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Wednesday, 26 June 1946

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. W. J. F. Riordan) - Order! - I ask the honorable member for Warringah to cease interjecting.

Mr POLLARD - Members of the Opposition have had a good deal to say about the Dutch-Indonesian situation, a matter of the most delicate international complexity. I do not pretend to have a knowledge of this problem; I am- .merely telling the story as it was told to me. This officer went on to say that whilst the Dutchman from Holland were gentlemen and far superior to the colonial Dutch, the Australian Government, even at that stage when things were most unsettled in Java, should send trade commissioners there to capitalize the goodwill of the Indonesians towards the Australian people. That goodwill was, in his opinion, engendered by the stand taken by the Australian workers towards the , Indonesians in their battle for freedom against the ' people they regarded as their oppressors.

Mr Spender - They were incited by fi ti 6 Japanese

Mr POLLARD - The honorabe gentleman obviously finds my remarks unpalatable. This gallant officer said that, due to the refusal of the Australian Government to become an active participant in the dispute, either for or against the Dutch or the Indonesians, Australians were " tops " with the Indonesians and the Javanese. I am impelled to tell this story to-night - and I do so with grave reluctance - only because honorable members opposite are so mean and despicable as to drag this matter of the Dutch ship= into. this sphere of international politics. Unfortunately, this gallant officer later met his death, probably at the hands of the Indonesians or the satellites of the Japanese. I believe that certain honorable members opposite can verify every word I have attributed to him, because be also told them the same story. All I can do is to express the hope that eventually, this unfortunate quarrel between the Dutch and the Indonesians will straighten itself out to the satisfaction of all concerned, and that the harmonious relations that have existed between Australians and the Indonesians and the colonial Dutch, whatever my friend thought of them, will eventually be renewed.

Mr Spender - The honorable member's speech, will contribute nothing towards the renewal of those harmonious relations.

Mr POLLARD - The gallant colonel from Bardia, a nian who promoted himself to that rank whilst he " was Minister for the Army, and who never smelt powder on the battlefield, is obviously annoyed. Let me tell the honor- able and gallant gentleman that responsible citizens of Ballarat who had sons fighting in Borneo and New Guinea expressed their extreme dissatisfaction at the suggestion of the Leader of the

Opposition (Mr. Menzies) that the Australian Government should . become a participant in the unfortunate quarrel between the Dutch and the Indonesians and send a contingent to Java for the purpose of subduing the natives. They pointed out their sons enlisted, not to fight the Javanese, but the Japanese. They wanted me to know that they disagreed with the policy of the Leader of the Opposition in this regard. And I inform the colonel 'from Bardia that they were not supporters of the Labour party. They dissociated themselves from any suggestion that a contingent should be sent to Java to fight against people, who were endeavouring to secure self-government. I regret the partisan spirit and the lack of understanding shown by honorable members opposite in respect of this matter. Every word that I have uttered can be verified, and, if necessary, I shall supply privately to honorable members the names of the persons whose conversation. I have recounted. I do not necessarily support the attitude of the wharf labourers, who have refused to load the Dutch ships. I frankly admit that it may have been better had these ships been loaded ; but we must not forget that, over a century ago, the Dorchester labourers were transported from England to this country for forming a labour union. Today, those self-same people are worshipped by honorable members opposite. Years hence, those men, who refused to load the Dutch ships may be in the same category as the Dorchester labourers.

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