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Friday, 1 May 1942

Mr HUTCHINSON (Deakin) . - If it were not for the fact that Great Britain is separated from the continent of Europe by a strip of water about 24 milos wide at its narrowest point, and for the brave hearts of the British people, who fought the battle for Britain, democracy by now might have vanished from the world. With Britain smashed, what would be the position of the democratic world ? The great United States of America would 'be caught between the forces of the east and the west. Democracy is now threatened because the leaders of democratic countries failed, until nearly too late, to face realities. By his speech to-day, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) has shown himself to be another democratic leader who has not awakened to the realities of the situation. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) was directed entirely to one specific point, but in his reply the Prime Minister skated all round the subject, without coming to the real point. It was obvious from the outset that this war would take the new form of total war. That was admitted on all sides. Even before the war started, we had been told very clearly by the Nazi leaders that every man and woman and all materials would have to play their part. It was obvious to every body that wo should have to meet the Axis powers on a footing of total war if we were ever to defeat them. The expression " total war " has been used as freely by members of the Government as by members of the Opposition, but to talk about total war and not to enact it is mere lip service. If, like ourselves, Great Britain and the United States of America were to fight this war on a purely voluntary basis so far as man-power is concerned, we should not be so optimistic about the outcome as we now are. Times are dark indeed, but they .would be infinitely darker if the powers ranged against the axis countries adopted the voluntary principle in warfare.

It was apparent at the beginning of this war that Australia needed one army. Instead of that, owing mainly to the unrealistic attitude of the Labour party, we were given two armies, the voluntary Australian Imperial Force, and the conscripted Australian Military Forces. Many months have passed since it was impressed upon me that, by having two armies, Australia multiplied its dangers.

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