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Tuesday, 23 May 1939

Mr GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - In 1937-3S New Zealand only expended £1,631,000 on defence or one twenty-second of its revenue of £36,059,000. New Zealand because of its geographical position is in greater danger than is Australia, yet that country is expending on defence one twenty-second of its revenue. South Africa is expending £1,779,000 on defence during the year 1938-39 but Australia, because its people are stampeded by the European and Australian press, is spending one-fourth of its revenue. The manufacturers of munitions and the suppliers of raw materials will be able to make excessive profits, and for the first time in the ' history of Australia, an opportunity will be afforded to create a psychology of fear and to establish large munition concerns such as have been established, in European countries. One writer said that the firm of 'Vickers in Britain and Krupps in Germany endeavoured to cause wars, not in those countries but in others and to create a psychology of fear. The position in September last was more acute than it is to-day. When a member of the militia, I recall the late General Hutton telling us that Australia was likely to be invaded. Earlier than that the scare had been " Beware of Russia."

Mr Street - Yes, in 1885.

Mr GREEN - And when the cable broke by some accident, or through some convulsion of the earth, it was a sure indication that the Russians had cut it, and the militiamen were called up to defend their bleeding country. The great enemies of Britain in the time of Nelson were the French. Nelson was quite convinced that every Frenchman was a scoundrel, that he simply could not be otherwise. Now we are prepared to take the .French people to our bosoms and fight beside" them against a race from which we are proud to say that a large part of our population has sprung - the Anglo-Saxons. When our country was in some danger our men went readily to its defence. Unfortunately, some of those who fought on that occasion have become so used to telling of their deeds of prowess at Pozieres and elsewhere that they have become saturated with the idea that war may come again at any time. Thus, in a country far removed from the seat of any possible war, we have these war mongers. One, of the unfortunate legacies we have from the war, is the presence, even in this chamber, of these loud-mouthed hale and hearty warriors. In 1936-37 - the latest year for which I have the figures - Canada expended £A5,780,000 on defence, not a fourth of what Australia is expending this year, although Canada has a population of 11,000,000 against our 7,000,000. I know that I shall be met with the argument that Canada is alongside the United States of America, and looks to that country for defence, but Canada would repudiate that suggestion. Nowhere else among the British dominions is there this same fear that has been voiced so loudly in this chamber to-day.

Mr Casey - Will the honorable member give the British defence figures ?

Mr GREEN - For the year 1938-39, the British defence estimates were £343,000,000, out of a total revenue of £1,034,000,000, which is something over one-third of the total revenue. But Britain is right against the scene of any war that might occur, and its position is not comparable with ours. If our desire is to make Australia safe for democracy, we should provide social security for every man, woman and child in this country. Here we have a population of less than 7,000,000 in a country which the geographers tell us is capable of supporting a population of 45,000,000, and yet over 108,500 of our people are being supported by the States on relief work. It is not impossible to provide social security for every one. It could be done, but the greatest obstacle is this immense defence expenditure brought about because of the fear engendered by the pres3 cables. Last week the danger was one thing, this week it is something else. A man was killed on the Polish border near Danzig yesterday morning, and we are told that the position is very grave, indeed. To-morrow we shall hear nothing about it. "We should be sane enough to know that there is no prospect of an immediate war in which Australia will be involved.

I have no doubt that honorable members read what appears in the Bulletin from time to time under the heading of " Uncabled additions ". It is a remarkable thing that a large part of the speech of Herr Hitler, made in the Reichstag on the 28th April, was not published in the Australian press. I do not hold a brief for Herr Hitler, but we must admit that Germany has grievances. There is a monstrosity of a government in that country, in comparison with democratic governments, but it is a wellorganized system. It would not suit us, and one has only to go abroad in order to realize the value of democracy. Nevertheless, there are men in this chamber who are little Hitlers in their hearts. What is the immediate trouble before us? We are told that Germany wants Danzig. What an astonishing thing ! There they are again, we are told, after some other country's territory. Every schoolboy of sixteen knows that the small, free city of Danzig was previously held by Germany. Under the Treaty of Versailles, a corridor was pushed through from Poland to the sea between East and West Prussia, and Danzig was made a free port for Poland. Poland has a comparatively small population, and it is unreasonable to suppose that the Poles "would threaten Germany. For my part, I do not believe that they are going to do anything of the kind. It is true that the cable liars. say they are, but I do not accept that. I do not think that Poland would be mad enough to go to war with Germany because it holds a piece of German territory which Germany wants back, to which it is entitled, and which eventually it will get. Part of Herr Hitler's last speech was cabled to this country, but some essential parts were not. In a portion, which was not cabled to Australia, Hitler made the following proposals - to Poland :-

1.   Danzig returns as a Free State into the framework of the German Reich.

2.   Germany receives a route through the Corridor and a railway line at her own disposal, possession the same extra-territorial status for Germany as the Corridor has for Poland. This is to have a right-of-way to East Prussia.

As a matter of fact, the majority of the people in Danzig are Germans and Nazis, who favour reunion with Germany. Whether we like it or not, we must concede that the people of any country have the right to determine what kind of government they want.

Mr Anthony - Was Czechoslovakia given that right?

Mr GREEN - Lord Runciman, who visited Czechoslovakia as a peacemaker, reported that the Germans in that country were suffering many grave injustices. Herr Hitler's speech continued -

In return Germany is prepared -

1.   To recognize all Polish economic rights in Danzig.

2.   To ensure for Poland a free harbour in Danzig of any size desired which would have completely free access to the sea.

3.   To accept at the same time the present boundaries between Germany and Poland, and to regard them as ultimate.

4.   To conclude a 25-year non-aggression treaty with Poland, a treaty, therefore, which would extend far beyond the duration of my own life; and-

Honorable members are aware, and none better than the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Cameron), that a considerable part of what is Poland to-day previously belonged to Germany.

Mr Archie Cameron - Is the honorable member in order in discussing such matters on the question before the Chair ?

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