House of Representatives
3 April 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 297


Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) - by leave - agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) speaking on the Want of Confidence Motion for a period not exceeding 45 minutes.

page 297



Debate resumed from 2nd April (vide page 294), on motion by Mr. Calwell -

That this Government no longer possesses the confidence of this House.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– Last night, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) laid his claim to the leadership of this country. I believe that most Australians, and certainly members of this House, will regard his claim as hopeful in the extreme having regard to the inconstancy of the policies of the Australian Labour Party and the intrigue of its politicians. The record speaks very plainly in both the domestic field and foreign policy. Australians as a whole are perhaps apt to forget this sort of thing, because Labour is in Opposition and its policies do not come under public scrutiny as closely as they did when it was in office. But if Australians remember what the Opposition did when it was in office before 1949, I am sure they will have second thoughts about giving Labour another term of office at any time in the near future.

The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) last night said how good the Australian Labour Party had been in office during the war years and up to 1949. He generalized. He said the Labour Government had been an effective government and a good government. But he did not tell us of the power shortages that were bringing industry to its knees. He did not tell us of the shortages of basic materials which made it impossible for primary producers to expand and to develop their production. He did not tell us that transport strikes were the order of the day and that people had to walk to work because they could not get petrol for their private cars. There was industrial unrest and disruption of industry, and this was strangling the growth of Australia. This was the legacy that this Government inherited in 1949. The final act perhaps was the great coal strike which led to an untold number of unemployed throughout the country, because fuel for industry just was not available. The Labour Government had been so unwilling to challenge the Communist leaders in the coal-mines at that time that the whole of Australia was in very dire straits when finally the Government was forced to take some kind of action.

The honorable member for Scullin did not tell us of the reasons for the unrest and the disorder that was prevalent during Labour rule in those days. He would not want to mention the fear and the lack of courage of Labour’s political leaders. He would not want to mention the probable acceptance of orders from outside bodies by Labour’s political leaders, who were responsible to the Parliament and to the people but who almost certainly took orders from outside bodies during the time they were in office. The honorable member for Scullin also said that a Labour government would put into effect a policy of full employment. He did not mention that since 1949 this Government has provided Australia with a higher level of employment and a more constant record of high level of employment than the country has ever had before in the whole of its history. The honorable member did not recall the employment policy of the Labour Government when it was in office. Indeed, there are not too many authoritative statements on this matter. One of the most authoritative statements, that of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), has been repeated more than once in this Parliament. It will continue to be repeated until the honorable member for Parkes has the courage to say that he he was wrong, to say that he did not mean what he said, to deny that policy, or to come into this Parliament again and say that he meant what he said in 1945. This is what he said -

I realize that there cannot be total employment, but if we can get down to 5 per cent, of unemployment, for all practical purposes that can be regarded as total employment.

Five per cent.! That is a level that this side of the House would not accept, but no honorable member opposite has disagreed with what the honorable member for Parkes then said, and the honorable member for Parkes himself has not told us that he withdraws what he said in 1945.

During the post-war years the Labour Government revealed not only inefficiency but also lack of courage in its administration - those things which were undermining Australia’s development. The Labour Government brought down acts which were later found to be without the law - which were found to be unconstitutional. Are our memories so short that we forget bank nationalization, or do we think that the bank nationalization policy of the Labour Party does not matter any more because in the course of the last general election campaign the Leader of the Opposition gave a no-nationalization pledge, which was to operate throughout the life of the then forthcoming Parliament should he be returned to office? Did the Leader of the Opposition have the power and the authority to give such a pledge? Did the Labour Party biennial conference tell him to give such a pledge? Is he not, as the Leader of the party, and as is every politician opposite, bound by the policy decisions made by the biennial conference of the Labour Party or by the manner in which the federal executive of the party interprets the policy of the party? Had the Leader of the Opposition forgotten the statement which every honorable member opposite has to sign, pledging himself to nationalization and socialization of industry and other things in this country? Did the Leader of the Opposition have any authority to offer the no-nationalization pledge during the election campaign? Would he have been forced to retract this offer by the Labour Party conference had he been returned to office?

Rule 10 of the Australian Labour Party conference is interesting. It reads -

On all questions affecting members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party the decisions of the Federal Conference shall be final. Pending consideration by the Federal Conference, the ruling of the Federal Executive shall be binding.

All honorable members opposite are bound by a rule in the standing orders of their party which provides that those standing orders are to be interpreted subject to the ruling of the federal executive and subject to the rulings of the federal conference. So the decisions of the conference and of the executive are paramount over the opinions of the representatives of tha people. Had the Leader of the Opposition forgotten those things when he made his pledge some time ago? The very fact that the Leader of the Opposition was prepared in his pursuit of votes to throw over what has for a long time been regarded as vital to Labour policy causes this Parliament and the Australian people to distrust him as a national leader.

Mr. Speaker, last night the Leader of the Opposition made a plea to the Government and its supporters not to criticize the Labour Party on foreign policy. I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that Australia needs a bi-partisan foreign policy more than anything else. If this country can present to the world a policy which is completely supported by all the political parties represented in this Parliament, then Australia must present a stronger front to the world. This is something that Australia has needed for a very long time. However, it is understandable that the Leader of the Opposition should make a plea to the Government not to attack him on this particular issue, because we realize his vulnerability and sensitivity on it. How could any one expect us to betray our own policy merely to prevent criticism of the Leader of the Opposition, whose policy, and the policies of some of his own supporters, would be diametrically opposed, if carried out, to the best interests of Australia? The plea of the Leader of the Opposition is completely understandable because the Australian Labour Party is divided and weak on this issue. The policy has altered from year to year. There has been no constancy, no cohesion, no sense of direction and no sense of the policy which is necessary to ensure Australia’s survival in these difficult years that we have seen in the past and also in the difficult years which obviously lie ahead of us. On four or five specific matters Australian Labour Party policy has been either silent or has changed from conference to conference. It has changed not from one meeting of members of the Parliamentary Labour Party to another but from conference to conference because it is not the party members who make policy. It is the conference which makes the policy and the party members are meant to support what they are told from outside this Parliament.

On the question of our support for Malaysia, on the question of Seato, on the question of the radio communications base in Western Australia and concerning the level of our defence effort, and on the policy directed towards Indonesia, Australian Labour Party policy has changed and deviated from one year to the next. These are matters that strike at the very root of Australia’s survival and it is tragic that a once great party cannot form a united and sensible policy on matters that so vitally affect us all.

In 1955 the biennial conference of the Australian Labour Party opposed any assistance from this country to Malaya. The conference considered that such assistance would injure Asian relations. How much would it have injured Asian relations and our own relations with Malaya in particular if we had refused to give that help when Malaya needed help in fighting Communist subversion inside its own country - if we had refused the help, not only to an Asian neighbour but to a brother or sister member of the Commonwealth. To have refused help to Malaya would have been unthinkable. The Australian Labour Party has wanted us always to withdraw our troops from Malaya.

In 1961 the Australian Labour Party biennial conference advocated the abolition of expeditionary forces as a requirement of Australian defence. This clearly would involve again the withdrawing of any forces from Malaya. How does that decision compare with the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition who on 9th February, 1962, made a statement which was as bellicose as any that has come from a Leader of the Opposition in this country about a country with which we were not at war? At the Labour Party conference of 1963 the question of troops for Malaysia was left unanswered^ There was no mention of it. Does this mean that the old policy of withdrawing troops from Malaya stands or does it mean the Australian Labour Party has no policy of any kind in this matter?

In 1961 the biennial conference held that Seato, a defensive alliance which we well support, should be changed and given a cultural, educational, medical and technical basis. The conference which honorable members opposite are pledged to support said that Seato should not be a military force. Had the Australian Labour Party conference at that time forgotten the purpose of Seato as being to oppose Communist aggression or did the delegates remember the purpose of Seato and seek to destroy it so that it could not fulfil its purpose?

In 1963, the 1961 policy was reaffirmed but it was also said - and the statement has just been issued - that the Australian Labour Party did not advocate Australia’s withdrawal from Seato until new treaties had been formed. But the shape and fashion of the new treaties have been left pretty vague. Would it mean the kind of cultural, educational or medical treaty envisaged a year or two ago? Would this protect us against communism? Would it be a friendship pact or non-aggression pact with North Viet Nam or Communist China? Would these things assist us in fighting communism? The policy of the Australian Labour Party is unclear on this matter. It should be cleared up so that this Parliament and the Australian people can know precisely what the Australian Labour Party has in mind.

We come now to the radio communications base in Western Australia. On 8th September, 1960, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) made a statement in this Parliament about the base. There was not a question on this subject in the Parliament in the following six or seven months and then there were only odd questions mostly from the honorable member for Reid. On 17th May, 1962, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) made his statement and clearly showed what was involved. After that time the matter was mentioned only by the honorable members for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), Yarra (Mr. Cairns), Reid and Parkes. On 15th November, 1962, the Leader of the Opposition asked whether there would be a debate on the issue before any final decisions were made. The Prime Minister replied that the Government would make every effort to provide an opportunity for debate if the Parliament wished to have one. We are going to have a debate, as honorable members now know. Throughout all this time there was no alarm and little concern expressed except by the honorable members for Reid and Parkes, whose sympathies we can well understand.

Early this year the Opposition said that the Government was being secretive about this matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) alleged that information had not been given about it, whereas in fact all the information that was needed and that was essential could be deduced clearly from the original statement made on 17th May. The purpose of these allegations of secrecy on the part of the Government was clearly to divert attention from the Australian Labour Party federal executive’s resolution of October, 1962. This is the resolution that we know full well the honorable member for Parkes supports most enthusiastically. In this House he said -

So that there will be no doubt about the attitude of the Australian Labour Party on this matter, let me read a decision of the federal executive, made at a meeting in October, 1962. It is in these terms -

The Australian Labour Party is opposed to any base being built in Australia that could ba used for the manufacture, firing or control of any nuclear missiles or vehicles capable of carrying nuclear missiles.

Our script is entirely clear. There is no division in the Labour Party on this matter and there never has been any suggestion of division.

The honorable member for Reid also spoke in this Parliament in similar terms. Do those honorable members and others who think as they do, now agree with the OliverNew South Wales resolution that has been passed by the special federal conference of the Labour Party that has just been held? Do they give it support, or are they working to get that conference decision changed at the biennial conference which, I understand, is to be held in Western Australia later this year? Are they taking comfort from the fact that 15 of the 36 delegates voted flatly against having this base in Australia on any terms whatsoever? Do they like it when they think of what the repercussions would be if that policy was pursued successfully? Have they thought of what the repercussions would be on the security of this country and on our relations with our allies?

In the last few weeks the Leader of the Opposition has issued various statements implying that Australia needs a greater defence effort. He said that under a Labour Government the defence forces would be built up. How does that lie beside previous statements that we should get out of Malaya or beside the conference decision that we would not have any expeditionary force; that expeditionary forces are not required for Australia’s defence? Has his party, conference or executive support for those decisions? There is no mention of them in the foreign policy statement that has been published recently. As he is well aware, the honorable members for Parkes, Lalor (Mr. Pollard), Reid, Wills (Mr. Bryant), Yarra and Hunter (Mr. James), within the last two years, have all advocated the virtual abolition of the Australian defence effort. One of them said that a railway right across Australia would make a greater contribution to the defence effort than would the armed forces that we have in this country. Do those honorable members support their leader when he says that Australia’s defence effort should be built up? Has the Leader of the Opposition the support of his party, or its executive, or what is more important the big boss of the Labour Party - the federal conference - in making these statements? This Parliament and the people to whom it is responsible have the right to know that.

In 1961, the Australian Labour Party conference called for a settlement of the West New Guinea problem in accordance with the United Nations Charter. In February, 1962, the Leader of the Opposition made the bellicose statement to which I have referred, which was clearly directed to keeping Indonesia out of West New Guinea. In 1963, the recent conference welcomed the settlement of the dispute in accordance with United Nations principles. Here we have the Leader of the Opposition taking a view which is clearly not supported by the Labour Party conference. If he were to become Prime Minister, which view would prevail - his view or the view of the conference? Where is the agreement between Labour leaders, the leaders in the Parliament and the leaders outside the Parliament?

On the question of Malaysia the Leader of the Opposition made a strong statement supporting the establishment of the federation, but the conference issued some vague statement to the effect that the areas of

Borneo ruled by the British should be decolonized in accordance with the United Nations principles and charter. It made no mention of support for the Malaysian federation. Again I ask: Does the conference support the Leader of the Opposition, or is the Leader of the Opposition flying off at a tangent, in a direction of his own, without support? Why is there ambiguity in Labour’s attitude on these matters? Why does not the conference support the elected parliamentary leader?

The tragedy of the division and muddle that is evident in all these matters makes it quite obvious that the Australian Labour Party is completely unfit to occupy the Government benches in this Parliament and to rule the country. The division arises in part from the organization of the Labour Party and from the power wielded by the conference and the executive, which I have already mentioned. Politicians, including, possibly, some future Prime Minister, must knock at the conference door asking for instructions. It is not difficult to envisage the present Leader of the Opposition in this role. No other Labour Party that I know of allows this kind of outside control. It is worth reading the remarks of the honoured United Kingdom Labour leader, Herbert Morrison, in this connexion. In bis book, “ Government and Parliament “, Mr. Morrison said, at page 140 -

Neither the Party Executive nor the Party Conference-

He was speaking of the British Party - claims the right to instruct a Labour Government while it is in office. Nor is there anything in the Party Constitution giving the Conference or the Executive power to instruct the Parliamentary Labour Party when in opposition.

At page 144 we find the following comments: -

The British people expect from their M.P.s a general sense of electoral responsibility and that their Government shall be answerable to the elected House of Commons.

In this country, of course, a Labour government would be answerable to the conference, not to this Parliament. Mr. Morrison went on to say -

In Communist countries things are very different. There the Political Bureau (or whatever new title it may have) of the Communist Party is, in fact, the body that determines Government policy. If in our own country committees of political parties could instruct the Govern ment of the day, we should be losing our system of parliamentary democracy and moving towards single-party dictatorship.

That is not a view expressed by me or by some other member of the party to which I belong; it is a view expressed by a Labour leader in the United Kingdom who has occupied a high and honoured position in the Labour Party. It is a view, however, that honorable members on this side of the House would clearly support.

The Australian people have the same expectations in this kind of matter as have the British people. An Australian Labour Prime Minister would be a subservient leader owing first loyalty to an unnamed, unknown group of 36 persons who owe no responsibility to this Parliament or to this people. It is difficult to imagine the Australian people ever giving the present Leader of the Opposition a chance to fill such a role. If, by mischance, they did so, it would not be difficult to envisage him playing the lackey to his political bosses outside the Parliament. Indeed, during the last week or two we have had convincing evidence that he does not mind playing this role, that he is quite prepared to play it and that he will continue to play it.


.- The time limit placed on speeches in this debate gives me no opportunity to answer all the humbug we have heard from the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser). If he had been in the House last night he would have heard a very clear and responsible statement from the Leader of the Australian Labour Party, giving our attitude towards the establishment of the base in Western Australia. The leader of our party is responsible to the federal conference, and he stated our view in this House last night. The honorable member for Wannon brings this matter forward only in the hope of distracting the attention of the people from the real issues involved in this motion of want of confidence in the Government. It is not what the Labour Party has done during the past thirteen years, or at some other time, that is wrong with Australia at the present time; rather can we lay the blame on the bad administration and bad government that we have seen from the Menzies-McEwen Government. We are not responsible for all the things that are wrong with the country to-day. The fault lies with the people who sit on the other side of this House, including the honorable member for Wannon.

Mr. Speaker, I support the motion of want of confidence that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). In my view, the most important reason why this motion was moved, and should be supported, is that the majority of the people of Australia have lost confidence in the Menzies-McEwen Government. On 9th December, 1961, a majority of the people voted against that Government. More than 51 per cent, voted in favour of an Australian Labour Party government. Instead of the Prime Minister of Australia being Sir Robert Menzies it should be Mr. Arthur Calwell. There are 62 elected representatives on this side of the House. Unfortunately, two of them represent Territories and do not enjoy a vote on matters other than those which affect the Territories they represent. On the other side of the House, there are 46 supporters of the Liberal Party and sixteen supporters of the Australian Country Party. Yet, it is the honorable members opposite who are running the country. The position is absolutely undemocratic. It is obvious that the electoral boundaries are rigged and are unrealistic.

Any voting system whereby a minority party is kept in government is a bad one, and a government that permits such a state of affairs to continue is deserving of censure. It is a serious matter for minority rule to exist, because it gives rise to discontent, dissatisfaction and loss of confidence. I believe that the present minority rule is finding expression in the state of the Australian economy and is one of the reasons why the economy is limp and lacks vigour.

The effects of minority rule are to be seen in many countries throughout the world. In some countries the governments are being propped up by military juntas. As a result, there is economic chaos and unemployment. In some countries there is starvation, and in others, jungle warfare. In spite of our bad government, thank goodness that Australia has not reached the low level of some such countries. Nevertheless, it is important for our people to be on guard against such a possibility. I remember that at the 1949 general election the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) promised constitutional reform which, in my view, is essential in order to remove some of the obstacles that are blocking Australia’s progress. Why the Prime Minister balks at this promised reform is beyond my comprehension.

Mr Armitage:

– His masters outside have told him what to do.


– Yes. Certainly, he appointed a joint committee of the Parliament to investigate and report on this important matter, but there he stopped. In my opinion, the Constitutional Review Committee was one of the best committees ever appointed. It consisted of six of the best men from this side of the House and six of the best men from the other side. The committee tendered some of the best advice that this Government could receive. Yet, the Prime Minister has ignored its recommendations. The failure of the Government to implement those recommendations is deserving of censure. It provides another reason why we should vote for the motion that is now before the House.

Democracy in this country is only a mockery. It does not exist either in the Commonwealth Parliament or in some of the State Parliaments. In some States, non-elected juntas have the final say. That is not only a sham; it is also a shame. At one time, Australia was referred to as a great democracy, but we can no longer claim that distinction. Even in the States where members of the upper House are elected, it is done on a restricted franchise and could not be described as democratic.

The Menzies Government came to power on a wave of great prosperity. When it took over from the Labour Government in 1949, Australia’s economy had never been sounder or more stable. Unemployment was non-existent. There were two jobs for every man who wanted them. We had an overseas credit balance of £850,000,000 which, in terms of the Menzies £1, to-day would be worth about £1,600,000,000. In addition to that, the Government has been singularly fortunate. Australia has had bountiful seasons. The droughts and plagues which have befallen other countries have not affected us. Favorable conditions have existed throughout the life of this Government since 1949.

In the early ‘fifties Australia’s wool cheque doubled from over £300,000,000 to over £600,000,000. The price of wheat and other primary products rose to levels which had never previously been reached. But in 1960 the Government interfered with the national economy on the pretext that boom conditions were not a good thing and, by using the Budget as an instrument of regulation, it applied stringent restrictions which eventually were given the master name of credit squeeze. The economy has been sick ever since.

What has been the result? We have had 100,000 and sometimes more unfortunates unemployed. Not only the unemployed breadwinners have been affected. The credit squeeze has affected their wives and families and probably 250,000 people have suffered as a result of the Government’s policies.

The restrictions brought about a big drop in investment in the private sector of the economy. The Government attempted to counter this by stepping up expenditure on public works, but its efforts always were insufficient to offset the disastrous effects of the injurious credit squeeze. Reference to official Treasury figures indicates that governmental expenditure on public works from 1960 to 1962 increased by about £200,000,000 or 15 per cent, whereas private investment decreased by £107,000,000 or 8 per cent. It is evident from these figures that the steps taken by the Government to offset the ill effects of the credit squeeze were unsuccessful, but it still pursues the same stupid policies.

There are other examples of lack of confidence. Bank deposits are another pointer. Between June, 1960, and June, 1962, bank deposits increased to a total of £3,918,000,000, a rise of more than 9 per cent. Over the same period bank advances rose by only 5 per cent., and over the last twelve months they have fallen by 5 per cent. The stowing of money away in giltedged securities in banks and bonds is a sure sigh that the people with money lack confidence and will not invest their money in ways which would develop Australia and its industries.

Another sign of lack of confidence is the way in which Government loans are oversubscribed. In 1961, a Commonwealth loan of £40,000,000 was over-subscribed by £33,000,000. More recently a Commonwealth loan of £60,000,000 was oversubscribed by £65,000,000. This is not a sign of prosperity; it is a sign of fear. It is clear evidence that the public lacks confidence in private investment. People with money prefer to invest it in Commonwealth bonds at 5i per cent, interest rather than risk investment in industry and developmental works at 7 per cent, or higher interest. This is bad for the economy because it causes unemployment and a running down in consumer spending.

All the measures which the Government has taken not only appear to be wrong but also have been proved to be wrong. It seems to be incapable of finding an effective remedy. Even the statistical juggling by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) rarely gets the number of unemployed persons below 100,000. The Government prefers to hand over the problem to some outside committees which never come up with a solution. It passes the buck by setting up a committee whenever something goes wrong with the economy. But it never finds a way out, even when it passes the problem to a committee. The last committee to be appointed, which consists of economists, bankers, commercial people, industrialists and so forth, is sitting at the present time. It will be interesting to see what it hatches. It is called an economic committee of inquiry and is presided over by Dr. Vernon, who is the chairman of directors of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited. We can imagine how he will fix up the economy. It will be for the benefit not of the worker but of the people he represents.

We all remember what the Government did in 1961 in the middle qf the recession when the unemployed numbered 131,000. It decided to reduce direct taxation by £30,000,000 by means of a flat reduction of 5 per cent. We all know that that was a great big flop. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said that this reduction would boost consumer spending to such a degree that unemployment would disappear. Instead, it proved to be just another gift to people with plenty of money and those on the higher salary ranges. It means a benefit of only ls. or 2s. a week for the ordinary working family and made hardly any impact on the rate of consumer spending. If that sum of £30,000,000 had been used to increase pensions and social service benefits, it would have had the desired effect of stimulating consumer spending. If the Government were really sincere and wished to solve the nation’s economic problems, it could succeed; but apparently its policy is one of having a fixed pool of unemployed numbering approximately 100,000. By having that pool of unemployed, it hopes to keep salaries and wages at a low level. It is the Government’s method of keeping down costs and prices, but it is employed at the expense not of the monopolists and big dividend earners but of the ordinary wage plug.

In my opinion, the correct means by which to put industry back into full production and to restore the full employment which existed in the days of the Chifley Labour Government is to increase consumer spending. The best method by which to do that is to put more money in the hands of the spenders and not to have it deposited in the banks or invested in bonds. Age, invalid and widow pensioners, and the mothers of young families, are the best spenders. I suggest - it is a constructive suggestion - that the first step towards full economic recovery would be to increase pension rates and child endowment immediately. Child endowment rates have not been changed since the Menzies Government first assumed office, but in the interim prices have risen by 100 per cent. At the last general election the Australian Labour Party promised that if it were elected to office it would increase child endowment payments to 10s. for the first child, 17s. 6d. for the second child and £1 for each additional child. Money provided to mothers in that way would soon boost consumer spending and, I believe, would solve the unemployment problem. Let us give the mothers of children some money to spend and they will soon make the retail shops flourish. When the shelves of the retail shops are emptied they must be replenished from the factories, and the factories which satisfy the extra demand must put on many more workers. If that happened, we would have no pool of unemployed. At the last election the Labour Party promised also to increase age, widow and invalid pensions and to restore their value to that which obtained in the days of the Chifley Government. All these increases would immediately result in increased consumer spending. Pensioners now receive a mere pittance, and a rise of any amount in their rates of pension would immediately be reflected in consumer spending.

Next to unemployment, the most pressing social problem in this country is the lack of housing. If the Government acted more generously and made more money available to the States to solve this social problem, that alone would solve the unemployment problem. Surveys conducted recently by independent authorities indicate that to meet the needs of this financial year no fewer than 100,000 houses should be provided. Eighty thousand marriages are contracted each year. Each of those young couples should be able to get a house. We must find houses for the 20,000 immigrant families who come to this country each year. We must also do something about slum clearance. At least 100,000 houses a year are needed in Australia. At an average cost of £4,000 each, this means that about £400,000,000 is required for housing each year. This year the Commonwealth is providing about £80,000,000 for housing. It should increase the grants to the States for housing by at least £20,000,000. Let us remember that the money provided by the Commonwealth is not given to the States. It is lent by the Commonwealth and repaid by the States together with interest charged at a high rate. Housing schemes have been in operation since the First World War and following the Second World War. During that time the Commonwealth has received £40,000,000 each year from the States in repayment of loans and interest. I submit that the Commonwealth should lend to the States not only £80,000,000 but also the £40,000,000 each year that it receives from the States as repayments.

The Government should examine the matter of foreign investments in Australia. My friend the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) dealt very adequately with this matter last night and I support everything that he said. Overseas investment in Australia is having a detrimental effect on our economy. The last figures that I examined showed that £1,500,000,000 of foreign capital was invested in Australia. That investment earned an annual profit of £147,000,000. Most of the money has come from Britain, America and Canada. The investors are absentee investors and because Australia has reciprocal tax agreements with the countries concerned, those investors pay taxes not in Australia but in their own countries. The result is that Australia is losing £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 a year in taxes. Australia is a great country - one of which I am very proud - but our economy cannot withstand a slug like that each year. The Labour Party is not opposed to overseas capital and overseas know-how being used to develop Australia, but if Australia is good enough to invest in and make large profits in, it is good enough to live in. Australia should be developed for Australians by Australians.

I wish to quote from some remarks that were passed recently by a Melbourne broker, who was quoted last night by the Leader of the Opposition. A recent article in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ under the heading “Broker Says Federal Action Needed on Overseas Companies “ reads -

Mr. Ricketson, a Melbourne sharebroker and financier, said Australians should hold at least 30 per cent, of the equity capital of overseas companies here.

Mr. Ricketson, chairman of directors of Haliburton Investments (Australia) Limited, was addressing the company’s annual meeting.

He said the fast-growing investment of overseas capital in industry and trade in Australia was an important problem which demanded the urgent attention of the Government.

The rapid growth of overseas investment raised the fear that Australia might find its economy dominated by overseas interests, Mr. Ricketson said.

Just like Canada! The article continues -

He added: “The position has been highlighted by the publication of the results achieved by a large number of Australian subsidiaries of powerful American and British organizations, which have reaped enormous benefits from their operations in Australia “.

That is the view of a company director, not a friend of the Labour Party. He fears such a situation, just as we of the Labour Party fear it.

I would like to deal with many important matters that have been neglected by this Government but I am sure that my colleagues who follow me in the debate will adequately handle them. I think 1 have demonstrated clearly that the Government does not possess the confidence of tha people of Australia. Any sensible member of this House - I know that the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) is not in that category - will support the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell).


.- Mr. Speaker, I do not want to upset the fine and sensitive feelings of my friend, the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa), when I say that his speech has not got me into any state of excitement. Added to that, his speech is not likely to prevail on me to support the motion moved by his leader. The character of his speech may best be judged by one glaring inaccuracy of which my honorable friend seems not to be conscious. I refer to the fact that in 1950 when the Menzies-Fadden Government was moved to extend child endowment, that extension was opposed by the Australian Labour Party, both in this Parliament and outside it. The plea that the honorable member for Banks made this afternoon for the extension of child endowment, and of this service and that service, is well understood by us all. It is commendable, but clearly anything of that nature must be done within the Budget - within the resources that are available, and nothing else. This is a clear example of the sense of profligacy that races throughout the Australian Labour Party.

The motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) does two things, in a political sense. First, it invites this House and the country to prefer his leadership and the policies of his party. Secondly, it says, by way of clear-cut implication in the matters of leadership and of policy, “ Virtue is on my side; sin is on your side “. Or, to put it in another way, “ God is in his heaven; Arthur is in this House “. If that circumstance does no* cheer us up I invite my friends on this side of the House to contemplate the lustre that would be added to government by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). A lot could be said about the honorable member for East Sydney, but all of it would be strangely inadequate. One thing that depresses me no end is that, after eight years of intense political conflict with the honorable gentleman, it still seems entirely appropriate to me that he should take as his motto “ la gouttière est premiere “ which, interpreted shortly, means “ the gutter is first “.

As to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I hesitate, on account of manners, to appraise the splendour of his own praise. Here, in the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, is a rare labour of love. Here is one whose affection for himself is proportionate to his size. He oozes conceit at every seam. He has a determination to wield power even if that means a constant and ready abandonment of principles for expediency. The Leader of the Opposition suggested last night with ungainly forthrightness that we should approve of him, approve of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and approve of the honorable member for East Sydney, with all the horror that flows from that. I hope that my friend the Leader of the Opposition will not be upset or chagrined when I say to him, without any sense of heat or feeling, that his charm has not the depth to persuade me that he is right. The most distinguishing feature about the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition is that he does not know whether he is being followed or being chased. To-day we have seen ‘the cultivation of the image of moderation. We are being led to believe that the honorable gentleman is benign and gentle and that he is dripping with tolerance at every view which is not in accord with his own. Of course, history does not show him always in that light. I want now to take the House back a few years, because it is pertinent to see what the honorable gentleman’s make-up is.

The other day in this House when the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) referred - I thought in a very kind way - to the tendency of the Leader of the Opposition to want to censor everything, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition defended him. How did he defend him? He did not defend his leader by saying, “ When he said these things years ago he was only a boy “. What he had to say about the Leader of the Opposition was, “He acted on the advice of officials”. I thought that a rather contemptible thing to do, to defend any Minister on the ground that he acted on the advice of officials. But so ass to show to the House, and I hope ultimately to the country, that the Leader of the Opposition has always had these extreme views on censorship, I shall read, if I may, some excerpts from his speeches made when he was a private member. I hope the gentlemen of the fourth estate will bear this in mind. The Leader of the Opposition, in a question addressed to the Prime Minister of the day, said -

In view of the irresponsible nature of the charges-

That is, charges made by Sir Keith Murdoch - and the effect that they will have on public morale, will the Minister put a censor in each office of the Murdoch press-

Including the Herald and Weekly Times office - or will he issue an order prohibiting Sir Keith Murdoch from writing articles calculated to lower public morale, or, better still, will he have him interned?

Mr Chaney:

– Who asked that?


– This was asked by the present Leader of the Opposition. Is that a temperate view?

Mr Chaney:

– Did he say, “Will he have him interned? “ ?


– Yes. This is the quality of leadership that we are seriously invited to approve. Again he asked this question of the Prime Minister -

What action does the Prime Minister propose to take against the proprietors of the “ Daily Telegraph” in Sydney for once again-

Mark these words carefully - deliberately and flagrantly violating censorship instructions . . . ?

The Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, replied that he did not know whether there had been a breach of censorship regulations. A few days later, on 12th February, Mr. Curtin, referring to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, said -

I have examined the position, and am advised that the publication of this map was not a breach of censorship.

There is the judgment of the honorable gentleman. He alleged that there had been a deliberate and flagrant violation of censorship instructions. He made no bones about it. There was no ambiguity in what he said. Yet his Prime Minister, a few days later, said that there was no breach of censorship at all. It is incredible. My honorable friends opposite, who are chirping away, want to know what this has to do with the censure motion. If they can convince me that quality does reside in their leader, I may support the motion, but it is the quality of their leader, amongst other things, that I challenge and which, I think, deserves to be pinned to the ground as being one of the finest examples of humbug in more than 60 years of political life in this country.

Let me refer to another extreme in the policies of the honorable gentleman. This is the art, the cult, of moderation of the honorable gentleman. This is the benign and gentle honorable member - “ Gentle Arthur “. This is the saviour. As a private member, not fired on by any officials, he said -

Naturally, as a member of the Australian Labour Party, I support nationalization. It is a plank of our platform. It is part of my political bible. I speak somewhat sadly on the question, because I cannot persuade the Government to nationalize anything. If I can only screw-

What levity of expression -

Ministers up to the point, I should nationalize not only the wireless broadcasting system, but also banks and insurance companies. I should do a lot of things which, unfortunately, the Government will not do.

The honorable member for East Sydney was a Minister at the time. His leader to-day, who was a private member at that time, could not screw the honorable gentleman up to the point. What a fascinating sight it would be - to gaze on the Leader of the Opposition screwing the honorable member for East Sydney. It is not what I would do to the honorable gentleman, I assure him of that.

Immediately the question is asked: Has the Leader of the Opposition changed? Has he gone from his extreme ways, when he wanted to intern the head of one newspaper and when he said another newspaper was deliberately and flagrantly violating censorship instructions though the newspaper was doing nothing of the sort? That is not to mention anything of Mr. Quilp Did I hear the name “ Mr. Quilp “ mentioned? That is his friend, Mr. Henderson, of the “Sydney Morning Herald”. The honorable gentleman has covered the field at one time or another. But has he changed? I believe it is summed up in a couplet -

Camouflage the leopard as you will Beneath it all his leopard heart beats still.

The honorable gentleman has a natural inclination to extreme legislative action. If he by some mischance ever led a government in this country, we would see a whole catalogue of extreme legislation brought down in this Parliament. Besides having this capacity and this disposition to run to legislative extremes, the honorable gentleman has also an inbuilt reluctance to stand against outside pressure.

I come back now to his qualities of leadership. No political leader in thiscentury has discredited leadership as much as has the present Leader of the Opposition. What shame, what humiliation, what despair and what utter cowardice reflect on the honorable gentleman, who a few days ago was sneaking around the Hotel Kingston, waiting to get his orders. How the ghosts of Pym and Hampden must have stirred as they gazed on the Leader of the Opposition, together with his Deputy Leader oozing conceit, waiting for orders. The two political leaders did not have the simple intestinal fortitude to say: “This is our belief. Here are our convictions. We put our leadership on your table.” They preferred to take a direction from 36 people, who, as my honorable friend from Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) said this afternoon in a very forthright speech, are unknown to and not elected by the Australian people. This is the quality of leadership. Where else has there ever been such a display? One honorable gentleman opposite is holding up his hand. If he wants to leave the room, he may do so; I will not complain. This is the quality of leadership that this Parliament and the people of Australia today are invited to support. I reject such leadership and I believe the country will reject it. I am willing to lay my fate on the resolution of this House.

The Leader of the Opposition last night made some arresting comments on the score of defence. I was a little dismayed this afternoon to hear the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld), when referring to my honorable friend from Wannon, say, “ Get on to something serious”. Are we now to believe that the defence of this country is no longer a serious matter? I always had the impression that the first duty of government was to provide for the defence of the people. But here, when this subject is being debated, the honorable member for Phillip say*, “ Get on to something else; leave that little thing alone”. What did the Leader of the Opposition say last night? He said -

I et me emphasize that the Australian Labour Party is pledged to maintain the American alliance. It is also pledged to provide for the adequate defence of Australia.

With no passion at all, with no heat and with no ambition to score off him, I invite the House to look back over the years to some of the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. Let us look at the 19S4 policy speech. This is the alternative government, the Opposition that we are invited to support in this want of confidence motion. In 1954, the Leader of the Opposition said -


In the north - defence links up with development to prove that expenditure on transport is partly preferable to defence.

In other words, if we have a road, or for that matter if we have a number of wheelbarrows, we have transport and this is better than defence. In 1955 he said -

Labour would not require the huge annual expenditure at present appropriated. We shall review the defence vote so as to exclude wasteful and extravagant projects like St. Mary’s.

Does that remain the view of honorable members opposite? I understand that they would, if given the opportunity to-day, put up for auction the St. Mary’s ammunition factory when, for the first time, we are in a position to provide all the conventional arms that we require.

Now take the Leader of the Opposition himself. In a broadcast statement which is not to be dismissed on the score of antiquity, because the year was 1957 and the date 24th November - I do not know whether or not he is a Sagittarian - he said -

It would have been far better if some of the defence grants had been spent on universities and secondary and technical schools instead of being figuratively poured down the drain.

One can agree that more money could have been spent on universities and secondary schools, but according to the honorable gentleman it was a case of “ defence out, schools in “. In his censure motion speech the Leader of the Opposition referred to the cold war. What did the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) have to say a short time ago about the term “ cold war ‘? He said -

Such cliches as the “cold war” and the “free world “ are just so many slogans out of the galaxy of John Foster Dulles’ public relations office and they do not mean anything.

This was the honorable member for Parkes, despising what his leader had had to say. Yet the honorable member for Parkes would also say, “Well, I must support my leader “. He is saying, in effect, that because of the irresistible force of contemporary politics members of the Labour Party must support their leader. Again, I think that the logic of the circumstances is heavily against the Leader of the Opposition as it is also against the honorable member for Parkes. Again on the score of defence - I hope I am not embarrassing my friends opposite by reminding them of what they said - the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) had this to say -

All we need to have at our disposal is something in the nature of a police force-

Mr Pollard:

– Hear, hear!


– Honorable members heard that. The honorable member for Lalor has picked it up again and in effect repeated what he then said. I hope that the people outside will be conscious of what the honorable gentleman has done.

Mr Pollard:

– Read out the whole of the statement.


– Certainly. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to carve it on granite and take it round to your room. The honorable gentleman’s statement was -

All we need to have at our disposal is something in the nature of a police fores to meet that form of attack pending the arrival of assistance from the United Nations.

What a wonderful thing that would be! Pending the arrival of assistance from the United Nations! Now let us take that redoubtable defender of democracy, the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant). He had this to say in the past -

Honorable members opposite are the scaremongers.

I have been called many things, but “ scaremonger “ has got under my skin. I feel greatly upset. He went on -

We are not the ones who say we must defend ourselves against the surging hordes from the north. In fact, we say those hordes will never come.

Where does the honorable member for Wills stand in relation to his leader on the matter of defence? Then let us take the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) who apparently is the chief spokesman for the Australian Labour Party and its chief columnist and writer on defence and foreign affairs. This is the role that he has assumed of late, and here is what the honorable gentleman had to say -

What have we to fear from China? I have said that we need have no fear whatever of the People’s Republic of China. China is concerned only with her own development for peaceful purposes.

One of the most dedicated pacifists in the world was Mr. Nehru. He was devoted and dedicated to his people and to providing a solution of the problems that poured out of China. But his attitude to the Chinese Communists was broken because of the attack by the Chinese Communists. Now, Sir, there is the leadership of the Australian Labour Party and there is the policy of the Australian Labour Party on defence, though in a scrappy form I admit. We are invited to support that leadership and that policy. I believe that they are hardly worthy of recognition, let alone support.

Now I turn to economic circumstances. I have already adverted to what the Leader of the Opposition had to say about nationalization. He is all for nationalizing the whole field and not leaving anything at all alone. The simple truth is that the Australian Labour Party is ill-adjusted to present-day realities. It refuses to recognize the remarkable rate of growth and the remarkable development that have taken place in this country in the last ten years. The policies that Labour Party members propound are as reckless as they are irresponsible. The great economic battle of the 1950’s was the battle against inflation; and I believe that that battle has been won. It was waged and won in extraordinarily difficult circumstances while we were trying to maintain an enormous rate of development. No other country has been faced with the problem of sustaining the surging development of an economy while at the same time seeing that the living standards of its people were improved. I know that it is very tempting to resort to inflationary policies. We saw that revealed in the speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition last night. He complained that bank deposits were up. What does the honorable gentleman invite the depositors to do? Does he invite them to spend their money, to enter on a spending spree as though they were living in an eveofWaterloo atmosphere? This is the sort of policy that the honorable member advocated only a short time ago when he told the people: “ Spend up. Get rid of your money because it will not be worth anything soon.” And to-day the honorable gentleman complains that the people did not take his advice.

Now I turn to the economic results achieved by the Government. The work force of this country has grown over the last eight years by 600,000. What other Western nation can point to a comparable record? Population has increased immensely and impressively. It rose by 100,000 in 1962. Home building is being sustained at the rate of 90,000 homes each year. Our living standards are rising. The weekly expenditure of an average family of four has increased by IS per cent, in the last ten years. Approximately half of the increase in expenditure has been on homes, cars and consumer goods. Real expenditure per head of population on capital investment rose by 10 per cent, and real wages increased by 23 per cent. At the end of the 1950’s the standard of living over the whole community was 50 per cent, higher than it was at the end of the 1930’s. The average Australian to-day possesses more than his counterpart of but a decade ago. He has more leisure, more paid holidays, more long service leave, a better range of working conditions, a better form of social services and greater assurance of security.

Is this a record to be despised? Is this a- record that should be rejected as being contemptible? I am fed up with the criticism, the cynicism and pessimism that pour out of honorable gentlemen opposite. I am fed up with the cynicism, criticism and pessimism that come from many places in this country. It is about time people stopped tearing down this country’s institutions and traditions. What we want is for every one to start beating the drum for Australia; and we can do our part in that here by rejecting this miserable, this contemptible censure motion to-morrow afternoon.


.- One would not be short of ideas in criticizing the Government and advancing reasons why the Government no longer has the confidence of this House; but I feel that at this stage I must say something concerning the statements made by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). I was rather surprised that the honorable member criticized my colleagues the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) for statements about censorship that they made in this House. He failed to inform the House that these statements were made in 1943, when this country was locked in a life and death struggle with its very bitter enemies. The reason why those statements were made was this: The gentlemen concerned criticized the fact that there was published in a newspaper in this country a map which showed the disposition of Australian troops in New Guinea. I am surprised that the criticism made by those two gentlemen was so mild, and I am more surprised that the government of the day did not take the advice given to it and put those responsible where they belonged. I’ was n6t here then and I did not have the advantage of hearing what was said. I was one of those in the jungle whose position was given away. Any one who has the temerity to stand up in this place and support traitors does not deserve to be here.

If we are to speak about the defence of this country, that is a very good subject on which to criticize this Government for Rs lack of action and lack of provision for our security. We have been told by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), in response to questions about the defence of this country, that we have powerful and influential friends who will come to our assistance if needed. He has not divulged any agreement under which that is required of these powerful and influential friends. The Anzus pact does not require any one to come to our assistance if we are attacked. It merely requires that other countries will consult with us concerning what is happening. The Seato pact does not lay down that the other parties must come to defend us if we are attacked. It merely requires that the parties to the agreement shall consult and that, within the scope of their constitutional powers, they will consider what they will do. In other words, what we would get out of it would be another debate, and we would have to hope that we would survive during the period of the debate and get the assistance we needed.

Let us look further at this position regarding our powerful and influential friends. Has it not occurred to any one on the Government side that these powerful and influential friends have powerful and influential enemies? What would happen to us if the heavyweights in this cold war became contenders in a hot war and we were left to the mercy of some of the lightweights. Surely it is not unreasonable to state that, if no one could come to our aid, we should be able to defend ourselves. Furthermore, it might occur to honorable members opposite that a country which is in a position to defend itself is in a much better position to assist other countries in common defence. Surely this is simple logic.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, our entire defence activity is organized on the assumption that we shall simply be a part of a general defence force. If that is so, the Government should take no chances. It should be thoroughly realized that the best method of maintaining our security is to be fully organized and equipped on our home front. What does the Government do about that? First of all, most of the armaments that it secures are made abroad. We are not in possession of the industrial knowhow to replace them or to make major repairs. They are secured on the instalment plan. They will be delivered over long periods and, upon their arrival, a number of them will already be obsolete. In any case, we would not have the industrial experience to handle them.

Mr Forbes:

– What about being particular?


– I shall be particular. Our weapons should be designed by our own experts as a result of their own experience.

We would then be certain that we had something with which we were familiar and we would know that it was suitable for our circumstances. The honorable member has asked for something in particular. Let us take the M.60 machine gun which we have imported from the United States of America. It has been found by the people who use it in Australia that it is more mechanically complicated than the weapons it has replaced and is subject to wear in vital parts at a more rapid rate than its predecessors.

Mr Forbes:

– It replaced two weapons.


– It is true that it is built to take both belt and magazine feed, so it replaces two weapons, as pointed out by the honorable member. But in the experience of those who are using it, it is too lightly mounted to withstand continuous rapid fire and retain the required degree of accuracy.

The 106-mm. recoilless gun is only a partial success. It secures its recoilless action by having no breech block, the rearward thrust of the propellant charge coming out into the atmosphere without hindrance. One needs little imagination to be able to visualize that at night the firing of one round would light up the vicinity of the gun position like a 5th of November bonfire. This, of course, would not be likely to go unobserved by an enemy and would lead to what is known in military parlance as “ drawing the crabs “. These one-shot wonders are not exactly popular either with those who are expected to use them or with those whom they are supposed to support. The new American hand grenade is not thought to be up to the standard of the old 36 grenade. It is not grooved for fragmentation. It does not have the necessary weight of body or of explosive. The new S.L.R.1 and S.L.R.2 rifles are very good, but they are not American. We adopted them upon advice from the Americans on the ground that they would be a common weapon but the Americans have decided not to adopt them. So we do not have a common weapon after being put to that expense in re-arming our forces.

Australia has approximately 2,000,000 men of military age - men between the ages of 18 and 40 years. Yet it does not appear to have occurred to the Government that we could recruit and support a substantial professional army sufficiently strong and sufficiently well armed and equipped to defend this country. The dictum of Napoleon that victory goes to the big battalions is to-day only partly true. Uptodate equipment and training are now the most important factors. Apparently the Government is of the opinion that if a welterweight does not feel confident enough to fight a heavyweight, he should throw the towel in if a lightweight appears. It seems that our defences have been farmed out very largely. We are organized to defend ourselves as a lackey of somebody else. Honorable members on this side of the House are quite prepared to defend the country but we are also prepared to put it in a position in which defence can be effective. In this age, when science is the main factor in defence as in other things, we must have a professional army, equipped to defend the country and hold off an enemy while we mobilize the balance of our forces. Previously, some one else has stood between us and our enemy while we have done that. We shall be very lucky next time if there is anybody around to stand there.

The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) had a few things to say about the party on this side of the House, but I notice that he has departed without waiting for a reply. There is a possibility, nevertheless, that he will read “ Hansard “ so I shall answer him. He was critical of the conference-

Mr Forbes:

– He is a bit selective in his reading.


– I hope that his taste will improve and that he will read my speech. I should like to point out to him the constitution of the recent federal conference which has come in for so much criticism and which has been stated to be anything but democratic.

Mr Forbes:

– Tell us all about it.


– We will tell you, if it is of interest to you. The thing about that conference that has annoyed honorable members on the Government side of the House most is that it did not come down with the decision with which they hoped it would come down. The fact that it

Mr Stokes:

– By nineteen votes to seventeen!


– Let us have a look at the vote. There was a majority of two. I point out to Government supporters that that is 100 per cent, better than the majority they have in this chamber at present. I point out further that that majority is a great deal better than the vote that the Government received from the electorate at the last election, which was a minority vote of 300,000. At least we are on the right side of the fence, democratically.

Of whom did the conference consists? It consisted of duly elected representatives. We have been told that the convention that was held in my State of Queensland, which has also come in for a bit of criticism, was dominated by the trade union movement. Of the 136 delegates, 58 represented the trade union movement and 78 represented the electorates. Those delegates elected six people to go to the federal conference which has been so much criticized.

Mr Forbes:

– Tell us how the delegates voted.


– They voted as they liked.

Mr Forbes:

– As individuals?


– Yes, as individuals. There has been further criticism by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) because our leader and deputy leader were not present. There was nothing to stop them being there had they so wished. Three members from this side of the House were there. All that the leader and deputy Header had to do was submit themselves as candidates in the normal democratic way, and they could have been there. Perhaps honorable members on the Government side of the House do not understand the democratic process.

The fact remains that Government supporters are disappointed with the result. Of course, we are not very concerned about what they think. We are satisfied with the result. We are satisfied that it was achieved by normal democratic processes.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I sympathize with the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray). He devoted practically all of his speech to defence matters, obviously because he is rather appalled by the effort put forward by his colleagues in the Opposition in support of its censure motion. I do not propose to refer to the subject of defence because we will have an opportunity to debate that matter in a short while. I have no doubt that we will have a very interesting time. In fact, that debate is one of the most interesting debates to which we have been able to look forward for some time.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) summed up this censure motion when he said, referring to the Australian people -

They have suffered it for sixteen months, and now the Opposition demands that they be given the opportunity to assert their right to choose another and a better government.

The Leader of the Opposition claims that the people have suffered for the last sixteen months and honorable members opposite have endeavoured to show us where that suffering lies but the facts are completely contrary to what they say. Here are some of the things that are happening in the Australian economy: In the December quarter of 1962 £1,259,000,000 was spent on food, clothing and household items by the Australian community. That was an all-time record. Does that indicate a suffering community? The people have record funds - £69,000,000 more than at the peak of the boom conditions in 1960. That is not the only fact. If honorable members opposite do not like it, I have others. In the same quarter, £998,000,000 was paid in wages and salaries. That is another record. Does that also indicate a suffering community? Further, £89,000,000 worth of motor cars were sold. Does that indicate a suffering community? The production of motor cars and station wagons was 61 per cent, greater than in January, 1962. The production of tinplate increased by 100 per cent., of steel by 4i per cent., of steel blooms and slabs by 8 per cent., of bricks by 15 per cent., and of television sets by 22 per cent. Honorable members opposite suggest that our economy is suffering, but Australia has never known such a stable and prosperous economy as it has to-day.

Honorable members opposite are endeavouring to make a lot of the unemployment situation but there are 100,000 more people employed in Australia to-day than there were twelve months ago.

Mr McGuren:

– Unemployed.


– There are 100,000 more people working in jobs. That is a fact that honorable members opposite do not like to mention because it indicates the true situation. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) told the House last night that there are 14,000 more job vacancies each week. Let us look at employment in Australia, and particularly the problem of seasonal work. This Government has made relief grants to the State governments, particularly the Queensland Government. That State is suffering from the effects of 39 years of Labour government. It attracted no industry in that period so naturally it is a primary producing State and is subject to varying seasonal conditions and fluctuations in export markets. Consequently, its employment position is worse than that of any other State. This Government has given money to Queensland for the relief of unemployment. However, an alderman of the Bundaberg City Council objected to his local authority taking on more loans and subjecting the ratepayers to further burdens to relieve unemployment in that area. He said that he knew of canecutters - they are seasonal workers - who earned £2,000 for their six months’ work and then went on to unemployment relief. I might agree that such cases would be exceptional, but, having some knowledge of the sugar industry, I would say quite definitely that many seasonal workers in that industry would earn £1,400 or £1,500 for their six months’ work and would then go on to unemployment relief. I believe the average earnings for the whole of Queensland in the cane industry, for six months’ work, are £1,000, and after having completed their six months’ work those employees go on to unemployment relief and swell the numbers of registered unemployed. These are aspects of the situation that our friends opposite do not mention. Many of us have seen, and all of us have some knowledge of, the play “The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll”. That gave an indication of what happens in some respects in the case of seasonal workers in the cane industry.

The Leader of the Opposition also said that the Opposition wanted to give the people an opportunity to assert their rights and choose a better government. That is a very interesting remark. It has been many years since a Labour government was in power, and many people have forgotten what the last Labour Government was like. We heard to-day a most interesting and able recital by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) of the restrictions imposed by that Government. They affected many aspects of Australian life. Restrictions were imposed even on the press. I remind the House that certain members of that Labour Government are still here, and that they will become Ministers if some frightful calamity befalls us and the Labour Party again is called on to form a government.

We have heard honorable members opposite talking about the unemployment situation. No doubt they would have different means of dealing with unemployment. They do not expect any problems of unemployment if Labour comes to power. They remember Mr. Chifley’s statement, in which he said that the time was fast approaching when a man would no longer be able to choose his own job. Of course, if such a situation existed you would never have unemployment. That is the kind of thing that is in store for the people of Australia if Labour ever again comes to power, with all its schemes for nationalization and so on.

Mr McGuren:

– Rubbish!


– It is not rubbish. The aim of nationalization is down in black and white. The honorable member is obviously very ignorant of these things. Honorable members opposite have had a good deal of practice in the role of Opposition members. In the 63 years of Australian federation Labour has been in office for only a little more than fifteen years. That gives an indication of the prospects that Labour members have of ever establishing themselves again as the government of Australia.

There are some things that we are very concerned about, particularly in Queensland. This Government has made every effort to develop Australia. It has realized that it is impossible to develop Australia without a stable economy. It imposed restrictions in 1960 so that we would have a stable economy and the necessary funds to further the interests of Australia. The Government had in mind our increasing population and the consequential development that was necessary. As a result of the measures taken by the Government at that time, we now find that our Commonwealth loans are over-subscribed, our car industry is manufacturing almost as many vehicles as it was before the restrictions were imposed, and instead of importing steel we are exporting it. I think all honorable members received a copy of the brochure prepared by General Motors-Holdens Limited, which company, incidentally, is spending £40,000,000 in expansion in Australia, thus indicating its faith in this country.

I am one who clearly appreciates the dangers that would arise if Labour ever got back to power in Queensland. For years Queensland was noted as a right-wing Australian Labour stronghold, but to-day Labour in Queensland is completely dominated by the Communist elements in the community. Honorable members opposite cannot deny that the Queensland Trades and Labour Council is controlled by Communists. The Trades and Labour Council to-day controls the Labour Party in Queensland. Honorable members opposite do not deny this. They cannot deny it; it is a fact that is set down in black and white. It is unfortunate that in Queensland we have no upper house of the Parliament. The people of New South Wales realize the importance of an upper house. Just recently some former Labour members of that chamber, appreciating their responsibility to the community, helped to defeat some of the legislation that the Labour Government was trying to introduce, and which would have been disastrous to New South Wales. However, in Queensland we have no upper house, and if the left-wing group in that State ever got to power it would be able to enforce its policies immediately. It would be able to sack a judge overnight, and if you can intimidate the judiciary by doing that kind of thing, then you create a very serious position. This is something that the people of Queensland will have to consider carefully.

Mr O’Brien:

– You are drifting a bit.


– I will drift on to something that you will not like. I will drift on to the Kianga-Moura developments. Certain honorable members travelled around the north of Australia some time ago preaching the necessity for more development. One of my colleagues asks me who they were. Well, the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. O’Brien) and the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray) were two of them who travelled around that area preaching the development of north Queensland. Thanks to the efforts of the previous honorable member for Capricornia and of the Minister for Mines in Queensland, Mr. Evans, we have managed to inaugurate what is likely to be a tremendous coal industry in central Queensland, in the neighbourhood of Gladstone, which is a very fine port situated right in the centre of our Queensland coastline. It is an area where we need population.

We have untold millions of tons of coal in this area. We managed to attract what is probably the largest and most efficient coal-handling company in the United States of America to exploit, in combination with Thiess Brothers, a Queensland company, the coal resources of this region. All this development was commenced, and then we found the Communists in the coal union holding up the development. We all know how the Communists try to make much of something removed from the real matter of dispute. In this case what the Communists desire is that there will be no major coal export industry in Queensland. All sorts of excuses are made to try to hide this aim. One excuse was based on the matter of housing. Honorable members opposite are trying to interject. I know they would like me to change the subject, which is an important one, although one that many members of the Opposition do not like to hear about.

Mr O’Brien:

– You condone communism.


– We will get on to that in a moment. The argument based on housing was completely wrong. There are two main coal-producing areas in this region. One is at Moura, where hard coking coal is produced. Kianga gives soft coking coal. The first demand from Japan was for soft coking coal. That was about nine months ago. The Queensland Government held a meeting with the union concerned, with the companies and the local shire authority, for the purpose of developing housing facilities in that area. Then the Japanese changed their orders. They wanted hard coking coal instead of soft. All operations had to be shifted immediately to Moura. That is the present position. Temporarily the housing is poor, but that is not the main issue. The Communist-led union - and the honorable member who has been interjecting seems a bit doubtful about this - is dominated by, first, the president of the Queensland Colliery Employees Union, Mr. Millar, a selfconfessed Communist, and also by Mr. Vickers, the union secretary, who was secretary of the Communist Party in Collinsville, north Queensland. That should be enough for anybody who knows something of political history in Queensland. Look what they did to Collinsville; they closed Collinsville up. Collinsville was run by the Government, inherited from the previous Labour Government of Queensland, and it was losing thousands of pounds a year. Private enterprise has now taken it over and is providing good jobs for people in Queensland.

The debate, so far, has not revealed the importance and the influence of the measures which the Government has taken in recent years in the interests of primary producers. We on the land were in a really desperate position. Because of the inflationary spiral, our costs were rising and our export prices were falling. For the last six quarters the consumer price index figure has been held. Consequently, our costs have been held. For the first time, the primary producers have hope ahead of them. This is borne out by comments made by Mr. Pull, the president of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council, and by Mr. Havard, the president of the National Farmers Union of Australia, two men who are well able to speak for our rural community. All kinds of pressures are being applied to put an end to the measures that the Government has taken. There is pressure from the Labour Party, because Labour believes in inflation. Unfortunately, there also is pressure from some sections of our business community. I have read pronouncements by representatives of some of the banks, to the effect that our economy should be stimulated.

Mr Gray:

– They are all wrong, are they?


– Yes, I say they definitely are wrong. If the Government were to do as they suggest, there would be a return to inflationary conditions. The Labour Party started the inflationary spiral. Inflation became a part of the normal way of life, and some people find it hard to do without it.

I read recently in the “ Financial Review “ a report concerning the operations of 100 of the top companies in Australia. The report showed that their profits had increased by 8.9 per cent, over the last twelve months. Their average profit on capital was something like 16 per cent. I cannot see that that is a serious state of affairs, because I can remember that in prewar days we were doing exceptionally well if we received 4 per cent, or 5 per cent, income on ordinary shares. Of course, as

I have pointed out, we have become used to dividends of 15 per cent, and 20 per cent., but if we are to develop the country and to keep our export industries functioning, not only in the field of primary production but also in the field of secondary production, we must be realistic. Our secondary export industries are becoming the most important factor of our economy, and this Government deserves tremendous credit for its efforts to stimulate those industries. Every primary producer, and particularly the members of the Australian Country Party, which to a great extent represents the primary producers of Australia, supports the development of efficient secondary industries because it is realized that that is the only way to provide an adequate number of jobs of a high standard for the people.

I have here some figures which I took out from the Commonwealth “ Year Book “ for the ten-year period from 1948 to 1958. They show that the number of new jobs in the primary industries increased by only 806 during that period. This indicates, of course, a trend to mechanization or, as our friends opposite like to call it, automation. If there were no mechanization there would be very little left of our primary industries. We have encouraged by tax incentives the development of exports from our secondary industries, and I believe that still more incentives should be given. As my time has almost expired, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall conclude on that note my contribution to the refutation of the very poor arguments that have been advanced so far by honorable members opposite.


.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has proposed a want of confidence motion which has the unanimous approval of honorable members on this side of the House. We intend to use to the best advantage the opportunity that this forum affords. We hope that the newspapers of Australia will print what we have to say about the Government’s management of this country, and also that it will print truthfully the replies that may be made to our charges. The debate to-day has ranged over a very wide field. It has taken us back to the time when we were at war and to statements recorded in “Hansard” in 1943 and 1945. Surely, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the supporters of the Government are called upon to try to satisfy the people of Australia that the Government is managing the country’s affairs properly.

The Opposition will attempt, step by step and speaker by speaker, through the media of the radio, the press and television, to show the people that this Government is not pulling together as a coalition in the best interests of the people, that there is dissension and argument in the ranks of the Government, that Ministers who were disapproved of have been dismissed and that there has been conflict over the redistribution of electoral boundaries. We of the Opposition say that a government which is torn by so many dissensions and arguments cannot manage the country in the best interests of the people. This contention, I am sure, will be proved conclusively by a succession of speakers from this side of the House.

Who are the people who are waiting most eagerly for this Government to provide some assistance for them? They are those who are the wards of the Government - the pensioners and the unemployed, in the first instance. They are waiting to see portrayed by the Opposition a picture of their privations and of the unending worry with which they are faced because of unemployment. They want to hear that the way ahead is clear and that their needs will be satisfied. It is more than a year since the general election on 9th December, 1961, when a majority of 300,000 people voted in favour of the Australian Labour Party. Those people deserve to be told why the Australian Labour Party has not been allowed to govern and why the present Government has not remedied the ills to which they objected so strongly at the time of tha election.

In the short time that is available to me I shall try to bring to the notice of the Government the wishes of the people who are concerned because of the way it is managing the affairs of the country. Those people want to know what the Government proposes to do in the future. At the present time, there are people who are barely surviving on the invalid pension. An invalid pensioner is entitled to £5 5s. a week, plus £2 7s. 6d. a week for his wife, 15s. for the first child and 10s. for tha second child and each subsequent child.

Such a family of four persons must exist on £8 17s. 6d. a week. Yet the basic wage in my own State of Queensland is £14 4s. a week. As we know, the basic wage is fixed according to the basic or essential needs of a family of four, including the cost of food and shelter. Although the basic wage is £14 4s. a week in Queensland, an invalid pensioner with a wife and two children is expected to exist on £8 17s. 6d. a week. The invalid pensioners living in poky rooms and shoddy homes want to know when the Government intends to accept its responsibility and help them to lead a decent life.

What kind of a person is the invalid pensioner? He is the man who is knocked down in the street and maimed for life; or the man with an incurable disease who cannot work; or the man injured on the job who, after being paid compensation for five years, is told that he will receive no more. Perhaps the man concerned is only 30 years of age. After ekeing out an existence on his compensation payments for five years he, with his wife and two children, is condemned to exist for the remainder of his life on £8 17s. 6d. a week. Widows are in a similar position. An A class widow with one child receives £5 10s. a week and a widow with three children receives a total income of £7 1 5s. a week. Would the wife of any honorable member on the Government side like to feed and clothe herself and three children on £7 15s. a week? The present pension is a disgrace. These people want to know what is going on. Bulletin No. 35 of 1962 published by the Bureau of Census and Statistics indicated that the cost of groceries and other food increased by from 15 to 20 per cent, on the 1957 figure. What is this Government’s reaction? Is it thinking of the age pensioners, the invalid pensioners or the widow pensioners? The State conference of pensioners is meeting now at Redcliffe which is in my electorate of Petrie. It should consider well a statement by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) - a senior Minister - which was reported in the Brisbane *’ Courier-Mail “ of 30th August, 1962, in this way -

I go on record and I don’t care what it costs me, as saying that if another £40,000,000 was available this year for purposes other than that specified in the Budget, I would put an increase in pensions and other social services last on the list following developmental proposals.

So much for the Postmaster-General. Woe betide the Cabinet if, as has been suggested, it proposes to provide in the Budget for an increase in pensions. The PostmasterGeneral will argue this matter with his colleagues, thereby giving further evidence of dissension in the Government parties.

The thousands of unemployed people in Australia will listen to what is said in this forum or will read the newspapers to try to learn the Government’s replies to the Opposition’s criticisms. To date no solutions have been advanced. I have the utmost concern for the unemployed. There are 4,565 workers in Australia’s rural industries unemployed, of whom 2,507 are in Queensland. The honorable member for Macpherson (Mr. Barnes) has said that Queensland is a primary producing State, but it has the greatest percentage of unemployed in Australia. Our biggest problem in Queensland is the placement of juniors. In February, 1963, there were 36,832 juniors unemployed, of whom 8,427 were in Queensland. Unemployed juniors in Australia represent 38 per cent, of the total number of persons out of work. The unemployment position has been made patently clear to the Government. The people of Australia know that this is a major problem, and the purpose of this debate is to find out exactly what the Government intends to do about the young persons who are unemployed. They are the concern of the Australian Labour Party. The Brisbane “Telegraph” has dealt with this aspect. In the issue of 28th March, 1963, the “Telegraph” had this to say -

Hundreds of Queensland girls are searching Brisbane for office jobs, and the Federated Clerks Union and the Queensland Employers Federation say that the chances of most of them obtaining them are remote.

The article then deals with certain cases in this way -

Michelle, 16, of Coorparoo, who obtained an A in English, a B in Art and Cs in Maths A, Maths B and typing, said she had been learning shorthand at night for three weeks. “I pick up the newspaper almost as soon as it hits the ground to look up the advertisements for positions vacant “, she says. “ I have applied for about 30 jobs, and once I got down to the last four “.

Then follows reports of about a dozen similar cases of young girls seeking employment. The Brisbane “ Courier-Mail “ of 20th March, 1963, carried the following report: -

Rockhampton. - An advertisement for a 14 or 15-yssr-old girl for a city newsagency yesterday was answered by 106 applicants.

The Brisbane “Telegraph” of 18th March, 1963, had this to say-

Sixty-four teenagers queue for job. Sixty-four Brisbane teenage girls queued on the footpath outside a city office for more than three hours to-day.

The Brisbane “Courier-Mail” of 19th February, 1963, had an article in these terms -

Jobs: Employers call for an inquiry. Queensland Employers Federation secretary, Mr. J. R. James, last night called for a committee of inquiry into unemployment in the State.

The Brisbane “Courier-Mail” of 15th February, 1963, contained a statement by the Premier of Queensland which did nothing to instil confidence in the people in the State Liberal-Country Party Government. It stated -

For these problems of school-leavers and females, I see no answer freely available within the public employment sector. The cure of this problem must come not on an emergent basis but a fully vocational basis through the private sector of the economy.

Queensland has been convinced for some time that the basic justice of the matter demands a complete review.

Between 1957-58 and 1961-62 a total of £7,397,395 in unemployment benefit was paid to persons in Queensland. Would it not have been wonderful if every one in Queensland had been employed and that money spent on development?

I have mentioned dissension in the Government ranks. Let me refer to conflicting statements which have been made. When dealing with Queensland’s problems the honorable member for McPherson said -

The Government has made every effort to develop Australia.

I wonder if the honorable member is completely in step with the Leader of the Country Party! In this morning’s “ Sydney Morning Herald” the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), who is the Leader of the Country Party, is reported as having made the following statement when addressing the annual conference of the Victorian Country Party: -

This country with its empty and neglected north and inland is the most urbanized nation on earth.

There we have two conflicting statements. The honorable member for McPherson, on the ona hand, claims that the Government has done everything to develop Australia. On the other hand, the Leader of the Country Party, who is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, refers to our neglected north. After this Government has been in office for fourteen years, the Deputy Prime Minister still refers to our neglected north. Surely the people of Australia are entitled to be told the truth, and this is the forum in which the truth must be told.

The people know that, like the Australian Labour Party, the Liberal and Country Parties are controlled by an executive which formulates policies and then makes recommendations to the members of Parliament. The people of Australia want to know what the Government intends to do about housing, about getting the unemployed back to work and about giving young people the opportunity to buy a home without the young wife being compelled to work for five or six years after marriage to save the deposit. The people want answers to these questions. The Government must give them the answers in the Budget. Does the Government intend to help the pensioners, the widows and the unemployed? Is it concerned about finding jobs for the young school-leavers? Does the Government intend to continue sacking Ministers who say something out of turn? The Government is jealous of the Australian Labour Party because we have complete unity of thought and purpose. The Country Party, as we saw when the redistribution proposals were before us, is not in step with the Liberal Party; Sir Robert Menzies is not in step with Mr. Bury; Mr. McEwen is not in step with Mr. Bury. So the dissension goes on.

One night last week we witnessed the spectacle of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) rising and saying: “ Off the market with margarine. Put butter on, because the primary producers want a better go.” He was taken to task by the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) who said, “ Surely, man, you must think of the pensioners who want to buy a cheaper commodity “. That emphasizes the complete disunity and dissension which exists on the opposite side of the House. There will be still more dissension. The Postmaster-General will be fighting very hard with his colleagues, because he believes that no more money should be made available for the pensioners. He is the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party. Possibly somebody will say “There is a sum of f 3,000,000 to spare. Let us give it to the pensioners.” The honorable member for Richmond will say to his leader, through the PostmasterGeneral, “Let us have more subsidies for butter. Give country people a better go.” So the fight will continue following this unhappy marriage between the Country Party and the Liberal Party.

I feel sorry for honorable members opposite who have to go back through history and say that somebody said something in in 1945. We could do that; we could do it all day. But the people of Australia want to know what the Government intends to do about the existing problems. If honorable members opposite are so sure that the Government’s policy is right, let those who are honest at least absent themselves from the chamber when this want of confidence motion is put to the vote. Every Government supporter who follows me in this debate will rise and say: “ Look at what we have done. We have done everything right.” Well, let us go to the people and let them decide which side has produced the best case.

Mr Buchanan:

– They have already decided.


– I know there is not much chance of its happening, but I only hope there are one or two honest men opposite who will have the courage of their convictions. I am looking at one honorable member who will not be honest, but I hope there will be one or two who will vote in such a way that these issues will be taken to the people of Australia and that the people will be allowed to act as judge and jury.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, may I say to the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. O’Brien), who has just delivered a most remarkable speech, that it is necessary to have sound, good and progressive government and an adequate national income as well as safety and sovereignty to enable the government of the day to do some of the things he suggested. In the speech I am about to address to you, Sir, I propose to prove that this Government is progressing in that manner and that we would not have such progress under a Labour government.

Last night the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) proposed this motion -

That this Government no longer possesses the confidence of this House.

He has been supported by a number of Labour members as the debate has proceeded. My understanding of such a motion is that it should be supported by a strong attack on the Government, that the Opposition should show clearly the Government’s alleged failures, and that honorable members opposite should conclude by stating plainly the policy that would be implemented should the motion be carried and the Opposition become the government. The Opposition has done none of those things properly; it has not defined clearly the issues which it wishes to bring before us. For example, on a number of occasions in the past Labour spokesmen have referred critically to an overall decrease in bank deposits. But last night the Leader of the Opposition complained that the banks were flush with unused money. He said that the stock exchange remained dull and lifeless, but on the same day a Sydney newspaper carried this three-column headline -

Trading is Brisker on Share Exchange.

The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), who spoke last night, spent most of his time telling us what the Australian Labour Party did when it was in office from 1941 to 1949. I direct the attention of the honorable member for Petrie to that speech. While such a recital has little to do with the motion before us, I was amazed that the honorable member for Scullin should want to remind us of the post-war Labour Government. That was the Government which gave us petrol rationing and a number of other controls, as a result of which we suffered blackouts and many serious strikes, and which, worst of all, started the inflationary spiral. From 1946 to 1948, in particular, great opportunities existed for Australia to obtain large new markets overseas. Those markets were available because the wartorn countries of Europe were rebuilding, but the Labour socialists were so busy planning the nationalization of the banks, medical and broadcasting services, and so on, that they failed to seize those opportunities. It then became the responsibility of this Government during the following decade to stop inflation, to bring stability to the economy and to provide a strong, imaginative programme for our national development. It is well known that we have discharged that responsibility.

One other aspect of the speech delivered b, the Leader of the Opposition is of great significance. I refer to what he did not say about Labour’s defence and foreign policies. His speech contained no reference to the Labour proposal to withdraw Australian troops from the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in South-East Asia, to Labour’s policy on the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, to his own declaration about Malaysia, or to Labour’s objective of making the South-East Asia Treaty Organization useless as a military alliance. All the honorable gentleman did was to announce a few general formulas which proved to us that so many different policies are espoused by members of the Labour Party that he, as its leader, is unable to say which is the party’s real policy on defence and foreign affairs.

Towards the end of his speech, the Leader of the Opposition said, amongst other things, that on the subject of defence he wished to make only a few observations. Before he made his speech that course was forecast. No doubt you will remember, Sir, that the reason given by Labour apologists was that the Leader of the Opposition thought that, except in times of national danger, defence and foreign policies had little influence on the Australian voter. I ignore the voluntary admission that the need of the Labour Party for votes must be balanced against the best defence policy for Australia. Australians have a big interest in these matters. One of the greatest differences between the Menzies LiberalCountry Party Government and the Calwell socialist Opposition is in relation to their defence policies. If honorable gentlemen opposite think that little interest in these matters is displayed amongst Australians as a whole, I could give them many examples to prove that the reverse is the position. I shall content myself with quoting one example to show that there is an interest in the proper defence of Australia. A few weeks ago I received from the Defend Australia League a circular which has been forwarded to all members of the Parliament. It reads -

You have received previously the resolutions passed by a group of N.S.W. citizens at three meetings held in Sydney on the subject of Australia’s defences . . .

The League feels that the international situation has deteriorated considerably in the past few weeks, particularly in regard to the security of Australia. Our defence needs are of paramount importance and we wish to express the disturbed state of mind of all loyal Australians that we could not defend ourselves unaided.

With this in mind, we are circularizing all Members of Parliament with the enclosed copy of a resolution which was approved by a large majority at the above meeting.

Attached to that is a copy of the resolution, which reads -

  1. In view of the changed international situation, this Meeting again stresses the serious inadequacy of Australia’s defences.
  2. This Meeting strongly supports the action of the Federal Government in making available to our American Ally the Naval Communications Base at Learmonth.

On the one hand, throughout the post-war years the Labour Party has advocated the reduction of defence expenditure in Australia to the minimum. On the other hand, the Liberal-Country Party Government has asserted the need for the maintenance of modern and effective defence forces. During this period the Australian Labour Party has pursued isolationist policies, advocating rejection of defence pacts with our allies and rejecting also the use of Australian forces for security purposes in forward areas. The Labour Party has ignored entirely the southward march of communism and I regret that some honorable members opposite have appeared, as in the case of the Cuba crisis, which was debated in this House recently, in the role of apologists for aggressive communism.

Many Labour Party members, both within the Parliament and outside it, have advocated nuclear disarmament and, more recently, the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. We know that these policies are of the greatest danger to Australia. The Communist powers have great superiority in conventional weapons over the nations of the free world, so as soon as the free nations abandoned nuclear weapons they could be overrun by the Communists. We say that there must be a programme of complete disaramament - a programme for the disarmament in respect of nuclear as well as conventional weapons by all countries at the one time. Unless this is done there will be great danger, not only for Australia but also for ail of the free nations of the world.

A number of honorable members have already adverted to the danger of establishing a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. It would be a disaster for Australia if a nuclear-free zone were established in the southern hemisphere. Atom bombs cannot be stopped by the Equator. All the nuclear powers are in the northern hemisphere, so if Labour’s policy were adopted, Australia could be bombed by an enemy from the northern hemisphere but would be powerless to counter-attack.

Reference has been made already by honorable members on this side of the House to attacks by leading members of the Labour Party on the United States proposal to establish a naval communications centre at Exmouth Gulf and the final diluted agreement announced by the Federal Executive of the party. Last night the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) showed how the left wing of that executive is organized and dominated by Communist elements. Although the Labour Party may reach a compromise on this and other problems, we can see that the left wing, which is the dominant section of the Australian Labour Party, gives the impetus to this dangerous policy of isolationism - a policy that is opposed to co-operation with Britain or the United States. It is a tragic policy of partial disarmament.

Let me give to the House one more example of the danger inherent in Labour’s defence and foreign policies. Most honorable members, as well as a number of people outside, know that the Communists want to provoke the free nations into aggressive action and that they would like to cause trouble between the free nations of Asia and those of Europe and America. When the problem of West New Guinea was at its height the Labour Party suddenly stopped its curious peaceful cooing and started sabre rattling. It went almost to the point of urging armed intervention by Australia. There was even a suggestion from some quarters in the Labour Party that Indonesia must now be regarded as Australia’s enemy. I cannot understand such an attitude but I know that such statements are dangerous and irresponsible. The facts are that our Government is working for peace and friendship in Asia and throughout the rest of the world. The Labour Party fails to see the true and only enemy of Australia, which is international communism. If we accept that fact, we know that if Labour’s policies are put into effect Australia will be virtually defenceless. Yet this is the party whose leader last night asked the House to support a vote of no confidence in the Government. We of the Government parties believe that the basic aim of the Government’s defence policy is to ensure peace in the world and particularly in our part of the world.

For a number of years I have been certain that Australia’s future becomes more closely linked with that of Asia as each year goes by. I believe that we are now waging a war for men’s loyalties and that the best defence for Australia is to have strong friends and good neighbours. Therefore, I support strongly this Government’s overall policy, which includes development of Australian resources on the mainland and in our territories; an effective system of defence, including well-armed forces, strong and mobile; a sound foreign policy; sound diplomacy; and a good neighbour policy. I remind the House of the Colombo Plan and what Australia has been doing in that regard. Australia is a co-founder of the plan. I remind honorable members that Australia’s prestige abroad is high. I remind them of the Anzus treaty, Seato and Anzam, most of which honorable members opposite criticize and wish to weaken. I remind the House of Australia’s active co-operation in the Commonwealth of Nations and in the United Nations. I remind honorable members, too, of the Government’s immigration policy. Many more examples of the Government’s progressive policies could be given.

Australia has an individual responsibility for ensuring the peace of the world. We must bring closer together, for want of a better phrase, the people of the East and the

West. We have this task partly because of our geographical position and partly because of our Australian character and understanding. Every Australian shares this responsibility but I believe that members of Parliament have the greater responsibility. To the best of our ability we must plan for what may happen in the years ahead. We must do everything in our power to relieve hunger, want and oppression in other countries and to make people in those countries understand that we want to be their friends and partners in progress. We must persuade them of the great need to reject the wily Communist and his overtures. The remarks passed in this debate by honorable members opposite show that they do not share in those objectives. I have every confidence in the policies of this Government working well towards the fulfilment of those objectives.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, in opening my brief remarks I must say that the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean), who has just resumed his seat, finished his speech with some very sound principles to which we on this side of the House could well subscribe. Whilst he brought his speech to a conclusion by stating such principles, in the earlier part of his remarks he delved into ancient history. He referred to petrol rationing and inflation as the creations of the last Federal Labour Government. Petrol rationing, of course, was introduced during the dark days of the war and was continued until 1949 under a Labour government. Perhaps a case can be made to show that Labour kept petrol rationing in operation for too long. But it is a fact that petrol rationing was maintained in this country at the request of the British Government, for patriotic motives associated with the preservation of the British Commonwealth and of all those qualities of democracy and government for which 1 trust members on both sides of the House stand. One can go back in the history of all these things and say that a mistake was made here or there.

It is true that in 1950 supplies of petrol became available from sources not previously recognized in Australia and the incoming Liberal-Country Party Government was able to remove petrol rationing. But it is equally true that Labour main tained petrol rationing for patriotic motives and in what it believed to be the best interests not only of this country but also of the United Kingdom. We have been told that the Labour Party created inflation. I would have thought that this was something which members on the Government side of the House could well have left alone. Inflation was brought about after the referendum in 1946, when the Commonwealth Government unsuccessfully sought power to retain certain controls over the economy which it had exercised under its war-time powers through National Security Regulations. Members on the Government side of the House could well read Mr. Chifley’s speeches in respect of that referendum, in which he warned what would happen to Australia if those powers were not referred to the Commonwealth.

The honorable member for Mcpherson (Mr. Barnes) said that his Government had been battling with inflation for twelve years. I venture to say that had those powers been given to the Commonwealth Parliament in 1946 the battle would not have lasted twelve years, because the Commonwealth Parliament would thus have been enabled to deal with this problem. It is not a problem entirely within our control. We know that inflation was brought about in the 1950’s by the increase in the price of wool which resulted from the demand for that product during the Korean war. Incidentally, that increase in the price of wool saved the bacon of the present Government. But it did not help in the matter of inflation. Inflation is not always within the control of the government of the day as it is related to circumstances overseas. But that does not alter my proposition that the present Government created inflation in this country not only by its maladministration but also by its opposition to the granting to the Commonwealth Parliament of the adequate powers in 1946.

The honorable member for Robertson dealt at considerable length with the questions of defence and foreign policy, which are so important to us all. He painted a picture, which is often painted in this Parliament, of the Labour Party sitting on this side of the House ready to imperil the future of this country by dissipating our defence forces, and by adopting an ineffective foreign policy. It ill-behoves any supporter of the Government to make those claims, which are completely dangerous and irresponsible. For the benefit of the honorable member and the House, I point out that Labour has never had any cause not to be proud of its defence record. We have a defence record, in both World Wars, of which we can well be proud. The major ships of the Royal Australian Navy, H.M.A.S. “Sydney” and H.M.A.S. “ Melbourne “, the Centurion tanks and a great quantity of the equipment of our forces at present were ordered by the Chifley Government, although many of these items were not delivered until the present Government’s term of office began. The Sabre jet fighters were ordered under the previous government. It is true that orders have now been placed for new equipment for many sections of the services. This is a progressive trend on the part of this Government which, for many years, was so neglectful of our defences.

It is true that we of the Labour Party believe in a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere; but that does not mean that if other nations in this hemisphere were equipped with nuclear weapons we would stand by and leave Australia defenceless. We say that we will not set an example by bringing nuclear weapons into this part of the world - the southern hemisphere. Supporters of the Government should put themselves in the position of the people of Indonesia. We in Australia to-day frequently pick up newspapers and read reports that Indonesia has purchased three more cruisers or two more destroyers or is equipping another division, and we are invited-

Mr Chaney:

– You have not read that in any newspaper.


– We are invited to believe that any increase in the preparedness of Indonesia is a threat to the defence of this country. I invite honorable members opposite to reflect on what would be the feeling in Indonesia and South-East Asia if Australia was the first country in the southern hemisphere to arm with nuclear weapons. The problems of nuclear disarmament have been dealt with. We are not a unilateralist party. Our party sub scribes to the view that nuclear disarmament must be multilateral. We believe in nuclear disarmament on that basis and make no apologies for our belief. We subscribe to the policy of the President of the United States of America who, realizing that this problem exists in the northern hemisphere, said in May last year that he did not want to see a number of small national nuclear deterrents but preferred to have a Nato deterrent. This is the view of members of the Australian Labour Party. We subscribe to the President’s view and want to confine nuclear weapons to as few nations in the world as possible. In the long term we want to see nuclear disarmament on a multilateral basis.

We, on this side of the House, are very familiar with the problems of communism and of South-East Asia, which were dealt with quite well by my friend from Robertson. They are problems not only of defence but also of hunger and economic necessity. Whilst is is true that we criticize Seato as an ineffectual means of containing communism in that part of the world, it is not true that we stand for leaving Australia defenceless. We believe that in matters associated with economic considerations Seato does not go far enough, lt would be the policy of a Labour government to go much further in that direction.

I want to associate myself with the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), in which he submitted this motion of want of confidence in the Government. The greatest threat which is posed to Australia at present is the fact that the Government now believes its own propaganda and has become self-satisfied and smug. We have heard the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) say, in effect, that we have now solved the unemployment problem. Whether this motion is adopted or rejected, members on both sides of the House must realize clearly that our unemployment problem is a long way from being solved. Treasury Information Bulletin No. 29 of January this year shows an increase of about 6.7 per cent, in bank deposits and notes and coins in the hands of the public. It has been pointed out that that fact, together with the healthy loan funds position, indicates lack of confidence in the Australian economy. The most effective indication of such lack of confidence is the unemployment index. I shall cite some figures in that respect. In February, 1960, we had 61,023 people out of work in Australia and registered for employment. In February, 1961, the number was 73,072. In February, 1962, it was 112,250 and in February, 1963, 96,042. All of those figures are too high. Admittedly the last one is an improvement, but the improvement is too small and too late; and in many ways it is artificial, as I shall illustrate later in my speech. The Queensland figures are still more illuminating. Queensland has had the longest period of sustained unemployment, and the problem is still the most serious in that State. The variations in the numbers of people registered for employment in Queensland are shown in the following table: -

This Government and the Country PartyLiberal Government in Queensland are able to congratulate themselves on an improvement in the position only because they compare the February figures with their own dismal record. At the end of June, 1957, when Labour was in office in Queensland, 2,851 people were registered for employment. In the year 1956-57, an average of 2,343 people received unemployment benefit.

The full story of unemployment cannot be told by the figures. They do not take into account the thousands of people who are seeking work but are not registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service, the young people who have continued secondary education because they could not find jobs - that is, the problem has been postponed, not solved - or the young people who have been unable to find positions or apprenticeships to which their educational standard would normally entitle them. This will affect them for the rest of their lives. As my colleague, the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. O’Brien), said, 37.7 per cent, of the unemployed in Queensland to-day are under the age of 21 years. This does not include those under the age of sixteen years, who do not receive unemployment benefit.

One might well ask: What has been done? It is true that the Government has given considerable sums of money to the Queensland Government, but it i- also true that the present Queensland Government, in its dishonest approach, has boarded the money so that it may spend it in the few months before a State election. The people of Queensland are asking: “ What will happen after June? What will happen after the end of the financial year? “ The unemployment figures are artificial. This Government ha:., quite properly, realized that it has a responsibility to foster government employment f.nd so itself employ as many people as possible. But the figures do not show that confidence has not been engendered in private industry and that employment in the private sector of the economy is, therefore, still very sadly lacking. A great deal more could be done and before the problems of unemployment can be solved a great deal more must be done.

The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) is blessed with a state of buoyant revenue and a well-supplied loan fund at present. But this party would like him to spend more money on national development and on the encouragement of secondary industry in Queensland. The unemployment problem in Queensland will never be solved by hand-outs. It will never be solved by putting people to work on building roads and drains from time to time, however important that work may be. It will be solved only when we have a basis of secondary industry in Queensland, and generally in the north of Australia, which will provide an alternative to the seasonal employment which is the present cause of so much unemployment in the north now. Government works, such as land development, irrigation, forestry, roads and housing, are needed. The Government should make more money available to the War Service Homes Division so that the delay of eighteen months in the grant of a loan for a home can be reduced. This would increase the number of homes being built and would take up some of the slack in the timber industry, which badly needs a shot in the arm.

Australia’s problems are not being given the consideration they deserve to-day. Perhaps they were a year ago when the

Government had only recently emerged from its near electoral defeat. However, since then, the Government, although it has only a razor’s edge majority, has become satisfied with its record. It is playing a very dangerous game. The problems are still with us. They call for a vigorous solution and the implementation of new ideas. But new ideas will not come from this Government. It is worn out by thirteen years of office and has not had a new idea for quite some time. All the new economic policies introduced by the Government in the past twelve months were taken from the policy speech of the Leader of the Opposition.

I support the motion of no confidence moved by the Leader of the Opposition. I trust Government supporters will consider well whether they will serve the best interests of Australia and the Australian people by voting against the motion.


.- The Government is under censure. I say that for the benefit of people who may be listening to this debate. Those who have just tuned in may be wondering what is happening. Certainly, the remarkable apathy that has been a feature of the speeches of Opposition members would not suggest that the Government is under censure. The lack of vigour in the debate follows the example set last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who read with indecent haste, in my view, a speech obviously written for him and a speech that obviously had not been sufficiently rehearsed. Some interest in the debate had already been dissipated by the preview of the honorable gentleman’s speech in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ yesterday. I would regard this newspaper as an impeccably accurate source of information as to the honorable gentleman’s intentions. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ reported -

Mr. Calwell is expected to confine himself almost exclusively to domestic issues. . . . Mr. Calwell believes that, unless the danger of war is imminent in some degree, foreign affairs neither win nor lose votes in the Australian electorate.

I am sure that there was not one honorable member on this side of the House who did not read of that contemptuous gesture to the Australian people with disgust. What does this man think of the intelligence of the Australian people that he can rubbish them in this way? While their future is in danger, he comes into the House and entirely disregards the matter of their survival. The local and domestic problems facing the country at this time are infinitesimal when compared with the gravity of the international situation.

The charge has been made by the Leader of the Opposition and it must be answered. He has thrown out a challenge. He has said, in effect: “ I wish to be Prime Minister. I wish to govern this country. I want the honorable member for Parkes to be the Minister for External Affairs. I want the honorable member for Hindmarsh to be the Minister for Territories. I want the Government, which has established a remarkable record of fine administration since 1949, to abdicate in favour of the Australian Labour Party.” That is in effect what he has said. Of course, he is entitled to say that and we are bound to reply to his challenge. It is interesting to ask ourselves why this censure motion was raised at this time. I believe it was motivated by the philosophy that the best means of defence is attack. This philosophy also holds that if you have not the strength to attack, you set up a smoke screen. This censure motion is a bare-faced diversionary sham designed only to divert the attention of the Australian people from the present unwholesome activities of the Australian Labour Party.

In a censure debate, the onus is on the Leader of the Opposition to prove his point. He must do two things. First, he must, as the challenging party, prove that, he and his party are fit to govern. The second thing he must prove is that this Government is unfit to govern.

I propose to reply to the censure motion in general terms first and then in specific terms. I shall do so by referring to the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition. May I suggest that there are certain qualifications which a political party in a democracy must have in order to be fit to govern? I shall list the acid tests which I will apply to both the Government and the Opposition. The first qualification required of a government is integrity or courage, and I have great pleasure in applying this acid test to both of the parties on this side of the chamber. Our record is one of integrity and courage. I shall give just one or two examples to prove that point. One is the way in which we have stood up to the Waterside Workers Federation - that Communist-dominated group which is constantly championed by honorable members opposite. Another is that we have introduced, in election years, unpopular measures which we have believed to be for the good of the country. We have also fulfilled our election promises faithfully, as is shown by the dramatic rises in standards of living.

Now let us apply the acid test of integrity and courage to the Australian Labour Party. I will not apply this test only to the 60 gentlemen who sit opposite; I will apply it to the Australian Labour Party itself and to its members generally, and I will give two examples of the Labour Party’s integrity and courage. I refer, first, to a meeting convened jointly by members of the Australian Labour Party and the Australian Communist Party, in Melbourne, on 8th February of this year, relating to the forthcoming elections in June of officers of the Victorian branch of the Australian Railways Union. Mr. E. C. Bone, the State president of the Australian Railways Union - an A.L.P. man - occupied the chair, but in prominence was Mr. J. J. Brown, the State secretary of the Australian Railways Union, who is a confessed Communist. Some discussion on domestic matters took place, then Mr. Brown said, “ Let us get down to the purpose of this meeting - the forthcoming election “. I have documentary details of this meeting held on 8th February, and I will give an example of the integrity of the Australian Labour Party. It was stated that the Victorian executive of the Labour Party had a resolution on its books banning unity tickets as such. So a system has been evolved in which Communist Party candidates are listed in one how-to-vote card and Australian Labour Party candidates are listed on another card. The fellow who hands out the how-to-vote cards has had these cards conveniently stapled together and there you have a unity ticket. We must compliment these people on their ingenuity, while, at the same time, we deplore their treachery.

I find it distressing that this kind of tragic position seems to evoke humour from many people on the other side of the House.

Is this a demonstration of the integrity of a political party which has the impertinence to challenge this Government to abdicate in its favour?

There is a newspaper in Victoria called “ Scope “ which is put out by left-wing elements of the Australian Labour Party. That paper commented on the recent decisions of the federal conference of the Labour Party which produced the nineteen to seventeen vote in favour of acceptance of the American communications station in Western Australia. This Labour Party document says -

Many trade unionists will be disturbed and disappointed at the published outcome of the recent A.L.P. Federal Conference-

Then followed the most infamous statement I have read in a long time - and, of course, the trade union movement will decide its own policies.

It is clear to me that if by chance - or perhaps I should say mischance - Labour gets into office in this country and the federal parliamentary party abides by this decision of the conference, the trade unions will have no regard for what the Labour Government says. They will, by blackballing and other methods, stop the American communications station from being established. Is that the sort of integrity that the people of Australia look for when they are deciding who shall govern their country?

The next qualification that a party needs in order to be fit to govern is unity. That only has to be mentioned to be understood. Where is the unity in the party opposite, which is torn by the right wing pulling one way and the left wing pulling the other? We on this side are members of an alliance between the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party, which has proved to be one of the outstanding alliances in the political history of Australia. Not only is there loyalty between our parties despite the peculiar and amusing attempts of the Opposition to make capital out of any differences of approach shown by the two parties, but there is also loyalty and unity within each of the two parties.

Another qualification for government is a sense of responsibility to the people. In his excellent speech my honorable friend from Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) quoted rule 10 of the Australian Labour Party conference rules under which the members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party - and I challenge honorable members opposite to correct me if I am wrong - are bound by decisions of the A.L.P. conference. That rule states that decisions of the A.L.P. conference shall be binding on members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party. When the honorable member for Wannon was speaking on this matter a few interjectors opposite asked, “ What is wrong with that? “ Well, what is wrong with it? Sixty members of Parliament, elected by the people, apparently do not think that there is anything wrong in being told what to do by 36 other men outside the Parliament. If they cannot see anything wrong in that I can. Some honorable members opposite are now interjecting and asking, “ What about Sir Philip McBride? “ and so on. The Liberal Party’s constitution provides that the federal executive of the Liberal Party shall advise the parliamentary party. That is an entirely different matter from having the decisions of people outside “ binding “ on members, as is the case in the Labour Party.

To follow this matter through to its logical conclusion let us look further at the rules of the Australian Labour Party under which it is possible for twelve men - members of the federal executive of the party - meeting between the holding of party conferences, to govern this country when Labour is in office, although the people have elected members to this Parliament who are supposed to do the governing.

Another qualification for government is ability. Without going deeply into this, one has only to compare men of the calibre of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) with men like the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). For months the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has tried to sit on the fence. He has used his charm of manner to engage in an alloying action in relation to Labour’s policy. This gentleman has confessed in public, “I am just doing this quietly, because our public image has not been too good and I am fairly presentable and can put up a good front”. However, I think that the honorable gentleman has overplayed his hand in this game, because I have heard that Mr. Oliver, a high Labour Party official in New South Wales, is now very displeased with the honorable gentleman’s inconsequential representation of his party.

Another qualification for government is receptivity to public opinion. We on our side have demonstrated, by our conferences with business leaders and by the technique adopted by the Attorney-General in asking for submissions before legislation is resolved and presented to the Parliament, that we are responsive to public opinion, whereas the Labour Party is directly responsive to directions coming from a group or groups outside the Parliament.

The next qualification for fitness to govern is that the party in power must have a philosophy acceptable to the people to be governed. I have heard many times from honorable gentlemen opposite the statement, “ I am proud to be a socialist “. I wonder whether sometime, as a mental exercise, I can challenge them to be specific in this regard. I would be very grateful if one of those so-called intellectuals on the other side of the House would define for me, in terms of the net result to the basic freedoms of individuals, just what socialism means, and the difference between pure socialism and communism. To sum up these qualifications of government, may I quote this week’s “ Bulletin “? In referring to the federal conference decision of last week it used these words -

This decision was not the work of the leftists, nationalists, peace lovers or whatever. It was the work of the Communists.

After this attack the article continued -

Meanwhile, we can only be grateful that, what ever the defects of the Liberal Government, the Australian people will never choose the “ alternative” government. It is no alternative at all.

I have replied in general terms to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition. Could I now be specific? He said some remarkable things during the course of his address. For example, he blamed the Government because a survey has just shown that some factories in Australia are working under capacity. A child who is doing economics at leaving certificate standard knows that, in an expanding economy, any businessman worth his salt does not build a factory to cope with the existing demand. In an economy which has expanded so dramatically as Australia’s, of course a businessman builds with an eye to the future and future demands! Is this any condemnation by itself? It is quite ridiculous and shows a naive approach to economics which, frankly, appals me, coming as it does from a prospective Prime Minister.

Then the Leader of the Opposition referred to the growth of bank deposits as though it were a shocking thing that people are now saving their money. 1 should have thought that instead of being a shocking thing this was a gesture of confidence in the stability of the economy and in the Government. I assure members that this is because this Government halted inflation and a bank balance now means something and it is not in danger of being frittered away. 1 suggest that honorable members think about that as one of the reasons for increased bank deposits.

The Leader of the Opposition also said that none of the measures that we had brought in had helped the working man. I think he used the term “ salary and wage earners “. There are gentlemen opposite who appear to think that the only way to benefit the working man is to hit the boss over and over again and put more money into the working man’s pockets in the form of wages. This is the only criterion which members opposite seem to apply in thinking of the working man. It is no great achievement in logic to understand that if you do have that concept, as the Australian Labour Party has, it is only a matter of time before you milk the cow dry and there are no jobs for the working man. Members on this side of the House stand for all sections of the community and not for only one particular section.

I recall that the Leader of the Opposition taunted us by saying that the back-benchers of the Liberal Party now have the opportunity to do something about their muchvaunted principles. This is rather interesting. The Leader of the Opposition paid a reluctant compliment to us by recognizing that we on this side of the House have principles. I can also see the reluctant inference by the honorable gentleman that some of his colleagues lacked that quality. If he wants us to cross the floor because of our principles I can say that, if for no other reason than that we have those principles, none of us here could possibly commit any act which would help the Labour Party in its present state of division, with its Communist infiltration and Communist domination, to have the task of shaping the destiny of the Australian people.

One could go on to discuss economic issues. The subject of employment and unemployment is one which no member on the other side of the House can view without emotion. The mere mention of the words have the same effect on them as narcotics or alcohol have on other reasonable people. While my friend the honorable member for Wannon was discussing the fundamental matter of defence we heard fellows such as the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) interjecting and saying: “Do not talk about this nonsense. Get on to something serious “. I know the honorable member for Phillip and I respect him. I know that in his heart he does not mean that sort of thing. But what is it that impels and motivates the decent members of the Australian Labour Party to act in that way and to say, in effect, not once but twice, by way of interjection: “ Do not worry about foreign affairs. Help us to whitewash this infamous decision about north-west Australia and talk about something serious “. When will the day come when decent men opposite such as the honorable member for Phillip will rise up and push the leftwingers and Communist sympathisers out of the party? When that day comes perhaps they will have the right to challenge us for the right to occupy the treasury bench.

We live in desperate times. Every man in this House should be dedicated to providing the best of all possible worlds for the Australian people. We should all be dedicated to keeping our people and our children free - free from aggression and free from the cancer of Russian or Chinese communism. It would be well for each member of this House to address his mind to the consequences to our people and our children if we were to alienate and lose the friendship of a friend such as the United States .of America. On this premise, it would be as well for all of us to consider what other action could more quickly destroy that friendship than that which fifteen out of 36 members of the Australian Labour Party wished to take - to refuse outright the request of the United States to build a radio communications station in Australia. Mr. Deputy Speaker, let the people know, in these times, that they put the Labour Party in office at their own peril.

Wide Bay

.- The honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) said that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) made some remarkable statements. Well, he is a remarkable man. I assure the honorable member for Higinbotham and any other honorable members who think along the same lines that the Leader of the Opposition is quite capable, not only of preparing his own speeches, but also of reading them. The honorable member for Higinbotham raised a very important point. He mentioned a smoke screen, and then he endeavoured to create two smoke screens around himself and the Government. He was seeking protection against criticism by the people of the economic position which has been caused by the Government’s policies. He also brought the Communists into his speech - a hardy evergreen. He mentioned E. C. Bone, if I got the name correctly, as the president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party and said that he had presided at a meeting which was also attended by Jack Brown, the Communist secretary of the Australian Railways Union. My information is that the president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party is and, for a long time, has been a Mr. Holt. My information does not reveal a Mr. Bone as having any position whatever on the executive of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party.

The honorable member said that the Australian Labour Party’s policy to solve the economic problem is to give workers a rise. I add that the policy of the present government, for many years, has been one of wage pegging. This Government supported the pegging of the basic wage for three years and during that period it was not increased. The purpose, so we were told, was to stop inflation.

The honorable member then said that members on this side of the House rise in indignation at the mention of the word “unemployment”. That is because many members on this side have known the horrors of unemployment. If they have not known it as adults they have known it in their homes as children. Their fathers had been unable to bring enough into the house to give them three square meals a day. They had no butter for their bread. They were lucky if they had dripping. I know. I know, too, of families in that position. That is why we, on this side of the House, are fearful of unemployment. We know the evils concerned with unemployment and we work for the day when we shall have full employment in Australia.

The Leader of the Opposition expressed the opinion of the Australian people last night in his motion of wan’ of confidence in the present Government. He showed how Government leaders are still out of touch with reality in believing that the present state of the Australian economy is satisfactory. We have a continued loss of production, waste of man-power and failure to restore fully the confidence of the private sector of industry.

Some honorable members opposite have claimed that the increase in bank deposits has been a sign of a stable economy. They claim that subscriptions to Commonwealth loans have been a sign of confidence in the present Government. We know where the greatest subscriptions to Commonwealth loans come from. For the information of honorable members on both sides of the House I shall indicate the response to the last Commonwealth loan in the two major cities in the electorate of Wide Bay. In Bundaberg the quota was £50,000 and the subscription was £29,500, an average of £1 6s. Id. per head of population. The loan was under-subscribed by almost half the quota. In Maryborough the quota was £45,000 and the subscription was £21,600, an average of £1 2s. 8d. per head of population. The people of Wide Bay have expressed their lack of confidence in the Government through their lack of support of that Commonwealth loan.

The Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party were returned to office on the preferences of the splinter parties and Communists, and the Government has retained office by its continued refusal to grant full representation to the Labour members for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) and the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson). Nothing of sufficient consequence to restore the confidence of the majority of the Australian people has been attempted. The measures introduced in February, 1962 - measures adopted from the Labour Party’s policy which was described by no less than the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) as being wild and inflationary - the Government’s August, 1962, deficit Budget of ?118,000,000, and the measures introduced in February this year are aptly described as providing too little too late. Despite the measures introduced in February, 1962, and the deficit Budget of ?118,000,000 introduced in August, 1962, the fact is that the Government has had to give the States further assistance to the extent of another ?15,000,000. The Government still adopts the attitude of wait and see while the people wait and want. That attitude was adopted by the Prime Minister back in 1961 when he said, “ By this time next year people will be wondering what they were worried about”. And in a television interview on 30th April, 1961, he said-

No figure of unemployment is satisfactory so long as it exceeds the inevitable number of people who will be unemployable - and there are some such. But, intrinsically, this figure of 80,000 is not a critical figure. That doesn’t present a major problem. But if it grew worse, then of course, nobody could ignore it, if the numbers grew.

I wish now to refer to more recent happenings. On 14th February this year it was announced that the Commonwealth Government had granted the States an extra ?15,000,000 for public works, housing and local government and semi-governmental borrowing. The Queensland Premier, Mr. Nicklin, in his submission to the Australian Loan Council, asked the Commonwealth to grant ?7,000,000 for essential development works and to reduce unemployment in Queensland between the date of the council meeting and the end of June. It is quite obvious why he should want to reduce unemployment in that period, because 1st June is the date tipped for the Queensland State election. The press reported Mr. Nicklin’s submission in this way -

Mr. Nicklin asked the Commonwealth to grant ?5,000,000 for the State Government and ?2,000,000 for semi-Governmental and large local authorities. … He said the major problems facing Queensland were:

Seasonal unemployment which because of its local significance and periodic magnitude provided an “ exceedingly difficult problem “.

School leavers and the employment of women in a State which had only a minor incidence of industries which provided heavy employment in these categories.

The problem of school leavers and women was a feature of the economy of which the Government was increasingly conscious.

When the allotments to the various States were announced, we found that Queensland’s share of the extra money was made up as follows: ?600,000 for State works and housing, ?2,012,000 for semigovernmental and local authorities, and ?600,000 as a non-repayable grant for the relief of unemployment.

Immediately local authorities whose borrowings exceed ?100,000 per annum were contacted. What was their reaction? It was indicated in the “Courier-Mail” of 20th February, 1963, in an article headed, “Cities and Towns Not Excited - Rebuffs to New Government Loan Offer “. That article read -

Several of Queensland’s main centres with high unemployment figures will not ask the State Government for a “hare of loan money available from the Commonwealth Loan Council meeting.

The Co-ordinator-General’s Department has contacted 17 semi-government centres throughout the State to ask: “What amount of money can you spend before June 30 if it is made available? “

Many of the approaches to city, town and shire councils were made urgently by telephone.

Mackay City Council, after a committee meeting on Monday night, told the CoordinatorGeneral’s Department by telephone yesterday morning it did not intend to apply for loan money.

Cairns Mayor (Alderman S. D. E. Chataway) said last night: “ I don’t think we will be borrowing any loan money … we have sufficient now.”

Alderman Chataway said Cairns Council employed all the men it could. At present there were 60 to 100 extra men employed.

Maryborough Mayor (Alderman R. A. Hunter) said the Council already had a big sewerage programme and a lot of road work underway. “ We don’t expect any more loan money before the end of the financial year “, he said.

Bundaberg Mayor (Alderman C. J. Nielson) said a Council meeting on Thursday would consider the Co-ordinator-General’s Department inquiry. “ But I don’t think we will be asking for any great amount of loan money, if we ask for any at all “, he said. “ We feel that more money should be made available for unemployment, but we do not believe that ratepayers should have to pay it back “, he said. “ We have no intention of increasing rates to meet temporary unemployment. If the Government gave us a decent grant or a decent subsidy we would be prepared to play ball … we can find the work. But where money is made available for unemployment it should be made available under better terms than present subsidies.”

It is quite understandable that local authorities should not be anxious to saddle their ratepayers with additional commitments in order to take over the responsibility of relieving unemployment. Leaders of local authorities were not prepared to accept the responsibility of providing further employment at the expense of the ratepayers who would have to re-pay, at the very least, 60 per cent, of the amount borrowed.

The Queensland Government has kept back money for a pre-election splash. In recent years it has reduced the assistance to local authorities and they have the assurance of the Queensland Liberal Treasurer, Mr. Hiley, that subsidies will disappear entirely within seven years. I do not suggest that the local authorities are not playing their part in absorbing labour; but there is a limit to their ability to do so. For each man who is employed, the Department of Social Services is relieved of the payment of benefit to him and his dependants. Recently my attention was directed to ten men employed by the Bundaberg City Council. Preference was given to men wilh large families, and the saving to the Department of Social Services exceeded £100 a week. I agree that local authorities can put men to work quickly on worthwhile developmental schemes, but they need greater assistance than they are being given under the present arrangement.

The Prime Minister opened a buyAustralian campaign which has as its slogan “ Be Australian; Buy Australian “. I believe that again he has failed to get through to his Ministers. I shall deal with some defence matters with which the unemployment problem is connected. In 1961 this Government placed orders with the United States of America for two Charles F. Adams type destroyers at a cost of about £40,000,000. It purchased six minesweepers from the United Kingdom at a cost of £500,000 each. In the latter case, it excused its action by saying that it was impossible to build this type of vessel in Australia. I agree that vessels of the type have not been built in Australia before; but there are shipyards, including the Naval Dockyard at Williamstown, that are idle. If this type of vessel is to be standard equipment for the Royal Australian Navy, we should have in Australia facilities for the construction and maintenance of such vessels. In regard to the Charles F. Adams type destroyers, the excuse put forward by the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) was that these destroyers cannot be fitted in Australia with the intricate and highly technical equipment required for their armament. The Minister for the Navy has recently announced the purchase of another Charles F. Adams class destroyer from the United States of America and four submarines from the United Kingdom. He said it would cost £15,000,000 more to build the three destroyers in Australia than to buy them in the United States of America. We are interested to know how that figure was arrived at, since no Australian shipyard was asked to tender for the construction of these vessels.

The Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) claimed that whilst he had the utmost respect for the Australian workman, and faith in his ability to turn out a good job, he was too slow. Of course he is slow. One of the reasons for a slow rate of construction in Australian shipyards is the lack of confidence, on the part of both management and workers, that further orders will be obtained. There is a maximum number of workers who can be employed economically in a shipyard, but the managements of Australian shipyards, with perhaps one exception, have not for many years engaged the maximum number of men that they could economically employ, because of lack of continuity of orders. Output can be greatly increased when necessity demands it.

The argument about highly intricate and technical equipment has been exploded by the recent announcement by the Minister for the Navy that these destroyers will be armed with the Australian-produced Ikara anti-submarine missile, because of its superiority over United States weapons.

I have asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy what inquiries were made to see whether the four submarines on order from the United Kingdom could be built in Australia. Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me to be ridiculous to buy ships overseas which could be built equally as well in Australia, giving employment to workers in an industry that has languished under the present Government. I assure the House that workers in Australian shipyards, and those who could have been employed there, have no confidence in this Government. Neither have the young people of Australia, those who are not yet old enough to vote, any confidence that this Government can create a situation in which they will be assured of constant employment, thus becoming useful citizens playing a part in the development of this great country, without dependence on their parents or on social service hand-outs.

I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that Australia is a great country. Only a great country could have withstood the effects of the stopgo policies of the Liberal-Country Party Government over recent years. But better days are in sight, after the next election, when the people will make no mistake and will return the party of which I am a member, the Australian Labour Party, to form a government.

PostmasterGeneral · Dawsor · CP

– I have just listened, Mr. Speaker, to an interesting speech from the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Hansen). I have only one comment to make on it. I think at the commencement of his speech he made some chiding reference to the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp), suggesting that he had read his speech. Let me suggest to the honorable member for Wide Bay that in the circumstances such criticism was not very wise.

I have listened to this debate on the motion of want of confidence in the Government, and what has impressed me most is the fact that there has been practically no particularization in the Opposition’s challenge. Many general statements have been made, but there has been very little particularization which we could take up and reply to. There were some references to unemployment and to the economic situation. One honorable member - I think it was the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) - chided us for having encouraged the influx of capital from overseas. He said that this was a dreadful thing to do. A few points like that were made. There were also some rather unfortunate, I thought, personal reflections on various honorable members, which have no real relevance to the want of confidence motion. However, it seems to me that there has been a complete absence of any constructive criticism of the Government, and also a complete absence of any alternative proposals. The Opposition has given no indication of what it would do if it came to power.

If there is any real basis for a want of confidence motion, surely it should be bolstered by constructive and proper criticism of what has been done by the Government, and surely there should then be an alternative offer. If the Opposition claims that it should be returned to power - and that was the basis of the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) last night - then surely the Leader of the Opposition and those following him should be able to come forward and say, “ This is what we will do in the present situation if we are given a chance to do it “. But no honorable member opposite has yet said this.

It seems to me, therefore, that what honorable members opposite are saying is something along these lines, “ We think we may be able to work up a bit of a case against the Government. We will put it in general terms, but after that, you, the people, must take us on trust, and we will do the job “. That sounds to me very much like the old confidence trick. I think it is the old confidence trick - “ You take us on trust; we will be all right “. But I say emphatically that this country would not be prepared to take on trust, and to ask to form a government, a party with such a record of internal distrust and dissension as the Australian Labour Party. This distrust and dissension have been evident not only in recent times but over a period of years. It goes right back to the time of the break with the Democratic Labour Party and it has continued right through to the present day. We all know of the happenings in the last two or three weeks, when a conference was held and the attitude of the Labour Party to the communications base in the north-west of Australia was determined. We saw the party completely divided on a matter vital to the defence of this country. I think somebody this afternoon said, “ Oh, but we had a majority like yours, we had a majority of one “. A majority of one on a matter of such vital importance to the defence of Australia! I think it is a dreadful state of affairs.

If the motion of want of confidence is really seriously proposed, and if those supporting it expect it to have any chance of success, surely it should be based on matters of vital importance to the country. Forget about the cheap sneers that we heard from the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) and people of that kind. Never mind about them; they have no bearing on a matter such as this. This motion should be based on matters of vital importance, and not just on generalizations. Then, as I have already said, there should be alternative propositions.

I would say that the matters of vital importance on which we might have been seriously challenged - not that any such challenge would have stood - would be matters like the defence of the country, the development of the country and the present unemployment situation. I am going to apply myself to those particular matters. The unemployment situation has been dealt with pretty thoroughly by the Minister most concerned with that subject, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). I shall not, therefore, spend very much of my limited time on that matter. I merely say that despite what has been put by honorable members opposite, the general employment situation in Australia now compares very favorably indeed with the employment situation in any other part of the world. That cannot be denied. Neither can it be denied that during the last twelve or eighteen months, or even two years, our employment problem has become increasingly difficult because of various factors that have come into the situation. One is the increasing number of young people leaving schools, these being the ones born just after the end of World War II. There have also been increasing numbers, of course, as the result of our immigration programme. These are very difficult facets. Nevertheless, the unemployment situation in Australia compares very favorably with that of other countries. We need not be ashamed of it.

There is one further comment that I should like to make before I leave this subject. This matter was handled very well last night by my colleague from Queensland, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann). The percentage of unemployment in Queensland has been higher than in other areas, but the Minister made the vitally important and quite proper comment that that has arisen basically from the lack of secondary industries in Queensland due to the completely unimaginative attitude of the Labour governments which ruled the State for 30 years or so. The Labour governments which had power in Queensland until only five or six years ago did nothing whatever to build up secondary industries in conjunction with the primary industries - a process of which the State is very capable - and Queensland is feeling the effects of this lack of industrialization. While secondary industries are developing and while we are expanding, it is very difficult, at times when primary industry cannot offer employment because of the seasonal nature of certain occupations, to keep the level of unemployment down to about 1 per cent, or 2 per cent. As my colleague said last night, this difficulty arises from the fact that there was a complete failure on the part of Labour governments in Queensland to take advantage of the opportunities, the possibilities and the potentialities of the State to ensure that such a situation would not come about. We know that, because of the work of our present Country Party-Liberal Party Government in Queensland, this situation has been rapidly improving. There will be continued steady improvement and it will enable the employment position in Queensland to compare quite favorably with that of other States.

Let me expand that comment a little. As a result of the planning of our government in Queensland, we find secondary industries being developed. Queensland is still mainly a primary producing State, of course, Mr. Speaker, but we find places like Weipa being developed. The industrial potential of Townsville is being developed by the treatment of ore from Mount Isa. There is industrial development, coming down the coast, at Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone. Secondary industries are being developed at all those places, and that is the way to tackle development in a State such as ours, which, being dependent mainly on primary industry, faces seasonal conditions which mean that there will be seasonal unemployment. The problem is being tackled in that way, to the credit of the Federal Government which is making money available, and to that of the State Government, which is doing the planning. At least two oil refineries are planned for Brisbane, and they will provide added employment and ensure that the employment situation I have mentioned is not a continuing one. Also arising from our policies, there is development of coal and oil production. This is a fascinating subject, Mr. Speaker, but when I look at the clock I realize that I cannot go into too much detail.

Let me turn now to the major subjects which, a few minutes ago, I listed as those that should be discussed during the debate on a no-confidence motion. I invite the House to compare our record on these one or two important matters with the position as it would be under Labour. The Labour Party has not been in office for a good long time, but it has a record in these matters. Let us consider the prospects which the Australian people would face if, by any chance, our opponents on the other side of the House were to attain office. Let me take defence first of all. Development is very important, but there is nothing more important in Australia than our proper defence, particularly in view of recent events and possible future happenings. When this Government is under criticism by the Opposition, or when honorable members opposite say, “Look at what we did in the last war and at what you did not do “, I remember that their revered leader, the Right Honorable John Curtin, after he took office, paid a tribute to the previous government. He said that we had left them with a very solid foundation for the defence of Australia. That statement cannot be repeated often enough.

Since we have been in office we have built up in this country the finest defence forces which have ever existed in time of peace. I ask the people who are listening to this debate to consider whether that would be the position if a Labour government had been in power. That is the first question which has to be answered in a debate such as this. It is necessary to choose between what we have done, or have not done, and what Labour would have done. We can say that we have built up the finest defence forces in time of peace. Could Labour have done the same? Every one knows that quite recently the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) announced plans - not in any defensive way, or anything of that kind - which show that it is our policy to ensure that this country will have all the latest equipment to enable it to accept its full responsibilities, with its partners, in Seato, Anzus and our other treaty commitments. Those plans show that we will not sit back and say to our friends, “Look, we want you to help us when the time comes, but we are not going to do very much ourselves “. We are out to build up our equipment so that we can assume our responsibilities. The announcement made by the Minister for Defence, which I think probably will be augmented, shows that we can claim that we are prepared to do so.

There has been much discussion about the need for the defence of the north, and properly so. Let us consider the position of Queensland. Some of my Queensland friends opposite no doubt will remember that, during the war, enormous amounts were expended on defence. I think the defence vote was about £500,000,000. Immediately the war ended, our friends opposite, who were in power, dropped the defence allocation to £54,000,000. In other words, they could not get out of defence fast enough. They said, in effect, “ Let us get out “. After we came to office, between 1950 and 1962, we built that expenditure up to £2,159,000,000, and we shall be expending more than £210,000,000 on defence this year. There is the comparison. There again we have the choice for the people when they listen to this debate on the no-confidence motion.

I point to the defence arrangements at Darwin and also to the planning which we are undertaking with our American allies for a communications base in north-western Australia. What has Labour to offer?

What does Labour offer as against what we have been doing? We know that lately there has been a bitter rift in the Labour Party on the subject of the establishment, with our allies, of a purely communications base in north-western Australia - something that is of vital importance to the peace of the Pacific area and to the strength of Australia. The Labour Party decision on this matter was not taken by the members in this place. It was taken by those who direct them from outside, and the decision was put through by a majority of one vote in 36.

Mr Coutts:

– The redistribution was handled by a minority.


– Never mind about redistribution. This is a matter of vital importance to Australia. Is the position not tragic? Should the people not know about it? Here we have the difference between what we are doing and what could happen, and probably would happen, if our friends opposite were to come to power. I say that this position indicates how completely unwilling the Labour Party is to face up to the problems that are before us in the South-East Asia area. Of course, Mr. Speaker, that is nothing very new.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I had reached the stage in my speech at which I contended that the Opposition, in its challenge to the Government, had made no detailed criticism of the Government’s operations since it has been in office and also that it had advanced no alternative propositions. I had contended that if there were any force in the want of confidence motion the Opposition should first advance some proper criticism of what were considered to be the Government’s faults and that it then should give the people of Australia some indication of what the Labour Party, if ever it became a government, would do in these circumstances. I had stated that the Opposition had failed completely to do that. I have only a short time remaining to me in which to conclude my speech so I shall not reply to the foolish interjections which are coming from honorable members opposite.

I had also dealt with what I believed to be some of the major items to be considered. 1 had dealt briefly with employment and, up to a point, with defence. I then went on to say that the next major matter was development. I had dealt with our record in defence and I had reached the stage of inviting the people of Australia to compare what we have done through the years, and particularly latterly, with what would be the likely attitude of the Opposition, if ever it became a government, to this vital matter of defence. 1 had stated our defence policy and had asked what alternative the people of Australia could expect if the Opposition were in office. That is pretty plain. It was made plain in previous speeches to-day by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) and honorable members opposite. Opposition speakers have indicated clearly the Labour Party’s real attitude to defence. Therefore, as my time is brief I shall not go into great detail, but, even at the expense of being charged with repetition, I say to the people of Australia and to this House that the attitude of our opponents in this Parliament who are challenging us on this matter of defence can be assessed-

Sir Robert Menzies:

– There is a great gulf between us.


– There is a great gulf between us, and the Opposition’s attitude can be assessed by statements which have been made by honorable members opposite, apart from those to which the Leader of the Opposition referred. For instance, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has said -

This Government should reduce its expenditure on armaments and use the money it is now wasting on expenditure for war to work for peace.

Mr Chaney:

– Who said that?


– The honorable member for Reid said it. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who I understand is a senior member of the shadow cabinet, made a statement to which the honorable member for Wannon referred. He said -

I firmly believe that the best defence measure we could take would be to ensure that we had a railway system of uniform gauge throughout the entire continent.

Mr Ward:

– That is important.


– Of course it is important. If you want to provide a really good communications system of railways and roads for our enemies to get right to our heart, that is the best thing you can do. As a man who has had some experience in these matters, I can think of nothing more dangerous than to provide an efficient transport system for our enemy to use to get to our heart without having a proper defence force to ensure that we can use that transport system. The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) has said -

All we need to have at our disposal is something in the nature of a police force.

The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) has expressed himself in this way -

We are not the ones who say we must defend ourselves against the surging hordes from the north. In fact, we say those hordes will never come.

I hope they do not, but are we to shield ourselves behind such a thought? This Government does not do so. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) is on record as having said -

We should prepare ourselves to supply troops to the United Nations.

Of course, but in this age and with our knowledge are we to sit back and say that we shall rely on the United Nations for our protection? I do not. On another occasion the honorable member for Reid said -

What have we to fear from China? I have said that we need have no fear whatever of the People’s Republic of China.

That statement was made by a member of the Opposition which could, although we hope not, become the government. The honorable member then went on to say -

China is concerned only with her own development for peaceful purposes.

I hope that is right but I do not think that it is. I have a son, and knowing what we must do to protect those coming after us I shall not rely on any such assumption. This Government’s defence policy is practical and sensible whereas the Opposition has no policy which could protect the people of Australia adequately.

Vital factors in the matter of development arise. You have only to think of what this Government has done for the development of northern Australia particularly, and Australia generally, by the pro vision of special grants, tax reimbursements and allocations by the Australian Loan Council.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.


.- I rise to support the want of confidence motion which was so ably moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The charges which have been levelled at the Government have not been answered. I accept gladly the challenge which has been thrown out to me by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson). I did not intend to spend very much time on the matter of defence, but as the Postmaster-General has raised that subject I shall deal with it. As an exserviceman I would expect the Minister to have a little national pride. He spoke about what the Government has done for the defence of Australia. The Government has done nothing!

Mr Killen:

– You are seasick.


– I may be seasick, but I went to sea the hard way. I went to sea in 1939 at the behest of this Government. H.M.A.S. “ Moreton Bay “ was commissioned in Sydney and armed with six 6-in. guns of 1898 vintage. We went to the north Atlantic with our sister ship, “ Jervis Bay”, to fight against ships which were equipped with modern weapons. That is an illustration of what this Government has done in the matter of defence.

Just let us see what this Government has done for the nation. At a cost of £5,000,000 the cruiser “Hobart” was reconditioned, but it was never recommissioned. It was towed to Japan and sold as scrap. Then the Government decided that in any case cruisers were not necessary and it would buy aircraft carriers. So at great expense two aircraft carriers were obtained and the requisite aircraft installed. That state of affairs lasted for three years, and then those vessels were found to be obsolete. The Government then decided that Australia’s role would be that of antisubmarine warfare, that we would form hunter-killer groups, that we would not have any submarines, and that if we eventually needed any we would get them from Britain. That policy lasted for a little while and then the Government suddenly discovered that we must have some destroyers.

But it said that we in Australia were not capable of building the destroyers and we must go to America for them. So orders for three destroyers were placed in America. Then recently, having said that we would not go in for submarines, the Government placed orders with Britain for four Oberon class submarines which, according to Britain, will be obsolete in 1967. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) has defended the Government’s action. So now we are to have four submarines, and again the public’s money will be wasted.

I protest, Mr. Speaker, at the spending of this money overseas. We on this side of the House believe that Australia should have adequate protection, and we will see that she has. The Australian Labour Party is the only party that has had experience in the handling of defence forces. This party was responsible for the founding of the Royal Australian Navy, as honorable members opposite who are now interjecting know.

Mr Killen:

– You mean Andrew Fisher was?


– To what party did he belong? The Labour Party is the only party that has done the right thing by Australia. This Government has frittered away £2,500,000,000 on defence. What has it to show for that expenditure? It has nothing to show. I have had a lot to do with American ships. I am not antiAmerican; I have a lot of American friends. But we must stand on our own feet. The Minister for the Navy has told us that he has been overseas to make arrangements about payment for these ships. He told us he was getting them on terms. I have here a copy of the United States code, which shows that by law every American ship which is not paid for has a certificate of mortgage pinned up in the chart room. So when these ships come here, we will see in them a certificate stating “This vessel is mortgaged to the United States Government “. What a disgrace that is! Sound defence must be built - not bought; and as soon as we understand that we will get somewhere. Do we intend to haul down the White Ensign and put up the Stars and Stripes? If we keep on going the way we are going that is what we will do eventually. If we are to be a satellite of

America, let the Government tell us so and let it tell us why. I do not think we should be. I am proud of my heritage, and I hope that honorable members opposite are, too. Questions have been asked recently in the House of Commons about why Australia has broken the traditional link between the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. Let the Government tell us all about it. I do not know why it has happened. There must be some reason for it.

The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) spoke about political humbug. He is well versed in political humbug. He, with his policy of anti-communism, has tried to out-Wentworth Wentworth. The honorable member for Moreton has said he is the greatest anti-Communist in Australia. But what happened when he received the Communist preferences which he needed to be elected to the Parliament? He could not get here quickly enough. In my opinion, the honorable member for Moreton would have been a great man if he had said, “ I won’t accept those preferences because I absolutely hate the Communists “.

Mr Killen:

– I converted them.


– Order! The honorable member for Moreton is out of his own seat and is out of order in interjecting.


– I now wish to refer to p couple of remarks that were made by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser). He wants to know where the Labour Party stands in relation to sending troops overseas and the recalling of troops from overseas. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) knows better than I do what Australia’s commitments are as a member of the United Nations. Perhaps he will be able to tell us whether we should honour the pledge we have given to the United Nations. Does the signature which the appropriate Minister attaches to various documents that deal with these matters mean anything? Do we refer our problems to the United Nations or do we go along on our own? Honorable members will recall that at the time of the Cuban crisis Australia did not refer her troubles to the United Nations - we were troubled here at the time - but, without being asked, told President Kennedy that we supported him.

I think it would have been good for us to have referred our troubles to the United Nations, or, failing that, to have withdrawn from that organization. There must be a reason for Australia being a member of the United Nations and for her paying her dues every year. I believe that the establishment of the United Nations was a very good move, but the honorable member for Wannon does not believe in referring anything to that body, Apparently he believes we should act on our own. Well, I do not. While we belong to the organization we should abide by the rules.

I wish to refer now to unemployment in Australia, especially that which has been caused by a lack of work at the various Australian dockyards. At Williamstown, in Victoria, four slipways are vacant, while four submarines, three destroyers, seven minesweepers and two large military landing craft are being built overseas. At the present time 96,800 persons are registered as being unemployed, yet we are sending money overseas to pay for the construction of these vessels. When you pay your taxes, care should be taken of your money. Jobs should be found for those who need them, but the Government is not worrying about that. It would rather send our money out of the country and keep Australians out of work. If the Labour Party forms the government, which undoubtedly it will, there will be no more of this rot about building ships overseas. We will build them here. We have proved that we can build them here. A Labour government will not dissipate the skilled work force in the way this Government has done. In the grim days when the enemy was only 32 miles from Port Moresby we had to build ships. We will build them again when we become the government.

Mr Howson:

– Tell us what happened to the Ampol tanker.


– I will tell you. If the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) was worth his salt, he would have tabled the correspondence relating to this matter of the Ampol tanker. We of the Labour Party believe in ships being built in Australia so that people may use them to trade overseas, but we do not like hypocrisy. We do not like people who, on the one hand, advertise “ Be Australian; Buy Australian “ and, on the other hand, man Australian ships with Chinese crews, put them on the Australian coast and do not carry out the provisions of the Navigation Act. It would pay honorable members opposite to read that act.

Having been a pilot for many years I have made it my business to find out what is happening on the Australian coast. The Government admits that it has issued 134 temporary permits to trade on our coast and eleven continuing permits. That has been done because we do not have the necessary ships to handle the trade. We do not have tankers to carry our oil from port to port, so foreign tankers have been used. However, the Navigation Act provides that the conditions laid down in the act shall be complied with when a foreign-owned vessel is used on the Australian coast. Accommodation for the crew shall be in accordance with the standards laid down in the act and the crew while engaged in that work shall be paid the Australian ruling rate. Those provisions have not been enforced by this Government. I have spoken to the officers and men manning these foreignowned ships. When I have asked the captains whether they are being paid Australian rates they have invariably replied that they do not know anything about such a condition. This Government makes the laws, and it should uphold them.

I cannot understand why Australian tankers are not working along our coast. The Minister will not tell us. All he says is that if a private concern wishes to build a tanker it is at liberty to do so, but he will not instruct the Australian National Line to build tankers. He will not do that because his electorate of Corio is vitally concerned. He will not do anything that might upset the Shell company. The Shell company, with its use of foreign crews on ships trading round the Australian coast, is one of the greatest offenders in this regard. I do not have a grudge against the Chinese, but if we start using them in ships on the Australian coast it will not be long before they are working on the land. After all, there is not much difference between employing foreigners to man tankers on our coast and allowing them to drive road tankers.

In my view, the Government stands censured. It has yet to answer the charges levelled at it from this side of the House. The Government’s grenades have lobbed over here but they have not exploded. They have been thrown back and they are now in the Government’s lap.

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) is a very experienced pilot, but he will forgive me when I say that during his speech I was very much struck by the fact that he was steering a course that gave the impression that he was sheering about in a five-knot ebb tide in the rip off Point Lonsdale. He will understand exactly what that means. I think he has fallen into the common error of thinking that to refer a matter to the United Nations is in itself a constructive policy. Time after time it has become necessary to say that it is not. To go to the United Nations with a policy is one thing, but to say that Cuba, for example, should have gone to the United Nations, or that something else should have gone to the United Nations, is not a policy at all. It is a mere evasion of national responsibility and of national decision.

The honorable member permitted himself to comment adversely - he is not the only one on the Opposition side to have done so - about President Kennedy’s handling of the Cuba incident and about this Government’s instant declaration that we agreed with what President Kennedy had done. What do honorable members opposite want us to do? This was one of the really significant events in post-war history - a critical event which, if it had not been dealt with promptly and strongly by the President of the United States, might have altered the balance of power in the world. The President of the United States took in spendid terms a strong and definite attitude on these matters, but honorable members opposite say: “ Oh, it should have gone to the United Nations “. I wonder whether honorable members know what they mean. Do they mean that the matter should have gone to the Security Council so that it could have been neatly vetoed by the Soviet Union? That would have occupied a certain amount of time. In the meantime, the Soviet Union would have continued to put its weapons - its missiles - into Cuba, building a base close to the United States which could alter the entire balance of power in the world. Is that what honorable members opposite mean? No doubt it is. Then they say, “Now that you come to mention it, of course the Soviet Union would use its veto so that a reference to the Council would come to nothing; but then you could go to the General Assembly “. That would involve a fortnight’s debate. You would have all of the Communist satellites lined up and speech after speech made. All the time the Communist position in Cuba would be being built up until ultimately the balance of power in the world was upset.

Mr. Speaker, these are very serious matters. If the Opposition’s attitude is that the President of the United States was wrong and that we were wrong to be the first people to give our approval to the United States action, then the people of Australia should know about this. I think they will, and they might think about it. They might wonder whether they should entrust not only their economic affairs but also their security and their entire future to the people on the other side of this Parliament. Now, Sir, I speak as some sort of an expert on this matter. There are two objectives in a no-confidence motion - I know: I have been at the giving end and at the receiving end. One objective is to put the Government out. That is an admirable attitude for an Opposition to have, but it has taken an awful long time for this Opposition to decide on that attitude. The other objective of a censure motion is, of course, to put the Opposition in. This would not be an unfair analysis of the aims - to put us out and to put the Opposition in.

For the purposes of simplicity, therefore, I propose to divide my own contribution to-night between these two aspects. I do not need to say as much as I otherwise would, because later on in this debate my colleagues, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), will have admirable opportunities to deal in detail with some of these matters. But I will not let them go by entirely. I, therefore, start by saying something about the aim of putting the Government out, and the reasons for that.

My distinguished friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), has, of course, a professional gloom about the Australian economy. It is his duty to be depressed and, if possible, to depress other people. Therefore he gave us a professionally gloomy account of Australia’s present economic condition, which was so much at variance with the facts as to be almost ludicrous. I hear it was read by people in other countries. They would, of course, burst into hilarious laughter, on looking at their own countries, to be told about this one which is in a state of economic disaster and depression!

Mr O’Brien:

– That is not true.


– Of course that is not true. After all, the Leader of the Opposition was careful to omit from his attack - I will call it an attack - all the material factors in the economic position. I do not recall him saying anything about the remarkable success of the Government’s policy against inflation. Members of the Opposition laugh on both sides of their faces. I am familiar with all those chaps. On one side they laugh because they have always said that inflation is silly talk and that it is a bogy, and on the other side they laugh because they are not very pleased to have to admit, in their hearts, that the consumer price index has been stable now for years.

Mr Ward:

– How does it compare with 1949?


– I always know I am scoring when some of you yelp. But I do not worry myself about that. I am not addressing myself to East Sydney. Whenever I have addressed myself to East Sydney I have needed police protection. I repeat that we have a stable consumer price index. In other words, the inflationary pressures in this country, which were desperately dangerous a few years ago, have been brought under control. But the Leader of the Opposition said not a word about tha ti Not a word about the remarkable increase in employment in Australia. Not a word about the remarkable increase in production in Australia!

Mr O’Brien:

– And shortened wages!


– It is all right. Some of the new boys will learn in due course that a few facts are much more im portant than some of the arguments they present.

Mr Cross:

– Give us the facts.


– Even you cannot deny that there has been a most remarkable increase in production in this country in the last few years and a most remarkable increase in savings. 1 can go back a little while and remember-

Mr Pollard:

– Back to the eighteenth century!


– And it was a very good century, too. Do you know why, Sir? Because it was a century of good sense.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Yes, it was the century of the rich. You are an eighteenth century Prime Minister.


– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro says “ an eighteenth century Prime Minister “. All I can say is that at the tail-end of the eighteenth century they had some jolly good Prime Ministers and he might have been proud to be one of them. But he has forgotten his history. As I was saying, there have been increased savings. I can remember the time when my distinguished opponent, the Leader of the Opposition, used to say: “ Look at the way savings have fallen away. This is a sign that the Government is ineffective “. Now, when he sees that there are record savings - another £200,000,000, in the savings banks - he says “ That is no good. This is a sign that people have no confidence in the future.” You cannot satisfy some honorable members. The Leader of the Opposition did not say a word about the development works programme, except in one respect that I will come to in a minute. He did not say a word about the record home-building in Australia - an undoubted and undeniable fact. He did not say a word about the record activity in commercial building in the cities. He did not say a word about the public credit being high both here and overseas. He did not say a word about interest rates falling. He did not say a word - except a hostile word - about investment in this country from overseas. He did not say a word about the remarkable and increasing growth in the export of manufactures from Australia.

He said nothing about all these matters, yet the fact is, and wherever you go you can encounter it, that there is an increasing feeling in this country, even among those who were critical, that the Government’s policy has been right. Confidence is building up every week and every month. However, I do not want to take up too much of my time on these matters. Other speakers who will follow me can deal with the details.

Mr Cope:

– Put a tiger in your tank. You have gone a bit flat!


– I have always noticed that when the honorable member is afraid to listen he makes a noise. No, Sir, the Leader of the Opposition was kind enough to make a glancing reference or two to me in the course of his speech. At one stage he said that I was reported to have told my federal executive something. All I can say is that I have never heard of the report until he mentioned it last night. It was quite untrue and I am sorry that he should retail things from the gossip columns. He also referred to me - and this fascinated me because I do not know whether it was a compliment or a subdued attack - as the sole triton of post-war Liberalism.

Mr Cross:

– That was a compliment.


– I suppose he meant to convey the impression that I was a triton among the minnows. That, I think, was overdoing it. It was supposed to be a compliment to me and an offence to those who for so many years have been with me in the problems of this country. All I want to say to the Leader of the Opposition - he has exposed his flank a little on this - is that to be a triton among the minnows is not half so bad as being a minnow among the 36 tritons who run the Labour Party and that is what, by confession, he is. He is the minnow swimming around the tritons coming up occasionally, listening - if a fish can listen - and then diving down again. The minnow among the 36 tritons

Mr J R Fraser:

– You should read Isaiah 32.


– Thank heaven you were not one of them; otherwise there would have been 35 tritons.

I want to draw attention to just one point about this devastating want of confidence motion. There are a dozen points I could deal with, but I have time to deal with only one. In a remarkable exercise of reasoning, the Leader of the Opposition conceded what had been done. In fact, he rehearsed it. He referred to substantial increases in loan money for State works, including, of course, housing; federal works selected development projects; special non-repayable grants, most of which were in aid of employment; reduction of income tax; reduced sales tax on motor vehicles, which has produced the most extraordinary activity in the motor vehicle industry; increased unemployment benefit and investment allowances.

He then disclosed the perfect, oldfashioned, dead-as-the-dodo socialist mind by saying, “ Not one of these measures was designed to help the ordinary wage-earners of this country “. I hope that everybody in Australia will read that and ponder on it. Apparently, if we increase loan moneys, increase State works, increase housing and increase federal works, this will be no good to the worker. That is his proposition. These activities have nothing to do with the wage-earner. Development projects, such as Mount Isa, the Western Australian railway or coal-loading equipment at Gladstone and other ports, are no good to the wage-earner. How odd that is. I always thought these things were done by having people work on the job and being paid for it, and by buying materials and having people paid to produce them. But the Leader of the Opposition says, “No, they are no good “. He referred to the reduced sales tax on motor vehicles. I ask you, Sir. Here we had an industry that had sustained a considerable reduction of production as a result of the policies we found necessary, and the reduced sales tax together with the general restoration of industrial help has enabled it to employ thousands and thousands more people, not only directly but indirectly. The leader of the socialist party stands up and says-

Mr O’Brien:

– Not socialist.


– Is it not that any longer? Oh! He stands up and says that none of these things is any good to the wage-earner.

I leave it at that, because I want to say something about some other matters. So far I have said only a little on the matter of putting the Government out. Now I would like to say something about the problem of putting the Opposition in, which is the other object of the exercise. If Labour is to go in, I think it is essential that the people of Australia should know where the members of the Labour Party stand on the great issues confronting this country. I have already explained that they do not quite know where they stand even on matters on which they attack us. But where do they stand on the matters on which I propose to attack them? They are putting themselves forward as the alternative government. Apparently they do so very confidently - more confident to-day than they will be in a month’s time; more confident in a month’s time than they will be in a year’s time. They know that; they are not so silly as not to know. However, they are putting themselves forward as the new government. Now, Sir, what kind of a government would this Labour government be?

Mr Costa:

– A good one.


– Eric, if you are in it, I will be delighted. But what kind of a government would it be? The government, of course, would be the tied spokesman of 36 outsiders, none of them elected by the Australian people and any nineteen of them able to control the minds and the voices of a Labour government. As the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) said this afternoon, this is what is called democracy. It may have been different in the days when Labour had strong leaders, but it is not good to-day when Labour has leaders who bow in the corridors, who wait for their orders and who then proceed as best they can to carry out their orders. In other words, the country is not being offered by Labour a government of people who will attack problems, exercise their own judgment and stand by their judgment, but people who will look around the corner and say to these obscure nonentities who give them their orders, “ Please, what is it we are allowed to do “. That is as clear as a pikestaff, and if it needed to be made clear, my honorable friend with his deputy leader made it clear at the last federal conference of the Aus tralian Labour Party. A more humiliating spectacle could hardly be imagined!

Mr Pollard:

– That is not what you said to Bury. You said, “ Do it or else “.


– That was a Prime Minister; he was the leader. He was not a Prime Minister who had to go away to 36 people and say, “ Please oblige me by telling me “.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– You are a one-man government.


– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro keeps muttering about a one-man government. I am the Prime Minister because the people have elected my supporters, who have chosen me. There is no parallel on my side of politics to this outside control by a group of 36, or any other number you care to choose, completely irresponsible people to whom the so-called leaders of the country would have to make their obeisance.

The next comment I make about the Australian Labour Party, which wants to come in, is: Where does it stand on Malaya? After all, this country is a pretty remote country in the world. This country, as the whole of experience has shown, cannot in great emergencies be its own sole defender, tt must do its best, but it cannot be its own sole defender. We have all found that time after time, and therefore we have a lively interest in what goes on-

Mr Uren:

– Whom did you ever defend, Bob?


– If you do not mind - your views are so far left of mine that I see them in a sunset haze. I know the honorable member is a little touchy on this, because it is he who has said - it has been quoted - that there is nothing to fear from Communist China, it has no ambitions. It is like Hitler; it has no territorial ambitions. It is not pressing on South-East Asia. That is the view of the honorable member for Reid, but who accepts it? Who, looking at what goes on in South-East Asia, could believe such sorry nonsense for half a minute. It is important, therefore, to know where Labour stands on Malaya, which happens to be a British country and a country of the Commonwealth of Nations not so very far to our north, friendly and loyal. The last decision they made - and I cannot discover that it has ever been altered - is that the Australian component of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in Malaya should be withdrawn. Now, I will be delighted to know whether that is still true. Apparently it is. A great silence falls over the boys who have been interjecting. So, let it be observed by everybody concerned that by their silence they admit that that is still their policy. They will be given an opportunity overnight to find out from - what is the chap’s name? - Chamberlain. But, after all, the last authentic remark on this issue was made by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), and as a front-bencher and as a loyal observer of the constitution of the Labour Party, what he said must be right. It must be official. He said: “ We on this side of the chamber are assailed for saying that our troops ought to get out of Malaya. What has Malaya to do with us? “

This is the Labour Party! What has Malaya to do with us! In other words, “ We cannot “, says the Labour Party, care less what happens in Malaya. We cannot care less if Malaya is overrun by the Communists.” And, indeed, we had the non-aggressive Chinese Communists conducting activities of insurgency in Malaya, and it was one of the honours of our battalion in Malaya from time to time to take part in resisting these people and in tracking them down. But the Labour Party says, “ What has Malaya got to do with us? “

Take the Labour Party’s attitude towards the creation of Malaysia. This is very well described in that splendid newspaper, the Melbourne “ Age “, only this morning in a leading article. I will undertake to read a few lines from what the newspaper said, because it puts it to perfection. It said, speaking about the Labour Party and its policy, now handed out in writing in Western Australia by the boss - weeks afterwards -

It believes in “ effective decolonization “-

Effective decolonization in inverted commas. It is extraordinary how leftwingers love these long words. Effective decolonization. The article continues - of the three northern Borneo territories . . . but it passes no judgment on the proposals for incorporating British Borneo in Malaysia. . . ,

And that is true. Not a word about it. Silence. The Leader of the Opposition incautiously said recently, when he was a free man, that he thought it was a good idea. But not now. Nothing but silence now on that front. The “ Age “ article continues -

The party’s attitude towards Malaysia appears to the outsider to be mere double talk and its failure to recognize the importance of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve suggests a refusal to face facts.

Then the “ Age “ goes on, charitably I think, to say -

Flexibility is a useful quality in a changing world but it does not mean evading or postponing decisions. What the conference failed to give was a clearly formulated and presented foreign policy for a party which is Australia’s alternative Government.

And then, with a superb but delicate touch of irony the “ Age “ article concludes -

Its Parliamentary leaders were entitled to expect more.

I think this is gorgeous. I really think this is the finest journalistic sentence I have read this year. Normally the people expect the Parliamentary leaders of a great party to give a lead, to expound ideas in the party, to take decisions on policy. What a pity; because the Parliamentary leaders of the Labour Party are not as other men. They have to be given something by Chamberlain and company, and really it is very disappointing that they were not given more. This, Sir, I think is not only a piece of delicate irony but in its fashion quite superb.

Now, Sir, my time goes on, and therefore I pass on to the next thing on which I am curious about the Labour Party’s attitude. The Labour Party, this prospective government, the one that wants to come into office-

Mr Einfeld:

– Inevitably.


– I do not object, my dear fellow, to your cheering yourself up in this fashion. I would in your position. Personally I wish you well. I think you would make a very good whatever it is. The Labour Party wants to have a nuclear-free zone south of the equator. May I take it that that is still Labour Party policy?

Mr Cross:

– Hear, head


– Thank you very much. I knew that if I were nice to you you would respond. This is still the Labour Party’s policy. Of course, this idea of having an area south of the equator and round the world in which no nuclear weapons can be deployed sounds very attractive, and a lot of Labour people think that the people at large will be deceived into thinking that all that that means is that Australia will not herself have nuclear weapons. Of course, that is just a pathetic outlook on it. The fact is that a nuclear-free zone south of the equator - if you could get away with it, if you could get the other people of the southern hemisphere to agree to it - would mean that no nuclear weapons could be deployed even in our defence, south of the equator.

Mr Cross:

– No.


– Oh! This is fascinating. So all we say to the United States of America, for example - a great nuclear power - or to Great Britain is: “ We are not going to have you south of the equator except, of course, if we get into trouble. There is a level-

Mr Einfeld:

– You are clowning about this.


– I am not clowning. I am talking about a matter so serious that you ought to be ashamed of yourself for treating it as a joke.

Mr Einfeld:

– You are clowning.


– Clowning! I am telling the Labour Party in this place that if their nuclear-free area south of the equator ever came into operation and were supported by the people of Australia, that would be national suicide. The trouble with the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) is that he will not face up to the facts. He likes to avoid them. The fact is - and do not run away from it too fast - that if we are going to have as our allies the United States of America and the United Kingdom - those great powers which have nuclear strength and one of which, the United States of America, posseses the Polaris submarines - which is a rude word with the Opposition - and will have them in the Indian Ocean - are we to say to them, “ Look, whatever happens, you understand that no nuclear weapon is to be discharged by you or controlled by you from Australian territory, because the Labour Party says it is not to happen “? Therefore, if those peaceful Communist Chinese - ‘the non-aggressors in Viet Nam and Laos– (Mr. Pollard interjecting) -


– Listen for a while; it will do you no harm. If these people become involved in war and the United States of America is alongside of us, who stand right in the southward track of these movements, are we to say to them that although people north of the equator can use intercontinental ballistic missiles and other nuclear weapons no Australian government is going to allow the United States of America to use this as a base for counter attack? Does it not mean that? If it does not mean that, perhaps the honorable member for Phillip will be good enough some time to explain to us what it does mean.

Mr Einfeld:

– I will give you instruction in this any time.

Mr O’Brien:

– It will be very simple, too.


– Yes, it will be very simple. I quite agree. The truth of the matter is that the Labour Party has to give up trying to have it both ways. You advocate a nuclear-free zone south of the equator, because this pleases your Communist supporters, and then, in the next breath, to satisfy your right-wingers, who are sensible and decent people, you say, “ That does not mean what it says “. What in the name of fortune does it mean?

Mr J R Fraser:

– How filthy can you get?


– Perhaps the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser), who is interjecting, might devote some of his attention to writing a powerful article for the “ Canberra Times “, explaining that this does not mean that nuclear weapons cannot be deployed from Australian territory, even though Australia is under attack. Mr. Speaker, if you can hear me over the gutter noises of East Sydney, I just want to say that the attitude of the Labour Party’s conference to the North West Cape installation is of a piece with the isolationism exhibited in that party’s attitude towards a nuclearfree zone. It is a natural corollary. Opposition members now say, I think, that by a vote of nineteen to seventeen they got something through which disappointed us. I hope they have all read what they got through.

You know, Sir, there is a very odd thing about this last Labour Party conference. On the matter of North West Cape - a matter of immediate and vital importance to the people of Australia - no written document was banded out at all. Did honorable members notice that? On the contrary, the master - naturally not the Leader of the Opposition - came out and read to the press, quite quickly, from a piece of paper. That is all they have ever had. I thought at the time, “ This is pretty good, because this will always give them the opportunity of saying that they were misreported and that that was not what they decided “. The other day, in the fastnesses of Perth-

Mr Harding:

– What is wrong with Perth?


– Nothing. It is one of the finest cities in Australia. I have always had an ambition to live there. I am thinking of that quite seriously. All I can say is that in the fastnesses of Perth the master produced, in writing, the decisions that the conference had made. There was nothing in the document about North West Cape. Of course, Sir, the whole basis of this thing is that the Labour Party has gone back, after a much better interlude at one time, to its isolationist attitude towards the problems of the world. It wants to say to the United States: “ Certainly we do not mind your spending £35,000,000 on a radio communications station. That is very nice. Thank you very much. We do not mind your using it for naval communications in time of peace as long as we are the joint owners and managers, although we will not pay for it. But if the occasion occurs when you really need naval communications more than at any other time, then, although you are our associate in Anzus and Seato and we know, as people of common sense, that you and your friendship are vital to us, we want you to understand that you cannot use the station unless the Australian Government of the day happens to say that you can.” 1 have heard a lot of people saying that the establishment of this station is an invasion of our sovereignty. Our sovereignty has been invaded before, as the Labour Government of the past well knows. I suppose it was an invasion of our sovereignty when all the forces in Australia were put under a foreign command. Nobody complained about that. It was a jolly good cause. Is it not a fact also that this technical sovereignty of ours was so far invaded that members of the American forces, although they were in Australia and might commit crimes in Australia, were removed from the jurisdiction of the Australian courts and placed under American jurisdiction? I am not complaining about that. I would have done exactly the same thing under the same circumstances. But this, we are now told, is the kind of thing that is an invasion of our sovereignty. The Labour Party of those days understood pretty well that to subtract from your own sovereignty by exercising it in favour of a friend is much more important than losing it all to an enemy.

Mr McGuren:

– Who criticized the Government?


– I do not know. I did not. If it is any comfort, I say to you now that that was right. Why do you now say it was wrong? We have heard all this cackle about sovereignty and we have heard it said that we must not allow the Americans to come in here and have rights. Finally, Sir, with three minutes to go-

Mr Armitage:

– Economic issues?


– No. I am dealing with issues which you detest but which will determine in the minds of the Australian people whether you will get an opportunity to ruin this country. Apart from paying lip-service to the United Nations, where does the Labour Party stand? Why, it was only in 1955 that Dr. Evatt proposed to save £40,000,000 from the defence vote, so he obviously thought that it was much too much. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), pithily expressing himself in 1960, said “ Disarm! “ In October, 1960, in the same debate, the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) said that a police force, pending the arrival of the United Nations, was all that we needed. The honorable member for Lalor is a gallant and distinguished member of this Parliament. He is an old friend of mine. But he was exhibiting a point of view on this matter. In October, 1960, the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) said that we should supply troops to the United Nations and nowhere else.

Now, Sir, how do you sum it all up? Here is a party that wants to be put into office. It is dubious and, indeed, isolationist in its attitude to defence. It has a dangerous attitude towards a nuclear-free zone. It has an unreal and evasive attitude on Malaya. It is divided on the reality of our association with the United States, as exemplified by the North West Cape installation. Above all things, it has a dismal position as the humble but obedient servant - as the lackey, I think that is the Communist expression - of the outside body now famous in history as the 36.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– It is always interesting to watch a performance by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). I imagine that any theatrical critic would be particularly interested in to-night’s performance. One can forgive this veteran strutter on this stage for his over-amiable weakness in playing for applause from his supporters. One can also forgive him for some readiness to clown because he is a natural clown. But a good clown is a man who does not make his clowning obvious, and the tragedy of to-night’s performance, as the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) quickly recognized, was that the Prime Minister Was obviously clowning his way through this performance and playing it for laughs from beginning to end. That is rather a shameful thing in the Prime Minister of this nation of Australia in a debate on a no confidence motion.

One could forgive him also for his tendency to exaggerated hamming on this stage, but I do not think we ought to forgive him for his complete misrepresentation of every argument that he quoted. That is typical of this Prime Minister. This is the only Prime Minister I have known - and I have known them all and watched them all since 1923 - who has adopted this technique of deliberately misquoting the arguments of his Opposition in order to score cheap debating points. We could even forgive him for not having missed the opportunity to take another side swipe at the United Nations. He never misses an opportunity to injure, if he can, that institution which is the greatest, or, indeed, the only hope of mankind for progress and peace. But he was humiliated there and he has carried the wound with him ever since.

How can we forgive him - unless because of his extraordinary capacity for selfdelusion - for his statement to-night that the Government has had remarkable success in its campaign against inflation? This is the campaign that it has been carrying on since 1949 when it was elected on a pledge to put value back into the £1, carrying on for thirteen years during which we have seen the value of the £1 fall from 20s. in 1949 to 7s. or 8s. to-day. That is the measure of the success of the Government’s campaign against inflation. But, as I said, the right honorable gentleman really believes in this success. He has reached the stage where he lives in these strange delusions.

I do not know how we are to forgive him - but I do, because I know him fairly well - for claiming that the eighteenth century was a very good century. It was, in his mind. That is the century in which the right honorable gentleman would have liked to live - a century in which slavery existed, in which there was most utter disparity between extremes of wealth and poverty, in which there was no social care and no health care of the people, in which there was complete disregard of human rights and not even the right of ordinary people to elect members to a parliament. Then, of all strange things, he went on to praise the Prime Minister of the late eighteenth century who was responsible for the divorce of the United States of America from Great Britain.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– I said nothing about Lord North. If you know anything, you will know that I happened to be referring to Lord Chatham and the younger Pitt. If you can compete with those men, go ahead.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I say no more about the Prime Minister who to-night has chosen to spend half his time in clowning on serious national issues and the other half in insulting and besmirching members of the party on this side of the House. I do not need to say any more because the record is available. There are three witnesses, each of whom knew this man very well indeed. One was a Prime Minister of Australia under whom he served - the Right Honorable Joseph Lyons; one was a man who also was Prime Minister for a little while and who knew this man very well and worked with him - Sir Earle Page; and the third was the man who was his Deputy Prime Minister and served with him for many years - Sir Arthur Fadden. They are the witnesses if you want them. I do not intend to quote them to-night. This man who dares to speak in this way is entitled to his answer.

Mr Curtin:

– What did they have to say?

Mr Swartz:

– What is the answer?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Read what each of those gentlemen had to say. Read the account of the last few weeks of Mr. Lyons. Very wicked things have been said in this House to-night; very contemptible things have been said by the Prime Minister of tl is country. He is entitled to have some reply made to him.

Wherever the Prime Minister quoted an argument used by the Leader of the Opposition, he completely misquoted it, and many others of the arguments used by the Leader of the Opposition the Prime Minister completely ignored. The Prime Minister said that the Leader of the Opposition had said not a word about the tremendous increase in production in Australia. As a matter of fact, the Leader of the Opposition dealt with it very carefully and quoted the results of official research conducted by the Bank of New South Wales and other organizations. He showed that Australia, the one country which must grow rapidly to survive, has endured three years of industrial and economic stagnation and that that condition is continuing. That is the finding of this piece of official research. Here are the figures. Sixty per cent, of factories in Australia to-day are working below capacity. Half the factories in Australia have been unable to increase the numbers employed during the past six months and they see no prospect of employing any more people between now and July. That also is the finding of this official research. At the time of the last election, registered unemployment was 100,000. To-day it is 96,000- a fall of 4,000 in fifteen months. Yet the Prime Minister claims that all this is evidence of a tremendous increase in production.

The Leader of the Opposition also pointed out that official figures show that personal consumption in Australia to-day is a little over 5 per cent, higher than it was two years ago, whilst the population has increased by 4 per cent, and prices have increased by 1 per cent., cancelling the gain completely, so that the net gain in two years has been nil!

The Prime Minister forgot to mention that in the last few months, in which he claims such tremendous prosperity has been in existence in Australia and such confidence has existed in this Government, many big companies have crashed and many thousands of small investors have been flung into ruin. He said not one word about that because he does not want to deal with it. He prefers to clown.

The Prime Minister said that the Leader of the Opposition said not one word about the building programme. The Leader of the Opposition dealt with it very fully. He pointed out that an acute housing shortage is undermining the social structure to-day so that many thousands of young Australian families will be burdened with a lifetime of debt as the prey of land sharks and developers, while many more thousands are doomed to dwell in conditions which affront the national conscience.

The Prime Minister claimed that the Leader of the Opposition had said not one word about investment from overseas, except in a hostile way. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the Government refuses to try to regulate investment from overseas. It is mortgaging the future of Australia to foreign monopolies and cartels to cover the failure - the gross failure - of its own trade policies. In a little more than ten years imports into Australia have exceeded exports by £1,600,000,000. Yet the Government refuses to do anything whatever to secure any Australian equity in foreign companies operating in this country. It is presiding over a process of transfer of our great mineral assets and other resources to foreigners in wholesale fashion.

The Prime Minister also told us that the Leader of the Opposition had said not one word about the reduction of interest rates. The Leader of the Opposition dealt with it very fully. He pointed out how we had called for such a reduction, how we had emphasised the need for it, how our claims on it had been ridiculed, and how the Government now at last is doing what the Labour Party had long contended should be done in the national interest. The Leader of the Opposition said, and the Prime Minister made no comment on it, that the Government will allow our national heritage to become the plaything of the Paris Bourse, of Wall-street jugglers and of Hong Kong money merchants, but it will not enable the development of Australia by Australians and for Australians.

The Prime Minister to-night has painted a picture of an Australia filled with prosperity, progress, security and happiness.

Mr Swartz:

– Hear, hear!

Mr Allan Fraser:

-“ Hear, hear! “ says the Minister. Is that how you see Australia?

Mr Swartz:

– Yes.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Yes.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I should think you would. You have eaten well to-night. You are well clothed, you are enjoying - I hope - a comfortable salary. It is a case of everything for the best in the best of all possible worlds for you. That is your picture and that is the Prime Minister’s picture. He manages to overlook completely, and he would like the rest of us to overlook, the fact that 90,000 of his fellow citizens are registered as unemployed, and that they and their families, making a total of 200,000 men, women and children, have had a meal to-night which has been only what the dole will provide. They have had not enough to eat of the food they like and need.

Mr Harold Holt:

– What nonsense!

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Treasurer says it is nonsense. Are there not 90,000 registered unemployed?

Mr Harold Holt:

– They are registered for employment. They are not on the dole, and they have record savings in the bank.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I thank the Treasurer. I thought the Prime Minister lived in a state of self-delusion, but this picture painted by the Treasurer of 90,000 unemployed with record savings in the banks is one which I think only he could conjure up.

In the picture that he has drawn the Prime Minister also would like the people of Australia to overlook the fact that there are at least another 100,000 unregistered unemployed, and that their to-morrow, and the to-morrow of their families, are filled with fear and insecurity as they continue the search for jobs. He would like us to overlook that there is an uncounted army of hundreds of thousands of senior citizens who have no income but the pension of £5 5s. a week and who are striving to buy the cheapest food which will satisfy their hunger, after having to pay out £3 a week or more in room rent because of the acute and wicked housing shortage which this Government has permitted to develop.

The Prime Minister would also like us to overlook the fact, when we are studying this picture of Australia, that there should also be painted into this picture 1,000,000 decent Australians living in substandard housing, overcrowded accommodation, in shacks, in sheds, in garages and caravans, because of an unparalleled shortage of homes, which is becoming worse and not better, as official figures show.

Mr Swartz:

– They must all be in your electorate.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Minister suggests that they are all in my electorate. Four thousand of them are registered applicants for housing in the National Capital, in a place where this Government has complete control, where it is not only the Federal Government but also the State government and the local government. There are 4,000 people in this National Capital registered as applicants and waiting for homes. With their dependants included, the number involved is much greater than 4,000, of course. However, the fact is that there are 4,000 registered applicants, and the waiting time for a home in Canberra is now more than three and a half years. That is the picture.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– There is more home-building going on here than anywhere else.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Prime Minister will just not accept the facts. He must continue to live in his world of selfdelusion. But these are official figures, and he need only turn to his Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) to get confirmation of them.

The Prime Minister would also like us to leave out of the picture the scores of thousands of people on small fixed incomes throughout Australia who have been ruined by thirteen years of unrestrained Menzies inflation. These things are there, they are in the picture, but the Prime Minister does not see them. They are not in his picture at all. Why does he not see them? Is it because he is indifferent? Is it because he is complacent? Is it because these things are beneath his notice? They did not matter in the eighteenth century, of course. Or is it because these things represent the condemnation of his Prime Ministership that he dare not face?

The Prime Minister dared to speak about the way in which the policies of the Australian Labour Party are formed. The machinery of the Australian Labour Party has been known to the Australian people for very many years. No human instrument is perfect, but this at least is an instrument which allows the rank and file members of the party to take their part in the election of those who form the policies of the party. The statements we have heard seem extraordinary when coming from the Liberal Party, because when you talk of outside controls you have to face the fact that members of the Liberal Party are more subject to outside control than probably any other political party in the Western world.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– You are sillier than I thought you were.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Prime Minister says I am sillier than he thought I was. Let me give the House a few facts. In February, 1962, the federal executive of the Liberal Party demanded - and I quote - “ more intimate and close consultation between the organizational and political wings of the party “.

Mr Fox:

– Consultation.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Yes, thank you - consultation. I am glad you came in. Sir Philip McBride reported “ ways of achieving this have been communicated to and accepted by the Prime Minister They were communicated to him and he accepted them - Sir Philip McBride laying down the law. Let us go a little further. In March, 1962, just twelve months ago, the federal executive of the Liberal Party summoned all federal Liberal Ministers to appear before it and anticipated closer consultation, liaison and and co-operation between the organizational and political wings of the Liberal Party.

Let us have some further facts. In February, 1961, at the time of the expulsion of a Liberal and Country Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, the secretary of the Victorian executive of the Liberal and Country Party - this is the executive under which the Prime Minister and the Treasurer both serve - refused even to name the members of the Liberal and Country Party executive. Not merely an outside body but actually an unknown one controls these right honorable gentlemen! The whole structure of the Labour Party is far more democratic than that of the Liberal and Country Parties. How many backbench members opposite, listening to me now, envy and long for the Labour Party’s method of selecting a Cabinet?

The Prime Minister to-night took up my reference to one-man government. Let us see what happens. The Liberal Party elects its leader. He becomes the Prime Minister and then he selects other members of the Cabinet. No member can be in the Cabinet unless he is personally suitable to one man, the Prime Minister, and no man can stay in the Cabinet unless he is personally suitable to the Prime Minister and obeys his wishes. There are members of the back benches of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party who now complain bitterly about the tyranny exercised under this one-man government. Now, of course, we have the most extraordinary situation of all. We have the situation of the American naval communications station. There is not one man on the other side of the House who believes that this matter ought to be decided by the Parliament - is there?

Sir Robert Menzies:

– What do you mean?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– There is not one man on the Liberal or Country Party side of the House who believes this matter ought to be decided by the Parliament.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– It is coming before the Parliament.

Mr Allan Fraser:

-The Prime Minister says it is coming before the Parliament.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– Of course it is.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– We know it is. An agreement is to be made and is in process of being made now, in which the vital interests of the Australian people will be considered. Am I right?

Sir Robert Menzies:

– I hope so.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Yes, but not one member on the Government side of the House, except the Prime Minister and two or three of his intimates, knows to-day what is in that agreement or what safeguards have been provided for the interests of the Australian nation, because honorable members opposite have not been told, and they will not be told until after the agreement has been signed and completed. That is one-man government. That is tyranny. That is evidence of secret arrangements.

The Parliament and the people of this country will never be given an opportunity to decide what ought to be in that agreement because, in the Prime Minister’s own words, the agreement will not be presented to the Parliament until it is in its full and final terms. No one on the Liberal Party or Country Party side of the House is to have a voice in deciding what shall be in it, and the Parliament is not even to be informed until after it is in its full and final terms. I say to honorable members opposite: Every one of you is the pawn and the dupe of the Prime Minister in this matter and every one of you will have to accept without debate, without argument and without any possibility of alteration, what the Prime Minister has laid down in regard to it. Each of you is supposed to be a representative and a defender of the interests of the Australian people. How. therefore, can you complain about the Australian Labour Party? We have laid down safeguards, every one of which, I believe, is essential to the Australian nation. Whether you believe that safeguards are necessary or not, no one will ever know, because you are unable to say; you are not allowed to speak. You will simply be given the task, as a majority behind the Prime Minister, of rubber stamping what he has secretly agreed with the American Government.


.- The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) began by making derogatory remarks about the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). Having regard to the Prime Minister’s reputation in this country, I believe that he need take no more notice of those remarks than he would of a fly that happened to buzz around his head. I therefore propose to say nothing more about them. Nevertheless, Sir, I am glad that I have followed the honorable member for Eden-Monaro in the debate, because he is a very plausible man. I simply want to examine quite dispassionately and calmly the argument that he put forward in the last few moments of his speech.

The honorable member suggested that there is no difference between the control exercised by the 36 notable gentlemen who direct the policy of the Australian Labour Party and the system of control that we have in the Liberal Party. He said that the terms of the agreement with the Americans in regard to the base at North West Cape have been decided, or will be decided, by the Cabinet, and that private members of this Parliament will have no voice in the decision. He contended that the situation in the Labour Party, in which 36 faceless men emerge from some dark recess where the Communist spider weaves his web, and for a moment come into the daylight, is no different from the situation on this side of the House. Of course, Sir, there is all the difference in the world.

Let us suppose for a moment that this matter is decided entirely by the Cabinet and that the Parliament has no voice in it at all. The members of the Cabinet, of course, are elected by the people of Australia. There is a very big difference between people who are elected by the electors of Australia, as the members of the Cabinet are, and the 36 faceless people elected by who knows whom. That would be difference enough, but is it true that the

Parliament has no voice in this matter? The Prime Minister has said that the agreement will be brought down in this House and laid on the table, and that the House will be invited to vote upon it.

Mr Cairns:

– Invited to accept it.


– Invited to accept it or to reject it.

Mr Cairns:

– No.


– Why not? Why could not this House reject it?

Mr Cairns:

– Are you going to exercise your right to reject it?


– The Parliament will be invited to accept or reject it, but if we want to go a little further back in the organization of the party on this side of the House, I point out that the matter will be brought into the party room and discussed first of all by members of the party before it is brought into the Parliament at all. 1 should hope that, in a proper case, this Parliament would not be remiss in its duty and that if any government, whether it represented the parties on this side of the House or the party on the other side, brought down something that was against the national interest, there might still be found some patriotic members on this side who would vote against the proposal. The matter, therefore, is in the first instance decided by people who are elected by the people of Australia and not by some unions or branches or anonymous persons outside this House. Consequently, when it comes to this House it will be for the Parliament to decide. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro said that the Parliament will not decide, although it may vote upon the matter. I think I have shown that there is all the difference in the world between the position that he put and the real position.

I should like to say a few more words about the 36 men who voted 19 to 17 in favour of permitting the Americans to establish the communications base at North West Cape. At the time that the 36 met at the Hotel Kingston and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and his deputy were walking anxiously up and down outside, like a father awaiting the birth of his son, it was clear that the electoral future of the Labour Party was in the balance. The party had at that stage, for certain reasons, some hopes that it might occupy the treasury bench after the next election. What more powerful motive could politicians have - and they are politicians on the other side of the House - for reaching a decision that might lead them to the treasurybench, a decision that the people of Australia would have applauded and which would have been of immense advantage to the party in an electoral sense? The 36 men met in this atmosphere and decided, by 19 votes to 17, that they would just agree, subject to certain conditions which would make the agreement of no account, anyhow. This suggests to me that the strength of the left wing in the Labour Party is quite immense.

We have listened in this House over a period to a certain number of Labour members - perhaps half a dozen; I could mention their names, but we all know them - who have shown these proclivities, anu we might suppose that this was a small section of the parliamentary Labour Party. We know about happenings in Victoria, where the Labour Party has a penchant for unity tickets and so on. Again, we might suppose that this was a relatively small -:tion of the Labour Party. But when you find that on a vital matter of this kind, when the Labour Party’s electoral prospect au at stake as never before, only 19 out of 36 agree upon something which is of no consequence anyhow because it is undercut by the conditions attached to it, you realize that the power of the left wing in the Labour Party is not negligible and is not small; it is immense.

I ask myself: How can this be? But when you come to think about it, I suppose the answer is not very difficult to find. The Communist Party has infiltrated the ranks of the Labour Party in its branches and in the unions. These bodies exercise a most powerful influence upon the members who are elected to Parliament. I can only suppose that the small-time opportunists in the Labour Party who want to hold their seats find it desirable to make obeisance to the people in their branches and in their unions who have been influenced by the small but well-organized body of Communists. That is the only way I can explain how such a large number of small-time opportunists in the Labour Party has been influenced. As for the big-time opportunists, of course, they see the prize within their grasp and are prepared also to make obeisance to those elements which are powerful beyond the strength of their numbers, due to the organization for which they are notable. So I, perhaps one of the most moderate members of this House, am led to the conclusion from the nineteen-seventeen vote that what I had thought was a small element in the parliamentary Labour Party and perhaps a small element in the organization outside the Parliament is in fact a very powerful element. The circumstances of the decision on the United States base make that perfectly clear. I am not trying to frighten people. I am simply stating the conclusion that I, a moderate person sitting in this House and observing the plain facts, have reached.

This motion has, as it were, two facets. There are two sides to the coin. One facet is the allegation that this Government has lost the confidence of the House and the country on account, it is said, of its mismanagement of the affairs of the country. The other facet is the claim that because this Government has failed, under our parliamentary system the Opposition should take its place. These are quite separate considerations. It could be that this Government has failed, but it could be also that the alternative is so much worse that the people of Australia would not entertain it. These are separate questions and I propose to deal with them separately.

They may be dealt with under two obvious headings. One relates to the policy of this Government and of the Labour Party in regard to our external relations and defence, and the other relates to our domestic affairs. Before a man begins to furnish his house he wants to make sure that the roof does not leak. This corresponds to the need to look to our defence and our alliances to ensure that that which we have, that which we built and furnished, is safe and will be preserved to us. The difference between the Government and the Labour Party in this respect is very clear. In this realistic world - a world which we observed with realism during the Second World War and the cold war which followed - we have come to the conclusion that our safety rests, upon, first, firm alliances with powerful friends upon whom we can rely, and secondly, upon our own efforts, recognizing that we are a small country and that our own efforts alone are not sufficient.

This, then, is the foundation upon which we have based our security. We look to the Anzus pact, the Seato pact and to the strengthening of our alliance with our American friends as the corner-stone of our national security. The Labour Party has not so clear a policy, yet the outlines emerge when you come to look at it. The Labour Party’s attitude is one of isolation. It has been called isolationist, but you could call it neutralist. That attitude is based on the feeling that we shall be safe if we say: “We will have none of the conflicts of this world. We will stay out of them. We will creep into a hollow log and let others fight their battles”. That kind of attitude was adopted by many small countries in Europe prior to the Second World War, and we remember their fate. The fact that they said, “We will contract out of this business and have no part in the conflict “ did not preserve them for one moment when the giants were at war. They were trampled underfoot. This is a policy, therefore, which we regard as completely unrealistic.

A vaguely internationalist attitude has been voiced by some Opposition members, which I think may be regarded as a part of their attitude to foreign affairs. They believe that they can place their trust in the United Nations. I do not know what help the United Nations was, say, to the Indians when they were attacked by the Chinese; what help it was to the Malays when they had an insurrection of Communists in their midst; or what help it was in Viet Nam and in Laos.

Mr Chaney:

– What about Hungary?


– Yes, you may mention Hungary as well. The United Nations has not Deen able to do anything to protect those countries. So, contrary to the Labour Party’s point of view, we believe that to put your trust in the United Nations is like putting your trust in princes.

It may be said that this is an exaggeration. I may be asked on what occasions Labour members have said this. The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), I understand, will speak after me in this debate, so he will be able to explain the following statement, which is attributed to him, in the “Hansard” report of 12th October, 1960, which is not so long ago -

My point is that we should prepare ourselves to supply troops to the United Nations and that it is the only justification that Australia has for supplying any troops anywhere at any time.

Another Labour member - I think it was the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) - said that all we needed was a police force to meet an attack pending the arrival of assistance from the United Nations. It may be said that the honorable member for Lalor is a front-bench member of the Labour Party. At the moment the honorable member for Yarra is on a back bench, but we all know him to be one of the most able men on the other side of the House. We all would expect him to be in the Ministry if a Labour government took office. We know that consistently his views, every time he has expressed them in this place, have been left wing. He has been strangely silent of late, but it is necessary to put a particular face upon the Labour Party’s attitude at this time. It is necessary to make it appear that the Labour Pary is composed of young, forwardlooking, modern Australians, so he has been silent for a time. This then is the difference between our attitude and that of the Labour Party to our national security.

I do not hesitate to turn to the domestic situation. It is true that the Opposition has preferred to speak about the domestic situation and to keep off the international aspect, pretending, to use the terms of an interjection by, I think, the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld), that this does not matter. This may be a matter of tactics. The Opposition has launched this attack in order to concentrate on domestic issues and to draw attention away from its failures, which have been so dramatically and prominently brought before the Australian people, in the international field and in the field of defence. What is the Government’s record in the domestic field to warrant it being overthrown? During this Government’s term of office the population has grown from 7,000,000 to 11,000,000. I do not suppose that will be disputed. Not only has the population grown, but the work force is younger and more skilled than it was in 1949-50 when the population was approximately 7,000,000. This has been perhaps the fastest rate of population growth in any country in the post-war world. If it has subjected the economy to some strain, that is scarcely surprising. The Government cannot have failed too badly if it has been able to absorb an increase in population of that order in so short a time. Prima facie then, the Government has not done a bad job.

I do not want to go through the whole catalogue of things that have been done to develop our country. We know that steel production has trebled and that, as distinct from the state of affairs in 1949, we are now exporting coal. We know that an industrial revolution has occurred. One can instance the development of the automotive industry. Twelve years ago oil was brought to this country unrefined, but to-day practically all we use is refined here. Not without the help of the millions of pounds which have been spent by the Commonwealth to assist the search for oil, oil is now available in this country at Moonie. We know how communications have improved following the standardization of rail gauges and the construction of certain railway lines which have been of immense value to the development of the nation.

Reference has been made to housing. It is true that all this development has caused growing pains. If the population is to grow as it has grown, of course there must be growing pains. Dr. A. R. Hall has estimated the housing requirements of the population, his being the most authentic statistical inquiry that we have had. He has estimated that in 1963 we will need 97,000 new homes and that by the end of the year 90,000 will have been built. That is not so bad for an economy which has been under great strain in absorbing population at the rate at which we have absorbed it. It is true that there are some shortages in the field of education, but once again the assistance that the Commonwealth has given to the States has been quite massive. I use the word “ massive “ advisedly. It has been said that there are some deficiencies. Of course there are deficiencies. But we are not comparing the record of the Government with perfection; we are comparing it with what reasonable, competent men may be expected to do. The Government has not done too badly.

The honorable member for EdenMonaro painted a picture in which the population was represented as living in absolute misery. This supposedly capitalistic, wicked Government has increased expenditure on social services in a quite extraordinary way. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said, I think in his last Budget speech, that whereas in the year 1949-50 47.7 per cent, of the proceeds of personal income tax had been devoted to social services, in the current financial year the proportion has risen to 72 per cent. That is not a bad record for heartless, wicked, capitalist villians. The people are not living in misery, as the honorable gentleman suggested. They themselves are the best judges of that; they know the facts.

The Government has had a most surprising record of success. As I said earlier, there have been growing pains. In our rapidly developing economy there has been a shortage of savings to provide for all the capital equipment that was necessary, and overseas funds have flowed in. It has been said on the other side of the House that there should have been some control of the volume and direction of these funds; that we should have done something to ensure that overseas companies which invested money here allowed part of the control to remain, in Australian hands, and that there should have been an opportunity for Australian investors to participate in the dividends paid by those companies. That is all quite true, but it was important that we should have those savings flowing into the country. Why was that so? Of course, the Russians did without overseas funds. In fact, in the early days of the revolution nobody would invest money in Russia. The Russians could not draw on savings from outside the country; they had to generate their own, and one or two generations in Russia went through absolute misery while tightening their belts to generate savings. At last, that effort is bearing fruit. We needed outside savings; we could not generate them ourselves without causing very great hardship to our people. And I do not believe that that was what the people of Australia desired. So the savings have come in from outside. But the Labour Party says that we should have exercised some control over those savings. That such control would have been highly desirable, none of us will deny.

What has happened in Canada? Canada has been flooded with investment from the United States of America and has resented it very much. An election campaign is being fought on that sort of issue. Although in many ways the Canadian Government has disliked this inflow of capital, it has taken no steps to control United States investment in Canada. It is a rather tender plant. I repeat that it was important for us to have overseas investment in this country. It would have been very easy for us to prevent it from coming here. But when the kind of advice which the Labour Party has offered is given, no thought is taken of the consequences of the action that is advocated.

In the two or three minutes which remain I should like to say something about the efforts of this Government to curb inflation. To many people inflation is just a word. They say: “ What does it matter if we have inflation? It is a jolly good thing, because what you buy to-day you can sell for more to-morrow.” In a country like Australia where it is necessary to export goods so that industries may survive and may be able to bring in the raw materials they need, you cannot afford to let costs and prices get so out of hand that those export industries cannot compete on the world’s markets. For that reason, stable costs and prices are absolutely vital not merely to industry but also to every Australian, particularly every Australian working man. It has been said that the Government has adopted a stopandgo policy. Surely it has used the controls that have been available to it and has used them with all the delicacy in the world. Guiding the economy is more like steering a ship than steering a motor car. A ship continues to swing even after the rudder is turned the other way; you cannot control it with hair’s breadth precision. At least the Government has been honest and courageous and on the whole it has succeeded, because costs and prices are now stable. The Opposition says that it would do better. I should like to have had time to say something about the methods which I believe the Opposition would use to do better. I think that the Australian people would prefer the policies which this Government has pursued.


.- Prima facie the case presented against the Government on economic grounds is quite the reverse of that which has been outlined by the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner). After ten years of inflation, during which period prices increased by more than 100 per cent, and the majority of the working people in the community suffered increasing costs of living and had to pay greater rents, rack rents in fact, there has been a period of two and a half years in which at least 100,000 persons have been unemployed and the dependants of those people have been living almost in dole conditions. Industry has an excess capacity because of lack of demand, and there has been a loss of gross national product estimated by economists to be approximately £500,000,000.

I repeat that prima facie the case presented on those grounds is altogether against the Government. If I were to present the details of that case, I could do no better than to quote from speeches that have been delivered in this House in the past by the honorable member for Bradfield who has made some of the most effective detailed criticisms of the Government’s policy that have been offered. But to-day, when we are debating a want of confidence motion, the honorable member chooses to take quite the opposite view of the economy. But I shall leave reference to those details to a later time, because the greatest questions that are facing this House and the people of Australia have to do with our international relations. It is in this field that the great events of peace and war will be found. It is in this sphere that we will find the forces which, like a thunderclap in the sky, could come upon us and destroy not only us but civilization as a whole. That is the position that exists in the world to-day and devastation in that form can come as suddenly as a thunderclap in the night. Whether we are able to keep off these great events and fend them away will depend on the extent to which we can have initiative, independence and strength in our own foreign policy. I submit that the Australian Government does not have any strength of significance in its foreign policy. The reason for that may soon be ascertained. The Australian Government has assumed that Australia is unable to defend herself and, being unable to defend herself, must depend completely on some of our powerful friends and in particular the United States.

Having assumed this position of independence and inferiority, the Government cannot have any initiative. It cannot have any real degree of independence or strength in its foreign policy. Its foreign policy is imitative, conventional, dependent and lacking in dignity in very respect. This assumption of dependence is the main reason why this Parliament and the people of Australia should have no confidence in the Government.

The Australian Government has always assumed that its dependent policy is full of rectitude and complacency. The vicious circle of the arms race cannot be cut through by assuming that all the right is on one side and all the wrong on the other, or by wrapping ourselves in a cloak of impeccable rectitude and diplomatic rigidity. I submit to the House that there is no better phrase than “ impeccable rectitude “ to describe the position of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies); that there is no better phrase than “ diplomatic rigidity “ to express the position of the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). This impeccable rectitude destroys the chance of any initiative or independent purpose coming into foreign policy because it means that those who hold this attitude are satisfied with the situation as it is.

Ocasionally there has been some initiative - some independence. In 1954 the Prime Minister joined with Sir Anthony Eden, the Conservative Prime Minister of England, to say that atom bombs should not be used in Indo-China. In 1955 in the first Formosa crisis our Prime Minister even went to Washington and said that there should be no war over Quemoy and Matsu. But the general attitude of this Government has-been to go along with the old order - to go along with the Conservatives and the aristocrats. This Government has been led by men who are court followers in London and camp followers in Washington; men who seek titles in the United Kingdom and dollars in New York. What do they seek? The titles that they acquire and the dollars that they obtain may be good for them. One wonders when the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Prime Minister will reverse positions - when one will seek a title in London and the other dollars in Washington.

This situation has brought a loss of Independence to Australia. It has brought an un-Australian attitude - a policy that is outdated and when it is outdated it is immoral. It is a policy against the winds of change. One thinks of the Prime Minister in Suez in 1956 standing, as it were, in the eighteenth century, where his heart really is. One can imagine him in silk stockings and powdered wig in the eighteenth century. In Suez he stood against the nationalist movement - the movement of the people of Egypt, with all its faults. We know that this Government has never been willing openly to say anything in criticism of the wicked apartheid policy of South Africa. We know that in Britain our Prime Minister was the advocate for Mr. Verwoerd and his policy. We know that this Government has associated itself continuously with the colonial policies of Portugal and Belgium. This is its United Nations voting record. We know that in this field an initiative, an independent purpose, a radical aim is needed. We know that there must be a new purpose in relation to the nuclear arms race.

Let me here quote some of the remarks of one of America’s most distinguished generals - General Omar Bradley. He said -

Our plight is critical and with each effort we have made to relieve it by further scientific advance we have succeeded only in aggravating our peril.

As a result, we are now speeding inexorably toward a day when even the ingenuity of our scientists may be unable to save us from the consequences of a single rash act or a lone reckless hand upon the switch of an uninterceptible missile. For twelve years now we’ve sought to stave off this ultimate threat of disaster by devising arms which would be both ultimate and disastrous.

This irony can probably be compounded a few more years, or perhaps even a few decades. Missiles will bring anti-missiles, and anti-missiles will bring anti-anti-missiles. But inevitably, this whole electronic house of cards will reach a point where it can be constructed no higher.

Addressing himself to the problem of accommodation in a world split by rival ideologies, General Bradley said that this was more difficult than conquering outer space, but that he was discouraged “ not by the magnitude of the problem, but by our colossal indifference to it “. I am discouraged by the colossal indifference of this Government to the problem; I am discouraged by the Government’s belief that we can go on and obtain security by keeping ahead in this arms race. A continuing arms race does not mean security. It means danger, tension and destruction. The Government, I submit, has no initiative here. It has a colossal indifference.

Let us look at the second type of problem - that of the so-called economically retarded areas. Our Government has supported military and every other form of opposition to national movements, no matter where they were and no matter who led them. These forms of military opposition have failed to meet the threat that is involved in the situation. I submit that this Government has shown no sympathy whatever and no understanding for the poor suppressed people in those areas and for their leaders, who demand freedom, independence and self-government. It so happens that the Australian Labour Party’s views here are those of many established and influential members of the American community. I refer the House first to the views expressed by George F. Kennan, a distinguished historian and adviser on foreign policy. Speaking about American policy Mr. Kennan said that he regretted - the over-militarization of our entire approach to world problems in these recent years - by our obdurate preoccupation with a war that might or might not come - by a concentration on this possible war so exclusive that it was bound to leave us empty-handed and devoid of suggestion if, in fact, war did not come. This overmilitarization of approach to the cold war was losing us the sympathies of world opinion.

Another leading American, Mr. Chester Bowles, said -

Historians will be puzzled by the way a democratic and religious people like the Americans have concentrated so exclusively on military answers to complicated, human, non-military problems, that we have shackled our abilities to deal effectively with the psychological ideological and economic forces which are so clearly shaping modern society.

This Government has done everything possible to shackle us in that way. It has demonstrated in these fields an obsession for military methods. It has a complete lack of sympathy for those people who are suffering and it has consistently missed the psychological, economic and social aspects of the problems of those countries. Now, after so long, the distinguished, respectable and authoritative United States Senate Mansfield committee has confirmed every word that has been expressed by the Australian Labour Party in relation to South-East Asia and it has submitted that if there cannot be a change in South Viet Nam, the American forces will have to leave the country.

There is an alternative to this situation - an alternative that has been expressed on this side of the House and in those conferences of the Labour Party which honorable members opposite tried so much tonight to belittle. Now, respectable and authoritative opinion all over the world is beginning to confirm what has come from those conferences year after year for the past few years. I submit that the Labour Party has a positive policy to offer - not an isolationist policy or a negative policy; not a conformist or unreal policy.

It is the Government that is isolationist. It leaves everything to the Americans or to Britain. It leaves everything to our powerful friends. Nothing really of any independence is to be determined here. Everything in the agreement about the base at North-West Cape will be in the agreement when it arrives here and not one Government supporter will have one word to say about what is in that agreement or about what should not be in it. But the Australian Labour Party has not avoided its responsibilities in this matter. Its conference has seriously and with great care considered these matters and has said that the agreement should contain certain conditions. But what about the silent members on the other side of the House? What conditions do you think should be in that agreement - any, or none? Honorable members opposite are completely silent on that issue. Labour has not avoided that responsibility. We have said what we believe should be there. Labour believes we are thoroughly involved in world affairs and that we cannot leave things completely to other people. Let us take this North West Cape naval communications base as an example. No honorable member should make any mistake about what it is. It is a military base. It is vital. It is significant. It is the most significant thing that has ever happened to Australia in the course of our history; yet the Government wants to treat it as a mere radio com munications base. For two long years the Government has avoided answering questions directed at it from this side of the House. This base is the control centre for 20 or 30 mobile nuclear bases, each of which carries sixteen missiles, each missile being 30 times as powerful as that which at one blow destroyed 80,000 people at Hiroshima. This is not a radio communications station of insignificant type.

The Government has not been frank, and I submit that the people of Australia must recognize the full significance and the full implications of the position in which we are putting ourselves. Labour has said that we must go into this agreement with our eyes open. We must realize what is involved. Labour says we will not accept this base without conditions. We will not accept it as though we were mere ciphers. We will look at the position as though we were an independent nation. Labour’s conditions are not only for joint control of the operations of the base; they also involve agreement that Australia shall not be brought into war without a decision of this Parliament. These conditions are the symbol of our national maturity and involvement. In these conditions lies the soul of Australia. This is the sign of our emancipation and of our self-government in foreign policy. These are the signs of the end of our colonial status. We are now adults. We are a nation and we are independent. Labour says that if we are important enough to have this base we are important enough to be consulted about how it is to be used.

We do not want to withdraw from the world and to be negative, conformist and superficial and leave everything to our powerful friends. This neutralism and negativism is the position that our political opponents take. We want to put an independent and new viewpoint firmly and with purpose to the United States of America and not just in the last fifteen minutes, after the signal is given to fire the missiles; it is a matter of the weeks and months before. In 1950, Mr. Attlee, who was then the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, had to say that the atom bomb should not be used in Korea. In the case of IndoChina, in 1954, it was the Conservative Prime Minister, Eden, who had to say it should not be used. It was our own Prime

Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), remarkably enough, who said it should not be used in Formosa Strait in 1955. In regard to Cuba in 1962, after the American blockade had gone down, the contrast in the attitude of the parties here was clearly revealed. The Prime Minister took up the position which did nothing to try to stop the movement of this force into world war. The Leader of the Opposition said, “ Now that the blockade is there, go to the conference table and do not go any further”. This did not mean calling together the Security Council or the General Assembly of the United Nations. It meant an exchange of letters and notes through the agency of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and it was by that means that the crisis was solved. If we leave everything to the last fifteen minutes it will be far too late. There will be no room for decision and no hope of influence. It is a matter of using the decisions of the days, weeks and months before to see that there is no fifteen-minutes crisis at all. This can be done and war can be averted. This is what Labour’s stand means and what the challenge of the Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister means - to hold an election on these issues, on Australia’s status as a nation and Australia’s sovereignty. The Leader of the Opposition said -

The Labour Party is realistic. It knows that in relation to the great powers Australia can never be a truly major force, but it also knows that if it makes the maximum effort of which it is capable it has the right to be heard. We know that Australia must have the friendship of the United States and other great powers, but we do not believe that friendship means subservience. I refuse, on behalf of the Australian Labour Party, to accept such a position. If this is the issue and if Sir Robert Menzies wishes to fight the next election upon it, we accept the challenge.

What is the answer of the Prime Minister? We are still awaiting it. The issue is Australian sovereignty, and Australian emancipation from the dependence established in our colonial past - Australian independence of those who really accept the standards alone of the English aristocracy or American wealth. The best of England and the best of America stand with us, and want us to be independent on these issues. I have quoted leading Americans this evening to show what the position is. For myself I am in the Roosevelt tradition. Our great purpose in Australia must be to increase our economic and moral strength, because that is the only way to increase our bargaining power and become a positive force in the Western Alliance - not to leave things just as they are, but seek to change them where the policy of the Western Alliance has gone wrong. It is wrong to continue the nuclear arms race and to spread nuclear arms around the world. It is right to seek to establish nuclear free areas even if world power nuclear forces are within them. Not only the Australian Labour Party thinks this. More than half the world is with us on it. The majority of the African and South American countries are with us. In regard to Indonesia it is well for Australians to remember that their representative at the United Nations, Dr. Palar, in November of last year, said -

My country attaches the greatest importance to this aspect of disarmament, the establishment of de-nuclearized zones.

We should join in that and endeavour to keep nuclear weapons out of the armouries of this country and of Indonesia, because if they get into them we face devastation and destruction. Even China has twice put forward proposals for atom-free zones in the Pacific and the Far-East areas. Let us follow the lead of the Australian Labour Party and endeavour to secure the absence of nuclear weapons before it is too late. That is where confidence lies in this issue. We say it is wrong to continue to back up the old reactionary and undemocratic cliques in countries that are economically backward and suppressed. The Australian Labour Party’s policy on Seato has pointed the way consistently, from 1955 to 1963, and now the authoritative United States Mansfield Senate Committee has said that we are right. Is this not a reason for complete confidence in the position taken by the Australian Labour Party? Is this not reason for a lack of confidence in a government which has for twelve long years supported in South Viet Nam a policy which the Mansfield Committee now says has failed? In conclusion I want to sum up in a few words where I feel Labour stands. Labour is for Australia and, being for Australia, Labour stands to build up Australia’s physical and moral strength and to direct that strength with the maximum force into the making of the decisions of the Western Alliance, so that peace will be preserved and decent, and democratic progress will be achieved in all the tension areas of the world. I am sure we can do this.


Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have just listened to a rather pathetic speech by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), who is very desperate and concerned. He did not speak for the Australian Labour Party to-night. He spoke for the left-wing section of the Labour Party. The reason why he was desperate and pathetic in his attitude to-night was that he is frightened that the annihilating speech of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) may have won the opinions of a lot of decent Labour members in this House - those members whose sympathies are right-wing and who are sick and tired of following what the left-wingers say. Let us see what “leftwinger “ means. The words are used idly throughout Australia. I do not think the people of Australia define properly the term “left-winger”. Yes, it used to mean a militant Socialist - one who is highly disciplined - but to-day a left-winger is one who follows the Communist jargon. He is a fellow-traveller with the Communists and plays along with them. To-night we have had a demonstration of a left-winger in this House, the honorable member for Yarra, putting forward the strongest possible case why we should not have a naval communications base at North West Cape, why we should not have the Seato arrangement and why we should have a nuclear-free zone in Australia and in the southern hemisphere. Of course he is desperate; he realizes that if the right wingers get on their feet and really speak out, the left wingers will be annihilated. I give the right wingers all my support and I hope they do so. I truly trust, for the sake of Australia, that if Labour does get into office the right wingers will have control of it. If there is one thing lacking in the Australian Labour Party today, it is the strength of the great right wing movement that was present in the Labour Party during the war years. Labour then had two very strong Prime Ministers - Mr. Curtin and Mr. Chifley. They were right wingers who had the capacity to control the left wingers within the party.

Let me read an extract from the “ Bulletin “. I would encourage all Labour members to read the issue of the “ Bulletin “ of 30th March. It has an excellent editorial and it would do Opposition members good to read it. They should take it home and sleep on it. If they did put it under their pillows, not too many of them would sleep, if they had any conscience at all.

Mr James:

– Who wrote it?


– I do not know who wrote it and I do not care who wrote it. The fact is that this article is true right through. One passage of the editorial reads -

Too many Labor men, while privately antiCommunist, have so little intellectual stamina that they are terrified of doing anything about it for fear they might be labelled “ Mccarthyite “. Others are so sunk in anti-Catholic sectarianism that they genuinely prefer Communists to Catholics and then kid themselves that Communists are no threat to Australia, or even if they are, that Communism does not really mean slavery, terrorism, mass murder. In other words their prejudices have turned them into fools.

That is what half the Opposition members are. They are nothing but fools if they follow the lead of the left wingers. They are being twisted around by the federal executive.

I want to take a few moments to describe the structure of the Australian Labour Party and how it works. Let me explain this, because many people do not understand it. First, the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party consists of six members from each State, making 36 in all. This body is the supreme governing authority and its decisions are binding upon every member and every section of the Australian Labour Party. In other words, all Opposition members must abide by what the federal conference says or be expelled. Then there is the federal executive, which consists of two members from each State, making a total of twelve. This is the chief administrative body and it is subject only to decisions of the federal conference. Third on the list is the federal parliamentary Labour Party. Its duty is to implement the decisions of the federal conference.

Mr Monaghan:

– Who elects the delegates?


– Do not worry, I will come to that. Let us look at the way the executive is made up. Within each State - it varies slightly from State to State - a percentage of delegates to the State conference comes from the Australian Labour Party movement and the trade union movement within the States. The proportion throughout Australia on an average is that 25 per cent, of the delegates come from the Australian Labour Party movement - from the branches of the Labour Party - and 75 per cent, come from the trade union movement.

It is little wonder that the Communists are infiltrating the trade union movement. They want to get control of positions in the trade union movement, because they go straight from the trade union movement to the State executive and, if they have any ability, they are then elected to the federal conference. There they have control of the Australian Labour Party. If Labour were in office and if the federal conference were dominated by Communists, Communist followers or Communist sympathizers, the Labour government would be told what to do by Communists. Of course, that was not the position in the old days. It is useless for honorable members opposite to say that these unions are not Communistcontrolled. We have only to look down the list to realize that this is so. We have the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia, the Seamen’s Union of Australia, the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the Australian Railways Union, with the exception of the New South Wales branch, the Boilermakers Society of Australia, the Sheetmetal Workers Union, the Building Workers Industrial Union of Australia and the Miners Federation. They are all controlled by Communists, and there are many more.

I wonder what the Australian Workers Union thinks of all this. After its last conference, the left wingers have control. I shall read a passage from the Queensland “Worker “ of 18th March last. This is the journal of the Australian Workers Union and it affirms what I have said. It reads as follows: -

This week, a special conference of the Federal Labor Party is being held at Canberra, and important decisions affecting the welfare of Australia and its people will be taken. Decisions will be binding on every member of the Australian Labor Party and every union affiliated with the A.L.P. To some people who are ignorant of politics, it may appear inconsequential that the Labor Party should meet at all, but the Federal Conference of the A.L.P. is the supreme political governing body, like the A.W.U. Convention is supreme. State and Federal Labor Governments have to follow A.L.P. policy.

Opposition members are here as puppets, as dupes and as rubber stamps. They cannot express a free opinion. What is the good of electing a Labour man to this House if he must find out from the big bosses, as the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said, what he will do? They completely disfranchise their electors. They are not responsible to the electors; they are responsible to the executive of the Australian Labour Party.

There were, of course, members of the Australian Labour Party who did not believe that the Communists should dominate them. There were people just after the war who were very much concerned about the security of the country. We have only to look at some of the legislation that was brought down in 1947 to know that this is so. The Approved Defence Projects Protection Act was passed. This gave protection to, and permitted the development of the Woomera rocket range. The Communists wanted to ban this project. If the decision is made to construct the North West Cape communications station, I believe that some organizations will try to obstruct it. I believe that the Seamen’s Union of Australia and the Waterside Workers Federation will ban the project. They do not want to permit its construction. They do not want America to be allied with us in the defence of this country.

Let us look at what Dr. Evatt said. I know that many opinions have been expressed about him, and, of course, he was dominated by Mr. Chifley. When he brought in a special act to protect the Woomera rocket range against the Communists, he put out a little booklet called “ Hands Off the Nation’s Defences “. The Australian Labour Party and its federal executive accepted this sort of action then. At the beginning of the booklet there is a foreword which says -

The Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party congratulates the Prime Minister and Dr. Evatt on the firm stand taken by the Government against the proposed black ban on the rocket range project. It is apparent that the propaganda recently issued by the Communist Party in connexion with this undertaking is for the sole purpose of defeating the Australian defence policy in the interest of a foreign power.

I believe that a lot of left wingers in the federal executive want to defeat the North West Cape project in the interest of a foreign power. What did Dr. Evatt say? In the booklet he put out, he said -

I assert that any political group or party becomes a menace to the safety of Australia whenever it allows its desire to forward the interests of Russia or any other foreign country to induce it to take steps interfering with the conduct of undertakings which are vital to Australian defence security.

No reasonable person will credit the propagandist and infantile nonsense that Australia is joining with Britain and the United States of America in preparation to launch war against Russia. That statement is so utterly false and without foundation as to be unworthy of serious consideration.

That is what he said about Woomera and the attitude of the left wingers to it. The left wingers were trying to ban development at the Woomera rocket range because it was for our own security that we were developing weapons in alliance with the United States of America and Great Britain.

Mr Barnard:

– Who set up the Woomera rocket range?


– The Labour Party, and I give it credit for doing so. As I pointed out earlier, it was the right wing of the Labour Party which controlled the Labour movement then, and the party contained only a small fraction of left wingers. To-day the picture is very different. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) is interjecting, but I will make my own speech.

Opposition Members. - Ah!


– At least on our side we can speak our minds, which is more than members of the Labor Party in this House can do, and we do speak our minds on every subject. We hold different views on many subjects, but on national security and its companion subject foreign affairs, we on this side speak with a united voice. If there is any dissension among us on those mattters it is on the question of whether our defences are strong enough. I shall give an example of the freedom of speech that we on this side of the House have. The other night the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) spoke on the subject of margarine. He said what he genuinely believed on that subject. Later I rose to speak on it, and so did the honorable member for

Gippsland. We too said what we believed. The honorable member for Gippsland and I were on the one side and the honorable member for Bradfield on the other. Do honorable members opposite have this freedom to disagree? No sirree! They go into the Caucus room and whisper among themselves, and when they make a decision they have to get it passed by their masters outside. We on this side can speak our minds individually, and we will continue to do so. At least we keep our consciences clear.

This debate has been brought about by the Labour Party’s motion of no confidence in the Government. I am not sure whether the effect of the motion is one of no confidence in the Government or one of no confidence in a darned poor Opposition. That is what it amounts to. The motion has been based on economic issues. The Leader of the Opposition skipped over the subjects of foreign affairs and defence. He based his case on the usual statements about housing, unemployment, and so on.

Mr James:

– You are not interested in them?


– I would say that, at the moment, the greatest concern to Australia, by a long way, is its security, with the position to our north developing the way it is. That is what we have to pay attention to, principally, as well as to our economy. But it cannot be said that our economy is in such a state that a vote of no confidence in the Government is warranted. Our economic position is not chaotic compared with that of any other country. If the economy were not on the upgrade honorable members opposite would have every justification for moving a motion of no confidence in the Government. But there is nothing gloomy about our economy. Everything is on the upgrade, even the stock exchange.

Is the Government inefficient? Of course, it is not! It has been strengthening the weak spots in our economy, and has succeeded in doing so. The employment position is improving. Honorable members opposite cannot point to bad management, corruption or bribery. For thirteen years we have got by, in spite of difficulties, and the reason is good management. There has been no treason. We have kept down subversive activities. To the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin), who is interjecting, I repeat that at least we on this side can speak our minds, whereas members of the Labour Party here are gagged. They are allowed only to express views that have been rubberstamped by the outside controllers of the party.

The Opposition has moved this motion in an attempt to blind and hoodwink the people outside and to try to obscure its own internal divisions on the major issues of defence and security. By moving this motion it has prevented ordinary backbenchers like me from asking questions in the House about important matters. Three sitting days have passed with no question time.

Was there any necessity for this motion? Of course not! It is a waste of time when honorable members opposite know that we have a tremendous amount of important legislation to put through.

Mr Armitage:

– Then why did the House not meet earlier?


– The honorable member knows that the reason the House did not meet earlier was that the Queen was in Australia. Consider the health of the Australian economy. Every single pointer to the state of the economy shows an increase of strength. Among the people who believe that we have brought economic strength to the nation are people who control parts of the Labour movement. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has asked the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to increase the basic wage because the economy is on the upgrade. It claims that workers should have three weeks’ annual leave because the economy can afford that. It argues that margins should be increased, that certain sections of the community are wealthy enough to afford to pay increased margins. It has said that industries are booming. This motion is an indictment of an inefficient Opposition.

Mr Reynolds:

– What did the primary producers say?


– I remind the honorable member that exactly the same thing is going on in New South Wales. The New South Wales Government is trying to justify (legislation providing for highly generous long service leave entitlements to workers by pointing to the prosperity of New South Wales. Is New South Wales different from the other States? In fact, I think prosperity is at a slightly lower level in New South Wales than it is in the other States. The Labour Party in New South Wales is also talking about a 40-hour week for agricultural workers. It says that the agricultural industries can afford a 40-hour week for their workers because those industries are so prosperous. So where are we? Honorable members opposite cannot have their cake and eat it, too. This motion of no confidence is just so much nonsense when we have such a great deal of important business to get through in this House. No confidence? Car sales are at a record height and increasing every month. The value of retail sales is increasing every month by from £7,000,000 to £15,000,000.

Mr James:

– Repossessions are increasing, too.


– I would not say that. The wages bill is going up. It increased by £988,000,000 last year. Civilian employment rose by 117,000 in the last year. Other indicators show how the economy is expanding.

What better way is there to judge a country’s financial strength than to look at its overseas reserves? Since March last year, just after we paid back the £75,000,000 loan to the International Monetary Fund, our reserves were £538,000,000. They have continued to rise month by month until they are now £596,000,000. The Labour Party Jeremiahs all claimed that if we removed import licensing we would go bankrupt, but our economy is stronger and people overseas continue to invest in this country.

The Leader of the Opposition had two slight points that he could debate. One was housing and the other was employment. The position in regard to neither housing nor employment is such as to justify a censure motion which will interrupt the proceedings of the Parliament for a whole week. Things are improving in the housing industry - not that they were ever chaotic. In 1960-61 there were 93,600 approvals of housing units to be built. I admit that in 1961-62 the number of approvals dropped to 84,800, but the Government was not blind to this. It did not ignore it. It realized that it had a responsibility to try to meet the situation, because home building is very important to the economy as a whole. So it granted additional moneys to the States under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement. It increased its grants by £2,7 1 1 ,000 bringing the total to £48,61 1 ,000. It increased its expenditure on war service homes by £2,500,000 to £37,500,000. It increased grants for homes for the aged. It granted £6,000,000 for homes in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It provided for an expenditure of £2,100,000 on defence homes. All those things help to stimulate building of houses, and the latest figures show a big improvement. Why, approvals for the last eight months have increased by 7,000 over the number in the previous eight months! For the last eight months there were 60,500 approvals. For the previous year the figure, I admit, was slightly lower, being 54,100. That shows that we have corrected the anomalies. The position is improving. We have also helped through the savings banks. Applicants are now able to obtain loans up to £3,500. I think that there are a few other measures that will be taken to help the house-building industry.

One of the pre-requisites to making housing available to young people is to keep the cost down. Opposition members believe in that, but in their policy they have advocated the adoption of a 35-hour week. How will that keep costs down? The first thing it will do is increase the cost of home-building by 12i per cent. In other words, the adoption of a 35-hour week will make it 12i per cent, more difficult for young people to buy a home. Of course, honorable members opposite are great advocates of inflation. They talk about more money pouring in, deficit budgeting and priming the economic pump. Such a policy, when it is put into effect, causes the speculators to come in, buy up land, sell it at inflated prices and make it so much harder for young people to buy a piece of land. In non-residential building there has never been any slump. Every year has brought a new record. Every year there has been an increase in the con struction of city office buildings, including insurance buildings. In the first quarter of this year £64,000,000 was spent on such building compared with £62,000,000 in the first quarter of the previous year. Clearly, then, the Leader of the Opposition has no justification for submitting this want of confidence motion against the Government. It is so much humbug.

Opposition members have referred to the subject of unemployment. Government supporters have been worried about this, too. Every member has been worried about people being unemployed. But do not get to the point where you have every person in Australia employed, that b to say, a condition of full employment. It does not happen that way.

Mr Peters:

– Do you want unemployment?


– Nobody wants unemployment. But you must accept the fact that there are some people in the community who do not want to work, some who have not the ability to work, and some who do not like work.

Mr Armitage:

– What is the figure?


– If you accept the truth of what I have said, you cannot claim the existence at any time of a condition of full employment. Furthermore, in a free economy if there is full employment there has to be some allowance for people in seasonal occupations. Mr. Albert Monk puts the figure at 1.5 per cent. I do not say that the figure should be so high but that is what he says and he should know because of his association with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

I wish I had more time in which to speak. The point that I want to bring out is that members of the Australian Labour Party are guilty of humbug when they support a motion of want of confidence in this Government when they themselves need to put their own house in order. If there is any political party in which there should be unity it is the Australian Labour Party. How else can it be an effective Opposition? The honorable member for Yarra tried to consolidate his left wing forces because he realized that the split was getting wider and wider.


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


.- The Opposition regards this as a most important motion - probably the most important that has been before this House during this Parliament or the last. In speaking to the motion, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) devoted fifteen minutes to the Australian Labour Party. The honorable member was wrong on several points. In the first instance, he ought to understand that the Australian Labour Party is based on democratic principles and procedures. It has always been based on those principles. I assure the honorable member that it is competent for any person in this country to become a member of the Australian Labour Party. It is competent for any person in this country to be a delegate to a State conference or a federal conference of the party. As a member of any branch of the party a person has a perfect right to formulate the policy of the party. That is the principle that we accept and have accepted over the years. It is a principle that has been accepted during the period of office of Labour governments.

We must assume from what has been said, not only by the honorable member for Richmond but by other honorable members on the Government side of the House, that those people who belong to the Liberal Party of Australia and to the Australian Country Party have no say in the formulation of the policy of those parties. The honorable member for Richmond had the temerity to tell Opposition members that no member of the Country Party is subject to direction from outside sources. Let me refresh the honorable member’s memory. He has not been in this House for very long; but he should remember that it is not very long ago that, in Queensland or New South Wales, a Country Party member had the temerity to express opinions in the State House that were considered to be detrimental to the interests of his party. What happened to that member?

Mr Anthony:

– Who was he?


– You know only too well who he was. That Country Party member lost his seat and his association with the party.

Having dealt with the Country Party, I shall proceed to deal with members of the Liberal Party in this House and in doing so I need only refer to the case of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury). Everybody knows what happened to the honorable member when he was Minister for Air. He was sacked by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), probably at the instigation of the Country Party.

Every member of the Government parties who has spoken in this important debate has discussed the Australian Labour Party as a diversionary tactic. I thought that the honorable member for Richmond would have had something to say about the drop in the incomes of farmers in this country. Although he is a Country Party member, representing a rural district, the honorable member had nothing to say in that respect. He said that the Leader of the Opposition harped on unemployment and housing. The honorable member for Richmond spoke as though those subjects were of little or no consequence to the people. A few moments later, when he touched on the motion that has been submitted by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), he selected unemployment and housing as the two subjects on which the Leader of the Opposition had a right to criticize the Government. Every Government supporter who has had the opportunity to speak in this debate has spoken in a similar strain.

The Opposition has been prompted to support this no-confidence motion because this Government has no clear indication of the problems that affect the great mass of the people in this country. It is not interested in the decline of the living standards of the people during its period of office. Throughout the whole of this debate, Government supporters have not made one speech about the serious problems that affect the great mass of the people of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are blind to the struggle of the wage-earner to provide for his family. They are completely uninterested in the housewife’s never-ending struggle to feed and clothe her family. They have consistently ignored the plight of the pensioners. These people know only too well of the deputations that have made representations to the Government in recent years on the question of pensions, whether they be age and invalid pensions or repatriation benefits generally. Each year this

Government has consistently refused to accept its responsibility in that respect. It does not care about the young married couples in their hopeless quest for accommodation. All of these problems have been ignored by Government supporters who have spoken in this debate.

Earlier this evening the Prime Minister referred to the question of inflation. It is perfectly true, Mr. Speaker, that in recent years - I refer particularly to the last two years - prices have not increased at the same rate as they did during the 1950’s. In the interests of the Australian people, we certainly hope that prices will not increase again at that rate, because we can appreciate the difficulties that were faced by the workers and the average people of this country during the period of inflation to which the Prime Minister referred. During that period, despite the fact that there was intense inflation, the attitude adopted by the Government was that the wages of the average working person in this country should be pegged. We remember only too well the attitude of the present Government in its endeavour to influence the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission not to increase the wages of the people engaged in industrial activity. Despite the representations and appeals made by the Government through its advocates before the commission, the commission ruled in 1960 - the year in which the Government was adamant that there should be no increase in the wages of skilled workers - that the industries of this country had the ability to meet increased wages. This Government, throughout its term of office, has remained adamant that the workers should not receive the normal arbitration increases.

It is true that Government supporters, during this debate, have concerned themselves merely with defence matters. They have ignored the major issues proposed by the Leader of the Opposition in his address in this House last evening. It has been a completely diversionary tactic. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister spoke for threequarters of an hour to-night on these questions of defence, he did not accept the challenge that had been laid down by the Leader of the Opposition, namely, that this Government should go to the country. I say at once that this Government not only is vulnerable on economic questions but also is most certainly vulnerable on its attitude towards defence. This Government will find, if it goes to the people of this country on the question of defence, that the great majority of the people recognize that it has left us completely defenceless, despite the fact that thousands of millions of pounds of the taxpayers’ money have been spent for the purposes of defence. We have shown time and time again in this Parliament that the money allocated each year for the defence of this country has been used largely for administrative purposes. So, I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister to-night did not accept the challenge laid down by the Leader of the Opposition to test the policies of the Government and the policies of the Australian Labour Party not only on matters of broad economic policy but also on questions of defence. We are prepared to accept that challenge because we believe that the Australian people recognize, despite what has been said by Government supporters in this Parliament and to the people outside of it on questions of defence, that this Government has not accepted its responsibility in respect of defence.

I might ask a question of Government supporters, in view of the statement that was made by the Prime Minister to-night when he addressed this House in reply to the Leader of the Opposition on this want of confidence motion. In speaking about inflation in this country, the Prime Minister was very proud of the fact that during the last two years prices have been stabilized. But, of course, he overlooked completely and omitted to tell this House and the people that between 1950 and 1960 retail prices increased by 50 per cent, in the United Kingdom, by 50 per cent, in New Zealand, by 26 per cent, in Canada, and by 18 per cent, in the United States of America, but by 98 per cent, in Australia. Those facts have been omitted by the Prime Minister and Government supporters who have spoken on the question of inflation.

One may seriously ask why retail prices in Australia increased by almost twice the increase in the United Kingdom in the 1950’s, by more than five times the increase in the United States of America, and by more than four times the increase in Canada. Perhaps there are several reasons for the phenomenal increase in retail prices in Australia. Obviously the increase was due to a lack of planning by this Government. It can be distinguished by its lack of planning, its stop-and-go policies and the number of supplementary Budgets that it has introduced during its period of office. It has refused to take any action to curb monopoly activities in this country. Whilst it was prepared to appear before the arbitration commission in order to prevent wage increases for workers in industry, it was prepared to allow the people who engage in business activities to accumulate profits that had never been anticipated before.

It may be, Mr. Speaker, as has often been suggested by honorable members on this side of the chamber, that the machinery is bad and that it is difficult to control some of these activities. However, we should remember that in 1956 the Prime Minister decided that the Constitutional Review Committee should be formed in this Parliament. Six members were appointed from the Australian Labour Party; four members were appointed from the Liberal Party; and two members were appointed from the Australian Country Party. In due course that committee brought down a report that was almost unanimous. That committee made certain recommendations which, if adopted, would have given the Government the powers that are necessary to control many of the evils to which I have referred, and which have beset governments of Australia in their efforts to implement efficient economic policies. But it is at least two years since that committee made its report to the Parliament, and nothing has been heard from the Government as to what it intends to do with respect to the recommendations of the committee. It seems that the Government has no intention of adopting the recommendations of that committee, despite the fact that as long ago as 1944 the present Prime Minister said in this Parliament that it would be necessary for the Parliament to secure powers that would enable it to control inflation. Although he said in 1944 that these powers were necessary, he now makes no attempt to avail himself of the opportunity to secure those powers by adopting the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee.

It seems that this Government is prepared to establish committees, but not to implement the recommendations of those committees. Many committees have been established by this Government and have ultimately presented reports to the Parliament, but the Government has failed to implement their recommendations. I believe, in fact, that the Government has, on the other hand, discarded some of the powers that it had under the Constitution. The 1945 Banking Act provided that companies should not carry on banking activities without the approval of the Treasurer, but in 1955 the principal hire-purchase companies were exempted from that provision. The 1945 Banking Act provided that the Treasurer had to approve of investments made by the private banks. In 1953 that restriction was removed, and everybody in this House knows what happened after that. All the private banks immediately went into the hire-purchase business, and, as a consequence, the Treasurer was forced, some years later, to make a speech in this Parliament, telling the House that the business of banking had been taken out of the hands of private banks and of the Commonwealth Bank and was in the hands of what he was pleased to call at that time the fringe banking institutions. The Government has not been prepared to accept its responsibilities in this field.

I want to come now to the matter of unemployment, in the short time left to me. It has surprised me to listen to honorable members on the Government side speaking on the question of unemployment. I understood the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) to say during his speech last night that he considered that unemployment in this country was not serious; that some improvement had been effected. He repeated that statement a little later, so it seems that he believes there has been a distinct improvement in the unemployment situation. I remember only a few years ago that the Parliament debated the question of unemployment, as a matter of urgent public importance in this House, when the number of unemployed was about 50,000. To-day, on the Government’s own figures, there are 98,000 registered unemployed. There are 40,482 receiving the unemployment benefit. All honorable members on this side of the House realize how difficult it would be to estimate, with any degree of accuracy, the number of people unemployed who are not actually registered with the various offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service. The figures quoted by the Minister for Labour and National Service are of those who have actually registered. I believe it would be reasonable to assume that, in addition to the number of people registered, there would be at least another 20,000 people throughout Australia who, for one reason or another, have not registered at the various offices of the Department of Labour and National Service. In December, 1958, the level of unemployment stood at 64,678. In 1959 it was 58,299, while to-day, on the Minister’s admitted figures, slightly fewer than 100,000 persons are registered for employment.

Honorable members on this side of the House believe that the Government should honour the pledge that it made in 1949 to maintain full employment. It has not done so, and on that basis alone this motion of want of confidence in the Government ought to be carried.

There are other matters to which I could refer, but the time will not permit me to do more than make a brief reference to them. There is, first, the question of housing, which has been the subject of debate in this Parliament during the last few days. Although the Government may claim that a record number of houses have been built this year, or were built last year, the fact remains that not enough homes are being built in Australia to-day to meet the demand. Records available to honorable members of this Parliament, whether from the Commonwealth Statistician or from the State housing instrumentalities, show that the number of applicants for homes is increasing each year. It is quite obvious that although the Government may claim that a record of homes was built during the last financial year, the number built has still not been sufficient to satisfy demands.

Let me say in conclusion that if honorable members are considering whether there is any good reason why this censure motion should be accepted, they should ask themselves a few questions. First, why is it more difficult to secure employment in Australia to-day than it was during the period of office of the Chifley and Curtin Governments? Secondly, why has the purchasing power of pensioners and those on fixed incomes fallen considerably during this Government’s period of office? Why is the level of home construction insufficient to meet demands, and why has it been more difficult to obtain housing finance during this Government’s term of office than it was in the time of the preceding Labour Government? Why has such a heavy financial burden been placed on the unfortunate people in our community who are invalids or who are infirm? I just suggest that honorable members on both sides of the House consider these questions. Honorable members opposite particularly should consider them. If they do so, they will have no hesitation in supporting the motion that has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Snedden) adjourned.

House adjourned at 11.9 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 April 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.