Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 4 April 1957


Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) . - There is no time in a debate of this nature to deal with the whole of the very comprehensive speech given by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) in opening the debate, so I want to take only a few points from it. I want to speak first about the Middle East, and I come at once to the remarks of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt). He said that the basic economic issue underlying the whole of the Middle East situation, including the Suez crisis, was the struggle of the world monopolies to control oil supplies. A little later he said that is the cause of the whole Middle East crisis. I want to say these are very large assumptions and very superficial ones also. Of course, the causes go far deeper than that, and we shall not find a solution by dodging the issues.

Let us refresh our memories about some of the facts and events of the Middle East. First, I remind the House that the Arab States have never recognized the State of Israel. In fact, they have quite openly declared that it is their policy to destroy Israel. Great Britain, after discharging first of all the mandate it held under the League of Nations and then some form of interim control during and after the war, finally relinquished its responsibilities to the United Nations. In doing so, the Prime Minister of Great Britain said -

The fact has to be faced that there is no common ground between the Arabs and the Jews. They differ in religion and in language; their cultural and social life, their ways of thought and conduct are as difficult to reconcile as are their national aspirations. These last are the greatest bar to peace. Both communities lay claim to Palestine; the one on the ground of a millennium of occupation, the other on the ground of historic association and of an undertaking given to it during the first world war. The antithesis is thus complete.

The United Nations recognized the State of Israel, lt was not recognized by the Arab nations, which attacked it in 1948. They were repulsed by the Jews. Ever since, hostilities have been carried on especially by Egypt which, in its endeavour to assume the leadership of the Arab world, has maintained consistently that it is in a state of war with Israel.

The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) spoke of the necessity for doing something to prevent fascist aggression in the world. If he is looking for an example of fascist behaviour in the world to-day, the right honorable gentleman has not far to look because the Government of Egypt, in both its internal and external policies, is confronting us with a perfect example. It has consistently used its military power, such as it is, to close the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal to the ships of Israel.

I am not here to say that the United Nations has been completely ineffective. ] am not one of those who often attack the United Nations. 1 am saying that the Government of Egypt has, for years, carried on these activities in open defiance of the United Nations, and it is a plain fact that Israel has maintained its existence, not through the assistance and the help of the United Nations, but, in plain language, by force of arms. No doubt Israel has faults and excesses on its own side, too, but it has furnished the modern world with a modern example of the centuries-old maxim that freedom is possessed only by those alone who have the courage to defend it.

If we are going to speak of aggression and the United Nations, let us recognize the further fact that had it not been for the military action of Great Britain and France, there would have been no action, effective or ineffective, by the United Nations in the Middle East crisis at all.

How effective can the United Nations be in the present circumstances? Perhaps nobody could answer that question. I do not pretend to answer it, but this I will say. that there can be no real solution in the Middle East unless it is based on adequate power. Do not let us imagine that we live in a world where power no longer exists, or where it no longer counts because that :s not true. In whose hands does the power lie? It does not lie in the hands of the United Nations organization, which is weak, but in the hands of the great nations such ;t-) the United States of America, and great countries have great responsibilities. It may well be that, considering the violent racial and religious antagonisms in the Middle East, there is no solution to be found unless it is a solution based on power - not necessarily, perhaps, by the use of military force, though it may come to that. The fact is that there will be no real solution which does not rest on adequate power, which exists only in the hands of the great nations of the world. They must be prepared to exercise it, even in a military sense if necessary, to ensure that the situation in the Middle East, and in other places as well, does not finally lead to a world war.

The problems are great, but they will not be solved merely by some scheme such as that to which the Leader of the Opposition referred, or some form of internationalization of the production of oil. They go far deeper. Although the Leader of the Opposition was ready to demand some form of international control in the case of oil, he had nothing whatever to say about the internationalization of the Suez Canal on which the trade of half the world depends or about the freedom of the Gulf of Aqaba. They are problems just as great as, if not more important than, control of oil supplies.

I turn now to the problem of the admission of China to the United Nations. Honorable gentlemen opposite are entitled to their own opinions about whether that is advisable or not. It is remarkable, however, that although that course of action is advocated quite frequently by them in this House, none of those who support the admission of China to the United Nations ever has anything to say at the same time about the fate of the people of Formosa. The Leader of the Opposition made no reference to it when he spoke on Tuesday. So far as I can remember, it is never referred to by the Opposition.

What is to be the fate of the people of Formosa if China is admitted to the United Nations? That is worthy of a passing thought, at least. They are a people almost as numerous as our own. They are living now in freedom. Are we on the Government side of the House to infer that the policy of the Opposition is that the people of Formosa are to be abandoned to their fate? Are they to be dismissed from the United Nations? Are they to be left to take their chance, because we should not forget that mainland China has declared quite openly that it, and nobody else, will settle the fate of the Formosans? Are we to understand that that attitude is supported by the Leader of the Opposition and his followers, because they are all mute upon this subject?

I pass now to the question of the explosion of nuclear weapons. This is a matter of great gravity, but I want to make only a few remarks about it. The first point I wish to make is that it is easy to excite exaggerated fears about it. No great problem was ever solved by people who were afraid of it. No service is given to the people of Australia if we are to speak in exaggerated terms or if we are to belittle the importance of this matter. I believe that if we are to discuss it at all, at any rate in technical terms, we must be certain that we know what we are talking about. It will not be resolved by giving way to fear. I intend to say nothing technical about this. But I want to make one or two other observations and the next thing I want to say is that the problem will not be solved by the unilateral cessation of atomic experiments.


Mr Curtin - Tell us how it will be solved.


Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - It will certainly not be solved by the unilateral cessation of these experiments. This is made more plain by the announcement of recent discoveries which make it essential that if these experiments are to stop on our side - on the Western side - and if we are to forgo our ultimate guarantee of the power to preserve our freedom - and let us make no mistake that these weapons are the ultimate guarantee of the power to preserve our freedom - it can only be done after an agreement which implies adequate supervision, inspection and control of armaments and preparation. Of course, every government in the world really wants to reach agreement, but unless we can reach an agreement like that, it would be the height of folly to abandon the experiments we have been conducting with great care and great responsibility.

What are the basic differences in policy between the Labour party and ourselves on speech in this House and also by the recent federal conference of the Labour party in Brisbane that there are certain things in Labour policy to which we on this side of the House do not subscribe, and to which 1 would be very surprised if, upon mature consideration, very many people in Australia would subscribe. 1 should like to indicate to the House four things which do not constitute a comprehensive statement of Labour policy but which are implicit in declared Labour policy. I give them to the House as an indication of this policy.

One of them which has already been mentioned is the recognition and admission to the United Nations of red China. Another one is the withdrawal of Australian forces from Malaya. The third one, which may not be stated in quite such explicit terms but which most Australians have been led to believe by the Labour party is part of its policy, is the banning of further atomic tests in Australia without regard .for the activities of other countries. The fourth is the alteration of the Seato pact. 1 think it was remarkable that in his speech the Leader of the Opposition, although he spoke for 45 minutes the other night, and found plenty of time to attack a friendly and an allied power, made no attempt to spare one word of condemnation for the wanton cruelty with which the freedom of Hungary has been oppressed. I believe that those four things I have mentioned are implicit in the declared policy of the Labour party. What will they lead us to? In the first place, in our relationships with the rest of the world and with our allies, they will obviously lead us to an end of the close association which we have with many of the Western States. It will be the end of our close security associations with our allies. They will mean the end of the trust and confidence now reposed in Australia by our allies. They will mean the drying up of foreign investment in this country on which so much of our prosperity depends. They will mean that, instead of being a nation which is great out of proportion to our numbers in the world, we will sink back into an inferior position.

This foreign policy is apparently part of that process which is nowadays described as democratic socialism, a phrase which, to most of us, seems very like the claptrap used in those countries which describe themselves as peoples' democracies. I suggest that it is part of the policy which has split the Australian Labour party into two - or is it three - factions. I want to remind the House that the two major factions which have found themselves unable to follow the Australian Labour party or its leader have given themselves names of some significance. The first breakaway party called itself, " The Anti-Communist Labour party ". The second breakaway party called itself. " The Democratic Labour party ".


Mr Curtin - I wonder what the third will be called.


Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I wonder! They have done this in order to make it perfectly plain to the Australian people that large sections of the Labour movement no longer regard the Parliamentary Labour party here as anti-Communist in practice or democratic in principle. The two breakaway parties have given themselves the names that I have mentioned. I say, in conclusion, that here is the basic difference between our policy. Even large sections of the Labour movement have branded the policies which are put forward by the Labour party in this House as neither antiCommunist nor democratic.







Suggest corrections