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Tuesday, 10 November 1953

Mr TURNBULL (MALLEE, VICTORIA) ..- I am privileged to .have the opportunity to second the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply to the GovernorGeneral's Speech, which has .been .so well proposed by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer).. In .expressing Jove and loyalty .to Her Majesty the Queen, members of this Parliament know that, notwithstanding party .or creed, they voice the sincere .sentiments of the people of . Australia. His Excellency .the Gover.norGeneral is -appreciated an this .country threefold.: first, because he is the personal representative of Her Majesty the Queen ; secondly, .because in .his own .right -he is rich in magnificent service to the British Commonwealth -of Nations; thirdly, because Australians dearly love a man of action, .especially one who has been associated as closely as His Excellency with our servicemen.

His Excellency encompassed many subjects in 'his Speech this afternoon. The chief of these has been engaging the thoughts of the people of Australia very fully recently. Throughout Australia, people are looking forward with keen anticipation to the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and her husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, and when the Governor-General reminded us to-day that, early in the new year, here at Canberra, the Queen- in person would open this Parliament, we realized that, at that time, this would 'be the most important part of the Commonwealth of Nations, towards which would turn, not only the thoughts of our British kinsfolk, but ako the interest of countless millions of people in other countries. The Governor-General has said that the Queen will give us encouragement by -providing us with a rare opportunity to show to her our loyalty and affection, and I believe that we, as a people, will not fail to grasp in some measure th. spirit of the will to serve with which Her majesty is so richly endowed. Somebody bas said that half the world is on the wrong track in search of happiness. These people think that happiness consists in getting, in having, and in being served by others. In fact, it consists in giving and in serving. The best illustration and proof of this fact that I know of can be found in a realization and appreciation of the tremendous responsibility that Her Majesty undertook when she pledged herself to serve her people, and of the radiant happiness of her brilliant personality.

The Governor-General's particular personal knowledge of Asian countries has led him to think and to say that the extension of goodwill and assistance to those countries by such means as the Colombo plan will do much to eliminate, perhaps for ever, the causes of war. This Government has taken the initiative in this regard. Let us in this Parliament thank God that Australia has had abundant seasons and that we have been able to provide the money with which to meet the expense of projects that are vital to the life of this nation and to civilization. T am sure that we all share the hope expressed by the Governor-General that the armistice in Korea will become a lasting peace. Negotiations, as we know, are proving very difficult. Diplomacy and much patience are necessary, but we must be strong, and I believe that the only peace that will have our support is one that will bring happiness and freedom.

I am pleased to know that a full review of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade will take place in 1954. I opposed this agreement at its inception, and I still believe that it is not in our best interests. Support for my belief lies in the fact that recently we bad to seek the waiving of some of its provisions in relation to territory products. "We can be better served by making our own treaties and encouraging trade within the British Commonwealth than by adhering to such an arrangement. I do not advocate, of course, the absolute exclusion of all other countries, because I have always been of the opinion that we have far more to gain from the prosperity of every nation than we can possibly gain from the downfall of any nation. I hope, in relation to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, that there is real significance in the statement that a conference of Commonwealth finance Ministers will soon be held in Sydney. I hope that the Ministers who attend the conference will think over these matters and will make a decision that will be for the good of our country. Although the countries that regard Great Britain as the motherland are divided by seas and great distances, they share a common aim and one sovereign. I do not believe that any logical person could come to the conclusion that they are any more divided than is a nation that occupies a consolidated area on a continent. But, under the agreement, the United Kingdom and the Dominions are regarded as separate entities and are prohibited from giving greater trade concessions to each other than to foreign countries.

I was delighted to hear Mr. Richard Nixon, the Vice-President of the United States o' America, say, during his recent visit tj ..his country, that he believed Australia presented a most favorable field for American investment, and to hear the Governor-General announce this afternoon that this Government would welcome further American investment, and, indeed, would legislate to bring about conditions to encourage it. His Excellency said also that during the twelve months ended on the 30th June, 1953, Australia's international reserves increased from £362,000,000 to £548,000,000. That is indeed satisfactory. No producers have .contributed as much to that increase as have those engaged in our primary industries. In support of that statement, I remind the House that, during the twelve months to which I have just referred, farm incomes increased by 33 per cent., or from £431,000,000 to £574,000,000. Well-managed farmlands are still, and are likely to continue to be, our greatest asset. The Government, conscious of that fact, has fostered the production of agricultural machinery, superphosphate and other things that the man on the land must have if we are to achieve full production. The

Governor-General referred this afternoon to another matter of great interest to farmers and graziers when he said that the Commonwealth had assisted the State Departments of Agriculture by making grants to supplement the extension and research services of various organizations to the degree of approximately £500,000 a year, and had agreed to provide a similar sum during each of the next five years. We look forward with confidence r,o the outcome of such a bold step.

The statement by His Excellency that economic circumstances have made possible an increased intake of immigrants, and that British immigrants and family units are to receive preference will, I am certain, meet with general approval, because we all realize that our greatest problem is to increase our population. In this connexion, let me say that I believe the Government has an obligation to maintain the health of our present population. Therefore, I am very pleased to know that there will bc introduced into the Parliament during this session the National Health Bill, the object of which is to preserve the health of our people - the people who are so necessary to the future progress of a country that we hope will be, and is on the way to becoming, a great nation. Another bill that will be introduced, not so significant as the National Health Bill, is designed to amend the Navigation Act. It is concerned with new safety measures at sea. I believe that the greatest loss of life is occurring, not at sea, but on land. It is occurring on our roads. This Government has given large sums of money to the Australian Road Safety Council, which has spent the money wisely. But I believe the real solution of the problem lies in the hands of the people who use our roads. We, as the representatives of the people, should ask road travellers to take care. The busy time of Christmas is approaching, and every member of the Parliament and every person in Australia wants the visit of the Queen to be a time when we can all rejoice. I read recently that the new road safety slogan is, " Courtesy is Catching ". During Christmas and the visit of the Queen, let the Australian people take the initiative in courtesy. Everybody knows that glaring headlights cause many deaths. I have coined a new definition of a gentleman. It is, " A gentleman is one who, when motoring at night, will dim his headlights at the approach of the weak light of a cyclist ". Australia can illafford to lose so many citizens in road accidents.

We are proud of the success of our co-operation with the United Kingdom in the atomic tests at Woomera. We all hope that the time is not far distant when this new form of power will be used, not for destruction, but for the benefit and progress of civilization. Although we are rich in goods, I believe we should prize most the intangible things - honour, justice, freedom and devotion to duty - which have been handed down to us by past generations. On this Remembrance Day eve, let us pause to pay tribute to our servicemen for upholding those principles on the battlefields of the world. Our flag will be honoured only while we practice the principles that have made it great. The success of our defence policy, our increased production, our standard of living, the greater peace in our industries and the spirit of co-operation are factors that have contributed to the renewed confidence of the Australian people. The Governor-General has expressed the hope that Divine Providence will guide our deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. May that be so. May we, as a people, recognize the source of all our gifts and, in thanking God, say sincerely, " Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory ".

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