have been a stopping place for the United Nations’ armies. If the present conflict ends within the next few weeks it will have completely justified the United Nations’ intervention. If, however, when our forces first surged northwards through Korea, th’ey had not gone so far that they brought in the forces of Communist China, the triumph of the United Nations would have been much greater. Victory would have been achieved at far less cost, and the peace issues would have been more clear cut than they will be now that Communist China- has intervened.
I believe that in this matter the Government is to some degree culpable. A speech made by the previous Minister for. External Affairs, Mr. Spender^ on one occasion seemed to indicate that he favoured an advance to the Manchurian border, with all the implications that that advance would have had for the Chinese or Manchurian forces. We must realize that neither the United Nations as a whole nor Australia individually had any intention of denying to the Korean forces and peoples the power that resided inside Korea. We must also realize that the Chinese are perhaps not > so well-informed as are some of the Western peoples. They might easily have misunderstood the expressed intentions of the United Nations forces. If a clearer statement of aims had been made, and Australia’s voice had been loud and clear. the war might have been over sooner, the victory more clear cut, and the deplorable consequences which, inevitably follow war lessened.
I shall now deal with the Japanese peace treaty. Although the Korean war and the losses, sufferings and complexities of that conflict are nearest to us to-day, the peace treaty with Japan is certainly the most important item to be mentioned in the present debate. The Minister for External Affairs said that it is desirable that we should have an early peace with Japan. I suggest to the House, and to the country, that it is far better that we shall have a satisfactory peace with Japan. If an early peace conference Can be held, and the desired result can be achieved through it, then an early peace treaty will be completely justified. But if delay of any sort could bring ‘about a -more satisfactory and permanent peace settlement, there is no reason why those benefits should be sacrificed in order to. secure an early peace. The right honorable gentleman. sa’M that we must look to the security of Japan as well as the security of this country. I assume that he meant that to apply in the event of a war in Asia. He said that Japan had been disarmed, its war factories dismantled and its war criminals tried and punished. All those things have been done ; but the intention now appears to be to rearm Japan and to rebuild its factories or reconvert them to the production of arms.
– That cannot be inferred from anything that I said.
– Nevertheless it is implied in the right honorable gentleman’s statement that the doing of such things is necessary for the security of Japan.
– It is proposed that Japanese rearmament shall be limited.
– Yes; I shall deal with that matter later. However, we have gone through the process of disarming Japan and destroying its war industries. Now we propose to retrace our steps, rearm Japan to a limited degree and rebuild its factories also to a limited degree. Now the question may be posed, what about the war criminals? Shall we start from the present to train those who may become war criminals in another conflict? This conflict between the policy of Australia and of other democratic powers is rather humorous. Either Japan should be allowed to retain some sort of protection through armies, navies, air forces and factories, or we should not later slowly, laboriously and at enormous cost attempt to rebuild the things that we have destroyed. I believe that Japan is a great nation and must have a place in the comity of nations. The honorable member for Oxley (Dr. Donald Cameron) said that the most important thing for us to do is to help to return J apan to the comity of nations. I completely agree with that. But will the rearming of Japan mean that we shall bring it into friendship with the other nations and closer to the world comity of nations?
The Minister said in his statement, and also indicated by way of interjection, that limitations are to be imposed upon Japan’s capacity to rearm. If we are to rearm Japan for its own protection, against Whom are we to protect it?
Clearly it must be against the .Communist nations of the East or against all the nations of the East. If we are to rearm Japan so as to ensure its own protection and survival, in the hope that it will be our ally in the future, why place limitations, on its armaments? There is no limitation upon the Russian or the Chinese armament industry, but as a concession to our conscience when we are rearming Japan we propose to say,. “ We shall give you pop guns whereas the enemy has cannons and tiny armies whereas the Russians have vast forces. We shall give you merchant fleets whereas Russia has the greatest submarine fleet in the world “. Those matters show clearly the conflict in Australian foreign policy which must be resolved. Honorable members on this side do not believe that Japan will ever be Australia’s ally. If the Government believes that Japan can be our ally, it should say so and act on its belief. If it does not believe that, and allows some rearmament, it cannot impose any restrictions on the size of forces, volume of equipment or strength of striking power. The implications in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs are that Japan unarmed is a menace because it might be occupied by a power hostile to Australia. Therefore, he said, we must assess whether Japan is more dangerous to us impotent and occupied or armed and unoccupied. According to the Minister’s speech, his conclusion is that Japan unarmed is a greater menace to our security and the security of western peoples, than an armed Japan. A little analysis will disprove the truth of that. Japan armed to the teeth, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said, would still be in a completely vulnerable position in relation to Russia, China and any of their possible allies. Therefore, whether Japan was armed to the teeth or not it still would be in a most vulnerable position. But the Opposition believes than an armed Japan would not be a possible ally of Australia and the Western powers, but an almost certain ally of Russia, China and the rest of the Eastern nations.
It is pertinent to ask what was Japan’s attitude towards Australia before the last war, and what is its present attitude. It is well known that the Japanese felt a contempt for Australia as a country of great and empty spaces. That was made plain when they came to Australia on friendly visits. Their attitude of Japanese superiority was clearly perceptible. Now that the conflict is over it is still clear that the Japanese are a proud people. They harbour resentment against the nations that defeated them, and a deep and lasting hatred of the dropping of the atom bomb on their homeland. In those circumstances, if the test be the security of Australia, then Japan unarmed, even though occupied by Russia and China, would be far less of a threat to Australia’s security than would be a J apan armed to the teeth’ or armed in the limited way suggested by the Minister. Therefore, it may be said that according to any test the rearming of Japan is not the answer to either Japan’s security, the security of Australia or the security of the United States of America. The Opposition suggests that the Government should put that view forward once again as the view of Australia. In the Japanese peace negotiations the Government should put forward quite strongly Australia’s view, as it should have done in the Korean conflict. It should say that in the future the Japanese, because of their history, associations and culture, are not likely ever to be allies of Australia or of the Western peoples in a third great war. It should be made plain that even if there is a risk of an unarmed Japan being occupied by Russia or some Russian satellite, that would not be so great a threat to Australia as an armed Japan would be.
The rearming of Japan would not give back to the Japanese a feeling of equality with the rest of the world. The Japanese do not regard the right to rearm as a means of bringing them into the comity of nations. It must be remembered that their territories have been taken from them, and that other things have been done to them which they will remember. If they are allowed to rearm, then they are certain to look forward to getting back the territories that they formerly controlled. We must use all our strength and skill to secure a lasting friendship with the Japanese people. We must seek to do that for the sake of the security of the world and of the human race. It is of no use to ask Japan to renounce territorial claims, because it will do that gladly to-day while the forces of the world are arrayed against it, but having been rearmed and been placed in a position of power it is almost certain, especially if some other part of the world is involved in war, that Japan will forget the renunciations of 1951 and seize by force the territories that it covets for its economic well-being and protection. The Minister also said that the peace treaty would impose limitations upon Japan’s naval strength and, presumably, upon its air and ground strength ; but he pointed out that the- American Government and also, I assume, the Australian Government, did not believe that those provisions could be policed. The Australian Government should press for an extension of the Colombo plan. Although that plan was hailed throughout Australia as a result of the work of Mr. Spender, the Minister’s predecessor, it is, in fact, a continuation of the policy that was followed by the Labour party during the years when it formed the Government of this country. An extension of the Colombo plan might provide a means by which the Japanese nation could again- be brought back into the comity of nations. -The rearmament of Japan would entail substantial aid from America as well as from Australia and other democracies. I suggest that the friendship of Japan be sought by an extension of the Colombo plan.
.- I am glad to be able to take part in this debate and to place upon record the profound misgivings that I entertain about certain aspects of the proposed peace treaty with Japan. I have not had the long and painful personal experience of the Japanese that many honorable members have had, nor can I claim to have a profound knowledge of Japan or its history, but I believe that I am speaking for thousands of Australians when 1 express the fear that the rearmament of Japan will adversely affect the future security of this country.
It seems to me that the determination of the Americans to allow Japan to rearm is based upon two assumptions, neither of which is necessarily accurate: first, that the Japanese people have abandoned their ‘former militarism and have adopted the institutions and the practices of democracy ; and secondly, ‘that a rearmed Japan will necessarily be an ally of the western democracies in the future struggle with communism. In my opinion, the assumption that the Japanese have accepted the institutions and the practices of democracy is based upon a false hope engendered by the MacArthur administration. Even a cursory examination of learned journals reveals that both in America and in the United Kingdom, there is profound doubt about Japan’s alleged democracy. I entertain little hope that the democratic institutions adopted by Japan will survive for many years. Even the popular journals express the same doubts.
It appears that, towards the end of the last war, the American State Department had a policy for the occupation of Japan and the re-education of the Japanese people, but the sudden collapse of Japanese arms placed General MacArthur rather earlier than had been expected, in the position of Supreme Commander Allied Powers in Japan, charged with the dual duty of conducting the military occupation of a defeated country and the civil re-education of a defeated people. There is no doubt that the first task was performed admirably, but there is very real doubt about the progress made with the second one. Neither the Ear Eastern Commission, the body that represented the allied powers in Japan, nor the American State Department had much impact upon the MacArthur administration. Very early, the commission became a hostile critic of the administration and frequently was treated as such. The American State Department became merely a plaintive inquirer about progress. Now we are faced with the paradox that, although the author of the policy followed in Japan has been dismissed, the policy itself, about which the allied nations have grave doubts, remains a positive and enduring thing. Although I have criticized the MacArthur administration, I do not fail to recognize the very great services that General MacArthur rendered to Australia. But I fear that vvhat he did subsequently may have a very different result.
What assurance is there that a rearmed Japan will be an ally of the Western democracies? In the not unlikely event of America and the British Empire becoming engaged in a death struggle with communism, is it not possible that Japanese opportunism may re-assert itself and that, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) suggested, Japan may turn again towards southward expansion and Australia may again find itself directly in the path of Japanese ambition? I see a special danger in the removal of restrictions upon the building of merchant ships by Japan, even though Japanese naval expansion be limited. Before and during the last war, we had ample evidence of the danger that a vigorous Japanese merchant marine canconstitute to another island country.
I do not blame the Government for the terms of the proposed peace treaty. It is apparent from the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that the Australian Government has very little love for those terms, and, indeed, that it has tried hard to resist them. The Minister, in the course of his statement, expressed the fears that we have heard frequently this afternoon about the capacity of the present Japanese democracy to endure. He said that it would be naive to assume that the reforms that have been initiated in Japan will necessarily be continued indefinitely. He explained that the Government’s policy was not based upon any such assumption. I am very glad to know that. He also said that it would be unrealistic to expect the United States of America for all time to occupy and protect a disarmed and defenceless Japan, and since the United States of America had made it quite clear that it did not intend to do so, Japan had to be allowed to make some provision for its own defence. He added that that was something that Australia had to accept. Personally, I should have been glad if the Minister had gone further and said plainly, for the benefit of the record, that the Australian Government dislikes and fears those provisions and that it has stated its opinion clearly, but without effect.
We must ask ourselves what Australia 3an do in the present circumstances. First, we can try to make the Pacific Pact a reality and a source of strength and safety for us. In view of the plain determination of America to allow Japan to rearm, the Government did well to obtain that pact; but, having obtained it, we must do everything possible to ensure that it shall be a real and living force. At the same time, we must keep our powder dry. I agree entirely with the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) that Australia must establish its defences and be prepared to stand on its own feet. I understand that the Americans intend to maintain bases in Japan. This Government should, as fully and as often as possible, state its view that those bases should be maintained for as long as possible as a safeguard against future Japanese imperialism. I should like our view on that matter to be placed upon record clearly and plainly.
The Minister’s statement concluded with an expression of hope that we shall develop a real Australian foreign policy, without regard for party politics. The course this debate has followed this afternoon leads me to believe that that hope may be realized. Honorable members on both sides of the House have expressed more or less the same view. We cannot do better than try to preserve that attitude of mind. We must lift above the petty issues of party politics the matter of Australia’s security in a hostile world.
.- I realize, as do other honorable members, that at the negotiations for a peace treaty with Japan Australia’s viewpoint will be of comparatively little importance. We . must face the reality of the position, which is that America’s foreign policy is that there shall be a soft peace with Japan. But, admitting that, all honorable members would be recreant to the trust that has been reposed in them by the Australian people if they did not raise their voices in protest against the terms of the proposed treaty. The probable effect of the treaty upon Japanese rearmament is already causing grave concern to all sections of the Australian people. The view of most Australians is that, under the treaty, Japan will be allowed to escape retribution for an aggressive war 6f unsurpassed treachery, waged with shocking brutality and barbarity. The nation that was responsible for that outrage is to he allowed to go scot free. By a strange paradox, the lot of the vanquished will be far easier than will be that of the victors. That is the remarkable position with which we are faced.
It i3 pleasing to note that in this debate honorable members on both sides of the House have strongly denounced the terms of the proposed treaty. My observations have led me to the conclusion that the vast majority of the Australian people are overwhelmingly opposed to the rearmament of the Japanese nation. In a gallup poll that was conducted recently, a great majority of the people who were questioned declared themselves as being opposed to Japanese rearmament. I believe their view is based largely upon the treacherous nature of Japan’s entry into the war in 1941, and the subsequent conduct of Japanese troops. I say without fear of contradiction that the great majority of the Australian people believe that anything that would tend to restore Japanese militarism would be entirely out of place, particularly in view of the outrages that the Japanese systematically practised during the recent war. That is clearly the view that is held by the Australian Labour party and, judging by the speeches of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), and the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Osborne), it is also the view of the majority of Government supporters. Indeed, it would appear to be the unanimous view of the House that the popular feeling of the Australian people, based on sound instinct, is that if Japanese rearmament is allowed to commence, control of it will not be possible. It is all very well for some people to advocate that the Japanese should be allowed to rearm but only to a limited degree; but once one mounts a tiger it is very difficult to get off it. I have not the slightest doubt that if Japan is allowed to rearm under any conditions whatever its military, naval and air strength will be used by future Japanese Governments not as an ally of the western democracies, against China, or Russia, in the Far East, as wishful thinking on the part of American diplomats would suggest, but solely in the interests of Japan itself. Those forces would be utilized to restore Japanese sovereignty and power to the degree that that country enjoyed from 1914 to 1945. A perusal of the writings and reports of expert observers of the Japanese psychology and Japanese imperialism reveals that all democratic movements that have taken place in Japan have achieved only very limited success and have never really succeeded in becoming a dominant force in Japanese political life. That has been due very largely to the antagonism of the Zaibatsu, the group of financial interests that wields enormous power and like the Krupps group in Germany specializes in the manufacture of armaments. In the past that financial oligarchy practically determined Japanese foreign policy.
On this matter I can speak only from what I have read and from what I have learned from persons who have visited Japan and have studied conditions in that country. Experts who have closely observed Japanese methods are convinced that the real aim of those in control in Japan is to regain Japan’s former domination in international affairs, that a deep-seated hatred of the Western Powers still exists in Japan and that the militarists in Japan are only awaiting an opportunity to . prepare for a war of revenge. I trust that they will not be permitted to do so as the result of folly or excessive trust on the part of the western democracies. I admit that the Japanese as a nation are energetic and industrious and that they possess great ability. I have no doubt that many Japanese profoundly wish to live at peace with the rest of the world and that their country will not again enter upon militaristic aggression. However, the fact remains that the Japanese who hold those views have very little influence in the political life of their country. I should have the greatest difficulty in believing that the majority of the Japanese have been converted to the democratic way of life in the few years that have elapsed since the end of the recent war. The trimmings of democracy mav be visible to the outside world, but if the Japanese have acquired even the veneer of democracy since the end of the recent war, they have accomplished something that is beyond my comprehension. As the honorable member for Angas has pointed out, democracy is a growth of many centuries. Consequently, seriousminded people cannot be expected to believe that within a period of five, or six, years the Japanese have become imbued with democratic ideals.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) informed the House to-day that the draft peace treaty is now being circulated among interested governments and, apparently, a decision is to be made on this matter in the near future. As one of the countries that played a part in the defeat of Japan in the recent war, Australia has every right to be represented at the conference at which the treaty will be considered. I repeat that I do not believe that any observation that our representatives might make will carry much weight because it would appear that the United States of America will have the deciding voice. However, despite those misgivings, I urge that Australia’s spokesmen at the forthcoming conference present Australia’s viewpoint in the clearest terms to the world. In respect of any military settlement that may be discussed we should insist upon guarantees of security for not only our country but also other countries in the Pacific that were victims of Japanese aggression in the recent war. We should also insist that the treaty shall provide for economic aid to East Asian countries along the lines of the Colombo agreement. We must envisage rising standards of living for the East Asian peoples if we are to do our utmost to ensure that another war shall not occur in the Pacific. Recent press reports of statements by American diplomats indicate that the proposed Japanese treaty will not be framed on the basis of the ideas that prevailed on this subject in 1945. When World War II. ended the Australian people, together with those of the Western democracies, believed that the Japanese should be completely demilitarized and that the form of government that had prevailed in Janan for centuries should be replaced bv the democratic system of government. Members of all political parties in this country were unanimous that the Japanese people should be given civil and political rights similar to those enjoyed by the peoples of the Western democracies and that the feudal system of Japan should be replaced by a modern economy that would benefit the Japanese people as a whole. L regret to have to admit that since the end of the recent war not very much has been done in that direction. I refuse to believe that the life of the Japanese people has been basically altered as a result of the occupation of that country by Allied forces.
Proposals for a peace treaty have been discussed since 1947 when General MacArthur made a plea that the treaty be concluded as soon as possible. Those proposals were discussed in Canberra in August, 1947. However, very little headway has been made up to date because of the difficulty of procedure. It would appear that steps have now been taken to surmount that obstacle. The original idea was that the peace treaty should be determined, on the basis of a twothirds majority, by the thirteen nations that are represented on the Ear Eastern Commission and that no right of veto should operate. That proposal has been consistently opposed by Russia, which has insisted upon the right of veto by any of the great powers. We are now informed on reliable authority that only nations whose representation is approved by the United States of America will take part in the discussions on the treaty. Consequently several countries that are represented on the Far Eastern Commission and which played a part in the defeat of Japan will be excluded. The peace treaty conference should decide whether the Japanese should be allowed to have military bases; whether they should be allowed to rearm and, if so, to what degree; and whether any territorial changes should be made. In recent months Mr. John Foster Dulles has been engaged in placing the view of the United States of America with respect to the proposed treaty before the governments of the Western democracies. I understand that when Mr. Dulles recently visited Australia he placed before the then Minister for External Affairs the draft of the proposed treaty. In the meantime, he has amplified those terms and has made public pronouncements which would indicate that the draft treaty does not prohibit the rearmament of Japan, that it does not impose any restrictions on the J apanese economy and does not involve any obligation on the part of Japan to pay reparations.
I take this opportunity to protest most vigorously against the proposal that Japan shall not be obliged to make reparations. When one remembers Pearl Harbour, the Manila horror, the death marches in Malaya, the agonies of Changi and the Burma-road, and the massacres that the Japanese perpetrated on subject peoples, it would appear to one that the Western democracies have gone haywire if they do not intend to exact reparations from the Japanese in justice to the people who suffered so mercilessly at their hands. If ever an unanswerable case could be made for the payment of reparations by one nation to other nations that suffered because of its wanton aggression, such a case can now be made against Japan. My blood boils when I think of the change of outlook that has taken place on this subject during the last few years and when I think that the Western democracies are now prepared to forget about Japanese atrocities in the recent war. On several occasions in this House we have discussed a proposal that the Government shall make provision out of reparation payments by Japan for compensation to our service personnel who suffered as prisoners of the Japanese. It should be the first duty of Australia’s representative at the peace treaty conference to make the strongest possible representation for the payment of reparations even on a limited scale in order thatsuch compensation may be made available to those who have a just claim to it.
Considerable* mystery exists concerning the terms of the draft treaty, but, apparently, we can expect to be informed of them in the near future. If the Japanese are to be allowed to rearm, Australia’s representative should offer the strongest objection to the restoration of heavy industries in Japan because such industries will provide the basis for rearmament in the fullest sense and enable the Japanese to undertake a programme -of shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture and the manufacture of armoured vehicles of all kinds. Such a development would be a definite threat to Australia’s safety. We recall, as the honorable member for Evans pointed out, how rapid were the advances which the Japanese were able to make in the recent war because it had at its disposal a large merchant marine. In no circumstances should the Empire of Hirohito be allowed to establish a merchant marine which could be turned to similar use in the future. We should never forget our bitter experience in that respect.
It is difficult to believe that if the Japanese were allowed to rearm they would .hesitate, to seek living-room 1 in other countries and that they would not impose their authority on other countries in order to obtain sources of food and raw materials as well as to ensure markets for the disposal of Japanese products. We have been told on several occasions in this House that the population of Japan has increased by 11,000,000 since 1945 and that it is estimated that it will double itself within 50 years. Japan will be confronted with the problem of milking provision for its surplus population and, in those circumstances, regardless of any agreement that it might make with the Western democracies, it would take every opportunity to conserve its own interests. It is not difficult to imagine that should Great Britain, or the United States of America, become involved in hostilities in Europe, Japan would decide to make another drive southward with dire consequences for Australia.
Despite all that has been said about the new strategic needs that have arisen as a result of the changing world situation, Australians will not be readily convinced that they have banished the danger of a resurgent Japan. We should take care to ensure that, within a decade, we shall not be confronted by a powerful militaristic Japan that is eager to recover its lost empire. Whether or not Japan should have industries beyond the category of those that are required to sustain its population is a matter that must be considered carefully before a decision is made. The Government must take a realistic view of its obligations in respect of the proposed peace treaty, and must not allow itself to be weaned from them by specious promises that may be given to us by America or by any other country. From what I have heard, I am afraid that, when the draft terms of the peace treaty emerge, it will be found that the proposals will be such as will set Japan on the way to becoming a country with a strong war potential. Such a situation, in itself, will constitute a grave menace to our sovereignty. Any restraints that may be included in the peace treaty will have little effect if the militarists again get into the saddle, and, from what I know of Japan, it may not be long before they will, be seated firmly in it.
Our primary concern must be to protect and promote the best interests of the British Commonwealth, and particularly those of our own country. Our primary interest in Japan, by reason of our experiences in World War II., must be. of necessity, a negative one. We must not support any positive proposals that will enable Japan to emerge as a possible war-maker. We must ensure that, whatever may happen in the future, Japan shall not be so powerful as it was in 1941. Such an attitude is perfectly understandable, because it merely follows the instinct of self-preservation. From what I have been able to ascertain, I believe that the people who rule Japan to-day belong to the same class and have the same outlook as those who were responsible for the participation of that country in World War II. If this Parliament is given an opportunity to determine the industries that Japan shall be allowed to maintain, our decisions should be dictated, not by the requirements of commercial vested interests, but by considerations that involve our own security.
-Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Commencing with the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), every honorable gentleman who has expressed his views on the terms-of the proposed peace treaty with Japan has voiced his fears about them. I, personally, share their views, and I have no doubt that they are also shared by every adult in our community, for the soundest reasons. In the whole of our history, we have never received such a shock as we received when this country was nearly invaded hy the Japanese in 1942. All of us agree- that Japan should never be permitted to rearm. If this were an ideal world, and if we could deal with this problem in vacuo, the problem would hardly arise. Rut unfortunately, this world is not ideal. Very real problems confront Australia that are related directly and indirectly with Japan, and have a large bearing upon the present situation.
I propose to ask two questions in relation to Japanese rearmament, and I shall also endeavour to answer them. The first questions is: How far is it possible to disarm a great nation permanently, and how is such a condition of disarmament to be enforced? I remind honorable members of the history of Germany after World War I., because the situation of that country in those times may be regarded as providing a parallel to that of Japan to-day. The peace treaty of Versailles laid down three main principles for the disarmament of Germany. The first was that Germany should be completely disarmed; that is to say, all weapons were to be destroyed, and all factories that were engaged in the manufacture of armaments were to be dismantled. That provision was observed to some degree. The second principle was that the German Government should not re-introduce conscription for service in- the armed forces, and the third provided that the police arm, the Reichwehr, should be allowed to recruit a force of 100,000 men. Those terms were guaranteed, or were supposed to be guaranteed, by the continued occupation of the Rhineland for fifteen years.
I make it clear at this juncture that I am dealing with the long term question of disarmament, to which the honorable member for Parkes has referred. The short term period was to expire in ten years but the long term period was to endure for 20 or 40 years. The aim of the Treaty of Versailles was to keep Germany permanently disarmed for fifteen years, and some clauses of that document provided for certain checks to lie made after the termination of the period of occupation. What happened in Germany? This matter is important,, because it has a bearing upon our attitude to the peace treaty with Japan. The occupation was terminated in 1930, or five, years before it was due to end. Economic considerations were the reason for its termination. Germany was to be brought into the comity of nations. By 1933, Hitler was in power, and one of his first acts was to re-introduce conscription. Two years later, again in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, which provided for the demilitarization of the Rhineland, his troops occupied that territory. What happened then? Precisely nothing! Why did not anything happen? There was one good reason. Those nations that had sought the disarmament of Germany, particularly France, had become tired. World- War I. seemed to be remote. Those nations wanted peace. They said, in effect,”” We shall not gauge the possibility of another war by trying to re-impose upon Germany the terms of the Treaty of Versailles “. We now know that, when German forces entered the Rhineland in 1936, one French division would have been sufficient to expel them from that territory. Hitler expected that his troops would be expelled from it, but no such move was made by France or by Great Britain. Indeed, the attitude of Great Britain may bc summed up in these words : “ Poor Germany. Why should it not have an army ? “. The French people were too supine in those days to move against the Germans. Therefore, in the light of that experience, we must ask ourselves this question: If we impose terms of permanent disarmament on Japan, how shall we enforce them?
The second question that I ask is : Are we prepared to enforce a treaty that imposes disarmament upon Japan for the future? I suggest that, in our present state of mind about armies and armaments, no honorable member and no person in this country would say, “ We are prepared to guarantee to enforce the terms of a treaty that permanently disarms Japan “. What applies to Australia in that respect also applies to Great Britain, the United States of America and the other countries that brought about the defeat of Japan. Therefore much as we may wish to disarm Japan permanently, I doubt whether, psychologically or practically, such is really possible. Honorable members, when they place their views on record regarding this matter, should examine the realties of the situation, based upon experience, and not wish hopefully for conditions that we ourselves may never be able to bring about.
So much for the matter of disarmament. What does the immediate future hold for us, assuming that Japan is disarmed ? Again, I shall make a brief comparison between Germany and Japan. Germany, after World War I., was disarmed to some degree. Its guns were destroyed, it was deprived of its tanks, and its arms and munitions factories were dismantled to a large degree, but manpower, bureaucracy and institutions were left untouched. All that was done by the allies in .those days was to cut off the head of the Kaiser’s government, and impose upon Germany a so-called democratic government, at the time of the Weimar Republic. But the whole structure of Germany and of its institutions remained untouched and unchanged, with the result that when the militant Hitler came into power., he found all those weapons lying ready to his hand. All that he had to do was to issue orders, which were carried out in a short space of time. He found the old officers, the old governors, the old military instructors, and large numbers of military personnel who had received training in the volunteer forces in Germany. Within four or five years, he rebuilt the German army and air force, and Germany quickly became a strong military power.
I ask honorable members to direct their minds now to the situation in Japan. What has happened in that country? The armaments industry has been completely destroyed. Those honorable members who visited Japan a few years ago, and saw the remains of such factories, know that it will take years to rebuild them. The civil service has been changed, and the education system has been altered to some degree. As the result of such destruction and changes, I can see no possibility of a resurgence ‘ of Japanese strength in the immediate future. There is another matter that should also be observed. All of us who have a knowledge of Japan are well aware that oil, and all the raw materials for its heavy industries, including iron, nickel and lie rare metals such as tungsten, must be obtained from other countries. Japan would .be obliged to import all the sinews of war.
– What would be the position if Russia provided Japan with its requirements?
– Some of those requirements could be obtained from Russia, but so long as we have some control, such as we have to-day, over Japan’s imports, we can ensure that its supplies of those various metals shall not be increased to 8 dangerous degree. I agree that Japan may purchase some of its requirements from various sources, such as China, but such transactions would be made,, not in the immediate present but in the future. I cannot see, in the next four or five years, any great danger of Japanese resurgence in that way. I wholeheartedly support in principle the complete disarmament of Japan. If I could disarm Japan permanently, I would do so. However, such a plan would not bo practicable and, because of the mutability of the minds of men, it might not even seem desirable. Our views to-day are firm. What they will be five, ten or fifteen years hence who can say? If Australia believes firmly in complete disarmament, of Japan, it is up to us to say to the United States of America, “ If you think that we are wrong and will not undertake the task of enforcing disarmament, we shall send Australian troops to do the job “. The United States might accept that offer, but I am certain that Australia would have neither the strength nor the will to send large bodies of men out of the country for such a purpose.
I should like my views to be clearly understood by honorable members. 1 do not trust the Japanese, and I do not want to like them. I do not believe that their character has changed. Nevertheless, I disagree with the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) and other members of the Opposition who have said that Japan is more likely to be an enemy than a friend of the British democracies. My mind goes back over a period of about twenty years to the time when the Japanese were our friends. I see no reason why, in the future, they should not be pur friends again. “Why do honorable members believe that Japan will want to fall into -the .arms of Russia ? It .has been Russia’s enemy for many years and it has never been on good terms with China at any stage of its history. It has engaged in a long series of wars with China, as well as with Russia. If T were to make a bet on the issue, I should prefer to have my money on the prospect of Japan being friendly with the democracies, provided that it was reasonably well treated. I admit that it would be a doubtful gamble, but that alinement is much more probable than is an association between Russia and J apan. I do not believe that it would he possible to impose a policy of complete and permanent disarmament on Japan. At the same time, I am entirely opposed to the granting to Japan of complete freedom to rearm. I favour the giving of permission for a modest degree of rearmament, excluding the acquisition of longrange bombers and warships. Honorable members should keep in mind the fact that Japan is a long way from Australia and that, in order to approach this country, it would need not only large numbers of merchant ships and transport vessels but also strong protecting forces. My mind, and the minds of many others in Australia, would be at ease if Japan were permitted to rearm subject to the restrictions that I have mentioned.
– The tenor of this debate has given point to the great difficulties that beset nations after they have defeated their enemies in arriving at satisfactory peace terms. Like other honorable members, I am greatly concerned about the future of Japan. Events move swiftly in the realm of international affairs and, even since the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) made the statement which the House is now considering, there has been a big change in relation to the war in Korea. We are faced to-day with the old problem of power politics, with combinations of armed nations facing each other across the world. The difficulty of framing a peace treaty with Japan that would satisfy Australia and the rest of the democracies is complicated by the fact that there are two great opposing armed blocs in the world. One iscomposed of Russia and its satellites and the other is composed of- what .we call the democracies. I try to be realistic in my attitude to the proposed Japanese peacesettlement. We, as a people, are opposed to the rearming of Japan and the rehabilitation of that nation to such a degree as would enable it to develop itsheavy industries. If Japan’s heavy industries were reconstructed, it would be in a position to rearm once more. Nevertheless, however much we may be opposed to the regrowth of Japan, we must acknowledge the fact that its Government has a right to do the best that it can for its people. We may forbid Japan to restore its heavy industries and to build or purchase ships above a limited tonnage, but Ave must realize that it will have to engage in world trade in order to support itself and, therefore, that it must be allowed to import raw materials,, for which it will need to produce goods for export. This raises the old bogy of Japanese competition in foreign markets. In order that the Japanese people may maintain a reasonable standard of living, they will have to manufacture goods and merchandise with which to finance their purchases of raw materials. I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) discuss the longstanding difference between Japan and China. Many persons fear that Japan will turn to China if its trade with other countries is restricted. They believe that China is the logical source of raw materials for Japanese industry. At present, China is dominated by Russia. If the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the other democracies enforce a harsh peace settlement on Japan, will Japan turn to Russia and China? The honorable member for Flinders considers that such a rapprochement is unlikely. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) discussed the same subject and expressed the view that Japan would seek to extend its influence in the direction of the Pacific area rather than into China. I abhor the conduct of the Japanese during World War II. and am not prepared to trust them in the future. What they did in the past they will be prepared to do again in the future. But who will gain control of Japan if we refuse to allow it to rearm? Who will protect it should it be attacked in its defenceless state? What would Australia do if, after it had insisted with the United States of America that Japan should not rearm, the forces of Russian-dominated China launched an assault on Japanese territory? Would we stand aside and watch the forces of aggression prosper? If Japan were denuded of American troops and had no armed forces of its own, would the events of Korea be repeated there? Would Australia be called upon to fight, not only for the United Nations, but also for the Japanese, whom we abhor for what they have done in tie past? These questions pose a very difficult problem, and we must consider every aspect of it carefully. The United States of America has borne most of the responsibility so far, and therefore it will want to have a big say in the final decision. I ask for leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 5th July (vide page 1081), on motion by Mr. Menzies -
That the bill be now read a second time.
-I call the Leader of the Opposition.
– I rise to order, Mr. Speaker. I draw your attention to the ruling which you gave in this House on the 13th March, which is’ recorded at page 329 of Eansard of that date. In that ruling, you upheld the principle that honorable members who had appeared in the courts in certain matters were not entitled subsequently to speak in this House on those matters. I think it is incontestible that that ruling applies to the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) in view of the terms of the bill that is at present before the House. This involves the validity of legislation in relation to which the right honorable member ap peared in the High Court. On the 26th October, 1950, the right honorable member himself brought before the notice of this House his part in those proceedings. My intention in bringing this subject forward is to uphold the forms and integrity of this House, and not to prevent the right honorable member from speaking. If you uphold my point of order, Mr. Speaker, I intend to move forthwith the suspension of Standing Orders in order to allow him to proceed.
-I perfectly well remember the ruling that I gave. It was given after investigation and it was very clear and to the effect that if an honorable member appeared in court in connexion with a case then he could nol speak or vote on that matter in this House. That was my ruling, and it stands. Of course, like all rulings of the Speaker, it is subject to the superior decision of the House.
– I now wish to move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended-
– What is your ruling, Mr. Speaker ?
– My ruling is and was that if an honorable member has appeared in the courts in a case and then attempts to speak or vote in this House on that matter he cannot be allowed to do so under a decision of the House of Commons of 1858.
Honorable members interjecting ,
– Order ! There shall be silence when I am on my feet. IfI cannot obtain silence in one way I shall have to try another. The decision of the House of Commons to which I have referred was in force when federation was effected, and, according to section 49 of the Constitution, this House took over the rules, standing orders, usages and procedure of the Commons as at that time. That is still one of the rules of the Commons and, so far as I know, it has never been superseded by this House.
– Do you rule, Mr. Speaker, that the Leader of the Opposition is not in order in speaking to this bill?
– Irule that, unless some special provision is made, he will not be in order in so speaking.
– Would I be in order in moving that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from making his speech?
Motion (by Mr. Eric J. Harrison) proposed -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) from making his speech.
– I wish to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself appeared in constitutional cases before the Privy Council. In 1936, he appeared in connexion with the marketing case and he discussed that very case in this House for the purpose of putting forward a proposal for a constitutional amendment. With all respect to you, Mr. Speaker, I think that your ruling has been based on a complete misconception. There is a section of the Constitution which prevents a member of Parliament from taking any fee in connexion with bis services in Parliament. It is contrary to the usage of the House that members should advocate in the House measures in which they have been concerned for pecuniary gains. That rule applied to members of the House of Commons who might have been engaged as professional advocates to promote bills and endeavour to have them accepted by the House. I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I have no retainer nor have I given any undertaking to anybody to act in any way on their behalf in connexion with my duties as a member of Parliament. The position is that I was an advocate in a court case and that case relates, incidentally, to this matter. But I submit that you have no right to debar me from speaking. The way in which this matter has arisen is most extraordinary. When your previous ruling was given I was not in the House. I understood, at that time, that you said that you had given an abstract ruling which had no application to any particular person. I find, suddenly, that it applies to me. The Prime Minister himself has appeared as counsel in connexion with some constitutional matters. I submit with respect, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot be debarred from speaking. I do not want the benefit of a suspension of Standing Orders when I am entitled to speak. I am here to speak as Leader of the Opposition. I do not want a privilege. The section of the Constitution which prohibits a member from appearing as an advocate in the House does not apply to me. Never in my life have I had any retainer from any one in connexion with my duties in this House.
– Has the right honorable gentleman finished?
– I point out to the right honorable gentleman that when I gave the ruling I mentioned that it specifically excluded the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth when he appeared in court on behalf of the Crown.
– Not only the case of the Attorney-General but dozens of other instances could be cited. In the early days of the Commonwealth many legal members of the House frequently appeared in court cases. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that it is completely wrong for you to give such a ruling under these circumstances.
– I move-
That Mr. Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.
– Order ! I understand that the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric J. Harrison) has moved that the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the right honorable gentleman to make his speech. Is that so?
– That is so.
– That is the question before the House and it has to be disposed of first unless it is withdrawn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– May I move that your ruling be disagreed with, Mr. Speaker?
– The honorable member may put that question on the noticepaper. He cannot submit it to the House at the moment because it has no effect. Order ! I must ask the House to give the right honorable gentleman a fair and patient hearing. I will insist on that.
– It is not about anything that the House has done that I complain, Mr. Speaker. This is a bill of very great significance and importance. If honorable members analyse it fairly they will find that it represents a direct frontal attack on all the established principles of British justice. It goes much further than the legislation which was recently held by the High Court of Australia to be unconstitutional. I think I can establish that this is one of the most dangerous measures that has ever been submitted to the legislature of an English-speaking people. I do not think that a bill of this character would receive a moment’s consideration from the mother of parliaments, the British Parliament for in that Parliament traditions of political liberty and established justice are always recognized and are, indeed, all powerful. It is not only Britain of which that is true. It applies equally to the United States of America. In that country, proposals such as this, despite the deep hostility of Americans to communism, have never been brought f orforward. The American Constitution would probably prevent the acceptance of a bill of this character. The American Constitution is based fundamentally on a belief in justice. In America and in the United Kingdom they do not talk as democrats and act as fascists. They do not attempt to outlaw their fellow citizens as a group, irrespective of whether they have broken the law of the land. On the contrary, they enforce the law of the land against all who break it whether they be Communists or other offenders who are not Communists.
I shall sum up the attitude of the Australian Labour party on this subject. In the first place it is stated excellently in two basic declarations of the Labour conferences of 194S and 1951. The first of those two declarations reads as follows: -
Conference reaffirms its repudiation of the methods and principles of the Communist party and the decisions of previous conferences that between the Communist party and the Labor ‘party there is such basic hostility and differences that no Communist can be a member of the Labor party. No Communist auxiliary or subsidiary can be associated with the Labor party in any activity and no Labor party Branch or member can co-operate with the Communist party.
Conference further declares that the policjpolicand the actions of the Communist party demonstrates that that party’s methods and objects aim at the destruction of the democratic way of life of -the Australian people and the establishment in its place of a totalitarian form of government which would destroy our existing democratic institutions and the personal liberty of the Australian people.
Then the conference made the following declaration : -
The Australian Labor party expresses its adherence to the basic freedoms of the right of association and the right of expression, which are fundamental principles associated with the Australian democratic way of life. We therefore declare that any proposal for the banning of a political party because of hostility and objection to its platform and beliefs, no matter how repugnant such may bc, is a negation of democratic principles and should be rejected. Conference stresses that freedom of expression enables the community to determine the soundness or otherwise of political philosophies and reject such views as are inimical to the people’s interests.
Secondly I point out that from the point of view of the Australian Labour movement, it is a fundamental proposition that any person who attempts to endanger in any way the internal security or defence of the country can be, and should be, dealt with under the criminal laws that are in force. Those laws are contained in the Crimes Act, many sections of which deal with this very problem in various aspects. The law is already in existence to be enforced, and it should be enforced in relation to any person, whether a Communist or not, who endangers the security or defence of Australia.
Thirdly, I’ think that it is clear from a careful examination of the High Court’s judgment that the judges declared that this Parliament, and all governments, have full powers under the Constitution, without any. amendment of it being necessary, to deal with offences of every kind of a treasonable, seditious or subversive character. As I pointed out a moment ago, many of the relevant legislative provisions are contained in the Crimes Act. The scope of those provisions is wide. The courts have upheld them in a number of cases that they dealt with during the Labour Government’s period of office. I repeat that the necessary laws are already there to be enforced.
Fourthly, if the existing criminal law needs strengthening in these respects the Labour party will support amendments to it. Fifthly, no justification exists for abandonment of the recognized principles of British justice, through the introduction of alien measures that are characteristic, not of a democracy, but of a police state. Finally, the present proposal, which is designed to effect a permanent amendment of the Constitution, will introduce into the Constitution wide powers, indeed blanket powers, that will lead inevitably to the partial overthrow of the basis of the Constitution and will injure the safeguards of justice contained in that document. There is not the slightest doubt that this amendment could be used at some future date to divide, weaken or even destroy the political and industrial Labour movements of Australia.
I now direct the attention of the House to the terms of the proposal. Honorable members will see that it proposes two legislative powers. There is a tendency to say that it proposes to bestow only one power but if honorable member’s examine clause 2 they will see that under the proposed new section 51a the bill deals with two separate and distinct legislative powers. The first will permit the Parliament to make such laws for the peace order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to Communists and communism - both of which terms are undefined - as it considers to be necessary or expedient for the defence or security of the Commonwealth. Honorable members will see at once that the final judgment about the expediency or necessity of the legislation that may be enacted under the power to be granted by the proposed alteration of the Constitution is expressly made the business of the Parliament itself, and not of the tribunal which is the protector of the Constitution. That is to say, the Parliament and not the High Court will make the final judgment. That is a unique and unprecedented proposal. I point out also, and I shall refer to it again that there is no definition of the terms “ communism “ and “ Communists “. On this branch of the proposal the Parliament is now to be asked to give certain legislative authority which the people are to be asked to endorse.
That legislative authority did not exist in relation to defence even during the most crucial years of World War II. The second power which is asked for - and it is quite distinct from the first power that I have mentioned, and which I shall discuss later - is contained in proposed new section 51a (2.) which seeks to give the Parliament power to make a law in the terms of the Communist Party Dissolution Act, a measure which has been declared unconstitutional and invalid by the High Court. Under the proposed power the Parliament will be able to make a law in the precise terms of that act. although, I repeat, it is at present void and of no force; or it could vary the provisions of that act by empowering itself to deal with any of the matters thai that act was designed to cover.
What is the substance of the Communist Party Dissolution Act, against which the High Court has ruled? The Prime Minister, in his speech last Thursday, said practically nothing about it. I can understand his reluctance to discuss the High Court case in detail, because if it were examined in detail it would destroy a great part of his argument for the adoption, by the Parliament and the people, of the present proposal. The provisions of the Communist Party Dissolution Act should be forgotten, because the present proposal of the Government is, in substance, to force the High Court to recognize the validity of an attempt to exercise the defence powers in circumstances which the court had previously ruled to be highly unconstitutional. The act contained provisions of such a nature that, despite the hatred of communism that is so widespread, the court regarded the means that the Government proposed to adopt under that act to deal with communism, as quite outside the scope of the defence power.
It is quite fallacious to suppose that the High Court held that the Parliament could not deal with the Communist problem, or with the related problems that this country and other countries may have to meet. What it held was that the provisions of the act showed that it was not connected, in truth, with the defence of Australia. Why was that conclusion reached? The act contained provisions for the confiscation of property without compensation, not only in the case of the Communist party but also in the case of anybody who might be associated with it in one of a large number of ways, perhaps even in the case of an organization which might have a member who had been a Communist or was a member of the Communist party. There was an exemption provision that related to registered trade unions, but that provision certainly did not cover some of the trades and labour councils in the States, which are not registered. The present proposal would authorize the Parliament to widen the attack on trade unions and organizations, and would enable the passage of legislation that would cover many organizations and trade unions that have no belief in the concept of communism that was expounded by Lenin and adopted by Stalin. The Parliament is asked, through this measure, to place before the people a proposal that would allow it to make selections from the Communist Party Dissolution Act, which, I repeat, the High Court has ruled to be unconstitutional, certain subject-matter contained in that act. It could, for instance, vary the definition of “ Communist “ in that act. Heaven knows, the definition was wide enough, as was pointed out in the House at the time that the bill was debated. It might easily have covered advocates of certain aspects of socialization. If this proposal is accepted by the people even that definition can be widened, because that is one of the two matters dealt with under clause 2 which are to go before the people, and because it is suggested that the Parliament should be given that express power. So the bill is not only asking power for the Parliament to pass a certain act in precise terms but it is also asking for power to widen the previously . existing terms of that measure. If the people approve the- proposed constitutional alteration the Parliament could remove the exemption that applies to many registered organizations, and make provisions relating to exemptions more rigorous, although the High Court considered such powers in the Communist Party Dissolution Act as being in many respects too rigorous. I say that it is quite unheard of in the constitutional history of this country at anrate, and, I think in the constitutional history of every other federal nation, that a precise act of Parliament which an appropriate court has declared to be ultra vires is to be validated through the adoption of a constitutional process by its submission to a vote of the people taken in a referendum.
The second part of the proposal goes further, because, as I have tried to point out, and as the wording of the clause makes quite clear, all the limitations and qualifications contained in the act, some of which I have mentioned, such as the exemption of registered trade unions, could be removed and any or all trade unions could be brought under the provisions of the measure. Indeed, some of the trades and labour councils which are not registered would already come under the provisions of the Communist Party Dissolution Act had it not been declared invalid. If the exemption provisions were removed from the act then every trade union in Australia would be brought within its reach. If a trade union had Communists or ex-Communists among its membership it would run the risk, under amended legislation, of being declared illegal, of having its property confiscated without compensation and of being, in effect, wound up under the procedure set out in the Communist Party Dissolution Act. If this bill is passed and accepted by the people the provisions of that act could be modified and the methods of procedure would make such a revision as the people are now asked to adopt, really a complete excrescence on the Constitution. Honorable members have only to read the Constitution with its list of Commonwealth powers contained in section 51 and the subsequent additions in relation to social services, to see that that would be so. Section 52 of the Constitution deals with the exclusive powers of the Parliament to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth. Those powers deal with matters of a permanent nature, and they will be necessary for an undefined number of years. The Parliament and the people are now asked to add to that constitutional structure something that is really an excrescence and that is contradictory to the whole nature and purpose of the Constitution, simply to counter the fact that the Government met defeat in a case in which its power to make laws under the defence power was challenged, and to allow it to force its views on the people by having a special amendment of the Constitution to deal with that position. I say that in 50 years’ time or less, historians looking back on this matter will be amazed that the Parliament, instead of dealing with the subject of seditious activities by persons and organizations which could be dealt with by the Government by the use of provisions already in existence in the Crimes Act, passed a law to deal with Communists and communism only.
Is communism the only evil under the sun? It leaps to the eye that the doctrines of the enemies of this country and of the British Commonwealth during the last war also deserve inclusion in any provision to restrain influences that are evil or that may become evil. It would be reasonable to expect that any measure designed to deal with extremism would contain the words “ fascists “ and “ fascism “. But this measure is designed merely to meet the position that arose when the Government’s previous measure was declared to be unconstitutional. It is quite contrary to any recognized constitutional principle.
What was the essence of the High Court finding from the point of view of the defence power? The High Court has given a number of interpretations of the defence power. During World War I. it held that the power covered such matters as the fixation of prices of necessary commodities. In World War II. it carried that doctrine even further and to wider purpose. The defence power is really the great reserve power of the Constitution to deal with matters that are not purely defence matters, but are of economic or social import in relation to defence. In the case which involved the Communist Party Dissolution Act the court did not take a narrow view of the defence power. It took the very broadest view of it. It realized that the act stated that when property was to be confiscated there was to be no hearing at all, but merely a declaration of guilt by the Parliament and by the Executive. There was no right to be heard, no charge, no hearing, and no particulars. In fact there was nothing except an Executive declaration in the case of individuals who were to be excluded from trade union office or public service employment. In the case of affiliated bodies there was again a completely arbitrary declaration by the Executive. The court held that if it was said that a person or body, in the opinion of the Executive, was acting detrimentally to the defence of tho country that did not link up with defence, it merely linked up with Executive opinion.
In this measure there is an attempt being made to bypass the judicial organs of the Commonwealth and to allow the Executive in place of the judiciary to decide the facts of any particular case without any of the procedures which are recognized as basic to the administration of justice. It is one thing to put forward a measure such as the Communist Party Dissolution Act in a time of national emergency or fear, but it is quite another thing to embody such a measure in an amendment to the Constitution which may ultimately become less just than the original act would have been. That is a very wrong thing. Once this matter is fully explained to the people of Australia I believe that they will not support such a proposal. The tragedy is that this measure is being put forward by a Government part of which at least calls itself liberal. But the bill authorizes action which is the very antithesis of liberalism. None of the great Liberals of Britain would consider such a measure for one moment. Even to-day no party in the House of Commons, and I do not believe a single member, would endorse such a proposal. Liberalism stands for the proceedings of justice and the due processes of law. The great framers of the American Constitution had in mind the struggles of the British people towards freedom, and their various constitutional victories, when they framed their own Constitution. They therefore included safeguards in the American Constitution against such attacks upon the freedom of the people. It is a sad and tragic thing that a Liberal Government should sponsor such a measure in this century. It is being done despite the fact that the existing laws of Australia provide fully for the prosecution and punishment of every form of sedition including seditious activities, enterprises and conspiracies. If the Government believes that it should proceed .against the Communist party and have it declared unlawful, there is a provision in the Crimes Act to deal with the matter.
The Government could take proceedings to-morrow in a Supreme Court or in the High Court of Australia for a declaration that the Communist party or any of its auxiliaries is an ‘unlawful association because it advocates the overthrow of the Constitution by force or violence. It may well be asked why the Government has not used that power. Why does it want the Parliament and the Executive to do what a court is already empowered to do1? One reason may be that when proceedings are taken under the Crimes Act the facts must be brought before the court. Lt must be proved by evidence that the people in question advocate the overthrow of the Constitution by force or violence. Action similar to that was taken in the American case mentioned recently hy the Prime Minister, -known as the Dennis case. That case was brought before the American Supreme Court. Leading Communists were charged with advocating the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States by force or violence. That had been made a criminal offence by an act called, the Smith Act, and these men were indicted and prosecuted under that act. The case came ‘before a judge, a jury was empanelled, and evidence was called for and against. After the judge had told the jury that they must be satisfied that the charge was proved beyond reasonable doubt before they convicted, the jury convicted the people charged. What the Prime Minister read about the Dennis -case when he introduced this measure, simply related to the question whether in spite of the fact that the defendants conspired to overthrow the Constitution by force the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech in the American .constitution ‘entitled them to an acquittal. The greater part of the repant of the Dennis case could be quoted more against the Prime Minister than for him. The Smith Act of America gives to wi ‘accused -person an opportunity of putting his case before a jury. He is heard on the facts, and the case is decided according to justice. That is the difference between the Smith Act and -the act which the High Court ruled to be unconstitutional because in was not really connected with the defence of the country.
I turn now to paragraph (a) of subsection (2.) of proposed new section 51a, which is completely new. The Government wishes to go further than the act which Avas declared unconstitutional. Subparagraph (i) seeks a violent departure from the recognized principles of the Constitution, for it provides that the Parliament is to be the final judge of what is necessary or expedient for the defence of Australia. This first provision amounts to a -transparent attempt to -circumvent the jurisdiction of .the High Court of Australia as the interpreter of the -Constitution, and it is a direct attack on the court. The provision would not apply to any other branch of the defence power except this one -matter. On that the Parliament is to have the last word, but on every other question connected with the defence power the matter has to come before the High Court. I draw particular attention to the use of the words in this .provision as contrasted with the definitions sections of the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950, which was ruled unconstitutional. Sub-section -(1.) of proposed new section 51a includes the terms “ Communist “ and “ communism “, but no definition is provided as was the case in the Communist Party Dissolution Act. The Oxford English Dictionary defines communism as -
A theory which advocates a state of society in which there ^should be no private ownership, al.l property ‘being vested in the community and labour organized for .the common benefit of all members; the professed principle being ; that each should work according to his capacity and receive according to his wants. “ Communist “ would have a similar meaning. Therefore, it is possible that members of many political and economic groups might be caught up in the definition of “ Communist “. It would be a matter for the court to interpret, and the court would not he bound by any definition given by the Parliament on another occasion. That raises the question whether there is not a far more sinister purpose lying behind these proposals of the Government. Why does the Government need these powers now that the act has been rejected by the court? I say that any person who believes in socialism could be- brought within the scope of this definition. The Prime Minister, in his 1949 policy speech, referred to the Labour party, and said that he was going to make war on socialism. By that he meant that he would make war on the Labour party.
Government Supporters. - Hear, hear !
– My point is proved by the “ Hear, hears ! “ which have come from Government supporters. Apparently they do not dissociate the Australian Labour party from socialism. Therefore, this definition would be broad enough to cover the activities or membership of the Australian Labour party. If these powers are granted to the Parliament there will be no barrier in the way of those who wish to extend the reach of measures such as the one that the court rejected, to ensure that organizations like trade unions, labour groups aud the like, will be caught up by them. As a matter of fact no reference has been made by the Prime Minister to the necessity for this measure, and not a single argument has been adduced in support of it. When one turns to the objectives of the Australian Labour party one sees that it proposes socialization or social control to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation. There is enough in that to justify the Parliament or the Government, if it were so minded, to attack trade union activities and the political activities of the Labour party. The Government or the Parliament will be the judge of what is necessary or expedient. That would be an extraordinary provision to find in a constitution. Usually an act of parliament contains principles and sometimes a regulation-making power. Here there is a provision that the power to make laws shall be determined by what the Parliament considers to be necessary or expedient for the defence or security of the Commonwealth. That is completely opposed to, and overrides, the High Court. Therefore, it overrides the Constitution, because the basis of the federal constitution is an independent court which may determine whether the acts of the Australian Parliament fall within its power under the Constitution. Now, it is proposed that instead of the High Court being the arbiter, the Parliament should place itself in the position of the court. The High Court will not make the decision on the matter dealt with in this measure; the decision will be made by the Parliament. Moreover, there is no provision for appeal, and no constitutional challenge to the dragnet powers of the Government. Without using any legal process, the Government could take action against any persons who belonged to the group mentioned Or who subscribed to the theory mentioned. It would be subject to no restraint whatever.
– Did Hitler do that?
– Hitler did not go to the trouble of amending the Constitution of Germany. He acted withou’t having done so. This would permit the establishment of concentration camps. It would permit executive action to be taken against certain persons who had no legal safeguards. The power could be used against the Labour movement and against a trade union that subscribed to an objective that could be regarded as socialistic.
The Government has not given a single reason why it wants, in addition to power to re-enact the 1950 legislation, with amendments, the other power that it seeks under the bill. What is the purpose of the Government in seeking that extra power ? What does it wish to do in addition to re-enacting the measure that the High Court decided was unconstitutional? This bill bears no semblance of liberalism. It is extreme reactionary conservatism. Indeed, it is more than that. It is totalitarianism. It is fascist in spirit and a definite step towards the police State. It will cut a link between this country and the basic features of British law and jurisprudence. When we are considering amending the Constitution, we must remember that any alteration that may be agreed to will not die with the life of one parliament but will become a permanent alteration, unless a further change be made after a referendum. It is most important to consider a proposed alteration of the Constitution as something enduring, and intended not to deal with a momentary problem of a government, but to be enshrined permanently in the Constitution. This alteration, if made, will be regarded as a blot upon our Constitution and upon the records of all who sponsored it.
We believe that if a Communist commits acts of sabotage or engages in seditious enterprises, he should be dealt with under the ordinary criminal law. That is the principle upon which Labour governments have acted. When Communist threats were made to hold up work on the guided missiles testing range, a Labour government secured the passage of the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act, which prescribed criminal penalties for any boycott of defence projects. No attempt was made to give the Executive special powers to deal with those threats, and the matter was left to the courts of justice. The Approved Defence Projects Protection Act was 100 per cent, effective, and no further similar threats were made. When some Communists attempted to sabotage production in this country by fomenting a general coal strike in 1949, a Labour government secured the passage of the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act. Offenders against that measure were convicted according to the ordinary processes of law, not for being Communists but for disobeying court orders. Offending trade unions were also dealt with on the same principle. When a Communist leader in Australia talked about welcoming a foreign army that might land on these shores, a Labour government invoked the existing Crimes Act against him, and be was tried before a jury. In other similar cases, some men were convicted and others were acquitted.
Labour proceeded on the basis that any individual who committed an overt act against the defence or security of this country should be dealt with under the ordinary criminal code. If Communists engage in a criminal conspiracy, there are laws on the statute-book under which they can be dealt with, and those laws should be enforced. If seditious words are uttered, those who utter them are liable to heavy penalties under the existing law. That law could, and should, be invoked to deal with cases of that kind. Existing constitutional powers covering the defence of the Commonwealth are wide enough to enable the Government to proceed against persons who engage in treasonable or seditious activities, but apparently the Government does not like the existing laws. It has used the Crimes Act to deal with offences by trade unions and, therefore, it would appear that it has no fundamental objection to that measure, but apparently it is not satisfied with the existing law or with the Constitution. Having been defeated in the High Court upon the Communist Party Dissolution Act, it now wants to alter the Constitution and win its case in that way.
In a sense, communism is really the political ally of the present Government, which has used communism as its principal propaganda front for some years. The Prime Minister has not always held the view that the Communist party should be banned, because not long ago he opposed very vigorously the idea of banning it. Without the Communist bogy, the Government would have no disguise.
– Does the right honorable gentleman believe that communism is a bogy ?
– I say that the Prime Minister is using communism as a bogy to delude the people. The Government has all the law of this country at its disposal. What it is doing now, it is doing for political purposes in an attempt to deceive the people, but it will not be able to do so for much longer because many groups that have been deceived are now becoming aware of its insincere attitude. The inflationary and economic crisis is deepening, but the Government has no plan to meet it.
The policy speech that was delivered on behalf of the Government parties in 1949 by the Prime Minister has been repudiated. The right honorable gentleman said then -
The laws with respect to sedition or other subversive activities will be reviewed and strengthened.
There has beenno review of or proposal to strengthen those laws, although such a proposal would be considered by the Opposition. The fundamental blunder of the Government hasbeen that all its efforts have been confined to dealing with communism as a political theory or with Communists as a political group, and never to dealing with Communists who break the criminal laws of this country. The Prime Minister has practically admitted that that was so for in the policy speech that he delivered in April, of this year, he said -
When, therefore,I say to you. that the Government is pledged to make war upon communism, I am not talking about an attack upon individuals as such . . . but upon a set of evil ideas which are quite foreign to our civilization, our traditions; our faith.
While the Government has been talking about declaring war on a set of evil ideas, little or no action has been taken against Communists or others, who have been violating the criminal code of Australia. The Prime Minister is obsessed with the idea that he can wage war upon a set of political ideas and upon a hopelessly weak political party - the Communist party. That is why the Government has encountered serious legal trouble. That is why the 1950 legislation was drafted in a form which, in normal times, would have been denounced as being tyrannical and contrary to justice. The Government even tried to describe what it was fighting by inserting in that measure a preamble which contained a number of recitals. This measure represents an attempt to get those recitals embodied in the Constitution by a back door method and to by-pass the High Court of Australia.
So, too, with the onus of proof. Even in the very limited court review that would have been: possible under the Communist Party Dissolution Act, the onus of proof was placed not on the Commonwealth but on the declared person or body: The Government wants by a constitutional alteration, to re-enact a measure which contains the provisions that relate to the onus of proof. [Extension of time granted.] Mr. Justice Jackson, who prosecuted the German war criminals at Nuremburg, speaking of those persons, said -
Despite the fact that public opinion already condemns their acts, we agree that there must be given a presumption of innocence,, and we accept the burden of proving criminal acts and the responsibility of these defendants for their commission.
In that case, the prosecution accepted the onus of proving the guilt of Germans accused of war crimes, as was done also in the case of Japanese war criminals, but this Government wants openly to depart from that principle in dealing with persons in this country, who may, as a result, lose their civil rights.
In order to preserve the rule of law in Australia, we must ensure that the people will reject this proposal at the referendum. All that the High Court has done in effect, has been to refuse to allow this Government to legislate against the ideologies of a political group. It has never refused to allow the Parliament to legislate against crime. If an individual be guilty of a crime against his country, including the crime of conspiracy, we say that he should be prosecuted. The Government has in its hands, in the shape of the Crimes Act, a weapon that it can use against such a person, but it appears not to be worried whether crimes have been committed. It wants to proceed against certain individuals because they hold particular political ideas either alone or in common, with others. We say that mere ideas or beliefs do not enter into the picture, and that what matters is what a man does or attempts to do. We say that no man should be convicted, or deprived of civil rights, merely because he holds certain beliefs, any more than that he should be allowed to justify the commission of some crime on the ground that he held such beliefs. It is not the beliefs but the crime that matters.
The Government has convulsed the politics of the country and engaged in a witch-hunt to track down and ban a party or disqualify the members of a party irrespective of any overt acts of proved criminality. Labour governments concentrated on crimes that were being committed, but this Government concentrates on tracking down beliefs, and on banning groups and forcing them underground. When the Chifley Government was in office the law was enforced against any man who acted in. defiance of positive law. The Labour party has always maintained that this problem can be reduced to very simple terms. It can be solved by the undeviating application of the penal or criminal code of the country, with any amendments that are deemed to be necessary. Because Labour knows that these proposed powers are contrary to all just procedures and because it prefers to follow the great tradition of British justice,, it will call upon the Australian people to reject this submission when the referendum is held.
If the proposal were to give the Commonwealth power to pass laws in respect of “ seditious activities by persons or organizations “, we should support it, because the High Court would, then; decide judicially what constituted “ seditious activities”. Every person who was proved to be guilty of having engaged in seditious activities should be punished, irrespective of whether his political beliefs were of the left, right or centre. But I think - I do not believe, that the High Court’s judgment leaves room for doubt on the point - that those matters are, in fact, already within the constitutional power. Many provisions of this kind are already contained in the Crimes Act.
I wish to refer to two important court decisions. The first is the majority judgment of the High Court which, made it clear that it was largely because of the absence of any legal process that the act was regarded as not being linked to. defence. Perhaps I can best state the matter simply by saying, that if a person acted detrimentally to the security of the country, that would be one thing and dealing with that problem is within the defence power ; but if the Executive Government merely express its opinion as a fact that is an entirely different matter. The High Court insisted that in the first instance legal processes according to law were required; whilst in the second instance the Government merely gave a security determination without notice of the charge and without a hearing. That is clear from the judgment of Mr. Justice Dixon, who, in dealing particularly with section 9, said -
The matters of which the Governor-General is to he satisfied are described most indefinitely - activities prejudicial to security and defence, activities prejudicial to the execution or maintenance of the Constitution or of the laws of the Commonwealth . . As they are used here they (i.e. the words) express no specific connexion with any definite course of subversive conduct’ or design. The sub-sections commit to the Governor-General in Council complete: authority over the application of these vague expressions; and how they are1 applied is left to depend upon the conceptions, of the Executive Government. . Under those conceptions conduct to which specific legislation could not be validly directed in purported exercise of the power to make laws with respect to defence might be treated as prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Justice Dixon, said, in effect, “ Hand that topic over to the Executive Government and it may transcend constitutional limits “. Here is a sharp reminder that under a Constitution by which judicial power is committed to courts, the authority of the courts can seldom be circumvented by the Parliament attempting, to do as the Government attempted to do in the act of 1950, which was to act as judge and prosecutor and give, in. effect, a verdict of guilty without effective charge or hearing. Mr. Justice Williams, in summing up the act, said -
The outstanding character of the Act is that, in the words of Knox C.J. iri. Eai parte Walsh and Johnson, 37 CL-R. 36 at p. 69, the enactment in its main provisions “prohibits no act, enjoins no duty, creates no offence, imposes no sanction for conduct “. lit operates to dissolve’ the. Australian Communist Party and to forfeit its property to the Commonwealth, and to make other bodies of persons who were in the prescribed period or are likely to- be tainted with communism, corporate or unincorporate liable to be dissolved and their property forfeited to the- Commonwealth, and to make persons who were in the prescribed period or are Communists liable to be deprived of important contractual rights without creating any offence the commission of which will entail such consequences, and indeed without proof that they have committed any offence against any law of the Commonwealth, without a trial in any Court, and without such bodies or persons having any right to prove that they have not done anything prejudicial to the security and defence of the Commonwealth or to the execution or maintenance of the Constitution or of the laws of the Commonwealth.
That is one of the essential points of the case and it shows that the legislation is not truly linked to defence. Mr. Justice Fullagar, in dealing with the activities mentioned in the act, said -
That such activities could be the subject of valid Commonwealth laws, could, one would think, not be doubted. Some of them are indeed dealt with in Part IIa of the Crimes Act 1914-1946.
Hia Honour was pointing out that, although those imputations and charges were contained in the act, there was no proceeding for determining whether the persons concerned were guilty.
The second case to which I wish to refer is the Dennis case in the United States of America which the Prime Minister mentioned. I think that I have already made clear the distinction between that case and the problem that is now before the House. Dennis and another members of the Communist party in the United States of America were charged with conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional system of that country by force. The case was tried by a judge and jury. Evidence was called and the jury returned a verdict of guilty. The case was taken to appeal and the one substantial point that was decided by the Supreme Court was merely whether, after conviction, the principle of free speech had any application. It is obvious from a fair reading of the judgments that Mr. Justice Frankfurter and all the American judges would have held on an act such as the Communist Party Dissolution Act or the provisions that are included in the bill now before us were contrary to justice because they made no .provision for a fair hearing or trial whilst they provided for confiscation without right of compensation.
Motion (by Mr. Holt) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) from continuing his speech without limitation of time.
I stress the importance of the point to which I have just referred because the Prime Minister relied so much upon the judgment in the Dennis case. The Smith Act under which that prosecution was launched was entirely different from the Communist Party Dissolution Act. Indeed, no two acts could stand in greater contrast. The former act provided for punishment of crimes, conspiracy, and the advocacy of doctrines which sought the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States of America, whereas the
Communist Party Dissolution Act provided that the Executive Government could, in effect, try the persons who were declared and finally make the declaration that such persons were aeting detrimentally to the defence of the Commonwealth. Mr. Justice Dixon and other justices practically asked what that expression meant and pointed out that the Government might think that a man was acting prejudiciously to the defence of the Commonwealth when the matter was outside the defence power of the Commonwealth. Yet, that man would not be given any hearing and no charge would be made against him. It is certain that all the members of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, although they differed among themselves with respect to the question of constitutional guarantees, would have rejected the Communist Party Dissolution Act as being entirely contrary to the United States of America Constitution. In fact, no Congress would attempt to pass such an act, and no British Parliament would consider such a measure.
I emphasize that the act of Parliament which we are now asked to embody permanently in the Constitution by reference to the people is contrary to the general principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948. It is perfectly true that that declaration is not a binding covenant and that nonobservance of it does not constitute a breach of international’ obligations, but it did put before mankind new heights to be reached by the human family and it did insist that in these matters there should be proper legal processes in the various countries.
Having failed once to achieve its purposes the Government is now bringing up the matter a second time. It wants, in effect, . to reject the Declaration of Human Rights and wants Australia to join the totalitarian States in respect of such matters. The Australian Labour party believes that the Australian people will prefer to retain those safeguards and that they would not possibly accept a measure of this kind. One could cite as authorities the greatest men in the history of Great Britain and, indeed, in that of all democratic nations to show how legislation of this kind has always been regarded with abhorence. Hallam in his works deals with similar attempts to deal with minorities. But it is left to this Government to try to turn back the pages of history. It would be hard to find anything comparable to this legislation unless one went back 200, or 300, years in British history. The lesson of that period, apparently, has ‘ not yet been learned by honorable gentlemen opposite.
I should like to quote one other authority. I refer to the distinguished Governor of New York, Mr. Dewey, who is about to visit Australia. The following opinions were attributed to Mr. Dewey in the Melbourne Herald of the 3rd July last : -
Governor Dewey opposes outlawing the Communists on the grounds that the party is less dangerous in the open than underground, and that suppression of the party would endanger freedom of speech and other traditional rights .
On the question of principle, Governor Dewey has gone on the record as favouring prosecution of mcn for crimes they commit, but never for ideas they have.
That is what the Government fail3 to recognize. Let the proceedings be taken on overt acts and let factual evidence be put before the court. The Melbourne Herald report continues -
Fie considers . that it would be fatal if America or any other democratic country, in efforts to defeat the totalitarian system, adopted totalitarian methods.
In this great democracy the people are being asked to adopt totalitarian methods in order to defeat the totalitarian doctrine of communism. For those reasons we shall urge the people of Australia to reject these proposals. We believe that they are retrograde. The Government, apparently, believes that it can establish a” dictatorship over ideas. It is not content, as it should be, with dealing with specific criminal acts of sedition or conspiracy. To ban political groups or to disqualify their members from civil rights on mere government declaration without proof of overt acts, or of specific crimes, without a hearing or without a charge, would in all instances be tyrannical and unjust. Such action can never be justified under the conditions that exist in this country. To sup port an alteration of the Constitution as we are now asked . to do would be to become a party to tyranny and injustice. The Australian people should therefore be asked to reject the measure and to refuse to put a fascist and totalitarian blot on their Constitution.
– The House has just been listening to the most notable defender of communism in Australia. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has spoken at considerable length and, at times, with some degree of fervour, in a role in which this country is becoming increasingly accustomed to see him in both the Parliament and the law courts. The right honorable gentleman has sought to-night to take his stand iu this matter on the ground of high principles. He appealed to the record of history. If all public men with the responsibility of leadership in the Western democracies took the view that he took in the course of his speech, there would within a matter of a few years be no free history to record. He has sought to take his stand on high principles. If the record of history is carefully examined, as I hope that it will be, and if every episode in which the right honorable gentleman has been involved is carefully examined, it will be found that, so far from placing his stand on high principles, he has followed the course of the crudest political expediency. At one stage he was all for attacking the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950. He then talked in the same terms of high principles. But when it became clear that his party faced the danger that it might have to go before our masters, the people, and be dealt “with by them, he put high principles under the counter and followed the course of political expediency. What hap pened? The bill was passed-
– And it was passed with the right honorable gentleman’s support.
– That is so. The right honorable member for Barton and his party passed the bill, but then political expediency made it desirable that the Communists should not feel that they had lost all their friends. There are great political advantages for the Labour party in the support it receives from the Communist party at general elections, and the right honorable gentleman, having had a personal reason to count votes carefully during the last few elections, must have been well aware of the significance of the Communist party to the Labour party. At one stage of the debate he read a passage. from the resolutions that were adopted by the Labour party in 1948. He claimed that it was impossible for a member of the Communist party to be a member of the Labour party. He knows perfectly well that that is clearly false, and any man who knows the constitution and make-up of the Labour party is aware that, not only is it possible for a Communist to be a member of the Labour party, but also that literally thousands of Communists are to-day full-fledged members of it. They are members of the Labour party because it is made up, not merely of individuals, but also of the affiliated unions, which pay a per capita fee for each of their members, irrespective of whether the member is a Communist or not. As we all know, many unions which are registered with the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and affiliated with the Labour party contain literally thousands of Communists who have the right to record a vote in the pre-selection ballots that are contested by Opposition members.
Opposition members interjecting,
-I must call the’ House to order. The Minister is entitled to a fair and uninterrupted hearing, and I propose to see that he gets it.
– The other point which is very much in the mind of the Leader of the Labour party is that the voting support of Communists at an election can make all the difference between success and defeat for Labour. I remind the House that, in the last general election, nine seats were won by fewer than 1,000 votes. In point of fact, 500 votes one way or the other would have made a difference in the result of each of those seats. Of those nine seats, eight were won by members of the Labour party and it is a fair and, I believe. a factual statement that eight members of the. Labour party who now sit in this Parliament would not be here unless 500 Communist votes in their respective electorates had returned them. I do not say that the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke), who is one of the eight, is not opposed to communism, and I can imagine how embarrassed he must have been by the speech of his leader this evening, but it is literally true that the honorable gentleman would not be here this evening had the preferences of the Communist candidate not ensured his return. Those matters are important to bear in mind, because it would be impossible for history or, indeed, for the public, to follow the tortuous movements of the Leader of the. Opposition unless it is realized that, at every stage, he has to watch where he is taking the Communist vote, which can mean so much to his party.
The right honorable gentleman spoke of high principle, but that has enabled him bitterly to resist the Communist Party Dissolution Bill at one moment, to assist to pass it the next moment, and then to go from this Parliament, at a time when he was the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, into the courts and put up his skilful defence against that legislation. It may be argued that, in so acting, the right honorable gentleman is maintaining his own position and that he has said, “ whatever my party may do in this matter, I at least will stand by what I believe, and that is the right of the Communists to express themselves and to carry on as a political party in this country”. But let us see where expediency takes the right honorable gentleman. He found the bitter wind of public disapproval blowing round his ankles at the recent general election, and one of the things which hold against him in his own electorate and throughout Australia was the very fact that he not only had championed the cause of the Communists in the Parliament, but also had gone into the courts to defend them.
An almost farcical position was cooked up to save the right honorable gentleman at the recent election. We learned from no less a person than the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman O’Dea, that the right honorable gentleman was to go to the aid of the Sydney City Council, and fight against the Communists who were threatening legal action because that council would not allow them to use the Town Hall for their meetings. Here was this champion of free speech! The Sydney City Council had decided in its wisdom, that it would not make available its hall to the Communists for their meetings. That decision did not suit the book ofthe right honorable gentleman’s brother, who happened to be the Chief Secretary in the Labour Government of New South Wales, and I understand, if he was correctly reported, that he tried to force the council to withdraw its ban. But the council decided to oppose any move by the brother of the right honorable gentleman to dictate to it who should and. who should not use the Town Hall. So, we found, right in the middle of the election campaign, when public disapproval was making itself so keenly felt in the electorate of Barton, that a news item appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 17th April last, under the following heading: -
Evatt may appear against Communists.
That was headline news. The article reads as follows : -
The Lord Mayor, Alderman E. C. O’Dea, said lust night that Dr. H. V. Evatt had consented to represent the City Council if the Communist Party took legal action in an effort to obtain the use of the Town. Hall for political meetings.
Alderman O’Dea said the City solicitor, Mr. M. W. D. McIntyre, was instructed yesterday to ask Dr. Evatt to represent the Council.
Alderman O’Dea said : “ To-day, after grave and careful consideration, I refused an application by the general secretary of the Communist Party, Mr. L. L. Sharkey, for the use of the Town Hall. “I now believe that the Communists are going to take further action against the council. “Dr. Evatt will be asked to represent the council, and he has intimated that he will accept the brief,” said Alderman O’Dea.
That news item was pushed into the public press on the eve of the last general election, but the Communists could not rely, presumably, on more skilful counsel to put their case for them, and they let the matter drop. When the right honorable gentleman makes his claims of high principle, and, by implication, damns every member of this Parliament who supports the bill, damns his own colleagues including the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mullens) and others who have shown their support for the bill whenever they have had the opportunity at election time to do so, and damns the members of the Victorian executive of tha Labour party who came to Canberra a few days ago to urge the Labour party to support the proposed referendum, his own actions must be examined.
Let us see where those actions have taken him. The most agile of snakes would have hesitated to follow the tortuous course which the right honorable gentleman has twisted through during the long episode of his relations with the Communist party. He made some extraordinary claims in the course of his speech. That utterance, by the way, was not easy to follow, because he jumped to and from so many positions from time to time. First, he attacked the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on the ground that he had not carried out his election mandate, To support his remarks, he read a passage from the right honorable gentleman’s policy speech. Therefore, I remind the House that the present Prime Minister, in his policy speech in 1949, said -
Communism in Australia is an alien and destructive pest. If elected, we shall outlaw it.
The Communist party will be declared subversive and unlawful, and dissolved.
That statement was made in 1949, and the Prime Minister has been trying to give effect to it ever since. He was frustrated for months by members of the Labour party. Then, finally, they gave their reluctant assent to the legislation.. It was declared void by the High Court of Australia, not, as the Prime Minister pointed out in his. second-reading speech, on political grounds but on. purely legal grounds. We went to the people again, and, on this occasion, they had before them not only the broad mandate in the terms of the 1949 policy speech, but also the very bill that the Government had presented to the Parliament. They knew what was in our minds, they knew what we proposed to do and they overwhelmingly endorsed our policy. Does any member of the Opposition claim that we have not a mandate for this legislation? I am certain that the Leader of the Opposition is very definite in his own mind that we have such a mandate.” I remind him of what public opinion has done to him in his own electorate, because of the course that he has pursued in defence of the Communists throughout this controversy.
In 1946, before he had so clearly disclosed his hand on the Banking Bill, on the Labour party’s socialization programme, and on his advocacy of communism or, at least, his support for Communists in this country, he had the most spectacular majority of his career in the electorate of Barton. He won that seat by 24,676 votes. By 1949, the electors of Barton and of Australia were beginning to see him in his true colours, and to discover precisely where he stood on this great issue. I make allowance for the fact that the numerical strengths of the electorates were reduced in the general election of 1949, and that a proportionate reduction muSt be made in his majority, but I find that that remarkable majority of 1946 was reduced to a majority of 2,644. A few months ago, again with his own championing of the cause of the Communists, which was a very live issue in his own electorate, his majority was reduced to a mere 253. So I do not think that there will be any doubt in the right honorable gentleman’s mind about what the people of Australia think on this issue, and what they think about his own course of conduct in the matter. “What is the purpose of the Government in introducing this bill ? Is it trying to thrust something on an unwilling or reluctant people? All that the Government is trying to do is to give the people a chance not merely to grant us a general mandate, but also to endorse in the most precise terms the bill that was before the Parliament last year, and the general power to deal with communism and Communists. Is there anything undemocratic in that process? What could be fairer to the people of this country than to say to them, “You now have the opportunity to show whether you want us to proceed with this course of action or not “. The members of the Labour party have been guilty of a remarkable volte face on this matter. I have always understood, from my interpretation of their speeches in this Parliament, that they want sovereign powers for the National Parliament, and, as the Leader of the Opposition demonstrated in 1944 when, as Attorney-General in a Labour Government, he submitted referendum * proposals to the House, the widest extension of Commonwealth powers. Is it not remarkable that, having had as their policy for years the granting of full powers to the Parliament of the Commonwealth, they should now say, “We consider that every power should be granted to this Parliament except the power to deal with communism “. Yet that is their attitude, as shown by their stand on this bill.
I claimed earlier that expediency in its crudest form was the real explanation of the actions of the Leader of the Opposition. I ask the House to bear with mc for a few moments while I recall some of the opinions that he has expressed on previous occasions. It was not so much the things that he said to-night that stuck in my mind as the things that he left unsaid. However, he has made forceful statements on earlier occasions. In 3944, he indicated the kind of matter which he considered was a proper matter for submission to the people by way of a referendum. The right honorable gentleman is reported in Hansard, volume 177, at page 140, as having made the following statement : -
Subject to one condition, it should hu grantmatic that, in making; a grant to the Commonwealth of legislative power, Parliament should, as a general rule, be given authority to pass legislation on a topic so as to carry into effect any political policy on that topic to which the electors have given their approval.
That is the first point which I ask the House to note, because, quite clearly, the electors have given their approval to the policy of this Government in relation to communism. He had said that it was subject to one condition. Then he continued -
What is the condition? It is this - that the topic should be one of Australia-wide concern and interest.
There will be no argument about that. He went on -
Therefore, when the question arises at a referendum, the true issue should not be confused by advocating or condemning political policies that may be embodied in Commonwealth legislation in relation to the proposed subject-matter.
If that bp the case, what has he been doing to-night but condemning the proposal that the Government has submitted to the House? He went on to say -
The true issue is this - whether, in relation to the particular subject-matter, a national Commonwealth policy is preferable to six differing and almost certainly divergent policies operating in the several States.
Is it not preferable to have a national policy on the issue of communism rather than six different, and possibly strongly divergent, policies? We have learned how divergent the policies of the States were because, as honorable members are aware, the Prime Minister went to the State Premiers and asked, “Will you refer power to us to carry this bill into effect? “ How many Premiers were prepared to do so? Certainly some of the Labour Premiers would not agree to the request.
The Leader of the Opposition in the speech from which I have been quoting, proceeded to bring out a most important point, which none of us should overlook. It is the real safeguard that the Australian people have against .arbitrary or unreasonable action. The right honorable gentleman outlined in his speech to-night a fantastic list of possibilities of what could be done under a general power. Of course, if a government has a general power and is so silly as to ignore the expressed will of the people or the Parliament, the power is there for its usage. But the United Kingdom Parliament is not trammelled by constitutional limitations and the New Zealand Parliament is also untrammelled. The real purpose of placing restrictions on the power of this Parliament in the Constitution was to honour the federal pact and maintain the respective rights of the federal parliament and the State parliaments. It was never intended that, in a matter of real national concern which could not be dealt with effectively by the States, proper powers should be denied to the National Parliament. Surely, in this vital issue of communism, we have a matter in relation to which this Parliament should be’ empowered, in the public interest and for the public security, to act with full authority. But the right honorable gentleman gave an answer to his own proposition, because he went on to say -
Under the Commonwealth Constitution, a general election must be held at least once every three years for the House of Representatives. The proper place for determining rival political policies is at the polls. The function of constitutional reform is to make sure that, whatever policy is determined upon by the electors, it should be made legally possible to effectuate that policy through the Commonwealth Parliament if it relates to matters which have become of national concern.
Is that not precisely what this Government is trying to do by means of the legislation which is now before the Parliament?
The right honorable gentleman said to-night that the Government did not need this kind of legislation because, under the Crimes Act, it had a general power to deal with the activities of the Communist party. But again he contradicted his own proposition as the speech developed, because he referred to two instances in which, in order to deal with some phase of Communist activity, the Labour Government of which he was the AttorneyGeneral had found it necessary to enact special legislation. I shall not discuss the situation that arose when the coal strike of 1949 was in progress, because the events of that time are familiar to honorable members.
– Where was the Minister then?
– I was in this Parliament offering the full support of the Opposition to the Government in its efforts to stamp out Communist activity, just as the honorable member should be doing now. The other matter was of slightly earlier origin, and its details may not he so familiar to some of the newer members of the Parliament. In 1947, the present Leader of the Opposition published a little pamphlet, which is well worth reading in relation to present circumstances. It was entitled Hands Off the Nation’s Defences, and it related to the situation that had. developed because the Communists had threatened to boycott the construction programme at the guided weapons testing range in central Australia. Even the federal executive of the Australian Labour party recognized that threat as a Communist-inspired move and, in the pamphlet, the right honorable gentleman, quoted with approval a passage from a resolution that had been adopted by that body. He wrote -
It is apparent that the propaganda recently issued by the Communist Party in connexion with this undertaking is for the sole purpose of defeating the Australian Defence Policy iri the interest of a foreign power.
Later, in a chapter headed “A Very Ugly Incident “, he stated -
Although the attempt has temporarily fizzled out, it constituted a very ugly .incident, and it has undoubtedly opened many eyes to the menace to Australian defence interests involved in a facile acceptance of proposals put forward by members of the Communist Party. For, although the Central Committee of that party late in the day openly dissociated the party from the boycott move, the evidence of its Communist origin is too strong to be put aside.
He was under no illusions in 1947! It is interesting and somewhat ironic to note that then, as the Attorney-General of the day, he came under criticism on the ground that his bill would interfere with freedom of speech and the proper activities pf trade unions. In .another part of the same pamphlet he stated -
It is said thai “the Act is aimed against the trade unions and the right of unionists to organize and if necessary to strike for improvement of conditions. This statement is utterly false. A strike is an action by workers to improve their industrial conditions. But a boycott or black ban of the character contemplated by the .Act is not for the industrial purpose of improving the conditions of workers, but for the seditious purpose of .sabotaging the accepted defence policy of the Government and tlie Parliament.
Is there not a familiar ring about that passage? Is that not what we have been tolling the people for months’?
This so-called strike action of .the Communists to uphold industrial conditions is really designed to sabotage the economy and the security of the nation. That is the ground on which we justify the bill that is now before the Parliament. It may be true that it is unprecedented in character. But the situation is unprecedented in character. Never in the history of the world has there been a situation in which this insidious fifth column has been allowed to entrench itself in a settled community and go on with .its sinister conspiratorial activities without the hand of government being raised to attack it. The people of Australia will not be blinded by the theoretical whimsies of the Leader of the Opposition. They recognize the stark facts for what they are. The right honorable gentleman talked about the onus of proof.- We all know that, only a few days ago, seamen were called off the vessel Aorangi and that we were told that no ban had been placed on the ship but that the men’s action had been just a spontaneous move. They moved back again just as spontaneously when the unseen hand was lifted to give them their instructions. We know that there is a conspiracy to prevent us from getting the coal and the steel that we need and to hold up the ships in which w.e want to transport the .steel. If I am asked what proof I have of the existence of such a conspiracy I reply, as Labour Ministers in New South Wales have replied to the same -question, “ I cannot put my finger on the proof “, but I repeat, with all the conviction that I have as a man of some responsibility in this Parliament, that I know there is a conspiracy.
While we are faced with this problem -of the onus of proof are we merely to stand by and see Australia, utterly destroyed because our enemies cannot be dealt with by the normal processes of law? This is an .abnormal situation which hitherto has been unknown in Australia, or in any other part of the democratic world, and it calls for strong and abnormal remedies. We have every confidence that, when we go before the people in order to justify the action that we shall take we shall be favorably received. What we have done by that time will have been done with temperance, a sense of responsibility and a recognition of the true rights of democratic citizens. But we shall .also have in our hearts the assurance that what we have done has been done to protect our country and to save it from the white-anting processes which, in time, would utterly destroy it if left unchecked. We want to save Australia from a menace which would weaken it and sabotage it in time of peace and which would sabotage and enslave it in time of war. Our mandate has been twice endorsed by the people of Australia. ‘Our legislation cannot become effective until, for the third successive time, knowing precisely what the Government proposes to do, the Australian people, with the full authority of their vote ‘at & referendum, give us -a , renewed mandate to get on with the job.
.- One can understand the rage of this minor legal luminary, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt), at his inability to answer the skilful arguments that were advanced by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) before the High Court, of Australia, .because the .arguments that the Leader of the Opposition ‘has advanced in this House to-night -are substantially the same as those which he advanced before the High Court. The right honorable gentleman had been unable to convince a tory majority in this Parliament that his views were (right, but he was able to convince six justices of the High ‘Court of the validity of his arguments. Do Ministers and their supporters suggest that those six judges are members of the Communist party or fellow travellers because they agreed with the arguments that were advanced by the right honorable gentleman? The truth is that the Leader of the Opposition, notwithstanding the charge of inconsistency that has been made against him, has never at any time changed his attitude to the sort of antidemocratic legislation that the House inow considering. When the right honorable gentleman said that the bill, if it became effective law, would pave the way for the establishment of the police State in Australia he was merely stating what thousands of people are now beginning to realize for the first time.
Anybody would imagine that the Government honestly and sincerely wished to deal only with the Communist party as an organization and with its members. However, the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that there are already in existence certain statutes under which the Government could prefer charges against the Communists. He quoted sections of the Crimes Act. Is it not a fact that the present Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) actually invoked the provisions of .that act when he was the Attorney-General in another anti-Labour government in 1936, in order to have the Communist party -and die Friends of the Soviet
Union declared to be unlawful associations? For some strange reason that course was not pursued. It would be interesting to hear some /member of the .present Government explain why that Government in 1936, after having .resolved to take action against the Communist party and the Friends ‘Of the ‘Soviet Union, ‘decided to retrace its steps. The Leader -of the Opposition has pointed out with perfect truth that, if a government proceeds against anybody ‘by the normal processes of .law, it must prove its case. It is not always easy, even in .courts of law, for a man to clear himself of false accusations that .are made against him. I remind the House that this is not .the first attack that has been made upon the organized Labour movement. ‘The Government and its supporters talk about division in the ranks of the Labour party on this issue. It is true that certain members :of the Labour .movement foolishly believed at one time that the intention of the Government was to deal only with the Communist party. But they realize their mistake now and the Labour party to-day is a united body in opposition to this anti-democratic -legislation and will prove that ‘fact when it goes before the electors to advise them ito reject the Govern.ment’s proposals.
Is it not rather significant that the junior Minister who was put forward to answer the Leader of the Opposition devoted very little time to a discussion of the bill itself and the definitions . of the terms of “ Communist “ and communism “”? The Government believes that any man who strikes, no matter for what reason, is a Communist. It believes that any one who advocates nationalization of the banking system is a Communist. I could mention numerous items of Labour party policy which honorable gentlemen opposite believe to be identical with Communist policy. During the recent general election campaign the Prime Minister and his deputy repeatedly referred to the twin allies of communism and socialism, and also referred to the Labour party as a socialist party. The people of this country must be warned that we are rapidly approaching a stage at which fascism may be established. The real enemies of the democratic form of government in Australia to-day are the fascist forces which are beginning to show their hand. Honorable members opposite have on more than one occasion eulogized the Nazi form of government. The Prime Minister spoke on many occasions of the advantages of a totalitarian form of government after he had paid visits overseas. The Minister for Labour and National Service has spoken about Communists as though if one went within 100 miles of them one would become contaminated. Yet he has been in their company continually, discussing problems, industrial and otherwise, with them. It is not difficult to observe the blatant hypocrisy of his statements. The Minister stated that the Labour party believed in full legislative powers for the Commonwealth Parliament. Of course it does. But there is a vast difference between the granting of full legislative powers to the Commonwealth Parliament and the granting of dictatorial powers to the Executive Government which could use them independently of the opinion of the Parliament. Everybody in Australia who has disagreed with the Government and who has refused to carry out its wishes could be branded as a Communist and could be brought within the scope of the powers that the Government is now seeking. The Labour party would not oppose the granting of full powers to the National Parliament.
I have mentioned that attacks have been made in the past upon members pf various organizations and that these persons have had great difficulty in clearing themselves of false charges. Such instances arose in relation to the War Precautions Act when action was taken against the Industrial Workers of the World. Those men had their case tried publicly. Evidence was placed on record and they had the opportunity of testing it. Yet, four and a half years after they had been convicted Mr. Justice Ewing reviewed their cases and decided that six of the men should never have been convicted and that the penalties that had been imposed on the others were excessive. He also declared that four of the crown witnesses were liars and perjurers. If the Government is able to make this legislation effective by securing the approval of the people of Australia in order to circumvent the decision of six justices of the High Court it will be able to procure liars and perjurers to make charges against citizens with whose statements and activities it has disapproved. The individuals who may so act will not have tq give evidence publicly and have it tested. The Government by laying charges which it can not substantiate will be able to damn for all time the reputation of a man with whose opinion they disagree.
This legislation is similar in pattern to that which was adopted by the German Nazi regime of which the Prime Minister has spoken in such eulogistic terms on a number of occasions. During the past few days I have heard of one of my colleagues being castigated by an honorable member who supports the Government because a speech he made was allegedly rebroadcast by Moscow Radio. At least my colleague did not earn the distinction that during the last war his statements were quoted in broadcasts from the Japanese-controlled radio stations as were the remarks of the Prime Minister. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he seized the trade union buildings and arrested ali trade union leaders regardless of whether they were members of the Social Democratic party or the Communist party. Within a month he dissolved the Socialist Democratic party and forbade the formation of any new political organization. The only remaining political party was the Nazi party. Does the Government not desire to bring about a similar state of affairs in this country?
This legislation is aimed at the trade union movement. As the late esteemed Leader of the Opposition said, the Government wants tame cat “ unions which will carry out its bidding. The only time that the Minister for Labour and National Service has spoken in eulogistic terms of the trade union movement has been when a section of it has agreed with what the Government has done. Every organization that opposes this discipline is alleged to be Communist controlled. The purpose of the Government is to destroy the trade union movement as a preliminary to the complete destruction of democratic government in this country. As the Leader of the Opposition has said, the economic crisis in this country is deepening. In the months that this Government has had control of the nation’s affairs it has not done anthing to deal with the economic problems of the people. The Government knows that there are thousands of people in this country who are literally starving. Is ii not a fact that many clergymen and other members of religious bodies have repeatedly directed the . attention of the Government to the fact that people are starving ? The position is growing worse. The Government knows it and knows that the only effective weapon that the organized Labour movement has for the purpose of defending the workers is an effective trade union movement and an effective political Labour party. The Government has attempted to divide the Labour movement by saying that it is not going to attack the Labour party. It has announced that it does not intend to attack the unions that are controlled by men who are not members of the Communist party and that it is only concerned with what it calls “ Communist dominated “ organizations. The Government knows that by dividing the Labour movement it can. weaken and destroy it. That is what this bill ‘has been designed to do.
The Government has claimed that it has a mandate to introduce this measure but can any honorable member honestly say that the majority of the Australian people are aware of the provisions of the bill? In the hurly-burly of the election campaign the newspapers were united against the Labour party and it was given very little opportunity of broadcasting its case over the radio stations. It had to depend largely on outdoor meetings to make its policy known. Under those conditions and with only a short campaign, it is most likely that the great majority of the people voted for the Government without knowing exactly what its proposals were. But the longer the people have to examine this legislation the more certain will be its rejection. This bill has some relationship to other legislation that has been introduced and passed in this Parliament as part of an attack on the trade union movement. The power that the Government now seeks is very little short of that which Hitler obtained in Germany and used from 1933 onwards.
The only protection that the people of Australia have is that the Constitution provides that Parliament must be called together at least once in every year. But the Government wishes to keep the Parliament closed for as long as it is practicable to do so. I read a statement in the pre3s which was attributed to the Prime Minister to the effect that the Government was seeking certain powers because it wanted to use them for regulation-making when it might be inconvenient to call the Parliament together. “What a statement to make ! If it were merely left to the convenience of honorable members to decide whether Parliament should meet I should say that ii would be rather inconvenient for them to meet here in the depths of winter. The Government would like to keep the Parliament closed and govern completely by regulation. It would like to have these powers in order to cripple the Labour movement, which is the only effective instrument to prevent this Government from imposing its will on the people.
The Communist party is numerically weak in Australia. It has approximately 15,000 members. Yet the Minister has said that Labour members of Parliament depend on Communist votes for their election. If honorable members divide 15,000 votes by 122 electorates they will find that the result is 125 votes to each electorate, which shows that the Minister has exaggerated the importance and voting strength of the Communist party. Government members have made this type of statement deliberately with the idea of creating in the minds of the public the impression that communism is a great menace. Judging by the international situation, which has improved because of the prospects of peace in Korea, there is less need for legislation of this type than ever before. The bill has been introduced, allegedly, because of the gravity of the international situation. To what do honorable members opposite allude when they refer to the gravity of the international situation? If this Government is to have its way, the living standards of the people will be forced down. The Government has stated that it must prepare for war or, as it ha.i termed it, for defence. “What is to be the economic position of Australia ? Although we are at peace at the moment, all our economic resources are to be concentrated on preparations for war. I presume that if war actually occurred the position would be much more acute and the privations that would be imposed upon the people would be much greater. Evidently, the people are to be asked to live in perpetuity under the intolerable conditions that exist at present. The Government has not always adopted direct methods of dealing with what it regards as recalcitrant trade unions. The late Mr. Justice Halse Rogers was appointed on one occasion to examine a charge of the misuse of government funds in regard to an attempt to bribe trade union official, some of whom were supposed to be members of the Communist party- or fellow travellers. I am not suggesting that any trade union official did actually accept a bribe, but I do know that the bribes were offered by a government because evidence to that effect was given during the course of the investigation. This Government has always attempted to destroy the effectiveness of trade unionism and it is now regarded by them as a necessary preliminary to the introduction of a police state.
Honorable members cannot believe the Prime Minister. When the National Security Bill 1939 was introduced it gave powers to the government of the day which I should not entrust to any government. Ten members of the Labour party voted against that bill. I was one of them and the nine others included some of the present members of the Opposition. We voted against that bill because we regarded it as giving the Government an almost complete power over the rights and liberties of the people. It gave the Government the right to arrest workers without warrant and keep them imprisoned for ten days without being asked to prefer charges against them. If, at the end of the ten days, the arrested persons were given their liberty and felt aggrieved, they could take no action against the Government. When the bill was introduced into this Parliament, the right honorable gentleman said -
Ido not seek, however long the conflict may last, a muzzled Opposition. Our institutions, Parliament, all legal thought, free speech, free criticism, must go on-. It would be a tragedy if we found we had fought for freedom and free belief and the value of every individual soul, and won the war but lost the things we were fighting for.
The right honorable gentleman is a great word-spinner and it is quite true that he has made many similar statements. But his actions have been the reverse of the statements that he has made for the purpose of attracting public support. The people know to-day exactly what he is capable of doing. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Mr. Eric J. Harrison) has spoken about the consideration that the Government has for the trade union movement. Was it not the right honorable gentleman who heads this Government who, not so many years ago, used the coercive provisions of the Transport Workers Act to bring into existence on the waterfront in certain Australian ports a licence system which provided that men should have licences of certain types and that certain preferences should apply in relation to employment ? Did not the government of which he was then Attorney-General, by using that means of victimization, hope to bring the workers to their knees when they were fighting, not for any economic advantage,but on a matter of great principle? They were using their industrial strength to prevent an anti-Labour government from sending potential military materiel to the Japanese who were fighting the Chinese Government. Those are the kind of methods that are possible under the extended powers that the bill seeks to confer. In the Communist Party Dissolution Act the definition of the word “ Communist “ was as follows : - “ Communist “ means a person who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teachings, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx or Lenin.
There is not one member of this House who has not, at some time or other, advocated something that is contained in the teachings or writings of both Marx aud Lenin. That definition of “Communist “ is so wide that under it practically anybody could be brought within the provisions of the legislation. But evidently the Government believes that even that definition is not wideenough, so it desires that the Parliament shall be given general powers to make laws in respect of Communists and communism in addition to the power to make a law in the terms of the Communist Party Dis. solution Act. The Government does not say that a Communist for its purposes is a member of the Communist party, and that the Government must prove that membership. The bill as it stands means that the Government will have power to declare- that the persons against whom the legislation is aimed are Communists and the onus of proving otherwise will rest upon the declared person. I consider that the people will never extend to- any government, let alone an anti-Labour Government, such terrific power. It is generally’ recognized that, although there have been imperfections in our judicial system, it is the best judicial system that has been devised up to now. Anybody who is charged with a crime should be properly charged and should have an opportunity to prove his innocence before a properly constituted judicial body. For instance, just imagine any militant member of the Labour party or the trade union movement being at the mercy of this Government. Why, with the limitations imposed upon free speech I find it difficult enough now, as an elected member of this Parliament, to state a case as I should like to state it on the floor of the Parliament, and I can imagine how much more, difficult expression of opinion would be in this country if this Government were given dictatorial powers. However, I have great confidence in the judgment of the people, although they have at times made electoral judgments that were, in my opinion, unwise and mistaken. They made one such mistake on the occasion of the last general election. I admit that a great number of workers and people who usually vote for the Labour party must have supported Government candidates at the last general election or the Government would not have been returned, but the people who did so were misled. They fell for the misrepresentations of the anti-Labour Government. When they understand exactly what the position is I am quite certain that they will realize their error and renew their allegiance to the Labour party.
I shall deal now with another method by which the Government will be able to destroy the effectiveness of trade unionism should its present proposals become law. Trade unions will not have the right to elect their own officers. When I say that, I am not referring only to the removal of a Communist official who holds office in a trade union, although in the opinion of a number of members of the Labour movement that is all that is involved under the proposed legislation. Under this legislation trade unions could’ elect only individuals who were approved by the anti-Labour Government. I shall tell the House how that could happen. The Government will have the power to declare a person a Communist. It will not have to prove its assertion, but will merely have to publish his name, in the Gazette. So if a Labour party follower - many of whom we have heard charged in. this Parliament with being Communists, a charge which they have denied - submitted his name for election to a trade union office, all the Government would have to do would, be to have him declared a Communist and he would not be eligible for election. So under this law the Government will have the right to select the officers of every trade union in the country. What sort, of trade union movement should we have then? There is one thing that the Labour party must: recognize. It must fight now to preserve its existence because it may not have an opportunity to do so later. Every member of it must get out and explain to the people exactly what is intended by this- Government, and prove to them that this bill is an attack upon the whole Labour movement. Under the great powers that the Government is seeking, and with the destruction of the trade union movement, the way will be clear for the introduction of a totalitarian form of government. I hope that the Labour party will realize that and will now close its ranks. If there has been any division in the trade union movement or the political Labour party, now is the time for every one of us to be big enough to say that this issue transcends all matters that have divided Labour in the past, and that the immediate purpose of Labour must be to defeat this Government proposal. The only way in which Labour can succeed in doing so is by having a united Labour movement, so that honorable gentlemen opposite who on many occasions have used very specious methods to try to divide Labour will fail dismally on this occasion. It may be argued that the proposal in the bill is the democratic way of determining this matter, because it will let the people decide it. I have heard many honorable members on the Government side say, “Let the people decide. This is merely a bill for a referendum of the people”. I believe this to be an undemocratic measure and for that reason the time of the people ought not to be wasted in considering it.
– Or their money.
– Or their money, as the honorable gentleman has said. I believe further that the people will not be accorded the opportunity to decide this matter on its merits, because we shall have the anti-Labour blasts on the broadcastingsystems of the country; and we shall have the newspapers misrepresenting and distorting the statements of the Labour party and refusing to publish arguments advanced by Labour leaders. I well remember during the last general election campaign the cunning method by which the newspapers distorted Labour’s statements. They published any innocuous section of a speech or statement but refused to publish the telling points made by the Labour speakers. They gave full publicity to the statements of the members of the Government, and by publishing portions of the speeches of Labour speakers out of their context gave them a different form from that which was intended. That form of misrepresentation is indulged in by the anti-Labour press as a means of supporting their friends in the Government.
Some of the Government’s backbenchers seem rather despondent, because, despite all the talk of democracy, they are not to have the opportunity to express their views in Caucus on these proposals, as, I understand, the meetings of the Government parties for this week have been cancelled. Honorable members opposite talk about divisions in the ranks of Labour. There is no division in Labour to-day, but a division is beginning to become evident among those semi-fascists who sit behind the Government and are beginning to be worried because of the swing of public opinion against it. I suggest to them that if they are not prepared to vote with us to defeat this measure, they can at least absent themselves from the chamber during divisions on it. It would be a very good idea if the Government, which is always talking about the need for secret ballots in connexion with trade union matters, were to submit this legislation to a secret ballot in this House. There was one defection from the Government side in relation to your own election, Mr. Speaker-
– Order ! The honorable gentleman must keep to the bill.
– There are reports of disunity on the side of the Government forces and it would be interesting to see what a secret ballot in relation to this anti-Labour legislation would produce.
.- It is interesting to note that the Labour party is so keen in its opposition to this measure that the first two speakers whom it has put up to oppose it are recognized in this House as the greatest defenders of communism whenever it is mentioned here. Let me say that I regard the familiar and numerous fulminations of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), and the fact that he is in opposition to the measure, as offering the -greatest guarantee that it will be carried. But the people to-night have had the painful experience of listening to the leader of a prominent political party trying to justify a course of action which, if successful, must prove inimical to the best interests of his country. So I say that the people must ‘ be alerted to a greater degree than ever before to avoid falling into a cunningly prepared trap. The right honorable gentleman claimed that we already have in existence the power that we seek through this measure. -It apparently means nothing to him that the High Court has decided that we have not that power. What the Labour party means is that under the common law or the Crimes Act we have the power to punish after the event has taken place, which means that after a man has committed a crime we can punish him if we can catch him. The Labour party apparently has no thought about preventing commission of the crime, which is surely a most important matter when the national security is involved. If we should neglect our duties in that respect, and some major effort of sabotage were directed against our defence preparations, then the government responsible would be guilty of criminal negligence.
The right honorable gentleman also characterized this measure as one of the most dangerous ever presented to the parliament of a British country. He probably meant by that statement that this power would constitute a threat to some other institution. As a matter of fact, he mentioned trade unionism and some other body. Let us analyse this danger. Prior to the introduction of this bill the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) vainly asked all the State Premiers to refer to the Commonwealth the power sought under his bill. The six States of the Commonwealth have had this power for as long as they have been in existence. Has any danger ever been seen in their possession and management of it? The Opposition’s arguments in relation to this matter are nothing but sheer claptrap designed to divert the people from allowing the Government to pursue the course that it wishes to follow.
– I direct your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the state of the House.
– There are 24 honorable members on the Government side and sixteen on the Opposition side. That constitutes a quorum. If any honorable member again directs attention to the state of the House when there is a quorum present, he will be suspended. Honorable members are not to have their speeches interrupted in that way.
– I rise to order. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, for my own information, whether, when your attention is directed to the state of the House, consideration should not be given to what happened just now; that is, that several honorable members entered the House after the honorable member had called for a quorum.
– Order! That statement of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is not correct. I saw no honorable member enter the House after the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) had spoken. This is merely a further interruption of the speech of the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden).
– Those people who have kept an open mind in regard to the motives which inspired the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), and have been fair enough to dissociate their thinking from the purely political aspects of his activities, will now be forced to reorientate their ideas and consider his motives in strict relation to his immediate past history. The right honorable member is not only the servant of his party ashe may claim to be, he is also the leader of it. Our experience during the last eight years has shown us that the Leader of the Opposition has more influence than that of one man in determining the attitude of the Opposition towards any legislation submitted to this Parliament. Therefore, this matter must be approached objectively, and we must not look upon it merely as a measure to control communism for the mere sake of control. We must consider all the factors which have forced the Government to the conclusion that the Communist party as at present constituted is a menace not only to the security but also to the general well being of this country. Although Australia is not worse off than are other comparable countries of the world, no thinking person will deny that in spite of our apparent prosperity we are rapidly approaching an economic crisis, and shall reach that unfortunate stage soon unless something is done to prevent it. No one will deny that to date, because of circumstances not immediately controllable, wo have been aggravating the position by surrendering to expediency.
There are certain basic causes of our trouble, the adjustment of which requires a series of processes of which this measure is one. The control of communism is one of the processes to remedy the -basie causes of our trouble. Its purpose is to strike the red shackles off all the industries which are considered essential to our national defence and development. This measure will ensure greater production of the goods that .are vital to national development and will .ensure greater production in some other fields. There aro many other causes which are beyond our control, but are within the confines of our country. If all Australians play their part we can keep inflation within bounds. We have reached an absurd position- in ‘this country in that we are threatened with a shortage of basic foodstuffs. Such a thing in Australia has never before been heard of. That has been caused not because the farmers have any desire other than to follow the industry they have chosen to follow and are best adapted to follow, but because certain goods which are vitally necessary to the production of primary products are practically unprocurable. In disgust and .despair many farmers have been forced to divert their energies ‘.into other channels of production. That is why we are short .of butter. If we continue to allow the Communists to control the industrial policy of this country, we .shall become short of more than butter.
As this measure applies not only to defence and national security, ‘.but also to economics, it might not be irrelevant to - refer briefly to some of the expedients that the Labour party has proposed to deal with inflation. They have been put forward merely as a red herring to draw public attention away from the menace of communism. Very prominent among these proposals is federal prices control. The Labour party advocates that to-day, it advocated it throughout the life of the Nineteenth Parliament, and it advocated it in its recent general election policy. But honorable members opposite have had a second thought about this matter am1 when they believed that they might have the responsibility of carrying it out they immediately ran for cover. At Cairns the then Leader of the Opposition said, towards the end of the lastgeneral election ,campaign, that federal prices control would not of itself ‘cure the inflationary spiral in Australia. He said that that was one ingredient, and that there were many others which would noi be quite so popular. Thus again he was dealing -only with effects and was ignoring causes. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) followed his leader’s speech with a statement which appeared in the press. ‘This statement shows now sincere the Labour party is in .continually mouthing the old second-hand -phrase, “ When are you going to put value back into’ the £1? “. The honorable member for Melbourne is reported to have said -
The Labour party cannot put value ‘back into the £1. We would not be .so foolish as to try.
– The Labour party has no power to do so. The honorable member’s party .can do it.
– There is an oftrepeated truism that the young, whether young in Parliament or young in years, are always anxious and eager to -give to their elders the benefit of their inexperience. We are told .that no referendum can succeed in this country if there is substantial opposition to it. The people must determine how substantial is the opposition of the Labour party. It must the understood first that the term “ Labour party “ is a mere subterfuge to-day. St is a nom’ de guerre used by the socialist party to deceive the voting public, many hundreds of thousands of whom are supporters of the old traditional Labour policy. In this matter the issues are clear. They axe whether the interests, the freedom and the liberty of 8,000j000 Godfearing British-Australian people are to be subordinated to the interests, freedom and liberty of a Godless, destructive group of Russian agents. Those are the clear issues in .this matter. Camourflage its attitude as it may, by meaningless motheaten platitudes, the Labour party has come down strongly on the side of Russia. In this measure the Labour party has declared for the “ reds “. Maybe the socialist group may not agree with the methods employed by the Communist party, but they do agree with the primary objective of the Communist party, which is ito destroy the present social system of this country. As long as ‘Communists continue to be the spearhead of the socialist attack oil society, it is a case of “ hands off the reds “. I say that if the Communists can succeed in destroying this fine country bv hampering production or increasing the inflationary pressure, the socialists hope, by means of their superior numerical strength, to take over from them and out of the ensuing chaos to establish 4 heir particular form of economic salvation. If they fail and we are doomed to become a second Czechoslovakia, this socialist party group and the Communists will at least not be among the victims of the purge of honest men and women which will inevitably follow a take over by the “ reds “.
It would be completely fantastic to say that this decision of the official Labour party represents the majority view of the many hundreds of thousands of people who subscribe to Labour policies. It would be fantastic to say that a majority of the Labour members of this House are opposing in their hearts this referendum measure. If the members of the Labour party in this House were given a free vote the result would perhaps be astonishing. The latest Gallup poll indicated that 80 per -cent, of the people of Australia are in favour of this measure, and that in no State was there less than. 75 per cent, in favour of it. Eight out of nine Liberal and Australian Country party supporters and two out of every three Labour supporters were in favour of it. That means that 66 per cent, of Labour people are in favour of banning the Communist party. .At two recent general elections, one held in 1949 and one in 1951, there was an overwhelming decision by the electors in favour -of this measure.
It will be conceded that the conditions which exist in any country at any time are the result of the action, or inaction, of its people. No thinking person can fail to agree that conditions to-day not only in Australia, but also in many other parts of the world, are not dissimilar to the conditions which preceded the fall of many countries and empires in the past. In our case, in a monetary sense, there appeared to. be no further worlds to conquer, and we proceeded to live on the fats and riches amassed for us by a series of events, but we gave.no thought to the need for maintaining our wealth in a stable condition. The enemy within our gates, the Australian Communist party inspired by Red Russia, quick to seize the opportunity, attempted to exploit our folly to our disadvantage. History records many examples of nations having been destroyed because those in power failed to interpret the signs of the times, but this Government will not be guilty of an error of that kind. None but the most foolish optimists would say that all is well in this country to-day, and none but those of evil intent would frustrate the Government in its attempts to put matters right. The people are well aware that, unless w* put an end to the fools’ paradise that this country is enjoying as a result of a series of events, we shall jeopardize th, whole future of Australia. It would b<easy to take the necessary steps to protect the country if the Labour party assisted the Government to do so, but, if that assistance is to be denied to us, let us, in spite of the Labour party, take the harder road and give the country the protection that it needs from its enemies who .are operating openly and brazenly before our very eyes.
– When is the Government going to reduce the cost of living? That is what the people want to know.
– During the eight years that I have been a member of this Parliament, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) has attributed all kinds of sinister motives to the Government in humorous and familiar phrases. I describe them as humorous and familiar because they mean nothing at all. The honorable gentleman and his leader are noted protectors of communism in this Parliament. I urge the people to watch carefully the side that he and his leader take upon any matter that deals with the defence of our present system of society against sabotage by “ red “ agents. The side opposite “to that which they take “will be the right side for the people to take. I commend this bill to the people. They have given it their blessing in two recent .general elections, and I ask them not to change their minds because of the hot air that has been emitted by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. CREAN (Melbourne Ports) 1 10.34]. - During the comparatively short rime that I have been a member of this Parliament and of a State parliament, I have always endeavoured not to indulge in personalities, but to devote my attention to the issue before me. The major portion of the contribution that has been made to the debate on this measure by honorable gentlemen opposite has been devoted to veiled attacks upon the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). I point out that, as recently as two or three weeks ago, the right honorable gentleman was elected unanimously by members of the Opposition to that very exalted office. The Labour party still represents most of the working people in this community. It may be that from time to time, owing ^distortion or for other reasons, less than a majority of the electors favour our policy, but that does not mean that our policy is wrong. In many instances it has been because the forces of propaganda arrayed against us have been especially strong.
It seems that, before I proceed to discuss the bill, I should explain that I am not a Communist, that I never have been, and that I never will be. The philosophy of the Communist party is alien to my religious views and philosophical beliefs. I hope that honorable members on this side of the House will be given credit for some sincerity in this matter.
I shall deal with what I hope is still a live issue in the Australian community - the right of the individual to express any opinion that he honestly holds. In this community there are individuals who call themselves Communists and who have banded themselves together in an organization called the Communist party for the promotion of what they believe to be the correct political philosophy. I take a stand that has been taken before in history. I shall defend the right of those people to express their points of view. The danger inherent in this measure is, as the Leader of the Opposition said, that it will invert the normal processes of British justice and stigmatize people, not because they have committed an overt act of criminality but because they hold certain political beliefs. It is an attack upon the beliefs of certain people. An Act of Parliament cannot destroy the beliefs of individuals,, if those beliefs are honestly held.
Communism is a political ideology, but it is not one that can flourish or gain converts unless conditions exist that are favorable for that purpose. Those whoare converted to communism are generally those who are dissatisfied with the existing economic system. The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) said that we are now facing a period of economic crisis. I believe that that crisis has been caused by the failure of this Government to concentrate upon the task of finding a- solution of our economic problems. It has devoted itself to interfering with or banning a group of persons and has failed to take steps to prevent the existence of the conditions in which those groups of persons thrive.
It has been said that inthis matter the Labour party is acting inconsistently because it has always advocated an extension of the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament. There are certain matters in respect of which no parliament has a right to legislate. The individual possesses some rights that no government should attempt to take from him. An American writer, in a book entitled The New Federalism, recently made the point that there is a federation of the State and individual citizens or groups of citizens, and that those individual citizens or groups of citizens have certain rights that no government should take from them. That is why I say that the Labour party is not acting inconsistently in relation to this measure. The Government is attempting to take from individuals their right to express certain points of view, and it is not within the province’ of any government to do that. I believe that the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament should be extended because we cannot grapple effectively with the economic problems with which we are now faced when there is a division of the essential powers between the Commonwealth Parliament and the State parliaments. It is only by, as it were, bringing the two parties together that we can legislate, in the interests of both the States and the Commonwealth, to solve our economic problems.
So far, the Government has done very little to justify its contention that this bill is necessary. Honorable gentlemen opposite have attacked the bona fides of members of the Opposition, but they have not attempted to explain in what way the Communists are disrupting the economy of this country to the degree that they suggest. Clause 2 of the measure contains no definition of “ Communist “ or “ communism “. In this chamber last week, a person in Tasmania was referred to by a Minister as being a member of the Communist party. After inquiries had been made, it was found that that person was a. member not of the Communist party but of the Labour party. The Minister then said that he was glad to hear that that was so, but he went on to say that if the man was not a Communist he had behaved like one. That is the kind of interpretation that some honorable gentlemen opposite are inclined to put upon the word “ Communist “.
The bill is designed primarily to attack, not the very small section of the community who are Communists, but the trade union movement and the Labour party. That is why the Opposition, objects to it. We believe it to be our duty, as the elected representatives of a large section of the people, to defend the essential liberties of the people - liberties that were not won easily. _ The Government has said- that it has introduced this bill to attack a group of persons in the community who do not subscribe to our democratic way of life and who say in their writings, that they will overthrow the State. The fact that a person quotes from the writings of Marx, Lenin, and other Communist writers does not prove that he subscribes to the points of view that they express. Anybody who wants to understand political philosophy in this age must have at least a nodding acquaintance with those writers.
The essence of communism is that the Communist coup or the shift of power cannot occur until there exists in the community something that the Communists call a revolutionary situation. A situation of that kind can occur only when there is a condition of such acute economic crisis in a community that the people say that normal methods of dealing with such a situation, by parliaments and other established institutions, have failed. It is in a situation of that kind that the viewpoint of the Communist flourishes. During the two years that the Government has now been in office, it has done more to create, a situation in which communism can come to a head than was ever done during any comparable period in Australia’s history. The Government has introduced the Defence Preparations Bill, by means of which it seeks to exercise the Commonwealth’s defence power to deal with problems which it should have grappled with in the name of ordinary civil needs. It should have planned properly the whole economic life of the community in order to give a fair deal to all sections of the community. Only last week it was pointed out in this House that of the national income, the share of the workers, who represent seven out of every eight people in the country, is being gradually whittled down. In other words, the worker’s grounds for economic discontent “ are increasing. That is the sort of thing that wins converts to these new ideologies. The Government may ban the Communist party under this measure; but unless, at the same time, it takes legislative, action to remedy the conditions under which communism flourishes, it will be merely making a mockery of government. In a community that believes in democracy and has no need to fear subversive elements in its midst, it is time the Parliament approached this matter with sanity and a greater degree of tolerance.
The Government parties have made a bogy of communism and have attempted at every opportunity to make it an issue on which to fight the Australian Labour party. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) . said that some members of the Opposition had been elected because persons who voted for Communist party candidates gave their second preferences to them. Those electors were entitled to exercise their constitutional right to vote for candidates whom they favoured and had to distribute their preferences in order to validate their vote. It is a distortion of the truth to say that any honorable member’s election was due to the fact that electors who voted for the Communist party candidate gave them their second preferences. Yet that is the sort of statement that was made by the Minister for Labour and National Service who prides himself, on being a democrat. It is a distortion of the truth of which any Minister should be ashamed. The- honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke1),, like all other honorable members, was returned at the recent general election because more than 50 .per cent, of the electors in his constituency favoured his return. . Any one who. makes absurd comparisons of the kind that the Minister made is simply making a mockery of the parliamentary institution.
I do not propose to say much more about the bill because I oppose it on the ground that it threatens political liberty. People have a right to hold whatever views they wish to hold just as others have the right to disagree with them in order to promulgate their point of view. I conclude by reminding honorable members of the tolerant attitude that was displayed nearly 2,000 years ago by a man who was a Jew. To-day, the Communist is being attacked; to-morrow, it maybe the Jews, Freemasons, Presbyterians or Catholics. I am reminded of the view that was expressed by the Pharisee, Gamaliel, who was president of the Sanhedrin in the days of the apostle Paul. Referring to Paul, he said, in effect, “ If what this man has to say be of God, there is nothing we can do about it; if it be of man, it will perish “. No honorable member believes that, communism is of God. We believe that it is of man. I leave it to the. sanity of. the Parliament to consider the issue in the belief that the Australian people still cherish liberty sufficiently to reject this pernicious, undemocratic measure.
.- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) gave rather a tiresome discourse about what he termed individual liberty. Unless he and his colleagues take a more realistic view of the. Communist threat to this country, it will not be long before liberty will be completely destroyed in the community. I should have thought that the honorable member would have been in the forefront of those who oppose the Communist menace. We have also heard two similar speeches- from the Leader of the. Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), both of which were desultory and materially threadbare. They raised the same old cry about fascists, which is a term that honorable members opposite apply to anybody who opposes them or the Communists and their “fellow travellers “. They also spoke about theadequacy of the Crimes Act to deal with Communists. However, they know that that act is: inadequate for the purpose that the Government seeks to achieve under this measure. How fantastic it is to suggest that the Government would waste its time in introducing new legislation if adequate laws already existed to enable it to achieve its objective .’
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said that the Communist element in the community was of no account and that it was innocuous. Either he or one of his colleagues said that there are only approximately 15,000 Communists in Australia. If that be correct, how do honorable members opposite account for the fact that Communist party candidates polled 100,000 votes at the last general election ? That fact tells a story different from that which they would like the people to believe.- Instead of dealing realistically with the measure, honorable members opposite have deliberately distorted its provisions. The amendment that the Government will seek to have written into the Constitution is clearly stated in the bill. It reads -
The Constitution is altered by inserting after section fifty-one the following section: - “ 51a.- (1.) The Parliament shall have power to make such laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with res.pect to Communists or communism aa the Parliament considers to be necessary ot expedient for the defence or security of the Commonwealth or for the execution or maintenance of this Constitution or of the laws of the Commonwealth.”
What do honorable members opposite say is wrong with that The purpose of thu Government in introducing the measure is to make the. country secure. If we cannot have internal security we cannot be sure of anything at all. It is obvious that the Government, has no- intention whatever of dealing with the Communists merely because they are Communists. It sets out to deal with them because as an organization they deliberately seek to overthrow law and order in democratic countries. Their activities are based on disruption and sabotage. We know that Communists who hold key positions in industry are deliberately attempting to sabotage our economy.
Although the subject has been discussed on many previous occasions in this House, it is worth recalling what has happened in the coal industry. Due to Communist activities, approximately 1,100,000 tons of coal was lost during the six months ended the 30th June last. This is approximately 400,000 tons more than was lost during the corresponding period of last year. Yet honorable members opposite say that the community need not worry about the Communist element because it represents only a small and ineffective minority. The figures that I have cited give the lie to that statement. We have seen the effects of Communist activities in the shipping industry, in which they have caused an enormous increase of costs which must be borne by the whole community. . Communists have been able to do that damage because misguided persons, including, unfortunately, some genuine workers, have been misled by Communist saboteurs to go slow and hold up industry and thus add enormously to the cost of living to the detriment of the community as a whole. So long as production in the coal industry is below reasonable levels, we shall be faced with acute shortages of materials required by industry generally, including building materials. All of this is a part of a deliberate Communist plot to sabotage Australian industry, and that kind of sabotage does more to prejudice our defence potential and economic position than could be caused by direct military aggression. Those facts are evidence of the methods that are employed by communism to expand its influence throughout the world. We have known of the results of communism in various countries in Europe and Asia and, coming closer to Australia, Indonesia, which is right at our doorstep.
Some honorable members opposite have said that the Government does not know anything about the Communist objective.
Official Communist booklets set out the main points of communism’s economic and political programme. Those points include the following : -
The community will be the sole owner of all the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Those words have a familiar ring. Indeed, they are practically identical with a plank of the Australian Labour party’s platform. For that reason, we can well understand the fellow feeling that exists between the Communists and the Australian Labour party. The Communist economic and political programme also provides: -
The “ middle class “ family, based on the institution of private property, will disappear with the abolition of private property.
This programme will be implemented by the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, established by revolution.
Is there any wonder that the Government is seeking power to deal effectively with a party that expounds such objectives? The Government would be shirking its responsibilities if it did not take decisive action against such a disruptive element in the comunity
Some honorable members have implied that the Government is concentrating on trade unions. It is doing so for the obvious reason that the Communists themselves have been clever enough to concentrate their attention upon key trade unions because they know full well that they can best sabotage the nation’s production by operating in that sphere. It is obvious that every Communist who holds a position in a key union is in an ideal position to act as an. agent for the red revolution. Let honorable members not be under any misapprehension about the expressed plan of the Communists to take the world by revolution. Anybody who imagines that this country will be excepted from that programme is living in a fool’s paradise.
The doctrine that was propounded by Lenin, namely, that revolution was impossible without a nation-wide crisis, was subsequently endorsed and propagated by Stalin. The nation-wide inflation which is now being experienced in Australia has been largely Communist-inspired. The deliberate sabotage of industry, the goslow policy, and the forcing up of prices are a part of the Communist plan to disrupt this country. The Communists want inflation, and to embarrass any democratic government, because such conditions and tactics are effective means of achieving their objectives. Fortunately Government supporters are alive to the intentions of the Communists.
Other interesting pronouncements have been made by Lenin and Stalin, whose followers seem to be stoutly defended by the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for East Sydney. I direct their attention to a statement by Lenin -
The dictatorship of the proletariat is a relentless struggle waged with bloodshed. We must bc ready to employ trickery, deceit, lawbreaking, withholding and concealing truth.
Then there is this statement by Stalin -
Communism is founded upon violence, which recognizes no Ian7 and is restricted by no duty.
Hundreds of similar quotations are to be found in Communist literature. I am amazed that Opposition members can see their way clear to ally themselves with such principles. It is apparent to every one who thinks deeply about such matters that Russia’s threat is to the whole world. Russia has shown clearly that it means to dominate the world, and Australia cannot escape the onrush of communism unless it wakes up now to the dangers that confront it. The United States Secretary of State, Mr. Acheson, made the following statement on the 9th February last - .
The real tension in the world to-day comes from the great mass of Soviet and satellite armaments and the fact that the Soviet did not demobilize its forces at the end of the war.
Mr. Acheson was commenting on a Soviet note in the series of exchanges between the Soviet Union and the three Western powers regarding the possibility of a meeting of the Big Four to discuss the differences that existed between the East and the West. The Russian plan is clear, and those Australians who fail to see the danger of the “ red “ peril are shirking their responsibilities. They are not true Australians in the real meaning of the word. Russia is seeking new resources with which to strengthen its power, and, in so doing, is enslaving other countries and is using their workers to bring its economy to the point at which Soviet leaders consider that an advance may bomade upon the Western world. We havewitnessed the unprecedented drive by Russia for supplies of uranium fromGermany. Some interesting facts about that matter1 are contained in a report that was issued on the 25th August, 1950,. by British intelligence authorities. It reads as follows: -
The East German mines yearly provide- Russia with millions of tons of uranium orefor processing inside the Soviet Union. In some areas, East Genua n villages have been evacuated and local life paralysed to makeroom for uranium mine workers from other districts.
The mining of uranium in East Germany isentirely controlled by a gigantic Russian organization employing 300,000 pit workers and un administrative staff of 15,000.
When that kind of evidence is available,, there can be little doubt of Russia’s intentions. Obviously Russia is the sole aggressor, and the only threat to peace. There are more than 700,000,000” Communists in the world to-day. That figure is alarming.
– Where did the honorable member obtain that information ?
– The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) may check the figure in social literature that, is to be found in the Library. I regret to say that the sorry state of affairs represented by the numerical strength of the Communists has been contributed to by the policy of appeasement that has been adopted by the Government of Great Britain, and, for a period, by the Government of the United States of America, which was not sufficiently awake to the menace that threatens the free world. The geographical and political significance of certain nations that are likely to be receptive to Communist influence is of great importance to Australia. India and Red China would naturally be receptive to a policy of hatred of the white races, and such a pernicious policy has been deliberately fostered by the men of the Kremlin. They would stop at nothing in order to gain their own ends. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, has said that India and Red China should work in the closest possible co-operation, because they are the most powerful Asian countries. The immense populations of those two countries, and the significance of that tie-up between them, should not escape the attention of Opposition members. Nehru has said that the Dutch should evacuate New Guinea, and turn it over to the Indonesians. That whole movement constitutes a grave threat to Australia
– Is Nehru a Communist?
-I do not suggest that he is a Communist.
– The honorable gentleman is trying to associate him with the Communists.
– Order ! The honorable member for Wills must remain silent.
– Nehru is like a number of Opposition members, who reveal some peculiar characteristics when they are dealing with communism. I believe that he is at least receptive to the doctrines of Moscow, which fact, of itself, is a threat to the rest of the world. Russia is engaged in an all-out world drive and we cannot close our eyes to the seriousness of such a threat. Every conceivable means has been used to win over the 450,000,000 inhabitants of China. The Communists have tried force, economic pressure and documentary propaganda films for that purpose. Such a policy becomes an immense and immediate threat to Australia, because the acti vities of the Communists in Indo-China, Malaya and other countries to the north of us cannot be overlooked. The Communist plan provides for the incorporation of Australia in the Greater Asia co-prosperity sphere. Australia is to be the prize for the Asiatics. Perhaps Opposition members are not aware of that, hut if they will seek information about it. in the Parliamentary Library, they will find that it is true.
I come now to the actual conditions in Australia.Unfortunately, Opposition members preach the pernicious doctrine of class hatred. Nothing is so calculatedto divide a nation as is class hatred. It is to the everlasting discredit of members of the Labour party that they persist with that fearful doctrine. The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin), who laughs at that statement, is one of the worst offenders. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) and his predecessor both were guilty of preaching the doctrine of class hatred. Such a practice plays into the hands of the Communists. It is the Communist line. Opposition members know that if it is persisted in it will divide the nation; but, in order to serve their own selfish ends, they continue to preach it, because they cannnot see further than their noses. Each of us also has a natural tendency towards selfishness and greed. The go-slow policy has been in operation in industry for a number of years and is seriously reducing output in every branch of it. All those things are helping the Communist plan.
– The honorable gentleman blames the worker all the time.
– I am sorry if the honorable member forBatman (Mr. Bird) takes my statements in that way.
– Order ! Will the honorable member for Bass address the Chair?
– Obviously, Opposition members are aware that production in industry is below the maximum, yet they defend the very people who are responsible for curtailing output and forcing up costs. Day after day, honorable gentlemen opposite ask Ministers questions about the cost of living. The people can do more to curb the cost of living than can any government, which can give only a lead. When I refer to the people, I mean labour and management because, obviously, there are examples of inefficient management. Labour and management have a responsibility to this country. If they fail to realize it, then, wittingly or unwittingly, they play into the hands of the Communists. It is imperative and urgent that we accept our responsibilities. If we fail to realize the danger that threatens Australia, we shall be guilty of a grave dereliction of duty, and shall bequeath to our descendants a state of serfdom and slavery. I am afraid that there is little time left in which we may. act. There is still some time left in which we may act. There is still some time, but it is running out. We must deal with the Communist enemy in our midst. I commend this proposal for the alteration of the Constitution most sincerely to all loyal Australians.
.- The Government, having failed somewhat ignominiously in the High Court of Australia in the legal contest to decide the validity of the Communist Party Dissolution Act, which was passedby the Parliament last year, is quite entitled to make an appeal to the people, who constitute the highest tribunal in the land. I do not dispute the right of the Government to submit that issue to the people for decision. But, the House, before it decides to approve such a course must consider whether the proposal that the Government wishes to place before the people is similar in form to that which was dealt with by the High Court. Another consideration is whether the Government is frank, honest and sincere in its approach to this matter. A perusal of this bill definitely shows that it is not. 1 refer honorable members to clause 2. which states that the proposed new section of the Constitution shall includf the following provision: - (2.) In addition to all other powers conferred on the Parliament by this Constitution and without limiting any such power, the Parliament shall have power -
to make a law in the terms of the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950-
Honorable members will realize, therefore, that the Government seeks power to euact the Communist Party Dissolution Act either in its original form or with alternation. We have no guarantee that any of the safeguards that were included in the legislation will be embodied in the proposed new law. Should the Government obtain the approval of the people at the referendum, it will be able to use its majority in both houses to steam-roll through the Parliament any measures which, in its opinion, fall within the ambit of the proposed power.
I ask honorable members to trace the history of the Communist Party Dissolution Act from the time when it was introduced in this Parliament as a bill. Most of us recall only too well that it was a sort of legislative Frankenstein monster without a head or a tail. It had no beginning and no end and, in that form, it brought forth loud and prolonged protests from all sections of the community. It was attacked in the press, from the pulpit, by university professors and by thousands of other liberty-loving citizens. Only under the pressure of public opinion and the Labour majority in the Senate did the Government agree to include certain safeguards in the bill. Even then,, the amendments were not so far-reaching as the Opposition would have liked them to be. However, the bill was given at least a beginning and an end. Provision was made for the appointment of a board to advise the executive in relation to any personsor bodies that the Government proposed to declare. It was also provided that, when the state of emergency which the bill was designed to meet had come to an end, the operation of the legislation could be terminated. Certain limited rights of appeal and safeguards in relation to entry into the homes of citizens were specified.
Honorable members will recall that the bill originally provided that any member of the security service should have the right to enter homes without any authority, either written or verbal. In other words, the Government proposed that a member of this secret organization, even if he had been appointed only five minutes previously, could force his way into a private home after hearing, some whisper in a hotel bar on a Saturday afternoon,. These officers were to be permitted to enter a home, perhaps as the householder and his family were leaving to attend a week-end picture show, and turn the place upside down. A householder would havhad no redress or legal right to compensation if such a search were proved to have been unjustified. Only after strong protests, had been made, by the Opposition, with the support of the press and outside organizations, did the. Prime. Minister (Mr. Menzies) finally agree to- include safeguards, against, such, a contingency Certain amendments that, had! been proposed by the Opposition were virtually adopted, and it was provided, that some proper authority must be issued, to a security service officer before entry to ji home could’ be effected. At least w.tmanaged to retain the right of a citizen to regard his home as his castle !
Thus the legislation, obnoxious! though it was in- its final form, included certain safeguards of the rights of citizens. But now we have no. assurance by the Prime Minister that such rights will not be violated if the people should be deluded into giving to the Government the overall power that it proposes to seek’ at the referendum. The chief obnoxious feature of the. Communist Party Dissolution Aor:, as it was proclaimed, was. that an individual or an organization could be declared without a previous trial. The onus of. proof was to rest upon the accused person or body. The definitions of “ Communist “ and “ Communist body “ were so wide that they could have embraced socialists’, members of the Habour party, persons who expounded radical theories, and even those whos advocated progressive reforms by constitutional methods. That aspect of the act has been discussed’ by the- Leader’ of the- Opposition (Dr. Evatt) already and I. shall not d’eal! with it at greater length.
The. preamble- to the act was supposed to specify the objectionable activities that the Government intended to suppress. But. the High Court held, in effect, .that the preamble was. merely a flummery that had been introduced in. an attempt to cultivate an appropriate atmosphere. Notwithstanding the terms of the preamble, the operative sections of the act failed to specify that it was aimed at revolutionary communism. The High Court decided, by a majority of six to one, that the act was wholly invalid and obnoxious to the democratic way of life.
It ruled, in. effect, thai the act. was totalitarian in- essence and usurped the functions of the judiciary by authorizing the declaration of the- guilt of persons, without trial or right of appeal. It even went so far as. to declare that the act was not justified even- under the very wide- provisions of; the defence power in the Constitution., In addition, it. gave a. broad hint to the Government of the proper course- for it to follow in its dealings with the Communist party. The Government would accept the hint if it were sincere^ The court pointed out. that existing laws provided, it with sufficient power to deal with, treason, sedition and subversion. Several justices- dealt, with that aspect, of the situation. They referred to- the Crimes Act. I advise Government supporter* who have taken for granted the wisdom of everything that their leaders have said to study that act. They will realize,, if they do so, that, the Crimes Act would enable the Government to do all that it sought to do by means of the Communist Party Dissolution Act.
But the use of the Crimes Act would involve a proper trial before a legal tribunal-.. Any charge: made under it would be heard by the High Court; a Supreme Court or a magistrate, according to the- nature of the offence, that was alleged.. Substantiation of the charge would involve a conviction and a. fine in some instances-, imprisonment, in. other instances and deportation, of certain members of. bodies found to be unlawful associations. That legislation? contains, provisions’, under which the Communist party, if it were- declared to be- an unlawful association,, could be banned and obliged to forfeit its property, and assets. By invoking those provisions- that- 1 have mentioned, the Government, could avoid a great deal of trouble and expense in the conduct of the proposed referendum. However, apparently it wishes- to. achieve its objective by totalitarian methods. Example is better than precept, and the Government, should set an example to the entire community; including the. Communists, by taking, the ad-vice of the. High Court justices and. using only democratic processes. How can we win the. Communists to our philosophy if we. adopt the very tactics’ for the use: of which we condemn them? If the security service has been doing its job properly there must be ample evidence in its possession upon which the Government could base a prosecution of the Communist party. The service has been in existence for at least ten years, and it should now have detailed information about the activities of Communists. The procedure that could be followed under the Crimes Act is very simple. A prefatory affirmation or averment is regarded as a prima facie allegation, and the person or body concerned is under onus to show cause why he or it should not be dealt with.
Abundant evidence of Communist activities in Australia was submitted to Mr. Justice Lowe in the recent inquiry conducted by a royal commission in Victoria. The finding of the commissioner dealt at length with the nature and membership of the Communist party and its activities generally. It stated the actual number of Communists who were operating throughout Australia at the time. Under the Crimes Act it would be a simple procedure to include those findings as evidence upon which the Communist party could be called on to show cause why it should not be prosecuted. It could be dealt with judicially in that way without resort to some secret process or to a declaration on the advice of the security service or the ex parte evidence of informers, which could not be cross examined or challenged in any way. Individuals who supplied information under the terms of the Communist Party Dissolution Act would be governed by all sorts of motives. The system would be open to many abuses. We all know of injustices that have been perpetrated in countries such as Russia and Germany. Even in Australia, as the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) pointed out, individuals were convicted during World War I. on false evidence and were incarcerated for a number of years. The facts were finally brought to light by a royal commission. When such abuses have occurred in the ordinary processes of law, one can readily imagine what could happen under a secret police regime without trial or the right of appeal. The High Court has defended the fundamental rights of citizens and the Government should heed its advice and adhere only to democratic methods of procedure. Instead of heeding that advice the Government has provided a wider definition of a Communist or Communistic body than it did in the Communist Party Dissolution Act. In this bill it has proposed not only that it should have power to reintroduce that act in its actual or amended form but also that it should be given power to deal with Communists or communism in general. Clause 2 of the bill provides that the Constitution shall be altered by inserting after section 51 the following section: - 51a. - (]) The Parliament should have power to make such laws for the peace, ordeand good Government of the Commonwealth with respect to Communists or communism the Parliament considers to he necessary.
That is the only definition given in the bill. The Communist Party Dissolution Act set out a definition of communism but there is no definition in this bill of communism or a Communist. That is very significant and calls for some explanation on the part of the Prime Minister. The proposed new section 51a continues -
The interpretation of who is a Communist or of what is communism and the nature of the activity to be dealt with is taken right out of the hands of the court. That is a slap in the face of the High Court. By inserting the words “ as the Parliament considers to be necessary or expedient “ the Government proposes to take the determination of this question out of judicial hands. It will be for the Government to determine what is necessary and expedient. The Leader of th, Opposition quoted a definition of communism from the Oxford English dictionary. That dictionary gives two definitions of communism. The first definition is as follows : -
A theory of society according to which all property should be vested in the community and the labour re-organized for the common benefit.
The second definition reads -
Any practice which carries out this theory.
The Communist is described as an adherent of the theory. There is no mention in this bill of revolutionary communism. The Prime Minister could render his proposal unambiguous by placing the word “ revolutionary “ before the word “ communism “ in the bill. There is no preamble to this measure such as “that which prefaced the Communist Party Dissolution Act and which made it appear that only Marxian and Leninist principles of communism were to be dealt with. In the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary there are five definitions of communism. They are as follows: -
System of social organization in which goods are held in common; the opposite of the system of private property.
Communalism: A system in which communes or other small political units have large powers as compared with both the individual and the central Government.
Any theory or system of social organization involving common ownership of the agents of production and some approach to equal distribution of the products of industry.
The popular use of the word “ communism “ conforms to the third of these definitions. The scientific usage sometimes conforms to the first alone and sometimes alternates between the first and second. Host modern writers use the term indiscriminately in these two meanings.
Communalism: Practice of eating together >it the same table.
The principles and theories of the Communist party, especially in Soviet Russia.
There are five definitions of communism or Communists. Pour of them could refer to innocent people who believe in lawful and constitutional means of obtaining their objectives. At page 432 of the second edition of the Columbia Encylopaedia the following note on communism is lo be found : -
Communism: Even before the vague misuse of the word “ communism “ in recent years by some persons to mean any radical or even liberal policy of social reform, it was somewhat loose in meaning. Fundamentally, communism is the system of society in which property (especially real property and the means of production) is held in common, i.e., by members of the society and not by individuals. Thus the Egido of the Mexican Indians and the property and work system of the Inca were both Communist though the one was a matter of more or less independent communities cultivating their own lands in common and the other a type of community organization within a. highly organized empire headed by an Emperor (The Inca) and nobles.
Usually the term is defined to include such types of community living as that of the Jesuit Reductions in Paraguay and occasionally is extended to mean even the communal life instituted in monasticism. There is evidence that the life of the early Germans at least had a communal aspect and in the 19th century and early 20th century there was fierce argument as to whether or not “primitive” society in Europe was essentially Communist. This dispute, when the academic dust had settled, was left unresolved; its effect, however, was far-reaching. There is some question as. to whether it is possible to speak of any concept of property (except immediate personal property) among nomadic tribes and a proper distinction between rival organization and communal property-holding’ is not easy to draw. The idea of the Golden Age which appeared very early among the Greeks is a concept of a pristine and .paradisiacal world of communal bliss and harmony without the institution of private ‘ property. Communism as a theory of Government and social reform may be said, in a limited sense, to have begun with this Greek vision of a Golden Age and particularly with Plato who in. The Republic, outlined a society with communal holding of property but also with a hierarchic social system including slavery; this has by some, been called aristrocratic communism.
Perhaps that is the type of communism in which honorable members opposite believe. The encyclopaedia continues -
The neoplatonists revived the idea of common property which also was strong in some religious groups such as the Jewish Essenes and certain early Christian communities. These religious opponents of private property held that property-holding is evil as being worldly and that God had created the world for the use of all mankind.
This authority then mentions various Christian sects which, for a long time, believed in the banning of private property. Then schisms took place and they abandoned the theory, and many of the orthodox Christian sects now believe in the right to own private property. There is a classic example of the belief in the communal ownership of property in the New Testament where it is related that the first disciples were exhorted to dispossess themselves of their property and share it with their brethren. It is related in the Acts of the Apostles that Ananias and his wife disobeyed that principle and lied to Peter and were both struck down by the hand of the Lord. The early Christians believed sincerely and deeply “in that principle. There are to-day many Christian sects such as the Militant Methodists in
America who believe in many of the principles of socialism .and sharing in common and who are opposed to the possession of private property. In Israel there are community settlements in which the people have abolished the principle of private ownership and have ceased to use money as a currency. When the Jews can do that the world is progressing. The Government should make clear at whom it is aiming. As the Leader of the Opposition said, the definition of a Communist is all-embracing. It could include socialists who believe in common ownership. Socialism is stated to be the aim and objective of the Australian Labour party.
The Prime Minister, as a man who has had great experience in the courts and in the preparation of bills for presentation to the Parliament, knows that it is usual for a definition clause to bc inserted in nearly every bill. I do not thank -that he is so naive as to have overlooked the inclusion of such a clause in this bill. A definition clause has not been omitted unwittingly. It has been omitted deliberately in order to leave the bill in a state of ambiguity.
As the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, the bill, if passed, must lead to the establishment of a totalitarian regime. Having dealt with one section of its opponents, the Government must deal with the socialists. According to Government members who have spoken in this House and during election campaigns, and according to advertisements which the Government parties had printed, there is no difference between a Communist, a socialist, and a Labour man. Once the Government has dealt with the Communist it will deal with the socialist, then with the Labour man and then with other people. That .is what happened in Germany and in Russia.
– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- In defining the word “ Communist “ the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) mentioned the militant Methodists and the socialists. When this bill becomes law it will not be the militant Methodists and socialists who will be running for their safety. This bill has been directed at the Communists and honorable members can be assured that the Government is worrying about the working system not of the Incas but of the Kremlin. Several honorable members of .the Opposition have used a tremendous number of words in opposing the bill, but have proposed .nothing concrete in its place. The bogy of communism that was mentioned by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) is not a bogy, but a stark reality. That is a fact which honorable members of the Opposition will not face. They have said that the Government should continue to control the country in a democratic way. The purpose of this bill is to enable the Government to do that. The honorable member for Reid said that we should win the Communists over to our side. I point out that it has been the endeavour of the Western democracies to win over the Communists since the termination of World War II. They have tried by every diplomatic and peaceful means to bring under the notice of the Communists their desire for peace above everything else. I cannot see that Australia could succeed in winning over the Communists when greater and stronge powers have not been able to come to terms with them.
One of the most important factors in connexion with this bill is that on ‘two occasions the public has given this Government its sanction to take action against what we consider to be the most dangerous and deadly menace that has ever ‘.been allowed to threaten our democratic system of ‘government. During the debate on the ‘Communist Party Dissolution Bill the Opposition staunchly maintained, as it now obstinately maintains, that the electors of Australia regard the Government’s methods as being too drastic and extreme. “The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) implied in his impassioned speech to-night that the last general election was held too hurriedly to give the electors any opportunity of knowing what w.e were trying to do in order to deal with the ‘Communists. I point out that what we -wanted to do was quite evident during the life of the Nineteenth Parliament. The Opposition said that our proposals for dealing with communism were extreme, yet at the last general election our policy was again accepted by the people as being reasonable and logical. Whilst in this House members of the Labour party may endeavour, with a variety of arguments, to minimize the fantastic grip that communism has on the trade, industry and living standards of this country, we on this side of the House will not be lulled into a false sense of security. If we allowed ourselves to lie so lulled we should be entirely false to our responsibilities as a government that was returned to office to implement a policy dedicated to the eradication of a treacherous enemy in our midst. I .-ay again that the Opposition has said nothing about, and has given no indication of, how we can deal with that enemy effectively other than by the methods that are specified in this measure.
Communism has existed in this country for many years, and many of the Australian people realized the danger of it before the last war. A Liberal and Australian Country party government realized it when it banned the Communist party on a previous occasion. A Labour government removed that ban, and I think that we are right in believing that had it not been removed the outlook of this country to-day might have been different. We know that during the time the Communist party was banned the Communists were allowed to grow in influence because of Russian participation in the war. They were shrewd and cunning, and they knew that they could enhance their prestige in Australia by ostensibly inking the side of this country in the war, hem use Russia and this country were allies. However, we can recall the hypocrisy that the Communists evidenced when, at the outbreak of the war, they termed it an “ imperialist war “. When Russia was attacked by Germany in lune, 1941, they changed that cry overnight, and said that the war was being fought for peace and freedom. That was a complete somersault such as only th? Communists can perform.
After Russia found itself in the fight, and up to the end of the war, it was obviously to the benefit of the Communists to increase output in this as well as in other allied countries. They wanted to keep the workers at their jobs. They were able to secure in war-time improvements of the conditions of work and were able to assume the role of people who were working for the best interests of the employer and employee. They were thus able to increase their influence in the trade union movement. Those were the tactics by which they secured a hold on the trade unions. The view that communism flourishes only in conditions of degression has often been expressed in this House by honorable members opposite. I hold the contrary view, and support it by pointing out that it was in conditions of comparative prosperity during the war that communism made its greatest advances in this country. The Labour party well knows that the main task of the Communist party is to absorb the trade union movement and, by that means, to absorb the Labour party later. The Labour party, therefore, should support this measure, because communism is the greatest menace it has ever faced, just as it is the greatest menace that the country has ever faced. The Labour party knows that the Communist party has infiltrated the trade union movement through the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia, the Seamen’s Union of Australia, the Amalgamated Engineering Union, and the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia. Those key unions, which have about 500,000 members under their control, are dominated by ‘Communists. Because of that dominance, the Communists have a stranglehold of Australian industry, and so, instead of going forward after the Avar to a period of increasing’ prosperity which would have been of benefit to the workers as well as to the employers, we have had industrial stoppages and retardation of production. Some people have the ridiculous idea that inherent in the fact that businesses are flourishing is something detrimental to the workers. That is not so.
Since 1946, the Communists, instead of acting in the best interests of ‘the workers, have caused chaos in Australian industry. They have been able to do so because during -the war years they infiltrated key trade unions. We know how that Avas done and I shall not repeal the details of the sad story of how this country, of all countries, has suffered such a state of affairs and has had to put up with the strikes, stoppages and one-day shut-downs that Ave have had in recent years. The Communists Avant to see disruption and discontent, and will use every possible means to produce them. Their activities are in no small part responsible for rising prices. A trickveneer house cost in 1939 a total of about £1,300, the cost of labour being about £455 and the cost of material being about £850. To-day Ave find that the material for the same kind of house despite the fact that the 40-hour week, SloW ‘production and stoppages have entered into its cost, has risen from £850 to only £1,450, whereas the cost of labour has gone up from £455 to £2,350. That is an illustration of the effect that. Communist activity can have on the essential factors of our living standards. It the Communist infiltration of the trade unions continues Communists will infiltrate the Labour party through the unions and will eventually, by constitutional or other means, gain control of this country as they gained control of Czechoslovakia. When they have done so there will no longer be free elections whereby we can change our governments every three years if we so wish.
The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) at one stage of his speech to-night, said that the people who voted for Liberal party and Australian Country party candidates at the last general election would return to their allegiance to Labour when they became aware of the facts. But those people will never return to Labour while it shows evidence of supporting and protecting, to its own detriment, the Communists in this country. Communist infiltration of the trade unions has .become so deeply rooted that there is only one thing that will plough it out - a powerful alliance of resolute government action with the activities of moderate industrial groups. The dishevelled state of the Labour party’s ranks at the present time and the complete inability of Labour to agree on a policy were again paraded before a critical public last week when, as a result of the introduction of this bill, the Victorian State executive of the Labour party voted to support the measure and four out of twelve delegates to the Labour party’s federal executive also voted in support of it. To-night we had an appeal by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) for a closing of Labour’s ranks. Honorable members opposite know that they have a weak case, and that the public will not support them. I believe that an attempt to close their ranks on this bill could easily mean disaster to them.
The Government is far closer to the thoughts and desires of trade unionists than are most of the people who have raised their own little thrones and have lost contact with the trade union movement, the membership of which has risen from some 950,000 in 1939 to 1.600,000 to-day. The leaders of the parliamentary Labour party and members of the Labour party executives have become far removed from those to whom they should be giving their guidance and inspiration and these leaders are opposing this bill because they fear that its acceptance by the people will show that their guidance of the trade unions has been lacking in inspiration. That is why, to a great degree, Ave have witnessed the desperate efforts of honorable members opposite, like the honorable member for East Sydney, to raise a smokescreen to obscure the lack of political and moral fibre which they have displayed in having failed to deal with the enemy in their own midst. I shall quote from the writings of one Max Bladek, who for 24 years was a militant member of the Communist party. He wrote as follows: -
Then a word about thu actual tasks of the different parties within the countries themselves. No mutter what country Communists may be in their job is to pursue a nationalist policy in order to gain as many followers as possible. They must gain influence in Parliamentary institutions and especially in the Trade Unions, in order to organize strikes which may culminate in a general strike, aimed at overthrowing the country. They must learn to gain influence in every public body, even sports or social clubs.
We know that the Communists have gained control of many sporting and social clubs here. The quotation continues^ -
Communist, intellectuals are trained to take part in middle class and cultural societies. they must influence the public through the press, pamphlets ‘ mid whispering campaigns. Thu Communists do not want at the moment to orca.te open war. but to undermine the people in thu Western democracies. Because when people have no ideology you can bring them into such confusion that finally you can do what you like with them.
The Communists do not want to have open war at the moment, hut wish only to undermine the Western democracies because they believe that they can reduce them to such confusion that they can do what they like with them.
– Who said that?
– i was quoting from the writings -of Max Bladek, who was a militant Communist for 24 years j i ii el turned against the Communist party. What he had to say amply illustrates why we. consider that extreme measures must be taken against the Communists. America and Great Britain have had to take measures against communism.
We know that the disappearances of scientists who were working on atom projects has been the cause of terrific concern to America and Britain. We know also that aircraft from Russia, striking without warning, could cripple the industrial potential of America, and greatly reduce any war effort that America might make. America has to wait, because it is si democracy, and take the risk of Russia starting an undeclared war. We also know that Russia is able to put to sea a tremendous submarine fleet which could stand off the American coast and throw missiles with powerful warheads at American seaports and cause havoc in them. We know that the Communists have internal saboteurs who arc ready to go into action immediately thf Kremlin gives the signal. To-day thf world is in the grip of a cold war, but that can be transformed into a hot war with startling suddenness when Russia gives the signal. That makes it essential that we shall be in a position to deal with this traitorous party before it can do any damage in Australia. A war with Russia would be world wide and would commence in .many parts of the world simultaneously. There is already evidence that sabotage is being practised in Australia, and in this connexion the damage done recently to
H.M.A.S. Sydney can be instances. That sabotage can be traced back to the Communists.
The Communist party in Australia is obviously under the direction of the Kremlin. If I had and doubts about the attitude of Russia and what would happen if communism gained control of this country, they were dissipated by a new Australian with whom I spoke only yesterday. He is a Pole, who had spent some time in Russia’s concentration camps. His statements about the actions and outlook of the Russians were sufficient to make me realize that anything that can be done to prevent establishment of a system like that in this country should be done. They also reassured me that by this measure we are not doing anything extreme, but are doing something that will be as effective in this present time of uneasy peace as would be the use of bombs and rifles in war-time. This new Australian told me that he had been in a Russian labour camp where the prisoners had to do 100 ‘per cent, of the established amount of work each day. for which they received 1,000 grammes of bread. If they were ill and could do only 90 per cent, of the amount of work that they were supposed to do, they received only 90 per cent, of the 1,000 grammes of bread, or 900 grammes. It can be well understood why fifteen or twenty labourers were dying each day under those conditions.
Honorable members should remember that we are up against people who see nothing wrong in such conditions. The people who believe that a system such as that should be introduced into Australia are directed and controlled by the Australian Communist party. The Government is now asking for power to cleanse Australia of this blight and to prevent the possibility of such conditions being established here. There is only one way to do it, and that is by the action that can be taken through this measure. It is my considered opinion that the public will accept the Government’s proposal in this matter, and I also suggest that the Opposition, when it supported the Communist Party Dissolution Bill in the Nineteenth Parliament, gave its assent to the Government’s projected method of dealing with the Communist party. Therefore, I support this bill.
Sitting suspended from I2.b to 12.8b a.m. (Wednesday).
Wednesday, 11 July 1951
.- The people of the Australian Capital Territory will not vote at the proposed referendum. They were not a party to the contract between the States that led to the framing of the Constitution and, therefore, they have no voice in proposals to alter the Constitution. But they will be affected by any decisions taken on this measure just as much as will be people in any other part of Australia. I deplore the fact that the people of the Territory have no vote on a matter that vitally affects civil rights and individual liberties. I suggest that, when a referendum is being held at some future date, means should be found to provide that the people of the interior territories shall be given an effective vote on the matter at issue. I realize that it would be difficult to devise means by which their vote could be recorded in the votes of the States, but I believe that means could be found by which it could be. recorded in the over-all total. As the member for the Australian Capital Territory, I shall have no vote on the motion that is now before the House. I may speak on that motion and express my opposition to it, hut, no matter how vehemently I may call “ No “ when the vote comes to be taken, my name will not be recorded in the tally.
I make it quite clear that, in my opinion, this bill is a bad one. The Government is seeking to achieve, by sleight of hand as it were, more than the High Court decided only a few months ago that it had no power to do. This is not a measure designed to clothe the National Parliament with the full powers that many honorable members on both sides of the House believe that it should have. The Government is taking no step to widen the Constitution generally in order to make the work of this Parliament more effective. It has ignored the proposals that have been put forward by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Bland) and other honorable members for the establishment of a convention to review and widen the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Instead, it is seeking to capitalize on the hysteria that it has itself created and to enact sectional legislation that will, I suggest, defile the spirit of the Constitution.
– The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) is going to be as difficult as his brother is.
– I acknowledge that tribute. I shall read to the House an article that appeared on page 8 of the Sydney Sunday Sun on the Sth July. It is headed “Red Ban Favoured. Eighty-five per cent, may vote Yes “, and reads as follows : -
The referendum on banning the Communist party is likely to be carried by big majorities in all States. A Gallup poll taken in the past fortnight shows this. In the six States, 1,500 people were personally interviewed and asked “ If a referendum is held to give the Federal Government power to ban the Communist party, are you likely to vote Yes for banning or No against the banning? “ Eighty in 100 plan to vote yes, 12 in 100 plan to vote No, 8 in 100 are undecided. In no State does the Yes majority fall below 75 per cent. The usual reason for wanting to ban the Communist party is, “They are the cause of all our troubles’’.
I direct the attention of the House especially to that last sentence. Do the members of the Government believe that the Communists are the cause of all our troubles? Do they realize that that article is an indictment of the Government for the mischief that it has caused in the community? I suggest that the Government, by its campaigning during the last two general elections and by its pronouncements since December, 1949, has created a superficial neurosis in the Australian community to a degree that has yet to be measured.
On the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the leaders of the Government parties I lay the blame for the existence in many people in this community of a state of mind that accepts the spurious belief that the Communists are the cause of all the troubles with which we are faced to-day. The Prime Minister knows that that belief is a false one, but he countenances and encourages the spirit of the belief, which has led to an unhealthy disbalance of the collective mind of the community. It is common -to hear young people who are barely out of their ‘teens, and
Lave no real knowledge of the issues involved, repeating without thought the parrot-cry that the wretched Communists are the cause of all our troubles, and that if the Commonwealth could legislate to ban the Communist party a great transformation would occur in the industrial and political life of this country. 1 remind the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government that that is a most dangerous belief. It is one that is likely to rebound on the heads of those who have fostered it. Throughout Australia, there are many people who appear to believe, as does the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), that there is a Communist lurking behind every tree and in every doorway in this country. Unfortunately, those people also believe, mistakenly, that if the present Government were given the power that it seeks it would destroy the Communist menace and root out the Communist wreckers, as they are so prone to call them.
The Prime Minister, in his secondreading speech on this bill, quoted a passage from a judgment that was delivered by Mr. Justice Jackson in the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the case of Dennis v. tha United States of America. In that judgment, Mr. Justice Jackson referred to events preceding and subsequent to the coup d’etat in Czechoslovakia. The right honorable gentleman recalled Mr. Justice Jackson’s description of how, in a period of confusion, Communist underground organizations came to the surface throughout Czechoslovakia, Communist trade union officials took over transportation, Communist printers took over newspapers and radios, Communists took possession of telegraph and telephone installations, Communist unions took over factories, Communist organizations made a partisan distribution of food, and, finally, Communists instituted a reign of oppression and terror throughout Czechoslovakia. The right honorable gentleman, having quoted that history of events in Czechoslovakia, said -
It is more purblindness not to recognize that Communist political strikes and organized go-slow policies in Australia are just as much a part nf the cold war going on in the world as the historical examples to which I have referred.
He added -
The danger is not distant, it exists here and now.
I suggest that by the quotation that Inmade and by the warning that he gave, thu Prime Minister seeks to create in this country an unjustified fear that the pattern that the Communists ‘followed in Czechoslovakia can be followed in this country. Such a fear actually exists, and the Government is exploiting it. I shall reveal the dishonesty of the Government5: methods by drawing attention to the fact that Czechoslovakia was a country in which the social conditions we enjoy in Australia were undreamed of. It was a country in which grave social unrest provided a ready field for the spread of communism. Furthermore, Czechoslovakia is a small country surrounded completely by land boundaries and, therefore, was easily influenced and infiltrated. It had a highly organized and concentrated army and police force. The conditions that existed in the country at the time to which I refer provided an ideal opportunity for the coup d’etat that subsequently took place. Conditions of that kind simply do not exist in Australia. Does the Prime Minister seriously suggest to the Parliament and to the people that there is imminent danger in this country of an uprising by Communists who would seize control of our police force,- Navy, Army, and Air Force and militia? Does he suggest that the Communists are organized to take over the whole of our transportation and communication systems? Does he fear, and does he counsel the people to fear, that there is a real and present danger that Communists will seize control of newspapers and radio stations throughout the country? Let us have some truth and realism about this matter. I heard little of either from honorable members opposite in the course of this debate. Let them put an end to the creation of this fear and their exploitation of it for party political purposes.
Admittedly, Communists cause disruption in some of our industries. The use of their power in that sphere has been to the detriment of the Australian economy. There have been instances in which Communists have achieved executive power in trade unions as the result of rigged ballots. Nevertheless, the menace is not so grave as Government supporters would like the people to believe, and the steps that the Government proposes to take under this measure exceed those that would be adequate to remedy our industrial ills. In the past the people of Australia have shown that they will not have a “ bar “ of a Communist when he comes before them seeking election to the Parliament. Inevitably, in the political sphere, every Communist party candidate is rejected by the people and forfeits his deposit. Communism, is not a force in the political life of this country and to the degree that it is a force in our industrial and economic life the remedy lies ready to the Government’s hand. The provisions of the Crimes Act, in which the Government professes to believe, are sufficient to enable it to take action against any persons who engage in seditious and subversive activities. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1949 provides adequate means to remedy the malpractices that occur from time to time in ballots for the election of officials of the trade unions. The Government has adequate power under existing legislation to enable it to destroy the Communist menace, but it has not taken such action. On the contrary, it invariably exhibits a preference for totalitarian methods. The people of this country look to it for action. It cannot hope to be known as a government of- action if it merely indulges in outpourings of words and the enactment of measures of this kind. Now that it has a majority in both this chamber and in the Senate, it can ensure that any measure that it introduces will be passed. But legislation merely opens the door to action. The Government will be judged not only on the legislation that it passes during its term of office, but also on the action that it takes under such legislation.
Finally, I appeal to the Government when it prepares the case for its proposals to be submitted by way of referendum to the people to present them with reality, calmness and restraint. I trust that it will not seek by inflammatory statements and advertisements in the press and over the air to aggravate the neurotic fear that it has already caused in the community. As it has a majority in this
House and in the Senate, it can ensure that this measure shall be passed. However, an alteration of the Constitution involves joint action by both Houses of the Parliament and the people. I ask that the case for and the case against the referendum proposals be put before the people with clarity logic and a proper sense of the responsibility of the Parliament to advise the people wisely and well.
.During the life of the Nineteenth Parliament honorable members witnessed many extraordinary actions on the part of members of the Opposition, but I doubt whether the Parliament has previously seen the once great Labour party so confused in its outlook with respect to a particular measure as it has shown itself to be on this occasion. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) virtually criticized their colleagues. Honorable members opposite endeavoured to lead the people to believe on the one hand that communism is merely a philosophy and on the other hand that the ‘Government is endeavouring to exaggerate the danger and importance of communism. However, when these proposals were previously before the Parliament, the Labour Opposition voted in favour of them and accepted every principle that they embody. Therefore, they must be regarded as being of vital importance. Previously, honorable members opposite committed themselves to the responsibility of seeing through this task. Their only alternative is to go on the hustings and indulge in the acrobatics for which they have become well known.
Honorable members should consider this measure in its true perspective. At the general election in 1949 the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) clearly indicated that the Government parties if returned to office would ban the Communist party and would deal with Communists to the fullest possible degree. The people endorsed the policy by an overwhelming majority. Subequently, the Government introduced the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. At the .last general election, the people, after they had had every opportunity to familiarize themselves with these proposals as the result of the debate that took place upon them during the life of the Nineteenth Parliament, again returned the Government parties with a clear mandace to the Government to implement its policy to deal quickly and effectively with the Communist menace. As the result of the High Court judgment with respect to the validity of the Communist Party Dissolution Act, the Government has now introduced this measure under which it proposes to ask the people to give to the National Parliament the power that it requires to deal with communism along the lines that they previously approved. If the people do so, they will give such power not only to the government but also to the Parliament. Honorable members should comprehend fully the principles that are contained in the bill. Members of tlie Opposition have made only too obvious their reluctance to recognize these simple principles.
Never before has any democratic country been faced with the threat that communism now presents to Australia. When we remember that Russia, which is the home of communism, maintains an iron curtain and refuses to allow its people access to the free world or to allow persons of other nationalities to enter its own boundaries, our suspicions are naturally aroused about what is going on behind that curtain. We can only conclude that it has been erected to hide sinister activities that are designed bo throw the world into chaos. Not so long ago the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, when he was British Foreign Minister and was charged with the responsibility of conferring on his country’s behalf with representatives of other nations and, consequently, had first-hand knowledge of what was going on throughout the world, declared in the British House of Commons that Russian imperialist communism was world-wide and that it constituted the greatest threat that had yet confronted the world because of its effective underground work in democratic countries. He warned the British Parliament and the world in general of that danger. Unfortunately, his warning has been confirmed by events that .have occurred in the meantime. Recently, General MacArthur declared that the United Nations forces in Korea were engaged in a fight against world communism. We should realize that fact. Australia must bear its share of the responsibility for the. conduct of that fight.
The principal purposes of the Communist Party Dissolution Act are three in number. The first is to dissolve the Communist party. Does any honorable member of the Opposition object to that? 1 doubt it, because the Opposition voted for that legislation last year. The second purpose of the act is to prevent Communists from being employed in the Commonwealth Public Service. Again I ask whether any member of the Labour party is opposed to that provision.
Mr. E. James Harrison interjecting,
– We regret that the State parliaments have not introduced complementary legislation for the purpose of dealing with the threat of communism in the public services of the States. The third purpose of the act is to remove Communists from key positions in the trade unions. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has stated that Communist candidates for political honours in Australia receive only a small percentage of the votes. I agree that, when the Communists come out into the open, a large majority of the people unhesitatingly express their disapproval of the Communist policy. The Government desires to give trade unionists an opportunity to express their disapproval of the Communists who seek election to positions in industrial organizations. I have every confidence that when trade unionists are able to vote by secret ballot, they will reject the Communist candidates.
Under the Communist Party Dissolution Act, the Government will be able to remove Communists from key offices in the unions. Do members of the Labour party object to that proposal? They have not said_ so. They make all kinds of apologies in their speeches, but they are silent about the fundamental principles of that act, for which they voted last year.
While I was turning through the pages of Hansard this afternoon, I happened to glance at a speech that was delivered by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) in 1938. I listened with some astonishment to his speech this evening, because it was an almost complete repetition of the earlier one. In describing the Communist Party Dissolution Act as an attack upon the trade union movement, he repeated the same old story that he tells us week after week. As Opposition members are perfectly well aware, the act clearly provides that trade unions may not be declared. They unsuccessfully endeavoured to cloud the issue, and many of their statements were merely stupid. I am sure that the people will reject the views of those honorable gentlemen when they have an opportunity to do so.
I was astonished to hear the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan), who is a member of the legal profession, state that the Crimes Act and other legislation could be used to meet the present situation, and that, therefore, the powers that the Government is seeking are unnecessary. I agree that the Crimes Act may be used against a person who has committed an offence in respect of which a charge can ‘be sustained in the courts. However, the Government must act promptly in dealing with the Communists who live and work in a subtle way, and are known to be enemy agents. Is the Government to sit idly by while members of the Communist party, who occupy key positions in the trade unions, cleverly avoid committing offences that would expose them to ordinary legal proceedings? The act merely provides that Communists who occupy key positions in the trade unions shall be declared. Once they are deprived of ‘their power they will cease to be a danger in the trade union movement. If they cause trouble elsewhere and become a danger in another way, so that they expose themselves to ordinary legal proceedings, the Government will take swift action against them.
The Communist Party Dissolution Act also contains safeguards in respect of the power to search. Opposition members have dealt at length about the danger of the misuse of that right, but I believe that such fears are without foundation.
Provision is also made in the act for an appeal to the Supreme Court of a State, and the High Court of Australia., The act is fair and, al the same time, effective. Before a person is declared to be a Communist, his name must be submitted to a special committe for invesigation, and its recommendation that he be declared must be submitted to Cabinet for action. The Parliament may be described as the sounding board of public opinion. Any government, regardless of its political views, that behaved unfairly in a matter of that kind would soon be made aware of the disapproval of the people. The provisions of the act make its perfectly clear that all those matters will be dealt with in the fairest possible manner.
The act also provides that if a declared person gives evidence in a court, the burden of proof shall rest upon the Crown. Opposition members have spoken at length about placing upon a person the onus of proving his innocence, but I remind them that Labour governments have incorporated the same principle in legislation. It is contained in the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Act that was placed on the statute-book by the Chifley Government in June, 1949. During the debate on that legislation, the Attorney-General of the day, Dr. Evatt, said -
Clause 11 lays down a principle that is well recognized in legislation of this character. After all, an organization cannot be prosecuted or suffer any personal loss.
Under this clause where an organization has committed an offence against the measure the officers are deemed to be guilty of the offence unless proof is given, in the case of an offence alleged against an individual, that he did not know it, that is to say that it was committed without his knowledge, or. if he did know of it, that he used due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.
The Communist Party Dissolution Act incorporates many safeguards so that the provisions in relation to the onus of proof shall not operate unjustly. Opposition members are endeavouring to “ cover up “ as best they can, because they find themselves in a difficult situation. Labour governments in New South Wales and possibly in other States have placed upon the statute-book legislation in which the onus is placed upon an accused person to prove his innocence. New South Wales legislation that embodies that principle includes the Textile Products Liability Act 1945, the Irrigation and Water (Amendment) Act 1943, the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948, the Farm Produce Agents Act 1932, the Prices Regulation Act 1948, the Land Sales Control Act 1948, the Pastures Protection (Amendment) Act 1949 and the Economic Stability Act 1946. Yet Opposition members criticize the inclusion of a similar provision in the Communist Party Dissolution Act, regardless of the fact that the Government must act promptly against the Communists. The attitude of the Opposition, when it is examined, is ridiculous.
The honorable member for Melbourne Ports dismissed the Communist threat to Australia, and described communism, as a philosophy that is changing our economic and social conditions. I do not know whether the honorable gentleman expects the House to believe him, but I am afraid that, before long, he will gain a new outlook on it. World communism is so effective, thorough and dangerous that even the most simple-minded person should realize that it constitutes a threat to this country. The British scientist, Dr. Fuchs, revealed atomic bomb secrets to Russia, and Harry Rose, a member of the Canadian Parliament, engaged in espionage for the Soviet. Those happenings in other parts of the world should cause the most simple-minded persons in Australia to be on their guard.
The Leader of the Oppposition, in an extraordinary speech this evening, tried to extricate the Labour party and. himself from a difficult position. The right honorable gentleman said that legislation such as the Communist Party Dissolution Act had never been introduced in the United Kingdom. Obviously, circumstances comparable with the growth of communism have not been experienced in the history of the United Kingdom before the present time. Men of liberal, or advanced thought, have had, above all other considerations, feelings of affection for their own country. But the Communists place their allegiance to a foreign power above their responsibilities to their country. They are trying to convince us that they are liberal in outlook, and that their activities in the industrial sphere should not be hindered in any way. They have tried our patience for too long.
Opposition members do not appear to realize that the High Court did not question the principle of the Communist Party Dissolution Act. Their Honours merely declared that it was invalid because they considered that the defence powers of the Commonwealth under the Constitution could not be used to support it. The Australian people are to havethe responsibility, by way of referendum,, of signifying their approval for the incorporation of those powers in the Constitution. I do not seek to criticize a decision of the High Court, but I am convinced that the people realize that their Government, which has the responsibility of safeguarding the country, is in possession of vital secret information from various parts of the world that is; not available to the justices of the court. The court has only a legal responsibility. The Government is charged with the preservation of national security and, for that purpose, it obtains special information from other democratic governments. The United Kingdom Government is speeding up its defence preparations. Not long ago it purged Communists from the public service, although, unfortunately, its overhaul was nol thorough enough. We have read of events in the United States of America and Canada, and we know that this Government plans to increase the tempo of defence preparations. Obviously, in the light of the nature of Communist activities, we must enact a measure along the lines that the Government has indicated. I am sure that the people will appreciate the situation and give to the Government any power that it needs te deal with Communists.
This subject has been thrashed out from every point of view in various debates in this chamber. The Government and its supporters are now looking forward to the time when, from the hustings, we can submit this proposal to the people for their decision. It will be extremely interesting to observe the conduct of members of the Opposition then because the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) clearly disclosed to-night the existence of a division of opinion amongst them. How many of them will take the platform during the referendum campaign to oppose ,the Government’s proposal as enthusiastically as they pretend to oppose it -now? No more important issue has come to the forefront in recent years. Notwithstanding what the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory may say, the people of Australia know that the world-wide organization of communism is working against their interests through its agents within this country and, when the opportunity comes to them, they will ensure that the Constitution shall be altered so as to enable the Government to act promptly and effectively in defence of the nation’s security.
– In rising to oppose the bill, I first pay a tribute to the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) for the magnificent case that ite stated to-night in opposition to the bill. So sound was his case that not one supporter of the Government has yet been able to refute his statements. In fact, Government supporters have carefully endeavoured to divert attention from the arguments that the right honorable gentleman employed. The honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Eggins) said that he would be interested to observe the attitude that would be adopted by members of the Opposition during the referendum campaign. He may rest assured that every honorable member on this side of the House will be out fighting in the cause of justice to defeat the Government’s proposal. As for the suggestion that there may be some somersaults, there could be no greater somersault than that which was performed by members of the Government who, before the death of the late Ben Chifley, had accused him of almost every possible political sin, including sympathy for communism. He had to die before they would somersault and concede the credit that was due to him. Government supporters, therefore, should be the last to talk about somersaults. The Opposition has not changed its attitude to the Government’s proposals for dealing with the Communist party. The present Leader of the Opposition warned the Government that the Communist Party Dissolution Act would not survive a legal challenge and, in due course, the
High Court of Australia threw it out holus-bolus. That decision proved the incompetence of the legal men in the ranks of the Government parties. Had they been as efficient as they professed, surely they would not have presented to the Parliament legislation that was doomed to be rejected by six of seven High Court justices. Either the legislation was submitted to the Parliament in the knowledge that it would be declared invalid or it was drafted by men who were not capable of preparing a measure that would not contravene the Constitution. .
Most members of the Government and their supporters have a habit of declaring that members of the Australian Labour party are Communists or nearCommunists. I shall make my position clear upon that issue. I have fought and defeated the Communists in the industrial field in South Australia, and I should like honorable members on the Government side to do a little real fighting along the same lines instead of merely engaging in sham fights in this House and during election campaigns. They have been indulging in the practice of sham fighting for so long that I believe they have even become afraid of their own hysterical propaganda. This bill has been introduced merely for the purpose of enabling the Government to present some excuse for its failure to stem the rising tide of inflation, as it promised to do. Ever-increasing prices are gradually crippling our economy, and the Government has demonstrated that it cannot cope with the situation. Therefore, it has dragged out the old hobby-horse of communism in order to distract attention from its weakness. If, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said, Communists are acting seditiously, the Government stands condemned because it should have taken action against them under the Crimes Act long ago. The findings of the High Court justices against the Communist Party Dissolution Act stated clearly that there was ample power under the Crimes Act to deal with Communists and other subversive elements in the community. The bill is nothing but a sham, and it proves the insincerity of the Government, which must be aware that the people, much as they may detest communism, will not endorse legislation that will infringe the liberty of ordinary citizens and endanger the trade union movement. Had the Government been sincere, it would have introduced a measure in clear terms to deal with the Communists. As I have said, the High Court has clearly indicated that the Constitution gives to this Parliament full power to deal with every kind of traitorous and subversive activity by persons and organizations. The Government should use the power immediately instead of wasting time and money in conducting a referendum. If it does not take action at once, we shall know that it is merely engaging in a sham light with the object of stirring up hysteria and misleading the people as it misled them in 1949 and at the more recent general election. Government supporters should not talk too boastfully about the mandate that they have received from the people. Certainly they were returned to power, but their majority was reduced and the overall result of the election did not show that they had the support of all the people.
The Government proposes that, in dealing with Communists, the Cabinet shall decide whom to declare, and that it shall also be the judge, as well as the accuser. It proposes to act on advice given by officers of the security service and unknown persons. I have not such simple confidence in human nature as to believe that such opportunities as would be made available for laying anonymous charges against individuals would not bc used in evil ways. I have visited the guided weapons testing range at Woomera, and also Radium Hill and Leigh Creek in South Australia. I was the first trade union official to obtain a permit to go to Woomera. The security officers there are prepared to take advice from almost anybody. They fairly race to a person when he arrives at these places in order to find out if he can make an accusation against somebody. Had I wanted to do so, I could have placed placed somebody in an awkward position. If this bill became, law, anyone who wished to do so would only have to suggest to these people that a certain person was a Communist or a fellow traveller or had been talking to a fellow traveller or wore a red tie and before that individual knew where he was, he would be declared. The first he would know of it would be that some one would tell him that his name was in the Gazette. No group of politicians, Liberal or Labour, should have the power that this bill would give to a government.
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) said that there were Communists in the Labour party and that there were Communists also in the trade unions which paid sustentation fees to the Australian Labour party. That shows how members of the Government try to mislead .the people through the-‘ medium of the broadcasting service. Thetrade union movement in my State pays affiliation fees for all members of their unions who have signified that they’ are members of the Australian Labour party. No sustentation fee is paid in respect of members who are Communistsf know of one union in which thereare two Liberal party supporters and .nofee is paid to the Labour party in respect of them. Honorable members opposite have stated that Communists are members of the Australian Labour party only in order to mislead “the people. Members on the Government side of the House are quick to say that the Labour party is full of Communists. When they disagree with a member of the Opposition they allege that he is a fellow traveller. They would be quick to see that such a person was declared at the first opportunity if the provisions of this bill became law. How quickly would they declare a militant trade union secretary whether he was a member of the Communist party, the Labour party or any other political party if they had the opportunity to do so?
– The bill does not apply to trade unionists.
– The bill could apply to trade union secretaries. The Government has deliberately set out to control the officers who have been elected to trade union positions. I believe that this bill is the beginning of an attempt to ban the Labour party. If the Government was able to ban the Labour party it would do so. The trade union movement and the Labour party have been attacked on all sides by the Government butthe united trade union movement and the united Labour party will fight this bill to the very end. The Government can rest assured that the case against its proposals will be put to the people on the highways and byways and everywhere else in this country.
– By some of the members of the Labour party?
– By all of the members of the Labour party.
– Why are they missing tonight ?
– For the same reason that some of your supporters are asleep or have gone home, I suppose.
– Order ! The honorable member will address me.
– The Labour party will ensure that the people are informed of the provisions of this bill. There will be no doubt of the result of the referendum because just as Government members have failed to refute the arguments that have been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition to-night, so they will fail to convince the people in their arguments in the referendum campaign.
The Crimes Act contains the power to deal with Communists. As the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) mentioned, in the famous case which involved the organization, Industrial Workers of the World, during the first war, spies, informers and perjurers gave evidence and brought about the conviction of men on a charge of which they were innocent. This bill will enable an open invitation to be issued to men of a similar calibre to perjure themselves. I believe that the people of Australia will defeat this referendum proposal. I know that the people ofSouth Australia will do so. Just as the electors of South Australia reduced the majority of this Government at the last election so they will vote against the proposals of the Government at a referendum. They will do that not only because of the case that will be presented against this proposal but also because of the failure of the Government to grapple with the problems that are strangling the Australian economy. The people are sick and tired of the action of this Government in continually blaming the Communists and the trade unions for everything that is wrong. They are waiting for the Government to do something to stop the rise in prices and to halt inflation. The people will see that this bill is a sham. They will see that it has been introduced as an alibi for the Government on account of its failure to do the job that it promised to do. The people will see that the Government has again attempted to mislead them on the subject of communism.
– I can sympathize with the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin), who has tried to conceal from the House and the people the very deep split which exists in the Australian Labour party on this issue. Of course, because he is a new member he has been spared the embarrassing experience of what happened in the previous Parliament when his present colleagues turned so many somersaults on this issue. I was interested to know the depths of his ignorance about his own party. He is probably an expert upon its affairs in South Australia but he does not know very much about the conditions of membership of his own party in other States. The last edition of the official rules of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour party states, in clause 1, that membership shall consist of affiliated unions and “ other persons enrolled “. In New South Wales there are different qualifications. The statement in regard to the Australian Labour party which the honorable member made is doubtless correct as far as the South Australian branch is concerned but so far as branches in the other States are concerned his knowledge is not so accurate. It is a peculiar fact that membersof the Labour party have invariably found themselves on the side of the Communists. They have found themselves advocating those objectives which the Communists support. They have denounced those principles which the Communists dislike.
The honorable member for Kingston, who no doubt did not realize the full import of what he was saying directed a good deal of abuse at the security service whose crime in his eyes seems to be that it tried to find out something about the Communist party. I see nothing wrong in that. It is vital that we should know who the Communists are. However, I shall leave those remarks of tha honorable member and pass on to more important matters.
The changes which have occurred in the policy of the Labour party from time to time have been quite remarkable. In the last few days the federal executive of the Labour party has ruled that members are bound by a resolution that was passed in .1948 which forbade the banning of any political party. For that reason, they have to vote against this bill, which provides for the banning of the Communist party. Honorable members opposite have said that they are obliged to take orders from that outside body. At page 8S of Hansard of 28th September, 1950, the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) is reported to have said that the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, as passed by the Senate, contained the desired provision for the dissolution of the Communist party of Australia. He said that the Senate accepted that provision. The right honorable member continued -
It contained provision for the future suppression of till activities of the Communist party. The Senate accepted that. All property of the Communist party, its newspapers and other assets were to be forfeited to the Commonwealth without compensation. That provision was accepted by the Senate and by the Opposition in this House.
Only a little earlier - I am paraphrasing now from Hansard of the 22nd June, 1950, at page 4801 - the same right honorable gentleman twitted the Government with having refused to avail itself of the opportunity to ban the Communist party which had been so generously given
To it by the Labour party. That was no passing reference, because when one looks back to the beginning of the debate - and here I refer to Hansard at page 2272 of the 9th May, 1950- we find that the late Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Chifley, said that he agreed with clause 4 of the bill which provided for the banning of the Communist party. A few hours later the right honorable member for Barton said in this chamber that he agreed with his Leader on that point. If the Labour party’s resolution of 1948 is binding now on honorable members opposite then it should have been binding on them on that occasion last year. Honorable members opposite are just shuttlecocks who say whatever is expedient. They are trying to protect the Communist party, and they are employing every shift, including the abolition of their own platform and the twisting of their own constitution, in order to do so. An examination of the records from which I have quoted shows that that shifty twistiness runs through all their arguments.
Now I come to a far more serious matter - a statement that was made by the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber to-night. The burden of his speech was, “ You do not need these new powers. Why don’t you use the powers you have under the Crimes Act? “ I say that when .he made such statements the right honorable gentleman was not being honest with this House because speaking as a jurist he expressed the opinion that the relevant sections of the Crimes Act were invalid or, at any rate, of very doubtful validity. I shall support that statement with quotations, from Common- wealth Law Reports, volume 4S of 1982-38, from a judgment of Evatt J. I think that this utterance should be placarded all over the country, and I hope that it will be reproduced and compared with the words that the right honorable gentleman used here to-night, because when his judgment, expressed by him in his capacity of a judge - and we must respect that - is compared with his words as a politician, one sees that the politician is - well, “deliberately lying” is an unparliamentary term, so I shall say, deliberately misleading the House and the country. When two passages are put side by side, the falseness of the right honorable gentleman will be quickly apparent. The judgment from which I shall quote was given in the case Rax versus Hush ex parte Devanny. The Communist party w.as concerned in that case, because the government of the day had endeavoured to use the Crimes Act in order to prosecute it. For various reasons, the Government failed. I shall read a section from the judgment of Evatt /. in that case, which concerned precisely the kind of prosecution against the Communist party that this measure provides for. The learned judge said - I protest against the growing tendency to assume, without argument or proof, the existence of ‘”’ inherent “ power in the Commonwealth Parliament. In this case the very name - the “ Crimes “ Act - challenges inquiry, because unlike the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth does not possess general jurisdiction over the domain of criminal law. The States of the Commonwealth have power over that subject-matter, and have exercised it very fully and extensively.- f quote from page 518 of Commonwealth Law Heporlx, Vol. 4S, 1932-33. I shall now direct the attention of the House to another passage from the same judgment which appears on page 510. The very learned and honorable judge went on to say -
Part H a of the Crimes Act contains a number “f sections dealing with the “Protection of the Constitution The validity of some of them lias been challenged in these’ proceedings. Their general aim is the suppression of associations which advocate or encourage doctrines considered as dangerous to “ constitutional “ government., including the form and frame of government which is expressed in the Commonwealth Constitution. All i>f the sections were inserted in 1020 by Act No. 9 (March Ifith, l!)2(i), following upon the very important decision of this Court in eas parte Walsh and lohmsnn : in re Yates (1) which was given on December 18th, 1020.
In that case the Commonwealth Government contended that the validity of section Saa of the Immigration Act could be supported upon (he footing that there was existing, at the relevant time, a serious industrial disturbance which threatened the peace, order and good govern ircnt of the Commonwealth in relation to all the. matters over which the Commonwealth and its various governmental organs had lawful jurisdiction; and that either section 51 (xxxix) or section (il or some inherent legislative power authorized laws to “protect” the Commonwealth and its Constitution from the “ subversive activities “ of certain trade union leaders. As much in 1032 as in 1025, the words “ protect “ and “ subversive “ are “ ambiguous and general words “ and are, for that reason, still of value in concealing vague and loose generalizations.
The argument did not succeed in 1925, and the judgments of Knox G.J., Higgins and Starke JJ. are quite opposed to the theory that, apart from sections 51 and 52 »f the Constitution, there is any inherent legislative power in the Commonwealth to “ protect the Constitution “ in the way it chooses. ^rou will recall, Mr. Speaker, how .the Loader of the Opposition asked us to put the word “subversive” in the bill. But the very honourable Evatt J. thought rather differently, did he not? Although
I have quoted only a small section of the judgment, I think that rather more extensive passages from that illuminating judgment will be made available to the public. They illustrate very clearly the kind of mind which the Leader of the Opposition possesses. I shall leave that matter because I am quite certain that during the coming referendum campaign those facts will be used to demonstrate the falsity and bad faith which underlies the whole case advanced to-night by the Leader of the Opposition. The right honorable gentleman says in his place here, “Make use of the Crimes Act but lie said from his place on the Bench, “ The Crimes Act is no good and the Commonwealth has no powers “. This man is endeavouring to lead the eople again into another constitutional trap that will have the effect of delaying once more effective action against the Communist party. I make that statement because there seems to be only one explanation of the various twists and turns that have characterized the handling of this matter by the right honorable gentleman. There can be one. eason only for his attitude, and that is to try to protect the Communist party from effective Government action against if. The first bill that the Government submitted at the beginning of last- year produced a statement from the right honorable gentleman to the effect, that, “ Well, I do not mind some parts of this bill. It is just the form that J. object to.” Then lie went to the High Court and, again acting on behalf of Communist interests, he said that the whole bill was bad. Later on he came here and said that according to a Labour party ruling of 1948 he had to oppose the bill m toto. There is no possible explanation of such conduct except that he is trying to protect the Communist party. Those shifts and changes of policy cannot be explained by any other hypothesis.
Having said that, let me turn to some of the other arguments that have bce.n advanced by honorable members opposite against this measure. I think that their falsity can best be seen by having an understanding of a certain basic fact about the Communist ‘party, which, to my mind, is the real thing that differentiates it from other political parties. The Communist party recognizes this fact as important, because it has drawn its name of Bolshevik from it. The word “ Bolshevik “ means “ majority “ and the word “ Menshevik “ means “ minority “. The use of those terms arose from the fundamental split in the Communist party which occurred at the beginning of 1901 or 1902. Lenin said that to be a member of a Communist party a person had not only to subscribe to its doctrines but, also had to engage in its illegal work and belong to one of its organizations. The Mensheviks on the other hand said that people could be members of the Communist party on the same terms as those on which they could be members of any other party. On that question the Social Democratic party of the day, which later became the Communist party, split. It was a vital split and the Communists recognize it as such because they drew from it their distinguishing name of Bolsheviks. Ever since then the Communist party has partaken of the nature of a. conspiracy because its members, the Bolsheviks, stand in quite a different relationship on their part, from which exists among the members of any other party and their organization.
The Bolshevik is a criminal because he belongs to the Communist party, and because the Communist party is organized ns a criminal conspiracy. Being a member of the Communist party is itself an overt, act of a kind which should be punishable at law. That fact entirely cuts across the arguments brought forward by honorable members opposite to-night. I do not think that they have realized what the matter is all about. It is important for them to remember that the Communist party is as I have described it because of the fundamental event that gave it its name “Bolshevik”, which was recognized by the party itself. Its main, characteristics are that it is a conspiracy and is distinct from any other political party. The Communist party has realized with great cleverness, that as a criminal organization existing in a democracy it must learn to adapt itself to and take advantage of, the forms of democracy. Its tactics are not in vacuo; they are designed to deal with the kind of response which a democracy can make. The Communists declare themselves free of all democratic and decent ties, but they demand that other people in dealing with them should put themselves at the disadvantage occasioned by those ties. Because they have this evil self consciousness and because they have adapted themselves to the democratic climate and are exploiting it, they are “successful, and will continue to be successful unless we realist what they are doing and counter it by proper and effective measures.
The whole matter can be compared with peace. Peace is beautiful, but if you are peaceful and your neighbour is warlike voir come off second best. You may hate war, but the only way of protecting yourself from what you hate may be by becoming temporarily adapted to some degree to your neighbour’s warlike practices. Otherwise you do not survive. That is the kind of situation, in which we find ourselves to-day. If we must fight always with our hands tied by the democratic decencies while the Communists have their hands free, we shall give the Communists an advantage of the same kind that has been seized by them in other democratic countries and will be seized here and elsewhere unless we counter it in time.
My other point has relation to the general objective of the Communist party. I do not agree with some honorable members of this House, both on this and the opposite side, who have advanced the proposition that the Communist party is working fundamentally for revolution. It is working incidentally for revolution. Its fundamental purpose is to disarm us and make us weak for the Russian aggression which is planned. The Communist party is not acting with a real hope of bringing to maturity a revolution in Australia, Britain or America. It is using the incipient revolution in order to weaken us and to make us an easier prey for the attack which Soviet Russia meditates against us, and which will come as soon as Stalin thinks that he has a chance of winning. The only thing that can keep us from war is the same thing which will give us victory in war. That is strength. “Weakness not only makes war certain but it makes defeat certain also. That is the horse that local Communist parties in Australia and in all other democracies are riding at this moment. They want to confuse our preparations and take our minds off strength. They want to raise up local problems and disturbances so that we in the free world will fall victims to the planned Russian aggression. Therefore the measures that we have to take must be adapted to the Communist plans.
I do not believe that we can afford to leave even a small fraction of 1 per cent, of enemies in our midst. Earlier to-day the honorable member for East Sydney gave a very low estimate of the strength of the local Communist vote at genera’ elections. His estimate is not the saigas the estimate given by the late Mr. Chifley on the- 9th May, 1950. at page 226S of Hansard of that date. ‘ The, late Mr. Chifley’s estimate as shown there was over 80,000, and I suggest that his figures wore, more accurate than those of the honorable member for East Sydney. However, whether there arc 80,000 or 10,000 Communists in Australia, they are still a. small fraction of the people. But if war is the Soviet objective, and not revolution then even a small fraction can be fatal to Australia, and Ave must get rid of them.
– After having listened to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. “Wentworth), I rise with some pleasure to oppose this bill. After hearing his speech, I realize the dangers that the power latent in this bill would be in the hands of a government . which numbered the honorable gentleman among its members. His speech was a clear indication of the dangers that Australia is. likely to face if the Constitution is altered in the WRY contemplated by this bill. I have listened to the
Venom that has boon poured forth by the honorable member ever since he came to this Hou?e. He has indulged in a smear campaign, apparently acquiesced in by the Government, against the most honoured members of the Opposition. I do not believe that the honorable member who has carried out this campaign for a number of years has a reputation of the highest character-
-Order ! The honorable member’s reputation is not under discussion.
– I accept your ruling on that matter, Mr. Speaker, because I. believe that, later on the subject can he dealt with by the honorable members who from time to time have been attacked by the honorable member for Mackellar. I oppose this bill, which envisages the destruction of every vestige of British justice. It has been said that thi passing of this bill will help to rid Australia of the menace of communism which is supposed to be the reason for all our economic ills. Since this Government has been in office we have heard nothing but talk and excuses from it. It is about time that the Government accepted the responsibility for inflation, shortages and the black market, and tried to do something about them. If these problems were tackled, discontent and unrest in industry might cease. This Government has done nothing but throw the responsibility on the Communist party. For eighteen months now the Communist party has been blamed for all our economic troubles. Moreover, the Government has attacked many leaders of the Labour party. It is not my purpose to defend the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), but it is fitting for me to say that this great wor]d figure who has been president of the United Nations and who has shown throughout his life that he is a. fighter against all forms of injustice, will be revered in this country when his attackers have long been forgotten. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Kekwick) made an attack upon Mr. Nehru and called him a Communist. That shows to what, lengths honorable members on the Government side will go in ‘this debate in attacking any person who is not a member of the Liberal party.
I suggest that the great menace facing Australia, at present is intolerance on the part of the Government. When the people are asked to alter the Constitution in the near future all the statements of the Government in its smear campaign will bc taken into consideration and I have no doubt that they will bring about the defeat of the projected referendum. The attitude of the Labour party towards communism lias been stated frequently in this debate. Labour regards communism as evil and anti-Australian. It has always regarded it in that light and has always fought it. Labour is the only political body that has fought communism in and out of season. Labour recognizes (hat it has more to lose by Communist progress than has any other organization in Australia, because the history of communism has shown that where the Communists take charge the first to be sought out for massacre arc members of the Labour or social democratic parties. Unlike the Government parties we have no political self-seekers. Among honorable members on the Government side there are self-seekers in the political field, and as such, they would line themselves up with the ‘Communists if that party should ever gain power. I have no illusions about the young men on the Government side who have recently come into this Parliament. They would have no scruples about going over to the Communists if that party were to take charge in Australia. They would not worry about what political tag was attached to them so long as they had the power. The Labour movement is not concerned with what the Government does in regard to communism, because we have fought it for a. long time. The platform, of the Labour party prevents -Communists from being members of it. That provision has been in the platform for decades.
Honorable members should consider the battles that are now being waged by industrial groups of the Labour party against the infiltration of communism into the unions. T challenge the Government to show that it has taken any action to combat, Communist leadership in the trade union movement. In fact the record shows that the Government has allied itself with a Communist who was fighting against Australian. Labour party industrial groups. The Liberal party selected a. candidate, for a State electorate which lies within my federal electorate, and owing to statements made by the Labour party it. withdrew his candidature before election clay. The Labour party charged this man with being lined up with the Communists against whom the Australian Labour party groups were fighting. That man belonged to the Painters Union in Sydney. He was selected for candidature at the last State general election. If any honorable member desires to check my statement in that regard he will find that it is quite correct. The Sydney Morning Herald of the 6th July contained a report of gains made by Australian Labour party candidates in elections for officers of the Waterside Workers’ Federation. The report stated that in the Brisbane branch of the federation, ten Australian Labour party candidates had been successful, and that in the Wollongong Branch, Australian Labour party candidates had been elected as president, secretary and assistant secretary. In all branches of the Waterside Workers’ Federation and other trade unions the Australian Labour party is waging a relentless fight against Communist infiltration. Attacks have been made upon the Attorney-General of New South Wales in this Parliament, but not much publicity was given to the fight that he waged recently against the leaders of the Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia on behalf of Mr. Short, Labour’s foremost exponent in that union. It is to be hoped that in the near future Mr. Short will assume -the leadership of that organization.
Much has been said in the course of this debate about the alleged inconsistency of the Labour party in relation to this bill. According to a newspaper report of the 24th May, 1950, the. honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) said, on the previous day, that one provision of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill was, in a sense, a negation of fundamental British justice, and that the Opposition’s objection to clause 9 of that measure was by no means weak. I am certain that, if the honorable gentleman takes part in this debate, he will repeat those remarks. Communism has been the subject of almost unprecendented hysteria and hypocrisy. For the last eighteen months, the Government has been talking of its inability effectively to deal with Communists in this country, but it has had, and still has, ample power to proceed against them. Section 24 of the Crimes Act provides that any person who assists by any means whatever any public enemy shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the punishment of death. Section 25 provides for the imposition of a penalty of imprisonment for life upon any person who knowingly attempts to seduce any member of the forces from his duty or allegiance, or to incite him to mutiny or Treason. Espionage, treason and their normal accompaniments appear to be adequately provided for in that longstanding legislation. Sabotage in the sense of destruction of Commonwealth property is punishable by two years’ imprisonment under section 29 of the Crimes Act, which is still in operation. Sabotage in the wider industrial sense, that is, strike action disruptive of military preparations or of a vital sector of the national economy, is also punishable under certain Commonwealth legislation. If the Government were sincere in its protestations that it wishes to combat communism, it could have dealt with the Communists long’ ago.
When the Communist Party Dissolution Bill was before the Parliament some time ago, our esteemed late leader, Mr. Chifley, made a statement upon it which is worthy of repetition. I endorse it fully. It was as follows: -
I am the descendant of a race that fought a long and bitter fight against murderers., pimps and liars and I would be ashamed to stand for any principle that did not give th, ordinary men and women of thu community the right to defend themselves and the right to know what they are charged with and to have their case heard in public as is done in America and Canada and elsewhere. These people should not be judged by politician* because as Government members will admit, it is difficult for a politician not to bc biased in regard to a particular line of thought that he has been pursuing.
I do not think that even Mr Menzies with his legal knowledge, would like to be called on to judge whether a man should be ruined for life by being declared a traitor or guilty of i reason and not given the right to defend himself against the charges that arc being made.
This bill could affect ordinary people who may be scatterbrains or foolish or reckless in their words but who have no association with communism. They may be trades unionists or militants. I would hesitate to give to some of the Ministers in the present Government the power to judge any unionists about anything. There are four or five members in this Government whose utterances show that they not only hate trades unionists but everything associated with trade unions. I am quite prepared to name them because their utterances are in Hansard. If those Ministers had the task of judging whether a man were likely to tlo something I think we can safely say which way their judgment would go. To give to any politician, even Mr. Menzies who has been able to change his mind about communism, the power to sentence a man on the evidence of spies, liars and perjurers without the accused having the right to know what the charges are. is wrong.
The Government’s defence of its onus of proof clause is a sham and a farce.
In this country are men of high integrity and ability in State and Federal courts who have been appointed as judges for their great legal knowledge and whose impartiality has been ensured by their high salaries. To ruin a man’s reputation by classing him as a traitor without a right of appeal seems to me to be a departure from the principles, not only of British or American justice but of natural justice. I think, if the question were put frankly and plainly to the nien and women of Australia, they would say that the individual should be given a fair trial and an opportunity to defend himself against definite charges.
The members of the Government should give serious consideration to those words before they make their final decision on this measure.
.It seems to have escaped the notice of honorable gentlemen opposite that this is a bill for a referendum to give additional powers to the Commonwealth. I have not heard members of the Opposition suggest in the past that the Commonwealth should not be given additional powers. Indeed, they have said on many occasions in this chamber that they will always support a referendum designed to increase the powers of the Commonwealth. That is consistent with the platform of the Labour party, which describes one of the methods of achieving the party’s objective, in the following words: -
The clothing of the Commonwealth Parliament with sovereign powers and with authority to create States and Provinces possessing delegated constitutional powers.
If honorable members opposite were asked to vote on a referendum designed to give the Commonwealth full powers, they would vote for it, because that would bc in accordance with their own platform and policy,, but they are prepared to oppose a. bill for a referendum designed to extend the power of the Commonwealth only to a certain degree. Communism throws the Labour party into all kinds of queer and peculiar inconsistencies. Can honorable gentleman opposite give one good reason why this Parliament should not have power to deal with Communists?
-What does the honorable go.ntleman mean by Communists?
– Does it matter very much what we mean by Communists? The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) is pledged to support a policy to give full power to this Parliament. Not one argumenthas been advanced against these additional powers being given to the Commonwealth. I am not discussing for the moment the use that might be made of those powers. The general question is whether they should be given to the Parliament. It is amazing that honorable gentlemen opposite should oppose the holding of a referendum the object of which is, at any rate in part, in accordance with the policy of the Labour party.
I turn now to the arguments that were advanced againstthis measure by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). The words “ contrary to the principles of British justice “ have fallen frequently from the lips of members of the Opposition who have gone as far as to suggest that any action taken against Communists and communism will be a denial of fundamental human rights. The Leader of the Opposition, quite rightly, directed the attention of the House to the fact that in British countries we do not preach fundamental human rights to the same degree as do other countries. For example, we have not written into our Constitution anything like the American Bill of Rights. That is a very important matter. One source of the strength of a democracy is its ability to distinguish between times of national crisis and times when ordinary democratic freedom may be allowed to operate. The preservation of our fundamental human rights depends upon our ability to take strong action to defend themat certain times. That elasticity has preserved in Great Britain the idea that in times of crisis the country will take very strong action which would he regarded in normal times as being tyrannical and that when normal times return the country will revert to the ordinary rule of law. There can be no doubt that at present we are confronted with a world crisis and that the times are insecure. TheGovernment is not endeavouring to stampede the people into hysteria. The ordinary citizen in Great Britain and the United States of America would be the first to recognize the plain cold fact that the world to-day is divided into two camps, namely, communism and the forces that are arrayed against it. The other undeniable fact in the present world situation is that since the end of the last war the forces of communism have applied a constant pressure of hostility against the forces of the democracies. Those are undeniable facts. To put the matter mildly, wc have gradually worked up through all sorts of intermediate crises to a state of considerable tension.
The Australian Government has decided that this unceasing pressure against us must be removed. In other words, we are confronted with a crisis and action must be taken to defend the democratic system of government in which we believe. In times of crisis it has been the habit of British countries and countries that have adopted the principles of British justice and democracy to suspend the ordinary rights of the individual in order to ensure that in the long run those rights shall be preserved. That has happened on many occasions in British history. For instance, from 1794 to1801 the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended annually in England. It was suspended in 1817 and again in 1866. I remind honorable members of the classic examples of the Defence of Realm Act that was passed in England in 1914 and the Emergency Powers Act that was passed in that country in 1939.
– Such measures were not passed in times of peace.
– That is not correct. England was at peace in 1817 and in 1866. Under the stress of national emergency a parliament will permit the executive to assume powers which abrogate the strongest protection that can be afforded to the subject against arbitraryaction on the part of the executive.
I shall now turn to conditions in the United States of America. The case for the individual in that country is much stronger than it is in other countries because a declaration of certain fundamental rights is written into the American Constitution. Yet, without any express abrogation of those rights, which could not be done without an alteration of the Constitution, American courts have held that in a time of clear and present danger to the country those rights must be superseded by na’tional necessity. If honorable members are reasonable and honest they will admit that in the world to-day communism as such presents a clear and present danger. Strangely enough action that has been taken against Communists in the United States of America has been along lines almost parallel with that which the Australian Government now proposes to take. In. the United States of America action has been taken against Communists in the civil service and m trade unions. It is well known that very strong steps have been taken to remove all Communists from the civil service in Great Britain without the passing of any act of parliament. It is only logical that the least step that can be taken in the interests of national security, if we admit that there is a crisis to-day, is to remove Communists from the Public Service and from positions in which they are likely to do harm to national security before they actually do it.
The Leader of the Opposition had recourse to history when he was defending fundamental principles of British justice. Let us look at countries which have fallen victims to communism, such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia, had one of the most democratic regimes in Western Europe. Yet it fell a victim to communism largely because of its tolerance of those ideas which the Leader of the Opposition wishes to uphold at all costs, even at the cost of national destruction. The right honorable gentleman referred also to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was made by the United Nations in 1948. Article 19 of that declaration reads -
Every one has the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
That sounds fair enough. Article 20 reads -
Every one has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
We can have no objection to that. But Article 30 of that declaration imposes a very strong limitation in respect of all the human rights for which it makes provision. That Article reads -
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state or group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
That means that, if Communists by their activities, whether those activities be legal or otherwise, aim at the destruction of the State, they cannot claim for themselves under that declaration the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association or the right to freedom of expression and opinion. The question remains whether the Communists aim at the destruction of these human rights. It is significant that of the nations that compose the United Nations organization, only eight abstained, from approving of that declaration. Those eight countries were Soviet Russia and its satellites, whose ‘ agents are now planning the destruction of such rights in this country.
Unfortunately, this debate has disclosed a wide divergence of opinion between the Government parties and the Opposition with respect to the urgency of the situation that confronts us. I do not imagine that if we were in the days of 1939-40, and active nazis were known to occupy positions in the Public Service, honorable members opposite would protest against their removal from such jobs or from official positions in trade unions, because at that time we were actually at war with Nazi Germany. The only point of difference between the Government parties and the Opposition in this matter relates to the degree of our present peril. It would appear, therefore, that we must concentrate upon impressing upon honorable members opposite that there is a crisis in the world, that there is a danger to Australia from communism and that Communists inside Australia are working for the destruction of this country in obedience to orders from Communist Russia. I doubt whether honorable members opposite would dispute any of those facts. Yet, strangely enough, they still refuse to believe that there is danger to this country from communism. Under the Communist Party Dissolution
Act, which will become law if the people approve of the Government’s proposals at the forthcoming referendum, no question really arises with respect to the guilt, the innocence, or the punishment of any person. The only question involved is, what minimum steps should be taken for the security of the Government of the country in its public service and essential services through the trade unions? Those minimum steps the Government proposes to take. All the talk that wc have heard from honorable members opposite about persons being condemned without a trial is so much nonsense because no. question of the guilt, or innocence, of any person is involved. The only matter that has to be considered is the security of the country.
The Leader of the Opposition made a wonderful claim on behalf of the Australian Labour party when he said that that party permits freedom of expression to all its members. I should be very interested to hear from the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is on record as having said that if he had his way he would put all Communists into a. concentration camp. I should also be interested to hear what the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) and the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) really think on this matter. Does the freedom of expression that the Leader of the Opposition claims to be the right of all members of the Australian Labour party permit such honorable members to give to the House their views on this measure? It is well known that the honorable member for Perth is anxious that the Government’s proposals shall be approved at the forthcoming referendum.
Mr.Ward. - That is not true.
– It may not be true; but the honorable member for Perth has at least adopted a very peculiar attitude towards the federal executive of the Australian Labour party with respect to this subject. His course of action during the last twelve months has been that of one who wishes the referendum to be carried. Of course, although the Labour party allows its members freedom of expression, they may not vote according to their consciences. This British justice and these democratic principles about which the
Leader of the Opposition has spoken’ do not apply to the Labour party because its constitution provides that -
On all questions affecting the members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party the decision of the Federal conference shall be final. Pending consideration by the Federal conference, the ruling of the Federal executive shall be binding.
How are the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Tom Burke) and the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) to oppose the referendum? Are they to tell the people in their electorates, “ We personally are allowed perfect freedom of expression in the Labour party, and we believe that the referendum should be carried; but the Labour executive tells us that it should not be carried. We do not like to do so but we have to tell you to vote ‘No’“.Is that the kind of fight that they will be required to make? It would certainly be the truthful one, as Opposition members cannot deny. That the Governmentshould have power to deal with Communists and communism is clear and indisputable. Regardless of the present crisis, all honorable members would think that, as a necessary part of the defence of the country, this Parliament should have power to deal with any hostile threat. If Opposition members can pretend to the people that communism does not present a hostile threat to world peace to-day, I shall be astonished to hear their speeches in justification of their attitude. Yet they propose to advise the people to refuse to grant to this Parliament the right to deal with that threat. I do not believe that the people will give them much of a hearing on that issue. They will not listen to that kind of argument.
– What is the honorable gentleman’s definition of “ Communist” ?
– I am not bound to give a definition of “ Communist “ at the moment. I should say that if the bill were judicially considered, the court would have recourse to all the contemporary meanings attached to the word and that it would not necessarily have regard to the various meanings expressed in dictionaries that are several years old but would have regard to the present. crisis with which this legislation is intended to deal.
– The court will have nothing to do with this matter. The Government will declare various persons t:o be Communists.
– The honorable member for East Sydney is evidently speaking with his tongue in his cheek on this issue because there is no doubt whatever that, if a general legislative enactment dealing with Communists and communism were passed, it would be immediately challenged and probably the Leader of the Opposition would be briefed to attack i.. in the High Court and to say that particular persons did not come within the definitions of Communists and communism. It is quite generally accepted that a vague and general alteration of the Constitution such as that would immediately be attacked in the High Court. That tribunal would at once be approached for a ruling on its general ‘definition of what constitutes Communists and communism. I appreciate that Opposition members would be prepared to accept such a defini- ; ion. But, in any event, in order to clear away all those doubts about the intentions of the Government, the people will be asked to vote in favour of the referendum proposal that provides that the Communist Party Dissolution Act, which defines communism in fairly clear terms, shall become valid. Opposition members can hardly have any objection to that proposal, because they voted for the Communist Party Dissolution Bill last year. The people have supported the general principles of that legislation at two general elections.
– The Government lost six seats at the last general election.
– Nevertheless, it is true to say that the people of Australia have supported those general principles. The Labour party supported them on one occasion in this Parliament, and the people supported them on two occasions by a fairly resounding majority. Such legislation cannot be regarded as undemocratic when it is backed with such strong popular approval. I have no fear about the verdict of the people when they are asked to express their opinion for f.iie third time.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Daly) adjourned.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
The following papers were presented : -
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Civil Aviation - K. YV. Brunsclon. M. J. McGvnth.
Defence- I;’. M. Vetclicll.
Health - 1’.,. YV. . Alderman.
Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations - I $151 - 3STn. (if) - Association of Architects, Engineers. Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia .
No. til- Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
Sent of Government Acceptance A<Jt a.ncl Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance - lflol - )To. (i - Advisory Council.
House adjourned at 2..V2 a.m. (Wednesday).
k asked the Minister acting for the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as f ollows : -
s. - On the 20th June the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked the following question : -
Will the Prime Minister inform me whether the Government has yet made a decision in reference to the shale oil works at Glen Davis? Is it the intention of the Government, as a part of its defence programme, to develop that project to its maximum capacity immediately?
I now inform the honorable member as follows : -
The Government hae announced its intention of transferring the refinery at Glen Davis to Bell Bay where it is intended that imported crude oil will be refined for the purpose of producing motor spirit and other petroleum products. The other products will include petroleum coke which is needed for the Aluminium Production Commission at Bell Bay. No decision has yet been reached by the Government concerning the use of the other facilities at Glen Davis which were necessary for the production of shale and crude shale oil.
y asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What was the percentage increase in the cost of living in each State and for the Commonwealth for each of the years 1.945, 1040. 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 and for the latest period in1951 for which figures are available?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -
The following information is supplied in respect of the C series retail price index. This information relates to the weighted average index-numbers of the capital city together with four other principal towns in each State, and to the weighted average of the six capital cities together with 24 other principal Australian towns.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice-
What was the value of the purchases of government bonds from the 1st November, 1950, until the date of the closing of the last loan of £40,000,000?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1and 2. Ithas always been the policy of the Commonwealth Savings Bank to invest portion of its funds in Commonwealth Government securities, and, particularly since the adoption of the advance subscription procedure in connexion with the issue of government loans, a substantial part of this investment has been met by purchase of securities on the market. 3 and 4. The bank has not ceased to buy on the open market. The extent to which such purchases are made from time to time is dependent on the amount of funds available and on the prices at which these securities are obtainable. Honorable members will appreciate that it would be inappropriate to make public the details of the bank’s operations in the market.
asked the Treasurer. upon notice -
n. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : - 1, 2 and 3. The Commonwealth Bank provides forward exchange facilities for both exporters and importers who wish to avail themselves of this kind of cover. The fee for the service is a small one, at the rate of about 1 per centum per annum, and could be regarded as in the nature of an insurance premium. It compares favorably with charges made for forward exchange in other countries. The bank does not consider it deirnble to publish its receipts in respect of particular classes of business, including forward exchange business.
e asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as f ollows : -
Since 1st July, 1948.
£232,458 to the States to June, 1950.
In the first year the Commonwealth retained £50,000 to cover the publication or Dairy Farmingin Australia and the production of a film. The allocations to the Statesare as follows: -
Yes. At the beginning of each financial year the States forward estimates of expenditure under the grant showing the projection which it is proposed to expend the money and the amounts required under each heading. These projects and amounts are subject to approval by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture. Any further projects which the States may desire to institute during the year are also submittedfor ministerial approval. Each year the States provide statements certified to by the Auditor-General of the State concerned showing expenditure under each hearting and accounting for any items of equipment which may have been purchased. The Commonwealth retains its equity iu any such equipment. In addition the States forward quarterly reports covering the progress of projects under the grant. The projects- financed from the grant, with the exception of grade herd recording, are over and above the usual work of the State Department of Agriculture. The main activities are -
In addition to the activities of the States the Commonwealth has in conjunction with the States published two editions of Dairy Farming in Australia, a comprehensive book dealing with practical aspects of dairy farming in the States concerned. This book is to be published in six separate editions one for each State, and to date the- New South Wales and Victorian editions have been published and distributed free of charge to commercial dairyfarmers (approximately 23,000 copies, Victoria; approximately 20,000 New South Wales). The Queensland edition is now with the printer. In addition the Commonwealth has produced a film on dairying with emphasis on agricultural education, which is to be released shortly. Grade herd recording. - The Commonwealth pays one-third of thetotal cost of grade herd recording in all States, and since the inception of the grant, there has Veen n considerable increase in this work. Sire surveys: The States have been enabled to analyze data collected under herd recording and to make progress in the task of evaluating bulls according to the work of their progeny. The general progress is considered by the State authorities, who implement the work, to be satisfactory. It must be remembered that the greater part of the work undertaken is composed of long range projects and they are only now beginning to show definite results. Reports from the States show that work undertaken has attracted considerable attention from farmers and that, in very many cases, farmers are applying the work demonstrated to their own propertieswith good results. Field days are held on the properties where demonstrations are in progress and in general there is a good attendance, in New South Wales the herd wastage survey work is to be extended tn provide for investigational work into sterility. This work is to be carried out in association with the artificial insemination centre being established under the grant at Berry and in co-operation with the Hunter Valley Dairy Company and the Glenfield Veterinary Research Station.
n. - On the 26th June, thu honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin), asked a question relating to the export of 117,000,000 lb. of butter during the ten months ended the 30th April, 1951.I now inform the Honorable member as follows: -
The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics has advised that the figure of 117,000,000 lb. of butter has been amended to 113,569,000 lb. Of this quantity 94,884,000 lb. were sent to the United Kingdom 12,941,000 lb. in other British countries and 5,944,000 lb. to foreign countries. The price charged to thu United Kingdom was 3s. 0.4d.lb f.o.b. As the sales to other destinations were made on a trader-to-trader basis, the prices charged are not known. However, the Australian Dairy Produce Board fixes the minimum f.o.b.price it which these sales may be made and the Board’s practice is to fix this minimum price 74 per cent. higher than the ruling United Kingdom contract price except in special markets which the board considers can return a higher price.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 July 1951, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1951/19510710_reps_20_213/>.