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Wednesday, 13 November 1935

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - The right honorable the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) put the case in favour of the passage of this measure very fairly and clearly before honorable senators. I regret that members of the Opposition have approached it as though we were discussing a declaration of war. When the League was formed many of us had grave doubts regarding the success that would attend its efforts, but all of us were at least unanimous in the hope that it would accomplish its main object - the maintenance of the peace of the world. As a citizen of Australia, I claim that we are doubly bound to the League: first, as an integral part of the British Empire, and, secondly, because we had the honour to be a signatory to that notable agreement. However, to-day there are murmurings among many Australians, who would like Australia to withdraw from the League. These people apparently are prepared to refuse to carry out the solemn obligation to which this country subscribed in that agreement. If we adopted such a course we would prove conclusively that all our gestures and efforts in the cause of peace, and all our talk of high international ideals at the time of the formation of the League, and since, have been only lip service. In passing this measure, we shall place on our statute-book legislation unprecedented in the history of this country. Whenever previously legislation of this character has been enacted it has been for the institution of a blockade by nations which, at the time, were involved in war. On this occasion, while they arc still at peace, certain nations are striving, by the imposition of economic and financial sanctions, to compel the belligerents to settle their dispute by other than armed force.

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