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Friday, 6 March 1942
Page: 260


Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) . - The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) a few days ago dealt fairly comprehensively with Australia's position in international affairs. He discussed the need for more effective co-ordination of our efforts with those of the United States of America, and the position of Sir Earle Page as a member of the British War Cabinet and of the Pacific Council, and he said that, unless we recognized the value of man-power our victory might he delayed. He pointed out that, in the final analysis, we can win only by taking offensive action, and by the proper co-ordination of the High Commands. With most of what the honorable gentleman said I am in agreement, hut there are matters of great importance to the people of this country which he did not touch upon at all. One of these is the growing tendency in Australia, largely as the result of ministerial statements, which have been published and broadcast, to harbour distrust of the most valued of our allies. Unless that tendency be scotched, the country will be divided at a time when unity is more essential than ever before. While the Minister paid a tribute to the efforts of Russia - and they are very gallant - and to the support given by the United States of America, there is not one word of tribute to the people of Great Britain for the part they have played in the war up to the present.


Dr Evatt - That has been done repeatedly by the Prime Minister (Mr.

Curtin) and other Ministers. The honorable member is the only person who has raised a doubt.


Mr ANTHONY - I direct attention to the fact that, throughout the whole of Australia, there is a widespread disposition to blame England for the position we are in. The Minister may shake his head, but I have travelled up ond down the country, and have been gravely concerned to note the growing suspicion with which the English war effort is being viewed, and I have had to listen to the comments which havebeen made regarding the help which Britain should have given to us. I do not say that anything has been done deliberately to foster those feelings, but I do say that the effect of certain ministerial statements, and of discussions which have taken place in the press, has been to promote from one end of Australia to the other a carping criticism of the British.


Mr Sheehan - That is not in the statement.


Mr ANTHONY - I say that the statement implies something of that, because, whereas it specifically mentions the help of Russia and the United States of America, there is not one word in it about Great Britain or about Mr. Churchill.


Mr Baker - The honorable member is trying to read something into the statement that is not there.


Mr ANTHONY - I am merely trying, in a realistic fashion, to direct attention to what is occurring in Australia to-day. I am not indulging in mere speculation. Every honorable member must know that there is a good deal of feeling on this point throughout Australia at the present time, and it is the duty of the Government to unite the people, to recognize and proclaim that our survival up to the present is due to the gallant fight put up by the people of Great Britain from June, 1940, when France collapsed, until July, 1941, when Russia came into the war. During the whole of that time, the full brunt of the Axis attack was borne by Britain alone. It was stated by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) this morning that instructions had been given to the censorship authorities that the name of Mr. Churchill was not to be publicly mentioned.


Dr Evatt - That has been denied by the Prime Minister, and I am certain that the statementis false.


Mr ANTHONY - It gives rise to grave doubts when we note that the Australian Broadcasting Commission has substituted the tune Advance Australia Fair for that of The British Grenadiers, which used to be played before the broadcasting of the news session. I am not concerned with the merits of the two tunes, but the substitution of one for the other at the moment when all this feeling exists gives colour to the suspicion that there is more in this than mere coincidence. In making this protest, I am not voicing my own views only; I am expressing the opinions of tens of thousands of people throughout Australia. The press is full of letters protesting against what is going on, and I have received letters from remote parts of my constituency asking whether it does not appear that a deliberate effort is being made to foster bad feeling between Australia and Great Britain.


Dr Evatt - Not only is no such effort being made, but the honorable member's suggestion is calculated to do the harm of whichhe speaks.







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