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Thursday, 9 May 1957


Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) . - The speeches of honorable members from both sides of the House have been interesting for the diversity of opinion that they have contained. Although members of the Opposition have said many things with which I do not agree, I think it is a good thing that in a debate of this sort a diversity of opinion should be expressed. I feel that one of the best speeches along a certain line was that made by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who spoke on Tuesday. The points made by the honorable member are well worth thinking about, and perhaps even well worth repeating. He stressed a point which is sometimes overlooked. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) pointed out that defence is related to two factors, first, aggression, and secondly, the defence of one's country against aggression. When we consider the defence of this country, we must do so in the light of those two factors. I am sure that all honorable members and all people throughout the Commonwealth will agree that we have no aggressive intention. Therefore, in this debate we should consider those things which will contribute to the safety of this country.

Honorable members have spoken about the development and the great potential of Australia, but in my opinion those things are of secondary importance. What is of primary importance is that we shall be prepared at all times to defend this land. After all, if we give away our defence, there is no purpose in developing the country. If we say that we are not going to worry about defence, we are simply developing the country for the benefit of a future occupying power. In his speech, the honorable member for Fremantle said -

We can only examine our defence programme in the light of the country's capacity to pay, an evaluation of the international situation, an evaluation of the special position of Australia and an evaluation of weapons.

I wish to refer to that part of the honorable member's speech in which he deal with international processes. He said -

Let us look at the international processes sur rounding Suez and Hungary, applying these test*. Britain and France, ordered out of Egypt, left Egypt. They accepted international authority.

I now come to the part which I feel is worth repeating, and which cannot be repeated too often. The honorable member said -

The Soviet Union, through Kadar, refused the admission of Hammarskjoeld to Hungary. The Russians refused any right of inspection of their actions. They refused cease-fire directions. They imposed their will on Hungary by force of arm* and rejected international authority.

The honorable member then said something with which I disagree -

I have no sympathy for the action of the British Government in Suez.

I have sympathy for the British Government and I personally feel that it took the right action. The honorable member then went on -

But it remains a fact that, faced with the direction of an international authority, they left Egypt, and it also remains a fact that, faced with the direction of an international authority, the Soviet Union did not leave Hungary. I cannot honestly argue from that that the West ought to approach disarmament on the assumption of Soviet goodwill and willingness to accept inter national supervision.


Mr Graham - Who said that?


Mr LUCOCK - The honorable member for Fremantle. I feel that what the honorable member said is the crux of the matter in regard to the defence of this country and the policy of this Government for that defence. When we are considering a matter of this kind, surely we must always keep before us the fact of the broken promises of the Soviet Union over a period of years. It is unwise to reject out of hand any moves made by the Soviet which appear to offer hope for a lasting peace and the co-existence about which we speak, but I feel that we should go into discussions or conferences on defence having in mind the attitude of the Soviet Union over a period of years. We should, in very truth, approach these matters with our eyes open. The latest move of the Soviet Union is its open skiesand inspection proposal. I feel that we should discuss the question of disarmament with a consciousness of the number of times in the past when we felt there was some glimmer of hope that the Soviet would' take a step towards making co-existence possible, only to have those hopes dashed to the ground. I feel that in this debate there has been a lack of realization on the part of the Opposition of that point of view.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) referred to three types of war - a cold war, a local or limited war, and a global war. We have seen a cold war in progress for a considerable period. Local or limited wars have been fought in the Middle East, Korea and Viet Nam. At the moment, one is being waged in Algeria. In all these incidents, the influence of the Soviet Union has been obvious, causing trouble and creating disturbances. On a number of occasions the question has been asked in regard to various countries in which there have been uprisings: Why should not these countries be granted independence? But if we trace through the incidents in those countries we find that on every occasion the Soviet Union has been assisting the immoderate elements, if I may put it in that way, to stir up disorder and create chaos. That is happening in Cyprus at the moment. On a number of occasions in this House I have mentioned that the British Government has said that it is prepared to discuss the independence of Cyprus and the return of that country to Greece. The Government cannot discuss it, however, while the terrorists are in charge or are creating disturbances on the island. Is there any move on the part of those who are creating those disturbances to call them off and have a round-table conference about which honorable members on the Opposition side speak so constantly? As I have said previously, the Turkish minority in Cyprus must be considered. With this as a background, and with all the goodwill in the world, one must view with a degree of suspicion certain moves that are made from behind the iron curtain.

That leads me to the matter of nuclear tests. Honorable members on both sides of the House have said that one of the greatest dangers confronting the world arises from the nuclear tests and the danger of nuclear war. I believe that the scientists are playing with something, the full dangers of which they themselves are not aware. The suggestion is that nuclear tests should be abandoned by the West. I say quite openly that to abandon such tests without having definite and concrete cer tainty that the Soviet Union will also abandon them would be giving the game away and handing it over to the Soviet Union.

If we examine the situation that existed prior to World War II., we find that the motive and the thought behind Hitler's actions was to divide and rule. All the countries which were occupied by Germany stood out of a collective security plan bebecause they believed that if they did so, they would be safe. We know what happened. Hitler took one country after another and was able to do so because, with the weight of the German nation behind him, he was able to attack the countries individually. If those nations had stood together, Hitler's task would have been far more difficult. Yet the lesson inherent in that experience does not appear to have been learned by many speakers on the Opposition side.

I have been amazed at the number of times that Opposition members have accused this Government of having failed to prepare Australia for war in 1939. Opponents of the Government have stated that when a Labour government was returned to office early in World War II., Australia was unprepared. That does not seem to tie up with some suggestions made during this debate by members on the Opposition side that we should not prepare ourselves for defence, that we should have nothing to do with nuclear tests or be ready to play our part in a nuclear war if it comes, and God forbid that it should. Do not Opposition members realize that Hitler achieved as much as he did because the Western democracies, over a period of years, tried to work for peace by being unprepared for war? They wanted to show that, obviously, they did not want war because they were not preparing for war. Many of the people in those nations did not want war either. At one time, Mr. Stanley Baldwin said that he would not make rearmament a plank of his party's platform because if he did his party would be defeated at an election. Mr. Baldwin should have made rearmament a plank of the party's platform, for then his conscience would have been clear when war came. The mere fact that we do not prepare for war will not avoid war, as honorable members who support the Government have said. That must be obvious to thinking people who have a knowledge of history.

One of the best ways to bring about peace is to prepare for war. That appears to be a contradiction, but unfortunately it is an axiom that has always been true. If we are strong and have the power to retaliate, and if we are able to defend ourselves, a would-be aggressor will think twice before attacking us, but if we are weak in defence, our enemies will take the lead. In that connexion, I cite an editorial to which I have referred before -

Nuclear war would indeed be a hideous disaster, but nuclear war will become more likely, and the likelihood of our defeat greater, if the Soviet leaders convince themselves that our fear of war has become so basic to our foreign policy that they can safely count us out as an effective factor in the equation.

History has shown that those words are true. If an enemy believes that we have not the strength to defend ourselves, that enemy will keep on demanding more and more until he demands the ultimate, and that means that we go to war with weak defences and weak forces or submit to subjugation. The course of history since the close of World War II. has shown that every time the West has made a show of strength, the Communists have retreated from their advanced position. One event that comes readily to mind is the Berlin blockade when the West stood firm and refused to submit to the Communists. Because of the purpose and strength that was shown on that occasion, the Soviet leaders backed down. That is one of the greatest factors of the situation. If we show strength, we will have a greater chance of securing peace than we would have by constant shilly-shallying.

The honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) said that the United Nations was a failure in Hungary and a success in the Middle East. I referred to that earlier when quoting a portion of the speech by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). The United Nations certainly was a success in the Middle East, but only because Great Britain and France agreed to international direction. The United Nations was a failure in Hungary because the Russians refused to agree to international direction. It is as well we should remember that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at that time, Sir Anthony Eden, unfortunately suffering from ill health, agreed to the direction of inter national power under international law. 1 am sure that every honorable member will be gratified to know that Sir Anthony has recovered from a recent operation and that his strength and health are improving.

Another matter to which I wish to refer is a statement that was made by the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) in his reference to the recognition of red China. He said that we could not fail to recognize red China merely because we did not like the regime or the behaviour of its Government. That is not the reason why we, who oppose the recognition of red China, maintain that opinion. We believe that the Government of red China, and China itself, have not subscribed to any of the basic principles of international law and justice. We believe that it is a government that cannot be trusted to stand by any firm international undertaking. Until the Government of red China shows that it is prepared to accept international law and international justice; until it is prepared to contribute to the well-being and the peace of this world, then I for one will continue to advocate non-recognition of that government.

The second point is that if we recognize at this moment the Government of red China, we recognize a regime that is not fit to enter the United Nations. Also, we immediately cast aside the regime of nationalist China and, if I may use the expression, we put " out on a limb " millions of overseas Chinese who would then have no other link but the link through the Government of red China. I feel that it would be a travesty of international justice if at this moment we recognized the Government of red China.

So, I support the Government in its defence statement. I feel that it is a step in the right direction, in that we are working together in close co-operation with the United States of America and with the United Kingdom in the defence of this country. In any war the contribution made by Australia will be linked with the contribution made by the United States and the United Kingdom, and when we plan our defences, when we plan our military appointments, we must plan those defences and those military appointments with the consciousness that we will not be fighting, alone but alongside all those who, with us, believe in freedom and democracy.







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