House of Representatives
17 August 1954

21st Parliament · 1st Session

Mb. SPEAKER (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 288




– Is the Treasurer aware that the Taxation Branch now requires servicemen, when claiming concessional allowances for dependants, to include as pensions service allowances paid to their wives? This has been happeningfor perhaps six months, and some servicemen have been billed with arrears of service allowances paid to their wives for amounts up to £90. Does the Treasurer approve of this- procedure? Is it an innovation? If so, will the right honorable gentleman make investigations and have the practice stopped at once?


– I shall have the matter investigated.

page 288




– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. Is it practicable, without interfering with the democratic privilege of the Australian people to hear the proceedings ‘ of the Parliament broadcast without the distortion and selective suppression that vitiates other media of public information, to transfer the whole or part of the parliamentary broadcasts over New South “Wales radio stations either to a third channel, if this is technically practicable, or to a station or stations other than station 2BL, many of whose listeners, I understand, prefer culture to controversy?

Postmaster-General · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– -The Australian Broadcasting Commission is at present formulating, for submission to me, proposals for improvements in the broadcasting of the proceedings of Parliament, and I in turn shall refer those suggestions to the Joint Committee on theBroadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings. The honorable member’s questionconcerns a matter that is entirely within the province of the joint committee, and I have no doubt that the members of the committee will receive favorably any suggestions that might tend to improve the parliamentary broadcasts.

page 289




– I ask the Treasurer whether it is a fact that the Sydney branch of the Commonwealth Trading Bank has given notice of retrenchment to 25 per cent, of the employees in the housing loans section of that branch. “Will the Treasurer inform the House and the nation who is responsible for this suicidal policy at a. time when the need for homes to house the hundreds of thousands of homeseekers desperately searching for homes in all parts of Australia was never more urgent? Will the right honorable gentleman have the matter investigated, and if my information is found to be correct, will he direct that the- retrenchment notices be cancelled ?


– The administration of the Commonwealth Bank is in the hands of the Governor of the bank. Inquiries will he made into the matter.

page 289




– Will the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the House whether a report that the United Kingdom Government made a profit of £20,000,000 on Australian meat during the period of control extending over fourteen years is correct? If the report is correct, does it not indicate that the British meat producers have been subsidized at the expense of the Australian meat producers?

Minister for Commerce and Agriculture · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I have seen a newspaper report containing the statement to which the honorable member has referred. The report was not an official one. I have made some inquiries into the matter, a.nd I do not believe that anybody is in a position to state what profits, if any, were made by the United Kingdom Government on the resale of mea.t during the period of bulk buying. In the resale of Australian meat, the United Kingdom Government did not maintain a price differential between the different cuts of meat as is customary in ordinary open trading. The United Kingdom Government was purchasing meat at that time, not only from Australia, but also from home producers and from other sources. The purchase prices were based on different scales, but the meat was sold more or less at the one price. The United Kingdom Government provided sums of from £400,000,000 to £500,000,000 annually in its budgets to subsidize the cost of various foodstuffs including meat to its home consumers. Therefore, the official sale price of Australian meat lost all relationship to the purchase price, and I do not believe that anybody can state whether a profit, such as that mentioned by the honorable member for Maranoa, was made by the British Ministry of Food.

page 289


Newspaper Report


– I direct the attention of the House to a report that was published in the Melbourne Herald of the 12th August relating to proceedings in this House. I shall read the section of the report to which I believe the House should give attention. It reads’ -

page 289


Mr. Wentworth created an extraordinary scene. He moved from his rear seat to the front corner benches and yelled enthusiastic support for Sir Eric Harrison. Then, alternately laughing wildly and putting his tongue out, Mr. Wentworth began to jump quickly up and down on the seat.


– Order ! The remark that was made by the honorable member for East Sydney is completely out of order and he must withdraw it.

Mr Ward:

– I withdraw it.


– I direct the attention of the House to the seriousness of the quotation from the Melbourne Herald that I have read. The report continues -

Alternately laughing wildy and putting his tongue out, Mr. Wentworth began to jump quickly up and down on the seat. He would then stop jumping, pat himself vigorously on the back of his head, stick out his tongue and then resume his jumping. He received more attention from members than either Dr. Evatt or Sir Eric Harrison.

If that report is correct, obviously the honorable member for Mackellar requires attention from Dr. Evatt or some other doctor.


– Order !


– I did not observe the conduct of the honorable member for Mackellar and I could scarcely believe that any honorable member would behave as he is alleged in this report to have done, but I have been assured by those who saw the honorable member’s behaviour that the report is an accurate and truthful one, with the exception that it does not mention that the honorable member for Mackellar was also making high, strange-sounding animal noises. This matter should be referred to the Committee of Privileges. If the report is not correct, the press reporter responsible for it should be dealt with. If the report is correct, the honorable member for Mackellar should be dealt with. I desire to move -

That the matter of the conduct of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) us reported in the Melbourne Herald of August 12 be referred to the Committee of Privileges.


– Order ! It is not the conduct of the honorable member for Mackellar that should be investigated, but the contents of the newspaper, paragraph that has been quoted by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. The motion, in its present form, is out of order. If the honorable gentleman rose to privilege in respect of a matter referred to in a newspaper report, it is the conduct not of an honorable member but that of the newspaper that must be dealt with. The motion in its present form would be rather a reflection upon my conduct in the Chair, because if any honorable member behaved in the way indicated in the newspaper report and I noticed such behaviour, I should certainly take action. I did not See any such behaviour on the part of an honorable member. The first that I heard of the matter was when I read a report about it in the press. If the honorable member for Eden Monaro desires to amend his motion to refer a paragraph published in the Melbourne Herald to the Committee of Privileges, his motion will be in order; but he cannot refer the conduct of an honorable member to the committee on this issue. I rule the motion out of order. Does the honorable member desire to pursue the matter?


– I am prepared to be guided by the Chair.


– I call the honorable member for Mackellar.

Mr Curtin:

– Make a noise!


– Order ! The honorable member will apologize for making that remark. I warn the House that if any further interjections are made, I shall name the offender.

Mr Curtin:

– I apologize.

Mr. WENTWORTH (Mackellar) 2.42 J. - I think that honorable members are aware that this newspaper report is false and malicious. They will have noted further the false and malicious attitude of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser).


– Order ! The honorable member is completely out of order in imputing motives to another honorable member. He must withdraw that remark.


– I withdraw the statement; but I think that the conduct of the honorable member for EdenMonaro calls for some explanation. The explanation would not be hard to find, because, as honorable members know, the statements that I made in the House on Thursday last hurt his leader and hurt the Communist party with which his leader is associated.


– I rise to order. I ask that the honorable member withdraw his remark that his statements hurt my leader and “ hurt the Communist party with which his leader is associated “. That statement is insulting, unfair and untrue.

Mr Bryson:

– Why cannot the honorable member for Mackellar be truthful?


– Order !


– If you dish it out why cannot you take it?


– Order ! I have already warned honorable members. I shall not do so again.


– This is not the first occasion- .

Mr Calwell:

– I ask that the honorable member withdraw the statement to which I have referred.


– Order ! I am not prepared to order a withdrawal of that statement.


– This is not the first occasion on which the underground thread that runs through the remarkable conduct and attitude of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has helped the Communist party and aided it in its smear campaign.


– Order ! What is the honorable member trying to do?


– I am endeavouring

Mr Haylen:

– Up to monkey tricks.


– Order ! I name the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen).

Mr Calwell:

– I suggest that the honorable member for Parkes be given an opportunity to apologize. The remarks that were being made were highly provocative.


– Does the honorable member for Parkes wish to withdraw and apologize ?

Mr Haylen:

-. - Have you asked me to withdraw, Mr. Speaker?


– Yes.

Mr Haylen:

– Then I withdraw.


– Thank you. I ask the honorable member for Mackellar again what he is trying to do.


– I should like to move -

That the conduct of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser) constitutes an outrageous abuse of the forms of this House and that it be referred to the Committee of Privileges.


– That motion would not be in order. I am no more prepared to refer the conduct of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to the Committee of Privileges than I am to refer the conduct of the honorable member for Mackellar to that committee. I think the incident should now close. I merely say in closing it that if the honorable member for Eden-Monaro had this matter in mind, he might have discussed it with me beforehand so that I should have known what he intended to do. The motion that he has attempted to move is not in accordance with the procedure of the House.


– I have informed you that I am prepared to be guided by you.

Mr Wheeler:

– Uriah Heep !


– Uriah Heep!


– Order ! Who made that remark?

Mr Wheeler:

– I did.


– The honorable member will withdraw and apologize.

Mr Wheeler:

– I do so.


– I also made the remark and I voluntarily withdraw it and apologize.


– The procedure that has been adopted this afternoon is quite out of keeping with the dignity of this chamber. If the honorable member for Eden-Monaro wishes to proceed with the matter, he must move that the paragraph in the Melbourne Herald to which he has called attention be referred to the Committee of Privileges.


– I accept your advice, Mr. Speaker, and I accordingly move -

That the paragraph in the Melbourne Herald, dated the 13th August, to which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has called attention, be referred to the Committee of Privileges.


– I second the motion.


– It would perhaps, be a good thing if this motion were carried, were it not for the fact that nobody wants to censor the press, but I point out to the House, because I think it should be made quite clear to honorable members, that the mover has not acted with frankness or honesty. If he were really worried about the incident and the reporting of it, he would have seen me and brought the matter to my attention. It is quite clear that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), by his own conduct, is endeavouring to smear me and so to co-operate in the Communist plan to smear me. It is not the first time that, underground, the honorable member has co-operated with the Communists.


– Order! The honorable member must speak to the motion.


– I submit that I am perfectly in- order in drawing attention to the real motives of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro.


-Order ! The honorable member is not entitled to discuss the motives of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. He must discuss the motion.


– I should say, sir, that I am entitled to discuss the lack of frankness on the part of the honorable member for not having brought this to my attention earlier, and to point out that, if he had been bona fide in the matter, he would have done just that. Since he has not been bona fide and since he is manifestly not acting in good faith, then it is competent for me, I suggest, to point out to the House that this whole scene, which he has provoked, is part of a concerted scheme which will have the blessing of the Communist party.


-Order! The Communist party is not involved.


– It is a part of the Communist tactics to endeavour to ridicule, smear, and in every way besmirch anybody who does anything against that party-


– Order !


– And the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is doing


– I should like to speak briefly on this motion, because my name was mentioned in the newspaper report to which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) referred. The honorable member stated that he was not in the House at the time of the alleged incident, and that he was not aware of it until later. But he went further than that, and indulged in a number of observations and asides that sought to cast a reflection on the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). I could have understood it if the honorable member had seen the incident of which he complained and had risen to make the necessary observations and take certain action against the newspaper concerned. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, in the highest traditions of the great profession of journalism that he seems to espouse, did not charge the newspaper, but made snide little references to and asides against the honorable member for Mackellar and concluded his remarks by submitting the motion which, you, Mr. Speaker, rightly ruled out of order.

The honorable member for EdenMonaro is a member of the executive of the parliamentary Labour party, and is supposed to know the forms of the House ; but he passed over- those forms in an endeavour to make a thrust at an honorable member who has combated his actions in the past. I shall not say he passed over the forms of the House wilfully, but I hold that opinion. His action can be read in only one way. Honorable members must judge the character and attitude of an honorable member who strains the rules of the House so far as to submit a motion of privilege based on a newspaper report, when he has acknowledged that he was not in the House at the time of the alleged incident and when he knows the matters contained in that report would be probably the subject of questions here. I was prominent in the House at the moment the incident allegedly occurred, and I did not see any of the matters about which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has complained.

Mr Ward:

– Well, I did.


– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has sought to defame another honorable member, and, therefore, I shall oppose the motion.

Minister for Territories · Curtin · LP

– It seems to me that two principles are involved in this matter that are worth attention. One of them involves the right of newspapers to describe the scenes that their representatives have witnessed in the House. If a journalist, perhaps using rather a lively pen and even perhaps a little imagination, describes a scene, is the publication of his report a breach of privilege? Do we not need to ask ourselves whether- the paragraph in question brings the House into disrepute? Does it do something of a major kind that affects the privileges of this House? Whilst I have the highest regard for my colleague, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), I doubt whether the actual contents ‘ of the paragraph, soberly looked at, constitute a breach of privilege of this House. If we start on the course which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) proposes, and bar the occupants of the press gallery from describing the scene below them, we shall have embarked on the course which, I think, is very much against the traditions that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro habitually professes to espouse. He is trying to muzzle the press gallery. He says that reporters should .not describe the scene below them and, if they do describe it, the matter should be referred to the Committee of Privileges. I ask the House to consider whether this was, in fact, a breach of privilege.

Another point comes to my mind. Perhaps I am in a unique position among the members of this House in that I listened to the weekly broadcast given last Sunday night by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to his constituents. The honorable member quoted this paragraph. He quoted it with unction. He quoted it with approval. He quoted it with cries of delight. Last Sunday in a broadcast to his constituents, he said that the paragraph was splendid, that it said exactly what he wanted to say himself and that it was in keeping with his own thoughts, but this afternoon he has said that it is contemptuous.


.- I support the motion proposed by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser). It is undoubted that the antics described in the paragraph were performed by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth).

Mr Ward:

– Let us have a repeat performance.


– Order ! The issue now is, not what the honorable member for Mackellar did, but whether the proposal of the honorable member for Eden-

Monaro. to submit, the paragraph to the Committee of Privileges should be agreed to. The honorable member for Grayndler must deal with that matter.


– I shall continue on those lines. I have refreshed my memory by reading a part of the paragraph in question.


– Order ! The honorable member must not quote from the paragraph.


– I submit that I should be permitted to support the contention c I wish to make by quoting some parts of the paragraph that is under consideration. If I am not permitted to do so. it will be difficult for me to answer honorable members opposite who have made statements in contradiction of those made by the honorable member for EdenMonaro. I say that the paragraph should be submitted to the Committee of Privileges. Some honorable members who were in the chamber at the time in question thought the honorable member for Mackellar was having a fit.


– Order !


– His conduct was amazing, to say the least. It should br> investigated.

Mr Ward:

– It should have ‘been televised.


– If the honorable member for Mackellar did perform in that way - and there is strong evidence that he did - something should be done about his conduct. The antics of the honorable member were entertaining, but they were most unbecoming to the Parliament and to one who, at least in his own opinion, is a responsible member of one of the Government parties. The honorable members for Eden-Monaro has proposed that the matter be investigated. I am pleased that he has brought it to the attention of the House. It is something that the public should know about, because the honorable member for Mackellar never fails to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself - indeed, he does not always wait for an opportunity to present itself - to make all kinds of charges against members of this House. Now his own conduct is in question. I shall go so far as to say that the press described his conduct accurately. I say that the matter should be investigated. If the conduct described did not occur, the honorable member will be exonerated. But I believe there is every justification for the motion submitted by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. I am confident that it will be carried, because I believe that, even if those honorable members opposite who have spoken to the motion donot believe that justice should be done to all sections of the House, a section of the Liberal party will insist that justice be done in this case and a full investigation be made of it.

Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– Probably this debate has gone on for long enough, but before it concludes I want to say that it has been made abundantly clear by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) that, if the publication and the paragraph in question is a breach of privilege, it has been republished by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Eraser), who, therefore, would have the odd satisfaction of setting up a committee of privileges to discuss his own conduct, which, I think, would be a rather remarkable state of affairs. But, Mr. Speaker, as you have rightly pointed out, the question of privilege does not arise because of what some honorable member does or says here, because all of that is under your control as Mr. Speaker. The question of privilege arises when something is said outside of this place about the Parliament and, for an honorable member to come here with all unction and say, “ This is a terrible thing that the newspaper said about a member of Parliament, and that is why I have repeated it, smacking my lips over the microphone “, is, of course, too funny for words. As for the rest, turning aside from the technical aspect of this matter, I hope that we shall be able to get on with our business without worrying too much about what is said, written or printed about us. After all - let me speak for myself - is it a breach of privilege for a newspaper to publish a cartoon of me, exhibiting me with fifteen chins, instead of two, and two bushy eyebrows, which I understand I have? Is it a breach of the privilege of this House for an eminent newspaper to depict my friend the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in the capacity of a cockatoo. On the contrary!

Honorable members interjecting,


– Order !


– I say this with all goodwill because my honorable friend knows that, by doing that to him, the newspapers rapidly made him the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and that, by doing much the same to me, they have maintained me in office for quite a long time. I move -

That the question be now put.

Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)

AYES: 54

NOES: 48

Majority . . . . 6



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put -

That the motion (vide page 291) be agreed to.

The House divided. (Mb. Speaker. - Hon. Archie Cameron.)

AYES: 47

NOES: 55

Majority . . 8



Question so resolved in the negative.

page 295




– I ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture a question which relates to the meeting in Melbourne on the 9th August between the Minister and representatives of the Australian dried fruits industry at which a case was submitted with a view to securing assistance for the industry in its present difficulty. Is the Minister aware that cost of production in the industry is almost wholly dictated by wage awards and equipment costs over which the growers have absolutely no control? Does the Minister know that export sales competition with highly subsidized dried fruit, find fruit produced in countries with low wage standards, has caused net returns to be lower than the Australian cost of production? As the industry desires to participate in the general Australian industrial standard, will the Minister regard suitable action as most urgent and desirable?


– The Government is concerned with the problems that are worrying the dried fruits industry, particularly the dried vine fruits industry, of which it has been kept fully informed by the honorable member for Mallee and other honorable members who have supported his representations. I am aware of the fact that, unlike most agricultural, rural or horticultural industries, the dried vine fruits industry does not lend itself to mechanization in a mechanized age and is, therefore, more seriously exposed to the competition of dried fruit from Mediterranean countries which have not the same wage standards as we have. This position is worrying the Government and is aggravated by the fact that the United States of America has been willing to sell heavily subsidized dried vine fruits to the United Kingdom which, traditionally, has been our main market. Up to the present, American dried fruits have not been sold in the United Kingdom in competition with Australian dried fruits under government-to-government trading, but as the United Kingdom proposes to discontinue government trading at the end of this year, the continued selling of subsidized fruitby the United States of America has most serious implications for Australia. This state of affairs has resulted in the Australian Government making strong representations, through myself, to the British Ministry of Pood to the effect that the Ministry should underwrite the return this year to Australian growers of the proceeds of dried fruit sales on a decontrolled market. However, such underwriting can only be carried to a certain point in time. That makes necessary the final realization of this year’s crop. The Government is making strong representations to the Government of the United Kingdom to extend the period of time for which it will underwrite that crop. If Ave are successful in that regard, the assessment of the realization of this year’s crop will be affected, and that, in turn, will importantly effect the advances that can be made to growers and packing houses in the meantime. All those things are in the Government’s mind, and honorable members may rest assured that the Government is doing everything that it can to help, and support this highly important and desirable industry.


– As the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture may be aware, there are now 10,000 fewer primary producers than there were in 1939, but the incomes of primary producers are between 1,200 per cent, and 1,600 per cent, greater than they were then. As wages have increased by only a fraction of that percentage, does the Minister agree that the wages of Australian workmen are not the main contributing factor in the difficulties which have been experienced in disposing of Australian primary products overseas ?


– I would not attempt to argue with the honorable member, but T should certainly not confirm the percentages and other figures referred to by bini. In the context in which, they were used, they could refer only to the gross income of primary producers which, of course, is no indication at all of the net income. The year which the honorable member chose for purposes of comparison was a base year in every sense of the term. In 1939, the values of wheat and wool were at almost record low levels. To compare them with to-day’s values is to draw a picture completely out of perspective. However, perhaps the honorable member does not understand the facts concerning these industries. This Government, appreciates fully, and I am sure that every Australian primary producer also appreciates, that the true basis of prosperity of Australian primary industries,, other than the wool industry, is founded upon the capacity of the Australian population to buy, at fair prices, the products of those industries. There is no conflict of interest between Australian primary and secondary industries. Instead, there is mutual independence, which this Government recognizes. It is the aim of the Government to do nothing but justice to both primary and secondary industry.


– I ‘ask the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture whether it is a fact that the agricultural extension services grant and the dairy industry efficiency grant provided by the Australian Government to the States, have been of real value in improving farming practices and conditions in farming communities generally? Are all States fully co-operating in this important work of conveying scientific and technical knowledge and improvements to farmers? What are the principal results which have been seen so far as an outcome of the provision by the Government of these grants ?


– I believe that it is acknowledged by all the States and by all the primary industries, that in the short time since this new policy of the Government has been in operation, most valuable results have been claimed for the Government’s supplementing of States’ grants for extension services in some industries. It might be fair to say that all the primary industries, except at present wheat-growing, are joining together in making some contribution to these results. I think that it would be most helpful to the honorable member, and perhaps interesting to most honorable members of the House, if I were per’mitted by the Standing Orders to supplement a verbal answer of this kind by adding some further matter in written form, that is, if I could treat this as a ques’tion on notice.


– That is not possible.

Mr Howse:

– Can the Minister mention costs?


– The amount voted last year by the Australian Government for this purpose was £200,000. That is all I am permitted to say.

page 297




– My question is directed to the Minister for Social Services. In view of the fact that the Education Department of Western Australia, through the Superintendent of Guidance and Education of Handicapped Children, trains physically and mentally handicapped children until they are sixteen years of age, will the Minister give consideration to a proposal that the rehabilitation section, of the Department of Social Services should assume responsibility for a pre-vocational period of training for these children from the end of their training with the State Educational Department until the time when they are ready for employment?


– From the. information contained in the honorable member’s question it appears to be obvious that the work mentioned is already being done by the State authorities of Western Australia, but - as he is wagging his head - it is being done indifferently under the administration of the Labour Government of that State. I shall direct the attention of the appropriate division of the Department of Social Services to the matter and furnish the honorable member with an answer to his question in due course.

page 297




– In view of the announced intention of the War Service Homes Division to increase from £2,000 to £2,750 the maximum advance for the purchase of an existing home, will the Minister for Social Services consider either raising the existing cost limit of £3,500 or abolishing it?

Minister for Social Services · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The matter referred to by the honorable member will he dealt with in the forthcoming budget speech, and I do not intend to anticipate that statement of the position. However, I think he may rest assured that if action is taken to raise the limit to £2,750, certain other actions will follow as a consequence. I appreciate the recommendations which the honorable member has made to me from time to time. They always receive most’ careful attention. I know also that the Director of War Services Homes fully appreciates his point of view.

page 297




– Is the Minister for the Army yet in a position to inform the House whether the United Kingdom service chiefs have agreed with their North Atlantic Treaty Organization neighbours on a standard service rifle for the British Commonwealth? If agreement has been reached, will the Minister inform the House whether he has notified the Minister for Defence Production, so that the urgent work of production of the rifles may be commenced without delay, or is it the intention of the Government to order these rifles abroad and thus cause unemployment in our munitions factories ?

Minister for the Army · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP

– All the points raised by the honorable gentleman are at present under consideration.

page 297




– Can the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization say whether it is a fact that a five-year research project to develop the preservation of foods by atomic radiation was undertaken recently in the United States of America by the Department of the Army? As the success of this project would revolutionize food processing, packaging and storage, will the Minister arrange for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to watch the progress of the research work, and, if possible, maintain liaison with the United States Department of the Army in order that Australian industries may be kept informed of developments ?

Minister for External Affairs · LP

– All I can say is that I have directed the attention of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to this reported new research activity, but I have had no information from that body as yet. I shall take the earliest possible opportunity to obtain such information and advise the honorable gentleman accordingly.

page 298




– Can the Treasurer give the House any information in relation to a request by the Premier of Queensland to the Australian Government for an increase of the Commonwealth grant of £3,073 for teaching and administrative purposes at residential colleges within the University of Queensland? The grant will he shared by eight colleges.


– I have no information on that matter at the present time.

page 298


Bill returned from the Senate without a mendment.

Assent reported.

page 298



– On Wednesday, the 1.1th August, the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) rose in his place and called my attention to what he believed to be a breach of the Standing Orders. The honorable member alleged that another honorable member was reading his speech. Reference to this matter has been made on other occasions. I do not wish to make a detailed examination of it but to quote two paragraphs from Sir T. Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, fifteenth edition, pages 424 and 425, as follows : -

A Member is not permitted to read his speech (6), but may refresh his memory by a reference to notes. The reading of written speeches, which has been allowed in other deliberative assemblies, has never been recognized in either House of Parliament-

That is, of the United Kingdom.

A Member may read extracts from documents, but hia own language must be delivered bona fide in the form of an unwritten composition. The purpose of this rule is primarily to maintain the cut and thrust of debate, which depends upon successive speakers moulding their speeches to some extent upon the arguments of earlier speeches, and decays under a regime of set speeches prepared beforehand withoutreference to each other.

As the real purpose of the rule is to preserve the spirit of debate, it is not unreasonably relaxed in the case of opening speeches-

That is, second-reading speeches - whenever there is special reason for precision of statement, as in the case of important ministerial statements, especially on foreign affairs, or matters which involve agreements with outside bodies, or highly technical bills. Even at a later stage of a debate prepared statements on such subjects are read without objection being taken, though they should not constitute an entire speech. The Chair does not as a. rule intervene unless appealed to, and, unless there is good ground for interfering in the interests of debate, usually passes off the matter with a remark to the effect that the notes used by the honourable Member appear to be unusually full, or that the honourable Member has provided himself with rather copious notes: . . The reading of speeches is even more inappropriate in a committee than in the Houseitself.

In accordance with that statement, I shall leave it to honorable members to call my attention to a breach of Standing Order 61, which simply states that an honorable member shall not read his speech. If they do so, I shall require the House to make a decision.

page 298



Debate resumed from the 12th August (vide page 282), on motion by Mr. Menzies -

That the following paper be printed: -

Foreign Affairs - Ministerial statement, 5th August, 1954.


.- Many other debates in this House might have been more exciting than this foreign affairs debate, but I doubt whether any has been more important. We should not let the froth and bubble on the surface of political controversy obscure the deep tides and currents that guide a nation’s destiny. The resounding reverse for French arms at Dien Bien Phu and the consequential diplomatic disaster at Geneva - those dramatic events that have served to direct the attention of Australians to the situation to the north of his country - have merely high-lighted trends that have been observable for several decades and have been accelerated by the onrush of the recent war. But it is well that, even though it is by accident, our minds should now be directed towards the near North. It is in that context that the Prime Minister made his recent statement on international affairs.

The great nations of the free world are taking counsel together to consider the ways and means of halting the victorious march of communism in South-East Asia. The free nations have proposed the signing of a mutual security pact for this area, and they have invited the support of free countries in the South-West Pacific. The Australian Government has agreed in principle to the proposal, and this House has been singularly unanimous in its endorsement of the Government’s policy. But one cannot expect to observe the same degree of unanimity when the pact is reduced to writing in precise terms. After that has been done, significant differences of opinion among honorable members might become apparent. The details of the pact have not been worked out, and I take it that this debate is designed to enable the public and the members of the Australian Parliament to clarify their minds on the form that our collective security should take. It is the bounden duty of all honorable members to address their minds to. this subject, knowing well that future generations will reflect upon what is said and done in Australia at this time in an attempt to meet the threat that now looms above the northern horizon.

First, I should like to direct attention to the situation with which we are confronted. “As I have said, it has not arisen in the twinkling of an eye, though our attention has dramatically and suddenly been directed to it recently. For more than a century Australia has slept serenely in the arms of the Mother Country, protected by the British navy and the broad ocean, and sometimes, like a wayward child, has indulged in the fancy that it was standing on its own feet. In fact, it has never done so. Australia was protected in the past not only by Great Britain, but also by -the Asiatic possessions, if they may be so called, of other European countries - the possessions of France in Indo-China, and of Holland in Indonesia. But that old colonial structure in Asia now lies in ruins. Asia has awakened after centuries of slumber like a giant refreshed and is beginning to feel its strength. It has awakened to the heritage that it has been given by the science of the western world - the machines that can be beneficent or disastrous in our civilization. But international communism has intruded into this situation. The serpent has reared its head in what otherwise might be a paradise as the dependencies of European nations gain their freedom and taste of the fruits of liberty and progress. International communism now bestrides the narrow world of Europe and Asia like a colossus, and extends its frontiers in both the West and the East. Russia has marched into the Baltic States, Poland and Czechoslovakia, and now controls half of Austria and half of Germany. Her partner in the Russia-China axis has gained control of half Korea and half Indo-China. The real question is when the march of communism will he stopped.

I have no desire to introduce a note of levity, and I do not apologise for quoting now from a cautionary tale for children that was written by Hilaire Belloc about 40 years ago. I preface the quotation by saying that the victim of aggression whose plight is described was a small boy who wandered heedlessly into a lions’ cave. The quotation reads -

With open Jaws, a Lion sprang,

And hungrily began to eat

The Boy: beginning a.t his feet.

Now, just imagine how it feels

When first your toes and then your heels,

And then by gradual degrees, your shins and ankles, calves and knees.

Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.

No wonder Jim detested it!

The Lion having reached his Head,

The Miserable Boy was dead!

This tale might well have been in the mind >of Mr. Richard M. Nixon, the Vice-President of the United States of America, when he spoke about the free democracies being nibbled to death. Little by little, communism has advanced, and its progress must be stopped at some point before it has gathered such strength that resistance will become impossible.

I .pass now to a consideration of the situation of the various countries in the South-East Asia area in which we are interested. It may be, as the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer) said on Thursday last, that at some future time China will be split from the Communist monolith. Meanwhile the Chinese are firmly attached to Russia. Mao Tse-Tung, Chou-En-Lai and the other leaders of Communist China, having been trained in .Russia, are propagating the Marxist-Leninist doctrines assiduously among the members of the Communist party in China. “When the anniversary of Stalin’s death was celebrated a short time ago, Mao Tse-Tung professed to be nothing more than “ a humble disciple of the great master “. The progress of collectivization has proceeded further in China in five years than it went in Russia in ten years. Industrialization goes on apace. The factories in Manchuria, having been set turning by Russian “know-how”, are producing, and will continue to produce, vast quantities of arms that can be put into the hands of an enormous army of the Chinese people, who are being drilled and organized into a highly centralized State. In the meantime, of course, Japan is inert and prostrate after the war, and in this condition leaves a power vacuum into which Chinese communism could very easily pour. While we deny Japan markets in the western world it is likely that the J Japanese will turn to China and the Communist world for markets. One can take only a somewhat pessimistic view of the position in Indo-China. Laos and Cambodia have not even the rudiments of democratic government. In Siam the Communists have already marked out Pridi Phanmonyong to play the role that has been so successfully played, in Viet Nam by Ho-Chi-Minh. Siam has always blown with the prevailing wind in its external policies.

What of the new democratic Asiatic States? Apparently they are so filled with the inveterate enmities and ancient antagonisms against their old imperial masters that they seem to be almost entirely blind to the threat of the new imperialist aspirants in Moscow and Peking, who are a far greater cause for concern than the old masters who have gone and will never return. Presumably it is in this spirit that the powers under the Colombo Plan - India, Ceylon Indonesia and Burma - have refrained from expressing any opinion in favour of col- lective security in South-East Asia. Pakistan has shown a more realistic attitude. In other countries, particularly in Indonesia , where the people are untutored and unskilled in the art of democratic parliamentary government, chaos is likely ana could well be fertile soil for the rank weed of communism. This is particularly true of Indonesia, where the government depends upon the support of the Communist party and the Communists have white-anted the trade unions. In western Java, northern Sumatra, the Moluccas and the Celebes rebellion is rife. Instead of trying to establish law and order and seeking to use the fruits of science to banish poverty and promote health among the people of Indonesia, the government appears to be engaged in the largely irrelevant task of rousing hatred against the Dutch and advancing ethnically untenable claims to western New Guinea.

Last in the catalogue of South-East Asian powers is Australia, with a small, comparatively trivial, population of 9,000,000, a vast area that it has not yet developed, and a European civilization alone in South-East Asia. Indonesia, to which I have referred, lies less than 300 miles north of Darwin. Within 5,000 miles, or 30 flying hours of the Australian coast, half of the world’s population is living. That is the uncertain and perilous situation of Australia. What are its vital interests? I suggest that Australia’s most vital interest is peace. We have a vast island continent to develop, and all that we seek is peace and the opportunity to perform that task. We have no aggressive designs against our neighbours. We ask of them, and hope for, nothing but friendship. Our situation speaks for itself, but that does not mean that we have to grovel to our Asian neighbours or excuse ourselves to them. If we are to carry, an olive-branch in one hand, there is no reason why we should not also carry a sword in the other to show that we are determined to defend ourselves.

There is no need for us to excuse ourselves for the White Australia policy. If the term gives offence, we may be sorry for that, hut the fact remains that we hold this continent by indefeasible right. For hundreds of years, the existence of

Australia was known to the people of South-East Asia, but they made no attempt to populate or develop it. Our indefeasible title to Australia is based upon the enterprise of British seamen, upon the ingenuity and perseverance of our settlers and colonists and the sweat and toil of our ancestors. We raised Australia from a state in which nobody else was able to develop it, and so our title to it is indefeasible. We should assert that right without any excuse because Australia is held upon as good a title “as any upon which the other nations of South-East Asia can rely.

I suggest that the first plank of our foreign policy should be determination to hold and defend Australia as a European community in the South Pacific. Our second plank should be friendship with our neighbours. We have no aggressive designs against them because we seek only peace to develop our resourcs. Our third plank should be determination to stand with our great allies and friends in resisting world communism. Many South-East Asian powers are unable to understand that issue, and therefore we must draw their attention to it. This is a battle for the minds of men, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has stated. It is a battle for the freedom of men to develop as individuals as opposed to the Communist doctrine that men are mere cogs in a machine. That is the real issue before us and we stand, with bur friends, determined to maintain a common front. In that context we can only deplore the purblind attitude of those Asian governments who continue to nourish animosities against their former masters and cannot see the real and imminent peril to them arising from the designs of the new imperialists. Nor need we, as the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) did recently, hang our heads in shame at the achievements of the British Empire. If it had not been for the tutelage that Great Britain gave to India, the greatest of the Asian powers, it would not be able to stand on its own feet to-day. The Indians owe a great debt of gratitude to Great Britain and I believe that they realize it fully. Therefore, there is no need for honorable members to follow the example of the honorable member for Wilmot and hang their heads in shame because Great Britain gave so much to the countries over which it ruled for so long.

Mr Daly:

– The honorable member was not in the chamber to hear the honorable member for Wilmot.


– It would not matter whether I heard the honorable member say it or whether I read about it. The fact is that I heard the honorable member for Wilmot. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our firm and tried friends to defend our principles. At the same time, we must be prepared to give all possible economic aid and technical assistance that we can to the new democracies to enable them to resist the white-anting influence of Communists from within. Such a threat is just as great as and, more insidious and difficult to combat, than the threat from without.

I cannot agree with honorable members who, in the course of this debate, have suggested that it is possible to beat out a roaring bush-fire with a few sprigs plucked from an olive branch. I do not believe that, because we give some economic aid, we can afford to remain unarmed in the face of so great a threat. As a fourth plank in our foreign policy, I believe that we should offer unwavering friendship not only to the nations of Asia who are prepared to join us, but above all to our great allies, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. I know that there are those who are either fools or the tools of communism who are prepared to assist in driving wedges between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, between both of them and Australia, or between all the nations of the free world and the United States of America of whom so many are envious. I hope that we shall resist that temptation. After all, the United States of America and Great Britain have on two occasions stood fast and sustained the foundations of liberty. The advice of Polonius is as valid for nations as it is for men -

The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy heart with hoops of steel.

Above all, the security of this isolated part of the world depends upon the strength of our great friends.


– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- The debate on the ministerial statement that has been tabled is of first-class significance. Whilst it underlines a desire for peace, at the same time, it expresses to some degree the fear of war. The establishment of peace in the Pacific between the Asian and European nations that border on the Pacific is a most laudable objective, but peace between those European nations and, at least, a part of Asia, will not be readily established when it is found upon closer examination that the hand extended to us in friendship clasps a dangerously sharp sickle. Were it simply a matter of establishing peace between ourselves and the Eastern nations, serious impediment would not exist to our achieving peace; but, unfortunately, that is not the case. In this instance, it is more a matter of approaching one who has contracted a disease of the mind. It is not a question on our part of stilling the national aspirations of the people of any country. Every one knows now that all the genuine nationalist movements in Asia have been infected with the disease of communism that has spread across the Asian continent. I believe that we shall find it necessary to throw a cordon around the parts of that continent that have been so affected. In fact, it will be necessary to quarantine the infected areas and to inocculate against the disease those parts that have not yet become infected. For that purpose, we shall find it necessary to draw a line in Asia; and if this be so, it is well that some competent authority should be established to draw such a line. That authority should be established on lines that conform to the general principles laid down in the Charter of the United Nations Organization. _ For that reason, it has been suggested that Seato is just the kind of organization that should be established foi- that purpose. As Seato conforms to those principles and, furthermore, as it will satisfy in Australia’s view the requirements of the United Nations Charter, this Parliament should strongly support the SouthEast Asia Treaty Orgainiaztion that has been proposed.

No doubt, it will be contended that there are objectionable features about drawing in Asia a line of the kind that I have indicated. It has already been said that such action could jeopardize the peace that is so ardently desired in the Pacific. If that be true, what is the alternative to taking such action? It would, of course, be easy to establish and maintain peace if we were prepared to allow any bully to have his own way. The attitude of the country which I have in mind at the moment, reminds me of the saying of the ‘ancients, “ They make a desert and call it peace “. The Communist, as I understand his actions in the past, has an easy way of establishing peace. He liquidates all who oppose him. So, of course, peace of the kind that he desires is easily established. I believe that the desert that the Communist creates is not so much a physical, or an economic, desert as it is a spiritual desert. This is the core of the disease to which I refer.

Notwithstanding everything that has been said in this debate, all honorable members must be well aware that the whole problem of Asia is not now a question of our regarding or disregarding the principle of “ Asia for the Asians “. It i3, instead, the problem of the extension of communism which has now come sufficiently close to Australia to threaten our very way of life in this country. To-day, little more than 2,000 miles separate us from a possible thrust from countries already under Communist control. In addition, the Communist way of life could easily be imposed in the near future upon the few states in South-East Asia which still remain free. We Europeans, whose countries border on the Pacific, could leave those people to what appears now to be their inevitable fate. But if we do not take a direct interest in their welfare a grave injustice could be perpetrated against them. We could automatically have peace in the Pacific if we chose to be cowards, careless of the consequences of our action for future generations. Fortunately, Australia has not followed that course up to the present. No one has taken a stronger hand than have members of the Australian Labour party in resisting Communist activity in this country. They have found it necessary on the industrial side to fight communism in the trade unions. Australian Labour party groups have been established with> the object of gaining control ‘ of unions which are vital to Australia’s economy. As we have already taken action of that kind in Australia we should be illogical if we overlooked a similar threat from the same source to nationals in countries that are associated with us by reason of their proximity to this country.

So far, this fight has principally been waged through propaganda. It has been an internal fight; and it is high time that the Government - I definitely criticize the Government in this respect - sought to make known the real facts of the present position in the Pacific as it affects Australians. The Government should educate our people in order to enable them to understand precisely our relations with Asia and the consequences that could arise from the present difficulties. The fact is that Australians have very little knowledge about either the position that now exists in Asia or about the threat to this country that may be translated into action within a very brief period. A great deal of Communist propaganda is being effectively circulated in this country. The Government is well aware of that propaganda, but it is not doing anything to combat it. The daily newspapers have given so much publicity to the Communist line that it is commonly believed in Australia that if we take any interest in what is happening in Asia we shall be interfering to the detriment of genuine nationalist movements. However, the fact is that nationalist movements in Asia have long since been dispersed or have been completely dominated by Communists. The Government has done nothing to make that position clear to the people of Australia and, consequently, a wrong impression exists among them with regard to its activities in this matter. It could explain the position either through a ministerial statement or, in a much wider field, by more direct means which are open to any government of this Commonwealth.

We hear a lot of propaganda about the corrupt regimes that have been displaced by Communist .regimes on the continent of Asia ; but little is said about the equally or perhaps more corrupt Communist regimes themselves. We have done nothing to combat such propaganda. There is rauch propaganda in circulation also about the recognition of red China. The people of Australia should be informed quite clearly that, economically and nationally, recognition by this country of red China would not matter a twopenny dump, and would not affect our relations with China in any way. But, psychologically, it would have a very important effect because it would help the spread of communism. There is far too much humbug talked about appeasing the Asian people living alongside us and earning their goodwill by sending our foodstuffs to them. Most of our food would not be suitable for them in any case because it has never been part of their diet. It is no use therefore pretending that if we offer them food, they will refrain from encroaching on our territory. Such talk is completely futile. Regardless of what we may try to do about tie present situation the Asian people will not think well of Europeans for generations. They have no occasion to think well of us because they have been exploited and pilloried by Europeans for hundreds of years. We have given them no cause to think well of us. However, all that is simply by the way.

The threat to Europeans’ is not from the Asian people as such but from expanding communism, and it is for that reason that I have suggested that a line must be drawn. A cordon must be established so that our own position shall be safeguarded and so that Asian nations still unaffected by communism may be saved from the fate that threatens them. But does this imply that we must adopt a warlike attitude and automatically involve ourselves in a war in order to secure peace? I think not - at least not immediately. Whether that result would flow depends on very many circumstances, but there are some unfortunate peoples who are likely to be overwhelmed in the next wave of communism, that moves across the Asian continent. A treaty has been suggested. Although such a treaty would involve certain obligations and although certain inferences may h”. drawn from those obligations, I believe it to be the only proper and honorable way out of the difficulty which confronts us to-day. When attack is imminent, it is only rational that those who are likely to be attacked should band together. So far as I can see there is no alternative to that course. I believe, however, that too much has been taken for granted in discussions of our relationship to Asia. There is far too much foolish talk - and it seems to be very popular at present - about Australia being dragged by the heels by American capitalism. I should like to know where such ideas come from. Has America ever invited Australia to join it in protecting the innocent people of South-East Asia? If such an invitation has ever been issued, I have never heard of it. America is not proposing any immediate action, and it is certain that America will not propose any action at least until after November of this year. The United States of America, after all, is the least vulnerable of all the nations that border on the Pacific. It could be attacked but not invaded, and I am sure that it is very well able to look after itself in the event of attack. So, that boot appears to me to be on the other foot.

We, as a small nation, bordering on the Pacific, must look to America if we are threatened by an aggressor. I deprecate .this manufactured antiAmericanism which seems to be spreading, principally I believe, to bolster some unworthy sympathies. I believe that we may be confronted ultimately with the necessity to follow once again the course of action taken by John Curtin during the last holocaust. Australia is a small nation. It must strive to retain the friendship of that greatest of all Pacific powers, the United States of .America. Therefore I believe that I am justified in supporting the proposal that a treaty should be sought - a treaty whose principles will measure up to those of the United Nations of which we are a supporter. I believe further that Seato offers to us such a security pact. It is urgent that we should undertake an education programme at home and abroad so that there shall be no misunderstanding of our relations with and obligations to the nations of Asia and of the Pacific generally. We should do our best to assist peoples whose economic position is less fortunate than ours. We can do that best not by sending unsuitable foodstuffs to them, but by assisting them to feed themselves. We can also offer to them the greatest encouragement to establish, through education and by other means, the free type of government which we have so far regarded as the preserve of the European races. We should encourage America to help to maintain the freedom of small States, whether on the continent of Asia, or elsewhere, in order that they may be able to do something substantial to ward off the disease of communism which has swept with such disastrous effect over so much of Asia. This -naturally involves us in obligations, the extent of which should be determined and reported faithfully to this House before any firm decision is made on them.


.- With one or two minor exceptions which of course one would naturally expect to find, I am sure the House appreciates the broad approach to this problem of great national importance adopted by the honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews). This debate on foreign affairs arises out of the realization, perhaps rather belated, that events in Korea and, more recently, in Indo-China, have been in fact defeats in what must be regarded as the third world war. What we have seen has been a triumph primarily for Communist propaganda. The honorable member for Darebin suggested that the Australian Government had done little to prevent the spread of Communist propaganda, but I was under the impression that we had made some definite moves in that direction and had not received from the Opposition the support to which those moves were entitled. All the evidence which can be adduced shows that the Government saw this position developing a long time ago, and endeavoured, as far as possible within its power, and within the limits of public opinion in Australia, to prepare this country against the menace.

The position in which the Western nations find themselves to-day has. arisen from their unwillingness to face some unpalatable facts, and a willingness to delude themselves on a colossal scale. We are involved in what we have been led to call a “ cold war “. One would hardly apply that term to the happening in Korea and Indo-China. The plain fact is that the Communists are winning all along the line because they are using the devices of political manoeuvre, limited revolution, and limited military commitments. They are encouraging nationalist movements, and then seizing control of them. All these things can so readily be torn from the context, and made to appear like local incidents. We have been led to regard them only as such, and the cumulative effect of them makes it plain that they are part of a carefully integrated plan of world domination in the interests of Communist imperialism.

We are involved in a new kind of war, and we do ourselves no service by looking at it in the light of our previous experience, I believe that the recent statement by the Government that we are prepared to commit ourselves to limited preparedness and to negotiations with our friends against this growing menace, will do much to awaken Australia to the danger. If the Communists had not already served the clearest possible notice on the world of their intention to dominate it, the most cursory examination of Communist expansion since 1940 must reveal its aim. We have seen communism spread like a blight over country after country in Europe, simply because those countries were prepared to compromise, or were unprepared for the assault. Nation after nation has been taken behind the iron curtain. Therefore, we should be learning that compromise, or peace at any price, is not peace at all, but may easily be another defeat on the road to slavery.

Communism, having fastened its grip on so much of Europe, has turned east, and so successful has been the campaign that from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Communist power to-day is the dominant power. In the grip of communism lie vast resources of man-power and materials. Communism also has a firm grip on springboards which can be used to aid and abet further Communist expansion in all directions. Asia is on the Communist list for domination. So we should be learning that we cannot buy off Communist imperialism by compromise. We can only strengthen communism in that way. The Communists are winning these engagements because they go into them without reservation, and we of the West go into them with reservations. We are keenly aware that a false move may “ trigger-off “ a third world war, and because we are unwilling, or unprepared, to face the prospects of war, we enter into commitments with limitations. This situation must always prevail until the West develops the moral and physical strength to enable it to take a stand. The announcement of the Government will do much to begin that desirable development.

When the President of Korea, Dr. Syngman Rhee was about to leave the United States of America a few days ago, he addressed to the people of America a few well-chosen words, which should find a ready response in Australia. He said -

Although some Americans have joined in the fight against communism, I must tell yon frankly in all candour that, so far, you are failing. All Indo-China is almost gone. What comes next?

In Asia, the gallant country of Thailand has top Communist priority and after that wilt come Malaya and Burma and Indonesia and Japan and sooner or later, the half of Korea that remains free.

We may not particularly like Dr. Syngman Rhee, and we may have some reservations about that gentleman’s behaviour and attitude in certain respects, but the inescapable fact is that he has had a most painful and intimate experience of Communist imperialism. The words which he addressed to the United States of America were spoken by the leader of a country which has been fully committed against communism, and has set aside its reservations. I wonder how much different our own words on this matter might be if we had made up our minds, as inevitably we must, to take a stand against continuing Communist aggression. We must realize that we cannot defeat, or even contain communism with reservations or compromises.

The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), during the course of this debate, complained bitterly that the United

Nations had not been called upon to intervene in the Indo-China dispute. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has made it perfectly plain that this matter was, in fact, a domestic issue between France and what purported to be a growing nationalist movement. Had the matter been referred to the United Nations, it would have given the greatest aid and comfort to communism. Russia would have ‘been sitting on the sidelines, secure in the knowledge that it had already captured control of what purported to be a nationalist movement, and I have no doubt that the United Nations would have advocated a free hand for that movement. I also believe that the result would have been no different in IndoChina if the United Nations had been handling the dispute. Should evidence be required to support that statement, we have only to turn to the happenings in Korea. The United Nations intervened in Korea, and did not intervene in IndoChina, yet the result in each instance was identical. Korea and Indo-China have been divided. One half of each country is under Communist control, and the other half has been left in a state of semiliberty, which makes it so much easier for the Communists to complete bloodlessly their conquest of those unhappy countries.

I see an anomalous position in respect of the United Nations that we should watch with the greatest care. We have to tolerate it, for obvious reasons, but we should not delude ourselves. Russia, which possesses the power of veto in the Security Council, adjudicates on acts of aggression to which it is a party. Of course, it is better to talk while there is any hope of conciliation, but we have learned from bitter experience during the last few years that the Communists will talk about anything and everything, but will agree to nothing which does not aid the course of imperialist Communist expansion. We are well aware that communism is exploiting the United Nations, and the faith of the rest of the world in that organization, purely for the interests and advantages of communism. The rest of us, in trying to maintain the fiction that every decision of the United Nations is arrived at in good faith, are perpetrating what must be regarded as one of the greatest farces in history.

I turn, for purposes of illustration, to an incident last week. The State Department at Washington warned the Government of South Korea about recent demonstrations against Communist members of neutral inspection teams appointed to supervise the Korean armistice, and said that United Nations forces might have to act if the incidents continued. The armistice guarantees this protection to the inspection teams made up of Swedish, Swiss, Polish and Czechoslovakian representatives. If there is one thing that can be said about the South Koreans, it is that they are realists. Without reservation, they are prepared to say what the rest of us know to be true. Does any one really suggest that Czechoslavakian and Polish representatives, Communist representatives, on these so-called neutral teams can really be neutral, when it is realized that they have been appointed by governments that have achieved control of their countries by subterfuge, treachery and bad faith? We continue to overlook, to the great detriment of our cause, the fact that in this new kind of war, to which we are not accustomed, we have got to make the rules as we go along. We are still trying to identify our adversaries by nationality, but the plain fact is that the Western nations are opposed to a Communist ideology. The damnable power of this ideology to subvert men from loyalty to their countries is such that it has its adherents, not only in. foreign countries, but also in Australia, where they are working their evil will against their own country.

Surely the Prime Minister’s statement means that we have come to the end of this unreal period, during which we have been prepared to go on deluding ourselves. The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) drew attention to the fact that in the past this country slumbered in the arms of the Mother Country. The time has come for us to stand on our own feet, within the limits of our capacity. We know that that capacity is limited, and we know also that we are obliged to lean as heavily as we can on our friends, our neighbours and our great allies, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. But one thing we must learn is that here and now we must seek and stamp out subversion in our own country, whereever it appears. We must face the unpalatable fact that, from now on, we must carry an increased burden of expenditure in connexion with defence. We may have to increase it even to the point of national sacrifice, but that will be the price of our future liberty. We must change some mental attitudes in this country. We must educate the Australian citizen, who is not very concerned about these matters and has little time for international affairs, to realize that we live on the doorstep of a seething mass of discontent and changing loyalties in Asia. If we cannot change the attitude of the Australian people to this problem, if we cannot persuade our people that they have got to shoulder, cheerfully and gladly, this great burden of national preparedness and defence, no amount of agreement to make limited military commitments and no amount of combining with our neighbours in a regional defence organization, will do us any good at all. If we fail to educate the Australian people in that way, our campaign will fail and the organization we set up will be so much the weaker. The recent statement by the Government is a call to a democratic stock-taking in which we shall balance our freedom and future hopes of peace against the risks and sacrifices involved in putting our house in order and doing the things necessary to ensure that we shall be prepared to come to the aid of people who have the same aim, that is, to arrest the growing blight of Communist imperialism.


.- I agree with the honorable member for Paterson (Mr. Fairhall) that the problems which we are discussing have arisen, in the main, from the diplomatic and military advantages that were secured by Communist countries as a result of the Indo-China settlement. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) dealt with these problems from the viewpoint of the Australian Government. We have been asked to consider the statement and to express our view of the proposals contained in it.

It is certain that a nationalist movement started in Indo-China, and that subsequent aggression by another country enabled Communist-controlled countries to make gains there which are regarded unfavorably by the Western nations. The Government has made two proposals : first, that Australia shall become a party to the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, and, secondly, that we shall commit ourselves to an increased expenditure on defence. The Government believes that if we join the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, we shall be able to provide, in conjunction with other countries, a force to prevent further Communist aggression, and that if we increase our defence expenditure, we shall be in a better position to look after our own interests. In principle, one can find very little with which to disagree in those proposals, but there may be fundamental differences of opinion on the methods that should be adopted to give effect to them. It is proposed that certain Western countries, including Australia and New Zealand, and some South-East Asian countries, shall confer to formulate a treaty. So far, the only Asian countries that have expressed a desire to participate in the conference are Thailand and the Philip pines. It is very significant that some Asian countries, which might be among the first to suffer from Communist aggression, have not yet expressed a desire to participate. India, Burma, Ceylon and Indonesia have intimated that they are not prepared to take part in any conference of this kind that may be arranged. It is difficult to understand why they have adopted that attitude. We are not. sure whether countries of that kind are generally disinclined to enter into alliances with Western countries, or whether they are convinced by their knowledge of conditions in South-East Asia that the possibility of Communist aggression is very remote. Whatever be the reasons for the stand that those countries have taken, it is true to say that Seato will never be as successful or as powerful as is envisaged by the Prime Minister unless the countries that are generally referred to as the Colombo Plan countries are prepared to become parties to it.

However, with the formation of Seato, a number of countries will be prepared to go to the aid of any member country that is attacked. In addition, such an organization, of its very nature, will be a kind of non-aggression pact concluded by the member nations. There will be agreement, not only to resist aggression but also to refrain from aggression. That will be a step towards the achievement of peace. So far, the Government has not given us any information about the proposals it intends to make at the conference that will consider the formation of Seato. The Prime Minister has said that Australia will be required to provide arms, aircraft, ships, and possibly bases, but he has not indicated the extent of our commitment.

Mr Casey:

– The treaty is not in existence yet.


– That is so, but we have been told that Australia will take an active part in its preparation Therefore, I suggest that the representatives of the Australian Government who attend the preliminary conferences will have concrete proposals to submit to the representatives of other interested nations. They will have some idea of the amount of help that, in the opinion of the Government, Australia will be able to give in order to promote the effective working of the organization. The Government may not be in a position yet to state its views on this subject, but it should take the House into its confidence before the first conference takes place, and give an indication, on broad lines, of the official attitude that it will adopt in the course of negotiations. That is a reasonable proposal, and I think the Government should agree to it.

The mere formation of a South-East Asia treaty organization will have a tendency, in my opinion, to prevent aggression by Communist countries. All honorable members will agree that the Communists have shown, by their tactics, that they try to secure the greatest advantage for themselves at the minimum of risk. I believe that they will change their tactics if the proposed organization is formed. This enables us to consider the sort of action that Australia should take in order to defeat new tactics. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister made no significant reference to such action in the course of his statement. The greatest danger lies, not so much in aggressive action by communism, as in the use of propaganda, penetration by infiltration, and the capitalizing of discontent caused by the bad social and economic conditions that prevail in South-East Asia. Unless Australia assists the countries of SouthEast Asia to overcome their internal problems, communism will continue to gain ground amongst their peoples. The conditions that I have in mind can be best illustrated by a discussion that took place at a conference of the International Labour Organization in Philadelphia at which I was present. One of the most, important subjects considered was the welfare of the masses of the people after World War II. The representatives of the big manufacturing nations suggested that, if other nations bought their products and kept their factories going, they would be able to provide great social services for their peoples. The representatives of agricultural nations declared that, if the big manufacturing nations would make firm contracts to buy their goods at profitable prices that would not be varied from year to year, they, too, could greatly improve the conditions of their peoples.

But after these delegates had spoken, the representative of the Indian workers, Mr. Mata, made an illuminating speech. Mr. Mata at that time was the president of the Indian Congress of Labour and the mayor of Bombay. He told us that hundreds of millions of people in India, the adjoining republic of China, and the States of South America, were living in conditions of poverty that the Western world could not possibly visualize. They wandered about the streets of big cities looking for work until, when night fell, they would throw themselves down on the pavements to sleep wherever they happened to be at the time. Their only possessions were the clothes that they wore. They had no idea where or how they would be able to obtain food when the next day dawned. Those conditions still prevail in South-East Asia, and we must decide what we can do to raise the living standards of the people who suffer from them. Unless we help them, all the treaties that we may make in order to combat aggression will fail to halt the onward march of communism, which capitalizes upon such conditions. I repeat that the populations of countries in South-East Asia are made up of a wealthy few and a poverty stricken many. The poor have no access to the land, and 80 per cent, or more of the people engaged in agriculture earn less in a year than the basic wage for a week in Australia. Illiteracy prevails, social services are non-existent, and the average expectancy of life is about 26 years, instead 65 or 66 years as in Australia. The people’s hopes of improving their conditions have been consistently frustrated.

Therefore, I suggest that, in addition to any steps that may he taken to form a South-East Asia treaty organization, greatly increased financial aid should be made available to assist subsidiary organizations of the United Nations in the great work that they are doing in South-East Asia. There is no reason why we should not provide additional money to help Unesco-, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. These bodies are doing valuable work in Asia and neighbouring countries, but they are seriously hampered by lack of funds. The records of the International Labour Organization show that it has studied and helped to improve the living conditions of peoples from Indonesia to Burma and from Pakistan to Malaya. For instance, it has contributed greatly towards the establishment and expansion of the co-operative movement in Burma. By means of study and practical help, it has been able to introduce to the people of Indonesia new methods of increasing their production. Much has been done in Karachi to improve production in the textile industry. By such means the organization has worked consistently to raise the living standards of the peoples of Asia. Unless their standard of living can be improved, it will be difficult to prevent the onward move of communism. I remind honorable members of the deplorable conditions that existed in Australia between 1929 and 1934, during the economic recession, when communism made very great strides indeed because of the frustration and unemployment of our people. Communism is advancing in every direction in South-East Asia because much worse conditions now exist there. I suggest that all possible assistance should be given by the Australian Government to enable those problems to be investigated. Guidance should be given to the governments of the South-East Asian countries, to the degree that they are prepared to accept guidance, and efforts made by technical and other means to assist them. That would be a step in the right direction, and would alleviate the conditions of the people who live in those countries. The people of all South-East Asian countries have for some years been striving to gain national independence. Although, in some instances, due to the attitude of Great Britain, they have secured their independence and have the right to govern themselves, they are now confronted with the great difficulties that always beset a country that uses primitive agricultural methods when competing with other countries of the world. When it is realized that the people of many of the countries of South-East Asia are. poverty-stricken and illiterate, and suffering from all the hazards of disease, and that there is a lack of hygiene and sanitation at anything like the standards that exist in Australia and other Western countries, the tremendous problem involved in re-building and establishing those nations upon lines that will give the greatest advantage and security to their people is evident.

It is not sufficient for us to say that we will have a treaty organization to resist aggression and that we will improve the defences of Australia. We must now, as an advanced nation, accept a share of the responsibility of developing the countries in which living conditions are much inferior to our own. The help provided under the Colombo plan is not sufficient, because it is mainly technical assistance. It is not so much a matter of giving the South-East Asian people food. We must also do our best to ensure that they have land and the implements they require. I refer to simple implements, such as spades, hoes, rakes and pumps, to enable them to till the land and obtain a return from it. I urge the Government to give consideration to the suggestions that I have made,’ because we can preserve peace only by the operation of social justice.


– I shall refer first to a couple of points that were made by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), who expressed the hope that the Australian Government will be able to place some views before the South-East Asia Treaty Organization conference, when it takes place. The honorable member also suggested that a broad outline of Australia’s views should be placed before the Parliament and the Australian people beforehand. The Opposition should realize that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has done much in recent years to place the Government’s views before the councils of the nations, and also before individual nations. The honorable member for Bendigo can rest assured that Australia will place definite views before the South-East Asia Treaty Organization conference. I congratulate the Minister for External Affairs on. the excellent work that he has done. The right honorable gentleman is deserving of high commendation for helping to bring together the views of the United Kingdom and the United .States of America on certain affairs. I hate to think what would happen if the Government adopted the suggestion of the honorable member for Bendigo, by placing before the Parliament, on broad lines, the views that Australia will express at the Seato conference. After all, a government is expected to bear a certain amount of responsibility. I believe that this Government has shown that it is well capable of shouldering responsibility. The Seato conference should not be jeopardized by the prior mangling of the Government’s views in this House. As a nation, we are, to a degree, like a child who was born either during the Wars of the Roses in England or the One Hundred Years’ War on the Continent. We have not had time to grow to full maturity in periods of peace. Much of our economy has suffered through force of circumstance, and due to the fact that our nation was founded so late in terms of the life of man. We have not had the opportunity to develop that other younger nations of the Western world have had, which accounts, in part, for our present position. The section of the world bounded by a line from the east coast of Australia to Japan, west to

Afghanistan, south to Ceylon, and oast to Australia, contains one-fifth of the world’s surface, and more than one-half of the world’s population. Australia, a nation of some 9,000,000 people, is almost surrounded by Asian countries with a population of about 1,300,000,000 people. That very rightly gives us food for thought.

I believe that, as the honorable member for Bendigo has stated, there will be further attempts by the Communist forces to penetrate, either peacefully or in a war-like manner, farther into this group of Asian nations. If those attempts are successful, our position will indeed be perilous. It is more difficult to stop penetration in times of peace than to stop war-like penetration. From the small experience I had of Russian forces with whom I came in contact in Europe during World War II., it was apparent to me that the majority of them were of Asian origin. Their blood was Asiatic blood. Their thought processes were in many ways similar to the thought processes of Asians. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) mentioned in his speech that the Chinese were among the world’s greatest gamblers and bluffers. The small experience that I had of Russians led me to exactly the same conclusion about them. If anything, they had a degree of fatalism that was more developed than the similar characteristic in the Chinese. The point is that there is a considerable similarity between many of the people who inhabit the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and many of the people of China and other Asian countries. They have similar racial origins and, as a result, have more in common with one another than we have with any of them. That fact would make penetration of Asian countries by Russia much easier than it would otherwise be. The important point is that, in view of that capacity for gambling and bluffing, and playing the bluff to the limit, there is only one way of making sure that the Communists, Asian and otherwise, will not start a third world war and will not come further down into South-East Asia. That is, by our saying, clearly and determinedly, that if they make any effort to move further in our direction, trouble will start. No honorable member on this side of the House advocates an aggressive war but we believe, strongly, that our surest method of maintaining world peace at present, and for some years to come, is to show our opponents, unmistakably, that we shall not be afraid to fight, if we have to fight, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said, in defence of freedom and justice.

That point brings me to a consideration of some of the ways in which, in the time that lies ahead of us - and I hope we have sufficient time - we may be able to influence some of our Asian neighbours more towards our way of thinking. That in turn brings me to an examination of the White Australia policy. I know that that subject is political dynamite. I wish to make it very clear that I am not advocating the abolition of the White Australia policy. I am seriously suggesting to this House, and to the people, however, that we could well afford to examine that policy closely in order to see whether it could not be slightly modified in some respects, in a way that might prove to be beneficial, not only to our relationships with our .Asian neighbours, hut also to the cause of world peace and better international understanding. I should like to repeat that I am advocating

Mr Greenup:

– Not a. sell-out?


– Not a sell-out, and not the opening of the flood gates to Asian immigration. The point that I wish to make is that, just as we have found in the 50 years that this Commonwealth has been in existence, some features of our Constitution now require alteration, so there will probably be some things in our thoughts that examination would also show us require alteration. We might find, on examination, that our thinking had changed to some degree in the 50 years that have passed since the White Australia policy was first put into effect. T should like to have a sounding of public opinion on this most important matter, which could not be decided by any one political party or section of the community. It must he decided as a national issue. The only way in which a clear-cut decision can be arrived at is by the obtaining of a clear-cut expres sion of the nation’s opinion. I have no doubt many people may be able to advance reasons for the maintenance of the White Australia policy unchanged, but foi- my part, I can see no real reason why we could not allow into this country, at least as a. trial on a quota system, a very- small number of Asian immigrants. I suggest that if we were to consider doing that, we might well allow in a few Asian immigrants from the Asian members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, for a start. One thing that we should have to find out as a pre-requisite to any alteration of the White Australia policy is whether the policy, as it stands, gives any real offence to our Asian neighbours. I am by no means certain that it does. Occasionally statements are made that the White Australia policy is offensive to many of our Asian friends and neighbours. I am not sure that many of them care much about it, and we cannot accept the voice of one or two individuals as being authoritative.

Mr Greenup:

– I do not think they are disturbed by it.


– There are undoubtedly many millions of Asians who do not understand it. In any event, some Asian countries have immigration laws that are more stringent than ours. There are many Asians who would not wish to settle in Australia. I believe, however, that there is possibly a number of educated and skilled men in Asia who might want to settle here. Personally, I should offer no objection to their doing so. But by opening the flood-gates and letting in the people of Asia in great numbers, we should not be helping either the Asians or ourselves. There is no doubt about that. We have in our hands, just as the pioneers of this country who laid the foundations of the nation had in their hands, the moulding of a vessel. The moulding of that vessel has not yet been completed. I should like to see us not only defending our right to remain here to mould that vessel into the shape we think it should take, but also building ourselves into a nation that will eventually be a complete vessel, filled with the wines of happiness and pleasantness, and not filled with the acid of corrosion and corruption.

I conclude by repeating my statement that I believe that the only way open to ns of avoiding war in the near future i.° to make it clear to the Communists that we are prepared to defend ourselves. Before we can do that, we must actually be able to defend ourselves. I think that the principle of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization is excellent, and that we should do well to remember the old Chinese proverb to the effect that, when hit by a thunderbolt, it is too late to consult the book of dates.


.- So far the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has not disclosed the Labour party’s defence policy. I assume, in the absence of a definition of it from him that the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), his deputy in this House, speaks for the members of the Labour party. The honorable member for Melbourne has told us that he has been to the Northern Territory many times, and takes an active interest in that area. If I have understood him correctly he believes that our defences should be strung out over northern Australia. He has also said, unless I have misinterpreted him, that we should not send Australian forces to fight abroad. Now he has made a strong complaint about the small, inadequate defence force in Darwin. Surely he is out of touch with modern warfare if he is advocating that Darwin should be the bastion of Australian defence; because modern warfare is a matter of by-passing, infiltration and mobility. We have only to think back on the defences at Singapore, which people believed could be held effectively, and to the Maginot Line, which hypnotized the French into a sense of false security. In each case, the enemy simply by-passed these defences. Australia should have mobility in defence and should use its reserves as a task force rather than scatter them all over the country. If a man intends to defend his home he does not merely sit in the front garden and wait for the enemy. He goes out to the nearest hill and tries to prevent the enemy from coming into his home. An attempt merely to defend the Australian mainland would result in a position similar to that which occurred in World War I., when the Allies only defended one side of the Suez Canal. The Turks crossed the canal. That position was rectified and a lesson was learnt. We can also learn a lesson from General MacArthur. General MacArthur arrived in Australia on the 17th March, 1942. Within five months he had established his head-quarters in Port Moresby because he knew that the battle of the SouthWest Pacific should be fought away from Australian shores.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was rather unwise to accuse the Government of neglecting defence. It will not be forgotten that the Chifley Government lost a wonderful opportunity to keep the American forces in Manus Island. The Labour party gave the Americans the cold shoulder with the result that Australia is now faced with the huge task of trying to fortify Manus Island. I believe that the Government has made a sincere and worthwhile defence effort. It has set out to make powerful friends. The great international standing of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has enabled the Government to assist in bringing into being the Colombo plan, the Anzus pact and now Seato. The Anzus pact will provide Australia with real assistance from the United States of America and New Zealand if it is attacked. The Colombo plan, which the Government initiated, has created a tremendous amount of goodwill among our Asian friends. At a recent conference this goodwill was expressed by many delegates. We have been able to help our Asian friends by sending them food and technical equipment which will enable them to build up the productivity of their primary industries. Now the Government intends further to strengthen the security of Australia by becoming an active member of Seato. No government, in peace-time, has ever made such a great defence effort as the present Government has done. The Prime Minister stated in the House recently that the defence vote for the coming financial year would be increased to £235,000,000.

These critical days bring to mind the dark days before the wars of 1914 and 1939. Both these wars showed the vital necessity of defending the chain of islands stretching from the north-west of Australia to the north-east. Honorable members will not need to be reminded that, on the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Australia very promptly captured German New Guinea and all islands under the German flag. Again, in the 1939 war, the islands to the north of Australia were occupied by the enemy who were finally repulsed by a tremendous effort and a considerable loss of Australian servicemen and the servicemen of our American and other allies. Let us consider for a moment this northern chain of islands, which includes Timor in the northwest, the islands of Aru, New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain, the Australian Solomons and the British Solomons in the north-east. These islands are the gateway to Australia. Any hostile power in occupation of these islands would be in an excellent position to launch an attack on Australia at any given time. Nobody could justly accuse Australia of having territorial ambitions. We have such a great amount of country to develop that we could not justly be accused of wanting to seize any one else’s land. We have no claims on Dutch or Portuguese Timor, nor on the Dutch Aru islands, west or Dutch New Guinea, but we have a vital interest in their defence. If the Dutch and Portuguese should leave these islands, our main northern defences would be wide open. Australia’s attitude has always been abundantly clear. These islands must remain with those who are willing and capable of defending them.

In order to strengthen our northern defences Australia should enter into a joint defence pact with the Netherlands and Portugal for the defence of these important areas. Such a regional pact would be to the mutual interest of both Portugal and Holland. At present there is no interchange of service personnel or information between Australia and these countries and no combined military manoeuvres by Netherlands forces in west New Guinea and Australian forces in Australian New Guinea. By bringing Australian, Dutch and Portuguese forces together under one command, we would provide a northern defence screen. But Australia will not be able to obtain such an arrangement cheaply. We must make the major defence contribution. The army is now struggling to maintain a brigade. Apparently, recruiting has dried up. Although national service training has proved a success, within its limitations, nobody could pretend that it is adequate. Australia can no longer play around with this problem. If we are to make an effective defence contribution we should extend the present period of national service training, which at present is three months plus 42 days a year, to twelve months’ continuous training. A great part of this training should be done in the islands to the north. We may reasonably expect that, in the tragic event of another war, Australia will need to fight under tropical island conditions. The Government has clearly recognized this by re-opening the jungle training school at Canungra in Queensland. Canungra will prove a useful training ground, but there is no adequate substitute for training the armed services, including national service trainees, in the northern islands under jungle conditions. Such training would also provide useful experience for the medical services and the highly technical and varied supply services.

I agree that twelve months’ national service training would raise some very real problems for such people as the man on the land, the apprentice, the university student and a host of other young men who may be starting out on their careers. Sacrifices will have to be made. But once Australians know that their homeland is in danger they will make these sacrifices. We cannot leave the defence of Australia to the United Kingdom, a country in which national service trainees are trained for eighteen months continuously and which has committed SO per cent, of its armed forces abroad. Nor can we expect our friends, the Americans, who conscript men for two years for overseas service to look after us. How can we, in the face of this great defence contribution by our friends and allies, who would come to our aid in an emergency, fail to increase our period of national service training?

Another effective means of strengthening our northern defences would be to increase the present strength of the Pacific Islands Regiment from one battalion to at least one brigade. The Pacific Islands Regiment has a wonderful tradition of loyalty and efficiency. The men are proud to belong to the army of the Queen. Their participation in it gives them standing in the community, and, quite apart from training in the military art, they are taught hygiene and given a certain amount of education and a knowledge of useful trades. All those things are very important in helping to raise the standards of living of the native people. However, the success of any scheme to enlarge the Pacific Islands Regiment would depend upon the careful selection of Australians to act as officers and non-commissioned officers. Such men should be of the best type available, and should have a real desire to serve with native troops. The influence of Australians on the natives cannot be overestimated, and provided that we have the proper type of Australians, who feel a calling to serve in the islands, we shall be able to build up not only an efficient Pacific islands force, but also increase the morale and the general standards of the native peoples.

The chain of islands to the north of this country are vital to our security. We should strengthen our defences in that region by participating in defence pacts with Holland and Portugal. We should also have some arrangement with Great Britain. In order to meet our defence commitments, and to prove to our Allies that we are prepared to pull our weight in any defence organization - because so far we have not given a good example in that direction - our national service training period should be extended from the present three months to twelve months. Also, the strength of the Pacific Islands Regiment should be increased from one battalion to one brigade. I have not heard any honorable member from either side of the House advocate a reduction of our defence commitments. In fact all honorable gentlemen have been unanimous in the contention that we are not sufficiently defended. In the event of another war we should not be given the breathing space in which to prepare that we were given during the last two wars, and. time will be against, us. Now is the time to put our defences in order, and if honorable members opposite agree that our adequate defence is in jeopardy, let them say where we should increase our defences. Let them say that we should defend the islands to our north. Up to the present time we have not had a clear statement of the Opposition policy on those two points.

Mr Curtin:

– The policy of the Labour party has been laid down and is quite clear to all.


– Order ! The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) should not interject.


– The Opposition knows quite well that unless we have a reasonable and strong defence system, integrated with that of our friends and allies, we shall have no chance of averting a third world war.


– In a debate of such importance to the national future of this country, it is possible to cover a wide number of Subjects. Part of the debate has been conducted on the high level of national policy and the direction of international policy, and part has been concerned with the details of our defence methods. At this late stage it is impossible to bring forward any new material of vital concern to honorable members, therefore I propose to discuss one or two matters that have cropped up in the course of the debate, which I feel require some development in the light of the present international situation. In a debate of this kind, which concerns the continuing foreign policy of a democracy, the views of the Opposition and the Government must run closely parallel. I believe that it is one of the traditions of our form of democratic government that there should not be violent changes of foreign policy following changes of government. However, one discordant note was sounded in the early stages of this debate by a right honorable gentleman of the Opposition, who is not present to-day, when he stated that the Government might be deemed to be a caretaker government, and that because of some idiosyncrasy of the electoral system it did not represent public opinion. If I might be so impudent. I should like to compare his statement with the action of the manager of a certain section of the Australian team at the empire games. He withdrew his team from the games because he was not satisfied with a decision given by the referee. The withdrawal of that section of the Australian team affected the general Australian effort, and, possibly, the prestige of Australia as a sporting country. If the right honorable gentleman had withdrawn himself or part of his team from this debate, it woud have been to Australia’s advantage.

A suggestion has been made by .some honorable members opposite, particularly by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey), that the way to stop the red lava flow of communism - to use a phrase of the honorable member for Mel bourne (Mr. Calwell) - is to increase the living standards of backward peoples. In other words, if we are to safeguard the system of government which we believe will ultimately benefit the world, we must raise the living standards of Asian nations by giving them economic assistance. I believe that everybody will agree that that argument is quite true in the long-term view. One of the Christian problems with which we are faced, is how to assist those backward peoples to a better and a fuller life. However, it would be completely dishonest to the Australian public, and the people of the world, to try to persuade them that we can check Russian expansion merely by economic methods. We have only to refer to incidents that have taken place in countries that communism has over-run, in order to realize that this penetration follows two or three well-defined paths. In the case of Tibet, the penetration took the form of a military thrust. Tibet was a country that had no wish to get embroiled with any other nation, but it was invaded by a Communist army. Czechoslovakia, one of the most enlightened democracies of the world, was captured by the Russians through a minority movement reinforced by the power of the red army. In other cases bad conditions have encouraged communism, and eventually a Communist government has been established.

I believe that every one will agree that if economic help is given to backward countries, it will help to enlighten them, raise their standards of living, and eventually turn them to democratic forms of government rather than communism. As a prosperous country, Australia must be prepared to play its part in bringing economic stability to the South-East Asian area. I do not agree, however, with those who say that we should hand out large quantities of foodstuffs willynilly. I share the opinion of the honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Andrews), that our dietary habits are different from those of many of the South-East Asian people, and that gifts of foodstuffs might not always be welcomed. We can make our presence felt in South-East Asia by providing, under the Colombo plan, the advantages of our Western education and techniques.

Many Asian students come to Australia every year, and on the contacts that they make with the citizens of Australia depends the nature of the ideas which they take home with them. From my knowledge of the subject, it seems that those who could influence such students in the right direction are not doing all that they could do. Because of the lack of such interest, in many instances Asian students are coming in contact with undesirable elements in our community. This constitutes a threat to the people of Australia as a whole, because we may be sending back rabid Communists to the SouthEast Asian countries.

Our assistance to the countries of South-East Asia can take several forms. For instance, we can give direct financial assistance, particularly in relation to developmental schemes, or we can provide equipment. In addition, we can make available to Asian students the advantages of our education system and technical “ know-how “, so that they may take back to their countries a knowledge of our wayS. I am not ashamed to say that we should also attempt to bring some moral influence to bear on these students with a view to inducing them to take a worthwhile part in the economic life and government of their countries.

It seems to me that certain honorable members opposite have endeavoured to influence the people to believe that British colonialism is based on exploitation and extortion, and that it generally works to the disadvantage of the peoples who are affected by it. I make no apology for that system as practiced by the United Kingdom in the East, particularly in India. The British, during 300 years of occupation of Indian territory, gave the people of India a great heritage of peace and progress. They made India wealthy and inculcated the traditional British love of justice. In addition, they handed over to the Indian people great capital works in the form of railways and irrigation schemes. They also left behind fine education and health schemes. The British provided many loyal and faithful servants during the period of the administration. When the time was ripe, the British said to the Indians, “Although we think you are somewhat immature to govern yourselves, we believe that it is now necessary for you to take over the reins of government “. That was a splendid gesture. As one who has a great interest in the continuation of the British tradition, I say, “ Thank God for British colonialism if it operates in that way”.

The maintenance of peace in the South-East Asian area necessarily involves the making of some form of security pact. As I said earlier, I think that honorable members on both sides of the House are conscious of the economic and defence aspects of such a pact. Foi the first time in the history of our international relations, the government of the day has agreed to make an appropriate commitment, if and when that should be necessary. In other words, instead of waiting for a fait accompli and then deciding what we should do about it, the Government has declared our intention to back up our promises by something tangible and substantial, should it be necessary to do so. That is a radical departure from our previous policy on international affairs. In my opinion, it is one of the most significant gestures which this country has made, because it will lend force to any treaty which we make with our neighbours in the SouthEast Asian area.

We in Australia must be morally and physically strong so that, if necessary, we ran reinforce our policy in relation to foreign affairs. As the honorable member for Bendigo has said, the success of communism and of its red lava flow has been due to the ability of the Communists to spread their propaganda. It would be our duty, as a party to such a treaty as Seato, to be prepared to take a far more active . part in making known the advantages of democracy. We must try, particularly, to get down to the level of the little man in the South-East Asian countries. . We should also be ready and willing to foster the establishment of collective security in South-East Asia. Already, we have taken an active part in South-East Asian relations, and I believe that we are capable of playing a major part in the future. .


.- lt was not my intention to participate in this debate, but it seems that honorable members opposite either have very few views on this subject or have little acquaintance with it. It is extraordinary that the members of one of the greatest political parties in this country are unable or unwilling to take their proper part in such an important debate and endeavour to utter a representative Labour voice. That is all the more remarkable when one recalls the deplorable manner in which they wasted the time of the Parliament earlier to-day by abusing a highly reputable member of this House. One could be pardoned for thinking that their talents would have been better employed in debating the subject now before the House.


– Order! The honorable gentleman must not refer to debates which took place earlier to-day.


– This has been a long debate and I think you, Mr. Speaker, with your great experience in the House, will agree that it has been one of the most profitable debates on foreign affairs that we have had. That has been due in no small measure to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who took the House and the country into his confidence in an unusual manner. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), because of his knowledge of foreign affairs, was able to follow the Prime Minister immediately and make a considerable contribution to the debate. However, the principal reason for the quality of the debate lies in the fact that in the House there are many honorable members who are well informed on foreign affairs. I refer to the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Curtin:

– It is a very good committee, too!


– But it is not yet a committee that is fully representative of both sides of the House, because it does not include members of the Opposition. I sincerely regret that fact. I do not say that in the beginning, perhaps, there were not faults on both sides. There were certain features of the committee which honorable members opposite found to he repugnant, but the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has gone a long way towards removing those faults and I hope that honorable members opposite will soon feel free to join the committee. It seems to be absolutely essential that- certain matters which affect the life of the nation should be placed before a semi-permanent committee of honorable members so that the House at all times may have the benefit of informed opinion upon them. In communism we are faced with an enemy that is united in every respect. The policies of the Communists, whether they were formulated by Stalin, or Molotov, or any other person, remain unchanged. Democratic nations cannot meet the challenge unitedly if they continue to change their policies as they have changed them in the past. It is ridiculous that in a country like Australia the Australian Labour party should adopt one policy in relation to foreign affairs and that the Liberal party and the Australian Country party should adopt another. Somewhere there must be a broad basis of national interest to which all parties can subscribe whole-heartedly. Let us adopt a common policy in relation to foreign affairs. I express the hope that other matters of equal importance, such as defence and possibly social services, will be put on a similar footing later. It is the plain duty of honorable members opposite, who owe much to this country, to support the Foreign Affairs Committee and to make it a complete success instead of the partial success that it is at present.

I implied earlier that debates of this kind very often are unprofitable. I do not wish to approach this subject in a narrow political way, but I think that honorable members generally, and in particular honorable members opposite, because of their political sympathies, tend to regard the question of foreign affairs as a somewhat political and almost philanthropic form of activity. That fact was amply demonstrated by the manner in which the Leader of the Opposition approached the subject of foreign affairs when he was Minister for External Affairs. The right honorable gentleman, instead of consulting those people who could best serve Australia, tended to aline himself with those who shared his political opinions. It was his sympathy with the nationalist movements, as he described them, in Asia that led him to support the Indonesian rebellion, as a result of which our good friends, the Dutch people, were forced to leave that country. It was the Leader of the Opposition who, because of his determination to resist American imperialism, as he described it, in this area insisted upon such conditions for the taking over of Manns Island as made the Americans abandon that base and leave it in our hands. It is of no use to Australia to have any other yardstick in relation to foreign policy than its own national interest. Australia’s foreign policy, if not equally important, is second in importance only to its policy on defence. Foreign policy and defence policy, to my mind, are inseparable. There has been a certain amount of unreality in such debates as this one as have occurred in the past, because we have tended to adopt the attitude that a situation can be altered by mere words. The great nations, as well as the small nations, want to know the manner in which a nation will support its grave words. I am not trying to make this a narrow political debate, hut I believe that the Leader of the Opposition, when he was administering the Department of External Affairs, committed the fundamental error of thinking that, by making speeches, by browbeating people and by championing this cause and that cause, he could achieve some stability in the world.

I welcomed the Prime Minister’s reference to the subject of defence. The right honorable gentleman clearly linked defence with foreign policy. Only those countries which have a defence plan and which have something to offer can expect any aid. I know that it is distasteful to honorable members opposite that any Australian government should commit troops from this country to service overseas. Surely we all agree that it is much better to be prepared to defend Australia outside the country than it is to wait until we are forced to defend ourselves on our own land. The Government, in adopting that principle, has made the most forward step in the implementation of foreign policy that has been made for many years. If we want American aid - without it, we must fall in the event of a major conflict - we must have something to offer. Though I have not been to Europe it is apparent, from the generally acknowledged situation there and in Great Britain, that, with the best will in the world, neither Great Britain nor any other European country will be able to play a decisive role in any armed conflict in the Pacific, because the European nations will have their hands full in western Europe. Consequently, we must acknowledge that we shall depend more and more upon the United States of America for support and partnership in the Ear East. Our loyalty to Great Britain is not in question. Neither is the loyalty of Great Britain to Australia doubted. The steadfastness of the Mother Country has been proved time and again. But it i3 a plain fact that in the event of another world war Britain could do little to assist Australia in the Pacific. Therefore, it might be helpful occasionally to speak gratefully and plainly to the American people. The United States of America at present is Australia’s bulwark against aggression.

The position of the United States of America in world affairs to-day is similar to the position that was held by England during the -Napoleonic wars, when, for some 30 or 40 years, the British poured out their wealth and expended their armed forces to support the weaker nations in the struggle against Napoleon, who, at that time, threatened the world with his tyranny. Similarly, the United States of America, with a generosity in men, money and materials that is unparalleled in the history of the world, supports the weaker nations in the struggle against communism. The United States of America expends vast sums of money, provides technical and material assistance, and maintains armies wherever they are needed in defence of liberty. It is proper that we, in our national assembly, should occasionally give thought to this fact. I have heard some honorable members opposite - I do not tar all of them with this brush - sneer at Australia’s alliance with the United States of America and at what they choose to call American capitalism. The honorable member who now shakes his head was not among those detractors. This type of criticism is no less harmful than are cheap gibes about French colonialism in Indo-China. The French are the traditional allies of the British people. That is something that wo should not forget. It was greatly to Australia’s advantage to have the French in IndoChina. Though the French nation expended its men and money in an effort to hold Indo-China for democracy, some honorable members, to my astonishment, speak as if the French defeat in IndoChina were a joke and not a disaster.

Australia will be greatly affected by the agreement between Great Britain and Egypt under which British forces will shortly evacuate the Suez Canal zone. I am not competent to judge this issue, but, like yourself, Mr. Speaker, I was brought up to believe that a firm British hold on the Suez Canal was a vital principle in the defence of British Empire interests in this part of the world. That pivot upon which our defence was formerly believed to rest has now been removed. I offer no immediate criticism of the British action, but I cannot believe that the evacuation of the Suez Canal zone by British forces, leaving Egypt undefended - and it is never likely to be able to defend itself - is a move likely to promote our security. We in Australia should have had a powerful voice in thedeliberations that led to the agreement that the British forces should evacuate the Suez Canal zone. I dislike speaking of public servants as personalities, but I do not believe that Australia’s present representative in the Middle East is suited to the task of watching Australia’s interests there. I acknowledge that ho is a fine Australian and a man who would have represented his country with credit almost anywhere in the world except in Egypt. Australia’s representative in that country should have been, above all things, a former Australian soldier. The Egyptians may not like Australians, but they respect and fear Australian soldiers. Consequently Australia’s representative among them should be a man whose record would remind them of all that Australia has been called upon to do in wartime, and may have to do again. The Middle East is a vital area where Australia’s prestige was great, and we lamentably failed to capitalize on that prestige.

Indonesia’s claims upon Dutch New Guinea, which are voiced from time to time, and which were recently repeated by the President of Indonesia, closely concern Australia. Those claims are entirely false, however they might be regarded. There are no racial bonds between the people of Indonesia and the natives of Dutch New Guinea, and the settlement of large numbers of Indonesians in Dutch New Guinea would be fatal to the interests of the natives. Indonesia is not capable of defending itself. It is even doubtful whether the government is firmly seated. Nothing could be worse for Australia than any form of interference by Indonesians in Dutch New Guinea. I trust that the Australian Government, though under the Colombo plan it is giving aid to Indonesia, among other Asian countries, will speak firmly and bluntly to the Indonesians. I have never believed that one buys popularity in this world. As to the next world, I do not know. One country does not endear itself to another country merely by continually subsidizing it. Australia should tell Indonesia bluntly that if it wants assistance from us, we should like it to adopt a more reasonable attitude towards Dutch New Guinea. In all considerations of international affairs, the outlook in South-East Asia must be regarded as vital to Australia’s security. Any view other than this is completely unrealistic.

Sitting suspended from 5.52 to 8 p-m.

Port Adelaide

; - Honorable members are pleased to have the opportunity provided by this debate to speak on foreign affairs. For some time I have been informing people in my electorate and in my State that I believed that this session of the Parliament would be one of the most momentous in its history. I told them that I, and other members of the Australian Labour party, were looking forward with interest to a statement on foreign affairs by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). Many honorable members and Australians generally were curious about the commitments in foreign affairs that had been made by the Government. My prediction that this would be a momentous sitting of the Parliament has been proved to be correct. When the Parliament assembled, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) considered foreign affairs to be of such importance that he made a statement to the House personally. The right honorable gentleman told the House of commitments that had been entered into by the Government, but he did not inform honorable members fully upon the future possibilities. I believe that honorable members should consider foreign affairs from a national point of view and nov only from the party political stand-point. We must consider the future of Australia.

More than 50 years ago, when the first Parliament of the Commonwealth was formed, laws relating to foreign affairs could be enacted without inhibitions. Australia did not have a powerful army or navy and there was no such thing as an air force, but because we were a part of the great British Empire, we could look to the Royal Navy and to all the resources and strength of the British Empire for help in time of need. To-day, Australia’s position is different. Situated on the brink of South-East Asia where nationalism is stirring actively and events are moving rapidly, we can no longer approach our legislative enactments with indifference to their effect on world affairs generally. We must recognize that if we are to hold Australia and give this nation its rightful place in world affairs, we must accept our responsibilities and act accordingly. Honorable members on the Opposition side of the chamber have accepted generally the statement on foreign affairs that was made by the Prime Minister.

Mr Pearce:

– Generally !


– Some honorable members on the Opposition side do not like certain aspects of the Prime Minister’s statement, but the interjection by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Pearce) has reminded me of. the conscription campaigns that took place in Australia during World War I. I was living in a country district then and opponents of conscription included as many Liberals as supporters of the Labour party. The honorable member for Capricornia implied, in my opinion, that the supporters of the Government were united on foreign affairs policy and that honorable members on the Opposition side were disunited. I believe that if this matter were put to a test, Government supporters would be just as disunited as honorable members on the Opposition side are said to be. Probably lack of unity would be even more pronounced on the Government side. Honorable members who support the Government laugh at me, but I remind them of events that followed the outbreak of war in 1939. A Labour Government, under the leadership of Mr. John Curtin, decided that Australian forces would be sent to the places where they were most needed. The supporters of the Labour Government then were prepared to stand up to their responsibilities, and honorable members on the Opposition side now are equally prepared to do so.

I cannot foresee the outcome of the proposal for the establishment of a SouthEast Asian Treaty Organization that has been announced by the Prime Minister. In fact, I believe that the Prime Minister himself is unable to predict the outcome. Some Asian countries are not prepared to enter into a security agreement. Ceylon and India are standing aside. We, as individuals, have to make up our minds about it. Some people have said to me recently, in effect, “ Communism has come so far and it must come no further.

There should be a line where we mast tell the Communists to stop “. I told those people that if we took that stand and made such a declaration, it would be useless to look to anybody else to keep the Communists behind such a line. A3 individuals, they must be prepared to do their part to stop the Communists. Honorable members on this side of the House recognize their responsibilities, but there are difficulties. Only a few weeks ago fighting was proceeding in Indo-China. France was fighting there against a Communistdominated section of the people who originally claimed to be nationalists. The people of that country did not ask us to help them.. . Many of them were not enthusiastic about France’s aid. When our representatives meet in conference soon to discuss collective security -in South-East Asia, we shall have to decide whether we intend to tell countries that are faced by the threat of Communist domination that we shall enter their countries in their defence whether they like it or not. We must consider whether those countries will throw the onus upon us then of doing anything that is required. The arrangement that is to be made could involve Australia in serious problems. In making that statement, I am not withdrawing one word of my declaration that we must accept our responsibilities. But how do we propose to act? Our position is somewhat analogous to that of a man who is knocking his wife about. If a neighbour jumps over the fence to attack the husband, sometimes the wife will take her husband’s part. We must be careful that we do not follow a similar course in respect of defence and say. in effect, to countries in the East, “ You are having an argument with some people within your boundaries. We will wipe them out”. The probability is that if we did that, those very countries would turn upon us and say to us, “ This is not your business “. At the same time, however, our attitude to any aggressor must be, “ So far, but no further “.

The Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs have informed ug that under the truce the Communists will control the northern part of Viet Nam to the seventeenth parallel. But statements have already emanated from the

Chinese Communist leader that the gain that the Communists have made under the truce is only a sten. He implied that within a very brief period the Communists would control the whole of IndoChina. Indeed, the opinion is widely held in Australia that in view of the fact that the Communists have now gained control of northern Indo-China, they will in all probability gain control of the whole of Indo-China when the free elections to be held under the truce take place in 1956. In view of these possibilities one wonders where we come into the picture. I am not prepared to make any forecast, but our representatives at the forthcoming conference must have the wholehearted backing of all Australians in their determination to defend the democracy and freedom that we now enjoy in this country.

Various views have been put forward in the course of previous debates in this House about the best strategy that we can adopt in defending Australia. At which point, or in which area can we best defend this country ? We have heard about the Brisbane line. I mention that matter merely in order to emphasize the fact that if we do not do our part in defending this country we shall not have the choice of any line on which to base our defence. If, as many considered, the Brisbane line was too far south to enable us to hold this country, the question arises where the line should be. Should it be at Darwin, or at some spot beyond our shores in order to prevent any aggressor from landing on Australian soil? We must make up our minds about what we require to do in this respect. Prior to the outbreak of World War II., all of us thought that Australia could be adequately defended by the British navy, which was based on Singapore. At that time, Singapore was thought to be impregnable. But, to our sorrow, we can recall the sinking of British battleships in the area and the ultimate fall of Singapore to the Japanese. On that occasion, we knew the strength of the British navy, and we thought that we were safe. What is the position to-day? T agree with the view that has been expressed during this debate that we, ourselves, with our limited population, shall not be able to hold this country against an aggressor, but that we can, through alliances with our friends, gain sufficient strength to do so.

The centre of tension is moving nearer to Australia. Experience in recent times has emphasized the fact that battles are not decided between individual countries fighting single-handed. For instance, the South Koreans would not have held the territory which they still hold but for the assistance that was given to them by the United Nations. In addition, the United Nations could have decided that conflict entirely in favour of the South Koreans but for the fact that the North Koreans were assisted by the Russians and Chinese. We must face up to that aspect of modern warfare. Regardless of the determination of a people, like the South Koreans, to fight in defence of their cause, ultimately they must depend for success upon assistance in arms and men from other countries.

We in Australia cannot blink our eyes to the fact that our security rests to a great degree upon co-operation with the United States of America. We must work in with that country, but while we accept whatever assistance it can give to us we should, at the same time, insist upon our right to say what we think should he done. Australians are, naturally, a peace-loving people. We do not want to engage in warfare with its bloodshed and destruction of human life and property. However, we recognize that we must do our part to prevent such conflicts from occurring. In these circumstances we must determine the best way in which we can achieve that purpose. How best can we make other people understand that they cannot continue coming on? Some honorable members have suggested that the best course for us to follow is to provide adequate assistance in the form of foodstuffs and economic aid generally to Asian peoples who now stand under the threat of Communist domination. I personally contend that the economic standards of those peoples must be raised to such a degree that they will feel that they have something to fight for. I agree that we must do our best to raise the living conditions of hundreds of millions of Asian peoples who, at present, feel that they have nothing that is worth while fighting for. Those peoples adopt the attitude that, as their economic position could not be worse than it is at present, they are not interested in defending their country, but if other countries are prepared to help them they will let them do the job. We should give all the assistance that we can to Asian countries under the Colombo plan, including the provision of foodstuffs and economic aid generally, but, at the same time, we should say to them, “ If you, yourselves, are prepared to do your best to defend your country, we shall be prepared to form an alliance with you in order to help you to do so “.

It has been made clear during the course of this debate that honorable members generally agree with that view. We must say to the Asian peoples who look to us for aid, “ We are not prepared to send forces to your country merely to pull chestnuts out of the fire for you. But we are prepared to assist you to raise your economic standards and to help you to resist any aggression that may be directed against you, provided you co-operate with us for that purpose “. I am just as much conscious as is any other honorable member of the necessity for adequately defending this country. If we claim that Australia is the best country in the world and that our living conditions are as good, if not better, than those in any other country, we must make it clear to the rest of the world that we are prepared to do our part to defend this land, whether it be on a Sydney line, a Brisbane line, a Darwin line, or a Malayan line. We must be prepared to co-operate with friendly countries in order to protect not only our own, but also their interests.

Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for Defence Production · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · UAP; LP from 1944

– I listened with interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson). Indeed, having expressed agreement with the Government’s defence policy and having voted with members of the Government parties on an earlier occasion to-day, he practically came right over the fence on to this side of the House. I was very interested to hear what he had to say, particularly when, apparently, he spoke for the Opposition. It seems that numerous aspiring leaders on the Opposition side are taking unto themselves the responsibility of speaking, jointly and severally, for their colleagues. But this was the first occasion on which I have heard any honorable member opposite say that the Opposition accepted the Prime Minister’s statement. He did qualify that announcement a little bit by saying that there were some factors associated with the proposal that the Opposition was not too happy about, but he went on to applaud everything that the Government had done. I was very pleased with his speech, because the Prime Minister’s statement, in my opinion, is one of the most important papers ever to be placed before this Parliament. It must have brought a strong sense of responsibility, not only to honorable members on this side of the chamber, but also to the whole of the Australian people. It has brought home to the general public, in a way that nothing else could have done, the danger confronting Australia as a result of the cease-fire in Indo-China. We watched with growing apprehension the fall of free nations in Europe to Communist domination, and we have seen exactly the same pattern of infiltration followed in Korea and in Indo-China. At the same time, we have seen the counter measures that have been taken by the Western world in Nato to halt Russian encroachment into Europe, and, now, in this paper we see the outline of a similar organization, called Seato, which we hope and which we believe, will achieve in the Pacific region what Nato has achieved in Europe.

I have been most interested in the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement. The difference of opinion between honorable members opposite has been most marked. Indeed, there seems to be quite a conflict of opinion amongst even the hierarchy of the Opposition. For instance, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is also Deputy Leader of the Opposition, said -

We believe it is vital that France, Holland and Great Britain should lie included in the proposed South-East Asia Treaty Organization.

The honorable member accepts Seato as being essential and necessary. He has reservations about it, but he does accept it. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) also paid a tribute to the proposal. He said -

I welcome the proposal for the formation oi the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. It is a formula for defence, but we must face the fact that it can also be a formula for offence, otherwise it will be quite useless.

So far so good. Those two members of the Opposition executive are apparently in agreement up to that stage. But then, characteristically, we find the cleavage in the ranks of the Labour party which has existed in all external affairs matters. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr, Ward) is also a member of Labour’s hierarchy, and seems to wield great influence on the Opposition side of the chamber. Indeed, from time to time he seems to direct the affairs of the Opposition, and even to usurp the position of deputy leader to the great chagrin of the honorable member for Melbourne. In this debate, the honorable member for East Sydney said -

The thing that amazes me is that members nf the Government are so very silent on what is going to happen in our own co.untry

Then, with fine scorn, he added -

What does the South-East Asia Treaty Organization mean to Australia?

Mr Haylen:

– I rise to order. I do not wish to interrupt the important speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, but I should like to know whether he is in fact reading that speech. This matter was the subject of some discussion earlier to-day.


– I have noticed that, for a good part of the time, the VicePresident of the Executive Council has not had his glasses on.

Mr Haylen:

– But there are many unusual people who read better without glasses. They may have long vision and short sight or short vision and long sight. If there is a doctor in the House he may be able to explain this phenomenon in relation to the Vice-President of the Executive Council.


– The Minister may proceed.


– I have been reading extracts from the speeches of certain prominent members of the Opposition. I can understand the touchi ness of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) because I have been linking him with the honorable member for East Sydney, and, of course, rumour has it - and rumour is a lying jade at any time - that the very utterances by the honorable member for Parkes that I have quoted were the basis of the incident that occurred in the party room. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Keon) was next in the field, and here again I shall quote because obviously it would be beyond the capacity of human memory to encompass the wide variety of opinions that are expressed by honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Yarra said -

I think those who place much confidence in the South-East Asia Treaty Organization are simply deluding themselves.

There we see the sharp difference of opinion. Two high level members of the Opposition have accepted the Government’s proposal; another has accepted it, apparently at great personal risk; and a fourth has expressed a contrary view as he did on another occasion. But let me proceed. The honorable member for East .Sydney sought to make the point that the war in Indo-China was the result of a purely nationalist movement. He asked -

What right have we to intrude into the domestic affairs of any nation against the will of the majority of its people?

The honorable member for Parkes had something to say on that point, too. He again offended the honorable member for East Sydney and I was rather inclined to wonder how he had managed to get off so lightly. He said -

Where is Nationalist China to-day?

When the rise of nationalism is peddled as a reason why we should halt at this stage, I cannot follow that line of thinking.

I am sure that honorable members can readily understand the incident that occurred. They will understand too why the honorable member for Parkes rose a few minutes ago to object to my speech. I am trying to get inside the minds of honorable members opposite because it seems to me to be completely impossible for any one on this side of the House to understand their varying statements. I propose now to give some indication of the sinister influence that has thrown the Labour party into the political wilderness over the years in relation to external affairs. The honorable member for Yarra said in his opening remarks that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) should tell the House his policy. The honorable member las been long enough in this House to know that, before making a charge of that kind, implying as it does that the Minister has been withholding his policy, he should be sure that his own party is beyond criticism. I remind him that when the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) was Minister for External Affairs, there were occasions when he was away from Australia for months and mouths.

Mr Hulme:

– He is away now. .


– Exactly, but for a different reason. At the time to which I referred, when we on the Opposition side were eager to have some indication of the external affairs policy of the Labour Government, we found that the then Minister was the policy. He made it up from day to day. His Prime Minister and his colleagues were not aware of what he was committing this country to, and he caused them considerable concern.

Before I come to the most important part of my speech, I should like to put the record straight about some statements that have been made in this debate. For example, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) said of the Asian countries -

They have memories. They have very little for which to be thankful to the West in respect of happenings in the past.

Later, he said -

Give the native people their right to be human beings.

Those fine, round phrases rolled off his tongue. I wonder, when he was speaking, whether he remembered the Gamboa incident. I wonder whether he remembered the occasion when he tried to deport Mrs. O’Keefe, the wife of an Australian, and her eight children, because they were Indonesians. I wonder whether he remembered how he tried to deport Chinese married to Australian women, how he ordered the deportation of a Tongan woman married to an Australian, and how he tried to deport some Maoris. I wonder whether he remembered the action he took to prevent Australian girls from working for the Americans in Manila, Tokyo and Guam. Of course, the Asians have long memories, and they will never forget the honorable member for Melbourne.

Once again, I shall put the record straight regarding certain statements made by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) in this debate. He said -

I have heard honorable members misquote the late Mr. Curtin and say he had complimented the preceding Government upon the foundations it had laid for the building up of a great and effective defence structure in Australia.

He had to play a game of bluff because lie had to disillusion the enemy until such time as adequate preparations for the defence of Australia could be made.

What are the facts ? The Curtin Government took office on the 6th October, 1941. Speaking in the Sydney Town Hall six days later, Mr. Curtin said -

I have to pay tribute to the Government which preceded my own for the constructive work they have done in defence and the foundations they have laid.

A week later he said publicly -

The Navy was at its highest pitch of efficiency, as demonstrated by the notable exploits of its ships overseas. The Home Defence Army was well trained and its equipment had been greatly improved. The strength of the Air Force had been largely increased, both in respect of home defence squadrons and the training resources of the Empire Air Scheme. The equipment of the Air Force had also been much improved. Finally, munitions production and the development of production capacity over a wide range of classes, including aircraft, was growing weekly.

The former member for Melbourne Ports, Mr. Holloway, who was also a member of the Labour hierarchy, made the following statement on the 27th August, 1941, some weeks before the Curtin Labour Government took office -

I do not join with those who say that Australia has failed in its war effort. I know something of the organization of industry and when we compare what has been achieved with what we thought to tie possible, we realize that somewhat of a miracle has been wrought.

I quote those statements, lest failure to rebut the obviously incorrect remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney leads some people to accept them as the truth.

I pass from those matters to the most important part of my speech. I am concerned about the fact that the Labour party has been in the political wilderness in respect of external affairs for a number of years, and I have undertaken considerable research in an endeavour to ascertain the reason for it. I think that I oan at last put my finger on it. I remind honorable members of the old saying -

Oh that mine adversary had written a book.

I notice that a book has been written by a gentleman who was formerly the private secretary to the Leader of the Opposition when he was Minister for External Affairs. As a private secretary, this gentleman, perhaps, was not influential but he was appointed secretary of the Department of External Affairs in February, 1947, despite the fact that he had no experience as a diplomat. Such promotion for a private secretary was, to say the least, most spectacular. This man was young and ambitious. He was not content with the diplomatic life. While still permanent head of the Department of External Affairs, he contested the Labour party’s pre-selection ballot for the Australian Capital Territory seat in the House of Representatives. He was defeated in that ballot, hut he remained permanent head of the Department of External Affairs - a most extraordinary situation. Early in 1951, he was appointed High Commissioner to ‘Ceylon. A few months later, he left his post, returned to Australia, and contested the electorate of Lowe for the Labour party. Again, he was defeated. He stood as a candidate for pre-selection for Lowe and was endorsed by the Labour party on the 19th April, 1952. A month later, he emerged as a delegate for the “ Committee for Peace in the Pacific “, bound for Peking, and the New South Wales executive of the Labour party, a little pink about the ears, withdrew his endorsement. This gentleman, who has had such a marked and sinister influence upon the external affairs policy of the Labour party, is a certain Dr. Burton. He was the protege of the present Leader of the Opposition, who forced him rapidly up to the position of permanent head of the Department of External Affairs. He has now written a book entitled, The Alter native. I mention this with great respect to the honorable member for Melbourne, who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The author of the book does not mean that he is the alternative leader to Dr. Evatt.


– Order ! The VicePresident of the Executive Council must refer to honorable members by their constituencies, and not by their names.


– It may be as well if I read some extracts from Dr. Burton’s book, because I believe that they provide the clue to the reason why the Labour party has been driven into the political wilderness. It was the sinister influence that this man exerted over the foreign policy of this country when the present Leader of the Opposition was Minister for External Affairs that has so riven the Labour party, and it will not recover from the effects for many years. Dr. Burton has written, on page 101 -

Australia has blindly followed United States policies, and has made itself politically and economically a vassal State, trading a present protection for a future uncertainty.

The following passage appears on page 12:-

The fact must be faced that communism is securely established as an economic and political system, despite features which are repugnant to the West, because of its benefits, its achievements, its ability to withstand change, to respond to public opinion by compromising on matters of importance, and to make all feel that they take an active part in political anr! economic life.

Again, on page 38 -

There is no undertaking’ which the Communists can give, there is no basis for settlement which the United States is at present prepared to accept, because fundamentally it is not “ Communist aggression “ which being fought, it is progress.

The following passage appears on page 40:-

The Soman Catholic Church and many American financial interests have therefore joined together … to fight not merely communism but any change which would destroy their common interests.

Dr. Burton, who wrote those words, was promoted by the present Leader of the Opposition from the position of private secretary to that of permanent head of the Department of External Affairs. He had no experience in diplomacy, and hp was in charge of the department when the United States of America was so offended by the Labour party over Manus Island. This is the man who has exerted a sinister influence on the external affairs policy of the Labour party from the timo lie was appointed by the Leader of the Opposition to the position of permanent head of the Department of External Affairs.


-Order! The right honorable gentleman has exhausted his time.


.- For once, I listened with reasonable interest to the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison). I was impressed by his remarks about Dr. John Burton. In view of the attack made upon Dr. Burton by the right honorable gentleman, I am amazed that the Government, if it held that view of him some time ago, permitted Sir Percy Spender, when Minister for External Affairs, to appoint him as the Australian High Commissioner to Ceylon. If the statements made about Dr. Burton to-night by the Vice-President of the Executive Council were accepted then by all members of the Government, how can the Government justify its action in appointing him to such an important position? If the charges are true, the Government let Australia down by appointing him to that post. That appointment shows the Government’s lack of sincerity. It is a Government that prefers to smear people rather than to prove charges against them before the appropriate tribunals.

Three years ago, the Vice-President of the Executive Council prophesied that there would be a war within twelve months, the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) prophesied that there would be a war within three years, and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt), the Marco Polo of the Liberal party, prophesied that there would be war within a few years. All those prophesies have been proved to be false. The Government has based its policy on stirring up discontent in various places. On some occasions, it has seemed as if it does not want to maintain peace. The Labour party puts the interests of this country first. Let me compare our record with that of the Liberal party. In 1941, when Australia was threatened with invasion, a Government led by the present Prime Minister was forced to abdicate because it was adjudged by its own supporters to be incapable of administering the affairs of the nation properly. The then member for Henty and an independent member named Wilson voted that Government out of office so that John Curtin and other members of the Labour movement could take charge of our affairs in a great crisis. This Government has changed its defence policy almost every other day. It has spent millions of pounds of the taxpayers’ money on defence, but we have almost nothing to show for that expenditure. I have been told that an out-of-date Dakota comprises the whole of our air defences in the Northern Territory at present. The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has told the House about the Government’s neglect of our northern defences. Throughout Australia, there is a growing demand for a defence programme that will give us some protection in a crisis. How can the Government justify its defence policy when there is nothing to show in return for the huge sums that have been spent on defence during the last few years? Although the Liberal party is always talking about the possibility of war, when war comes it is incapable of administering the affairs of the country. A lot must be done before the Australian people can feel that they have adequate protection. I was intrigued with an answer given to a question asked recently by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryson) about defence expenditure. The honorable gentleman was told that a residence provided in Nauru for the naval officer-in-charge, north-east Australian area, had cost £13,380. Obviously it is a very good residence. The honorable member was told also that an officers’ mess building there had cost £15,400. Those are examples of the way in which the Government is. spending the taxpayers’ money. Never has a government spent more money on defence, and never has there been less to show for the expenditure.

The Labour movement puts Australia first. “We believe that the first responsibility of the Australian Government is to protect the nation. When we are considering military commitments either at home or abroad, we must take into consideration the man-power and materials that are available to us. We on this side of the House want to know the degree to which the Government has committed Australia to use its manpower, materials and other resources for military purposes at home and abroad, but it seems that the Government prefers to make announcements on that matter to people outside the Parliament rather than to the Parliament itself. As the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) has said, this debate is the first opportunity the Parliament has had for some years to discuss international affairs for more than a few hours. The reason is that the Government has no definite foreign policy and is afraid that the Parliament will demand an explanation of its actions.

When I hear honorable members opposite criticize us for our attitude to the United States of America, my mind goes back to the time when the late John Curtin appealed to the American people to assist Australia with man-power and materials. That assistance was given, and all Australians were truly grateful for it, but members of the present Government parties led a barrage of criticism against Mr. Curtin. They went almost to the extent of saying that he was disloyal to the British Empire. Now they have suggested that the Labour party is decrying the efforts of the United States of America. It is probable that, but for the fact that Labour took office in this Parliament in 1941, the United States of America would not have assisted us then. The Americans assisted us because they had confidence in the way in which Labour was leading the nation, and because they believed that Labour would use every endeavour to bring that great conflict to a successful conclusion for the Allies. I do not like to remind honorable members opposite of these matters, which they prefer to forget. They do not like to be reminded of their inglorious defence record. Nor do they like to be reminded that, although they struggled back to office with a small majority after the last general election, the people are beginning to realize that they are incompetent to administer, not only our external affairs, but also our internal affairs.

There is a great problem in Asia, where teeming millions of people want self-government. They are striving to achieve what we in this country have already achieved - a real democracy. As usual, the Communist party is trying to obtain control of those movements. It will jump on any band wagon. We know that some nationalist movements in Asia began with the best of motives but subsequently came under the control of the Communist party. We have much to be thankful for in Australia. Surely, therefore, we have a moral responsibility to help the peoples of Asia to achieve a standard of living as near to our own as possible, so that they may enjoy at least some of the fruits of their labours. The Government has acknowledged that responsibility by granting limited economic aid to Asian countries, but we must increase our efforts. Human justice demands that we shall do our best to foster the well-being of our Asian neighbours, many of whom would be grateful for even a few extra handfuls of rice a day with which to relieve their hunger. Our aim should be to establish throughout the world a standard of living equivalent to the standard that we ourselves enjoy.

West Australians in all walks of life are prospering to-day, and they have no desire to migrate to other countries. They will continue to be content to live in this country so long as their welfare is protected and they are assured of independence and economic security. I believe that the peoples of Asia, if provided with security and the material things that make life worth while, would be satisfied with life in their own countries and would cease to turn their eyes towards distant shores. I realize that the task of assuring independence and security to these peoples is a gigantic project and that it may take generations to accomplish, but we shall never achieve security for ourselves and fulfil our destinies as citizens of a true democracy unless we make a great and sustained effort, by peaceful methods, to win their f friendship and convert them to a proper appreciation of our way of life. The problems of international relationships are engaging the minds of great men throughout the world, but we cannot afford to leave the task of solving our problems to the few, and we must not neglect the opportunities that are available to us in this Parliament to make a practical contribution to the promotion of peace. The Government should explain its policy to us, because that policy is a matter of the utmost concern, not only to the Opposition, but also to the peoples of countries throughout the Pacific area. Our neighbours would understand it better if it were a practical and helpful policy.

Many varying points of view have been expressed in the course of this debate. It is advantageous to have a wide discussion of this sort on a subject which is possibly more important than any other that comes before the Parliament. Consideration of international problems offers scope for the expression of a broad point of view, and I was delighted to hear the remarks of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer), who made an enlightening contribution to the debate on the contentious issue of the status of red China. As the honorable member pointed out, there are more than 460,000.000 people in that country, and the problem of deciding its future position in world affairs cannot be ignored indefinitely. He added -

In the long run, we may have more to gain by reaching an accord with China, than by continually urging the re-armament and military resurrection of Japan. China may soon emerge as the dominant power of the Orient. It is just possible that it will prove more trustworthy than the arrogant, scheming and ambitious Japanese. In making these observations, T do not wish to be misunderstood.

I make no comment on the honorable member’s point of view, and I shall not at this stage state the attitude that I shall adopt on that difficult issue. However, it is refreshing to hear a supporter of the Government express an independent opinion on a vital aspect of international relationships. It is to his credit that he, like various members of the Opposition, has had the courage to express his opinions on a matter that i3 of vital concern to millions of people in this area of the world. I conclude by expressing the earnest hope that the Government will provide opportunities from time to time for honorable members to discuss such problems of international affairs and that, in the shaping of its future foreign policy, it will not fail to take into consideration the sincere views expressed by honorable members on this side of the House. Our common aim is to do the best that we can for Australia and for our neighbours in the Pacific.


.- The importance of international affairs has resulted in a great deal of discussion on this occasion, but most of the speeches have been made by honorable members on the Government side of the House. The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) has complained that honorable members are not given enough opportunities to discuss foreign affairs, but members of the Opposition have not been over-anxious to take part in this debate. Most of those who have spoken have indicated, in the main, that they are in agreement with the Government’s policy, but unfortunately one or two of them, including prominent members of their party, seized the opportunity to make attacks upon the Government. In the circumstances, it i3 proper to point out that this Government acknowledged the danger of the menace of communism as soon as it came into office. We realized that communism was not merely a political philosophy, as the leader of the former Labour Government asserted, and that it had to be fought. We also knew that it was essential for Australia to have powerful allies. It was not sufficient for us to be friendly with South American republics if we estranged Great Britain and the United States of America. Having that fact in mind, the Government was able to demonstrate to Great Britain and the United States of America, early in its history, that Australia would aline itself with their policies and would be able to pull its weight as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Furthermore, we realized that the only way to prevent war was to have a strong defence policy, and that the expenditure of a mere £44,000,000 a. year, which was the scale of the Chifley Government’s defence budget, was wholly inadequate.

Mr Pollard:

– That expenditure provided as much in those days as this Government’s expenditure of £200,000,000 a year provides now.


– It is of no use for the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) to attack the Government on the issue of defence, because we recall, the famous occasion when he said that he would not spend threepence on defence. The Government has expended approximately £200,000,000 a year on defence for the la3t three years, and, in present circumstances, that rate of expenditure is likely to be increased. Thus we can repel the attacks of the Labour party. The criticism uttered by its leaders arises from political enmity and is not founded upon the facts of our present situation. We have heard the complaint that there are not many soldiers marching at Darwin, and that very few aircraft are based there. Some people have a curious notion of modern defence. The idea of a few soldiers with rifles apparently appeals to some puerile minds as being essential to show that the country is being defended. The modern idea of a powerful air force, which can be moved quickly when and where necessary, does not seem to have entered the minds of some unfortunate members of the Opposition. But when one talks of the defence of a country, one must realize that that subject has to be considered broadly. One has to consider the industrial potential, questions of public morale, and other matters such as the food supply. In other words, the defence of a country is entirely conditioned and controlled by its capacity and resources. This must be kept in mind when we are debating what should be done in connexion with the defence of a country, if that defence is to be effective. I believe that the Government has done this.

I desire to refer now to the unfortunate policy which has been applied in connexion with the Suez Canal. I say “ unfortunate policy”, because no one would have believed a few years ago that we would see the day when the British would be evacuating the Suez Canal zone. The Prime Minister of Great Britain has stated that the decision to evacuate was made because the canal and the forces guarding it could not be defended under conditions of atomic warfare. It is tragic to realize that we have reached a stage in which, although atomic warfare is regarded as essential, we must evacuate what has been regarded as a life-line of communication of the greatest importance to this country. It shows the necessity for steps to be taken by the United Nations to get rid of the mistrust and misunderstanding that exist there, and to continue its efforts to introduce a system of international control of atomic weapons. The nations now realize that atomic warfare may soon materialize. Some people, unfortunately, hold the view that because atomic warfare would mean the destruction of civilization, culture, and living standards, we should not defend ourselves but be prepared to be walked over just for the sake of peace. That is not the opinion of the great majority of Australians, who would rather perish than lose Christianity and freedom.

I shall now refer to the problems of the countries of South and South-East Asia. We must give serious consideration to this matter, in view of the spirit that has arisen in them and the needs - particularly the medical needs - of those countries. Although I agree with the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon), that there are many aspects of the colonial policy of which one might well be proud, our opinion is not shared by the new nations of Asia. There has been a re-awakening of the ancient civilizations of Asia, and the upsurge of the new nations has been accompanied by a determination to obtain national freedom and economic security. They blame colonialism for the conditions that they have had to endure for- the last 200 years. They contend that merciless domination during that period has prevented them from developing, enjoying freedom, and being able to live under the same conditions of economic security as other nations. It is idle for us to say that they may be wrong, because they view colonialism with suspicion, bitterness and distrust. Therefore, it is essential in any steps that we take in relation to them to act in a way that will make it quite clear that our policy is not based on the old colonial traditions. The policy that has been adopted by Australia has not, in fact, been based on the old colonial policy. Wo have dealt with the nations of South and South-East Asia on the basis that they are free and independent, and equal to us. It was only on that basis that we could deal with them. Because they are disease-ridden, poor and suspicious of European nations, they became an easy prey to communism, which breeds very quickly on political hopes and economic despair. It is among the hopeless that wars are most easily fomented. Some people seem to think that the nations of Asia have been helped only by the Colombo plan. That is not so. They have also been helped by the United Nations and, in particular, by the United States of America. During the last three years about £500,000.000 has been expended by the various nations of the world for the benefit of the countries of South and South-East Asia. This indicates that there has been a general desire by other nations to assist those countries to overcome their difficulties. That money was expended on such worthwhile purposes as water conservation and irrigation, the construction of roads and railways, and the provision of food and educational facilities. It is only by supplying to the Asian nations food, clothing, medicine and medical knowledge to enable them to develop their countries that they will realize that they will get more by co-operating with Australia and other nations than by embracing communism.

It has been stated by some honorable members opposite that the Government has not revealed its policy on international affairs. As I understand the position, we areprepared to honour our obligations under the Charterof the United Nations, and to meet our commitments both as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and as a signatory to the Anzus pact. Moreover, Australia will be prepared to meet any commitments that we enter into at the forthcoming Seato conference. In addition, Australia will participate in talks in the United Nations to try to bring about a common understanding between the nations for the international control of atomic weapons. We will continue to help the nations of South and South-East Asia, by providing resources to enable them to overcome their poverty and relieve oppression. But when one has said all that there is also this to be said: That Australia will adhere to the policy of collective security, and that not only in its own interest, but also in the general interest, it should give, in close concert with its allies, the maximum cooperation in maintaining the peace of the world.


.- The remarks of various honorable members during this debate on international affairs lead me to the conclusion that it is a case of “ Your guess is as good as mine “. I suggest that the best policy for this country is “ Trust in the Lord and keep your powder dry, strengthen your own defences, and be self-reliant “. We should stand on our own feet instead of relying on another country to come to our rescue, which seems to he the approach of honorable members opposite to this matter. I agree with the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) that a policy of rushing into all sorts of foreign entanglements may rebound on us unfavorably, particularly in view of the fact that the United Nations is hamstrung by the veto. It is even being hamstrung by the regional arrangements into which nations are now entering. Mr. Hammarskjoeld, the secretary-general of the United Nations, said only a few days ago that the growing tendency of nations to by-pass the United Nations might weaken it. He made that comment in the annual report which he has prepared for next month’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Among other things he said -

The importance of regional arrangements in the maintenance of peace is fully recognized in the United Nations Charter.

But where resort to such arrangements is chosen that choice should not be permitted to cast any doubt on the ultimate responsibility of the United Nations.

The Government’s attitude seems to be summed up by remarks attributed to the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Bland), which appeared in a northern newspaper recently while the honorable member was on a visit to north Queensland! They were reported in the Cairns Post, of the 16th July, as f ollows : -

The Menzies Government was well aware of Australia’s defence needs and could be relied upon to take all sensible precautions, Professor F. A. Bland, M.P., said in Cairns yesterday.

Professor Bland said the public could be assured that the Government was closely watching current events in the countries to her near north and was awake to all the implications contained therein, so far as this country was concerned.

It was silly . . . for any one to claim that the Government was neglecting the country’s defences, Professor Bland said.

I, and I think most honorable members, would like to know what the Government is doing about the defence of this country. It seems to me that it has adopted the same attitude as prevailed in Australia prior to the outbreak of the last war, when we were told, “ Leave it to Britain. Singapore is an impregnable fortress “. Yet within a few weeks after Japan struck in the Pacific, Singapore collapsed and we had to fall back on the Brisbane line. Had it not been for the attitude of the United States of America, and the arrival in Australia of General MacArthur to command the allied forces in the Pacific, Australia would have been in a sorry state. It seems that now the Brisbane line has been shifted a little further north to the region of Townsville. We are told now that the line will run from Garbutt air-field across to Western Australia, which will leave an area of northern Australia 800 miles deep, north of Townsville, undefended. It will certainly be left so if this Government happens to be in power when the next world war breaks out. To my mind the hest foreign policy for Australia is, first, for Australia to mind its own business; and, secondly, for Australia to strengthen its defences and provide economic security for its own people. After all, Russia, at the time of the Grand Alliance in World War I., collapsed because of poverty and insecurity inside its own borders. The Maginot Line did not save France. Because of the internal insecurity, disunity and corruption that prevailed within its own borders, France fell soon after the outbreak of World War II. - While we have insecurity, poverty and, particularly, injustice within our own borders, our relying on the rest of the world, as the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) indicated we intended to do, is of little use. I suggest that we might set a good example to other nations by providing security for our own people. We might also set a good example to the rest of the world by attempting to practise in our own Christian democracy some of the things that we preach to other nations.

Reports of the United Nations indicate that two-thirds of the people of the world to-day are in a state of malnutrition or near-starvation. Surely that fact should make us realize the real nature of the world struggle. It is nothing more nor less than u battle for the minds and hearts of those starving and undernourished people. Without doubt the Communists realize that fact. They are appealing to all the material urges and needs of those unfortunate millions of people. It is, therefore, of no use for us to preach to those unhappy people philosophy and the high tenets of the various religious faiths, unless we also put into practice the faith that we preach, including extension of charity to people who need it. What those people need is food. Philosophy fills no stomachs. The United States of America realizes that fact, as it has shown. Immediately after the French collapse in Indo-China recently, the United States of America, to its great credit, began rushing shiploads of foodstuffs and other necessities to the stricken refugees pouring down from northern Viet Nam. We might well emulate that worthy example. The United States of America wasted no time in rushing that aid to Indo-China, but this Government is dithering, as it always does. The matter has been presented to the Prime Minister in all its urgency, but he gives no answer except to say that it. will be considered by the Government. I suppose that, by and by, some little thing will be done, too late, in that regard. The Government’s attitude to the problem was clearly illustrated by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) in answer to a question asked by the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) last week about whether something could be done concerning the disposal of our surplus foodstuffs. The Minister said it had been suggested that our surplus wheat and other commodities could be given to needy nations overseas in order to help the primary industries of Australia, which are in a deplorable state as a result of surplus production. He added -

I issue a word of warning to those who think that a simple solution of this problem is for the Government to buy surpluses and give them away to what are called the food hungry sections of the world’s population.

The honorable member for Melbourne then interjected -

That is a simple solution.

The Minister replied that he could see nothing but chaos if such a thing was done. The Minister’s attitude shows how much true Christianity, real democracy, understanding and care for people in other parts of the world the Government has. After all, what are we going to do with our surplus food products ? Shall we adopt the same attitude as was adopted in the last depression, and destroy the surpluses, or let them rot, because we cannot get the price we want for them? Are we going to dump them into the sea as was done then? That policy, which was followed by other producing countries of the world as well as Australia during the depression, was one of the contributory factors to the rise of Hitlerism. and totalitarianism. That is why there is such fear, suspicion and distrust throughout the world to-day. Surely it is time that we showed some understanding of, and tolerance towards, the attitude of people in other parts of the world who are less fortunate than are Australians. A warning in that connexion was given recently by the British Prime Minister, Sir “Winston Churchill, when he sent a message to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Stockholm. It was reported as follows : -

Sir Winston Churchill said in a message to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm . . that humanity’s problems might now bc beyond control.

He appealed for “ tolerance, variety and calm in confronting the clatter and rigidity we see around us “. “ Since Alfred Nobel died in 1898, we have entered an age of storm and tragedy.

Ifr. Morgan. “ Never in the field of action have events seemed so harshly to dwarf personalities. Barely in history have brutal facts so dominated thought, or has such widespread individual virtue found so dim a collective focus. “The fearful question confronts us: Have our problems got beyond our control? Undoubtedly, we are passing through a phase where this may be so. “ Well may we humble ourselves and seek for guidance and mercy.” “We should not only seek knowledge and understanding of the problems of people in other parts of the world but also, in view of what has happened in the last week or so, of the problems of people within our own borders. Democracy is like charity. It should begin at home. Let us tackle some of the problems that foster communism. The other day, I read an interstate news item concerning some research that had been made in connexion with a number of American war prisoners who had been left in Korea. Apparently they had been “brainwashed “ by the Communists. Some American newsmen decided to interview a number of them who had refused repatriation in order to find out whether their home background had made them discontented with life in the United States of America. In regard to one soldier the newsman’s findings were as follows : -

The soldier had been raised in a city slum. His father never worked steadily. His mother was a hard drinker and openly went about with other mcn. Their son once missed school for 21 days because he had no shoes to wear. The soldier’s younger brother has served reformatory sentences and is now in jail facing trial for armed robbery. His sister, 1.0, an inmate of an institution for homeless girls, is going blind from syphilis. His father died of cancer several years ago. His mother disappeared somewhere in the rabbit warren of flophouses in their city’s Skid Row. When he lived at home the soldier tried hard but vainly to hold his family together. Later, serving with the Army in Japan, he attempted to make a new life of his own, married a Japanese girl. Their baby died of polio before she was a year old, and shortly afterwards he and his wife separated.

It is little wonder that that soldier was not eager to go home. The Communists are like the white ants that get into floor boards and serve some purpose by showing up the weak spots. Instead of being content to exterminate them, we should endeavour to see where our foundations need strengthening. “We should try to achieve unity among ourselves and to overcome differences in relation to race, colour and class which keep us disunited. We should try to keep harmony in our own ranks otherwise we shall- veer to the right as we nearly did in the days of Hitler and Mussolini. Attention has been drawn to the real danger that exists in our own midst by a leading American Catholic, Bishop Sheil, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, who has taken up the challenge of McCarthyism. A news item concerning Bishop Sheil reads as follows : -

In a speech to the United Automobile Workers’ Union, a vigorous anti-Communist organization, hu defined both the legal and moral code, and the threat to organized society represented in the witch-hunting and hysteria of the Junior Senator for Wisconsin, Senator Joe McCarthy. Bishop Sheil said: . . The problem is no longer one of alerting people to the danger of Communism. We are all aware of that danger. Tha problem we are facing is what do we do about it. The unsolved problem, in other words, is what constitutes effective anti-Communism. More than that, what kind of anti-Communism is moral? What kind of anti-Communism is proper in a freedom-loving country like ours? The three go together, in my mind. If antiCommunism is immoral, it is not effective. Sou cannot effectively fight immorality with more immorality. If anti-Communism flouts the principles of democracy and freedom, it is not in the long run effective. You cannot fight tyranny with tyranny. And if antiCommunism is not effective, it is so much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

It is not enough to say that someone is anti-Communist to win my support. It has been said that patriotism is the scoundrel’s last refuge. In this day and age antiCommunism is sometimes the scoundrel’s first defence. As I remember, one of the noisiest anti-Communists of recent history was a mau named Adolf Hitler. He was not wrong because he was anti-Communist. He was wrong because he was immorally anti-Communist: he countered Communist tyranny with a tyranny of his own.

We are still free, and we will remain free - let’s have no doubts about that. But, it seems to me that now, while we are free, is the time to cry out against the phony anti-communism that mocks our way of life, flouts our traditions and democratic procedures and our sense of fair play, feeds on the meat of suspicion and grows great on the dissension among Americans which it cynically creates and keeps alive by a mad pursuit of headlines.

In my book if a man is truly antiCommunist, he is concerned with meeting the challenge of communism on every level. He is interested first of all in seeing to it that conditions here and abroad are such that they don’t provide a fertile breeding ground for communism. He is interested in such matters as seeing to it that people get enough to eat, have decent homes, are able to raise their children in dignity. His scope is broad. He is interested in measures to share the wealth of “ have “ nations with thu “ have-nots “. He is interested in breaking down the barriers that separate people - national barriers, religious barriers, class barriers. He is interested in making a better place of his own little comer of the world and in doing all he can to see that others are not in want. I judge an anti-Communist - the real thing, not the cops-and-robbers version - by how well he does these things. If he happens to be a legislator, I look at his record. I see how he voted on measures to make freedom a reality and not merely an aspiration in the lives of his own fellow citizens and of the poor of the world. By this standard, a number of famous anti-Communists, I’m sorry to say, simply don’t measure up.

That puts the situation in a nutshell. The real danger in our midst is, not merely the menace of communism, but the way in which the threat of communism is being exploited by certain people as it was exploited by Hitler. This tendency is again apparent, not only in exenemy nations such as Germany and Japan, but within the United States of America and Australia. Again we hear people expressing sympathy with the philosophy of the right. We must not allow this tendency to develop as it did prior to World War II. We must face the menace of international communism, but we must also face the poverty and insecurity that exists in our own ranks. These problems require to be dealt with as much as any enemy outside.


.- This debate has set a higher standard than almost any other debate that I have heard in the short time that I have been in this House. I think that this is chiefly due to the fact that, every member of the Parliament has been impressed with the imminence of the danger to this country which was made so significant by the situation which developed recently in Indo-China. This was brought clearly to our notice in the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the statement of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey). The serious and honest approach of honorable members to the problem is an indirect but definite compliment to the leaders of the Government for the policy that they have applied on behalf of the Australian nation. An analysis of the present situation clearly indicates that those nations which have been governed democratically have developed more rapidly and now enjoy a higher standard of living, than those nations which have had other forms of government. It is also a very salient fact that it is in those nations that have not enjoyed those privileges that Russia has been able to make the greatest progress by its use of communism as a weapon of aggression in what has been described as a cold war. We now recognize that communism is right on our threshold. Six years ago, when we looked from Australia to the north, we could see millions of people and vast tracts of country between us and the great danger of communism. To our north there were nations which, even though they did not enjoy complete freedom, were not imminently threatened with destruction by this dangerous and wicked conspiracy. But within that short time of six years we have seen those peoples, million by million, and that territory, country by country, slowly enveloped by the greatest evil that the world has ever known. To-day there are no longer millions of people and vast tracts of land between us and the danger. The Communist menace is indeed at our very threshold. Now, any suggestion that our defence system should pivot on a series of bases on the northern coast of Australia is positively ridiculous. In World War II. the Suez Canal was defended in the Libyan desert; and if a third world war should occur, the only place in which Australia can be defended is South-East Asia. To wait until an enemy i3 actually on our mainland would be suicide. Therefore, when the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) suggested that Australia would participate as a full member of a South-East Asia treaty organization, and would fulfil all the commitments thus incurred to the limit of our resources, the heart of every Australian swelled with pride to know that Australia was fulfilling its obligations to the world. The people of the United Kingdom, particularly, must have welcomed that statement, because it has been apparent to those who have taken an interest in international affairs that the United Kingdom has made commitments far beyond the normal limit of its resources, not only on the continent of Europe but also in South-East Asia and other far-flung parts of the world.

As an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, or, as I prefer to call it, the British Empire, it behoves Australia to measure up to its responsibilities and to try to relieve the Mother Country of the commitments that it has accepted in South-East Asia and the South- West Pacific area. I believe that if Australia could increase, and continue to increase, its contribution in the South-West Pacific area, we should he able to relieve much of the pressure on the United Kingdom economy, so that the United Kingdom would be able to make even greater commitments on the mainland of Europe where the unification of Germany should be receiving most urgent attention. The greater the effort that our Mother Country can make in Europe, the greater will be our chance of preventing further Communist aggression there.

We must recognize that the situation in Europe cannot be separated from the situation in South-East Asia. Australia is on the western side of the Pacific Ocean. Let us examine the countries on the western shores of that ocean. Starting in the north, we find Siberia, which is dominated by the Communists. Sakhalin Island overhangs .Hokkaido, which is the northernmost island of Japan, and Sakhalin is held by the Russians. We have been led to believe that on that island Russia has developed advance bases which could he used at a propitious time in an attempt to destroy Japan, and for attacks on Canada and the United States of America. Further south lies Manchuria, which was once developed and exploited by Japan as ft great industrial area. That country, which is dominated by Russia, has the greatest secondary development and the greatest war potential of any satellite ‘behind the iron curtain. Further south, the millions of people in China have also come under Communist domination. Southward again, Indo-China has collapsed through Communist aggression, and we have no doubt that the

Communist forces will organize the forthcoming elections in Laos and Cambodia in order to ensure that the iron curtain shall be extended to enclose those countries also.

Therefore, on the western side of the Pacific Ocean there are only three countries that are now not dominated by the Communists. They are Japan, Formosa and Australia. Japan is most strategically placed to-day, but is suffering a serious economic crisis. Japan’s economy has reached a critical stage, and Australians must recognize that the policy of winning friends in Asia, as advocated by members of both the Opposition and Government parties, should be extended to cover Japan. Japan is an Asian nation, and much as we remember with hatred what occurred in World War II. and the fiendish attitude of the Japanese in that war; and however much in the past we hated and despised them as a race, we must now recognize that it will be the attitude adopted by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia and the other Western democracies which will influence Japan when deciding upon which side it will be in the event of a third world war. I for one would prefer that Japan should unleash its fiends of hell on the Communist nations rather than on us.

Japan is a great industrial power. It has been deprived of its traditional markets in China, and it has been deprived of its population outlet in Manchuria. It must find alternative markets somewhere. If the Western democracies are not prepared to provide those markets, as sure as there is a God in Heaven, Russia and red China will do so. Once Japan re-establishes trade relations with red China, such as those which existed in the old days, we can hold ourselves responsible for having driven Japan into the arms of Russia. There are only two alternatives. Japan will go one way or the other, and the direction in which it goes will depend on the side which is prepared to accept trade with Japan. Without trade, the Japanese people will starve. I therefore suggest to the Government that a much more serious approach should be made to the question of trade with Japan. The Australian people must appreciate that the future of this nation is largely wrapped up with the political future of Japan. If Japan becomes a Communist country, the Pacific Ocean will become a Communist lake. All the forces which could be mustered in the Pacific area, with the exception of those of Australia and New Zealand, would be Communist.

If we were to accept the advice of some honorable members opposite, and recognize red China, I should have some doubt concerning the position of Formosa. In a document written recently by a learned professor on international law, it was suggested that our recognition of red China would involve us in legally recognizing the claims of red China to territory which, traditionally, had belonged to China. I do not know whether a limited form of recognition could be arranged so that the independence of Formosa would be preserved. If it is true that a de jure recognition of red China would mean, automatically, that Australia could not oppose a claim by Chou-En-Lai to Formosa, then in no circumstances should Australia recognize red China. If Formosa went, the only barrier against the advancement of communism in the western Pacific would also go. It is possible, as recent reports have indicated, that the Chinese, under the leadership of Chou-En-Lai, will make a desperate attempt to dispossess Chiang-Kai-shek. The Western democracies must ensure that, if such an attempt is made, it will have no success.

I suggest that the international situation has become so critical that the members of this Parliament should stop attempting to make political capital of the hell which was unleashed by the Japanese people during World War II. When I say that, I speak as a returned soldier. It is time that we thought more about the Australians of the next generation. Whatever the personal opinions of the members of this Parliament regarding the Japanese people, and regardless of the political capital they might be tempted to make from my advocacy of re-establishment of trade with Japan, they should not forget that the future of Australia must be placed above party political considerations. In my opinion, the future of this country is irrevocably tied up with the attitude that the Western democracies adopt towards Japan. If Japan, which is a country of industrious people who are developing their industries and, at the same time, striving to become democratic, is forced by the policies of the Western countries to seek trade with red China and Russia, it is obvious that the war potential of the Japanese nation must be at the disposal of the Communists. To those who seek to contain Japan and prevent it from trading I say, “To do so would be to make the greatest single contribution to the destruction of Australia and the neutralizing of our influence in the Pacific Ocean “.

When the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) intimated to this Parliament that Australia would meet with all its resources, its commitments under the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, he was applauded. The limits of our defence effort necessarily are regulated by the limits of our production. If, last year, we were unable to expend all the. money that was appropriated for defence purposes, it was simply because the materials which were sought were not available. The only way in which they can become available is by increasing the production of essential commodities. Since the members of the Australian Labour party have stated in this House that they approve of such a policy, I suggest that they should not be heard to complain if the tax concessions to be made known when the budget is introduced shortly are not as great as they might have been otherwise. For my part, if taxes were to be increased in the interests of defence, I should support the move wholeheartedly. The most important matter with which this Government is concerned is the need to make available more materials for our defence effort. What is more, I believe that most members of the community appreciate that fact. The wharf labourers who go on strike must be made to recognize that each time they strike they hold up and prejudice our defence effort. Every coalminer, every man engaged in industry, and every employer is required to give of his best to-day. Only recently, certain shipowners admitted that frequently they were to blame for industrial hold-ups. I say that the Australian people, what- ever their politics or their place in industry, should recognize that these are critical times and that the success of our security measures depends on their efforts.


-Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.


– Opinions which have been expressed by honorable members opposite during the course of this debate seem to indicate that the problems of millions of Asians can be solved by the expenditure of millions of pounds by the Western powers, and that most of that expenditure should be incurred on what has been called “ defence “. I suggest that, in those circumstances, it is worthwhile to look at the record of this Government so far as defence expenditure is concerned. The belligerent policies which have been espoused by some honorable gentlemen opposite could only be carried into effect if there were adequate defence measures in Australia. This Government has been in office for nearly four years. Recently the National Security Resources Board published, for the information of the House, a document entitled Defence and Development 1950-53. One section of that report shows in considerable detail Australia’s defence expenditure for the financial years 1950-51, 1951-52 and 1952-53. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske) chided a member of the Opposition for what he said seemed to be the short-sighted view that defence was still measured largely in terms of man-power. Apparently that view is still accepted by the Government. In the years to which I referred, the colossal sum of £465,800,000 was expended by the Government on what is vaguely called defence. The sum of £246,500,000 was expended for pay, rations and general maintenance. In other words, 52.9 per cent, of the total expenditure was provided for man-power requirements alone. I suggest that that gives the lie to the statement of the honorable member for Balaclava that man-power is not the most important aspect of defence. If it is not the most important aspect, I suggest that the policy of the Government is indictable, because more than one-half of the total expenditure was wages and rations for members of the defence services.

A further £56,100,000, or 12 per cent, of the total sum, was expended on the material requirements of members of the services. Of the total sum of £465,800,000, £302,600,000 was expended purely on maintenance. Every time the Government introduces a budget, it includes a neat round figure of £200,000,000 for defence and says “ Look what we are doing for the defence of this country “. It is only right that honorable members should ask where the money goes. The expenditure on material requirements for the services such as the procurement of ships, aircraft, arms and equipment for the three years was £96,700,000. I suggest that honorable members are entitled to be critical of the value that lias been received for the expenditure on defence. A further sum of £46,800,000, or 10.1 per cent, of the total expenditure, was expended on items that are vaguely called buildings, works and acquisitions. I assume that that money was utilized for the erection of barracks and similar buildings throughout Australia. Of the total expenditure, less than £100,000,000 was expended on real defence potential, such as aircraft and battleships.

This is a debate on foreign affairs, but certain Government supporters have suggested that foreign policy cannot be considered apart from defence expenditure. I suggest that those honorable members might well have been more critical of the manner in which the Government spent these large sums of money that it took upon itself to spend. Doubtless to-morrow night it will allocate another £200,000,000 for this purpose, and during this financial year it will expend also the sum of £12,000,000 that was not expended during the year 1953-54. The people of Australia, and in particular the Australian Labour party, desire to see the money that is allocated for defence utilized to better effect during the current financial year. In the past there has been a far too narrow conception of defence and defence potential. It has been the traditional attitude of the Australian Labour party, an attitude with which I cannot say that I disagree, that Australia’s main concern should be the protection of Australia. It is true, per- haps, that in this age of atom bombs and jet aircraft we cannot afford to adopt the narrow point of view that we adopted in the past, but geographical realities are as important in Australia as they are in Asia and in other parts of the world. Australia is a country of approximately 9,000,000 people. India, a country of approximately 400,000,000 people, has a natural increase each year of 5,000,000 people, which is equal’ to half the total population of Australia. The problem with which the Asian countries are confronted is not primarily a military one, but one which has been caused by the impact of the West upon the East. That impact has been a technological impact; whether it can be regarded as a civilizing impact is open to doubt. It has caused some of the educated sections of the Asian countries, although they form only a small part of the whole population, to yearn for some of the things that they have seen in Western countries when they have been in those countries to receive their education.

It seems, broadly speaking, that the most realistic approach that the Government has made to the question of defence has been its support of the Colombo plan. But only a very small part of the assistance that was needed has been provided. We cannot overlook, the difficulty that is associated with the giving of technical and economic aid to Asian countries. It is all very well to say that tractors and modern equipment from America or Australia can be transplanted into the Indian or Indonesian or Malayan economies, but painful experience has shown that it is not quite as simple as that. Those countries have vast populations and, in many ways, their real problem is one of concealed unemployment. The principal industry is agriculture, which is conducted by very primitive methods. As soon as improved methods of farming are introduced, a certain part of the farming population is displaced and they cannot find employment. At the same time, those types of small industries that form the usual pattern of industrial development in most countries must be established.

As I have said, the Colombo plan is a daring conception, but it is yet only in its early stages of fulfilment. It was my great pleasure last evening in Melbourne to listen to a splendid address delivered by an important American, Mr. Justice William O. Douglas, of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. I was interested to learn from his remarks that views different from those that the Australian press attributes to Americans apparently are held widely in the United States of America. Any honorable member on this side of the House who described the activities of the French in Indo-China in the words of Mr. Justice Douglas would probably be labelled as a Communist. Mr. Justice Douglas at least knew what he was talking about. His most important point was that, by and large, Asians must solve their own internal problems by themselves. It is true that they may obtain aid from other parts of the world, but if we concede that aid, as we generally have done, in the form of military entanglements, the situation ultimately will become far worse than it was at the beginning. Mr. Justice Douglas cited with approval the example of the British Government in daringly offering to Burma and India, which were mentioned the other night by the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), the prospect of selfgovernment. We, who have had experience of self-government, and who are familiar with the history of its development in the Western countries, know that many difficult problems have been overcome in the evolution of the so-called advanced communities. We are probably expecting too much if we expect the Asian countries overnight to accept the alternative of democracy. Whatever might he said, most of the experience of those countries has been of Western capitalism, not as an aid to the development of their economies, but rather as an exploiting agent. There seems to be at least a sort of deathbed repentance on the part of Western countries, but we cannot be surprised if at least some of the Asian people whose cooperation we seek are somewhat suspicious of the bona fides of those who originally invaded their countries waving flags and exploding bombs, and who now offer them technical assistance, though only on a limited scale. Most of the Asian people want to live at peace with their Japanese, Chinese, or Indonesian neighbours.

My colleague the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) said this afternoon that it is all very well for the Australian Government to hold out the prospect of what it chooses to call a SouthEast Asia treaty, and pointed out that we are entitled to ask what this treaty involves. It seems virtually to leave the most important South-East Asian countries out of participation. As important South-East Asian countries such as India and Burma are at least doubtful about the wisdom of becoming signatories of the. treaty, we are entitled to be suspicious of its bona fides.

Mr Gullett:

– What rot!


– It is true that the Philippines, which are not of importance in the scheme of world affairs, are interested in the proposed treaty and that America is using its power in an effort to induce other nations to participate. But it is true to say that the most important of the South-East Asian countries, are not enthusiastic about what the Government chooses to call the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization. It is all very well for the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett) to cry “What rot”. Honorable members opposite should make a more objective approach to the proposal than is evidenced by that interjection. Honorable members on this side of the House can judge the situation only by what they hear and read, and it is apparent, at least, that what are known vaguely as the Colombo powers are not nibbling enthusiastically at the bait of a SouthEast Asia treaty. We on this side of the chamber have the suspicion that what is being called a South-East Asia treaty is only a Western pact and may be a complete failure. We appreciate the opportunity that has been afforded by this debate for honorable members to discuss these important problems. That wide differences of opinion exists among honorable members on this side of the House and among supporters of the Government is not an unhealthy sign in view of the important issues that face us. But we should be foolish to imagine that ready-cut solutions to the great problems that face us to-day are available, especially merely in terms of defence expenditure amounting to £200,000,000 annually. In our approach to these problems we need a proper concept of the situation, especially as it concerns Australia’s relationship with the rest of the world.


– The South-East Asian countries, if they are lacking in enthusiasm, will not be stimulated to any high pitch of enthusiasm by the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean). I do not think that the honorable member’s observations were made with any evil intent, but the sort of approach to the present situation of which they are indicative does ill service to Australia’s national interests and to the safety and well-being of its citizens. Let me, as this debate draws to a close, remind the House of the speech of the Prime Minister, which initiated the discussion. Two main threads were discernible in that speech - first, the admission that the Indo-China settlement represented a defeat for the democratic cause; and, secondly, that the determination to establish an organization would prevent a repetition of such a defeat. There are some who say, “Let us not mention our defeats lest we become discouraged “. There is a great deal to be said in favour of that philosophy, but we must realize out present position before it is too late. We may perhaps risk the temporary dampening effect of a little discouragement in order to engender a little realism in our consideration of Australia’s desperate situation. Any Australian who looks at the facts soberly must acknowledge that Australia is in greater and more mortal danger to-day than in 1942, during the worst phase of World War II.

Some people liken the settlement that has just been made in Indo-China to that achieved at Munich. So it is, because a nation has been consigned to totalitarianism. But it is not a strong enough condemnation to’ describe the agreement in Indo-China as a Munich statement. It might be described also as a Vichy settlement - the sort of settlement that was made between Prance and Germany after the capitulation of Prance in World War II. - because it is an acknowledgment of total defeat. The Indo-China agreement might be described also as a Yalta settlement. As Yalta paved the way for the partition and de struction of Poland, so does the Indo-China settlement pave the way for the partition and, I fear, the- eventual destruction of Viet Nam,, unless we are strong. Let us realize the magnitude of the French defeat in Indo-China, which was a defeat of the entire free world, and combined the worst features of the agreements reached at Munich and Yalta and between the Vichy French Government and Germany. It is not the end. Even at this moment the Communist leaders of China are offering threats against the integrity of Thailand. Whether the move comes from that direction or through an inside job in Indonesia, we may be certain that this is not the end of the Communist threats.

We cannot expect to pass over this matter as something that can be solved in the long term if only we have patience and can show the people a better way of life. That is good but it is not enough in itself, because we are confronted with something which could, in the short term, wholly obliterate and destroy us if we are not careful. We are members of the free world and we must sink or swim with the other free nations. We cannot live in isolation, nor can we survive if the whole of the remainder of the free world is enslaved. This is a direct danger to Australia because if the Russian plan is to go forward with a series of acquisitions in Indo-China, Malaya, or wherever it may be, Australia lies not far from the path of such an advance. Let us remember that those who betray their allies or refuse to stand by them may themselves be found to be in danger if the attack should go against them and they need friends. When the situation is studied soberly and factually, it is obvious that the danger to the Australian people to-day is more imminent and dreadful than it was in the worst , days of 1942.

How have these things come about? We have allowed the Communists to exploit nationalism and have done so in a particularly clumsy way. We have allowed them to sell the proposition that their side is the nationalist side. By confusion of thought that has been originated by a series, of Communist traitors inside our own ranks, we have allowed the Communist side to be spoken of as being, and to obtain credit for being the nationalist side. All the time, of course, ours is really the nationalist side. There is no slavery so irrevocable or complete as Communist slavery and no imperalism as savage as Communist imperialism. Theirs are the whips and the scorpions. There can be no doubt in the minds of any reasonable men that the order that is being imposed from without upon the Asian nations by communism is a far more ruthless and rigid order than any that has been conceived by any other nation. In any talk of helping nations to nationhood, the virtue lies with us.

Why have we not been more vigilant in pointing this out, and following what we have said to its conclusion? The reason lies largely in the doubts and vacillations that were instilled among us by Communist agents who have tried always to put the other side. They have suggested that their side is a little in the right. They have described the Chinese Communists as “ harmless agrarians “. All the propositions that have destroyed the freedom of Asia have also destroyed the possibility of creating independent Asian nations in those areas that are now dominated by the Communists. We have perhaps made the mistake of trying to go too fast in certain directions. We have demanded not only that nations should be independent, but also that their own customs and ways of life should be broken down. We have insisted that those things should be cast aside, but they were not ready for the more advanced forms of government that we enjoy. We sought a house swept and garnished, and the policy we adopted has reached its logical conclusion. If we demand that nations should not only be independent but that at the same time their whole social structure should be broken down, inevitably we demand something that gives to the Communists the opportunities they want. In the past they have seized them. Most of all there is the weakness and the doubt that we have expressed which becomes cumulative. If the people of Asia find that they cannot depend upon the West for protection, is it not natural that they should lean towards the Communist cause? They may not support it except in fear, but support it they do.

I believe that we are too prone to minimize the resistance to communism that still exists in countries like China. We fail to grasp the fact that the Chinese we want to help are the Chinese who are resisting the Communist Government in China itself. There are such people. That is proved by the fact that the borders of China are not open to our observers. It is not like a free country where observers can be sent to see what is happening. What are they concealing in China ? They are concealing the fact that they have not yet subjugated their own people. The processes of history have become accelerated. Changes that took hundreds of years to develop before now take place in decades and it is possible, unhappily, to change the character of an enslaved people and make it welcome finally its own slavery. No high sounding words should bc allowed to hide that cold fact. If there is, as I believe, resistance to communism and Communist ways in those Asiatic nations, it is only a shortterm process. It is a plant that will die if it does not receive water. . Can we allow it to die? Should we be alining ourselves with those who deny that plant water ?

I believe that if a country closes ite borders and refuses to allow free inspection of its way of life and if it adopts the procedure that the countries behind the iron curtain are adopting, we should take the view that it does not have the consent of its own people to the government it imposes. To such a country we should not extend fraternal visits or anything of that character. We should rather say, “ This is a country ruled by its own enemies and by our enemies, a country whose people we are out to help by freeing them “. What do we think the effect will be in China of the visit of Mr. Attlee and Mr. Bevan who are parading the streets of Peking? Will not such action diminish the possibility of the Chinese people resisting their oppressors ? There still is that resistance, but it is not an ever-continuing resistance. People can be changed by slavery. They can be made to learn to welcome it.

Let me suggest the means to meet this situation. First, we want to have unity in the free world. We want the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization to embrace as many as it can, but to embrace them in bonds which are firm and in a group in which there is no disunity. It is useless to try to make the organization too wide if the price of so doing is to make it futile. Secondly, we should not delay the possibility of gaining resistance allies, who are now vanishing daily while the threat increases. Thirdly, we should set a definite line. We should recognize that any aggression over that line is a cause for resistance, and that anybody on this side of the line should be protected. Fourthly, in order to do that, we need an adequate defence system to which all must contribute and to which Australia, as the Prime Minister has said, must make its appropriate commitment, and make it in time. Finally, it is only right that we should increase the volume of foodstuffs and other forms of assistance which we can supply to those on our side of the iron curtain in order to raise as quickly as possible their standard of living.

That is a five-point plan; but I suggest that by itself it is not enough, because time on the major front still runs against us. The position into which we are going is, virtually, an untenable position. We have been misled by our advisers who have told us that by simply keeping aheadon the atomic bomb we could assure our own strength and survival. A factual analysis does not support that proposition. No action, unless it be timely, can save us. We must at all costs set up a system of world-wide security against atomic armament, and we must set it up in time. Some are of the opinion that that time has passed already and that it is now too late. I do not share that view, but even if that be uncertain, one thing that is certain is that our position, whatever it may be now, is deteriorating. Evil in this world is either arming or armed. At our peril, we shall forget the implications of that fact, because the arms which evil is acquiring are strong arms and could have within them total destruction for us and for the whole of the free world. It is not sufficient merely to act on this Asian front, which is only a sector of the world front. We could lose Australia on the Asian front as well as on the world front; but we cannot save Australia unless the whole world shares in that salvation.

Question resolved in the negative.

page 341


FLUORESCENT lighting equipment–

Mr. W. C. Wentworth, M.P. - Newspaper Article

Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) proposed -

That this House do now adjourn.


.- A factory in my electorate, which trades under the name of Soltra, manufacturers ballasts, which are contrivances that are used in connexion with fluorescent lighting. The organization employs sixteen persons, and, recently, the proprietors decided to build another factory and to increase the number of their employees. There are approximately twenty factories throughout Australia making similar equipment, and these employ a considerable number of Australians. They are now faced with very serious competition. The position is that over a period of years, as a result of increasing efficiency, the industry has reduced the cost of production and, concurrently, the retail price of the manufactured article. It is alleged that similar articles, which are being imported from Great Britain, are placed on ships in that country at a cost of 6s. 8d. each and are being retailed in Australia at11s. 9d. each, whereas Australian manufacturers are unable to make a profit if their article is sold at less than 15s. It is also pointed out, however, that the wholesale price of the article in Great Britain is 17s. 6d., that is, 2s. 6d. higher than the retail price at which the locally manufactured article is sold in this country. Yet, the British article is exported to Australia and sold here at 11s. 9d.

Those are the facts which the proprietors in this industry have placed before me. I realize that throughout the world, manufacturers are resorting to all sorts of manoeuvring, with the object of obtaining markets. For instance, they are prepared to sell their articles in one country below the cost of production in order to destroy an infant industry in that country. Then, after that industry has been destroyed, these overseas organizations raise the price of the article sufficiently to recoup losses that they suffered in the process of destroying competitors. Most honorable members opposite will recall that in the past small motor engines were imported into Australia and sold here at £9 each, and that after the manufacturers of those engines had destroyed an infant industry in this country the price of those engines was increased to £16 each. I cite that instance in order to illustrate the method by which overseas manufacturers seek to gain a market for their commodities in other countries. I know that honorable members opposite will say that the manufacturers concerned can have the position rectified by approaching the Tariff Board. After a long and tedious hearing, the industry might be able to satisfy the board that these articles to which I refer are being dumped in Australia. But by that time, the Australian industry would have gone out of existence. The employees would have lost their jobs, and the employers would be unable to resuscitate their ventures after the Tariff Board had completed its investigations. Therefore I suggest to the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Sir Eric Harrison) who represents the Minister for Trade and Customs in this chamber, that an inquiry into this matter should be initiated immediately. Obviously small firms would be in considerable difficulty if they had to produce evidence from Great Britain to show that this article was being dumped on the Australian market. I am assured by the proprietors of the Australian industry that the material in the article costs at least 6s. 8d. in Australia, and would cost 6s. 8d. in Great Britain. It is true that labour costs in the United Kingdom are lower than they are here, but that disparity would not be sufficient to permit the placing of these goods on ships in Great Britain at 6s. 8d., and their disposal in Australia at lis. 9d. This industry is essential to the development of Australia. It also has a defence value because its product is used in the construction of aircraft, including military aircraft. I urge the Government to investigate this matter to ascertain whether or not the statements that have been made are correct.


.- I wish to speak briefly about a matterwhich came before the House this afternoon. I refer to the newspaper article about the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), which was published in the Melbourne Herald. I have: only two things to say.. The first is that the article was designed, it was most damaging, and it was of an exceedinglypersonal nature. I think that, whatever side of this House honorable members sit on, and whatever their opinions- about the. honorable member for Mackellar may be, we are all agreed that, in. the past, it has not been a tradition of membersof the press gallery to write articles of that kind. It is a foolish innovation, and one that finally may cut both ways., My other point is that the article, having been written, which was bad enough, wasused by an honorable member of this House, under the protection of the Standing Orders, greatly to exaggerate whatever harm or damage the article itself may have done. I realize that it would be quite wrong of me to enlarge upon this matter now, because, what the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) said was, in a sense, con. firmed by a vote of this House. It was noted that when the vote was taken, not all members of the party to which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro belongs supported the stand he took.

I shall now say something about the honorable member for Mackellar, who has been the target of this attack. As I have said, opinions will differ about the views that the honorable member frequently expresses, but ifr is fair to say tha.t there is no greater enemy of communism in this country than the honorable member for Mackellar. In his capacity as a member of this House, he has rendered his native land a very great service by the manner in which he has carried out his duties. It is all very well for one or two honorable members on the red fringe opposite to interject, but we know perfectly well that the great majority of them agree with my statement absolutely. For this adherence to principle, the honorable member for Mackellar has to pay a very great price. Part of that price is the publication of articles of the type that appeared in the Melbourne Herald- which was a personal attack on his appearance and so on. Friends of the honorable member - and I am one of those - know very well too that he and his family are subjected to a continual barrage of abuse from extreme left wing people, Communists and their sympathizers, some of whom sit on the Opposition benches, and one of whom laughs now.

As I said at the outset I, as a member of this chamber, wish to say only two things about this matter. First, I consider the newspaper report to be quite out of accord with normal decent practice in this House. I am amazed that it is purported to have been written, and I take it that it was written, by a person who has been in this chamber as a reporter for many years, and who has even been decorated for his services to this country. Honorable members opposite may laugh and smile, and enjoy the situation; but no one likes attacks of this kind, and we may be sure that, if they are to continue, somebody else, perhaps the writer himself, will be attacked in turn. Few members of this chamber could have played a more contemptible part than the honorable member for Eden-Monaro played earlier to-day. He came in here, revelling in these statements abusing an honorable member who has done only his duty as a member of this chamber. His excuse was that a breach had been committed of the rules of this House. We know perfectly well, as was so ably pointed out by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro himself hurried to the microphone to spread the story throughout the length and breadth of his electorate. A Uriah Heep he is in all truth. That is all I have to say about this matter. I hope that this occurrence will not set a precedent because, if it does, both members of the press gallery, and honorable members of this chamber, wherever they sit, will be extremely sorry.


[10.38 J. - -Very little needs to he said in reply to the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett). The honorable member voted this afternoon to gag himself on the very subject on which he now chooses to speak after the vote has been taken. He is the whip of one of the Government parties; yet he voted for a motion that no further discussion on this matter should take place. But now, on the motion for the adjournment of the House, he creeps in to express his own views. He does himself very little credit by so doing. Secondly, having voted to prevent an investigation of this matter by the Committee of Privileges, the honorable member for Henty now denounces the publication, the investigation of which he refused to support by his vote. There again the honorable member does himself very little credit. He complained, that this was a scurrilous publication. He complained that his colleague, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), was ill treated and defamed by this publication. Yet he declined to vote for a motion which would have provided an opportunity for an examination of the matter by the one body in this House that could have pronounced on the truth or falsity of the report. The honorable member for Henty does himself little credit in that respect.

What, then, is the point which brought the honorable member to his feet this evening? Is he like the honorable member for Mackellar, who rose in his place this afternoon and said that he thought it fitting that this commentary upon him should be investigated by the Committee of Privileges, and then voted against it? Does the honorable member for Henty also wish to have it both ways? Does he believe that the publication was scurrilous ? Does he believe that the description of the behaviour of the honorable member for Mackellar was false? If he believes those things, he believes that his colleague has been defamed, that the Parliament has been defamed, and that the matter is an appropriate one for examination by the Committee of Privileges.

It is a good thing that the honorable member for Henty has raised this matter to-night, because by so doing, he provides an opportunity for me to make the happenings this afternoon plain beyond doubt. The report published by the Melbourne Herald was either true, or false.

If it were true, then, as you, Mr. Speaker, said from the Chair, behaviour occurred in this House of an outrageous kind to which you should have objected had you observed it. Yet, when the whole report was read to the House, the majority of honorable members, who had been present and had observed the behaviour of the honorable member for Mackellar, were unwilling to have the matter investigated by the Committee of Privileges. What, then, has the honorable member for Henty to say for himself? He rose to speak on the matter this evening after he had voted this afternoon to gag himself and every other honorable member on the subject. He complained that the report was scurrilous and defamatory, yet he voted to prevent an investigation of it. According to that report, the honorable member for Mackellar jumped up and down, scratched his face, rubbed the back of his neck, and did other extraordinary things. The honorable member for Henty observed them. Yet, when the incident is reported in detail in a newspaper with, a daily circulation of more than 500,000 copies, he considers either that the report is so accurate that it should not be investigated, or that it is of such little concern, since it deals with the honorable member for Mackellar, that it need not be investigated.


.- The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), in an attempt to justify his unpardonable conduct this afternoon, now puts forward a mealy-mouthed defence. He asks how, if we criticize his conduct this afternoon, we can explain the fact that we voted for the gag on his motion to refer the article in the Melbourne Herald to the Committee of Privileges and if we disagree with the article, how we can explain the fact that

Ave declined to refer it to the Committee of Privileges. The answer to those questions is easy indeed, and I shall give it. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, by an abuse of the processes of the House, sought to refer to the Committee of Privileges the conduct, not of the Melbourne Herald, but of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). The Committee of Privileges was not competent to act in that matter, because the conduct of the honorable member for Mackellar occurred in this House, and, as was pointed out this afternoon, was subject to the jurisdiction of Mr. Speaker and could not be referred to the Committee of Privileges. At any rate, I doubt very much whether the honorable gentleman conducted himself in a manner to which exception could not be taken. The honorable member foi* Eden-Monaro, by his abuse of the processes of the House puts it in a dilemma.


– I rise to order. If my memory serves me correctly, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro submitted a motion of privilege this afternoon which you, Mr. Speaker, accepted as being in order. That position has been completely misrepresented by the honorable member for Evans.


– Order ! The honorable member for Eden-Monaro submitted a motion which I ruled out of order. It was put in order afterwards when the honorable member used different words.


– I exercise the patent and undeniable right of every honorable member-

Mr Daly:

– I rise to order. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether the honorable member for Evans is in order in discussing this matter. The subject was debated this afternoon, and I submit that the Hou3e i3 not in order in debating it again on the motion for the adjournment.


-Order! The decision by the House this afternoon was that the matter should not be referred to the Committee of Privileges. I would be quite happy if it ended there. But if honorable gentlemen like to exercise their right on the motion for the adjournment to discuss anything that is not on the notice-paper, then I know of no procedure by which I can stop them from doing so.

Mr Gullett:

– I also rise to order. You said, Mr. Speaker, that you would be quite happy if the matter had ended this afternoon. I point out to you that if you had not allowed certain latitude under the Standing Orders, the matter would not have arisen.

Mr Curtin:

– That is a reflection on the Chair.


– Order ! I am used to such things from both sides of the House. They have no effect on me.


– I exercise the patent and undeniable right of every honorable member to criticize, within the rules of debate, the conduct of members of the House, and I say that the conduct of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro this afternoon was a breach of the processes of the House. He sought to make political capital of the meanest type. He submitted a motion arising from the publication of an article in a newspaper, and he endeavoured thereby to censure the conduct of another honorable member. It was hypocritical in the extreme for him to submit the motion arising out of that article, which he proceeded to read. I think it is fair criticism, and it is held by many honorable members, that his sole purpose in submitting that pretended motion, which he knew would not be carried, to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges was to give further publicity in this House to the article in the Melbourne Herald. What were honorable members on this side of the House to do when he submitted his motion ? Were they to allow the time for questions and the debate on international affairs to be taken up in an indefinitely prolonged debate on this mock motion?


-Order ! The honorable member must not refer to a motion as a mock motion.


– I withdraw the word to which you have objected, Mr. Speaker. You, of course, ruled the motion out of order this afternoon. If the gag had not been voted, the honorable member for Eden-Monaro would have been allowed to proceed in a course of conduct which we believed profoundly to be wrong. That is why we supported the motion for the gag. The honorable member for EdenMonaro also said that if we disagreed with the article, we should have approved of its reference to the Committee of Privileges. The answer to that contention is that, had we voted for the motion, we should have simply supported him in his wrong and reprehensible course of conduct. I think that is a complete answer.

What happened in the House last Thursday night? I was not here, so I cannot speak of it from my own knowledge, but the whole account is quite obviously grossly distorted.

Mr Ward:

– How can the honorable member say so, when he did not witness the incident?


– I was here to-day, and I could make a fair judgment on the conduct of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro when he submitted his motion. In these days, many of us on this side of the chamber, and many honorable members on the other side, too, are deeply concerned about the low opinion that is held of this Parliament and itsproceedings by a large section of the public. I say, without fear of denial, that the conduct of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro this afternoon has done nothing to assist us to elevate the status of the Parliament, or to help us to restore it to the position of dignity and honour which it once occupied in the mind of the Australian public.

I am glad to support the remarks of the honorable member for Henty about my friend the honorable member for Mackellar. One of the penalties suffered by people who attack Communists in this and other countries is to be ridiculed, lampooned, slandered and abused, not only by Communists but also by those woolly-minded people who permit themselves to do the Communists’ job. There are, regrettably, quite a number of them on the other side of the House.

Mr Curtin:

Mr. Speaker-


– I did not say that the’ honorable member for Watson (Mr. Curtin) was one of them.

Mr Curtin:

– I resent the statement of the honorable member for Evans (Mr. Osborne). I ask that it be withdrawn.


– I said nothing about the honorable member for Watson, but if the cap fits he can wear it.

Mr Curtin:

– I resent the suggestion that I am doing the work of Communists. I ask for it to be withdrawn.


– Order ! The honorable gentleman is not entitled to a withdrawal.


– We are well aware of the Communist smear technique. We know that anybody who takes a leading part in attacking and exposing communism in this country and in other countries is subjected to abuse. The honorable member for Mackellar has had more than his full share of that kind of calumny. In this House to-day we have seen another example of the kind of counter-attack to which I have been referring, made by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. I am glad to support the remarks of the honorable member for Henty, in which he characterized that conduct for what it is worth. I am glad also to have an opportunity to say that I greatly admire the courage and persistency with which the honorable member for Mackellar has performed the task of exposing communism in Australia.


.- I did not intend to take part in this discussion, but, having listened to. the remarks of the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Gullett)–

Motion (by Sir Eric Harrison) put -

That the question he now put.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Archie Cameron.)

AYES: 55

NOES: 37

Majority . . 18



Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative.

page 346


The following papers were pre sented : -

Lands Acquisition Act - Return of land disposed of under section63.

Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -

Attorney-General - W. S. Palmer.

Commerce and Agriculture - D. D. Charles.

Works - L. A. Knox, M. Leonard.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Regulations - 1954 - No. 8 (Building and Services Ordinance).

Wool Products Bounty Act - Fourth Annual Report, for 1953.

House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.

page 346


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

National Debt


n asked the Treasurer, upon notice: -

  1. What was the amount of the national debt outstanding at the 30th June, 1954?
  2. How much of this debt was held (a) by the Commonwealth Bank and its various agencies, (&.) by other government departments, (c) by the private trading banks, (d) by other financial institutions and (e) by individuals?
  3. What are the various maturing dates, together with interest rates, of the above debt?
Sir Arthur Fadden:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. Australia - £3,180,028,130; London - £stg. 351,179,020; New York - $308,877,000; Switzerland - Swiss francs 00,000,000.
  2. The information is not available.
  3. Details of rates of interest and maturity dates, of all Commonwealth loans outstanding at the 30th June, 1954, will be contained in the forthcoming budget papers.


Mr Wight:

t asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice: -

  1. On what date will the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement expire?
  2. Under the terms of the agreement, what will be the estimated financial commitment of the Commonwealth to the States for the first five years after the expiration of the agreement?
  3. Has the Queensland Government given notification to the Commonwealth of completion of the Zillmere housing project; if not, has the Queensland Government intimated when this project will be completed?
  4. Will’ he carry out a further investigation of this project when such notification of completion is received as was promised subsequent to his receipt of the report of the Commonwealth Experimental Building Station?
Mr Casey:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement will expire on 1st April, 1950 in New South Wales: 30th April, 1950 in Victoria; 13th December, 1955 in Queensland; 3rd January, 1950 in South Australia, and 15th January, 1950 in Western Australia.
  2. Clause Ki of .the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement provides, inter alia that the agreement shall as between the Commonwealth and each State apply … to housing projects commenced or carried out during the period of ten years commencing on the date on which this agreement between the Commonwealth and that State shall come into force. The Commonwealth wilt be obliged to finance housing projects notified to and accepted by the Commonwealth if still under construction on the respective dates of expiry of the agreement in the States. Tt is not possible at thi? juncture to estimate the cost of completion of such housing projects. The Common wealth also bus a contingent liability in respect of losses incurred by a State in the course of the administration of its housing projects, provided the Statu concerned observes the provisions of the agreement. Such losses are borne as to three-fifths by the Common wealth and two-fifths by the State. Noestimate can be given of the possible commitment of the Commonwealth in respect of. future losses, but the Commonwealth responsibilities extend over the amortization period of 53 years, applicable to houses constructed under the agreement.
  3. The Queensland Government has not indicated either that the Zillmere housing project’ lias been completed or when it will be completed.
  4. Yes.
Mr Makin:

n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth has neglected to protect its properties at Salisbury, South Australia, known as the Cabin Homes, because of lack of painting and maintenance?
  2. Will he give immediate instructions for this work to be undertaken to help the residents and give consideration to the community ?
Mr Kent Hughes:
Minister for the Interior · CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP

– The answers to the honorable member’s, questions are as follows : -

  1. It is presumed that the honorable member refers to the war-time cottages built in 1943 on land adjacent to the township of Salisbury. In accordance with an undertaking given to the local district council, it has always been intended to demolish these premises. However, the acute housing shortage has prevented this. The expenditure of large sums of money on the properties could npt be justified in the circumstances, but they have been kept in a habitable condition.
  2. Arrangements have been concluded for the sale of the cottages to the Salisbury District Council. It is understood the council intends to keep the cottages intact until the tenants at present in occupation are able to secure alternative accommodation. When the sale is completed, the question of maintenance will be one for the council.


Mr Swartz:

z asked the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice - ls any further information yet available regarding the investigations which are being conducted in conjunction with thu State authorities in. Queensland into the control or eradication of lantana?

Mr Casey:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -

Work by the Queeusland Department of Agriculture and Stock has shown that molasses grass (Mclinus minulifore ) in the northern high rainfall areas and Guinea grass (1’am.iawm maximum), at -Mackay are effective competitors with lantana and. will eventually suppress it. The herbicide 2,4-D will kill lantana, but results in southern Queensland have not been as consistent as in the more northern parts of the State. The possibility of the biological control of lautana by insects is being actively investigated. In 1953 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and Queensland jointly financed the despatch of Mr. J. Mann of the Queensland Department of Lands to collaborate in an expedition to Central America organized by the Hawaiian Branch of Agriculture and Forestry. The expedition collected lantana insects in Mexico, Florida, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, British Honduras, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The collections have justified the expectation that field explorations would discover more insects associated with lantana, some of which might be of value in its control. Members of the expedition were impressed by the evident ability of some of the insects to damage lantana and the results of the expedition are regarded with optimism. Several insect species were sent to Hawaii for quarantine and feeding tests on economic plants. Australia will re-enter the field when the importance and safety of the various species have been established more clearly.

Overseas Publications

Mr Keon:

n asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

To what overseas periodicals does the Department of External Affairs subscribe (a) for the department itself, and (6) for the training of departmental cadets?

Mr Casey:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows : -

  1. Appended is a list of the overseas newspapers and periodicals to which the department subscribes. Certain additional publications are provided gratis or on an exchange basis.
  2. Departmental cadets have access to all publications and periodicals in the library.


The Times (London).

New York Times (New York).

Manchester Guardian (Manchester, daily).

Manchester Guardian (weekly).

Observer (London).

Le Monde (Paris).

Japan News (Tokyo).

Hindu Weekly Review (Madras).

Straits Budget (Singapore).

Climats (Paris).

For a hasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy (Bucharest).


American Economic Review (California).

American Journal of International Lorn (Washington).

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Philadelphia).

Archives Diplomatiques et Consulaires (Paris).

Archives Internationales (Paris).

Asian. Review ( London ) .

Hoard of Trade Journal (London).

Burma Weekly Bulletin (Rangoon).

Ceylon To-day ( Colombo ) .

Ceylon Trade Journal. (Colombo).

China Reconstructs (Peking).

Chronicle of the World Health Organization (Geneva) .

Chronique d’Ontre Mer (Paris).

Chronology of International Events and Documents (London).

Colonial Review (London).

Commerce and Industry (Pretoria).

Commonwealth Survey (London).

Current Digest of the Soviet Press (Michigan).

Department of Stale Bulletin (Washington).

Eastern Economist (New Delhi).

Eastern World (London).

Economic Journal ( London ) .

Economist (London).

Essays in International Finance (Princeton).

Etudes et Conjonctures (Paris).

Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong).

Far Eastern Quarterly (New York).

Far Eastern Survey (New York).

Federal Reserve Bulletin (Washington).

Foreign A ffairs ( New York ) .

Foreign Commerce Weekly (Washington).

Foreign Policy Bulletin (New York).

Foreign Report (London).

Foreign Trade (Ottawa).

Foreign. Trade ( O.E.E.C. ) Statistical Bulletin (Paris).

Fortune ( Chicago ) .

Headlines Series (New York).

History To-day (London).

Home Affairs Survey (London).

I.C.A.O. Monthly Bulletin (Montreal).

Indochine-Sud-Est Asiatique ( Saigon ) .

Intelligence Digest (London).

International Affairs (London).

International and Comparative Law Quarterly ( London ) .

International Conciliation (New York).

International Financial News Survey (Washington) .

International Organization (Washington).

International Survey ( London ) .

Joint Press Reading Service (Moscow).

Journal of Commerce (New York).

Keesing’s Contemporary Archives ( London ) .

Kommunist (Moscow).

Law Quarterly Review (London).

Life (New York).

Listener ( London ) .

Malayan Statistics (Singapore).

Middle East Journal (Washington).

Monthly Abstract of Statistics (Wellington).

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (Washington).

Monthly Digest of Statistics (London).

Monthly Letter on Economic Conditions and Government Finance (New York).

Nation (New York).

New Republic (New York).

New Commonwealth (London ) .

New Statesman and Nation ( London) .

New Times (Moscow).

Sew York Herald Tribune Economic Review (New York) .

News (Moscow).

Newsletter from Behind the Iron Curtain (New York).

Newsweek (New York).

Notes et Etudes (Paris).

Oriental Economist (Tokyo).

Pacific Affairs (New York).

People’s China (Peking).

Political Science Quarterly (New York).

Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science (NewYork).

Public Administration (London).

Public Affairs Information Service (New


Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics (Colombo).

Records and Statistics (Eastern Economist) (NewDello).

Report on Foreign Affairs (London).

Reporter (New York).

Review of International Affairs (Belgrade).

Revue Generate du Droit International Publique (Paris).

Round Table (London).

Russian Review (New York).

Soviet Studies (Oxford).

Survey of Current Business (Washington). Tablet (London).

Times Literary Supplement (London).

Twentieth Century (London).

Ukrainian Quarterly (New York).-

United Empire (London).

United Nations Review (New York).

United Nations-Revue its Nations Units (Paris).

U.S. News and World Report (Washington). Vietnam (Paris).

World Affairs (Wellington).

World Politics (Newhaven).

World To-day (London).

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 August 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.