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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr McEWEN (Murray) (Minister for Trade and Industry) - Tomorrow is the culmination of the long campaign for the so-called Vietnam Moratorium. The debate this afternoon and this evening of course has been weighed in relation to this long campaign, the incidents that are designed to take place tomorrow and the general implications for Australia. But when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) rises to speak in the Mouse on this occasion, why. it is New Guinea that he talks about. This is a masterly diversion, lt is true that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition spoke volubly and vehemently about the Vietnam Moratorium.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! J remind the House that interjections are out of order. The Leader of the Opposition was given a tolerant hearing and I expect the same hearing to be given to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr McEWEN - 1 was saying before I was rudely interrupted by interjections that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition spoke volubly and vigorously on the Vietnam Moratorium and gave all his views on it. But this was not done in the Parliament. lt was done outside on the la wm in front of Parliament House and surrounded by North Vietnamese flags. That was his forum to speak to the Australian people about this great issue that so concerns the Australian Labor Party. In the Parliament when it is being discussed tonight he is silent. lt was New Guinea the honourable gentleman talked about - a convenient matter to turn to as a masterly distraction but not one that is successful.

The truth of the matter, as has been mentioned a number of times in this House, is that members of the Australian Labor Party have been in association with known Communists in this campaign, in this plan, and excuses have been made along the line, as I have heard them, that if it so happens that a Communist holds a certain point of view and a member of the Australian Labor Party happens to hold the same point of view it cannot be helped if they appear on the same occasion on the same platform.

This is a very plausible statement. But what I want to say and what I will proceed to establish is that all through our involvement in Vietnam and the propaganda campaign mounted and managed by the Communists, the Australian Labor Party, certainly as to the majority and certainly as to its leader, has been wittingly or unwittingly working for the Communists, working for the North Vietnamese.

We have had running concurrently 2 wars. One has been in the field where our troops, the Americans and the South Vietnamese have been fighting in accordance with the attitudes taken by their respective governments. But parallel and absolutely contiguous with this has been the second war - the propaganda war that has been conducted all round the world, originating in the masler planning area of the hierarchy of the Communist Party, operating in the United States, operating in Australia, operating in New Zealand and wherever there has been scope to do so.

The Vietnam situation commenced, so far as we were eventually to become involved with it. with what appeared to be a local insurrection involving the National Liberation Front - the Vietcong. But this organisation was being supported, supplied, aided and managed by what was a foreign country - North Vietnam - and it was clear to the world that that country was being supplied, encouraged and supported by the great nations of the Communist world. For what purpose were the terror, murder, the burning of people's homes and the reckless cruelty of this campaign? It was to illustrate that the Government of South Vietnam was unable to control the affairs of the country. The campaign of murder and destruction and burning was a campaign to bring down the South Vietnamese Government.

In all this time the supplies were coming from North Vietnam and indirectly from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China. That these were terrible days, no-one will deny. What was the attitude of the Australian Labor Party in those days? There was utter silence from the Communists in this country and all the friendly western countries; utter silence at this terrible programme that was going on. There was utter silence in respect of what was happening in the field but not utter silence on the political front. The defaming of the South Vietnamese Government, the defaming of the President of South Vietnam and the defaming of the Prime Minister of South Vietnam began in this Parliament. If honourable members look up Hansard they will see that this was the attitude of the Australian Labor Party on those occasions.

The next stage was the more formal invasion of South Vietnam by North Vietnamese forces, by North Vietnamese formations penetrating right into this country which was seeking to preserve ' its own independence, just adding to and accelerating the butchery, the terror, the dreadful impositions upon the peasantry in the villages and the poor people in this country. In that atmosphere the South Vietnamese Government, with its own forces desperately trying to handle the situation, asked the United States first and then Australia to send not troops but military advisers to help its forces to manage their own responsibilities. There was no word from the Australian Labor Party, no word from the Communists, about this terrible thing that was going on among the population. But when we sent a few military advisers and when the United States sent a few military advisers they got to their feet instantly, condemning this country and the United States, and mounted a tremendous campaign which was conducted against our national service law.

Constantly there was the illustration of two co-ordinated wars. They were not merely parallel wars. They were coordinated wars. The Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Communists were fighting in the field, and the Communist Party, the Communist front organisations, the Communist led unions and in this country the Australian Labor Party were fighting the Communist cause on the political front. We saw the mounting pressure on both these fronts and particularly on the fighting front in South Vietnam; the increasing terror and the reckless, relentless attacks with mortars, the ruthless murder of village headmen, the systematic murdering of schoolteachers and any people who could give a lead, and the introduction of larger military formations from the North led to the position where the South Vietnam Government, still seeking to protect the independence of its people, asked the United States to send military aid and asked Australia and other countries to send military aid. This was done, as is known and the response was that these countries, recognising not only the threat to the South Vietnamese but what the consequences would be if there was success in that small country, sent military aid. So, at that point we had our own troops fighting in the field for what they believed in, what their Government believed in, and their country believed in. Do not ever tell1 me their country did not believe in it. This was proved in election after election. Taking a parallel course, the Communists have at ali times, in association with the Labor Party both inside the Parliament and outside, attacked the aid given to South Vietnam. They have unceasingly and relentlessly defamed South Vietnam's leaders. They have constantly attacked the United Slates Government and the Australian Government. This war on the political front has gone on parallel with the war in the field.

What was the next stage? North Vietnam invaded Laos in order to have a supply line into South Vietnam - the Ho Chi Minh trail. That was an unresisted invasion of a country not involved in the war. Was there any word of protest from the Labor Party about that invasion? Could anybody turn up Hansard and point to 1 speech by any member of the Labor Party in protest against the invasion of Laos by the North Vietnamese and other Communist troops so that they might supply their forces fighting our troops and Americans in South Vietnam? Not a word. This was a real war. The Americans and Australians in the field, together with their allies, were making a real effort. The troops knew that they were in a real war. What happened in the United States behind our front? The most intense propaganda campaign ever known in a Western country was waged in the United States against its participation in the war. I do not think anybody bothers with propaganda campaigns in Communist countries, although T cannot be certain.

J am sure that such an intense campaign as was mounted on the civil front in the United States has never been known. The moratorium was produced. I was about to say that it was invented, but I do not believe for a moment that the Americans invented the idea of the moratorium. 1 think the idea was sent to them from the headquarters of Communism as part of its propaganda planning. Concurrently the campaign against our involvement in Vietnam proceeded in this country along precisely the same lines, originating no doubt from the same source. The campaign reached such a stage in the United States that President Johnson, who had been so stoic, so firm, so loyal in the defence of these poor people of South Vietnam, was brought to say that he would not again contest the Presidency. What a victory for Com.mun sm. What a victory on the political front to have a success through propaganda and impel the President of the United States to say that he will not again stand for the Presidency. What encouragement for Communist propaganda in this country and everywhere else.

While this was going on in America there was not the silence on the part of the Labor Party that we observed in the case of the invasion of Laos, when the North Vietnamese sought a supply route by which to succour and supply the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese. No, there was not that kind of silence but rather a vigorous, vocal and continuous campaign against the allies by the Communists and the Australian Labor Party. So the sad story goes on of the political war and the war in the field ensuing parallel to one another, fitting together as they are intended to fit together by those who planned them - by the brilliantly able Communists who planned all this. We have war in the field and war on the political front concurrently. There was not much success in the field for the Communists but unhappily there was great success on the political front.

The next stage was the invasion of Cambodia by the North Vietnamese. By this time the American forces had suffered heavy losses. The invasion of neutral Cambodia was the third violation by the Communists of a neutral country in this war. They invaded Cambodia in order to establish a sanctuary for military bases from which to consolidate their formations in South Vietnam. They felt that from Cambodia they would be able to sally forth into South Vietnam, attack the Americans and South Vietnamese, and retreat to their sanctuary in Cambodia. But such a situation was intolerable for a government which had sent troops into the field, so the South Vietnamese and the Americans went into Cambodia to root out this threat to their existence. But there was not a word from the Australian Labor Party or the Communists against the invasion of Cambodia, although they are consumed with rage at the idea of the Americans going into Cambodia to destroy this Communist sanctuary.

The Australian people must be made aware of these things. Earlier tonight I said that wittingly or unwittingly the Labor Party is working for the Communists in this war. If it is wrong to invade a neutral country why was there silence from the Labor Party when the North Vietnamese invaded Cambodia to establish their great bases? There was utter silence. Not a word was heard. God knows, there has been enough speaking on street corners and under North Vietnamese flags on the lawns in front of Parliament House. There were plenty of vocal people there from the Labor Party, but not a word was said about the invasion of Cambodia.

Mr Killen - Even the Leader of the Opposition was there.

Mr McEWEN - Yes, he was outside Parliament House addressing the demonstrators. But when our friends and allies enter Cambodia to seek to ensure their safety and survival, up in flames goes the Labor Party in synchronised harmony with the Communists. Was this jointly planned? I do not know. I am not even alleging that it was but certainly, wittingly or unwittingly, the Labor Party has been working for the Communist enemies of our troops in South Vietnam and of the American troops there.

Then, pulling out all the stops of the propaganda machine, the Labor Party produced this crescendo of demonstrations planned for tomorrow. The Communists and the Labor Party will march side by side tomorrow in what they hope will be a great moratorium march, working to have Australian and United States troops returned to their homelands. This is the parallel war: In the field the troops fight the enemy; behind their backs on the political front the Communists and the Labor

Party fight the Governments responsible for having those troops in South Vietnam. The most kindly thing I can think about the Labor Party is that its members are dupes of the machinations of the Communists. What they are aiming to do in this crescendo of propaganda tomorrow is to achieve on the political front what all the military forces of Communism have failed to achieve. The military forces of Communism have failed to drive the Americans and the Australians out of Vietnam, but the Communists hope for success on the political front where their troops have failed in the field. They hope to force the Government to bring the troops home. I do not think T exaggerate when I say that all this conduct can be interpreted to mean only that the Communists who follow this line and the members of the Australian Labor Party who march abreast with them want the Communists to win.

If the Communists drove our troops out into the sea then they would achieve precisely the same result that they are aiming at by political means. Overseas there is a battle in the field against the Communists who are trying to drive our troops out, and at home the Australian Labor Party and the civilian Communists are working to defeat our forces on the political' front. I again repeat that the Australian people must come to know of this pernicious association with the Labor Party in this Parliament and of the influence that the Labor Party seeks to bring upon this Parliament. The people must come to know that the Labor Party is working hand in hand and to the same end as the Communist Party. They must know that this is happening while our own troops are fighting in the field. It is time for the Labor men who are for Australia and for our troops to stand up and dissociate themselves from this pernicious campaign. It is time that the others who are for the campaign stood out and were clearly revealed.

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