22nd Parliament · 1st Session
– In the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 13, the Chairman of Committees, as Deputy Speaker, will take the chair.
Mr. Deputy SPEAKER (Mr. C. F. Adermann) thereupon took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Because of the great interest which has developed since an announcement was made of the Prime Minister’s intention to give a comprehensive outline of the economic position of this country, can the Prime Minister tell the House specifically the date and the time the statement will be made, and any other details which may be of interest?
– I propose, at S o’clock to-morrow night, to make a statement on economic measures. I will make a fairly comprehensive statement which will deal with the general present condition of the economy, and in the course of it I shall deal with various matters that have been talked about in this House of late, including the problem of interest, the general problem of taxation, and other problems associated “with the restoration of economic balance and the arrest of inflation. I am very glad that the honorable member has asked me this question because it enables me to say that it is no part of the intention of the Government to have fractions of these matters discussed in advance. To-morrow night I will make a statement. It will be the best kind of judgment that the Government can offer on these matters. I want to say at once that when I have made the statement I will move that it be printed, and there will be an adequate opportunity for members on both sides of the House to debate it and to offer their criticism, or their support, as the case may be. In other words, there will be an abundant chance to discuss these matters. Under those circumstances, I would just like to indicate to the House that it is very undesirable that we should endeavour to go off at half-cock, and discuss any fraction of a total subject the whole of which will be before the House a little after 9 o’clock to-morrow evening.
– May I ask the Prime Minister a supplementary question. Does his answer mean that it is the intention of the Government to preclude debate taking place immediately after his statement, or is that left open?
– If the right honorable gentleman is referring to my statement to-morrow night, the reply is that I would not preclude debate proceeding at once, but I had in mind that, having regard to the nature of the statement, the right honorable gentleman himself would like to have time to consider it. That is proper, and I would certainly agree to that. I will, in point of fact, endeavour to let him have a copy of the statement some little time in advance, but it may still be that he would like a reasonable time to consider it and, perhaps, discuss it with his colleagues. I am not precluding that. I think that that is the proper position for the Leader of the Opposition to be in.
– In view of the recent discussion that took place in the Singapore Legislative Council, does the Prime Minister know where the injudicious and dangerous proposal originated to send an all-party delegation of Australian members of Parliament to investigate the claims of Singapore to independence and self-government ? Irrespective of whether the proposal originated from an authoritative or irresponsible source, will the Prime Minister take immediate action to inform the Chief Minister of Singapore that, while the Australian Government is always willing to help .if asked to do so, it has no desire to intrude in any way into Singapore’s own affairs? Will he also reconsider a suggestion made some time ago by representatives of the first Australian Imperial Forces, through General Gordon Bennett, that Australia should offer to present the first Malayan Parliament with a Speaker’s chair as a gesture of goodwill from Australia to the. Federation of Malaya?
– As to the last part of the honorable member’s question, I do not want to speak without the book, but I had thought that something had been done along those lines. I shall find out for certain. As to the first two portions of the honorable member’s question, 1 want to say that the proposal to send a delegation did not proceed either from this Government or from anybody to whom this Government is responsible. That does not mean that we should not, on a suitable occasion, send a delegation, but I think it would be an unfortunate thing if any delegation sent from Australia appeared to intervene in matters which are, at the moment, the concern of Singapore, Malaya and the United Kingdom. Therefore, we are not proposing at this stage to send a delegation.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Territories by saying that the honorable gentleman will recollect, I have no doubt, that some time last year, I made a suggestion to him that when the Olympic Games are being held in Melbourne, detachments of the Pacific Island Regiment and the Royal Papuan and New Guinea Constabulary might be brought to Melbourne in association with the games in some capacity or other for the mutual benefit of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and Australia on an occasion when 70 nations will be represented. Has the Minister given any consideration to the matter and. if so, is lie in a position to make a statement?
– In response to the suggestion that the honorable member for Melbourne made to me, I discussed the matter with the honorable member for Chisholm. After that discussion, I referred the suggestion to the Administrator of Papua and New Guinea, who in general concurs with the proposal that the band of the Royal Papuan and New Guinea Constabulary, which is an orthodox military band, and the pipe band of the Pacific Island Regiment should be made available for that purpose. Those suggestions have been put forward and discussions are proceeding with General Bridgeford, the executive officer of the Olympic Games. So far as the Government is concerned, we would be very proud to have both bands from the Territory associated with the Olympic Games and celebrations.
, SHORTAGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENTISTS.
– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the increasing importance of the application of scientific ‘ developments to the problems of primary industry, will the Minister inform the House whether there is a shortage of qualified agricultural scientists in Australia at the present time? If so, what steps is the Government taking to overcome the shortage?
– The Government is aware of the shortage of trained scientists for both primary and secondary industries throughout Australia. Some time ago, it was agreed to provide the necessary funds for 1,000 scholarships at the Australian universities. The problem of agricultural science has been looked at particularly, and many of these scholarships are available in the agricultural faculties at the State universities. In particular, this year, twelve special scholarships on particularly generous terms have been approved by the Department of Primary Industry under the Commonwealth extension grants service. I think there are two to each State. In addition, a special grant has been given to the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, which endeavours to encourage young people to study in the agricultural faculties. I am very glad the honorable member for Corangamite has raised this question, which poses one of the big problems that face Australia. If we are to solve our balance of payments problem, and if we are to develop in terms of both primary and secondary industries, it is essential that we induce as many young people as possible to attend the universities. This applies particularly to agricultural science. Anything that can be done by my honorable friend, or by any other honorable member, to encourage young people to study in the agricultural faculties will, I think, be rewarding to both them and the country.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Is it correct that the Vickers Viscount aeroplanes added to the Trans-Australia Airlines fleet have proved to be such an economically sound addition that TransAustralia Airlines now desires to reduce both passenger fares and freight charges, but has been advised that such a reduction cannot be allowed, because it would seriously embarrass its private airline competitors ?
– It is true that the. Vickers Viscount aircraft have proved exceptionally fine in service with Australian airlines. Whether TransAustralia Airlines wishes to reduce its fares, I do not know. My authority is to prevent it from increasing them above a certain limit. If it wishes to reduce fares, it may do so.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Health by stating that, no doubt, the Minister will agree that the people of Australia and the world have received widespread and immense benefit from the introduction of a general programme of immunization against diphtheria, which has almost succeeded in wiping out what was once a very serious scourge. In view of the undoubted success of diphtheria immunization, and in view of the fact that there are still parents who, either through ignorance or an apathetic disregard for the welfare of their children, do not have them immunized against diphtheria, is it possible for the Australian Government to legislate for compulsory immunization? If this is not possible, will the Minister consider discussing with representatives of the States the possibility of introducing a compulsory scheme such as was initiated by the Commonwealth for the eradication of tuberculosis? I refer to the scheme of compulsory X-rays which has proved highly successful.
– The honorable gentleman is, of course, quite right in what he says about the beneficial effects of immunization against diphtheria. The Commonwealth, however, has no power to legislate for compulsory immunization; that is a function of the States. Nor has it any power to legislate for compulsory X-ray examinations. In both cases, the Commonwealth can present a view to the States, which then make such legislative arrangements as they consider to be appropriate. I should think that State governments are all fully seized of the importance of immunization against diphtheria.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Defence Production. Is it a fact that 64 employees in skilled, semi-skilled, and labouring positions, in the overhaul assembly department at the establishment of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Proprietary Limited, at Lidcombe, were dismissed last Friday and given a week’s pay in lieu of notice? Is it also a fact that some of the employees dismissed had as much as fifteen years’ service with the corporation? Did the dismissals follow within seven days of six new employees commencing duty in the overhaul assembly department? Are the dismissals due to a 25 per cent, cut in the production programme for the Royal Australian Air Force? If so, is any further reduction contemplated? Will the dismissals already made be followed by further large-scale retrenchments? Finally, is the dismissal of employees of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Proprietary Limited tha forerunner of things to come following the statement of the Prime Minister on the economic situation?
– I have no knowledge whatever of the matter of which the honorable member has spoken. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Proprietary Limited is not a government concern, and the engagement or dismissal of its staff is purely a matter for the corporation itself. However, as the corporation is a supplier of aircraft for government purposes, I shall make inquiries to ascertain whether the Commonwealth has any responsibility in connexion with the action taken by the corporation, and I shall advise the honorable member accordingly.
Mv. WARD. - I direct a question to the Treasurer. I desire to know whether it is a fact that numbers of Australian citizens of small means, and in some cases at great personal sacrifice, have, over the years, particularly during the period of the war, for patriotic motives, subscribed to Commonwealth loans. It is also a fact that any of these people, having urgent need of this money and being obliged to sell their loan holding at to-day’s price, will suffer a considerable financial loss? If so, will the Treasurer take action to ensure that, in cases where the circumstances warrant it, the Commonwealth will purchase its own securities at their face value even though the date of maturity has not been reached? If the Treasurer is not prepared to adopt this suggestion, will he state his reason for not doing so?
– This is a very involved question and one that concerns a matter of policy and, indeed, the Australian Loan Council. If the honorable member will place the question on the notice-paper, I shall give it consideration.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to the recent closing down of Bellbird colliery on the northern New South Wales coal-fields. Is it considered that the closing down of the mine will be permanent and has the Commonwealth, or the Joint Coal Board, proceeded with any negotiations to ascertain whether the mine can be re-opened ? Can he inform me of the present facts of the situation ?
– I am not able to give the honorable gentleman a firm answer on whether or not the closure will be permanent, because that decision is not entirely a matter for the Government, but I can assure him that the Joint Coal Board, and, through it, the Government, have been watching the position very closely and doing what they have been able to do in order to find some means of encouraging the re-opening of Hie colliery on a basis which would enable it to be conducted economically and satisfactorily in the future. I am told that the chairman of the Joint Coal Board, Mr. Cochran, presided at a meeting at Cessnock yesterday, at which representatives of the miners’ federation, the Amalgamated Engineers Union, mine mechanics, and the Bellbird colliery management participated, and, arising out of that discussion there is to be a further meeting at Newcastle on Thursday in order to ascertain whether the parties can together work out proposals which would be mutually satisfactory to enable the re-opening of the mine and its profitable operation thereafter.
– Is the Minister for Supply aware that construction on the £5,000,000 atomic reactor project at Lucas Heights, New South Wales, has been brought to a standstill as a result of the virtual lock-out of employees on the part of the contracting company? Has the Minister’s attention been attracted to the fact that in circumstances where a union demarcation dispute was about to be settled by the court, the company laid off last Thursday, a total of 176 men, comprising 50 builders’ labourers, 90 members of the Australian Workers Union and 36 carpenters? Will the Minister agree that since plenty of work was available for employees not directly associated with the dispute, which concerned only the operation of a few compressors, the company’s attitude was provocative, unjustified and against the best interests of the people of Australia who desire the completion of the reactor with the least possible delay? With a view to preventing further delay to the completion of the reactor, which will he associated with the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, will the Minister censure the contracting company, and take steps to ensure that such indiscriminate and unnecessary lock-outs will not occur in the future?
– I think the honorable gentleman rather begs the question by assuming that there was a lock-out. The information I have so far, such as it is, does not indicate a lock-out on the part of the employers, but rather intransigent demands on the part of the employees.
Opposition members interjecting,
-Order! The Minister is answering a question.
– But perhaps that also is beside the point. I will ascertain the facts, as distinct from what the honorable gentleman has implied in his question, and let him have a full reply.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior: Has he received a petition signed by some 120 residents of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory seeking to have some improvement work carried out on- the road leading from College-road to Christian’s Minde on Susses Inlet in the Australian Capital Territory? Has he had an opportunity to consider the arguments put forward by petitioners together with those contained in previous correspondence with his office? Can he indicate whether some Commonwealth expenditure will be made on this road, and, in considering the matter, will he have regard to the fact that this road is the only land access to the families resident in that area?
– As far as I recall, this is one of those cases where a number of people have sought and been given permission to settle on Commonwealth land. I think it has been clearly understood throughout that the Commonwealth accepted no responsibility for the construction of roads; nevertheless, I understand these roads to which the honorable member refers have been built by the individuals themselves, and if damage has resulted to them through their being used by Commonwealth traffic and so on, then I assure the honorable gentleman that I shall look at the matter sympathetically, and see what can be done.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer, and I preface it by informing him that I have received urgent advice that soldier settlers at Abergowrie engaged in cane-farming have lost 40 per cent, of their crop as a result of the recent cyclone, and I take it that what has occurred at Abergowrie will have occurred throughout north Queensland where the cyclone has passed. Will the Treasurer confer with the Minister for the Interior to see whether, in addition to any monetary assistance that will be made available following the cyclone, assistance can be granted to soldier settlers who have suffered as a result of the cyclone in cane-growing areas ?
– I have some acquaintance with the area to which the honorable member has referred, and I can assure him that any representations made by the Queensland Government in connexion with the matter will receive consideration by this Government, but, as the honorable member will quite appreciate, the procedure must be on a governmenttogovernment basis. As a matter of fact, certain representations that have been made have been complied with, and the broader question will be considered when the State Government is in a better position to make an assessment of its requirements in connexion with this very important matter.
– Can the Minister for the. Interior exercise some persuasion on taxi proprietors in Canberra to moderate their charges? Is the Minister aware that taxis here are more expensive than in any other city in Australia, and probably, in any capital city in the world? Their minimum fare of 4s. 6d. is surely a rapacious exploitation of the public, especially on the many wet days of a Canberra summer.
– If the honorable gentleman will give me individual cases of these charges, I shall have them looked into. 1 may say that the matter is under discussion in the department at the present moment. I shall let the honorable member know the results of the investigation.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration. Much distress and anxiety is caused to many immigrants because of the inability of their wives and families to qualify for immigration. Would it be possible, when a man is accepted as an immigrant, for the Government to indicate whether his wife and family would also be acceptable? That procedure would avoid much of the distress that occurs when an immigrant finds that his wife and family are unacceptable as immigrants.
– In the House last week I answered a question very much along the same lines as this one. I pointed out then that the current practice is that outlined by the honorable member as being desirable. If he is referring to a particular case, it may be in relation to an immigrant who came here some time ago before the present practice was instituted. It is now our general practice, before giving permission to a non-British immigrant, to examine the remaining members of the family for the very reason mentioned by the honorable member. If the honorable member has a particular case in mind I would be very glad if he would bring it to my notice so that I can look into it.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether, in view of the fact that employees of semi-government institutions are being dismissed, or are facing dismissal, due to lack of finance, the Government is making any effort to remedy this position, or can any indication be given that there is some hope that money can he obtained in the near future to overcome these difficulties.
– I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that State governments are responsible for State instrumentalities. Local authorities and semi-government authorities are State instrumentalities and, consequently, the responsibility with regard to their finances is entirely that of the State government concerned.
– I address a question to the Minister for Supply. Apart from the atomic scientists from America and Great Britain who wish to experiment with the hydrogen bomb, are any atomic scientists deputed to safeguard the welfare of the people of Australia, far from the actual location of the explosion, from the frightful effects of this bomb ?
– I do not understand precisely what the honorable gentleman means to imply. Consequently, if my answer does not satisfy him, 1 should be glad if he would write to me and I will supplement it. The first thing to be said is that Australia is not proposing to permit hydrogen bombs to be tested or exploded at or near our shores. The second thing is that, in any atomic tests which take place, very detailed and elaborate precautions are taken to ensure that there is no danger in connexion with such tests. One of the parts of that procedure is the establishment of what we call a safety committee, composed of eminent nuclear scientists and a very eminent Australian radiologist, Dr. Eddy. It is on the advice of that body of purely Australian scientists that the Government relies in permitting any atomic tests to take place. Furthermore, Australia has been a sponsor of a radiation committee within the United Nations to examine the whole question of radiation and fallout as a result of nuclear or thermonuclear explosions anywhere in the world. I think I have answered most of the questions raised by the honorable gentleman. Of course, apart from making representations, we cannot control what other countries may do in other parts of the world, but in anything that affects Australia, directly or even indirectly, we have a voice. I assure the honorable gentleman that we exercise our voice very vigorously.
– The question that I direct to the Minister for Civil Aviation concerns the accident which occurred to an aircraft of the Royal Flying Doctor Service on the Leopold Range, near Derby, early in February. Will the Minister inform the House whether the relatives of the pilot and the two nurses who were killed in that fatality are entitled to claim compensation in respect of their death and, if so, against whom? Are pilots, doctors and nurses engaged in such work covered by insurance, or are they regarded as employees of some individual or organization in order that their relatives may become entitled to compensation in the event of their death? If their relatives are not entitled to compensation, will the Minister consider amending the relevant section of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act to provide that, in the future, persons who are killed or injured in similar circumstances shall be regarded as Commonwealth employees? In the present case, will the Minister recommend that payments be made, as an act of grace, to all persons who were affected by the accident, and who may not be entitled to compensation under the law as it now stands, on a basis at least comparable to that provided by the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act in respect of Commonwealth employees? Will the Minister explain to the House the legal position of persons who join in a search for missing aircraft? This is most important in relation to volunteers. Will he take whatever steps are necessary to protect the interests of persons who are injured or killed whilst engaged in rescue or emergency work, such as errands of mercy or other work outside the ordinary course of their duty, for which they volunteer, and make adequate provision for their dependants?
– Obviously, it would be quite impossible for me to answer offhand the long list of questions that the honorable member has directed to me. The particular aircraft to which he has referred did not belong to the Commonwealth, it was owned by the MacRobertsonMiller Aviation Company Proprietary Limited, and was chartered by the Royal Australian Plying Doctor Service, which, again, was not a Commonwealth charter. The officers of my department did all possible to see that the wife of the pilot killed, who lives in Melbourne, was looked after. Indeed, everything possible to alleviate the strain and stress of all concerned was done. If the honorable member will place the remaining questions on the notice-paper, I will furnish him with a full reply.
– I ask the Minister for Territories whether the visit to Canberra of the Administrator of the Northern Territory has any connexion with the reported cuts in works expenditure in that part of Australia. While the Administrator is in Canberra, will the Minister confer with him in relation to the disastrous effects that the slowing down of expenditure would have in the Northern Territory? The works chiefly affected are the wharf and harbour facilities in Darwin, and the extension of hospital and educational facilities throughout the Territory.
– During my administration of the portfolio of Territories, it has been the practice, whenever occasion has arisen, to arrange for consultations in Canberra with the Administrators of the various territories. During the present visit of the Administrator of the Northern Territory I have discussed with him very closely all matters affecting the Territory.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I draw the attention of the right honorable gentleman to the fact that, in reply to a question asked during the last session of the previous Parliament, he informed, me that the rate of industrial accidents in Australia was double that of the United States of America and Canada, and almost double that of Great Britain. He also stated that the time lost in Australia through industrial accidents was more than three times that lost through industrial disputes. Will he now state the result of inquiries conducted by the Ministry of Labour Advisory Council into the high rate of industrial accidents; whether that body has received co-operation from the employers’ organizations; and whether the steps that have been taken have resulted in a reduction of that very high rate of industrial accidents in this country ?
– I can assure the honorable gentleman that the matter has not been pigeon-holed. Reports have been made to each meeting of the council in relation to the action that has been taken. I shall obtain as much material as I can, and give the honorable member a more detailed reply.
– Is the basic statement about the high rate of accidents correct?
– That is one of the matters about which we are trying to get more precise information. Very few establishments keep the detailed records that we require in order to obtain as full and accurate a picture of the problem as we desire to possess.
Mr.WARD.-Where did the Government obtain the information that it has?
– “We obtained that information from a relatively limited number of factories. To obtain all the information that we want is a considerable task. We have given the best possible estimate based on the information that we have been able to obtain, but we are trying to extend our inquiries over a very much wider area so that we may havemore precise information. For the honorable gentleman’s information, I shall amplify my reply as much as possible.
– I direct a question to the Treasurer in relation to industrial corporations which engage, under another name, in the provision of hire-purchase finance for such items as motor cars. I refer to one particular . acceptance corporation which offers a rate of interest of5½ per cent. per annum for a loan with a currency of three years and 6 per cent. per annum for a loan with a currency of five years. First, will the right honorable gentleman obtain, for the benefit of honorable members, information, based on proper accountancy methods, showing the rate of actual profit made on the borrowing of money at these rates and the subsequent lending of it at much higher interest rates in the subsequent hire-purchase transactions ? Secondly, is it a fact that, in some of these transactions the borrowing by the company from the public at these high rates of interest mentioned are organized through the Commonwealth Trading Bank? If so, is that, in the opinion of the Treasurer, a legitimate practice for the Commonwealth Trading Bank to follow?
– To take the latter part of the question first, I am not aware of the degree to which the Commonwealth Bank assists in the direc tion indicated. I shall endeavour to give the right honorable gentleman that information, and also the information that he has sought generally.
– My question, which is addressed to the Treasurer, refers to the procession of crooners, criers, and other so-called expert entertainers who come to this country from abroad. I wish to know whether the taxation branch keeps a strict check on the income derived by these people in Australia, in order to ensure that their just dues are paid to this country.
– I can assure the honorable member that the taxation branch is most vigilant in such cases, as it always is in connexion with the collection of taxes.
– I ask the Minister for Social Services whether it is a fact that mentally retarded children are being allowed to accompany migrant parents in Australia. Is it a fact that such children have no social services entitlement in this country until they have been resident here for twenty years ? If’ these are facts, will the Minister inform me how his Government expects such persons to exist, especially when they are left bereft of their parents, and whether he hands over to the States the responsibility for their welfare? As the present position is obviously ridiculous, will the Minister ascertain whether something can be done, so that these people may obtain at least a special benefit equal to the unemployment benefit?
– The first part of the honorable member’s question should rightly have been addressed to the Minister for Immigration. With regard to the second part of his question, social services benefits in this country, as I have explained previously in this House, fall into two categories. Pensions are available to those who are British subjects, and benefits are available to those who have the requisite residential qualifications.
– The people to whom 1 referred are British subjects.
– The benefits go to those who have the necessary residential qualifications. If the honorable member has information regarding a particular case, and will submit it to me, I shall have the necessary investigations made and give him an appropriate reply.
– I ask the Treasurer a question which is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for Ryan. Are all the earnings of American entertainers taken out of this country, or is only portion of them taken out in the form of dollars?
– Under our exchange control regulations only part of their earnings may be taken from the country.
– by leave - Last June, I announced that the Government had decided to send the Administrator of the Northern Territory, the Honorable F. J. S. “Wise, overseas, so that he might visit regions of the world which have a climate and physical characteristics similar to those of the Northern Territory. The reason for the decision was to learn how other lands were tackling the problems of development in such regions. Mr. “Wise was absent from Australia from October, 1955, to January of this year, and has presented to me an informative report, which sets out the main lines of inquiry that he pursued, draws some preliminary conclusions from those inquiries and indicates some possible lines of further investigation and action. In view of the importance of this report, I shall table it for the information of honorable members and move that it be printed.
In tabling this report, I would like, if T may, to make a few brief observations about the general problems of the development of the Northern Territory. The first observation that I would like to make is that the development of the Northern Territory is going to be much harder than is sometimes represented by those who talk most glibly and write most freely about the subject. Pioneering has never been easy in any part of the Australian continent and the main reason why the northern region has not been populated or developed to the same extent as southern Australia is simply that it is. an even harder country than the rest of the continent. This is still a hard frontier. But a nation with the sort of record that we Australians have is not going to turn aside from the challenge of this last great task of pioneering. I believe that, as a nation, our people still have the toughness, the initiative and resourcefulness of their forefathers and to-day we undoubtedly can bring to the task scientific knowledge and technical skill and mechanical power immeasurably greater than was ever available to tha earlier pioneers of this continent. Power lies in our hands to do more than they did. The urgency of the times in which we live demands that we do more. We should bring to the task all .possible scientific and engineering aids and use an imagination stimulated by the present and not by the past.
In order to have good results and to have results which will last through bad seasons as well as through good seasons, development has to be based on something far more practical than most of the speeches made or the popular articles written on the subject.
In round terms, [ ‘ would suggest to honorable members that development means the economic use of resources. The uneconomic use of resources or attempts to- build development on resources which are either wholly imaginary or not fully proved will eventually lead to collapse of effort and another story of failure to hang around the neck of the unhappy north.
So, the practical starting point is to find out more about what is in the Territory, and, after relating the results of that investigation to the opportunities presented by demands from the outside world and the needs of our own nation, to come down te a clearer idea of what is the best thing to do in the north and what is the best way to do it. I say that, because I want to suggest to the House that the inquiries made by Mr. Wise and the report he has presented are a contribution to that sort of study and that sort of approach to the problems of development of the Northern Territory. This is not an isolated piece of work but derives from and contributes to a reasoned and patient attempt that we have been making in recent years to find a sound base for northern development.
It can truly be said, and I do not think that any member of this House will dispute it, that, for the first time in its history, the Northern Territory is really beginning to move. Before the recent war the European population of the Territory had been below 5,000 for more than a generation, and it never showed much prospect of rising above 5,000. In 1947 it was 10,868. The estimate at the 30th June, 1955, was 17,563. Some of the change - and it is a remarkable change, measured in percentages - is directly related to an increased effort by this Government, which is doing more than any previous government has done in the history of the Territory to provide services and capital works for the Territory and to stimulate industry. Much of the change reflects increased confidence, increased investment and increased effort by private citizens. Production has increased substantially, the most outstanding gain being in (lie case of mining, where the values of production, excluding uranium, which is a special case, increased from £6-43,000 in 1949 to £1,761,000 in 1955 and is likely to be very much higher, indeed, dramatically higher, this year.
The pastoral industry, based mainly on the production of beef cattle, is still the main industry of the Territory. FOr many years it had been stationary. In efforts to stimulate its development, the Government introduced legislation providing new long-term leases into which compulsory development conditions are being written. It has, in the past five years, spent £680,000 on increasing and improving the stock routes ; it has opened up new country for settlement, and it has greatly increased the facilities for research and extension work in animal industry problems and animal husbandry. The basic research, as well as the routine provision of scientific services by the Territory Animal Industry Branch, has been on a level never previously known in the remote parts of Australia. It is confidently expected that, within ten years from now, the Northern Territory will have doubled its pre-1949 output of beef. Mr. Wise, in his report, has pointed to further possibilities, through investigation of pasture and fodder plants; improvement and better management of cattle country; the introduction of breeds of cattle better suited to Northern Territory conditions; and better use of the wet areas of the northern coastal region which, at the present time, are mainly given over to the propagation of buffalo. So much for the pastoral industry.
Mining, also, is a long-established industry in the Territory. In the belief that there was still a vast untapped potential, the Government intensified the search for minerals by systematic geological and geophysical surveys carried out by the Bureau of Mineral Resources. It also assisted prospecting by private capital enterprise, by granting permit areas and making available the results of reconnaissance surveys made by the bureau. As honorable members are aware, the results have been most gratifying. There have been discoveries of large deposits of uranium, bauxite and copper. But the most pleasing feature is that interest has been so stimulated that there is now a wave of optimism regarding the mineral prospects, and capital is being invested by private companies, both from Australia and overseas, in the exploitation of known deposits and the search for further deposits. The outlook is most promising.
Water is vital to mining, and the Government, in its surveys, has not neglected the search for adequate supplies of good water. In addition, it has assisted in providing supplies to established fields. For example, at Tennant Creek, the main centre of mining in the Northern Territory, the absence of a good supply of water has for long severely limited the exploitation of the mineral fields that exist there. Recent research by the Northern Territory Director of Mines shows promise of producing, after research that has gone on for threequarters of a century, a source of supply of water that may revolutionize mining activity in this field.
Once again, Mr. Wise, in his report, outlines the prospects that exist for minerals of various kinds. He emphasizes the interest being displayed by American capital, and the need to encourage it. He also stresses the importance of such other factors as road construction as a means of opening up mining areas and assisting production. Much has already been done in road construction and the Government is now working out a comprehensive road construction and maintenance programme for the Territory, designed to improve, generally, the transport and communication facilities in the general interests of the development of the Territory. The needs of the mining industry will be given full consideration.
Then we come to agriculture. The development of a successful agricultural industry has always been a difficult problem in the Northern Territory. Over the years sporadic efforts were made. At different times, activity blossomed and just as quickly faded, the final outcome being that the Northern Territory still had no sustained agricultural industry. There were great difficulties, and still are great difficulties, in the way of agriculture. The difficulties lie, first, in the very limited area of land which is not arid or semi-arid; secondly, in the very short rainfall season of the wetter areas of the Territory; and thirdly, in the distance of those areas from the recognized markets in the heavily populated parts of Australia, and distance from the known trade routes of the world.
In tackling the agricultural development problem the Government laid down a three-point programme. The first aim was to delineate the regions of the Territory in which the conditions of soil and climate offered some possibility of agriculture, and to indicate, broadly, the soil types in these regions and the crops which might be worth trying. The second aim was to find out which crops gave best promise and to study the techniques required for their successful cultivation. The third aim was to study the economics of production and marketing of the selected crops with a view to determining the possibilities of commercial production under farming conditions.
The first part of that programme - that is, the delineation of the soil regions - was completed by the land research unit of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and the information is already published in the bulletins issued by the organization. The second part of the programme - that is, the study of crops and the techniques of growing them - also is well advanced. A number of research and experiment stations has been operating over the past few years, and agricultural scientists of the Northern Territory Administration, under the direction of the Administrator, who is himself well trained and skilled in tropical agriculture, are co-operating with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and this work is going on. Gradually, knowledge is being built up, and there is sufficient encouragement by way of results to justify a continuation of this line of investigation. It must be recognized, however, that this type of research is necessarily slow and laborious if all the attendant dangers of venturing without adequate information and without knowledge are to be avoided.
In his report, Mr. Wise has indicated some of the major crops which give promise of success in the Territory. He has obtained information on practices and experiences overseas which can be put to good use in the Government’s further work; and at the appropriate places he has rightly sounded a note of warning and has indicated lines of action which are worthy of consideration. I believe that all honorable members will find this report by the Administrator of the Northern Territory an informative and valuable document. I shall not attempt to summarize its contents, but I commend it to the study of honorable members as a real contribution to the work of northern development.
Apart from the matters covered in the report, Mr. Wise naturally gained many valuable impressions and much knowledge while he was overseas, and this will be applied in the future for the benefit of northern development, a task to which he has devoted so much of his working life. Needless to say, the knowledge he has gained on his visit overseas will better equip him to carry out his own responsibilities as Administrator of the Territory.
I lay on the table the following paper : -
Northern Territory - Problems of Development - Report by the Administrator on visit overseas (October, 1955-January, 1956). and move -
That the paper be printed.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Nelson) adjourned.
– I have received from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) an intimation that he desires to submit a definite matter of urgent public importance to the House for discussion, namely -
The actions of the Government, in association with the private banks, which are calculated to weaken the efficiency and destroy the value of the charter of the Commonwealth Trading Bank, namely, to pursue a monetary and banking policy directed to the greatest advantage of the people of Australia, the maintenance of full employment, and economic prosperity.
Is the proposal supported?
Eight honorable members having risen in support of the proposal,
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker-
Motion (by Sir ERIC Harrison) put -
That the business of the day be called on.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
– As the honorable member knows, the only ruling I am called upon to give is whether or not the proposal is in order.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Reference to Public WORKS Committee.
– I move-
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-15)33. the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public W orks for investigation and report on the need, suitability of the site, and proposed method of implementation, namely: - Erection of a community hospital at Canberra.
This work was previously referred to tha committee, but the examination had not been concluded prior to the dissolution of Parliament. I recommend, for the approval of the House, that the proposal be again referred to the committee for investigation and report. Plans of the proposal are tabled herewith.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Ways a.nd Means:
[3.37J. - I move -
That the charge imposed in pursuance of this resolution he in lieu of the charge imposed hy the Meat Export (Additional Charge) Act 1955.
– (1.) That for the purpose of making good the amount of any excess payment or excess payments made by the Board in respect of a year or years, a charge be imposed and be levied and paid on meat exported from the Commonwealth to the United Kingdom, being meat that was delivered into cold store or cool store on or after the date of commencement of the Act passed to give effect to this resolution and to which a rate of the charge is applicable under the succeeding provisions of this resolution. (2.) That the Minister be empowered, from time to time, by notice published in the Gazette. to fix a rate or rates of the charge in respect of such kinds or classes of meat as are specified in the notice. (3.) That a rate fixed by a notice referred to in the last preceding sub-paragraph -
This motion is for the purpose of giving effect to a recommendation from the Australian Meat Board that the basis of the charge imposed under the Meat Export (Additional Charge) Act 1955, be altered. Under that act the rate of charge applied was the rate applicable at the date of shipment. The proposal now is to apply the rate ruling at the time the meat is delivered into store. I ask the committee to agree to the motion, and I shall then introduce the bill to implement the proposal. The introduction of the bill will follow immediately.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion by (Mr. McMahon) put -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the remaining stages being passed without delay.
The House divided. (Me. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the resolution be adopted.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That Mr. McMahon and Sir Eric Harrison do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the resolution.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the billbe now read a first time.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adebmann.)
Majority . . . . 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
.- I move-
That the hill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to repeal existing legislation relating to an export charge on meat and to provide a new basis for collection of the charge. The bill should be read in conjunction with the Meat Agreement (Deficiency Payments) Bill.
The reason for the imposition of the charge was explained to honorable members last June when the original legislation was introduced. There was at that time a clear understanding between the then Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. McEwen) and the beef producer members of the Australian Meat Board, who spoke on behalf of the beef cattle industry, that an export charge would be imposed if payments made by the Australian Meat Board to support the prices paid for beef cattle for killing for export exceeded the amount due from the United Kingdom Government as deficiency payments under the fifteen year meat agreement.
As honorable members know, the fifteen year meat agreement between the Australian and United Kingdom Governments provides that, if average prices on the United Kingdom market under open trade conditions over a year for beef, lamb or mutton are lower than the minimum price provided under the agreement, the United Kingdom Government will make a lump sum deficiency payment to the Australian Government in respect of the class or classes of meat involved. The first year in which this arrangement operated commenced on the 1st October, 1954. In that year, prices were buoyant at first, but, in March, 1955, prices for Australian beef in the United Kingdom slumped and the price for cattle in those areas of Australia where large numbers are killed for export fell accordingly.
In anticipation of the earning of a substantial deficiency payment on beef from the United Kingdom Government, the Australian Meat Board recommended that a bounty be paid while the price for live-stock remained low. The Government approved the proposal, subject to the understanding referred to earlier that, if payments made to exporters were not balanced at the end of the season by receipts from the United Kingdom Government, an export charge during the following season would be imposed.
The legislation which implemented the arrangement comprised the Meat Agreement (Deficiency Payments) Act and the Meat Export (Additional Charge) Act. [Quorum formed.] Under this legislation, deficiency payments were made by the board on first and second quality ox, heifer and cow beef placed into store for export to the United Kingdom at the rate of lid. per lb. for the months of May to August, 1955, and Id. per lb. for the month of September, 1955. The total amount paid out, plus accrued interest, amounted to over £800,000. The effect of these payments was, as had been intended, to support cattle prices in export areas. For example, the price of beef at the Cannon Hill auction yards , in Brisbane, which had fallen to 117s. per 100 lb. in April, 1955, rose under the influence of the export payment to 122s. in May, 126s. in June and July, 132s. in August, 133s. in September, and then commenced to fall in October, when the payment was no longer operative.
Responsible producer opinion in Queensland, the State chiefly affected, is that the deficiency payment experiment was most successful. However, due to a revival of prices over the later months of the selling season the amount due from the United Kingdom at the end of the season amounted to only £152,000. An overpayment of about £650,000 will thus be seen to have occurred. A start has to be made to pay back this amount, which is owing to the Commonwealth Bank, from which the board, with the backing of a government guarantee, secured finance by way of advances for its 1955 payments. Early in January of this year, the board’s recommendation that an export charge of £d. per lb. be imposed for the month of February was approved. In February the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and I met a deputation from the board, and following that interview I approved that a minimum rate of J-d. per lb. be fixed for the whole period February to September of this year. We agreed that this rate would be reviewed during the present month in the light of current conditions.
I have not yet received a further recommendation from the board, hut two facts stand out. [Quorum formed.’] The first is that works prices in central Queensland are at present below the equivalent of the minimum price. The second is that beef prices in the United Kingdom are at present over 2d. sterling per lb. below the guaranteed level, which is approximately 115s. per 100 lb. at
Rockhampton, and that notional deficiency payments have been earned from the United Kingdom Government during each week of the present selling season.
At the .meeting with the deputation from the board, both producer and exporter members requested a variation in the method of calculating the export charge. As the Meat Export (Additional Charge) Act now stands, the charge is a straight export charge payable on meat of the kind and class fixed by the Minister on the recommendation of the board, which is exported to the United Kingdom during periods fixed by the Minister. The board now wishes the charge to be collected at the point of export to the United Kingdom, on meat which is placed into store during periods fixed by the Minister.
The bill now before the House gives effect to the board’s request. Exporters consider the amended basis will be more satisfactory, as it will relieve them of the obligation of paying, an export charge on meat produced from cattle bought before the rate of export charge was announced. Producers also welcome the change, inasmuch as they will know for certain when selling their cattle the rate of export charge the meat will incur, instead of having to forecast the time of export and the rate of charge, if any, that will be in force at that time.
The industry has been kept informed of the Government’s intentions regarding the imposition of the levy daring 1956, and provision is contained in clause 9 of the bill for the rates already announced to be effective, on the new “ into store “ basis, from the 1st February. This is in keeping with the board’s recommendation.
When the bill was being drafted, it was found more convenient to repeal the 1955 act and reframe it than to amend it. Apart from the differences between the 1955 act and the present bill that I have described, the other alterations are of a purely procedural nature. There are, however, complementary provisions to this bill in the Meat Agreement (Deficiency Payments) Bill, and these provisions will he explained when that bill is introduced.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Meat Agreement (Deficiency Payments) Act 1955.
The House divided. (Me. Deputy Speakers - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the bill be now read a first time.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– Is leave granted ?
Opposition Members. - No.
Leave not granted.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for the next sitting.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Fisheries Act 1952-1953.
The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. C. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill presented.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the bill be now read a first time.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr.c. F. Adermann.)
Majority . . . . 19
If any member has -
I ask for your ruling whether the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) should be dealt with underthat portion of the Standing’ Orders.
– Order ! I think I can readily rule on that point. This is a legitimate division.
Questionso resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) put -
That the second reading be made an order of the day for the next sitting.
The House divided. (Mb. Deputy Speaker - Mr.c. F. Adermann.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the8th March (vide page 688), on motion by Mr. Casey -
That the following paper be printed: -
.- In rising to continue this debate and to support the motion that the ministerial statement on international affairs be printed, I feel somewhat diffident about speaking again so soon after my first speech in this House. However, I consider that, having had a trip overseas fairly recently, I can emphasize a number of points which are relevant to the debate and which will be of interest to honorable members. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) last Thursday spoke at some length about his view that the Government’s policy on international affairs had changed during the last five years. He referred to a speech in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in 1951, referred to the danger of an international conflict within three years. He contrasted that speech with the present statement, in which the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) has declared that there is not much likelihood of a global war breaking out in the near future. The honorable member for Hindmarsh felt that the contrast was so great that the Government’s policy on international affairs was not in the best interests of the country. I would say rather that the fact that the Government’s outlook has been able to change to such a degree is proof that its policy has borne fruit and has been in the best interests of Australia, and that the action taken by Australia and its allies has been for the good of the Western world and of the world as a whole. I think it is obvious to all honorable members that the danger of war is very much less than it was five years ago and that, therefore, there has been a considerable lessening of tension. This is an effective demonstration of the success of Australia’s external affairs policy.
I shall deal first with the position in South-East Asia. It is fairly obvious that successful results have been obtained since the Geneva conference. The position in Laos and Cambodia is now very much better than it was a year ago. The emergency in Malaya is not nearly so worrying as it was at the time of the Geneva conference. The position in Thailand has been strengthened and the onrush of communism in South-East Asia has been stemmed. Finally, a similarly improved situation is seen in Indonesia and the Philippines. There, too, the policy of strength adopted by the Western world has borne fruit. This general improvement in South-East Asia has been achieved by the success of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and by the policies adopted by the Australian Government. I particularly noticed, during a visit to London two months ago, how public opinion in England had changed in three years. To-day, very many more people in Europe and the United Kingdom realize the importance of the situation in South-East Asia. I consider that no small part of the credit for this change of attitude can be given to the Australian Government and to Australia’s present representatives in London. The SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization and the Colombo plan have directed the attention of the Western world to the importanceof South-East Asia and to the ways in which the advance of international communism can be stemmed.
The Minister for External Affairs quite rightly said that there are two danger areas in the world to-day. The first is South-East Asia, and the second is the Middle East. Many speakers during this debate have referred to the importance of incidents that are taking place in the Middle East at the present time. 7 realize that those events are important, but I suggest that we must not allow our thoughts to be diverted too much towards the Middle East and away from the importance of South-East Asia. Those Powers that are provoking trouble in the Middle East at the present time are trying to divert our thoughts from South-East Asia. They realize the importanceof that part of the world and the dangers that would accrue to us if we allowed our thoughts to be diverted from our most important objective - the preservation of peace and the halting of the advance of communism in South-East Asia. I consider, therefore, that Australia’s policy should be a continuation of that which we have adopted for the last three years. We must emphasize overseas the import;ance of South-East Asia. We should do all we can to encourage the Seato powers to grow in confidence. Their strength grows every month that the organization continues in existence, and the growing strength of Seato is the one hope for tha preservation of peace in this part of the world.
I consider also that we should not allow ourselves to confuse the responsibilities of Seato with the responsibilities of the Colombo plan. One is a defence venture and the other is an economic venture, and the two should not be allowed to conflict with each other.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh has dealt with the need for granting selfgovernment to .Malaya and has stated that, in his opinion, this granting of self-government had not been done early enough in the country’s history. I should like to direct his attention to some of the dangers that have existed in other parts of the world where self-government has been introduced at too early a stage. At the moment I refer to the position in the southern part of the Sudan. I visited that part of the world recently, and I was interested to see how the standard of living of the Sudanese, under the protection of the British Commonwealth, was raised and how they were freed from many of the dangers with which they had been faced during centuries of their history. They came to believe that such a state of affairs would continue for a very long time, and they realized the value of the protection of the British Commonwealth. Suddenly, and with very little warning, that protection was removed from the tribes in the southern Sudan, and they are being exposed to all the dangers of the tribes in the northern part of that country, and are experiencing the same sort of troubles as they had before the British went there. As a result, thousands of the population are moving over the border into Kenya, seeking again the protection of the British Government. That is only one example of how the granting of self-government to a nation at too early a stage has revealed very many dangers which might well arise in other parts of the world.
The honorable member for Hindmarsh also suggested that the time had arrived for the adoption of new ideas in regard to the granting of self-government. I should like to direct his attention, and also that of other honorable members, to a debate that took place in the Kenya Legislative Council only three weeks ago, when the council debated the adoption of a report known as the Coutts report, which deals with methods for the selection of African representatives to the Legislative Council. In the report Mr. W. F. Coutts referred to the ideas of a man who has done a great deal to spread, in other parts of the world, information about Australia and its importance. I refer to Mr. Nevil Shute. The report reads -
I am also grateful to the District Commissioners for their assistance in preparing the list of qualifications and, of course, to Mr. Nevil Shute.
As a result of the debate on the motion for the adoption of this report, African members of the Legislative Council are now to .be elected on a system of multiple voting. Possibly for too long in this House we have been absorbed with the doctrine of the importance of equal votes. Is it not time that we realized that this doctrine has many dangers when applied to African and Asian peoples, who are not yet fully able to understand what they are doing? The system laid down in the Coutts reports provides an opportunity for members of such communities to obtain a vote under seven headings. They may reach a certain standard of education; they may attain to a certain level of income or to a certain holding of property; they may serve for five years in the armed forces of the Crown ; they may reach the grade of elder in their tribe ; they may attain to a degree of higher education which would entitle them to an extra vote, or they may obtain legislative experience in their own municipal councils; finally they may qualify by meritorious service or by the award of a civil or military decoration in the services of Her Majesty. Under this system members of this African assembly will be elected on the franchise of people who have some understanding of what they are doing. I believe that this principle of multiple voting, which is being introduced now in Kenya, will be of importance, not only in that colony, but also in very many other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It may even have some application to us in the future handling of New Guinea.
It is interesting to observe the manner in which, throughout the whole period of development of east and south Africa, the native population has gradually been educated to the stage where self-government is possible. New ideas are being given effect, and in considering what is taking place in Malaya or Singapore at this very moment we should not lose sight of events in east Africa to-day. The east Africans are experimenting with the problems of self-government as individual members of the British Commonwealth; thus there is developing an African state in Uganda, a colonial state in Kenya, and a multi-racial state in Tanganyika. In those parts of the world the peoples are learning to live together. They are realizing the importance of the mutual dependence, one on the other, of the white, Asian, and African races. The Africans realize how their standards of living may be improved by dependence on the white man, and they acknowledge that the white man must still be represented in any form of selfgovernment. Possibly the ideas which are now being formulated in Africa should be considered in relation to developments in other parts of the British Commonwealth.
So far in this debate on international affairs very few speakers have brought to light the importance of the British Commonwealth of Nations in the preservation of world peace. In my travels I witnessed tremendous changes of a fundamental nature which are taking place throughout the whole of the British Commonwealth. T have referred to developments in east and south Africa. New dominions are being formed in the Federation of Central Africa, Malaya, Singapore, the central Caribbean Federation, the Gold Coast, and Nigeria. I believe that Australia should take a keener interest in the formation of these new dominions. We should consider the appointment of high commissioners to these places, and new methods of co-ordination should be devised for bringing together the various dominions of the British Commonwealth. In many parts that I visited, the younger dominions were bringing to notice the way in which we had achieved our rights of self-government many years ago and how we could help them with the many problems that exist in their own areas to-day. The period is one in which the British Commonwealth of Nations is expanding, and I believe that we must think not only of ways in which we can coordinate with each other but possibly also of ways in which we can advance one day to the situation that was envisaged in the House of Commons while I was- there - the creation of a parliament of the British Commonwealth in which the representatives of all the member countries would meet and discuss problems of mutual interest.
.- The speech of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) was a good deal more refreshing than the contributions by most of his friends on the other side, although I differ from him on the point he made in connexion with voting in Africa. He is attempting to reduce democratic processes to a mathematical formula under which some person is able to stand above these human beings and say, “I am greater than thou - you are worth .5, you are worth 2.6, and I suppose some one else is worth 7rr- “. This only puts him about 100 years behind the thinking of this side of the House, but still about 200 years ahead of the contributions of most honorable members opposite.
One of the things that I should like to stress is the policy of hatred, despair and futility that has emanated from people on the other side, who should know better. We have only to peruse Hansard to find proof of this. On page after page, wc find expressions of hatred, threats of war, and threats about what they are going to do about war. Why, the tears of th:: last war are hardly dry, and tragedy is already being brought into the homes of Australians through the activities of the present Government in international affairs! That is one of the reasons why we, on this side, cannot possibly co-operate with honorable members opposite on a committee on international affairs. There is a fundamental difference between us.
Honorable member after honorable member has attempted to line us up with some sort of “ ism They say we are in line with communism, something else, and so on. They find it hard to define.
The policy of honorable members on this side is not communism or anything similar ; it is pure straight Australianism. It is the thinking of a party that has brought Australia forward to be one of the real democracies of the world in spite, I might say, of the activities of honorable members opposite, who have done everything possible to prevent it. One of the features of their speeches has been a predilection to turn to military terms when trying to describe how we should participate in international affairs. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) talks about retreat. Other honorable members have talked about Australia as the outpost of the West here in the East. In terms of geography, we are in the East. I think it has been well said that the nations of Europe can withdraw from the East, but that we cannot. Australia is here, and it is here to stay.
The policy advocated on the Australian Labour party side can be put this way: Australia is not the outpost of the West; it is the link between Europe and Asia because in our history, brief though it is, we can at least say that this nation has not participated in the conquering of others. It has not associated itself with the colonial exploits of the people of Europe, although most of us have sprung from there. We have a contribution to make as a free and independent nation. The charge we lay against the present Government is that it has failed to do that. It is fair to say that up to 1949, Australia was the leader of the middle group of powers. The facts of geography seem to escape most people. There is the best part of 2,600,000,000 people in the world. On the one side, apparently, we have the people of the United States of America, and on the other side, we have the people of Russia. These people, apparently, are poles apart. We have then a total of 360.0^0.000 people, one-eighth of the world’s population, holding seven-eighths of the world at bay through their own failure to agree. Our policy, then, is to take to the councils of the nations a free and independent voice, to advocate plain human consciousness and the acceptance of the principle that every human being, whether he be black or white or brown, no matter what his class or creed may be, is free and should be equal. These things cannot be defined on a mathematical basis.
This nation has something to offer. Over 100 years ago, when the slave ships of America were harrying the coast of Africa and carrying cargo after cargo of black people for sale in America, when the serfs of Russia were kept at their jobs with the knout, a group of men in New South Wales massacred a small tribe of Australian natives. The Governor of the time viewed this crime with the sort of horror that we would, and those men were tried and ultimately hanged. There was an outcry at this punishment because, it was said, “After all, they are only black people who have been massacred”. But the point is that 100 years ago, we were laying down the basis of a different sort of civilisation. After all, most of the people who came here came because the features of Europe did not appeal to them. They came here and established this nation, based on the freedom and equality of human beings, and I fail to see how this Government in any way carried that principle and that spirit into the councils of the nations.
Under the regime of Labour, when the present leader of this party (Dr. Evatt) was our spokesman in international affairs, we did carry that spirit to those councils, and we were treated as a nation. The small nations spoke of us with respect. Ten years ago, I listened to a broadcast from the radio of Indonesia. At that time, Indonesia was beset by all sorts of problems, and its people were pleading with, and appealing to, the people of Australia for help. They looked to us for leadership. In the last five or six years, nobody has appealed to us for help in the councils of the nations; they have been telling us what to do. We have become simply another vote in the party politics of the nations.
I believe it is possible for this nation to point a very sound and independent way. Power politics has not solved anything. The history of the human race over the past 6,000 years shows that no military occupation has ever solved problems; on the contrary, it has only created them. I regret to say that our participation in Malaya is doing just this. We have accepted the shibboleths and prejudices of European civilization and other conquering nations, and we are taking our part in them. I think that despite any military significance whatsoever of our endeavours there, it is a bad move on the part of this nation. Between 1914 and 1918, hundreds of thousands of Australians leapt to arms. Between 1939 and 1945, nearly 1,000,000 did the same thing. Records show us that very few nations, even with conscription, were able to put into the field the same musterings of strength as this nation was able to do on a voluntary basis.
– The highest ratio.
– Yes, the highest ratio. This was possible because the people of Australia stood side by side and mobilized every resource they had to fight against the conquerors and for the people’s freedom. We had little knowledge of the people of Poland as individuals; we knew so few of them; and the same applied to Belgium. But there was a principle at stake. It is significant that we now find it difficult to fill our armies for overseas service. The reason is that the people of this country are not confident that our exploits in Malaya or anywhere else are either militarily or politically necessary. The conquering spirit that has moved nations in international affairs for thousands of years, has caused untold misery. We should stand against that sort of thing and withdraw our troops from Malaya, on that premise alone. The order for withdrawal should be made, too, on the military ground, that they have little contribution to make. They number only 1,400 Australians, although Australia’s record stands without parallel. There are men in this chamber who have shown distinguished valour in the field, but a mere 1,400 men can only make one contribution to Malaya. That contribution is sacrifice, for they occupy only a small place in that 6,000,000 square miles of country. They certainly mean nothing amongst 1,000,000,000 people.
For those reasons, the declared policy of this party that the troops should be withdrawn from Malaya is not based on a policy of isolationism; it is based on the realization by this party of where Australia stands in the councils of the nations. In those circumstances, the strictures of honorable members opposite, who continually charge us with being isolationists who would sacrifice the defences of this nation, must fall to the ground. I shall not repeat all the history of the Labour party’s contribution to the defence of this nation, but I think it is significant that in the two wars the soldier’s vote has been cast strongly in favour of the Labour party. It is almost fair to say that the interests represented by honorable members opposite might be able to start wars, but the supporters of the Labour party fight them. These are things which we want to bring into this debate and which we want the people of Australia to face up to.
More significant still is the statement in the paper tabled by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) that there is not much likelihood of a global nuclear war breaking out in the early future. Well then, what is this paper all about? It consists of page after page about defence, strength in unity and cooperation, what we must do, the defence of this and the defence of that. Atom bombs must be exploded ; we must carry out more experiments. Is not one atom bomb as good as another ? What difference will it make whether a bomb five times or twice as big is dropped, whether it blows up 150,000 people instead of 100,000? Newspaper reports tell us clearly that both the United States of America and the United Kingdom have adequate stocks of atom bombs ; and it is presumed that the people behind the iron curtain also have adequatestocks. Any further excursions into bomb-bursting will be purely to satisfy the whims of scientists who, like boys with new toys, like to see how big an- explosion and noise they can make. The Labour party opposes the continued use of this continent for atom experiments. There are plenty of avenues for the peaceful use of atomic power which could be investigated.
I should like to revert to what the Government’s policy reduced us to as a nation. “We step into the councils of the nations, again merely as a vote in party politics. One party, apparently, we must support is the United States. We on this side of the House are not anti-American. Indeed, I think we have a much closer affinity with that nation than has any other nation. But at least one doctrine we can adopt is that when friends sit down together they should respect each other, speak as equals and accept no master’s voice. But we are placed in the position of having to support the nation at present in command in Formosa - Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalists. Some honorable members opposite seem to think that if we recognize red China we must necessarily abandon Formosa. I cannot see the logic of that argument. It seems to me that there is not necessarily a corollary between the abandonment of Formosa and the simple recognition of China and its admission to the United Nations. The Labour party does not propose to abandon anybody, but when honorable members opposite stand up and preach, proclaim, and speak so fondly about Formosa they should remember that they are standing for people whom they would not recognize or tolerate if they were running the Government of this country. As far back as 1945, the following report was published : -
Dissatisfaction with Chinese administration - Chinese troops and police fired on unarmed crowds - In Takao and Pintung, where unarmed Formosians had taken over the administration peacefully, Chinese troops had engaged in indiscriminate shooting and executions, estimated at several thousands killed and executed.
The Government said nothing about those things. It has just trailed along, following the people who support such governments. The Labour party will not stand silent; whether it is hangings in Kenya, curfews in Cyprus, shootings or extortion or anything else in Formosa, we are against it. We want a free and independent voice among the nations of the world; and we do not think that that voice is necessarily valued by weight in battleships. Rather, ‘it is based on the spirit of goodwill. Honorable members opposite have not brought that spirit into this debate. They have spoken in airy terms of many things. They have spoken of the flow of communism; but I have pointed out that they are advocating a policy which has failed for 6,000 years to stop this sort of thing. I see no comprehensive policy, and no indication that we have anything to offer against what is called the flood-tide of communism through South-East Asia. I think the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) put the matter probably much better than I can possibly do. It is a battle for men’s minds. Other honorable members on this side of the House, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Glyde Cameron) and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) pointed out the economic nature of this battle.. That is the contribution of the Labourparty. We shall have to find some way into the hearts of these people ; we must find again the goodwill which was apparent during the years of the war, the goodwill which made Australia’s namerespected in South-East Asia.
We cannot be party to the military exploits of the last few years. There are a number of significant points that should follow to any firm Australian on these matters. Our few troops have been sent here and there. In the last two wars we surrendered to other people the command of our troops until the last moment. By the placing of a small group of troops in Malaya and Korea and the sending of small squadrons of this and that to other places, Australian command has been dissipated. During World War 1. it took three or four years before finally the Australian Imperial Forces were brought under a unified Australian Imperial Forces command. In World War II. a tussle had to be waged against people who wished to keep some of our troops in the Middle East and bring some back to Australia. This is a dissipation of our responsibility. Wherever Australian troops are stationed they should be under Australian command. That is one of the military aspects of foreign policy which seems to be continually neglected.
In conclusion, let me say that an examination of the policy pronouncement by the Minister discloses that it is against the party line advocated by some honorable members opposite who deny that it is possible to have co-existence. Their attitude is one of despair. The Government says frankly in this document that there is nothing that we have offered so far which can prevent the spread of communism. So, it sends 1,400 troops to Malaya. The Labor party believes that military action only creates problems; it does not solve them. We believe that it produces a reaction of hatred and ill-will which will take generations to fade away. We believe that party politics have no place in the deliberations of the United Nations. We simply accept the dignity, the right and equality of every human being; and we say that every person, no matter what his race or creed, has a right to be treated with all respect. We believe that nations should be treated with all respect, that the half-million Cypriots, on that little island which has been embattled for thousands of years, have every right to rule themselves and decide their own destiny. We believe, from the attitude of the British Government in Cyprus, that the British people are flying in the face of every lesson that civilization should have taught them. The British Government and the British Parliament have in the past made some of the greatest contributions to human development. They abolished slavery; they smashed the power of kings, and, quite recently, the British Parliament - a lesson that could be learnt by honorable members opposite - voted to abolish capital punishment. But in this matter they can be quite liberal at home and very illiberal abroad.
I refer honorable members to item 6 in the Labor party’s declaration of foreign policy -
The Labor party advocates generous assistance by Australia to Asian peoples suffering from poverty, disease and lack of educational facilities.
That is only a part of our task. The Asian people also demand, in accordance with the United Nations’ Charter, the end of colonialism whenever and wherever the people are fitted for selfgovernment. Even more so, Asians rightly demand a recognition of the dignity and self-respect of Asian people. Unless all these principles are fully acknowledged the Western nations will find it impossible to achieve that real cooperation with Asia which is basic to the maintenance of peace. If we were Asians looking at the history of European intervention, we would say, “Wherever a European steps it is time for others to look out. For 300 years, we have not been able to sit in our wurlie in Arnhem Land or count our beads in a monastery in Tibet without some European coming along to sell us a watch, measure our head or, perhaps, to rule over us and exploit us “. I think that the situation can be summed up briefly in Pitt’s famous words during the American War of Independence. He said on that occasion -
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms - never ! never ! never !
I suggest that every person in Malaya, and every man of feeling in Cyprus, must feel exactly the same way.
– Listening to this debate from the touch-line - if I may be permitted to so refer colloquially to the front benches - is a new experience for me, but it confirms my view that there is an increasing number of honorable members on both sides of the House who have applied themselves, or who are applying themselves to a study of international questions, and that can only be described as an excellent state of affairs. I suppose that there has always been a responsibility on the members of this House, and of the State Houses which preceded it before federation, to attempt to understand foreign affairs, but it has not always been accepted by honorable members opposite, and I regret to say that there are signs that it is not being accepted to-day. I can only deplore such an attitude.
There was a time when that attitude might have been pardonable. For the first 100 years of our political and social history, we were a comparatively new component of the great British Empire, and the foreign policy of the British Empire was, to the King’s men and the Queen’s men, immutable, although it is to be confessed that, even in those far-off days, as to-day, there were those who found satisfaction in hating the English. It has always been politically profitable, in some quarters, to hate the English, and the English have never seemed to mind. But during the last 55 years - it was 55 years ago that the sovereign States of this country agreed to be federated - the political and social sequence of events, over which we then had little or no control, has wrought fundamental changes, decade by decade.
The first decade saw the end of the South African war, and the beginning of all the political perplexities which were the aftermath of that war. The second decade saw the start of World War I., and the House will .perhaps note that I make no mention of the end of that war. The third decade forced upon us - whether we liked it or not - international responsibilities through the League of Nations that divorced us to some degree from the identical foreign policy of the Mother Country, the United Kingdom. The fourth decade thrust us into World War II., and again, I make no mention of the end of that war. The fifth decade caused us to accept responsibilities under the United Nations organization, shifted our centre of gravity geographically from Europe to South-East Asia, left us peculiarly vulnerable to new pressures in world politics, and demanded among reputable people the devising of our own foreign policy which, by the grace of God and the mandate of the Australian people is, under this Government, consistent with that of the United Kingdom. That is our history; we have no other history.
During the last four years of World War II., and the first four years of the post-war period, this National Parliament was rarely permitted to discuss international affairs. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), who was then Minister for External Affairs in the Labour Government, reserved the right to go abroad at frequent intervals as the champion of small nations, accompanied, I regret to say, by certain dubious political characters. It was they who devised the foreign policy of the socialist governments that were led by John Curtin and T. B. Chifley. It was the right honorable gentleman - and he alone - who enunciated that policy from time to time in this place, and it was he who resisted and resented any and every public discussion on the question of foreign affairs, either in this place or in any other place.
– That is quite untrue.
– It is to the everlasting credit of the present Government - as I shall prove - that, in the process of reconstruction - which is inevitable after a socialist government anywhere has run its course - the Department of External Affairs was cleansed, and a Foreign Affairs Committee was set up for the first time in our history, so that members of political parties appointed to it could keep themselves informed on foreign affairs, in the hope that the foreign policy of this country would never again be the exclusive responsibility of any one man or the exclusive responsibility of any one group of mem. It was hoped, that the socialist party would nominate representatives for appointment to that committee. To my certain knowledge, there were those within the Labour party - and there are members of the Labour party to-day - who were both eager and willing to be nominated and appointed to the committee, but that was expressly forbidden by the right honorable the leader of the socialist party, and by the changing policy of the socialist party itself. That, I remind the House, is no over-statement. It is accurate in every particular. The proof of it is to be found in the fact that, as soon as the Opposition was shattered by its own internecine strife, the Anti-Communist Labour party joined the Foreign Affairs Committee, and discharged its democratic duties unfettered by the Leader of the Opposition. That is our own contemporary history. At the last general election, as the House has cause to know, the Anti-Communist Labour party was cut to pieces by the right honorable gentleman, with - up to this point - one single exception. I regret that I must confine myself to saying that he is the sole survivor for the time being in another place, but nothing will prevent me from saying that he is, by his own act, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee to-day, and that he is discharging his democratic responsibilities to the people whom he represents.
It has been the invariable practice of the Minister for External Affairs in the present Government, which has been returned to office with an overwhelming majority for the fourth time in the last six. years, to submit to the House at regular intervals considered statements on foreign affairs. These statements have a dual purpose, apart altogether from their informative value. They are designed to inform the House on current events and events that are likely to take place in other parts of the world, and to induce and encourage public discussion in this place among members of all political parties. It is superfluous for me to 3ay that these statements have always been singularly successful. They have informed members of this House who wanted to be informed; they have indicated what was likely to happen in other parts of the world; and they have excited public discussion among those who accept their full democratic responsibilities. That is the measure of the interest of honorable members in a subject that is vital to us in this part of the world, vital to our free and friendly neighbours throughout the world, and vital to the governments of the enslaved countries, although the people of those unhappy countries are never likely to know the attitude of the Parliament and the people of this country.
From both sides of the House we have heard excellent speeches that might lead us to suppose that honorable members generally have accepted the responsibility to reach their own decisions on the merits of the Government’s foreign policy which, after a great amount of travail, has won back the admiration of our friends throughout the free world and has restored the respect of our enemies in the enslaved world. But from a few honorable members opposite we have heard the traditional whinings and recriminations - the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) indulged in such whinings and recriminations - that can be condensed within the limits of three words - “ blame the British Those three words are the theme of the foreign policy of honorable members opposite. They blame the British for everything that has happened over the last 300 years; they blame the British for everything that is happening to-day; and they blame our own kith and kin for everything that is likely to happen throughout the world.
I remind honorable members opposite that the world was a very old place for countless thousands of years before the British rose to ascendancy, but that from that very moment the trend of human history has been changed and the process has continued to operate. It was the British tories, with all their faults, who, as long ago as 1215, conceived Magna Carta, which established the supremacy of the law ‘ and guaranteed rights and privileges to the lowly subjects of the realm for the first time in human history. Members of the Opposition have forgotten all that. It was the British tories who sailed the seven seas and opened the gates of opportunity to all mankind. It was the British tories who abolished slavery and who, with all their faults, introduced the first Bill of Rights, which gave an altogether new conception of human dignity. It was the British tories, with all their faults, who introduced the first factory acts and who, by that legislative process, abolished child labour. It was the British tories who introduced social service schemes for the first time in human history, and it was the British tories - and this is most important - who coined the phrase “ self-determination “ to express political independence and put it into practical and political effect in our own country and in a great many other parts of the world. I have no great objection to the old members of the Opposition regurgitating their political hatreds, but I must confess to a feeling of despair when, in this allegedly enlightened age and generation, I hear the younger members of the socialist party repeating these old, worn out, shabby shibboleths.
May I be permitted to remind honorable members that, but for much maligned British colonialism, there would have been no effective occupation and development by British people of this great and glorious country and that, but for British imperialism, with all its faults and frailties, no other power on earth could have given to us and to those who went before us, 168 years of political, social and economic progress in a world that has been constantly plunged into war whenever the’ cupidity of one country for another has been excited? All that has been forgotten by some members of the Opposition. But for much maligned
British, colonialism which, after all, can be accurately described as being the awakening of the modern world, there would have been no United States of America - that citadel of western civilization - and no Canada, as we know it to-day, where people of a variety of nationalities who speak a variety of languages owe allegiance to the one crown. Without British imperialism, there could have been no Union of South Africa with all its faults, no federation of the Central States of Africa, no self-governing provinces in East and West Africa, no African protectorates as we know them, and no African establishments as they, emerged from a primitive state under the tutelage of the British Crown. They are matters of fundamental importance, but they are forgotten by members of the Opposition in order to gain a spurious and purely temporary political advantage.
British imperialism, with all its excesses and abuses, human nature being what it is - and, God knows, in this place we have had any number of demonstrations of human nature at its worst - gave to all India - and I speak in the sub.contintental sense of the term - nearly 200 years of comparative peace during 2,000 years of turbulent and blood-drenched history. Is that not a very great achievement by people of British stock ? Is that not a matter of great importance? Is any honorable member prepared to say that, with the departure of the British from the sub-continent of India, all the troubles of India and Pakistan are at an end, that Ceylon is safe and secure, that Kashmir is not a question mark on the face of the earth, and that the problem of Goa has been resolved for all time ? The same kind of story, if accuracy is of any importance, can be told of Burma, Malaya and Singapore and a great many other parts of the world. Wherever British people have endeavoured to exert an influence it has fundamentally been intended as an influence for good. No one has done more for mankind in the arrangement of human affairs than have British communities for succeeding generations in our immediate past.
– Say something about Australia.
– I am coming to Australia, and the honorable member will not like it when I do so. It was the British who wrested the Holy Land from the Turks after 400 years of Turkish occupation. It was the British who promulgated the Balfour declaration, and it was that declaration that, rightly or wrongly, made it possible for the United Nations to establish modern Israel.
– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.
Sitting suspended from 5.46 to 8 p-m.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Middle East is of permanent, decisive interest to the Soviet Union. There are 3,731,000 square miles of land there, and 100,000,000 people. From the Middle East corner 90 per cent, of the oil used by Western Europe and three-quarters of the oil used by Britain. It is the junction of continents. It is recognized that, in the event of war, both sides could completely cut one another off from the oil of the Middle East - if by both sides we mean the Soviet Hoc and the Western bloc. But as Molotov explained to Hitler and Ribbentrop in 1940, it is an important base for possible attack on the Soviet Union. In 1955, Molotov asked the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. MacMillan, at the Geneva conference, where it was written that the Middle East had to be purely a Western reserve, and why should not Russia be able to buy influence there in the same way as the West with arms.
It interests me that we do have in this country a strong tendency to believe that, by sending arms to certain countries and by sending economic aid to certain countries, we have the answer to communism in those areas. We are faced to-day, in the Middle East, with a situation which, if I have time, I shall itemize, and in which the Soviet Union itself is supplying arms and economic aid on a very large scale. It is extremely doubtful whether the Soviet believes that that, in itself, is an answer to communism, unless we assume that the Soviet Union itself is trying to provide the answer to communism, which seems unlikely.
I wish to speak, in particular, of the ideological connexions of the Middle East, because the Arab world has deep connexions with the whole of the Moslem world; and the Arab world has deep connexions with Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria; and the Arab world has connexions with the whole of - Africa, since the attention of Africa is focused on the northern part of its own continent. It seems to me that a factor we underestimate is how small, in point of numbers, is the group of people who in these parts of the world and in many colonial areas can decisively influence the turn of events. We are used to having this presented to us negatively. Let us come out of this sphere altogether and take, as an example, British Guiana.
Two years ago, there was a crisis in Guiana. Dr. Jagan, an Indian married to a European woman who was a Communist, had become the Chief Minister of British Guiana. The Colonial Secretary, describing in a white paper the crisis which developed, traced it to five people, and ultimately to one person, Mrs. Jagan, operating on a situation of poverty among sugar workers. Dr. Jagan, in one of his speeches, showed that he thought on a global scale, and he tried to influence global opinion when he said this in his election speech -
In Kenya the Africans are not only killing white men who took away their land but are killing their own people who turned stooges and that should be done with stooges here.
His words went on wings into Africa, and his words were incitement to violence within British Guiana. The ideology upon which he was working was that of Lenin, who described the dictatorship of the proletariat as being power, gained and maintained by violence - power unlimited by any laws. That is requoted in a recent issue of the Soviet Encyclopaedia. It is true that a negative ideology like communism, operating in these circumstances, can turn on very few people. It is not too much to say that Mrs. Jagan caused the British to move the aircraft carrier Implacable, the cruiser Superb, two destroyers, the Welch Fusiliers and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and that she caused them to postpone self-government in British
Guiana and suspend the Constitution. lt is equally true that the answer in those areas may turn on a very few people. Take Nigeria, for instance. Nigeria, with 33,000,000 people, has the largest population in Africa. It has 17,000,000 Moslems with close connexions with the Arab world. In 1949, Dr. Namdi Azikiwe, who is now the Prime Minister of Eastern Nigeria, went to London. Elspeth Huxley, who is a leading authority among British writers on Africa, in a recent article, wondered what it was that had changed this man from an unbalanced nationalist into the most constructive force in western Africa. The story is an interesting one:
In 1949, as I have said, Dr. Namdi Azikiwe went to London. He had been a nationalist leader for twenty years and he spoke to the Congress of Peoples against imperialism. He intended to visit Prague and Moscow. When he arrived in London, he was greeted by the Daily Express, which published his photograph on the front page with the words “ Black Mischief “ underneath it. The Communists went to him very promptly, as they were battling to win that man’s mind, because they realized how much turned on him, and they said, “ This is what the British think of you - ‘ Black Mischief ‘.” He was also met by a docker and a Nigerian student. This Nigerian student had found an answer to hate. The point about a philosophy of class war is that it continues to operate if it assumes that the people in a conflict have a hatred between themselves which is permanent and static. If they find an answer to hatred, then they cannot be used.
Dr. Azikiwe was met by this Nigerian student, who had come to realize that bitterness and hatred were weapons in the hands of people who were not at all concerned about the fate of Nigeria but who wished to create a crisis or a situation of tension in Nigeria which could be used, when it came to bloodshed, to heighten racial tension throughout Africa, and which could be used in Asia. Dr. Azikiwe was also met by people with a positive idea. He was received in the home of Dr. Frank Buchman in London, and he said that this was the first time that he had ever been received in an English home and treated as an equal. He began to see the possibilities of a new relationship -with the British which, he thought, would lead to a positive answer in Nigeria without a bloodbath.
He cancelled his intended visit to Prague and Moscow, and he went instead to Caux, the world head-quarters of Moral Rearmament in Switzerland. There, he said, “I have found an island of peace in a sea of discord and I recognize it is not a question of whether Britain has been right or Nigeria has been right, but of what is right for Nigeria ; and that I was being used by people who were not at all concerned about the settlement of the crisis in Nigeria, but who were using the crisis in Nigeria “.
He had a close friend whom I met when I was abroad, Nelson Uko, who is the leader of the 23,000 ex-servicemen of Nigeria, many of whom were secretly armed. They awaited a signal from Azikiwe to launch a campaign in Nigeria against the Europeans, with a view to their extermination. The signal never came. Azikiwe, on returning to Nigeria, asked to meet his leading political opponents, and he brought to them ‘this new idea, a new sanity. He himself says that, but for Moral Rearmament, there would have been Mau Mau in Nigeria. Ti; was not that he became any less determined for Nigeria’s self-government; it was that he realized that the people who wished to provoke a crisis of bloodshed were not interested in Nigerian selfgovernment. They were interested in the ideological effects of a crisis throughout the world. A new atmosphere came into the negotiations, beginning on the Nigerian side. The process of Nigerian self-government, instead of being retarded, was immensely accelerated, and Nigeria obtains self-government this year. The visit of Her Majesty the Queen to that area is intended to signalize the new status of Nigeria.
These countries have problems of political immaturity, and they have great problems of corruption. People can exploit their bitterness without their perceiving that it is being exploited. But they have also - and it is the thing that has shaken me about African chieftains - a great natural simplicity and a great natural dignity. When they see an answer they move very swiftly to it.
Take Tunisia, for instance. This is also a country with important ideological connexions throughout the Moslem world. A crisis provoked in Tunisia, Morocco, or Algeria could be used as a wedge to detach Pakistan from the Baghdad pact, or to put out propaganda against the Baghdad pact, or Pakistan’s association with the Western Powers. Tunisia is an area which interests Pakistan very much indeed, basically because of the kind of world solidarity of Islam. I wish to quote the following extract from the Pakistan Standard of the 9th October, 1954:-
Behind the scenes of the new FrancoTunisian agreement lies a story that was indicated in a newspaper interview recently by Tunisia’s new Premier, Tahar ben Ammar. The recognition of the “ internal autonomy of the Tunisian state without reservation “ pledged by the new Prime Minister of France, Pierre Mendes-France, has gone some of the distance in meeting the demands of the Tunisians for self-government. The recent release from house arrest of Habile Bourguiba, the head of the Neo-Destour party-
The Nationalist party of Tunisia - would appear to be a sign of further sincerity on the part of the French, lt is clear, however, that the success of these moves depends on healing the bitterness and prejudice of past decades. An example of the kind of statesmanship needed in this situation has been given by one of the men who now holds a cabinet post in the new Tunisian government. A year ago Masmoudi-
Whose Cabinet position is described - was at Caux with Abed Mzali, assistant director of public education in Tunisia. Masmoudi, who was at the time representative of Neo-Destour in Paris, arrived with all the burning hatred of a North African Nationalist.
In the Caux Assembly he met a number of Frenchmen who were honest about the mistakes of their country. The article continued -
This was a factor ho had not met before anil it produced a profound transformation in his own heart. During the past winter, Masmoudi proclaimed his new-found ideology to the leaders of France individually and in public meetings throughout the country. He became a trusted friend of many French people.
I might mention that one of those people was Pierre Mendes-France, whom he accompanied to Tunisia. The article went on -
Masmoudi returned to Tunisia and spoke in meetings all over the country. Addressing a huge gathering in his home town of Sousse, he said that the time had come to forget the past and to reconstruct the country - with the French. As Sabeh, the official paper of the Neo-Destour Party, wrote of Moral Rearmament recently - “ Only as a man rediscovers and lives moral values, and only as his awakened conscience equips him to mould events rather than to he moulded hy them, will the history of our country be transformed.
He was a major factor in the negotiations between the Tunisian Cabinet and the French, in which Tunisia moved a long way closer to self-government, in an atmosphere of sanity.
I have not very much time at my disposal, but there is, in the second last issue of Current Notes on International Affairs, this interesting statement about the changed situation in Morocco -
The political situation in Morocco was unexpectedly transformed on the 25th October when El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakesh after a visit to the members of the Throne Council in Rabat, issued a statement in ‘which he reiterated his refusal to recognize the Throne Council but added that he supported the restoration of Ben Yous3ef.
The exiling of Ben Youssef by France had created a bitterness among Moroccans who were loyal to the Sultan, and that had been used to create a situation which led to people being literally cut to pieces in the streets of Morocco. It was a crisis of such a nature that one might expect that the races which had been involved in it would never wish to look at one another or to speak to one another again. Those who were behind that strategy desired ultimately to produce exactly that situation.
Behind the story of El Glaoui’s change of front is a similar story which I have not time to outline, but which is most fascinating. It is the story of a man seeing hatred being used against his own country, when he thought it was a weapon for his own country. That brought the Answer. The important thing about this, though it comes through persons, is its ideological effect. That Nigeria has proceeded to self-government in a state of sanity is something that gives hope to every African who is working for selfgovernment in other parts of Africa. It moves him towards the position where he will not be useful in Communist strategies of hate, because he can see there is another road. The ideological importance of these events in Tunisia and Morocco is shown by the fact that it is in organs of the leading Pakistan press, which I have been quoting, that one sees the closest attention being paid to them.
The point is that an ideology has to be judged by what it mobilizes. An ideology of class war depends upon people nursing and retaining hatred. The one imponderable factor in such an ideology is that people meet an ideology which causes them to lose their hatred, and it is thai ideology that I have been discussing this evening.
.- I agree with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) in the emphasis that he has placed upon the psychological factor in the clash of ideologies and the struggle which divides and distracts the modern world. If moral rearmament can achieve some purpose in evoking the goodness in man, then all will wish it well. My only criticism of what the honorable member has said is that perhaps, in his emphasis upon one factor, he has entirely overlooked others. For example, military and economic matters cannot be neglected, and it may be, perhaps, that moral rearmament is not the only aspect of the psychological war. Before I conclude my remarks I should like to have the opportunity to say something about this ideological aspect.
Meanwhile, I turn to the statement that was made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. R. G. Casey). He began with a review of the sombre menace of communism to the “Western world and to this country. Even at the risk of some repetition, something more should be said about this. After World War II., Russia extended its boundaries beyond the dreams of any tyrant in history. It marched for thousands of miles - west, north and south into Europe, and into the far extremity of Asia. It went into the Baltic States - Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and into central Europe - Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. It went into the very heart of central Europe, to eastern Germany, into the Balkans, Rumania, Bulgaria and Albania; then far east to the Asian continent. It marched into outer Mongolia and Manchuria; it annexed Port Arthur, Dai r en,
South Sakhalin, the Kurile Islands, and finally, gained the vast masses of China. From there its pathway thrust out into Korea, Indo-China, Malaya and the Middle East, and as the honorable member for Fremantle has said, it got behind the shield set up by the Baghdad pact in the northern tier and is now spreading abroad troubles, as from Pandora’s Box, in Egypt, Transjordan and North Africa. In most of the important countries in Europe, particularly France and Italy. Communist policy has made great strides. In every part of the world, in almost every factory and place wherever a few workers are gathered together, saboteurs are to be found.
This situation may appear to most people to pose a very grave threat to us. “Within the last three weeks a great congress of the Communist parties has been held, and the Communists appear to have adopted a “ new look “. That party, now secure in the possession of vast territories of formerly free peoples, comprising no fewer than 900,000,000 of the world’s population, can afford to switch in tactics if not in ultimate strategy, from those it has been pursuing ever since it began its campaign. Faced with the threat of nuclear retaliation it may not, at this time - unless it finds some counter to nuclear attack - press on to total war, but it is perfectly clear, from all that has been said at the congress, that the Communist party proposes a policy of subversion, and intends to follow all other means, short of those that might provoke nuclear war, to expand its territories and influence. As the Minister has said, we must build up our conventional armaments as well as retain our means of retaliation by way of hydrogen bombs, to meet the threat of “ little “ wars.
So far as our parliamentary democracy is concerned, the call has gone out for popular fronts with social democratic parties. And we must watch closely the economic aid which Russia may offer to some of the more backward countries which it seeks to win. We must observe the continued exploitation of nationalism and poverty in all parts of the world. “ Co-existence “ means nothing else than the pursuit by all means short of nuclear war of firm objectives which have been laid down over the years. That is the only sensible reading of the situation as it now is. The Minister has outlined measures which, in the circumstances, in common with our allies, we must take, and he has, in the first place, laid emphasis on the military aspect; that is, the need to hold our position in regard to the means of nuclear retaliation. We must also build up our conventional armaments, because we shall have to deal with the small wars which have already been started by Communists and may be started again, but which cannot be dealt with by massive nuclear retaliation. We have to consolidate our alliances - Nato, Seato, the Baghdad pact, and so on. Some honorable members opposite say that we should disregard the military side of our preparedness. I have not time to say a great deal about this, but I point to one fact only: If our military preparedness is of no advantage to us, why has the Communist world been at such pains, by every means, to defeat our military preparations ? We have done what we can on the economic front through the Colombo plan and through the United Nations, because we know that in misery and poverty are found the ready soil in which the seeds of communism thrive. We have played our part as Australians in that aspect of our defence.
I now return to the matter rightly raised and emphasized by the honorable member for Fremantle concerning the war of ideas. I do not use the term “moral rearmament” in the technical sense that the honorable member used it, but I am convinced that moral rearmament begins at home. I have pointed to the fact that the new Communist line is to exploit its advantages within the parliamentary system - for the time being to pretend that revolution is not necessary in order to achieve Communist objectives in any country. I turn, therefore, to Parliament itself. If we are not convinced of the justice of our cause in this very Parliament how, indeed, shall we stand? Already, the wooden horse has been dragged into our midst by the Communists, and it has galloped through the pages of Hansard in the course of this debate. We must start a campaign of moral rearmament among our own people. We must be convinced of the justice of our cause. It must be proclaimed in the pubs, the clubs, and the pulpit, the press, the streets, the homes, the cities and the open spaces of this country - wherever Australians come together. We must make sure that they understand the nature of this struggle, and are convinced of the justice of their cause.
The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), in criticizing the Minister’s statement, adopted two arguments. First of all, he said that the statement contained no hope of peace, and he urged that peace should be sought by conference - that we should sit around the table and talk as man to man with these people who have been waging an unremitting war against us - hot and cold - down through the years. Secondly, he suggested that we must put our faith in the United Nations organization. We must spurn the “ reeking tube and iron shard “. We must not look to military alliances. Does he forget the history of our conferences with the Russians at Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam, Panmunjon and Geneva? Have they ever made a single concession at any conference that we have ever held with them? Does he forget that it was only because of the temporary absence of the Russians from the Security Council of the United Nations at the time of Korea - and therefore their inability to impose a veto - that the United Nations was able to take any action in that case? It is quite plain that the United Nations can never act in that way again, for the Russians will never again fail to impose their veto in such circumstances.
The honorable member knows all that. The fundamental error and fallacy in the thinking of the democracies, and in the thinking to which I have just made reference, is the belief that Communists aru reasonable, tolerant, and humane people who want to adjust differences with us, and live in peace with us ; in other words, that they are just ordinary, decent people like ourselves and therefore that to get them around the conference table means that we must all agree. Is there any foundation for that belief? Are they Christians just as other men are? Arn they warmed by the same summer, cooled by the same winter? If we tickle them, do they laugh ; if we prick them, do they not bleed? Are they not simply human clay as we are? Of course, they are not. Honorable members opposite laugh, but they will not laugh when I have finished.
Let us cast our minds back through the pages of history. We have seen other fanatics, and fanatics are not ordinary human beings like ourselves. We can recall the Spanish Inquisition, the thumb screw and the stake - for the glory of our Lord - the rack and the auto-da-fe, and the burning of people at the stake in the belief that it was something divinely ordained, right and godlike. If people can believe that when they are fanatics, they are not ordinary humans. Communists are fanatics and we cannot, therefore, treat them as ordinary people who want to reach agreement with us. They do not. The fact is that their ideology implies that communism must triumph on the earth by one means or another. There can be no peace with people like that except by standing firmly for om principles, and in the end convincing them that the waves may beat upon the rock but the rock stands firm and it is futile for them to continue further.
It may be that peace will not come in our generation. We hope that it may come in the generation of our children, but one cannot make peace with fanatics whose very ideology, the very foundation of whose faith, is opposed to peace by conference and knows only peace by annihilation of the opposing creed. We have witnessed a disgraceful exploitation of the yearning for peace of the people of the world and of the people of this country. When we consider this disgraceful exploitation by the Leader of the Opposition and by those who acquiesce in it, we are driven to ask - “ Does he not understand this situation ? “ On the contrary, nobody has ever accused him of not possessing a great intellect. Is he ignorant of foreign affairs? Why, it has been his special study and he has been a president of the United Nations General Assembly. Is he ignorant of history? On the contrary, he is a distinguished historian himself. Is it because he does not know about all the conquests, glories, triumphs and spoils that have been won by the Communist party and by Russia and her partners in recent years? He is a man who is highly educated; a man who is the heir of all the ages; a man who is the heir to all that Palestine and Greece and Rome have given. Yet this man, I say, has betrayed not only his country, but also the greatest things in our civilization, and that, in a man of his education, cannot be forgiven.
– The honorable member ought to be ashamed of himself.
– I know some one who ought to be ashamed of himself. I am reminded of the words of Shakespeare’s Henry V. -
What shall I say to thee, lord Scroop; thou cruel,
Ingrateful, savage, and inhuman creature?
King Henry was speaking, honorable members will recall, about a man who was a traitor to his king and the betrayer of his country. I would use those words in speaking of a man who is prepared to exploit the love of peace - the yearning for peace - of the people, well knowing that it cannot be achieved by the facile means that he puts forward.
Now may I say something about other well-meaning people. I refer to the blinkered blindness of perverse prelates and priests. Meaning well, they are misleading the people in their ignorance of the nature of communism, into the direct peril. These are the people who, rightly, condemn the cruelties of the fanatics of the past. They condemn Timur or Tamerlane and his ghastly tower of 80,000 human skulls ; Alexander, miscalled “ the great “ - the man who was guilty of such slaughter in this world; and the medieval torturers. They shake their heads over the gruesome instruments of torture still to be seen in the Tower of London. These things, they rightly say, are contrary to all our Christian instincts. Yet these same people will turn aside and not see the things that are going on in the Communist world. I have described it as “ blinkered blindness “.
Five million people were deliberately starved to death in Russia so that collectivization might be fastened upon the peasants. We have seen the extermination of whole classes, and the mass deportation of whole populations from the Baltic States. We have seen the slave labour camps in Russia and we know of the Calvary of the Kolyma camp in the snows of Siberia. We know of the reign of terror that is going on in China right now, and that 20,000,000 have been, liquidated - vaporized - condemned in thepeople’s courts. What has the Leader of the Opposition, a great jurist, to say about the people’s courts and the 23,000,000 people in the slave labour camps? I speak of “blinkered blindness “. All these things have been going on, yet there has not been a word of protest. The people to whom I refer donot see these things. Now, quite obviously - and I speak again of moral rearmament - the people of this country, the Government, the Opposition, and every decent man, must agree that we live in the light that came from Palestine and Greece. The light of love - for lack of a better word - kindliness towards others,, and the light of truth. Those are the two lights of our civilization. If we are to be guided by those lights, we must believe that we have before us a struggleto the end against the powers of darkness. The powers of darkness are those who have perpetrated the inhumanities to which I have referred. On which side do we stand in these matters? Conviction must come right into this Parliament and right into the hearts of the people. Then, by all means, let us look to the distant lands to which the honorable member for Fremantle has referred. I agree with him, but first we must deal with the position here and know by what light we live, and whether we are ready to be morally rearmed and take up the sword and shield in defence of thosethings that we believe to be right and just. I feel that I should apologize to the House for saying things that seem to be so evident, but I believe that they are not evident to us all and that they ought to be said - and I have said them.
.- Theforeign policies of nations are justified as being essential to the defence of their people, and their people’s legitimate interests. Foreign policies, however, are sometimes used as weapons in order to increase territories, create spheres of” influence and gain trade advantages which, after all, are merely methods of exploiting other people. In the debate that has taken place in this chamber over the last few days it has become evident that most speakers believe that our foreign policy should be designed to pro,tect the people of Australia, and our people’s institutions and legitimate interests. We do not want more territories. We are not fighting for spheres of influence, and whatever trading opportunities we wish to have, we seek on the basis of friendship and reciprocity.
Divergent views have been expressed as to what course we should follow, what policy we should adopt towards other countries, in order that our own country may survive. There seems to be general agreement that the freedoms of the world, democracy, those economic advantages that people enjoy as a result of democracy, and the opportunities that democracy gives them of improving their conditions in the future, are endangered by militant and expanding communism. That is the immediate and vital danger.
I agree that communism is a danger to all the freedoms and all the tolerances represented by democracy. I agree that communism has given a singleness of purpose and a direction to the Asian people that they lacked before. But if Karl Marx had never written in the British Museum, if Lenin had never crossed Germany in a sealed railway car, if there had been no Treaty of Brest Litovsk, if there had been no revolution in Russia in 1917 and Kerensky had been enabled to mould all the Russias into a form of government similar to that of the nations of the West, the danger to Australia’s survival would still have existed. That danger to our survival does not exist because of the colour or the ideology of those who surround us. It exists because of the vast numbers of people who occupy territories adjacent to our shores, and because of the conditions under which those people live. Forty years ago William Morris Hughes said, “ We are a white speck in a black ocean “. But it is not the pigmentation of the skins of our neighbours to the north that makes them our potential enemies. It is the fact that in Australia we have 3,000,000 square miles of territory with only 9,000,000 inhabitants, whilst in Japan, for example, there are 577 people to the square mile ‘ compared with our figure of three people to the square mile. In fact, in the area of Australia that lies north of Brisbane there are square miles to the single person. In the Philippines there are 168 people to the square mile; in Pakistan and India there are more than 200 people to the square mile, in China 123 to the square mile and, 200 miles from our northern gateway, there are 72,000,000 people in Indonesia, or 97 to the square mile.
Those are the fundamental facts that create the danger to this country. Realizing that, what, then, should we do? I agree that we should make friends with all who are willing to be friendly towards us. I admit that we should enter into non-aggression pacts. I agree with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who says that we should seek to change the hearts and minds of men. But for 2,000 years efforts have been made to change the hearts and minda of men although, apparently, some people have realized that need only very recently. Those efforts have not been completely successful and, although I do not say they should not be continued, and in fact intensified, I do say that supplementary action is necessary. There are people on the other side of the chamber who take another view. They proclaim that what we should do is to join in military adventures, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, in order to suppress communism. Some one interjects, “Nonsense”. I agree that such views are nonsense. I do not believe in them. I believe that this country will make the greatest possible contribution that 9,000,000 people in our position could make, if it makes Australia safe for democracy, if it preserves this part of the southern Pacific as a bastion in the defence of that way of life in which we all believe. Because we have that responsibility we cannot afford to enter into military adventures overseas. We cannot waste our substance, our resources and our man-power, in battles thousands of miles from our shores, when this country itself is undeveloped, with its northern entry lying wide open to an enemy. Our first duty is to Australia. Recently, I visited Manus Island, the most northerly outpost that this nation possesses. At that base we have a skeleton air force without an aircraft, a skeleton naval depot without a ship. In all those islands that we control to our north we have vast airstrips that are being allowed to go back rapidly to the jungle. To-day, the Administrator of the Northern Territory has been in this very building seeking to cajole the Government to provide the funds and resources necessary to put the docking facilities at Darwin into a condition in which they would adequately meet the needs of the Northern Territory.
Those are the things that this nation should do and, I point out, they are in accordance with the Labour party’s policy. The Labour party says - and this is a verbatim quotation from its policy -
Our defence depends upon the rapid development and peopling of Australia and its territories. The Australian Labour party pledges itself to an adequate plan of national defence, with special reference to Northern Australia.
That, of course, is what is necessary - the development of the country in which we live, the populating of the country in which we live. Over the last few years we have seen few big developmental schemes that could enable thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people to go on the land in our rural areas and aid in the nation’s development, by producing the wealth that lies waiting to be produced in our backblocks, and to produce, in our factories, equipment that could be used for developmental works and for irrigation, which would enable us to produce the increased volume of agricultural goods needed by our ever-increasing population. Those are the component parts that make up a realistic policy for a country situated as our country is at present. As I have said, I have no objection to entering into non-aggression pacts. I believe that we should help the people who are less able to care for themselves than we are and give what economic aid is within our ability to those who are in circumstances of semi-starvation in other parts of the world. But remember that treaties are not always honoured. Remember, too, that gratitude is not always the motive that moves men or nations to action. Because of those, things, we must be realistic and look to our own country. “We must develop it. We have got to mend its fences. In mending its fences, as I said before, we make the greatest possible contribution to stemming the tide of communism that lies within the power of 9,000,000 people.
Our population is less than the population of some of the largest cities of the world. If we are diverted this way and that way, if resources that we need at home are frittered away abroad, then we cannot do the tilings that are essential to the progress and development of this country.
I do not want it to be thought that, because I say these things, I stand in any way less opposed to communism than other people. I know that at the present time there seems to be a kind of competition among politicians as to which one is most opposed to communism. I do not want to take part in that competition. But I do want to make my contribution to the development of this country. I want to see this country preserved, to survive as an outpost of European civilization and as a Christian democracy in the southern Pacific. I say that by putting forward the ideas that I put forward to-night, I help to make sure of the preservation of the things for which I stand, not merely here but also in other countries of the world.
To the extent to which this country is able to protect itself and to the extent that it becomes an exponent of the principles of democracy, it serves other countries, as well as the ideology of anticommunism and the ideology of democracy throughout the world. I know that, in the hour of need, circumstances arise which make it impossible for nations to assist other countries. I believe that, in the last resort, when we are seeking friendships, when we are seeking assistance and help from others, our capacity and ability to defend ourselves is the measure of the assistance that we get from others. They give, not in proportion to our weakness, but in proportion to our strength. They come to our aid, not because we are recreant in fighting for our own cause, but because they see that we, too, are willing to defend, and have made adequate preparations to defend those ideals and those things which we seek their assistance to defend.
I end upon this note. I consider that we should utilize to the full every resource that we possess in order to develop our own country.
– It is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
– We are a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. We take part with other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations in all kinds of operations. The Australian Labour party believes in the British Commonwealth of Nations and in promoting it to th«» full. It believes, too, in the Unites Nations. But I would say that, whilst we are willing to discharge our responsibilities to the United Nations, we should point out to the other member nations that this is a vast country with only 9,000,000 people, that we have immense responsibilities, and that we consider that our first responsibility is to build the nation to which we belong. I believe that, in days to come, Great Britain and America may be occupied elsewhere and, ultimately, the protection of this country against invasion and the destruction of its institutions will depend upon the strength of the Australian population. That strength should be built as the years go by. Remember these words -
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.
By their right hand their freedom must be wrought.
– Although there are many facets to this debate on foreign affairs, one can deal only with a single facet. Therefore, I make no apology for confining my remarks to the developing atomic situation. It is, I believe, the chief of all the facets - more important than all the others put together. Not only is it the determinant of life or death for us all but, in addition, it circumscribes the limits within which every other problem must be faced and solved, or left unsolved. It formed a considerable part of the paper read by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey), and also a considerable part of the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). I found the remarks of the latter gentleman to be confused, negative and hopeless. I think I might say also that, although I thought the remarks of the Minister were correct, they lacked both a sense of proportion and a sense of urgency.
In the six short years during which I have had the honour to be in this House, the atomic situation has monstrously and dreadfully changed. Six years ago, there was only one power - a friendly power, a non-aggressive power - that held this weapon. Now, another power - not a friendly power, but an aggressive power - is also the holder. Furthermore, the power of the weapon has become monstrously magnified. So to-day we, and all men, stand in the position when a single spark could destroy the world. Although we hope, with Churchill, that the peace of mutual terror, to use a phrase that he used, will be an effective peace, it cannot be effective for long, let alone permanently, unless we face up to this problem and do far more than we are doing.
May I now speak about the physical developments. Six years ago we faced only the so-called uranium or plutonium bomb, a relatively small bomb measured in tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of tons of T.N.T. - very much bigger in magnitude than any other bomb that had been constructed, but still, relative to the new bomb, only a fire-cracker. It has been found that this bomb made of plutonium, or a specially purified kind of uranium, could be made the trigger for a bigger and, unhappily, unlimited kind of bomb. First, it was found that by using a certain kind of hydrogen, not hard to obtain - indeed, obtainable from ordinary water - and binding it with lithium and other elements which are at the command of every body, we could extend the explosive power cheaply and, unfortunately again, very easily. Then it was found that in this new reaction, some of the little emergent particles, or neutrons, were of sufficient power that they could split the atoms of ordinary unpurified uranium that could be mined straight from the ground.
This new force not only magnified once again the power of the explosion but also added a new terror of poisoning to the whole process. We had talked in earlier times of the cobalt bomb, but that was already outmoded as a poison factor by the new uranium bomb, so cheaply and quickly constructed as an addition to the hydrogen bomb. These things can happen, and the world stands now in the position where there is so much accumulated that one spark could set it alight and destroy us all. That may be bad, but the developments that lie ahead, unless we do something about the matter, might be even worse in the sense that they could, make the disaster more likely. It is only a matter of time, if we do nothing, until the bomb becomes fully multi-lateral. By that I mean that most nations will have it in saturation quantity. I do not say that that is the position to-day, or that it will be the position next year, but looking at the matter in terms of reasonable decades, that is the position which is coming up as inevitably as a railway train coming along a railway track. Moreover, when the bomb becomes fully multi-lateral, a peace of mutual terror becomes an even more precarious peace and one which we stand very little chance of maintaining.
What do honorable members think would be the position to-day if Israel and Egypt both had the bomb - if they both had this immense power of destruction at hand? What do honorable members think the position to-day would be if Formosa and continental China - if 1 may take a phrase from the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) - both had it ? What would be the position if it were held by Indonesia, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Japan ? Put them all in, because unless something is done, that is the position which will come about in the course of the next few decades. Our world will be an impossible world ; a world in which peace can hardly bc maintained, and which will be destroyed if wai- should break out on any major scale.
Once the small nations get the bomb, war will not only become more likely, but almost any war will almost inevitably blow up into a major war. Therefore, whatever be the implications, if humanity is to continue to exist, it will have to find some means of international control of these new forces. I mean international control, of course, with full safeguards against violation - not merely a phony control, but one which will really work and be really effective. I shall not argue, because I have not the time available to me, about technical difficulties, and the technical requirements of this control. The difficulties are great and the requirements are stringent. They may be unattainable. If they are unattainable, we as a race - that is the human race - will, within the next century or so, cease to exist on this planet.
Having said those things which are scarcely controvertible, because they depend on physical facts which are, unfortunately, only too true, let me review what has happened in regard to Russian policy on this particular matter during the last few years. This has been the axis upon which all Russian policy - whether it be in Korea or in the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, or wherever it may be - has turned. Earlier, it was Russia’s desire to stall world control. Russia wanted to prevent the United Nations from obtaining control of these new forces until Russia itself had prepared them, and the whole of its policy was therefore directed first towards stalling the United Nations control and, secondly, to proceeding with its own atomic preparations while this stalling process was going on.
Russia believed at that time - and it had some reason to believe - that there would follow a period when it would have saturation stocks but nobody would have annihilation stocks; and so Russia believed at that time that in that period it would blackmail the world into an atomic surrender. But science went faster than Russia had thought or the scientists had thought, or than anybody could reasonably have anticipated. Now we have passed from the saturation stage almost in one jump to the annihilation stage, so that Russia no longer is able to face the consequence of a position which it had worked for when it was stalling to obtain international control of these new forces through the United Nations.
So we have reached the next stage, where Russia is again making a stall, but a stall with a deadline this time, because Russia can no more afford the full development of this multi-lateral situation that we can. For recall, and this is of the essence of the argument, that the more people who hold the bomb the more difficult it is to obtain any international control, because the unanimous consent of every holder is required. The veto is really effective in a physical sense because no holder can be forced to come into an international system of control against his will. Russia is, therefore, up against a deadline and is playing for time, hoping for our weakness. Russia is hoping that there will not be international control until Russia itself can control the majority of the votes of the United Nations, the controlling body.
We come now to the crux of the new Russian intrigues in South America and South-East Asia, and throughout the Mohammedan world. Russia is playing for votes, playing against the deadline. [ use the word “deadline” in its real meaning. Being unable to put off world control indefinitely, Russia continues to play precariously, in the hope that it will be possible to put off world control until it can control the majority of votes in the United Nations, which is the controlling body. No approach made in weakness has any hope of being successful. Our only hope of success is to make our approach through firmness and strength. Those who counsel weakness are leading us into the danger of world disaster.
In order to meet this new approach by Russia I make four positive suggestions. I admit that they are not watertight. I admit also that they do not give us the things that we would have had if we had been firm. There would be no war in the sense the word was used by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) if we had been firm all along. We would have had world control and permanent peace, without war. We were bluffed out of that firmness largely by the actions of people like the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition in this Parliament (Dr. Evatt) who, as chairman of the United Nations Commission for the control of atomic energy wreaked on the world the most irreparable damage. Let me be quite clear on that point.
I come now to the four things that I suggest. First, we should back the Eisenhower plan for inspection as the first step towards world control much more vehemently and vigorously than we are now backing it. Without inspection there can be no good faith. Inspection by itself gets us nowhere, but without inspection we are certain not to get anywhere. And so I say let us more vigorously take this first step. It is the right thing to do. Why is not every democratic country in the world putting in the forefront of its policy the backing of the Eisenhower plan for full inspection, as the first step towards control? That is one phase that should be acceptable to the Opposition. It would stop further experiments. That should be a part of our plan.
Secondly, we must tell the truth to our own people for a change. For far too long we have concealed the physical facts. The things that I have said for the last six years have been true. But why should T be believed? I am not a physicist. I repeat that, for a change, the authorities should tell the people the truth. If that results in a short-term loss of morale, that is only to be expected, but in the long run it is the only way to achieve success. We do not want the truth to be told for the first time by our enemies, just when they choose to tell it.
Thirdly, we should re-assemble our moral strength. The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) and the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) have stressed this point. Of course, we should be going further along those lines by refusing to condone the enslavement of half of Europe. What are we doing about it? If we say this was right in Poland and Czechoslovakia and the Baltic States, we destroy the whole moral basis of any argument we may put forward. Let us be honest, let us have assurance in our own case that we are right and let us not be frightened to prosecute it.
My fourth point is that we should require the right to approach the Russian people, to conduct inside Russia as much anti-Communist propaganda as we permit them to conduct pro-Communist propaganda among us. If this is to be an ideological war, and if co-existence can end only in either disaster or in the conversion of one side or the other, then let the scales be held fairly. Let us .see that it is not a process which works only one way. Let us make certain that we have the same propaganda facilities for approaching the Russian people and organizing among them as they have among us. Let us, I repeat, see that those scales are held fairly. We want the maximum freedom. Let us put the equality as high as we can, but let us see that there is some equality. 1 repeat those four practical points as 1 conclude. We should be much more vehement in supporting the Eisenhower plan; we should tell the truth to our own people ; we should not waver in the moral support of our own cause; and we should require the same freedom of approach to the Russian people as the Russian people have towards us in our democracy.
.- The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) always interests me, but at the same time he completely baffles me in the analyses he makes in this House - and splendid ones too - particularly when he deals with atomic energy and bombs, lt would appear that in his excitement, and in some instances in his hysteria, he expects the Russians to drop a bomb on the person of Mr. W. C. Wentwortb, the honorable member for Mackellar. That happens to be a humorous aside, because in the treatment of a subject the honorable member for Mackellar is always extremely interesting and, of course, sincere. But why, in the name of goodness and of all that is sensible and Australian, should the honorable member plead for this general control of the atomic bomb, and at the same time characterize anything that is produced on this side of the House as Communist propaganda? Why, in adding anything to the debate, he drags in, willy-nilly, the name of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) as the archconspirator to stop these things, I do not know. Let me say of the right honorable gentleman that he did much practical work in the United Nations organization and as a member of its original Atomic Energy Commission, and that running through the policy statement of the Labour party all the things that the honorable member for Mackellar pleads for are sworn to be accomplished by the Labour party. The speech that the honorable member delivered in this chamber to-night could have been, and probably was, taken from clauses 11 and 12 of the decisions of, to him, the hated Hobart conference of the Australian Labour party. Those clauses read -
The solution must be reached here and now. During the honorable member’s statement about the bomb, which was a repetition of his previous statements on the subject, he suddenly broke away to indulge his hatred of the Leader of the Opposition, whom he blames for so many things that the honorable .gentleman’s remarks have no basis in reality or fact. As I have said, his speech made from the Government side could have been gathered from sections 11 and 12 of the declaration of the Hobart conference. Nobody in Parliament to-day disputes what the honorable member has said; it is only a question of looking for some formula, and if there is to be such an undying, terrifying and hysterical hatred of the second partner to the agreement - Russia - how can the honorable member ever expect to get a solution?
It is all right to talk about atomic bombs getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Death comes in the afternoon in any shape - from a bullet, from a bomb or from something in the sky. The extent of the damage resulting from an atomicbomb can be measured, but that is not the significant thing. The significant thing is that this is an instrument of death, which is the product of the highest ingenuity of the scientists, and something has to be done about it, as the honorable member for Mackellar has said. That something presupposes a conference of two opposing forces. How in the name of sweet reasonableness are we to -bring them together by maligning one party, and saying that its evil purpose has been clear for a long time? Apparently, according to the honorable member’s statement, it was all right when we had the bank of bombs and superiority in that armament, because we were a democracy and would not do anything about it; certainly not use it as a world force of subjugation. But when the other country learned the secret of the atomic bomb, the balance of power was changed, and stockpiling of atomic bombs led to the imbalance of which the honorable member has spoken.
That is not the point at all. What the honorable member calls the Eisenhower plan has been the Evatt plan for many years. No man has been more persistent - and, indeed, more misunderstood - in his striving for the banning of the atomic bomb than has been the Leader of the Opposition. For a long time, such an advocacy was not popular. Any one who supported it, if the Communists happened to be doing the same thing, was considered to be following the Communist line. He was maligned or accused of being a Communist but now, in the common fear of danger, every one is saying the same thing. If it merely becomes vapid repetition, where are we? Certainly the first thing that was suggested by the Hobart conference was that top level talks must be held. There now exists a climate of compromise and we should take advantage of it. Are we going to worsen it by talking of the attitude of the Russians and saying we are satisfied that they will do nothing? We must get inside their country and have a look, and they must get inside ours. Only by testing the ingenuity, courage and sagacity of the greatest of us will a solution be found for the atomic bomb.
I think that the speeches in this House and outside it should be tempered by the fact that we are up against a problem which will mean the end of civilization, as we know it, unless a solution is found. No one knows fully the effect of atomic bombing. We have been able to measure it by scientific assessment, but what would actually happen in the dropping of an atomic bomb is, in the main, problematical, as it was at Hiroshima. I saw the damage there myself, and so also did the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers) who was then Minister for the Army. Those are just side issues. We have to consider how we can get down to a basis where this thing can be discussed by the two conflicting parties. How do we know they are in conflict until we have had a top-level conference? How do we know there are barriers, except our own barriers of fear, until we sit down at a conference which must include the Russians? Then there is the case for absolute honesty we hear so much about.
I am not one of those who have been struck like Saul on the way to Damascus. 1 am an Australian trying to think of a way out of a problem that is the most carking and terrifying of our day. We must face it with courage. It has come to us in this generation, and we have to deal with it. It is useless to say we are all washed up when, by the simple expedient of men becoming reasonable in these things, much can be done to bring common sense to the problems of the world. In the past, an instrument of war has been outlawed because of its horror. Prior to World War II., there was a vast conglomeration of poison gases, but they were not used because men outlawed them in their minds. When we talk about the struggle for the mind of man, we do not want to get into hyperbole. As has been said in this House, the struggle for the mind of man is the struggle for truth between us. When I think of this matter, I am always brought back to words I have treasured and used many times. They are the words of Mr. Justice Holmes, a famous jurist in the United States of America, and they apply to-day, to our search for eternal peace and protection. He said -
The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas.
Where are we going to get free trade in ideas - the democracies vis-a-vis the Russians? Mr. Justice Holmes said -
The best test of truth is to get itself accepted in the competition of the markets.
Can we only hazard a guess of what the Russians believe about the atomic bomb? Are we to suppose that a Russian mother thinks less of her child than does an Australian or an Indonesian or a South African mother?
The thing has to go to the basic humanities and must not be taken on the level of politics. The final words of the great jurist to whom I have already referred are these - and we should remember them because they are so seldom spoken and yet have seldom been so apt as they are to-day, and they are a further guide to the solution of this atomic controversy in our time -
We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions e loathe.
Can we reach a solution by creating hatred of the Russian and the Communist way of life? At a certain stage, every nation must protect itself against subversion, but we should have a by and large talk about these things. The gigantic question mark hanging over the world is the atomic bomb. The smaller question for us is the Use of the atomic experiments in Australia, and I should like to address myself to these matters in the few minutes that remain to me.
I have, for once, no conflict with the remarks of the honorable member for Mackellar on this occasion, but I think that, with his brilliance, he purposely locks himself up in a closet of his own contriving. He ties himself up in his hatred of the Communists as Communists. He does not see the problem as a world problem in which the constituents happen to be the democracies versus the totalitarian states. Until he does that, his contribution to the battle for the lives of men - not the minds of men - will never be as effective as it could be. The declaration of the Hobart conference has been characterized in the press and by the honorable member for Mackellar himself on many occasions as following the Communist line. Surely he must stop short somewhere, and see that that attitude is fatal to what he - and I - want to achieve - that is, the prevention of atomic warfare and the preservation of human life. Just because at one stage that was part of the thinking of the Communists and the Russians, that does not mean that it is not valid reasoning, because the honor able member himself, in his address to this House, said exactly the same things. He is motivated by the same fears and anxieties. He is looking for a solution that all of us are seeking. Therefore, it is obvious that he has to take a broader step forward.
What can come of top-level talks if they are held in an atmosphere of hatred and suspicion, with G.I.’s and security men and all the paraphernalia that has haunted top-level talks and discussions and caused their failure in the past? Those talks would have to be on the most simple lines. MeD would be playing for the highest stakes - the highest stakes in our time or any time. They would be playing for civilization. It would be no time for sophistry, politics or personal grandeur, even on a national basis. The other thing - the achievement in time of coexistence between us and the Russians - I believe will surely come. But, at this moment, our obsession should be, as the honorable member for Mackellar suggests, some method by which we can for all time ban the use of atomic energy for destructive purposes. I now come back to my. original statement that we should have to be humble within ourselves. I do think we need to look for new ideologies. The word propaganda, with which I, perforce, because I have earned my living as a journalist, have had to deal, is less than nothing. It is a joggling, a shaving and a twisting of words. In a fight of this kind for the peace and security of the world, we must have sincerity. Allied to it, we must have humility. Above all, we must have no hatreds, because, if we have them, we shall stultify the cause and the success we seek.
After weeks, months, and years of futile talk, we have returned to where we began after the war - to the discussion of control of the atomic bomb. It is immaterial that there is a stock-pile of atomic bombs behind the Ural Mountains, another in the Americas, and a third in England. The point is that the evil thing that has grown out of the mind of man, attuned to war instead of to peace, is with us, and we have to outlaw it by every means in our power. It is not a task for one single unit of civilization, or for one particular group which thinks one way or another. It is a task for all humanity, and for the great Christian and religious forces. I say that with great humility, because I am not at this moment, and have never been, a protagonist of any religion, in this House. In this struggle for the life of man, we have to approach the problem not from the political angle, but from the widest possible angle, which is the Christian approach. I am sure the honorable member for Mackellar will agree with me that this debate has circled around the real problem. We have discussed everything from the soul of Asia and the reasons why China went Communist, to what is going to happen to the Middle East, and to the infant State of Israel. Are not all those things tied up with the fear, the huge question mark that hangs over civilization to-day - the atomic bomb and its use?
So we see that, to-day, we have one common task - to find a formula for peace. Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to achieve this. We have in the past faced problems not so monstrously imponderable as this - grievous problems that have been solved. The only solution to this problem is that which has been stated many times in the past by many men, but never more clearly and never with more sincerity and dignity than by the right honorable member for Barton, the leader of the Australian Labour party, who has been maligned as a Communist for making these statements. I refer to his remarks at the first meeting of the former United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, and his consistency right down the line to the Hobart conference. We who belong to the Australian Labour party say, without any political implication, that, of all the statements made in Australia during the last 25 years, none has been of more importance than paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 of the Hobart conference decisions, or has conveyed more simply the required formula. Only a few months ago, the document in which the decisions of the Hobart conference are embodied was freely referred to as a document of the left which sided with the Communists. Now, popular thought has caught up with the imagination of the delegates to the Hobart conference. The honorable member for Mackellar will agree with me that this problem can be approached only in a spirit of humility, without sabrerattling or hatreds, and in the simplicity that is inherent in the desire to bring about a solution of a problem which, if - it is not solved, will mean the ultimate end of civilization. We may walk on the hills. We may make incantations against the coming storm. But unless we can get men of all nations, including the Russians, to stand together and forswear and outlaw the atomic bomb, our time will be short in the land.
.- I shall confine my remarks to South-East Asian affairs, because I consider that we in Australia are more vitally concerned with South-East Asia than with Europe. I think we all realize that there has been a great change of emphasis in Communist efforts in the Far East. The Communists now talk of peace where, before, they were more prone to talk of war. Sometimes one wonders why this sudden change has occurred. Honorable members will recall that, quite recently, there was a great deal of controversy over an article written by Mr. John Foster Dulles, in which he admitted that the United States of America had come three times in recent years to the brink of war. Honorable members will recall the statements of the critics that Mr. Foster Dulles was completely wrong. I do not support the method used by him in that instance. However, I point out that it was the first time in this period of cold war that we have indicated to Russia that it was sailing very close to the wind. That has had excellent effects. As a result, we see a new method being employed. We have seen the visit of two eminent Russians to India and the adjacent countries. They wooed the East - admittedly, it would have been a very rough wooing. They did this as part of a common policy with red China.
Several times, Opposition members have suggested that Australia should recognize red China. I think we should give a little more thought to that matter. The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) has directed attention to what is happening in red China, and I think it would pay us well to examine closely events there. Most people should know that tremendous loss of life occurred in Russia, where people were killed secretly. Many lives have been taken in China also, but not secretly. They were taken in the full light of day and with the greatest publicity. The names of people who were no longer to be allowed to live were printed in the popular press. This treatment continues at the present time. I recommend people to read an article published in Time, of the 5th March, from which I shall read a small extract relating what is actually taking place in China. Time reports -
Foreign specialists, carefully sifting reports from refugees and other sources, estimate that at least 20 million Chinese have been deprived of existence, done away with, or otherwise disposed of. This does not include 23 million believed to be held in forced labor camps.
These are figures that stagger the imagination. In no previous war, revolution or human holocaust, either in the days of Tamerlane or in the time of Hitler, have so many people been destroyed in so short a period. Because it is hard for- the mind to visualize so vast a slaughter in human terms, the Communists have been able to reap an advantage from the very size of their funeral pyre; many Westerners, finding the monstrous incredible, cannot see the blood on the hand of pretended friendship proffered by Chinese Communist Leader Mao Tse-tung.
Opposition members and those people who wish us to recognize red China should consider that article carefully and ascertain whether it is authentic. “We know that Russia destroyed some 15,000,000 people in fifteen years. In that country, there are probably millions more still in slave camps. China is a great nation, which, throughout history, has assimilated many’ conquerors. This is the first time the great Chinese race has had to bow to the evil terror of communism.
T should like people to consider the motives of those who advocate speedy agreement with the Communists. Can the Communists be trusted and can we come to agreement with them? The honorable member for Bradfield virtually took the words out of the mouths of some of us when he said that, time and again in this House, the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) turns to his cheer gang and says, “ We must come to terms of peace rapidly”. The right honorable gentleman plays on the fears of every one in the Western world. He knows that we all desire peace. He knows that awareness of the urgency of trying to ensure security for the future is in the hearts of every one of us. By his insistence and his methods he is fostering the idea that he and he alone can come to terms with the Communists. The people with whom we have to deal are the Russians and the red Chinese. The first task of this Government has been in relation to defence, and I believe that we have sold to the Russians the idea that we are prepared to prevent any aggression taking place, and that we have protected ourselves by regional pacts. There has been an apparent change of attitude in the Russians’ desire for peace, but they have not altered one vestige of their plans for the building of enormous forces. They are still constructing submarines and great air fleets, and maintaining large armies. What does that mean? We know that Russia is selfcontained and that it has no need at all for naval fleets. If honorable members opposite can explain why Russia is building large fleets of submarines for its defence, I shall be most interested to hear their explanation. This danger is not to the Australian Country party or to the Liberal party; it is to Australia.
We should have some unity in regard to our foreign policy. I remind honorable members of the policy speech of the leader of the Australian Labour party at the last election. It contained a promise for a large reduction in the defence vote and the withdrawal of troops from Malaya. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) spoke about Manus Island, with empty airstrips and no forces there, yet Labour’s policy favours the withdrawal of troops to this country. How does such a policy affect our friends? We have promised our friends that we will go to their aid in case of aggression, but one half of this country says, “ No, we will cut our defence vote and withdraw our troops from Asia “. That is a sign of gross lack of unity. Let us examine other contributions which Labour representatives have made to the debate. The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. R. W. Holt), in a fairly moderate speech, made one remark which I should like to criticize. He said that, in the past, we have been making what we regard as our minimum demands, and that instead we should offer our maximum concessions. I think that nobody with any sense of responsibility will make any concessions which endanger the security of our country. The honorable member for “Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) and the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) both made very good contributions. They dealt with a new ideology, a religious movement which T personally believe will have a profound effect, but persons who have the authority of government cannot rely on that sort of approach; they have to rely on tangible, orthodox methods.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) made a virtual apology for the Soviet policy. He sought to justify Russia’s attitude towards East Germany. He said that many nations now under Russian domination never understood freedom and were never freedom-loving. In saying this, he grossly misrepresented historical fact. We know that right throughout history the Poles were famous for their fight for liberty. Does the. honorable member recall the Katyn Forest massacre? Does he recall the constant fight of the Poles for freedom? How does he explain the Russian desire to stamp out all sense of nationalism in Poland? Since the Katyn Forest massacre, we have seen the stamping out of the spirit of nationalism in Albania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Rumania, and the freedom-loving Baltic States. The honorable member for Yarra, by condoning Russia, must cause consternation in the mind of the gentleman who previously represented that electorate. The honorable member asks why Russia should not occupy East Germany. Fancy a member of the Labour party supporting the Russian claim to a special sphere of influence in East Germany, where a strike was broken with the aid of Russian tanks ! He is a peculiar sort of fellow to be in the Labour party. To say that these countries were not freedom loving is a most astounding statement. Has bc not been to school to learn history? The people of the countries under Russian domination are civilized and of high culture. It is ridiculous to say that such freedom-loving countries are satisfied to be under Russian domination. Such persons as the honorable member for Yarra, whom we hear discussing Australia’s policy in foreign affairs, comprise the alternative government of Australia.
Referring to the recognition of red China, the honorable member callously disposed of the people of Formosa by saying that they should be placed under the control of the United Nations. To ignore completely human values is characteristic of a socialist. [Quorum formed. * Unfortunately I cannot spend the time I should like to spend in dealing with the remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). He began by claiming to quote a statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), whom he grossly misrepresented. The Prime Minister never said that we would have war in three years. He said, “ We may have war in three years. We have only three years in which to prepare “. The honorable member made a strong point of that attack while the proceedings of the House were being broadcast. He forgot that within six months of the making of that statement by the Prime Minister the Korean war had begun and only a *strong policy by the United States of America, Britain, this Australian Government, and the rest of the free world, in spending astronomical sums on defence, averted a global war. This Government and governments of the same colour prevented war. The honorable member should concentrate on facts and not on fiction. He said that we should have something to give in exchange foi communism, that we should give democratic socialism. Who has ever known of such a thing? How can socialism bc democratic? Imagine the honorable member for Hindmarsh padding along jungle paths between villages in Malaya, saying, “I am bringing you democratic socialism ! “ What are we offering the Asian world as against communism? We are offering a way of life. We say that our way of life is better than communism. What is our way of life? We, on this side of the House, stand for the Australian way of life, which is a system, of free enterprise. If an observer from Asia said, “ Let us examine what you have to offer “, honorable members opposite would say, “ Our objective is the socialization of industry and the means of production, distribution and exchange “. The Asian observer would say, “ That expression is familiar. Where did you get it ? “ Honorable members opposite would reply, “We got it from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto “. The Asian observer would then say, “ That is what the Communists say. They also call it democratic socialism “. We are appealing to Asians to follow our way of life, but we are not united on what we have to offer. We are not united on that. Every day in this House, there is a constant attack upon the so-called capitalist system. The opponents of that system say, “ We offer you the way of life which is best”, but they do not apply their policy. Honorable members opposite should indulge in a little clear thinking. They should get away from foggy thinking.
My time is getting short, but there is one thing that I should like to say before J conclude. I believe that it is high time we banned the Communist party in Australia, for that is the greatest threat confronting us. Why is Russia saying, “ We will win world communism without a wai’”? It is because every democratic country has this canker in the form of the Communist party. We are faced with the red China danger, and the Healeys and the Sharkeys make it easy, and pave the way for these people to come to this country. A few years ago, we debated a democratic bill, the purpose nf which was the banning of the Communist party. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that bill. None of its provisions offended our sense of British justice, but, because of the efforts of our friend the right honorable member for Barton, the beneficial results that would have accrued from that legislation were denied us. This or any other democratic country cannot afford to allow this continual Communist effort. If Australia and. indeed, the Western nations are to survive, the Communist party must be banned. If we can find a. democratic way to ban the party, we shall do a great deal of good for the world, because in every country under the sun to-day, there are these evil, treacherous snakes who are disrupting our living and seeking to destroy our standards.
I should like members of the Opposition to read the article to which I have referred. It is available in the Library, and I am prepared to lend them a copy. If they read it, they will realize just what they are doing to assist in the destruction of our way of life in Australia, because by the methods they adopt in attacking capitalism, they are comforting and nurturing the move for world communism. I hope it is quite clear to honorable members opposite ; they should know what they are doing. If we are to achieve anything here, the Communist party must be banned. As this matter is so vital to our welfare, I should like to see it included in our foreign policy.
– I rise to make a personal explanation. I have been misrepresented by the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), when he falsely accused me of incorrectly quoting the remarks made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) during my address to the House on Thursday of last week. On that occasion, I quoted from the official parliamentary records. I refer to them again, and I ask the honorable member to listen carefully to what I read. If he does so. and if he is the man that I believe him to be, I think he will apologize to the House for having made the attack that he has just made upon me. I quote again from page 78 of Hansard of the 7th March, 1951. It is an extract from the remarks made by the Prime Minister upon his return from a Prime Minister’s conference in London in 1951. On that occasion, the right honorable gentleman had this to say -
It is my belief that the state of the world is such that we cannot, and must not, give ourselves more than three years in which to get ready to defend ourselves. Indeed, three years is a liberal estimate. Nobody can guarantee that it may not be two years or one year. Certainly, nobody can say with any authority that we have a day more than three years . . . it is my solemn belief that, at the very best, we have not a minute more than three years in which to be ready.
T merely quoted on that occasion the remarks I have just read. I made no comment on them other than to point out that it was more than five years ago when the Prime Minister promised us a. war in three years with the possibility of two years, or one year-
– He did not promise a war in three years. That is a complete misrepresentation, and the honorable member knows it is misrepresentation.
– The proof of my statement can be obtained from Hansard, if any honorable member cares to refer to it.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) rose to make a personal explanation, alleging he had been misrepresented. He then proceeded to read a statement made by the Prime Minister in 1951, and immediately following upon that, he proceeded to make the same false allegation, or to place the same wrong interpretation upon the Prime Minister’s remarks, about which he claims he was misrepresented.
Mr. ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. lawrence). - Order! In answer to the honorable gentleman’s point of order, I point out that the honorable member for Hindmarsh, after making a quotation, merely pointed out what he had said before. I believe he has completed his personal explanation.
– I, too, rise to order. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said, “We are still waiting for that war “-
– Order! What is the point of order?
– The point of order is that I said he misrepresented the Prime Minister because war came in Korea within six months-
– Order! That is not a point of order.
.- Like the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), I intend to confine my remarks to South-East Asia, but there the similarity between his speech and mine ends, because the arguments put forward by the honorable member for Hume contain no solution whatsoever to the problems that beset South-East Asia. His is a policy, or philosophy, of complete despair, and I believe that no Australian government worthy of the name would accede to the requests and demands that he has made to-night.
Whether this Parliament likes it or not, the new outlook in Asia is deserving of most serious consideration. The quickening of the national sentiment in that great continent has introduced new elements into international affairs. In almost every Asian country, there has been a struggle for complete freedom from foreign rule. Those countries have been demanding political independence, control of their economic life and racial equality. Unfortunately, the disciples of communism have subjected the nations of South-East Asia and South Asia to violent social and political pressure; and, because of this political pressure that is being exercised by the Communists in the areas I have mentioned, it is highly important that the policy of the National Parliament with relation to the threat hanging over those countries shall he explicit and definite.
In the past, we have carefully examined and even allied ourselves with the foreign policy of Great Britain. I should like for a few minutes to give the House my views on the policy that Great Britain is now pursuing in connexion with the problems confronting South-East Asia. Unlike the situation in Australia, there is general agreement amongst the political parties of Great Britain on the course Great Britain, should take in relation to the Asian policy. I differ greatly with the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson), who said this afternoon that the people of Great Britain were showing great interest in South-East Asia’s problems. As a matter of fact, the reverse is the case. Whether we like it or not, the people of Britain are now steadily losing interest in this part of the world. They have given up direct political responsibility in India, and are about to give it up in Malaya and Singapore. Great Britain’s foreign policy at present is perfectly understandable. Its first concern is with Europe, its second with the Middle East and its third with Africa. Asia is merely an also-ran.
The British adopt an attitude which is in direct conflict, to a great degree, with the American attitude, although the political parties in America are by no means as unanimous on that country’s foreign policy as are the British about Great Britain’s policy. The British think that the main threats to the stability of the non-Communist countries of Asia are disruption and subversion, not external assault. For that reason, Great Britain’s present policy is to give first priority to measures calculated to help economic progress in the areas under discussion. To-day, British, military planning in East Asia is very difficult to achieve, because the British cannot come to a common understanding with the United States on political matters concerning that part of the country. As an illustration of the difference between Great Britain’s foreign policy and that of the United States towards Asia, I point out that Great Britain believes that Communist China must be accepted as a fact. Great Britain wants to live in peace with China. It wants normal commercial and diplomatic relations with China and recognizes that the Nationalist Government of Formosa is no longer qualified to represent China in the United Nations. The United States of America has not made up its mind on this vital matter, and as this is a presidential election year it is hardly likely that we shall hear any definite policy from the United States for another twelve months. I submit that so long as Great Britain and the United States lack a common political purpose in East Asia it will be difficult for them to agree on military measures. It is therefore difficult for Australia to say that it will do this or that with regard to military escapades in China, Malaya or anywhere else when Great Britain and the United States cannot agree.
The primary need is not to build up military forces in South-East Asia; it is for America, Great Britain, Asian members of the Commonwealth and Australia to formulate a common political purpose. That is the job ahead of us. It is not our job to send a few hundred, or a few thousand, volunteers to Malaya or any other sector of Asia; we should firstdefine our political purpose in the area. Up to date we have failed miserably in trying to achieve that desirable end. If we cannot reach unity of opinion with other countries our aim should be to restate our political attitude and formulate a policy that will be understood by all and based upon certain fundamentals.
We had that object in view when we participated in the Anzus pact and the Seato treaty, but despite the fact that we signed those treaties with a great deal of patriotism the question still is whether the answer to the Communist advance in South-East Asia can be stated primarily in terms of military pacts. It can be argued that communism is a doctrine which wins its victories as much by appeal to the under-privileged as by force of arms. There is no doubt that communism’s appeal to the povertystricken masses of Asia is for reasons different from those enunciated by Marx or Lenin. The teeming masses of Asia do not support the doctrines of Marx or Lenin; they have probably never heard of Marx or Lenin. What appeals to them is that communism offers them an opportunity to be emancipated from their miserable state.
We must recognize Asian nationalism exists to-day, and whether we like it or not we must agree that Asian nationalists have every right to put forward their own point of view in their own countries. Genuine Asian nationalism offers much hope to the Asian people. Communists by realizing this have attempted to control these nationalistic movements. Nevertheless in only two countries have they been responsible for the nationalistic struggle. Elsewhere they have been repulsed and have been opposed to nationalist leaders who have succeeded in setting up independent nationalist states. That is the problem that faces Australia so far as Asian nationalistic states are concerned. The responsibility is on the new governments to cope with the ills of poverty, underfeeding, disease and illiteracy, that beset South-East Asia. We must recognize the inescapable fact that no nationalist government of Asian countries can hope to remain in office if it does not speedily improve the lot of its people; and it is Australia’s primary responsibility to see that the Asian nationalist governments do improve the lot of their people. It is not to send a token military force here, there or anywhere else but to help Asian nationalist governments to keep free of the tentacles of communism all along the economic line. Because of the dangers that beset these Asian countries and because of the definite possibility of political instability developing within their borders as the result of governments’ inability to produce goods in conformity with the people’s desires, it is necessary for the Australian people to give profound thought to the extent to which we can help these countries economically.
I agree that military strength is imperative. We have to prepare in case anything does happen, but during the last few years economic measures have acquired importance equal to, if not greater than, that of military measures. No military alliance, regardless of its scope and strength, can alone ensure the containment of communism within its present boundaries; but military alliance seems to be the sum-total of this present Government’s idea, It thinks that the only way in which communism can be held in check is by a show of arms. In that respect it shows an appalling lack of appreciation of the reality of the position. If communism i? to be held in Asia, and not be allowed to extend its present boundaries, we must do more than be prepared to fight another war. We must also make more strenuous efforts to prove to the Asian people, still free from the tentacles of communism, that Western democracy has more to offer them than has communism. That is our first job.
We must recognize that Western arms alone will never save Asians from communism. Therefore, I submit that military measures are at best a short-term device for dealing with problems that require long-term treatment. A programme of practical help to needy nations must be an essential feature of any worthwhile policy. There must be a complete realization by the Australian nation that the fight against communism must be waged not only with defensive arms but also with economic weapons. Besides preparing to resist further military encroachments we must ensure that communism does not gain converts from within Asian countries which are waging a war with poverty while trying to learn the technique of self-government. A programme of economic aid which would bring badly needed resources of food and raw materials to ill-equipped areas may be no less potent than military pacts in counteracting communism.
We must face the fact that communism will spread insidiously and effectively so long as hunger, starvation, poverty, want, low living standards, graft, corruption, inefficient government, disease and injustice exist in Asia, because communism thrives on these very things. The Government seems to be commendably anxious to combat communism by military aggression. It has entered into all sorts of pacts, has sent contingents of troops overseas, and has spent a large amount of money on the provision of military aid. Unfortunately, it has done comparatively little to eliminate or alleviate the basic evils which encourage and assist the spread of communism. This Government, if it were a government in any sense of the word, could give a lead to the whole western world and could build up enormous goodwill in Asia by announcing that it would step up economic aid to backward countries.
Whilst meditating on the grim menace of international communism, the existence of the Seato treaty might give us some spiritual comfort. I am not one of those who thought that as a result of the Seato treaty we would have nothing further to fear from communism from a military point of view. However, we must realize that our continued security will depend, in the end, upon our success in removing the attraction of communism for the peoples of Asia. Asia’s millions of empty stomachs will not be appeased by words or by a mental picture of the Seato treaty that relegates economic measures to an inconspicuous background. It is” true, of course, that Australia gives economic assistance to the countries of South-East Asia by means of the Colombo plan, but I cannot help thinking that some honorable members who have referred to the merits of that plan know very little about the subject, because, this House has never at any time made a thorough examination of its features and what it purports to do. There seems to be an idea, entertained by many honorable members that, by giving the Asian people £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 now and again we are achieving what the Colombo plan in its initial stages set out to achieve. As a matter of fact, anybody who has made a study of events in South-East Asia knows perfectly well that the Colombo plan has failed to achieve the aims that were highlighted when it was inaugurated in 1950. It has not raised the standard of living of the Asian people by one-half of 1 per cent. This is due not to basic inefficiencies, but to circumstances beyond our ‘ control, the elifects of which were not allowed for when the plan was commenced.
If we wish the Colombo plan to provide worth-while assistance to us in our fight against communism, we should immediately review it in the light of the changed circumstances since it was promulgated in 1950, because it is quite obvious that its impact has been much less than was expected. We are inclined to look at the matter through rose-tinted glasses, and to think that all is well with Asia as a result of the Colombo plan. Any honorable member who thinks that that is so is deluding himself, because the Colombo plan has done nothing to further our objectives. If we wish to put the plan on the rails again - in a railway sense, it ran off the rails two or three years ago - it is imperative for us to increase our financial allocation. Supporters of the Government might fear political repercussions if the allocation were increased. They may fear an outcry from the Australian people if £15,000,000 or £20,000,000 a year were expended on food and clothing for the Asian people instead of in the provision of social services in Australia. If they really think this, in effect they are offering an insult to the intelligence and humanity of the Australian people, because I am convinced that the people of this country are quite willing for that amount to be expended under the Colombo plan in order to alleviate the lot of the poverty-stricken Asian people.
The Australian community is obviously willing for £200,000,000 a year to be expended on defence. I submit that the expenditure of £20,000,000 of the defence vote of £200,000,000 for the purposes of the Colombo plan would be a defence measure of the highest signifi cance, and one likely to produce far more tangible and positive results than has much of our defence expenditure to date. I am convinced that quite a large proportion of the defence vote has been expended on items which will not contribute ultimately to the defence of this country. Surely it would be wise to expend £20,000,000 out of the defence vote in order to make the Colombo plan worthwhile, instead of its being only a two-penny-halfpenny plan. Such an increase the financial allocation would have a tremendous effect on the outlook of the Asian people towards us. The Australian Government should be imaginative, and give a lead to the democratic world by instituting an economic and technical assistance programme of such magnitude as will fire in the hearts of the Asian people a belief in the goodness and humanity of the Western democracies.
In the few minutes remaining to me, I wish to direct my attention to the progress of the Seato pact. During the last week or two, the Minister for External affairs (Mr. Casey) has been in Karachi discussing this matter with representatives of the other signatory countries. One of the great weaknesses of the pact was the fact that certain prominent Asian countries, notably India, Indonesia. Burma and Ceylon, refrained from subscribing to it. I hoped when the pact was signed at Manila, in 1954, that, ultimately, those countries would see fit to join, but unfortunately no step in that direction has yet been taken.
– Order! The honorable member’s time bas expired.
– I do not intend to reply to certain arguments that were advanced by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird). Anybody who has given the subject of the Colombo plan and our participation in the Seato pact sufficient study will concede that their objectives cannot be achieved quickly. Because, within one or two years, the Colombo plan has not succeeded in raising the standard of living throughout South-East Asia, the honorable member for Batman believes it to be a failure. I suggest that he give more consideration to the educational aspects of the plan. In the long run, increased handouts could make a certain amount of difficulty for those who hand out. If the honorable member reflects on this aspect of the matter, I am sure he will realize how poorly based were some of his arguments.
I want to compliment the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) on his wise and, I believe, thorough summing up of the present situation overseas. Probably the most significant feature of his statement, and the one that has caused the most consternation, was his reference to the change of Russian policy, as exemplified in certain speeches that have been made by the political heads of that country. The Minister quoted from those speeches in order to show the effect of Russia’s diplomatic and economic offensive in inciting the Arab countries against Israel. An interesting point was introduced there because, up to some years ago, the Soviet was inclined to favour the Israel nation as a whole. That attitude has changed. The Minister also referred to the fact that certain activities had promoted discord in Kashmir, and he went on to explain that the offensive in the economic sphere, not only in the Middle East, but also in South-East Asia and, in prospect, Africa, would have certain consequences. I think it is as well to remember at this stage that whatever success the Soviet nation might achieve hy economic activity in helping what might be called the uncommitted nations of the world, is based on a standard of life that we as a free nation would not accept. The United Nations Committee, under the chairmanship of Shrie Ramaswang Mudaliar, declared that -
Forced labour used both for political and -economic ends is a standard part of government policy in Russia and Soviet-dominated European countries.
The Soviet is now taking a leaf out of America’s book by engaging in an economic offensive to capture the friendship ‘ «nd co-operation of uncommitted or neutral countries. I think that this trend is one that presents the greatest difficulty to the diplomacy of the free nations of the “West. I sometimes despair of any unanimity being reached in relation to Aus tralia’s foreign policy when I hear remarks such as were made by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). By his subtle dialectics, he sought to recapture some of the ground won by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske) in his argument relating to the subjugation of certain eastern European nations. The honorable member for Yarra said that the popular reception of the Communist regime reflected the fact that the tyranny under which such people existed prepared the ground for the acceptance of the nev. political doctrine. I should say that hi.remarks would be in keeping with thidoctrine that referred to the liberation of Tibet or the proposed liberation of South Korea. For the benefit of the honorable member, I propose to quote the remark? of the late Ernest Bevin, a socialist who. he will probably remember, was at one time Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the British Government. Mr. Bevin, in a speech on the 22nd October. 1948, expressed his opinion of the set-up in the European countries, particularly the countries of eastern Europe that had gone behind the iron curtain. He said -
We have been presented with some very interesting fait accomplis since 1945. When on my way back from Moscow I met the Socialist leaders in the Eastern European State of Poland; they believed that if they co-operated with the Communists they would be successful in rebuilding their State. Well. I think every one of them will be crushed out of existence within the next month or two: most of them are gone now. In Hungary the Smallholders’ Party won the election and began to co-operate. What happened in the end? Gone! In Rumania and Bulgaria, and in the latest instance of Czechoslovakia, there is no change in the method applied. There is a rift in the lute with regard to Jugoslavia at the moment, but one cannot see the outcome of that. Taking it by and large, that is the method of approach.
The kind of argument that presents the Baltic States as being suitable for Communist penetration could come only from the mind of one who has studied that dialectic philosophy which, I am afraid, is creeping into the Parliament.
Regarding Russia’s new-look foreign policy of peaceful co-existence, I refer particularly to a recent article by Mr. H. G. Kippax which was published in the Sydney press. Mr. Kippax referred to the policy speech of Khrushchev which was delivered at the Soviet Communist party congress in Moscow and which was referred to by the Minister for External Affairs two weeks ago. During his speech, Mr. Khrushchev put forward the proposition that their would-be government was able to abandon two of the wellknown sections of the Leninist theory. The first was the inevitability of war between communism and capitalism. He also suggested that it would be possible to discard the necessity for violence and revolution to overthrow the governments of capitalist countries. Mr. Kippax quoted freely from Stalin’s publication entitled The Problems of Leninism, and stated that, although the basic teachings and tactics may change, the Communist political strategy remains unaltered. The Russians believe that the third stage of the revolutionary struggle is finished with the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a particular country, which can be used as a base from which to extend Communist activities into what they call other imperialist countries through the medium of revolutionary movements within those countries. It is interesting to note that, included in the methods that they employ is the aggravation of what they describe as the contradictions of capitalism to make a cleavage between labour and capital and between the various imperialist powers, and also to bring about discord between the ruling nations and their colonies or dependant peoples. In other words, the Soviet system must be exported. Mr. Khrushchev Fta ted that, while imperialism wa s an allembracing world system - and by “imperialism” he meant capitalism - and its enemies were too weak to resist it, war would be inevitable. Since this position has been altered by the acquisition of strength by the Soviet bloc, the immediate situation is relieved of the threat of war, not because of any desire to placate or to co-exist with the capitalist countries but because of the increase of the strength and power of the Communist countries. Such a situation brings about the possibility of peaceful co-existence with the implied intention of exporting the Communist doctrine by using economic pressure and infiltration, and so bringing about a peaceful transition to socialism.
The remarks of Mr. Molotov on this subject also are interesting. Ten years ago, he said - and I did not receive from him any correspondence on this subject - that the Soviet leaders could, only in their boldest dreams, have anticipated the situation becoming as advantageous as the one in which they are acting now. The Soviet is now free from the Stalinist policies which changed from aggression to appeasement. The Russians are now strong enough to stand on their own feet. They now have no fear of isolation, because they have set up their own immediate sphere of power and have also overcome the immediate fear of the hydrogen bomb, which, of course, until they had made it, presented a tremendous threat to their security. On the one hand there is the Communist bloc and, on the other hand, the capitalist or imperialist bloc, and in between are the uncommitted or neutral peoples. Soviet policy is now directed to bringing to these uncommitted or neutral peoples the full pressure of Russia’s economic and diplomatic power. Included in that group of countries are the countries of Asia, many of which have recently been granted selfgovernment by Great Britain, and also the countries of the Middle East, where there is an immediate possibility of a struggle for power. Moreover, there is the possibility of Russia exporting its doctrine to Africa. To sum up the statements to which I have referred, pressure will shift from centre to centre, sector to sector, patiently, stubbornly, and relentlessly. Bloody and bloodless, military and economic, the effort will continue.
In conclusion, I believe that the attitude of the Opposition towards the statement of the Minister for External Affairs is summed up in the last paragraph of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). The tendency has been to deplore the economic assistance that the Government has made available to other countries and to place the accent upon the military aspect of our assistance by directing attention more particularly to the Seato pact and other agreements. I believe that the argument of the Leader of the Opposition is completely false for the very good reasons that were contained in the Minister’s statement which directed attention to the change of Russian policy, to the efforts we were making for a peaceful solution of the problem, and to the fact that we would only be deluding ourselves and deceiving the people of Australia if, in the face of known facts, we told them that the way to peace and the preservation of our freedom was purely a matter of negotiations. We believe, as a party, and I think that most realistic people in the British Commonwealth of Nations believe, that any negotiations with Communist countries can be carried out only if we have confidence in our own strength and in the co-operation of our friends. We must be the more convinced of that when we relate our position to the ultimate aims of Moscow, as declared on many occasions, and to the frequent statements of responsible Soviet leaders, that the struggle will never end until all political opposition to their own brand of political domination is finally and irretrievably crushed out of existence. So. while we as a government believe that it is essential, first, to assist those people in our near neighbourhood, and to help them on their way towards the achievement of better lives and standards of living, we would be merely deluding them and our own people if we tried to convince our people that we could achieve peace purely by negotiation.
– T desire to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented ?
– Yes, by the speaker who has just resumed his seat, the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon). He argued that I had used the words, “ The countries were suitable for penetration by communism”, which proved that I had a. mind that had studied dialectic materialism. His argument would be irrefutable, provided I had used those words. I refer the House to the report of my speech at pages 665 to 669 of Hansard, of the 8th March, in which there is no evidence that I used those words. I made quite a different explanation, and the honorable member, in an attempt to misrepresent what I had said - and, I suggest, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent it - in a speech possibly written by somebody else-
– Order ! This has nothing to do with a personal explanation.
– The honorable member for Corangamite has not quoted the words I used, and I suggest that, in making the statement in the way he did, he misrepresented completely what I said, with the idea of proving something which cannot be proved by the use of words.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Makin) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.33 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following replies : -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 March 1956, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1956/19560313_reps_22_hor9/>.