25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3.10 p.m.. and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I address this question to him because it concerns not only the Treasury but also the Department of Immigration. Because of the conflicting Press reports of the cost to the nation of the disastrous Mount Isa strike, I ask: Can the Minister inform the Senate how much the Mount Isa strike has cost in overseas trade? How much has the cost of copper risen throughout the world and in Australia? How much has this strike cost in loss of wages to the people concerned in the industry? How much has it cost the Queensland Government? Has the Commonwealth Government offered its help to the Queensland Government and, if so, was this offer rejected? Does the Commonwealth Government intend to mete out the same treatment as it would to any other illegal entrant to Australia and deport this disruptionist Mackie who not only is here as an illegal entrant but also apparently has an extensive and wide police record covering most of the more vicious crimes? If the Commonwealth Government does not intend to deport this illegal entrant to Australia, will the Minister tell the Senate why Mackie is to receive this special treatment?
– The list of specific questions submitted by the honorable senator covers not only the Treasury and the Department of Immigration, as he says, but also the Department of Trade and possibly another department. The best I can do to get the answers for the specific questions is to ask the honorable senator to put his question on notice so that I can refer the relevant sections to the appropriate departments.
– I desire to ask the Leader of the Government in this chamber a question. As Australia is materially supporting the American campaign in South
Vietnam, will the Minister give an expression of either support for or opposition to the American use of white phosphorus bombs and other methods of brutal and inhuman destruction?
– The Australian forces which are currently in South Vietnam are there, as are the American forces, at the invitation of the Government of South Vietnam. As to the Press report of the use of certain bombs, I repeat that it is only a Press report. I have not any specific information in respect of this matter. If and when information comes to hand, I will make it available to the honorable senator.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question on the same subject as that raised by Senator Cavanagh. It is in relation to a reported air raid by South Vietnamese aircraft, with an escort of American, jets, on a station said to contain munitions and assemblages of soldiery north of the 17th parallel. Will the Minister, if not now, then as early as possible, put us in possession of definite facts that will ensure us an opportunity of making a judgment, as representatives of this democracy, on whether these activities are calculated to carry undue consequences and whether they are justified by events? I am expressing no view on the question, but I ask, with all the rights I have, for immediate and definite information, so that the judgment of this nation can be an informed one. I ask, too, whether the Minister will give immediate attention to reports on the use of phosphorus bombs in North Vietnam and inform me and the Senate whether or not the use of such weapons - if they are in fact being used - is in accordance with the rules of warfare. I use that term with abhorrence, but I think it will be understood.
– Senator Wright has asked two questions. The first refers to the nature of American strategy and tactics in Vietnam. I think any consideration of this problem must start from the proposition that the Americans are in South Vietnam, at the request of the South Vietnamese, to maintain the democratic state of South Vietnam. The tactics used in pursuit of that objective have, I think, been explained to the American public at length by the American President, and frequently in advance of many of the actions which have been taken. I do not know whether there is anything that should be added to what has been said by the American President in support of the action that has been taken, but I will certainly examine the records and confer with my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, to see that Senator Wright and the Senate generally are not deprived of any information which might be regarded as necessary for a proper consideration of this very important matter.
The other question relates to a matter raised earlier by Senator Cavanagh. I can do no more than to repeat what I said to him. As soon as I have the facts, I shall be in a position to say something about that matter.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. In view of the action of the Australian Water Resources Council in establishing a special advisory group to prepare a report on water desalination methods and their relevance to Australia, could the Minister say whether there has been agreement to the recommendation by the Council that Australia should send two representatives to the first international symposium on water desalination to be held later this year?
– I am not aware of the decision taken by the Australian Water Resources Council, to which the honorable senator has referred. I shall make inquiries of the Minister for National Development and inform the honorable senator of the result.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Whatever has happened in the past, will the Government see that in future Australia is not associated or identified in any way with war against children or with the use of phosphorus bombs or poison gas in Vietnam?
– The honorable senator attempts to crystallise this warlike activity as a war against children. Of course, it is not possible so to crystallise it. The question asked involves the whole strategy and tactics adopted by the Americans in
South Vietnam against tactical targets and against the North Vietnamese and their Chinese Communist supporters. In those circumstances, and having regard to the continuing need for the Americans to keep the question of strategy before them, I am unable to give the honorable senator the assurance which he seeks.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Minister noted the remarks of Mr. Staniforth Ricketson made in Melbourne yesterday that the Treasurer, in preparing the next Budget, could well consider rates of company tax favouring companies in which there is a proportion of Australian equity capital? Will the Minister ascertain and bring under the notice of the Treasurer the full text of the remarks with a view to ensuring that the Government gives wide study and consideration to them before facing up to the preparation of the next Budget?
– I read the remarks of Mr. Staniforth Ricketson this morning with a great deal of interest. I have no doubt at all that my colleague, the Treasurer, has carefully studied them. However, in case he has not done so, I shall certainly have pleasure in bringing them to his attention.
– I seek some information from the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can he inform the Senate of the effect of the resolution passed in the House of Representatives concerning the fluoridation of the Canberra water supply? Is the passing of such a resolution mandatory on a Minister, or does it require the approval of the Senate as well? What I am trying to get at is the effect of the resolution. If the Federal Parliament can interfere in local affairs what effect will this have upon municipal and city councils?
– I think that, with respect, the honorable senator is in error in comparing the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council with other local authorities in Australia. The situation in Canberra, of course, is one that stands completely apart from what might be regarded as the local authority set up which exists elsewhere in Australia. As to the effect of the motion passed by the House of Representatives, I have observed that the Minister for the Interior has indicated that he proposes now to refer the matter to Cabinet. Until such reference is made, I do not think I should say anything about the matter. Indeed, I am unable to do so.
– The Minister for National Development has provided me with the following information, which I obtained as a result of Senator Sir Walter Cooper’s intimation to me that he proposed to ask this question -
At a meeting last month between Commonwealth and State Ministers, agreement was reached on the main points of the Government’s scheme to reduce the price of petrol in country areas. The scheme will apply to motor spirit, power kerosene, automotive distillate, aviation gasoline and aviation turbine fuel. Broadly, the scheme will operate by the payment of subsidies on sales of the petroleum products in country locations which on 30th June 1964 were recognised distribution points and at which the wholesale price exceeded by more than 4d. the capital city wholesale price. The rates of subsidy for these locations will be based on wholesale prices ruling there on 31st December 1964. There will be provision for the determination of subsidy rates for distribution centres which have come into existence after 30th June 1964.
Commonwealth and State legislation will be required to give effect to the scheme. It is intended that the Commonwealth legislation will be introduced during this session. The States have indicated their willingness to introduce their legislation as soon as possible. It is hoped that the legislation will be passed and that the oil companies will have adapted their procedures in time for the scheme to be in operation by 1st October.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has an endeavour been made in the past six months by the Department of Primary Industry and other interested bodies to stabilise the tobacco growing industry in the Commonwealth? Can the tobacco growers in the Mareeba district, Queensland, be assured that this year they will not be required to transport their tobacco leaf from their farms to the tobacco auction rooms and then back to their farms because of unsatisfactory prices? Is it now possible to compel tobacco manufacturing companies to use all the tobacco leaf produced in the Commonwealth in the manufacture of cigarettes and tobacco available to the local market?
– As the honorable senator is probably well aware, an agreement has been reached with the tobacco , growers in the past few months. It will perhaps be more satisfactory if the honorable senator will put on the notice paper that , portion of the question which relates to the tobacco industry in the Mareeba district. I shall then get the required information from the Minister for Primary Industry-
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs whether I am correct in interpreting a news paragraph that appeared in the Press at the weekend to mean that the Mayor of Perth refuses to extend some civic courtesy to a delegation of Indonesian clerics visiting this country. I ask the Minister whether it is considered important, in moulding a. proper relationship between the peoples of this nation and Indonesia, to accord to every section of the Indonesian people who visit this country welcome and understanding and the fullest opportunity to express their views, with a rigid determination on our part to tell their government how we thoroughly condemn confrontation and the way in which that government is allowing Communism to creep into control in Indonesia. With this in view, will the Minister take up this matter to ensure that this delegation will know correctly the attitude of the Australian people and that other delegations will also know as much of Australian friendship as can possibly be absorbed by them here? Will he encourage reciprocal delegations to Indonesia in the same spirit?
– Coming to the basis of the question, let me say that I did notice the newspaper report to which the honorable senator has referred. It was to the effect, I .think, that the Mayor of Perth had’ raised some objections to meeting and extending normal courtesies to certain visitors from Indonesia. I read another statement in a newspaper, attributed to Mr. Chaney, the Minister for the Navy, to the effect that he was most disturbed by this and that he would be willing to extend to the Indonesian visitors the kind of courtesy and treatment to which the honorable senator has referred.
I can only express my agreement, and I believe the agreement of the Government, with the Minister’s attitude. However strongly we may inform the Indonesian Government that we object to confrontation and to the invasion of a neighbour, it would be silly if this objection were allowed to extend in any way so as to prevent the flow of information and friendship between individuals in Indonesia and individuals in Australia, or, indeed, to prevent the provision of assistance to Indonesia’s general economic growth, because we will have to live with Indonesia for hundreds of years after this present trouble has blown over.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate accept my thanks for his prompt reply to a question relating to amendments of the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act (No. 2) 1964 - Act No. 113 of 1964 - and for sharing my regret at the delay in issuing regulations to permit beneficiaries under the Act to obtain the privilege of treatment in repatriation hospitals, which the Government has extended to them? Will he arrange for the regulations, when they are issued after such inordinate delay, to apply retrospectively, as from 1964, so that people who, by Government policy and the will of the Parliament, are entitled to treatment in repatriation hospitals may be reimbursed the cost of treatment in ordinary hospitals?
– The question obviously has to do with the administration of these regulations by the Department of Shipping and Transport. I will be pleased to refer it to the Minister, but I remark, in passing, that any retrospectivity along the lines the honorable senator has suggested would be most unusual.
– Will the Minister for Works inform the Senate of what success he is having in his endeavours to bring about uniformity in building regulations and by-laws in the various States and Territories of the Commonwealth? What States, if any, are delaying uniformity? Does the Minister believe that when he achieves success in this matter he will have played a notable part in reducing the overall cost of building construction in Australia?
– There was a meeting in New South Wales of representatives of the various States - 1 have forgotten just how long ago it was - as a result of initial discussions along these lines. The meeting was held in a building owned by the Government of New South Wales. It was agreed that a member of the Department of Works should head a secretariat for a committee of representatives of the relevant departments in all States which would endeavour to draft common codes in that area of building with which the Department of Works is directly concerned. Housing is being looked after by the Minister for Housing, Mr. Bury. I believe his Department is taking steps along that way. Any achievements in this field to bring about uniform building regulations will be common achievements made, not by the Commonwealth Government or by a particular Minister, but by a group of Ministers representing all the State Governments who can agree on something which will reduce the difficulties of building regulations. I am sure that anything that can be achieved along those lines will help to bring down the cost of building and thus will greatly help architects, engineers and builders engaged in construction in all States.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Minister seen a statement reported to have been made in Sydney by a Mr. Oanh, a leading figure in the South Vietnamese scene, to the effect that three South Vietnamese persons who sought a negotiated settlement of the present war, comprising a doctor, a professor and another person, had probably been dropped out of an aircraft without parachutes over North Vietnam? Mr. Oanh was also reported to have said that this was one of those things in war. Has the Minister any comment to make on this extraordinarily callous attitude expressed by a visitor to Australia?
– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable sen,a.ator has referred.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to the fact that the Minister for Supply has accepted an offer by the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. David Brand, to have Perth lit up when the United States satellite Gemini makes two orbits over Australia tonight? Will this space craft be passing over any other major capital cities in Australia or any other large towns? If so, have any offers been made by other Governments or authorities to light up their areas and so give some cheer to the brave astronauts, Virgil Grissom and John Young?
– I shall refer the honorable senator’s question to the Minister for Supply. The honorable senator will appreciate that the actual path to be
I taken by Gemini is not within my know- I ledge and is possibly not within the knowledge of the Minister for Supply. However, as we all know, on a previous occasion when Perth was lit up in similar dramatic circumstances the gesture brought great credit upon the city of Perth and those responsible for the illumination. I am sure that whatever is possible will be done on this occasion. I cannot tell the honorable senator what the future path of the Gemini space craft will be but I will ask the Minister for Supply to make any information in his possession available to the honorable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development and the Minister for Shipping and Transport with reference to a matter that is assuming importance for the principals - R. W. Miller and Co. Pty. Ltd. Will the Minister inform the Senate on the freights charged for transport of oil by this company compared with the charges made by other oil companies? Secondly, what mysterious affinity of interests exists between the Miller organisation and the friendship expressed in the journal of the Australian Seamen’s Union the other day propounding support for the continuance of the ships of the Miller organisation? I ask the Minister whether he wishes to take advantage of this opportunity to comment upon the Opposition’s proposal for the establishment of an overseas shipping company to be operated under Australian conditions, the advantages of which are perhaps illustrated by the proposal that is to be harrowed up to Canberra today for a superannuation fund for waterside workers and which will cost, T think, £2i million a year.
– I cannot explain what the honorable senator has described as a strange affinity. Probably it is one of those situations about which everybody is entitled to draw his own conclusion after examination of the facts. I have no details available about the cost of shipping referred to, but I shall ensure that the honorable senator is furnished with them by the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate give an assurance that when the Cabinet is considering its attitude to the use of poison gas in the civil war in Vietnam it will give due consideration to the possible reaction of forces that are opposed to the present South Vietnamese Government?
– I have no doubt that if ever there is a need for this matter to come before the Cabinet those factors will be considered.
– Can the
Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport state what action the Government intends to take in respect of the claim by the Waterside Workers Federation for annual holidays, pensions and a guaranteed wage - benefits which John Curtin, as Prime Minister of Australia, said in September 1944 should receive consideration - particularly as since that date pensions have been granted to waterside workers in England, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries, and more particularly in view of the huge profits that are now being made by the shipowners?
– No, I cannot state what action the Government intends to take.
– Yes, I read the article to which the honorable senator has referred. On the next day I read an authoritative denial by the Regional Director of Civil Aviation in Queensland. The Regional Director issued an authoritative statement on the condition of the terminal buildings at Brisbane. It was published by the Brisbane Press. The design of the trusses was fully investigated by the Department of Works some years ago and, with some strengthening carried out since first erected in 1942, they meet fully building strength standards. The buildings are safe and are kept in that condition by regular maintenance. There is no evidence of distress in the individual members of the structure and the joints are kept in good condition by re-nailing as and when necessary. Continuous precautions are taken against termites and the structures are free from them. We are not, as the correspondent for the “ Courier-Mail “ supposes, taking a gamble on the strength of these buildings. Their strength has been checked. They are known to be safe and they are kept in good condition.
May I congratulate the two domestic airlines on what they have done to their own hangars, or igloos, as they are called at Brisbane. 1 believe that the stand ards provided in Brisbane by the two domestic airlines can be compared with any domestic standards throughout Australia. The two airlines have done an excellent job in Brisbane.
– I ask the Minister in charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research whether he is aware of widespread dissatisfaction, especially in Victoria, at the method of awarding Commonwealth scholarships to pupils undertaking Leaving and Matriculation studies. Is it a fact that many educationists believe that Commonwealth scholarships should be awarded on the result of the year’s studies and not on the basis of any special examination for selection or exclusion? Is the Government prepared to review this matter so that a mature judgment may be formed as to the proper method of selection to be used at the end of 1965?
– I am aware that some elements in Victoria believe it is wrong to select scholarship winners on the basis of an external examination common to all scholarship competitors and, as a result of performances in these tests, to choose those who are to be awarded scholarships. I am aware, too, that they believe a quota of scholarships should be awarded to each school and that inside each school those who are to receive scholarships should be chosen by the teacher in charge of the form as a result of his estimate of the ranking of those particular pupils. I believe that the adoption of that suggestion would be totally and completely unfair. It would undoubtedly result in the exclusion of able pupils who could win scholarships where there are a number ahead of them and the quota is filled while it would enable the inclusion in the scholarship list in some other school of a pupil of lesser ability because there was not a number of other pupils in his form ahead of him.
– That is not what I asked.
– This is bound up directly with what the honorable senator asked. The adoption of the suggestion to which I have referred would also have thedisadvantage that the individual judgment of a particular teacher in a particular form would have a great effect on deciding which pupils should receive scholarships, and individual judgments might well vary. Consequently, the Commonwealth Government proposes to continue the system of selecting students for scholarships in all States as the result of a common test or examination for which all students sit.
(Question No. 367.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Is iiic Government taking action to establish a government publishing office or government bookshops, as recommended by the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications?
– The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
The Government has not yet made a decision on the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications that a government publishing office be established and government bookshops be opened.
– by leave - Mr. President, I wish to made a statement to the Senate on my recent visit overseas to South East Asia and to the United States. My purpose in visiting South East Asia was to gain first hand information of the situation which, as stated by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in his review of the expanded defence programme in Parliament last year, had deteriorated and was causing the Government considerable concern. This deterioration arises from increased Communist pressures in the area as a whole and particularly in South Vietnam and Laos and from Indonesia’s policy of confrontation against our Commonwealth neighbour, Malaysia. While in the area I also took the opportunity to visit Australian servicemen deployed in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, and to acquaint myself with their role in each particular situation.
During five days in Kuala Lumpur I had close and detailed discussions with the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and other Ministers. There was and still remains concern at the con siderable build up of Indonesian forces in Kalimantan and Sumatra and the threat which this poses to the territorial integrity of Malaysia. Along with this build up of forces there has also been over the past months a steady increase in infiltration across the Malacca and Singapore Straits into Malaya and Singapore. These developments require the deployment of additional British forces: to the area and this reinforcement which was essential in order that the United Kingdom should fulfil its commitment to the defence of the area was proceeding whilst I was there.
I informed Malaysian Ministers that the Australian Government fully shared their concern over the build up of Indonesian forces and I gave them a full and frank exposition of our own position on the continuance by Indonesia of its policy of confrontation. The Malaysian Minister for Defence explained comprehensively and forcefully the need for reinforcements to meet the increased threat to Sarawak and Sabah and to ensure the defence of the Malayan peninsula against infiltrators. Honorable senators will recall that in response to a Malaysian request the Acting Prime Minister announced on 3rd February that in view of all the circumstances and in accordance with the pledge previously given the Australian Government had concluded that the development of additional Australian field units into Borneo was necessary. These additional units comprise the Australian battalion serving with the Commonwealth Brigade which is available to serve in Borneo in rotation with Malaysian and British units and also an Army Special Air Service Squadron from Australia which has since been moved into the area. These units are already preparing for service in the Borneo Territories where 1 am sure the abilities of our fighting men will be in good evidence and contribute materially to the defence of Malaysia.
While in Kuala Lumpur I also discussed the provision by Australia of defence aid in the form of equipment and training to Malaysia and I received unqualified assurances from Malaysian Ministers that Australian assistance to date had contributed substantially to the common effort. The requirements of this young and developing Commonwealth country remain considerable and I was given the opportunity to learn something of Malaya’s impressive development programme and plans which unfortunately are being retarded by the need to devote resources to defence against confrontation. I assured Malaysian Ministers of Australia’s continued sympathetic consideration for their needs inthe present situation.
After leaving Kuala Lumpur 1 visited Singapore where I had discussions with the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kwan Yew, and the British Commander-in-chief, Far East, and later I was able to visit operational areas in the Borneo territories and inspect at first hand some positions which have been taken up by Allied forces along the 1,000 mile frontier with Indonesian Borneo. In particular I saw something of the work being carried out by the Australian engineer squadron and was impressed with both the quality of their construction programme and their morale.
From Borneo I flew to South Vietnam, and, despite the fact that a few hours prior to my arrival there had been a further change in the leading personalities responsible for government of the country, 1 had very useful discussions with senior South Vietnamese Ministers, the United States Ambassador, General Westmoreland, who is leading the American forces in the area, and other authorities. I left the country with a much more intimate understanding of the difficulties of the peoples’ struggle and of their defence needs. Above all I was convinced of the vital importance of maintaining the independence of South Vietnam and of the validity of the Australian Government’s policy supporting this country in its struggle for independence against Communist subversion. In particular I consider that we must continue to support Unted States efforts in the field by full political and diplomatic endeavours and by the provision of military advisory assistance and logistic support as necessary to meet military requirements.
While in Saigon I was pleased to announce the decisions of the Australian Government, made just prior to my departure, to make available additional nonmilitary aid to Vietnam to assist in the pacification programme and to supplement the military aid which we have been providing since 1962. Following the visit of a special aid investigation team to Vietnam last year to investigate ways in which Aus tralia might help in the fields of agriculture, engineering, medical services and social welfare, some recommendations had already been put into effect. Additional aid to be given by Australia as announced by me in Saigon was as follows -
While in South Vietnam, I had the opportunity of visiting some of the strategic hamlet areas which demonstrated to me the value of the non-military aid which Australia had already given towards the construction of these safe havens.
I also announced that the Australian Government is providing additional military aid to Vietnam of a further 17 Army training instructors, which will bring the total in South Vietnam to 100. A replacement of the Caribou aircraft damaged some months ago is also to be provided, which will bring the Royal Australian Air Force Caribou detachment back to the original strength of six aircraft. The addition of this aid to the assistance already being given Vietnam by over 20 other countries is a further encouragement to the Vietnamese people to continue their struggle against aggression with determination. In Vietnam, as elsewhere, a stable government is an indispensable prerequisite to the successful outcome of the struggle against Communist subversion and terrorism.
While in Vietnam I also visited Australian soldiers working as jungle warfare instructors at the Duv My ranger training camp near Nha Trang and the R.A.A.F. Caribou transport flight which is based at Vung Tau. I found the Australian personnel in very good heart, fully dedicated to their task, and very much aware of the importance of the struggle to which they are contributing.
From Vietnam I journeyed to Thailand where I had a valuable series of talks with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Development, and the Deputy Minister of Defence. I also called on the South East Asia Treaty Organisation headquarters where a number of Australian officers are serving, and I paid visits to the R.A.A.F. Sabre fighter detachment at Ubon and the vehicle repair workshop at Rangsit, which is one of the projects being sponsored under our S.E.A.T.O. aid programme to assist in the logistical backing of the Thai services.
My talks with Ministers covered a wide range of topics of mutual interest and I found my discussions particularly valuable. I was impressed with the good and cooperative relations which have been developed between Thailand and Australia particularly as a result of our S.E.A.T.O. partnership. Thai Ministers were most willing to exchange ideas frankly and openly.
During my visits to Thailand and Vietnam I was deeply impressed with the size, efficiency and depth of United States military effort in these very important strategic areas of South. East Asia. The deployment of our own Australian forces in South East Asia is to be seen as part of the allied effort to defend these people against Communist aggression and subversion and allow them to live as independent countries pursuing their own ideals and aims free from the shadow of Communist aggression.
I want to record my unqualified satisfaction with the manner in which Australian troops are conducting themselves in all of the areas I visited. Not only are they upholding the high reputation established by their predecessors in the field but they are winning high praise by their readiness to adapt themselves to the local scene and to affiliate themselves with civic and communal affairs. They are proving to be good ambassadors for Australia and worthy opponents to the challenges they are meeting in their day to day role.
My visit to the United States was the more beneficial because of the background which I had gained of the difficulties in South East Asia and a confirmation of the need to view the South East Asian problem as a whole. I had the opportunity of discussions with the United States authorities in both the State Department and the Pentagon. In addition, through the courtesy of the United States Government, I was able to visit many of their defence installations and their defence factories and thereby gained an appreciation of the might of the United States defence effort.
In particular, I had a long conversation with the United States Secretary for Defence, Mr. Robert McNamara. and was able to explain to him the Australian Government’s new defence programme. I outlined to him the strategic background against which it had been prepared and the main measures which would be undertaken in the three years up to 30th June 1 968. We then talked about the growing extent of Australian purchases of military equipment from the United States, particularly the arrangements for the construction of three guided missile destroyers and the procurement of 24 FI 1 1A aircraft. During my stay in the United States I had the opportunity of seeing for myself the actual progress being made on these projects. I was present when the keel for the third ship was laid. I saw the F 1 1 1 A aircraft.
The main purpose of my talks with Mr. McNamara was to negotiate arrangements for the purchase of further equipment from the United States. Our new defence programme contemplates the purchase of substantial quantities of material and services from the United States at a total estimated cost of 350 million dollars over the three years. My objective was to obtain an overall package deal with the United States Government to cover this total, rather than to negotiate each separate purchase as it arose, and so obtain possibly more advantageous financial terms, together with assurances of better delivery dates to meet our requirements. Mr. McNamara accepted the commitment to assist us with this major procurement programme and the various items will be ordered in accordance with the timings laid down in our programme, so that they will become available as they are required. The main items are: For the Navy, 14 tracker anti-submarine aircraft, torpedoes, missiles and ammunition; for the Army, amphibians and tracked carriers, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, radio and radar equipment; for the air force, 12 Hercules medium transport aircraft, 10 Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft, equipment, weapons and missiles for the F111 A aircraft, radar and communications equipment.
The terms of payment which I was able to negotiate with the help of officers of my Department and the Treasury are most favourable. Instead of having to pay for the equipment roughly in line with deliveries, we can spread payments over an extended period, and this will considerably lessen the foreign exchange burden over several critical years. The effect of the agreement is that in the current financial year and in 1965-66 we will pay as we go in the normal way. Payments due in subsequent years will be covered by a series of annual credit arrangements, each of which will last for seven years, so that at any one time we will have a number of such arrangements running concurrently, and each of these will be repaid by 14 half-yearly instalments covering capital and interest. The interest charged on the outstanding balances against Australia will be at the rate of 43/4 per cent, per annum.
I also concluded an arrangement with the United States Secretary of Defence which provides for co-operative logistics supply support of our armed forces. This is complementary to the arrangement covering the payment for military equipment purchased from the United States which I have already described. The co-operative logistics arrangement will enable our Armed Forces to use the organisation and facilities of the United States defence logistics system for the maintenance support of Australian military equipment as specified by Australia and common to the armed forces of the two Governments. Our Navy, Army and Air Force will thereby obtain logistic material and services equivalent in timeliness and effectiveness to that provided to United States armed forces. This will mean that Australian military units will be treated identically with those United States units having the same state of readiness for combat tasks.
The arrangement does not cover the initial capital purchase of equipment nor the initial purchase of associated spare parts required to be held in Australia. It will, however, ensure the confirmed supply support of equipment purchased without the need, as at present, to place additional sales orders each time quantities of spare parts have to be purchased. The co-operative logistics arrangement will apply to the support of American aircraft, including the F111A, and also to the guided missile destroyers. It is a selective system which permits us to use to the maximum extent our own production capability of selfsupport of our military equipment.
Finally, may I refer to my visit to the General Dynamics Factory at Forth Worth, Texas, where the F111A aircraft are being produced. My visit there confirmed the information which Mr. McNamara had given me concerning the progress in the production of this aircraft. A number of test flights has taken place including one at supersonic speeds and a second aircraft has also flown. Some technical problems have been encountered as is usual with military developments of such a very advanced and complex weapon system but the United States authorities are confident that these problems will be successfully overcome. Mr. McNamara had stressed to me that the production schedule was being met and I am confident that we can anticipate receiving the aircraft which we have ordered on the planned delivery dates commencing from mid- 1968.
Our defence effort is viewed favourably in the countries which I visited. I am more than ever convinced that we must continue with our expanded defence effort so long as the present threat exists in South East Asia and be prepared to take our place with our allies in the common effort against aggression.
I lay on the table the following paper -
Statement by the Minister for Defence, dated 23rd March 1965. and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
– I present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed works -
Royal Australian Air Force Academy, Point Cook, Victoria;
Top Springs to Wave Hill road, Northern Territory.
I ask for leave to make a statement in connection with the reports.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman). - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The recommendations and conclusions of the Committee are as follows -
With regard to the Top Springs road, the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee are as follows -
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
. -I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
In my second reading speech on the large Navigation Bill 1958, in my capacity as Minister for Shipping and Transport, I drew attention to the fact that our navigation laws need to be continually kept under review, and gave an undertaking that this would be done, so that amendments would be promptly effected as changing circumstances required, and anomalies removed soon after they became apparent. This undertaking has been honoured by my successors, and we have dealt with the 1961 Bill and now have before us the second of such Bills, which deals with a variety of matters that have been found to need attention since 1961. However, most of the matters relate to more or less minor variations of the existing provisions of the Navigation Act and do not involve important policy decisions. Briefly, then, the Bill is for the purpose of improving the clarity and ease of application of the Act, and does not contain any really contentious provisions.
I therefore propose to deal in detail with only the more important clauses, and indeed even these do not involve any really important policy decisions.
I refer first of all to clause 12. The Act now provides that a superintendent of a mercantile marine office shall refuse to approve the engagement of a person in respect of whom the war-time Maritime Industry Commission directed that he be not engaged as a seaman. About 700 seamen were so excluded during the 1939-45 war, under a power derived from the National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations. In 1952 the Navigation Act was amended to give continuing effect to certain powers and procedures which would
Otherwise have lapsed because of the repeal of war-time legislation, provisions being inserted to continue the exclusion of those seamen. As these men have now been excluded for from 11 to 21 years, and as only a minority of them were of really bad character, the exclusions are to be terminated by the repeal of those provisions. Very few of the men would now be both alive and interested in returning to sea and so there is no question of any large increase of seamen seeking employment.
The Navigation Act precludes seamen’s articles of agreement from containing any provision for the payment of wages in advance to any seaman. This was an old safeguard going back to the British Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, designed to protect seamen from the practice of giving an advance in wages to a man in order to bind him to go to sea. Such a safeguard is not required under modern conditions and arrangements for the engagement of seamen, and in fact is a disadvantage to seamen in that it precludes the making of advances against accrued wages in cases where the wages are normally paid to their bank accounts. Clause 18 therefore repeals the section concerned.
Section 179 of the Act provides terms of imprisonment as punishment for certain breaches of labour discipline by foreign seamen, whereas section 100 does not provide for imprisonment for similar offences by seamen on British ships. Clause 30 removes this anomaly by omitting the imprisonment penalties applicable to foreign seamen.
I turn now to clause 32, which deals with the important matter of the survey of ships. The Act now requires the owner of every ship to which it applies, including a River Murray ship, to have the survey of each part of the ship that has to be surveyed carried out at least once each year. But ships on inland waters such as the River Murray operate, of course, under conditions vastly different from those applying to seagoing ships, and operation in sheltered and relatively shallow waters does not require the application of all the stringent conditions which must be applied to sea-going ships. The Act is therefore being amended to allow the regulations to prescribe not only the parts of a ship which must be surveyed but also the manner and period of such surveys in relation to a particular class or type of ship, thus permitting greater flexibility in respect of the survey requirements for the few small ships that are involved.
Honorable senators will have observed that clauses 35, 36 and 37 deal with the requirements for the production of ships certificates to customs in order that a clearance or transire might be’ obtained. To avoid unnecessary red tape in this matter, the provisions are being amended so that the production of the certificates will only be necessary at certain specified ports of call instead of at every port.
Clause 39 repeals a Division in the Act which, although inserted in 1912, has never been used. The division deals with the testing and use of anchors, chain cables and gear in ships, but as the necessary safeguards in respect of these items are already provided in the Navigation (Loading and Unloading - Safety Measures) Regulations the division is, and would continue to be, superfluous, and is therefore being cleared away.
The Navigation Act was amended in 1958 to enable Australia to ratify two International Labour Organization Conventions which provide for the examination and certification of able seamen and cooks. However, before ratification could be accomplished it has been necessary to try to ensure that proper training and examination facilities are available. Some practical difficulties have so far prevented the provision of these facilities and so it has not yet been possible to bring the amendments of the Act into force. As it is now clear that it will be some time yet before the facilities can be provided, and as in the meantime there is an urgent need to bring into force the other provisions of the sections of the 1958 Act which relate to this subject, the provisions requiring the passing of prescribed examinations and the issue of certificates of qualification to enable rating as an able seaman or a cook are being repealed, by clauses 55 and 56. It is proposed that these provisions be re-inserted in the Act and the conventions ratified as soon as the difficulties associated with the provision of training facilities and examinations have been overcome. In the meantime, because of the amendments, it will be possible to have the benefit of the operation of the other provisions of the two sections of the 1958 Act and to finalise a much-needed consolidation of the Navigation Act.
As the Bill will considerably assist in the effective administration of the Act, and is of a generally non-controversial nature, I look forward to its receiving the general support of the Senate.
– This is a Bill to amend the Navigation Act. After consultation with the industrial movement including the great maritime unions, the Opposition has no objection to the Bill. The measure deals with various technical matters, the substance of each of which has been stated by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge). There is nothing I can usefully add. The navigation laws of Australia do not provide - but in my opinion should provide - for a publicly owned national shipping line to carry our overseas trade. That line should be operated and manned by Australian seamen. Our laws should discourage or prohibit the use of flags of convenience. How can one justify the use of ships which evade compliance with the minimum requirements established by international conventions? Not only the Opposition but also the Waterside Workers Federation and other maritime unions have constantly reminded the Government and the people of the evils associated with flags of convenience.
It is pleasing to see that the Government is considering its international obligations and the discharge of those obligations. Many international conventions are directed towards modernising the laws of the sea and providing for the safety and legal rights of passengers and seamen and for minimum requirements. The Government has fallen down badly in failing to ratify such conventions and, worse, in failing to implement them even when ratified. However, these are general deficiencies in the law and in this Government’s administration. They do not constitute any specific objection to this legislation. Therefore, the Opposition does not oppose the Bill.
Senator KENDALL (Queensland) [4.28J. - This is a Bill to amend the Navigation Act in quite a number of minor ways. So far as I can see, it will make very little difference to the actual running of ships or anything of that sort. Previously, when the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission had surplus money and wished to invest it, the Commission could either take out Commonwealth securities or place the money on fixed deposit with a bank. Now, such money may be deposited with the Reserve Bank of Australia. It is believed that a more profitable deal can be made by placing the money with the Reserve Bank than by investing it under the former conditions. The provision that the Commission may have £5 million on overdraft has not been altered. These matters of high finance are a little above my head but I cannot see any reason why they should cause any worry to sailors or shipping companies. This is entirely a matter for the Commission.
As I have pointed out on a number of occasions in the Senate, the Navigation Act itself still remains one of the most difficult of our Acts. It has something like 425 sections and it is very difficult for other than legal people to find out exactly what some of the legal phraseology in the Act really means.
Soon after my election to this Senate, I set out a scheme for national service in the merchant marine of Australia. This could be worked along the same lines as those adopted by the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. By this means we could build up gradually a national mercantile marine, as we have been doing, but in a different way. Young fellows could join the mercantile marine as they now join the Royal Australian Navy. They would go through apprenticeships or cadetships and after passing vatious examinations could become officers or engineers in the Australian mercantile marine.
After 12 years of talking on this matter, 1 congratulate the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth) on the fact that the Government has now brought out a comprehensive scheme for young fellows to be engaged and serve in the Australian National Line. They may now become part and parcel of a line which over the years has built up a very fine esprit de corps. This is seen in the fine magazine that is produced by the National Line every month. The new scheme follows very much along the lines I have advocated for 12, 14 or 15 years in this chamber.
In 1950, soon after I was first elected to the Senate, I made a comprehensive suggestion of what could be done to save the wastage, of senior naval reserve officers. Every convoy that floated in wartime had a senior naval reserve officer in charge. There was absolutely no need for this. In the general run of a convoy, a ship’s master is chosen to act as commodore, and the other masters in the convoy are responsible to him. There is no reason at all why these convoys should have needed senior naval reserve officers who could have been away in fighting ships. The proper course - and this could still be followed in future - would be to give masters in the mercantile marine all the necessary training for say 28 days in the reserve. Then if a war broke out - and God forbid that it should - and we had to make use of the convoy system again, every master in command of a ship would have the necessary qualifications to take over as commodore of a convoy. The other senior men could then be utilised in fighting ships. These were some of the things that I mentioned at that time.
I congratulate the Minister now upon having set up a scheme for apprentices. Under this scheme I believe it is laid down that apprentices have two month’s training ashore in the Sydney Technical College. They then go to sea for 12 months and then go back for study. Eventually, they get their four years in, the training having been ashore and afloat, somewhat on the lines that are followed at the Southampton University in England, which has a very similar scheme. As I said earlier, it is of advantage to keep these boys with the one line, that is a national line, rather than have them leaving one company to go to another company where they start at the bottom, as is done under the present system. I know from personal experience that that sort of thing has been happening for very many years.
Over the years I have expressed the opinion that some day we would have a national shipping line which would operate not only on our own coast but throughout the world. I understand that the keels of two 47,000 ton tankers are now being laid. If we in Australia can do that, we could build not only cargo ships but also passenger ships that would be able to provide a good service on overseas routes. In my opinion, the time is fast approaching when the Government will have to consider seriously building up our National Line with ships of which our sailors would be proud. I believe that in a number of ways the Government would find the venture to be quite profitable. We cannot rely indefinitely on other nations to provide us with the means of overseas transport.
I again bring to the notice of the Government the fact that Australia still has no Antarctic vessel of her own. Senator Laught has backed me up on this proposal for a number of years. It seems ridiculous to me, as a sailor, that we should have to charter ships, the total cost of which chartering by now must be much more than £li million. That sum would have enabled us to build a ship for service in the Antarctic and would have given us an opportunity to train our own men, who now have very little opportunity to serve under Antarctic conditions. If the two or three ships that we charter suddenly became unavailable, we would not have anything in which to go down to the Antarctic. So I ask the Government to have another look at the matter and to see whether something can be done about it. I am sure that other honorable senators on this side of the chamber agree with me.
As one who has some knowledge of the sea, I was horrified at being reminded by Senator Murphy of the use of ships that fly flags of convenience. I recall the long debate we had in this place seven or eight years ago on the Convention on Safety of Life at Sea. The proposals that were advanced in that Convention were good. Sailors themselves, and other people in my position, said that they would work. I spoke for about an hour during that debate, that being more or less a record for one of my poor speaking ability. I am horrified when
I think of some of the ships that are operating to Australia under the flags of other countries and which are not obliged to obey the rules of that Convention. I do not know how long that practice will be allowed to continue. I presume it boils down to how much it costs to bring migrants to Australia in ships that comply with the rules of the Convention. It must be much cheaper to charter ships that fly flags of convenience than to charter ships that have to conform to the Convention, to which we in Australia have subscribed.
– Do they use any of those ships for migrants?
– They have to comply with Australian safety measures when operating along our coast.
– That, is right. That is all I wish to say about the Bill. This is not a contentious measure; it does not arouse any ire. I support the Bill and wish it a speedy passage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– by leave - I lay on the table of the Senate the following paper -
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association - Tenth Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Kingston, Jamaica, November 1964 - Report of Delegation from Commonwealth of Australia Branch - and move - that the Senate take note of the paper.
Madam Acting Deputy President, unfortunately I have not had much time in which to correlate my views about the decisions of the Conference. I well remember the feeling that I had in November last when for the first time I attended a Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. Although it was not the first international conference I have attended, nor was it my first international tour, I found the conference very stimulating. About 140 delegates attended from the various Commonwealth countries and at this time many of the countries have reached independence or are very close to it With the trend towards independence has come the growth of nationalism and racialism. It was very striking to think that the members of the Commonwealth, as we know them, were able to meet in debate on an agenda which had been agreed upon by the governing body. Although the ideas as to the development of the various nationals were different each of them reached some sort of constructive conclusion. It seems to me that this generally is the basis of the Commonwealth as we know it, that we have a tradition of parliamentary democracy which today is being tested more than ever before. While there are some feelings of racialism throughout the Commonwealth, irrespective of the outside world, I believe that the organisation we have will survive the tests and will succeed in maintaining unity.
The agenda contained such items as the Commonwealth Secretariat and the sort of things we should do to hold the Commonwealth together. However, I thought that the underlying motive and philosophy of the Conference was that we, as a free people in a world where there are dictatorships of both left and right, have found it possible to have unity amongst people of different colours and different kinds of political organisations, yet still sustain some sort of onward move. Unity has been achieved although many of these people do not have a parliamentary structure or have not yet developed a parliamentary democracy as we know it. All delegates recognised that this is the real test of our system and I think we are making progress together.
I thought it was fortunate that we should meet in Jamaica. Those honorable senators who have read something of Jamaica will remember that the people there have developed from slavery in a European community. Although coloured, they are British by development, by geography, and by economic and political growth. In 1963 they were granted independence and one of the striking features of our relationship today with the coloured people is the realisation that there is no difference between us. I found it to be an extraordinarily good experience. I have attended international labour conferences and trade union conferences and have had similar experiences, but not to the same degree as on this occasion.
Jamaica is a country of people of varying colours, all bearing English or Anglo-Saxon names. In a very short time, because of their development and because of their economic and educational standards, you forget that they are coloured. All in all, they exhibited the type of progress that we are seeking.
– They have cottoned on to cricket pretty quickly.
– That is another pleasing feature. I have found, and I am sure that other honorable senators have also found, that Australians generally have gained prestige outside Australia. Perhaps we have not earned as much prestige as we might have earned in the past, but it is true that because of our struggles toward the development of democracy within Australia and because of our lack of affectation, Australians as a general rule have gained valuable prestige. Our prestige is assisted in Jamaica, as Senator O’Byrne has implied, because cricket is the key to that country.
Jamaica, to my mind, was a very fortunate venue in view of its recent entry into the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Not only are the Jamaicans as politically advanced as we are but they have a democratic Government, independence, and the same types of economic problems as we have. Economic growth is important to them and they are attracting secondary industries with the intention of stabilising what is virtually a one-crop or two-crop economy. In recent years Jamaica has been fortunate in that bauxite deposits have been found and are being exploited for the nation’s gain. Strangely enough, the Legislature is controlled by two Labour parties, one in and one out of government. Both Labour Parties have their origins in and have gained their backbones from the trade union movement. I think that is worth noting.
I was very pleased to visit Jamaica and I believe that Jamaica will increase its influence within the Commonwealth. I wish to make some comment concerning two points which have been made in another place. The Australian delegation was in agreement as to the agenda items. We got on very well together and were able to discuss important questions amongst ourselves, one of which was the Rhodesian question. I believe that the Opposition members of the delegation were able to promote unity and a common approach towards problems discussed at the conference.
As has been said in another place, the leadership shown by the Minister for Air (Mr. Howson) was appreciated by all delegates. Another important point I wish to mention, Mr. President, is the important work done by yourself in relation to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association matters. I would not be honest if I did not put on record the general appreciation of delegates of the work you have done on critical matters which arose at the conference.
The issue was raised of the awareness of the coloured people of their right to equal treatment. AH of us, I think, are helping to promote the sense of equality that should exist throughout the Commonwealth so that all members may meet in discussion without anybody feeling that he has been discriminated against because of colour. Your contributions behind the scenes, Mr. President, helped to strengthen discussion at the general conference. Honorable senators who have read the report of the Conference will know that discussions were very forthright and that no delegate hesitated to place his views before the Conference even though he may have thought that by doing so he might wreck the Conference. The great issues of our time were discussed with a sense of urgency. I have no doubt that, as a result, there was a greater exchange of views among the delegates and all of us came away satisfied that we knew a little more about Commonwealth trade and aid, the proposed Commonwealth organisation, the Malaysian and Rhodesian issues, and so on.
I was particularly interested in the report about the proposed Commonwealth Secretariat. Honorable senators will remember that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers met to discuss the setting up of a Commonwealth administrative centre - a Commonwealth Secretariat. Although it was not canvassed specifically in what form it should be set up, this matter was discussed at the Conference. I came away confident that such an organisation is necessary. As I see the position of the Commonwealth in relation to the world, the system of parliamentary democracy is strong enough to sustain the challenges of any dictatorship or of any sort of economic or political system. Our political system has been developed by tradition and the struggles of the English people towards a complete democracy. Perhaps, in some Commonwealth countries, this has not quite been achieved. However, we have at least the acknowledgment that this is important and that we must move towards equality in economic development within the Commonwealth so that unity in a political sense might be maintained.
We have to realise, that, in this age, we need to give the less developed members of the Commonwealth as much assistance as possible. In doing so we should not appear to be paternal but should grant to them, in fact, the sort of aid they require to enable them to develop and become stable economic units ready and able to take their places as full, adult partners within the Commonwealth of Nations. If we do this, we can be assured that a breakdown of the political system will not occur. But if we think we can sustain ‘ the Commonwealth of Nations simply by adhering to political idealism and by establishing high principles, and act accordingly, some of the economic units surely will fall and, as a result, we shall probably not be able to sustain the position that we hold in the world today. I think we can do this.
More notable speakers than I have made some points about this subject. May I echo what has been said most recently by the Prime Minister of Singapore, who seems to me to be directing attention to the issues of which we should be aware. He has pointed out that Australia ought to be able to give aid and the benefit of its experience to less developed members of the Commonwealth of Nations. I made the point at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in regard to the proposed Commonwealth Secretariat and other Commonwealth organisations that Australia should be able to send many experts to developing member countries to advise them about their requirements. For instance, Australia is a mature economic unit, of the Commonwealth of Nations. We have experienced management personnel, experienced trade union members and people experienced in labour organisation. There is no doubt that if developing countries could get the sort of investment that we ought to be advocating for them and giving to them, they could have stable economies and raise their social and economic standards to the levels which are needed to sustain them in the world today.
While I can remember quite vividly my basic reactions to meeting the representatives of other Commonwealth countries at the Conference, which was quite new in the political sense, recollections of the technical matters that were discussed do not come so easily to my mind, because of the short notice I was given that I would be called upon to speak upon this matter. However, in the report of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, which’, I understand, will be circulated in a day or two, there are a number of conclusions to which I should like to direct the attention of honorable senators. These conclusions point to the subjects that we considered. When honorable senators receive this report, they will find that reference is made on page 25 to the need for continuing all sorts of associations between members of the Commonwealth of Nations and to increase the exchanges that we have had in the past. Obviously, through these exchanges, members of Parliament, and members of governments, too, become more aware of the problems in the Commonwealth and, in turn, all these members can do something within their respective countries to assist in bringing about the unity that we need and that we must have in order to survive. The report makes some observations also about organisational matters which were canvassed at this conference.
In my own view, one of the matters which was left somewhat up in the air was the question whether each member nation should subscribe on a quota basis to the Commonwealth Secretariat if it were set up. It seems to me that when we recognise the need to have the Commonwealth organisations, we should be prepared to sustain them if we are satisfied that they are doing a practical job. I do not think that wa should be deterred by argument to the effect that some friction may be caused on the issue of the location of the organisations, that is, whether they should be set up in Australia or London. In my opinion, we should not be so much concerned with these matters. I have found in my own association with organisations that many of the things that we make out to be principles become merely differences of opinion once people gather around a table to discuss them, and solutions of problems can often be found. So, we should help in the establishment of these organisations. I argued that we should make an immediate attempt to set up the Secretariat, and that we should advocate the use of Australian personnel, where possible, to go across and assist member nations. More particularly, we have to do something about the real issue of the Commonwealth, which is not idealism in relation to political democracy, but whether we can sustain the growth of the economic system, thereby giving increasing wealth to the people of the Commonwealth and doing away with poverty and unemployment.
Mr. President, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 4.56 to 8 p.m.
Senator GORTON (Victoria - Minister for
Works) [8.0]. - by leave - Mr. Deputy President, in making this statement, which is a reproduction of a statement being made tonight in the House of Representatives by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), when I use the personal pronoun it refers to the Minister for External Affiairs. The statement is as follows -
In this statement on foreign affairs I shall confine my remarks to a few of the more urgent topics. This is not intended, however, to limit the range of debate. With your indulgence, Mr. Deputy President, when I move that the House take note of my statement, I will suggest that you might permit honorable senators to discuss the full breadth of Australian foreign policy. To assist them to do so, my Department has prepared information papers to be placed on the table of the Parliamentary Library. Additional copies of the papers are available for the persona] use of members.
This is my first speech to the Parliament as Minister for External Affairs and I might reasonably be expected to disclose something of my own approach. I shall try to do so but, in doing so, I would stress that I am not introducing any change in the foreign policy of the Government. The foreign policy is that of the government; not of a person. Foremost in my mind as I look at the world is the fact that today force is being used and, in such a world, in which the possession of power is the main determinant of what happens, anyone engaged in foreign affairs must recognise and study the facts of power and also recognise the reality of power politics. We might like it otherwise but we cannot ignore the fact. The possibility of a nuclear holocaust still haunts the world. While we can see the risk we can also evaluate the situation by saying that the very horror of a nuclear war is one factor that has tended hitherto to reduce the risk of its coming. In certain situations the possession of nuclear power has been a deterrent to action that might lead to another world war.
At times during the past two years it has looked as though mankind might be creeping towards sanity on nuclear arms. The nuclear test ban treaty and proposals for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons - both of which have the full support of the Australian Government - have received a setback, however, firstly by the’ French insistence on developing and testing a nuclear weapon of their own and, secondly to a much graver extent, by the explosion of a nuclear device by the Chinese Communists. Some time may elapse before Communist China becomes a frontrank nuclear power, but the cause for concern is that China has repeatedly spoken and acted in a way that reveals an aggressive intention to try to dominate the life of other nations, a readiness to achieve her purposes by any means at her command, and an unwillingness to contemplate peaceful relationships with other great powers except on her own terms. In the hands of such a nation, nuclear weapons become more dangerous and the prospect of nuclear control of disarmament less hopeful.
There are two other points to be made about nuclear power. Nuclear power in the hands of a few nations acting with responsibility can be a deterrent. The proliferationof nuclear power, by placing more fingers on more triggers and by giving a new impulse to the demand for nuclear weapons either for the sake of national prestige or for national security, will greatly increase the risk that something will go wrong. To check these impulses towards proliferation we are likely to need, as well as an agreement against dissemination, a reasonable assurance that other nations, particularly the middle-sized powers, will not need to possess or develop nuclear weapons of their own in order to feel that they can defend themselves. This in turn throws us all back to the real core of the problem of world peace - the policies of the great powers and their relationships with each other and the degree of our confidence that the two great nuclear powers - the United States and the Soviet Union - will act with restraint.
In my more hopeful moments, I am inclined to believe that the diplomatic labours of the past fifteen years have shown some results in the easing of tension between the group of countries centred on the Soviet Union and those centred on the Western Alliance. One also hopes that the social and economic changes that have taken place within the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe have themselves created influences making for peace. Although the basic nature of the Soviet Union as a Communist power has not changed, and although the facts of power rivalry remain, yet we can look back on the fact that these two great groups of powers have managed to live at peace with each other in spite of many occasions of great tension, for a period of twenty years and that at the end of twenty years, they would appear to be further from a deliberate choice of war with each other than at any time during the twenty years. If one were to think only of the risks of world war as the result of either action by the Soviet Union or action by the United States of America, one could nurture some hope of peace and even believe that it might still be possible for these two great powers to join together, perhaps not with a common ideal but with a common realism, to help keep the peace of the world.
Nuclear power, in the hands of a few nations, may yet remain a powerful factor in preventing the outbreak of big wars or in stopping small wars from growing into big wars. It is patently not a factor in pre venting the outbreak of small wars and it has not served as a deterrent against small wars and the fomenting of subversion. The immediate effect of the new power of Communist China has been felt not in any war that China itself is waging as an indentifiable combatant - although in Tibet and the Indian frontier China was the actual aggressor - but in numerous trouble spots in several continents.
It would be foolish to imagine that these smaller wars and trouble spots can be regarded as lying apart from and having nothing to do with the greater dangers and the major conflicts in world power. No incipient trouble can show its first signs without becoming part of great power politics. In many cases closer examination reveals that troubles which may seem local and trivial at first sight have been promoted or expanded as the result of influences controlled by great powers. Whether or not any such incident in its beginning was purely local, it would be unrealistic to assume that any great power, either in its role as a peace-keeper or being careful to maintain its own power, could ignore it. It sounds fine and moralistic to say that if only the great powers would keep out all would be well. But such moralising obscures the reality.
Let us test this by the case of South Vietnam. Chou En-lai has described the National Liberation Front as “the glorious standard bearer and illustrious leader of the South Vietnamese people in their struggle for national liberation “. This description of the war in South Vietnam as “ a struggle for national liberation “ has to be read in the context of Chinese Communist doctrine. In the exchange of open letters between Moscow and Peking, China’s view in support of warfare and armed struggle is clearly expressed. I quote from several texts: “Until the imperialist system and the exploiting classes come to an end, wars of one kind or another will always occur”; “War is the continuation of politics by other means”; “Marxists-Leninists never conceal their views. We whole-heartedly support every peoples’ revolutionary war”.
South Vietnam is part of a pattern. In Laos, notwithstanding the fact that there is an international agreement for the neutrality of Laos, Communist China describes the territory held by the Communistcontrolled Pathet Lao as “ the liberated area”. The clear inference is that the remainder has still to be liberated. Peking has recently served notice that Thailand is in danger of becoming the object of what might be called conquest by subversion. Chinese radio and news agencies are now publishing the programme of an organisation describing itself as the “Thailand Patriotic Front “ which, from Peking, calls for the overthrow of what it calls the “ fascist “ Thai Government. Radio Hanoi is also broadcasting the same material.
What is happening in South Vietnam is not a local rebellion caused by internal discontent but the application of the methods and doctrines of Communist guerrilla warfare first evolved in China and then successfully used in North Vietnam. The Peking and Hanoi regimes have both come to power through guerrilla warfare and both share the Asian Communist doctrine evolved by the Chinese. The practical application in neighbouring areas is clear. Neither Peking nor Hanoi has yet had to commit large scale conventional forces in South Vietnam for external aggression. A dissident Communist controlled movement was created for guerrilla warfare against the established social order and government. Lines of communication and support from outside were organised. Given the natural elements of instability in many of the newly established countries of the region, and their social, ethnic and communal problems, there are understandable opportunities for such tactics.
Tt is nearly three years since the International Control Commission in Vietnam condemned the violation by North Vietnam of the 1954 Geneva Agreements by the despatch of arms and men from the North and the incitement and encouragement of hostilities in the South. The rate of infiltration from North to South increased until in 1964 it is estimated that 10,000 Vietcong terrorists trained and armed by the North, were sent to the South. I draw the attention of members to the document recently distributed to the United Nations by the United States describing the extent of this new form of international aggression. Copies are available in the Parliamentary Library. We have considerable information of the same character from Australian sources.
At any one time the Vietcong maintains a hard core of guerrillas in military formation of some 30,000 to 40,000 and they are supported by an irregular force of another 80,000. This total force of something over 100,000 has established itself through methods of coercion and terrorism in large parts of the South Vietnamese countryside. In some areas it has been able to introduce its own system of administrative control. This it has done, not by the attraction of some programme of economic and social reform but by the exercise of power through terror. The Vietcong maintain their control as a determined minority relying on fear, despair, war-weariness and the political disintegration of their opponents.
Are these the circumstances in which the Asian Communist powers having taken such steps to advance their policies, all other powers who are opposed to such policies should look the other way and do nothing? What the United States has chosen to do in South Vietnam appears to the Australian Government as the recognition and acceptance of the great responsibilities which its own greatness has laid on it.
We are told from time to time that while external aid can help, it is for the people of South Vietnam themselves to establish a political regime which will withstand internal subversion. We must remember, however, that the South Vietnamese are not dealing simply with a situation of local unrest, but with a large-scale campaign of assassination and terrorism directed from outside. It would be a dangerous thing to argue that, because subversive elements inspired from outside have achieved some success in creating instability within a country, these elements thereby earn the right to become the government of that country. In South Vietnam one mav ask what future security, freedom and religious tolerance there would be for the millions of people who have committed themselves to resistance against Communism.
It is also unrealistic to claim that if only the influence of the great powers were removed there would be a sudden and blissful peace in South Vietnam. To whom would withdrawal leave the land? Not to tha local population. There is a campaign in Australia at the present time among a section of our population that might be summed up in the words sometimes chalked on walls abroad: “ Yankee, go home “. Let those who are approached to support this campaign ask themselves what the phrase means. It means simply that the North Vietnamese and the Chinese are the only foreigners to be allowed in South Vietnam and therefore this is a campaign which, in its results, would favour Asian Communism. This was seldom heard of when Asian Communism was making gams; it has grown in strength when Asian Communism is being checked.
In the circumstances that now exist, the United States could not withdraw from South Vietnam without abandoning the responsibilities that belong to power or the principles it is trying to uphold. The United States could not withdraw without necessarily considering the world wide impact of such a withdrawal on the broader strategies of world politics.
If the United States did withdraw, the same conflict would be renewed somewhere else. Within a brief period the struggle now taking place in South Vietnam would be shifted to Thailand. If there was abandonment of Thailand, it would shift to Malaysia, to Indonesia, to Burma, to India and further. Nothing would be ended and no stability would be achieved by yielding in South Vietnam. lt is not a valid policy to call for negotiation unless there is a clear idea what is to be the outcome of negotiation. If negotiation is simply to mean an end of resistance to aggression and the success of aggression then a plainer word for it would be defeat for those resisting Asian Communism.
Fortunately we have the declaration of President Johnson who on 17th February set out the United States position on Vietnam in the following words -
Our purpose, our objective there is clear. That purpose and that objective is to join in the defence and protection of the freedom of a brave people who are under an attack that is controlled and that is directed from outside their country. We have no ambition there for ourselves. We seek no dominion. We seek no conquest. We seek no wider war. But we must all understand that we will persist in the defence of freedom, and our continuing actions will be those which are justified and those that are made necessary by the continuing aggression of others. These actions will be measured and fitting and adequate. Our stamina and the stamina of the American people is equal to the task.
Australia’s own analysis of the situation has brought us to the belief that the United
States action is necessary for the defeat of aggression against Asian peoples and is also an essential step towards the building in Asia of the conditions of peace and progress. We also believe that in their resistance to China they are preventing an alternative in the world balance of power which would be in favour of the Communists and which would increase the risk of world war. Consequently, Australia firmly supports that stand by the United States and the decisions reached that targets in North Vietnam should be attacked. Should North Vietnam not be exposed to military risk, we would be permitting North Vietnam to remain a privileged sanctuary from which a military campaign of subversion and aggression against the South can be maintained and exploited indefinitely and with immunity.
It is asserted by Communists that the United States and her allies by acting thus are creating the risk of a wider war. But the alternative would be to allow the systematic mounting of campaigns of guerrilla warfare and terrorism to undermine non-Communist governments one after another in South-East Asia. In other words, the Communist powers would be free to conduct a wider war on an advancing front of subversive and guerrilla activity. At the moment, contacts are being made and the positions of the various powers involved are being explored in order to determine whether there are real prospects for negotiation. We should be clear about the position as it now stands. Hanoi and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam will negotiate on certain conditions. Those conditions include the prior withdrawal of United States forces from South Vietnam. Their policy, supported by China, is to remove the United States from the area. A study of Hanoi and the National Liberation Front documentation also makes it clear that what they aire seeking is the replacement of the present government in Saigon, not even by a coalition or neutralist government, but by a government which is Communist led and controlled. Such a government would be the instrument of the Hanoi regime, the National Liberation Front itself having been created by the North Vietnam Communist Party.
There clearly would have to be a considerable change in this position before there could be formal negotiations at a conference table. For the moment the Government believes that the best course lies in the exploration and assessment of the positions of the parties in order to establish whether a basis of political understanding can be reached. We would of course be favourable to negotiation in t’he right circumstances and we would hope as fervently as anyone that a true and lasting peace might be established. In the examination of the situation in South Vietnam I trust that I have shown clearly to honorable members the approach of the Government to the basic fact of a world power struggle and the immediacy of the danger in Asia. That is a danger not only to the country of Asia but to many countries of Asia and to countries outside the region.
A second immediately important topic on which I should declare myself is the relationship of Australia to Asia. What happens in Asia can have such immediate effects on what happens to Australia that perhaps we sometimes see events in Asia through too narrow a loophole. One point that I stressed repeatedly in conversations during my recent tour to several capitals of Europe and North America was that the power situation in Asia cannot be separated from the major problems of the power situation in the whole world. What is happening in Asia today cannot be regarded as a series of isolated incidents which can be settled as local affairs in the expectation, firstly, that after settlement they will remain unaffected by the power struggle and, secondly, that when they are settled they need not occupy the attention of other powers any longer. The struggle for peace today is a global struggle. The resistance to aggression is a world-wide resistance. The emergence of China and the policies of China affect the whole of world politics. What is happening in Asia today will perhaps prove more fateful for mankind than anything that has happened since the last World War. The corollary of course, is that any contribution to peace in Asia is a contribution to the peace of the World.
We Australians are perhaps inclined at times to think of South East Asia as a frontier where a potential enemy can be held. Let us also constantly remind ourselves that we have a wider and more farreaching interest in the region than that.
We have positive and constructive aims and not merely a defensive interest in Asia. We want to see an Asia in which the free nations of that continent, whether newly independent or long-established, will be able to develop their own way of life in a state of security from aggression. We want to see an Asia in which there will be social and economic opportunity and where, as a result of the fuller use of the natural resources of the region, the standards of living of its people will steadily rise and their opportunities and capacity to build a new life will grow. We want to see an Asia with which we ourselves can live in friendship and peace and with whom we can work for mutual benefit, respecting the qualities of each other.
To achieve these hopes the countries of Asia must be free of the domination of any single great power; there must be freedom of exchange and commercial intercourse between them and the rest of the world; and there must be an increased and a more helpful association between the countries of Asia and the peoples and nations of other continents. The participation of countries outside Asia in its affairs is essential, firstly to give to the smaller countries of Asia security against the aggression that is rising within Asia itself, and secondly in order to bring the financial, technological and social and economic assistance that is needed for the development of Asian resources and the creating of opportunity for its people to improve their own lot.
Situated near Asia, Australia lives with a number of neighbouring States which, for historical and economic reasons, have political and social systems vastly different from our own. We do not criticise or attempt to change systems freely chosen by other peoples. What we are concerned with is to achieve an international climate in which threats against and pressures against other States and peoples are removed, whether these threats arise from aggressive nationalism or aggressive communism or perhaps a mixture of the two. Within that climate, and behind the shelter provided by regional security arrangements, the countries of South and South East Asia wish to pursue their objectives of social and economic progress. This is the purpose of the Colombo Plan and other programmes of international aid to which the Australian Government contributes. The aim is not simply security for its own sake but development for the good of peoples.
Our involvement in the situation created by Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia is giving Australia at the present moment one of the most difficult tests of our resolution and our diplomacy. On the one hand we wish to live in harmonious relationships with Indonesia, we accept the fact that Indonesia has been established and we would like to see the growth and the integration of Indonesia and we have hoped to be able to co-operate as a neighbour in measures for its social and economic progress. In this country of great natural resources we saw an opportunity for its own people to build their own life. There is basic goodwill towards Indonesia. Unfortunately, Indonesia has embarked on policies which we are bound to oppose. To our regret, over the past six months Indonesian military confrontation of Malaysia has assumed new and more serious forms. Along the border between Malaysia and Indonesian Borneo there has been a substantial buildup of the Indonesian armed forces. Moreover, Malaya and Singapore itself have been subjected to a long series of attempted infiltration, sabotage and subversion.
That the situation has been held as well as it has is the result of the deterrent effect of the defensive measures taken to build up Malaysian, British and other Commonwealth forces in Borneo and of the striking success of the security forces in Malaysia in coping with infiltrators and saboteurs. Malaysia has shown a remarkable degree of self-restraint and maturity in dealing with these provocations. Indonesia’s declared and active hostility to Malaysia imposes an additional strain on an area already subject to the threats of Communist subversion and intervention. It is not only forcing Malaysia to increase its defence expenditure at the expense of its development but it is adding to the burdens of the impoverished and neglected Indonesian economy. This situation could be eased very rapidly provided only that Indonesia accepted the existence of Malaysia and ceased to conduct military operations against it.
We have noted that, in withdrawing from the United Nations, the Indonesian Government declared that it still upheld the principles of international co-operation as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
We, for our part, consider that all States which have become members of the United Nations have made a solemn declaration accepting the obligations imposed by the Charter and that a State, even though it no longer regards itself as a member of the organization, nevertheless remains bound to observe the principles upon which the Charter is based. We have said on many occasions, and I repeat it this evening, that it remains a primary objective of Australian policy to seek with Indonesia a relationship based on understanding and respect. Hence, while leaving Indonesia in no doubt of Australia’s determination to assist Malaysia to defend herself against armed attack and subversion, we continue to demonstrate our willingness to search for the basis of an enduring peaceful relationship with Indonesia. In this spirit, the Government is continuing a limited programme of aid to Indonesia, details of which are available to honorable members in statements tabled in the Library. This aid has been and will be kept under close review and the decision to proceed with it has been made after the most careful consideration of all the relevant factors.
A new element in the situation created by Indonesia’s confrontation of Malaysia, has been created by some evidence of increasing contacts between the Indonesians and the Chinese Communists. It is as yet difficult to determine the significance of these contacts, but they are a further reminder that, in all our thinking about Asia, we have to consider quite starkly the growing power of Communist China. Some people are disposed to argue that we should facilitate the representation of Communist Ohina in the United Nations. Certainly our long term objective must be the achievement of stable political relationships amongst all countries of the world. So long, however, as the Peking regime continues to threaten the Chinese Nationalist Government and the people of Formosa, to promote the export of revolution abroad and to construct nuclear weapons to back these policies contrary to the overwhelming voice of world opinion, one can hardly expect this regime to help to solve any of the major problems facing the United Nations.
This brings me to my third topic - the future of the United Nations. An information paper covering some aspects of the present problems confronting the United
Nations will be found amongst the material available in the Library. Behind the recent inability of the General Assembly of the United Nations to proceed with its business was a difference of opinion regarding the peace keeping functions of the United Nations and the role to be played by each of the two great blocs of power in maintaining the peace. It will not be finally solved except as part of the general problem of relationships between the great powers. As honorable members are aware, the General Assembly was unable to proceed with its business and has adjourned after appointing a special committee to examine questions of United Nations finance and the peace keeping functions of the Organisation and after expressing the hope that the great powers themselves would get together and reach an understanding on the same issues. I should like to make some observations about this situation. The failure of the General Assembly to proceed with its business does not necessarily mean a breakdown of the United Nations. The United Nations has many organs which are still functioning. For our part, Australia gives unqualified support to the United Nations and we will u.se our best endeavours in co-operation with other members to find a way out of the difficulties of the General Assembly.
At the same time two things need to be said quite plainly about the experience in the General Assembly this year. One is that the General Assembly is not able to function at present as it was intended to function as the great forum of the world in which the conscience of the world might find expression and help to establish a body of principle by which the exercise of power might be restrained. Some of the reasons for that are not far to seek. Many of the members of the General Assembly - I particularise no single member - have not lived up to their opportunities and their obligations under the Charter. They themselves have decided matters without regard to established principles of international conduct and without trying to take as a consistent guide a body of principle which will apply to great and small.
The other observation is that at the present time the General Assembly, and indeed the Security Council, cannot be relied upon as a significant and effective means of keeping the peace of the world. Would any small country in danger of invasion or acts of aggression against its sovereignty and its territory be warranted in having full confidence that the United Nations would protect it? We have to see as a matter of reality this absence of any international means of bringing security to the smaller nations or even to the middle sized nations. It is the background to the situation in which such peace as we have is kept by one or other of the great powers and it is also the continuing challenge to all nations to work more purposefully at the problems of peace keeping. As a practical illustration of what I have been saying, may I remark that in South and South-East Asia, it is American armed strength which is the reality behind which the countries in that area have retained their liberty to choose their own courses. To this same end, the Australian Government also warmly welcomes the recent practical manifestations of Britain’s continuing determination to fulfil her obligations to Malaysia and Asia.
Having spoken of power situations, I would talk of a fourth aspect of my own view on world affairs. Power is not enough. In a world of power, peace is only maintained on a precarious balance and it is plain that recourse to power as a means of security is in essence a readiness to have recourse to war. There will never be full security for anyone unless and until the exercise of power is made subject to agreed principles of international conduct and, in a world of national States, that means that the possessors of power restrict by their own pledges their own use of power.
I should like to develop this theme with particular application to Australian policies. As a small nation in a time of power contest, we have to choose. For us, neutralism is not a practical choice. We Australians must choose our side because in the immediate future we are determined to ensure the defence and the survival of our country and we want to preserve our right and our capacity to apply our own faith and ideals regarding human society in Australia. We must also choose our side because ultimately Australia will survive and grow and become a better country in all senses of the term only in a world in which the exercise of power has been subordinated to principle. It is deep in our faith for mankind and vital to our own existence that there should be a world in which sovereign independence is recognised; where territorial integrity is respected; where force and the threat of force are not used to compel nations to act against their own interest or against their own free choice; where settlement is by negotiation and the small as well as the great are protected in negotiation because it is conducted- according to these principles and, if negotiation fails, there will still be recourse to orderly and peaceful processes of settlement; a world where the pledged word is kept through the sanctity of treaties; where international law is built up both in its substance and its authority by the consistency of the conduct of nations, by the sanctity of treaties and by invariable recourse to these international institutions to whom the application of these laws and rules of conduct has been entrusted; where aggression is identified by actions contrary to these standards of conduct.
In choosing sides we serve these ideas. Let: us ask ourselves bluntly, when we are choosing sides and deciding whom we will support, which of the great powers, on the past record and their known doctrines, will take this line. We stand firmly with Britain and the United States of America, not only because in the short term we believe them to be military allies with resolution and capacity but, more than that, because we believe that they are nations which honour these principles and try to serve them. It is not enough to say that we believe in these principles - broadly the principles of the United Nations. We also have to give solid and constant backing to those powers who will work to put these principles into effect. What we are supporting is not only a military alliance but, more importantly, certain principles and standards of conduct in international affairs. This must be the final touchstone of our policy in respect of our allies, and it must guide our own contributions to discussions on the policies which will continue to command our support. We have to make judgments from time to time on what is right as well as on what will keep us safe. It seems likely that the world will become more and more unsafe for us in the coming years. In such case it will help us to see our course more clearly if we try to see not only the risks but also the opportunities - not only the threats we may have to meet but also the constant need to advance our own belief in the right standards of international conduct.
Personally I believe that today Australia faces the dual challenge of its own survival and the maintenance of those standards of civilised conduct and those basic values of civilisation which have been so laboriously established by past ages of mankind and which in international dealings today are so often in the discard. I also believe that the measures we are taking for our survival and for the support of those values are inseparably linked. Both considerations have helped us to choose our side in the current contest and have made us determined in support of it. Let us all see that we have not only chosen our side but have also dedicated ourselves to a cause. Surely at the heart of any realistic foreign policy for Australia must be the aim of trying to promote the unity and the resolution of all those forces that will work in the same direction. This must be not merely a policy of resisting those who threaten us but, more positively, one of helping friends - a policy not only of saying that our ideas are better than those of our opponents but also one of proving that our ideas will work.
This has a particular application to Asia. Among our near neighbours in Asia are many nations, both great and small, in a less fortunate position than we are but who are trying, just as we are, to advance the welfare of their own peoples in freedom from external threats. Their will to resist has been under assaults that we have never known. Their conditions of life are not yet such that they can have as high a confidence about the future as we have. Fear and physical want, the lack of means or opportunity to develop fully their national resources, political uncertainty and communal divisions have beset them. Surely in all we do we must see the need to strengthen their will, to assist them to realise their plans and hopes, and to join with them in maintaining those principles which are basic to their life as to our own.
Surely we are to test any other policies that may be advocated by asking whether they also serve that purpose. Or do those other policies only hoist signals to these peoples that they cannot count on understanding, let alone help or sympathy, from us, but- had better give in and let the Communist imperialists have their way?
As a last word I return to the nature of the interest that links us and other nonAsian countries to Asia. As an Australian
I do not want to look on our neighbours in Asia as buffer states. I see them rather as part of a structure of hope in which Australia itself, like each of them, is only one of many pillars. The structure weakens if any one of us should fall. The hope must belong not to one but to all. Hence Australian policy in respect of South Vietnam, S.E.A.T.O., the Colombo Plan and Malaysia will continue firmly on the lines already so clearly laid down by the Prime
Minister and other spokesmen for the Government.
I present the following paper -
Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 23rd March 1965. and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator Kennelly) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 8.43 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 March 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650323_senate_25_s28/>.